That’s right. I’m (once again) taking my blog (and my business) on the road. This time with a lot more knowledge and a road map (for the business, not the job… well ok, yes, I’ll have a road map for the job too but that’s a given… I’ll be on the road… stop confusing me!) 🙂
Yes, I have a Class A license and can drive a big rig. I got it back in 2007 when I suddenly decided I wanted to go “play trucker”. Don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t something that just popped into my head out of the blue and no, I wasn’t having a mid-life crisis…
I’d wanted to be a trucker when I was 16 years old. But my mom just didn’t have those sort of aspirations for me. In my house, it was always “what are you gonna do when you get out of college?” for my brother and me. So we both went, got our degrees, and went to work. He’s still using his. I haven’t used mine since 1999 so it’s not much more than a pretty piece of paper at this point.
But in 2006, I’d finally figured out that I wanted to start an online business to replace the one I’d walked away from offline. I thought I knew enough about what I was doing by 2007, that I could take it on the road with me.
Boy was I wrong!
I didn’t know enough about what I was doing online OR in trucker world. I had no idea what driving a truck as a job actually entailed.
But you know what? For the first two years I drove, I absolutely loved it! I didn’t get much done in the way of growing my online business though… I was just too tired!
The thing is, I’m a truck gal… always have been. And I LOVE driving BIG trucks. So yeah, people ask me why I don’t like it anymore. It’s not the truck. I love the driving part. It’s the job’s lifestyle I don’t like.
* Being away from home for 14-21 days at a time.
* Working 14 hours a day (11 of which are spent driving) with quick bathroom breaks and a fuel stop.
* Showering in truck stop showers after every other trucker’s been in there.
* Sleeping on truck stop parking lots.
* Having to constantly reschedule doctor/dentist appointments because (yet again) a load got cancelled or something went wrong and you’re NOT going to get back home as planned (or during the day)… but hey, maybe you can get in when you’re headed back in another 14-21 days!
NOTE: For me, this becomes a big thing because the constant vibration and bouncing from the truck started causing bladder spasms for me regularly. The doctor prescribed meds to keep my bladder relaxed while I’m driving, but the side effects of adding to my dehydration issues and drying out my airways just cause other issues.
* Getting up in the middle of the night to use the restroom requires getting dressed, going out into the weather (sleet, rain or moon shine) and the bright lights of the parking lots, walking past strangers in your best “I just woke up” look, and then going back to the truck, undressing and trying to get back to sleep.
* Having to eat at truck stops more often than not, because you can’t find a healthier restaurant in cities you’re not familiar with, that have a large enough place to park 70 feet worth of truck and still be out of the way (yes, I had to take a breath in the middle of that sentence!)
* The fact that I’m primarily a night person and trucking is 24/7. Seriously. There’s no “geez, I love working nights because I get more done and I’ll sleep from 5am till 11am” type of schedule. It’s a “you’ll start when we tell you to, deliver when we need you there, take a 10 hour break and then roll again when it’s over, regardless of what time of day or night it is” kinda job.
Oh I’m sorry. Did you say you couldn’t get to sleep at 4pm cause you’ve been going to bed at 4AM? Tough! Get up and start your 14 hour day!
Hmmmph… I’ve got a word or two for you at those moments… but I at least make an attempt to keep my blog “trucker language” free.
Sorry… was I ranting? Ok, back to my original point… 😉
Taking It Back On The Road
I’ve been off the road since the beginning of February last year, with the exception of about 4 weeks here and there when I drove for a friend of mine so he could get some much needed down time (did I mention this job sucks for your health!?).
But some drama over the, a new (very awesome) change in business direction, and the fact that my landlord expects rent to be paid monthly (can you BELIEVE that!), has put me in a position where I’m going to be back on the road working and growing my blogging business at the same time.
I’m feeling SO much better about it now than my first time out though!
First, I know what I’m doing as far as driving goes. And the job I took is heaven compared to what’s typically out there. At least if it is what they say it is… which typically it’s not… but there’s no need to burst my bubble yet. Give a gal a day won’t you!?
The primary differences are (I’m going to list them so I’ll know when I’m dead-tired exhausted that this IS what they told me!):
1. I’ll be in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas only.
2. I’ll be doing 2 loads one week, 3 loads the next and alternating that way.
3. I will not be handling freight at all… it will either be drop & hook loads or I’ll have lumpers (yes, that’s what they call those people who unload our trailers… no idea why so don’t ask).
4. The trucks and equipment are well-maintained. It’s a small company so they really can’t afford service calls out in the middle of BFE in the middle of the night.
5. I’ll be home sometime Thursday and back out on Saturday afternoons on the 2 load weeks, and home sometime Friday and back out on Sunday afternoons on the 3 load weeks.
6. I’ll be able to take my 10-hour breaks (legally required by the FMCSA) at home every other day… which means fewer truck stop showers.
7. The truck will be assigned to me… so I can “move in” and not have to keep bringing bedding and clothes and tools and such home every week.
8. The furthest destination is 420 miles, so not as many 11 hours of driving before stopping for a bit kind of days!
And hey! I’ll be home every other day so I should be able to make it to my Chiropractor every other week too. Hmmm, with being back on the road, I may be back to seeing him weekly. I’ll have to see how that goes.
So there you have it. The trucking side of the equation.
What This Means For My Blog
For the past few years, I’ve been driving 48-state for the most part, as a solo or team driver. With the number of miles that entails (and the fact the truck’s constantly rolling and bouncing when you’re part of a team), that’s left very little time each day to do ANYTHING in the way of blogging, researching, socializing or business-related activities.
I’m counting on the fact that what he told at the interview is true. If that’s the case, I’ll have time each day to do what I want to do to grow my blog and assist more people!
* I never sleep for 10 hours but I’ll be taking my breaks each day… I can use a few hours to work on my to do list and spend some time socializing (sometimes on the U.S. side of the world and sometimes the U.K. side).
* It typically takes the Wal-Mart DCs two hours to unload a trailer so I’ll have that time available.
* I’ll have a day and a half to two days home each week. I’ll be using some of that time to visit with my son and his girlfriend, get food ready for the upcoming week (so I don’t have to live on truck stop food), and get laundry done, I should still have at least a few hours available to get other stuff done (like scanning photos and such for my blog).
Well, I’m off to go get taxes as completed as possible and get things packed. I’ll catch up again very soon.
p.s. I’m sure I’ll be discussing the trucking job here and there, but in the meantime just remember…
* Do NOT stay behind a big rig longer than necessary. A lot of companies use what’s called “retreads” for their trailer tires. That’s why you see so much tire tread on the side of the roadways. You do NOT want to be in the line of that tread when it flies… it WILL be moving fast enough to come through your windshield and possibly kill you.
* Do NOT flash your brights as a big rig at night to let us know you’re going to pass on our left. If it’s dark, your regular lights are easily seen, and since our mirrors are nearly as large as your window, it tends to blind me when you do that and you increase your risk of being run over, since now all I see is spots instead of your car.
* Do NOT try to outrun me to get to an off-ramp… it’s not worth dying over. We may look like we’re moving slow, but we’re not. And at 65 miles an hour, it takes just over 2 full football fields for me to get stopped. If you miscalculate and end up in that space with a blown tire, a car who decides to suddenly hit their brakes in front of you, or any other number of reasons that might cause you to brake or stop right in front of my truck, you’re going to end up UNDER it…
And I NEVER want to explain to someone’s family that they’re family member is dead because they got stupid. Nor do I ever want my son hunting you down because you got ME killed in your rush to get to your job… Geez, at least if you’re gonna do something like that, do it while you’re rushing home to your loved ones will ya!?