We have been involved as drivers in the truckload carrier segment of trucking and now in the expediter side of trucking and we are not paid tourists we are business owners.  A side benefit is that we have been able to see some pretty cool attractions all over the United States.
While we were involved with the truckload carrier segment of trucking we very seldom had the time, were in the right place, or could get into many sites, the truck and trailer were to big, and we were not often welcomed.  At that time we were not owner operators and bobtailing the truck around to sightsee would have had us looking for a new employer.
As expediters we are often in the same situation, we do not have time, we are not in the right place, or what we want to see is to far away.  First and foremost we run a business and our business is our truck.  Driving the truck here there and everywhere hurts our fuel mileage, is unnecessary wear and tear on the truck, eats into our profit, and hurts our hours we are available to run a load.
While we away from home our first goal is to earn money and to do that our truck needs to be rolling down the road under a load or be available for the next load opportunity.  As a team we need to be ready to accept a load or night, weekend or holiday and that is our first priority. 
Now to the fun stuff!  Yes we are paid to see a lot of very cool stuff and stuff we would never have seen if we still had our former jobs.  In this sense we are being paid to see the country and there is a LOT to see.  We are also paid to go into some very interesting manufactures shops to see what they produce and how they product it.
Often we drive at night and we are able to see downtown city lights, roll over a hill and see Las Vegas, or Albuquerque, NM and both of these places can take your breath away.  We are able to see shooting stars, a moon that is so bright is seems as if headlights are not needed.  Once when going through a corner of Yellow Stone National Park we were able to see a huge herd of Elk bedded down for the night.

In the daytime we have seen Devils Tower, WY or the Devils Slide in Utah.  We have seen the salt flats of Utah and the Virgin River Canyon in Arizona. All of these sights we have driven past not went out of our way to see. 
Throughout the years a load or a layover has gotten us close to something we wanted to see such as Mount Rushmore, a stretch of the Appalachian Trail, Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing, or panning for gold in North Carolina to name a few.
So the question remains "Are we paid tourists?" and as with most things in life the answer is "Yes & No".  We have met drivers who entered this industry as a second career to see the country and had to have an attitude adjustment, as it does not pay well to drive around looking at the sites.  For us, once the balance is in favor of our business we can then relax some and take the time to see what is in the area of the country we have found ourselves. 

Comments (10)

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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When we took the Cascadia to the Evergreen Aviation Museum we were very impressed with the knowledge of the guides.

What impressed me about Skunks Works was how the operation started and then it saddened me when the government stepped in and started changing how they all worked together.

When we toured the Detroit Plant, Pam Esshaki gave us an amazing tour of the plant, how the DD Engines are made, their history and testing, we left their feeling very confident on what all we learned. and saw. It was really a great tour and Pam knows a lot of the history.

August 05, 2013 16:09:54 PM

Hi Linda,
Yes I've read the Skunk Works book, it was extremely interesting. It's amazing how top secret everything was. I wonder if we have planes today that will exceed the Blackbird's capabilities? I sure would love to see it flying again. As a kid growing up in the Pacific Northwest I remember hearing sonic booms fairly regularly and not knowing where they were coming from. I've since learned they were from the SR-71 Blackbirds that were flying from Beale Air Force Base in California, up over Oregon and headed west over the Soviet Union on reconnaissance missions. Those sonic booms would scare the skin right off of you, the whole house would rattle and shake. It was amazing. During one of my trips to the Evergreen Aviation Museum I was able to talk to one of the volunteers that actually was a navigator on a Blackbird. I could have stood there all day and listened to his stories, whether embellished or not.
I haven't read too much about how the Cascadia was designed. It would be neat to read a book from someone that was on the design team.

August 05, 2013 14:06:16 PM

Thank you Craig and I agree. Have you read Skunk Works yet? What a great book and after reading about how the Blackbird was created and then to see it in person up close and personal with out truck was spectacular. The history on how the Cascadia came about is also interesting.

August 05, 2013 8:53:05 AM

Love the picture of the Caffcadia and the Blackbird. Two forms of transportation that represent the very best technology has or had to offer.

August 05, 2013 8:41:05 AM

Frank I agree it is a lot of fun to not only see the sites around the country but to also watch our business flourish.

August 04, 2013 5:38:57 AM

Nice article. Another benefit - assuming that you enjoy being and working with your spouse - is working the business together.

August 02, 2013 20:35:29 PM

Thank You John we are on the road or away from home over 300 days a year and we enjoy our relaxation time and getting a chance to see the sites. Without trucking we probably would not have seen a tenth of what we have been able to see or experience. Our huge advantage is the size of truck we drive and our ability to fit in where an RV would park. I have to admit our Cascadia looks pretty proud of herself when she is parked next to a Prevost. I think we have one lucky truck!

August 02, 2013 4:24:20 AM

Nice article Linda. Your articles paint a true and accurate picture of how folks should view being a professional owner operator.

August 01, 2013 11:19:36 AM

I agree we cannot work 24/7 we do have to keep our priorities in the right order.

July 31, 2013 8:56:01 AM

There are often times to go sightseeing. My favorite happens to be trails. I have had the opportunity to ride my bike on many trails along the way-but I remember just driving by the site where Robert E. Lee addressed his troops to tell them of their surrender. We can't work 24/7

July 31, 2013 4:40:41 AM