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We found the cure for exhaustion– SLEEP in a non-moving vehicle.

Once we delivered the load from Maine, we headed to a local truck stop, went to bed, and slept for hours. Sometimes people are put in our path for a reason, and luckily, we found these people at just the right time. We were parked next to a team that were with the same company as us. All of us shared a meal, and they dropped tidbits of wisdom regularly through the meal. 

  • When you are tired – don’t take another load sleep.

  • Buy a better mattress that will not allow you to bounce.

  • Don’t take every load offered. Think about the rate per mile and where it is going.

  • Use a headset when listening to music or a book.

  • Get a set of earplugs.

  • Use lavender sheet spray to help you relax.

  • Keep the sleeper dark.

  • Keep the sleeper cold.

  • Read a book to get your mind to relax.

We spent the weekend in Nashville, TN getting rested up and when the next load offer came in, we were ready to go. As soon as possible, we replaced the mattress and I got a set of earplugs. It took time to start getting good sleep in a moving vehicle, but it will happen if you do not allow yourself to nap and stick to a schedule.

This time is when me, being as budget conscious as I am, came into play, we ran hard and we saved money. We started learning about the cost of fuel and driving the speed limit. As I tracked our expenses, the owner (us) started dictating to the drivers (us) that a few things needed to change. Our attitude towards trucking needed to shift from being a driver to being an owner. We had to think before we deadheaded here or there to shop or go see the movies.  When the next load came in, we needed to be able to go.

During that first year, we learned when a safe time was to do laundry or for Bob to spread out all of his polishing equipment. Only one time did I have to take our clothes out of a washer to go haul a load that paid too well to turn down. Some things we just have to learn the hard way. We began to realize that if we were in the shower or just sat down for a meal, and if the phone would ring, we would need to run.

Molly, our older blonde Cocker Spaniel rode with us and she was a calming influence. When I was trying to sleep and I could hear the sleet, wind, rain, or if the truck was slowing down for bad weather and I knew my turn to drive was coming up, I would pet Molly and relax. My mom had passed away before we started expediting and a friend took her black Cocker Spaniel, Boots. The friend contacted me and said they could no longer keep Boots, and asked if I wanted her? Boots was a year older than Molly and just as spoiled. I immediately said yes, in a funny way, it was like I got a piece of my mom back, as she had adored this goofy dog that I never liked much.

Two spoiled dogs in the truck can cause a few problems and I had to get onto the two of them for growling at each other. They learned to tolerate each other and that was all. Boots though, took no time to settle in and for us to figure out why mom adored the little beast. She had a huge personality, and once she whipped us into shape, we all got along fine.

We were lucky enough to unload in Detroit at the same time as the Expedite Expo, which was held in Detroit at that time. Boy, did we walk a lot different at the show as now we had about six months of experience under our belts! It was a great feeling to be one of the “experienced” drivers that newbies asked questions of. We knew we were still newbies, but now our questions were a lot different. 

How do you secure an odd-shaped piece of freight?

How long will you wait in an area before deadheading to another area for freight?

To say it was an exciting first year is an understatement.  We learned to always be rested up for the next load offer, and be able to run 15 miles or 2500 miles at any moment.

 

To Be Continued...

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Linda Caffee

Bob and Linda started their driver careers after their children left home for college in 2000. Bob started as a driver for a large motor carrier with Linda as a rider. They decided to enter the Expedite industry as team drivers in 2005 and purchased their first Freightliner. Both, Bob and Linda have had their Class A licenses since the early 80's starting out driving in the oil field and hauling grain as fill in drivers where Bob worked as a diesel mechanic. Linda worked at the local country courthouse in data processing.

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