6:00 a.m. 31 F, Hagerstown, MD
8:00 a.m., 60 degrees F!
It was about 35 F at 6:00 a.m. When I post that I was in a particular place on a particular day, I usually post it a couple of days late. I don’t know why, but I feel that either for my safety or for my employer’s benefit readers of my blog should not be able to track my exact movements. That being said, I have this weird desire to keep track of every city where I spend the night.
Today I was in Toronto, ON. At 7 a.m. it was about 11 F.
Shower at Petro Truck Stop
As a truck driver I take showers at truck stops. I try to put fuel in my truck every day, because I get a free shower with the purchase of at least 50 gallons of diesel. This means I usually take my shower in the middle of the day. Some truck stops have spacious clean showers with large, thick towels. Others are small and moldy with exposed pipes and dirty floors. Most fall somewhere in between.
I get paid by the mile and I don’t push myself very hard so I am probably on the low end when it comes to truck driver earnings. I get paid 36 cents a mile and at 50 mph that comes out to be $18 an hour. On a good day I’ll drive 500 miles, but on a bad day I might only drive 100 miles. My paychecks fluctuate. What I really like is that I don’t have a boss looking me over the shoulder. I plan my route; I start when I want, stop when I want. My responsibilities are simple: get the load delivered on time, safely and legally. I don’t socialize much with other truck drivers, mostly because I’m kind of a loner and partly because they are a bunch of fat, scruffy, dirty, uneducated white guys.
I had mixed emotions when I found out that I was going to North Platte, Nebraska. I love driving across the Great Plains, but this time of year can bring serious snowfall to that region. Luckily, when I arrived, temperatures were in the upper 40’s (about 8 degrees Celsius) and the roads were clear. Nebraska is farther north than Colorado and Denver was in the mid 50’s (18 C). A large portion of the Midwest was experiencing a mild spell.
For the last seven days I’ve seen nothing but gray skies, dirty slush and temperatures in the mid twenties and low thirties. I’ve been in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. But I was pleased to learn on Monday that the load I was picking up in Chicago was going to Jacksonville, Florida. When I arrived in Florida it was sunny and in the seventies.
My favorite loads to deliver are 700 miles or more. Legally I can only drive 11 hours a day, so if I average 50 miles an hour then I can drive 550 miles in a day.I picked up the load of cereal that I’m delivering now at Kraft Foods in Battle Creek, Michigan and I will deliver it to a Wal-mart distribution center in Brundidge, Alabama today. That’s a trip of about 920 miles. Yesterday I was able to spend all day driving on interstate highways which was great. On days when I pick up or deliver I have to deal with the stress of following directions and driving on city streets. If I miss a turn I have to find a place to turn around. When I was on narrow country roads I have driven ten to twenty miles out of my way because of a wrong turn. Days that I spend on the open road are usually stress free and can be a lot of fun. Some days when the traffic is light, the scenery is beautiful, and I’m listening to something good on my iPod, I almost cry with happiness. Sometimes life can be really good.