Riding Along with a Trucker


I like Lucinda. Not only is her name really close to The Evil Overlord’s name (Lorinda), but she was also kind enough to drop by, read “Go to bed angry” , and leave a comment. I love getting comments, largely because it means someone other than my mom is reading the blog. So here’s what Lucinda wrote:

What are your thoughts on a wife joining a husband on the road when the children are grown, more as a companion not as a co-driver? This is what we have been thinking of doing. We have our own authority so we would be free to schedule loads to places we want to visit and stay as long as we want.

Well Lucinda, that’s a good question. My initial thought was, “Wow. This lady must be really bored.” However, after some deliberation, I thought, “Wow. This lady must be reeeeeeeeeally bored.” Seriously though, I see what you and the hubster are after.

The little critters that used to laugh while peeing in your face soon evolved into pesky ankle-biters, who eventually matured into know-it-all teens. Before you know it they’ve changed into human beings. That’s when they move out and the freedom begins; both yours and theirs. Better hurry! They’ve got four years of college before the inevitable move back into the parents house. Time for some fun. Time for a job that pays you to travel. That’s what we’re talking about here.

I think that the last sentence of your comment is the key. If the hubby was a company driver, I’d have second, thirds and possibly even fifteen thoughts about this, primarily because you have little or no choice regarding your destinations. Company drivers know this well. So do Owner/Operators. A what?

Now Lucinda has been a trucker’s wife for a long time, so I’m not telling her anything new here. I’m speaking to my non-trucking readers now. A quick lesson for ya. Company drivers are simply hired hands. We do what the company tells us to do. Sometimes we even do it without whining. We drive company-owned trucks. Although there are exceptions, typically, company drivers have little choice over what loads they get and where they go.

Owner/Operators, or O/O, are a step up, or down the rung, depending who you ask. They own or lease their own trucks, and can set them up any way they want. Although they are their own company, they usually associate themselves with a larger carrier. That carrier gives them a bunch of loads to choose from. So in that regard, they’ve got more choices as to where they go.

But Lucinda’s husband has his own authority. When a trucker has their own authority, they’re in complete control. They own their trucks and they have the “authority” to book their own loads. They can do this through sources of their own or load brokers. They can go anywhere they choose whether they’re loaded or empty. Of course, if you’d like to see Niagara Falls, it’s always best if you can find a load to Buffalo. May as well get paid to go there. (Thanks to @lawsonbulk for his help with the different types of trucking.)

Now back to Lucinda. The last line of your comment was the most important. If you’re truly looking at this as a way of working and vacationing, then having your own authority is the only way to go. I give you my blessing, not that you needed it. Still, there are some things you should beware of, especially since it doesn’t sound like you’ve spent much extended time in the truck.

When I started responding to your comment, my mind immediately went to a couple of my Twitter friends. @luv18wheels has been a passenger riding along with her husband for a long time. I asked her advice and here’s what she had to say:

Todd,

First of all she best make sure that her and hubby get along really well in their relationship. Because as you know first hand, there’s a lot of stress on the road and arguments about decisions made while on the truck can really get heated. I rarely get bored as I have my PC, Twitter, Facebook, and navigate directions for hubby. I also use the Qualcomm for him to speed things along, and I like to read. Also, having a pet on the truck can be very entertaining, and they are good stress relievers. Plus, you have to take them for walks, which is good for the both of you. When I’m back on the computer we rarely interact, so when I do come up front it’s like a visit, and then we can talk about what’s on our mind. Heck if she wants alone time she can pull the curtain and go in the back to read or watch a DVD. There’s a lot to see in this beautiful country so boredom has never been one of my issues. We also have Satellite Radio, which keeps us up to date on what’s going on in the world, and it entertains us as well. Just being in a truck with only the space of a large closet can cause problems in the relationship if you don’t get along well in the first place.

Thank you Pat, I couldn’t have said it better myself. Although watching a DVD in the bunk while we’re bouncing down the road would probably make me blow chunks from here to Hawaii. But as I said in “Go to bed angry”, getting along with your potential co-rider is paramount. Being married for several years doesn’t necessarily mean that you can be stuck in a tiny space with them for weeks on end, especially if you’re not used to being around your long-haul-truckin’ spouse. This goes for Lucinda and anyone else thinking about doing this.

I also think Pat’s advice on finding a hobby is important. Pat’s thing may not be your thing, although I expect her having multiple hobbies has kept her from going stir crazy. Just find something to keep you busy.

Another passenger-only Twitter friend, @CB_SnowAngel says that she doesn’t have to worry about getting too much of her boyfriend. She says he’s so focused on the job, that it sometimes feels like she’s not even there. So if Mr. Lucinda is a focused-kinda-guy, maybe finding alone time won’t be an issue. Sabrina also backs up Pat on two things. If you need to get away, escape to the bunk area. She too, thinks that a computer is a great way to wile away the miles.

So, Lucinda. Other than what you’ve already heard, I’d suggest one more thing. Take it slow at first. Only plan on staying out on the road for a week or two at a time. If things get stressful, you can look forward to getting home and away from that annoying person.

However, if you and the hunk-of-burning-stud are having a blast, stay out and have fun. And if you ever get to Niagara Falls, look around and see if you can locate my buns. I’m pretty sure I froze them off there one cold January day.

*So, do I have any riders out there? Have any additional advice for Lucinda? Or maybe you’ve got a specific question. Leave a comment and we’ll see if we can’t get it answered. Thanks.*

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12 Responses to “Riding Along with a Trucker”

  1. Lucinda Says:

    Absolutely loved this post! I am looking forward to the day I get to go with Allen but I know it’s going to require adjustments for both of us. Your article gave me some great insight and suggestions. Thanks for writing it!

  2. helmetorheels Says:

    Todd I think you should have your own advice column. Then you could get paid for writing, get syndicated, and quit driving!

  3. trucking jobs Says:

    hello,

    thank you for posting and sharing this information to us about truckers job i know it is not easy to be a trucker but still it will be a nice job that can help you.

    thank you
    Chase

    • Todd McCann Says:

      You’re right. Trucking can be a good job. It isn’t an easy job though.

      My goal us to let people know what trucking is really like. The last thing this industry needs is a bunch of new truckers who have idealistic expectations.

  4. truckdrivingjobs Says:

    first of all, i have fun reading your article and make me wonder how is it really living on the road, i even wanted to experience it. lol!
    but anyway, i think just like what Pat said, it is important that you get along well with your husband if you plan to travel with him because that will make it more fun unlike if you didn’t get along with each other, it will just become stressful!
    i think joining with our partner on the road is really fun and can create better relationship experiencing the life together…
    but just like what you have said for lucinda, if she’s not yet sure about it, i guess there’s no harm in trying and who knows, she will come to really enjoy and love it.

    • Todd McCann Says:

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. What you said is true. If you don’t get along with your potential travel partner, things will probably only get worse from there on out. If you do get along, sometimes the only way to find out if it will work is to jump in with both feet… and hope you don’t land in a big ol’ pile of dog poo.

  5. Debra Stover Says:

    What sort of clothes would you pack with you on a trip across country with your driver

    • Todd McCann Says:

      Well Debra, much of that depends on the weather. Pack a variety of clothes because the weather can fluctuate quite a bit when you’re in Arkansas in the morning and Minnesota by evening. If you plan on sightseeing and such, bring a couple of sets of nicer clothes with you. Make sure some of them are pants due to the fact that some shippers/receivers require you to wear long pants and close-toed shoes. Of course, some of those places don’t like passengers walking around their property at all.

      Since you’ll likely be showering in the truck stops with your driver, it’s best if you bring one small bag that can hold your toiletries and a change of clothes (in addition to your other bags for the rest of your clothes). MAKE DARN SURE you bring a cheap pair of rubber flip-flops that you can dedicate for showers. You want to bring home souvenirs from this trip, not Athlete’s Foot. LOL

      Also make sure you’re ready for rain. Some of these parking lots get pretty sloppy when they get wet. You might bring a pair of boots that you don’t mind getting dirty. Or do women even have boots like that? 🙂 One thing many people forget is an umbrella. There have been many times that I wished I’d had an umbrella, but really, how macho can a guy be while holding an umbrella? Maybe I need one with skulls on it or something?

      Lastly, you don’t have to bring 8 million “outfits,” 500 pairs of shoes, and the kitchen sink with you (althoughThe Evil Overlord, my wife and ex co-driver of 9 years ignored that advise) because there are washers and dryers available in the truck stops. Yes, I realize that doesn’t satisfy your shoe fetish. Sorry. 😉

      Hope that helps. If you need any specifics addressed, give me another shout. Thanks for stopping by and good luck on your future road trip!

  6. This is the Life. We All Have to be Somewhere. This is My Life. Guest Post by Jean McHarry « About Trucking Jobs Blog Says:

    […] This is the Life. We All Have to be Somewhere. This is My Life. Guest Post by Jean McHarry Hey! Todd here. Yes. I know you were expecting me, but I won’t be the one entertaining you today. Let me explain. You and I both know I’m a blabbermouth, but sometimes I just don’t know what to say about a particular subject. I had one of those cases back in July of 2010 with a post called Riding Along with a Trucker. […]

  7. TD68: This Is the Life. We All Have to Be Somewhere. This Is My Life. A Guest Post by Jean McHarry | About Truck Driving Says:

    […] Hey! Todd here. Yes. I know you were expecting me, but I won’t be the one entertaining you today. Let me explain. You and I both know I’m a blabbermouth, but sometimes I just don’t know what to say about a particular subject. I had one of those cases back in July of 2010 with a post called Riding Along with a Trucker. […]

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