Wasted days and wasted nights, what else can be said.
The above is a picture of old abandoned Independent truck stop, some where in the Carolinas.
Once upon a time probably a kicking place, back when drivers were rowdy and legendary, today, just an abandoned building with abandoned memories with stories to tell but who will tell them?
The romances that developed there, the fights, the cashiers who worked there, the locals who visited on boring weekend nights looking for a date or trouble.
Now all just a ghostly memory, many of those who traversed the place have long since departed this realm, and some are still walking, scattered.
In the end, regardless of what your memories are, I guess none of it really matters unless loved and valued, it is only when you're loved that you can then look upon the past with some restitution, if not the past will haunt you like a radio active cloud that leaves it's mark on your soul.
OTR driving is one of those things you either love, have the heart for or do not.
You either love it, or can't stand it, and it totally depends on where you're at in your life, your current mood, outlook, needs, desires, like any other job I suppose.
You can love it for a while, then in the span of one month despise it, being away for weeks at a time, just sitting behind the seat driving like a mindless droid.
This is the kind of look you'll have on your face after hours of driving, if no passion for it in heart anymore.
It will leave you feeling very blank on the inside, and detached.
It wasn't always like that though.
Me, myself, cannot be in truck for more than 8 hours now, before I start getting that look above.
OTR driving or even long 12 hour shift type local driving, alienates you from people, you become a machine, detached from all accept mechanical devices or hoses, valves, ect, depending on what you're hauling.
Young people like attention, want to be acknowledged hourly or by the minute, and is why trucking today is void of younger people.
In Trucking you don't get much feed back, accept negative kind, like when D.O.T. pulls you in for inspection and tries to wreck your life.
Or when you're late to appointment, or when tire blows and waiting on side roadway for Grizzly Adams repair man to show up.
There is no lights and glitz in trucking, and is why so few younger people, males, are getting into it these days.
Money is decent though, but environment not so much.
But again it all depends on where you're at in life, what you want at the moment ect.
If new and never traveled anywhere, it's always going to be exiting at first, when they put you in nice big rig and say 'go'...
If I'm inside of any truck now, for more than 9 hours a day, my nerves become edgy.
Don't even like driving for more than 10-20 minutes stints anymore.
Just sitting and driving for hours, annoys me now (Maybe it wouldn't in a totally brand new truck)
But most trucks aren't new, are loud, and there's always something that could go wrong which can cause you to get stranded somewhere (I) you don't want to be for hours.
I'm home daily, 8-5 basically, off weekends, that's all the trucking I need right now. Assignments are short, in and out of truck all day, stay in familuar areas, and that's how I like it.
If I have to be 'company' now, that's how I like it.
Everyone knows trucking has changed over last decade, everyone knows it's long since been the 'Smokey and the Bandit' days when drivers loved what they did, got paid well, and truly were independent.
Now, well just go visit any Loves or Pilot ect, and see for yourself, it's rather sad actually.
Most drivers seem overweight and depressed or at least anti social now.
They bury themselves in talk radio, or other venues, and totally isolate themselves from fellow drivers now.
The demigraphics have changed to, many more foreign drivers now.
Unity among drivers has long since been shattered.
And add to that less pay, longer hours, it's a recipe for depression and anti social behavior.
Don't make as much now as company D, but so glad to be off after 5, and weekends open to do whatever, even if I just choose to sleep.
Tired of chasing the money in this industry, always the same broken promises, when in the end all driver gets is outragiously long odd hours, broken sleep cycle, and harassment by DOT for their troubles.
(can't spell today)
No career path anymore either, unless decide to become fleet operator.
With flood of new immigrant pouring in, I'm sure these large companies will always be able to keep seats full though.
I messed up by not planning better for my own future, as I've never been the trucking type.
Back when small towns were the crave, back before nation hyper paranoid about terrorism, back before social media magnified and gave voice to those who love to divide us as a nation, just back when it was you, your dog, and imagination on a fall windy night somewhere in the hilly heartland.
I remember such a time, pulling up to some small town area...to be honest, looking back can't remember if it was the NE, or Midwest, PA or Ohio, doesn't really matter, that night nothing mattered but the moment.
I just remember was there early, or running early, and pulled over next to road (In farm communities can do that, always large gravel shoulders next to roadway)...
Was younger, restless, and had dog with me, and energy to boot, just being out 'there', in the middle of what seemed like no where, rest of world asleep, only dreams and youth awake, and so parked rig, got out of truck and just took off into field, moon was partially out that night so provided enough mystical lighting to see.
The dog I had was free and wild to, they could feel it, we both could.
After dog being cooped up in truck all day, as if dog was in dis belief allowed to just run and be free without constraint, without leash, without commands, just run dog run, follow me, I'll follow you, lets see what lays over next moon lit hill.
We were running over off season farming hills, like wheat hills or lentil hills after the harvest.
That world, moment, so distant to me now, my new reality, that I often wonder if I was dreaming, but wasn't.
Cause early on in trucking had many experiences like that, I was just in a different place spiritually and emotionally.
And I actually miss that 'place' now, wish I could find that 'awe' for life again, in what I do now.
There's nothing, I repeat, nothing, like being home by 5 p.m.
That may seem normal for most, but for OTR truck drivers, that's a rare event, or even for local drivers it can be rare.
I took extended trip yesterday, and it was as dull as can be.
Have already seen all there is to see out there, now long trips to me are just mind numbing, dead boring, unproductive time.
I like being home every day now, and off by 5 or sooner.
I don't do much of anything productive when off, not rich, don't have extra money to spend, but just being off and home by 5, in and of itself is like being rich to me in a way.
I see it as a gift, but one only would if deprived of that for so many prior years.
To come home, be able to look out over own deck, instead of parked at truck stop next to hundreds of idling trucks, diesel fumes, noise, and cheap food.
Here, grocery store right up the street, access to fresh fruit, meat, any time I want it.
And sometimes have to remind self of that to appreciate it.
Even in a new or newer truck, still can't, not interested in the 'road life' anymore, cause there's nothing out there anymore, it's all been sanitized, made generic.
Nothing but generic fat slobs on roads these days, generic souls, generic personalities...
I'm anything but generic, I like to have fun.
Today's truckers are socially castrated.
This whole forum use to be a 'Truckers forum', but had to convert it cause just wasn't inspiring.
People who did it when it was fun, are no longer doing it, and those doing it now, are just different, again they're castrated, insulated from the old 'truck culture'.
Home by 5, but not getting rich.
I just can't sit for hours upon hours doing nothing anymore, thoughts begin to haunt me after a while, to much thinking, not enough doing.
At least now I can 'do', even though don't.
I've become a bit lazy and uninspired do to other factors, but still relish being home by 5 p.m. daily.
Trucks are a lot nicer now, sleek new designs...
But unless loved or feel loved or love someone, it just doesn't matter.
To me, when out on the road 'now', it just makes me feel dead, cause when out there, matter not to anyone.
Now maybe if ever get own truck again, where I own the truck, owner operator, then maybe would take more pride in being 'out there'.
And about the only way one can afford nice brand new semi truck these days, is to spend 90% of time out there on the road, or more, to make payments.
Might even have to give up house or apartment, in order to be able to make truck payments.
Bottom line, you have to love what you do to be able to make money at it, if you don't love what you do, if there's no passion there anymore, new truck, old truck, it won't matter, you'll never prosper.
Don't go into OTR trucking unless have broad support base at home
OTR trucking will really destroy your moral and self confidence.
I was recently at truck stop, a 'Loves', and you can instantly tell the drivers who've been 'out there', alone and isolated for weeks, with only 'talk radio' to keep them company.
These drivers become very anti social, mean spirited and even 'racist'.
Their isolation (regardless of color) comes to lead them to believe the worst about others.
They drive around for weeks at a time, only listening to the most disdain extreme opinions on talk radio, or regular news headlines, and as such begin to echo the extremism they hear on the radio within themselves.
And or combine that with CB radio chatter, where fights often break out, and where mean cruel things are said about others by some anonymous person at truck stop, or 'base station'.
Feelings become sore and drivers then retreat further into their own world of whatever makes them feel comfortable and right.
On the other hand, local drivers, hub drivers, port drivers tend to be a bit more personality, since local drivers are home daily, or several times during the week, they're a bit more grounded in 'reason'.
They have to see their family daily, or throughout the week, and most peoples families are diverse in view points.
Hard to hate all 'Liberals' if own teenage son or daughter is one with goofy silly ideas.
Harder to hate all blacks/whites/Hispanics, if co-workers are a mix of them all, and you laugh, joke, tell stories together and even like same sporting team.
When OTR, it's really easy to lose touch with the humanity in others, and you can see it's effects by those who are isolated for weeks at a time in their truck.
Kind of like how some Japanese fighters, after WW2 ended, didn't know war was over, and were still held up in Caves for years afterwards.
Being a OTR trucker can be like being held up in those caves, isolated, alone, thus turn inward.
I don't miss that world at all, not to mention always in new place, around strangers, yet still expected to have 'spirit' and confidence.
What drives many to still do it?
Money, income and revenue, and that's about it I suppose.
But even that's not always garunteed, when you consider all the dough one spends while out on the road.
Think about it, when out there Over the Road still have to eat.
1. Breakfast $$
2. Lunch $$
3. Dinner $$
And snacks in between.
This can easily run over $30.00 a day, 30x7= 210 per seek, $800.00 a month just eating out on the road!!
And most of the stuff you're eating is pure junk food, stuff that kills you, gives you diabetes, heart disease, and hi cholestoral and more.
Chips, salt, additives, soda, sugary drinks, fast food, grease, candy, hot dogs, anything you can grab and go with, anything to munch on while driving down road to help fill the void of being alone.
And eating and munching as you drive is a great companion to many drivers.
The whole buy a cooler and stock it as you go thing only last but so long.
Believe me you, every driver has tried this, but the thrill of thinking you're saving money where's out after a while, you get tired of hunting down Walmarts ect, going inside, feeling awkward and out of place, as you shop for a few items that may last you a few days.
After driving for a while, you just start prefering to 'buy as you go' and soon dump the cooler idea.
Ice melts, have to dump out at least once a day and buy more, and electronic coolers often drain batteries when truck not running.
If not earning at least $800-$1,200 a week being OTR, it's totally not worth it by the time you add the other costs associated with being OTR.
1. Dirty bathrooms (not sure why drivers are such slobs when on the road, totally trash the restrooms)
2. Having to pay for showers, and if did not fuel, 1 shower can cost you $10.00 bucks!
3. The smell of urine at truck stops on the asphalt, as many drivers take leaks next to truck rather than walk inside to use restroom.
4. Showing up to warehouses where treated lower than the lowest low by warehouse personal who seem to despise you.
5. DOT always gunning for you, trying to destroy your CSA score.
And I'll stop here.
Experienced drivers will confirm the above, newer drivers will learn from the above.