Sunday, September 27, 2009

Driving America

Judy has inspired me to write a bit about my life. That and the fact I have more time to do so since losing my regular job as a Industrial weigh scale technician due to the economy dunk and falling back on my backup; long haul trucking.
I drove OTR (over the road) for about 8 months last century, circa 1987. Back then one only needed a chauffeurs license and no special training to drive 80,000 plus pounds down the road. But, back then there was a more experienced breed of driver and very few "schools" churning out probies (I love NCIS!). After driving off road in Alaska where I didn't even need a license at all I came back to the real world and found out I needed a CDL license! Got lucky found a guy licensed by the state to give guys like me the easy way ($250 dollars, please!).
So, here I am once again feeding my huge male ego driving the BIG rigs across America!

Everyone should get the chance to drive or at least ride in one of these steel steeds. You sit well above the 4-wheelers (anything with 4 wheels in trucker jargon!) and it seems you can see forever! You drive up to 11 hours per day, and can be "on duty" 3 more loading/unloading, taking a break or even a short nap.

I just drove from our home port at Idaho Falls, ID to Birmingham, AL. I started at 3pm on Tuesday and arrived at 1:30pm Friday, having traveled just over 1900 miles. A good day sees you making 600+ miles. My 2007 Peterbuilt is governed to 62 mph tops. Even though many states allow 70-75 mph for truckers the industry saves a bundle on fuel at these lower speeds without loosing much in time.

Ok, what is it like inside the cab, you say? Well, let's take a look.......

These two show each end of my bunk with shelving and closets. In the left you can see the power converter on the bed I use to power my laptop!

This one shows you my box fan sitting on top of my DC powered Frig!

Okay, flipping around we see the driving end. Pretty cool, huh?! I have verizon wireless internet, at this moment I am in that left chair writing this blog. Notice the CB radio at top center. This truck has a 13 speed transmission, a 3 position "Jake" brake which assists in slowing the truck on downhill runs without using the brakes, and a cruise control system just as good as yours! Oh, that is a curtain I put up on the windows to block out the sun and prying eyes!

Okay, just one more for now. This is the computer system truckers use to communicate with their respective trucking companies. I have a big transponder on top of my truck which links by satellite to home base. I have to report in each morning before 10am AND when I reach a loading point, when I am loaded, when I reach an unloading point and also when I am unloaded. You get the picture, a pain in the ..........

That will be enough for now. My next post will be about the country I roam across. See you then!