Patience is a Virtue

People are always asking me “How can you stand to drive that truck for hours on end?” My answer is always ” It’s an acquired skill called Patience”.

US Hwy 30 west of Medicine Bow, Wyoming

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 As a young man I was never known for my ability to wait for anything. If I wanted something, I wanted it now or not at all. When I began to drive over the road I got tired just like anyone who was not used to traveling long distances.Especially if I wasn’t the one driving, after an hour I was ready for a nap. Thanks to having an experienced trainer and friend, Clay used to encourage me to relax and be patient.He would say, “Don’t use up all your energy, or you wont make it to where you want to go”. To this day, I have been amazed to find that theory works in many aspects of life besides driving. But driving is the subject of this blog, so we will concentrate on that application for now. In my experience, being a calm, patient person, is the only thing that keeps boredom in check. If you concentrate how you get there, the final destination will seem to come sooner than having your sights set only on reaching the end of your trip. Some call it pacing yourself, I call it focusing on the moment.

This doesn’t work only in the west. Even Chicago rush hour traffic is easier to navigate when you don’t get upset and just take it in stride. This may sound a little selfish, but the next time you are in stop and go traffic and see that old beater car next to you, take a moment to realize that you are being paid to be here, but the other guy is not. If he were, he might be driving an expensive car like you are. So just put that CB microphone down, and quit complaining. Your dispatcher knows you are trying, so don’t get stressed about it.

There’s lots of scenery in this great country of ours, and even Wyoming (the picture) has plenty of interesting things to see if you look for them. I have always liked photography, but finding that picture perfect moment is a definite boredom killer. I must have taken a thousand pictures only to get the one that I really wanted. This along side a lot of other low impact activities have helped to not only document my travels, but keep that connection to home that much stronger.

I hope to write a blog on the importance of cell phones soon, In light of recent laws being passed against them, I need to chose my words carefully. Till then be Blessed.

The Layover Weekend

Thursday we took the first load out of, you guessed it, Laredo. Even though we covered 1270 miles in 24 hrs we didn’t make it in time to deliver near Indianapolis,In on Friday, so we had to sit and wait. Normally we would be able to relay off that load for one that would keep us moving, but not this time. Not wanting to let that get us down, we parked in the biggest truck stop in Indy, and settled in for the weekend.

After calling a few friends that we knew locally, there was no one able to come around at the last minute to rescue us from a weekend of chores and boredom. So, there we sat. You might be thinking why don’t we rent a car, see the sights. Well let me explain why they build truckstops where they do. Outside of the necessity to comply with zoning in commercial areas, they are almost never in the better parts of town. Property values and complaining neighbors have closed almost every truckstop that was within walking distance of anything worth doing. Sure there are exceptions  like the Petro truckstop in Slidell, La. Just off the south side of I-12 is the Petro, while on the north side of that same exit is a Shopping Mall with a movie theater. Your still going to walk a half mile to get there, but its still better than nothing. Now out of fairness and objective reporting, I need to point out that many truckstops in Louisiana have a casino on the property, however I don’t personally recommend them. like I said, the norm is in an industrial park, or on the outskirts of town, to far from anything useful.

I digress, like most people truckers have similar needs to take up their spare time. We have all the necessities of life such as laundry, house cleaning, hair cuts, shopping, etc. The biggest difference is we pay more for these services and have fewer options. I will never understand why a truckstop chain will park 500 trucks, have 25 showers, but only 2-4 washing machines that we all have to share, and oftentimes wait for the privilege to spend 2.00 to wash and 2.00 to dry each and every load.

This time we were fortunate. The truckstop of choice did not have pay parking like the ones on the east and west coast have. Many of these pay lots charge 10 to 20 dollars a day for parking. If you don’t want to pay after the first 3 hours being free, you need to buy 25 dollars in goods or services to cover the parking fee. If you want internet for your computer like I do, well that’s another 4.75 per day. If the place is fortunate enough to have a sit down restaurant, that’s another 10-15 dollars per meal plus tips. After all that, its easy to understand when fuel was around a dollar per gallon why I would just go home from as far as 500 miles away. I figured, spend 100 and be home by Saturday, or spend 150 to stay where I was. I always went home. Company drivers never had that choice, and with fuel hovering around 4.00 per gallon I don’t either anymore. So here we sit thinking what I would give for someone with a car.

Laredo and Me

 As I ponder what I hope to gain from putting my story online through this blog, I am waiting for the load to be ready that I was promised was ready at 3pm yesterday, and here it is noon the next day.  To me that’s just typical Laredo. The only difference is that this company offers no apologies for the delay, but rather they just expect you to take it in stride that they are doing all they can to take care of you. Regardless of the outcome, they stand on the conviction, that it’s not their fault.

   This isn’t my first bad experience in Laredo Texas. Once in 2006, I delivered on a Monday, and was offered a load for Tuesday that was coming up from Mexico, and just needed to clear customs. I thought sure it’s only one day, and I could use the break. Long story short, Wednesday night my load went by being carried on a Mexican truck as the US Government opened the borders for a pilot program to give Mexican companies access to American markets, using Mexican carriers. You may have seen it on the news. At that point I figured that my Laredo days were over as I bounced up to Dallas to get my next paying load.

As with anything in trucking; nothing is lasting, and nothing is a sure thing. Sure I have been back a couple times since. I just try not to make the same choices without hope that next time will be different. Even today, only after I clear the border patrol check point will I be able to relax, and decide if we are still in the black financially, and by the experience.

What is 305m?

In the modern world of over the road truck drivers, 305m is my personal identity, separating me from all the other trucks of an identical make,model,color, and company name. As truck 305m is what you would call a fleet truck. One of many in an extremely large fleet of Identical looking pieces of equipment. In all reality the only major difference between 305m and all the rest of otherwise identical looking trucks, is whats inside. In this case that would be me. My name is Dean, a man who in the last 29 years has logged over 3 million miles driving the highways of North America from border to boarder, sea to sea, and man have I seen some stuff.Some of that stuff will be the focus of this blog. Stuff that I believe that if I don’t talk about, well just who will? They say “you cant judge a book by its cover”, well believe me they still do it all the time, and the story of truck 305m is a classic example of that and much more.