Normal routine before trucking was to get up before the rest of the household, brew a pot of coffee, settle down with a cross stitch picture I was working on for about 45 minutes before it was time for the rest of the house to wake.  Next get everyone going in the right direction and I would head off to work.  After work I was taking care of the house, chores with all of our animals, prepare supper, and spend quality time with family, and then repeat.  That is the simplified version.  Then this all changed as our darn girls grew up and left for college.  No more normalcies in our house as our lives revolved around the girls and their activities.  It was time to change and we might as well make a big change. 

Now when I wake up in the morning if Bob has parked in the middle of the night "Where in the world is that bathroom?  This is really a dilemma as many of the parking lots are huge and as I step out of the truck, which way do I go "Right or Left?"  I then start scanning the sky looking for a sign and start walking.  I do not walk between trailers; I stick to the lit roadway.  What a change from walking out of the bedroom with my eyes closed to across the hallway into nice private bathroom.
Remember earlier when I discussed the leisurely way I would start my day?  Now when it is time to switch drivers, Bob wakes me about 15 minutes before it is time for me to drive and I start brewing my coffee.  Most of our loads do not allow us to stop for a leisurely breakfast and time to slowly wake up.  I brew my coffee, I fix a hot tea, I gather up a handheld breakfast, gather up my phone and headsets, and get prepared to drive.  If we are parked I have two choices, either go to the front of the truck wrapped in coats or blankets in the winter, or in the summer place a fan so it will blow in the cab of the truck as I shut the curtains or go inside the truck stop with my computer to have breakfast.  If I stay in the cab of the truck I will swivel the drivers seat, sip on my coffee, and work on the computer quietly while Bob sleeps.  Either way it is not the same as padding into the kitchen in my slippers to brew coffee and then settle myself in the living room for a few minutes of quiet time.
On some loads it is possible for Bob to quit driving and I can get a few hours of sleep with the truck sitting still before I need to get up head out towards either our pickup or delivery.  Now I have a dilemma "Where is the world is the interstate?" the GPS helps if I can find the exit to the truck stop.  Sometimes I sit and watch to see if another truck is leaving and I follow them hoping they are not going to fuel, and other times I drive around aimlessly looking for a sign.  Sometimes if I see someone that early in the morning that looks coherent and I do not mind getting that "Are you insane?" type stare I will ask them how to get out of the truck stop.  This is usually a last ditch effort as it takes too long to explain why I have no clue where I am.   Sometimes I do not even know what state we are in... but I can get the GPS to tell me that before I start my day.  The GPS also tells me what direction I am going to get to my destination.  Before trucking I had an excellent sense of direction, now when I am not the one that pulled into stop, I find that my sense of direction is backwards.  It is almost a sick feeling until I get myself turned 180 degrees and I am back on track.  I have learned not to argue with the GPS in these directional situations as I always lose.
The best part of all of these dilemmas?   I absolutely enjoy our lifestyle.  When we go home and I can have my leisurely mornings it is not long before I am looking out the window ready to get on back down the road and face these daily challenges.

Comments (8)

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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Thank You Lori for your comments they are appreciated.

March 20, 2014 5:42:54 AM

no, not helpful

March 19, 2014 22:50:34 PM

Wow, Linda Caffee, what a great compare/ contrast essay! Would you mind if I used it at class tomorrow to introduce the genre?

I'm new to the Team Run Smart site, but I follow Linda Caffe as a friend of a FB friend from FEDEXCC. I'm a college English professor and think she does some pretty darn good writing! I'm not sure she believes me, but it's true! Everyone stay safe out there on the road and enjoy the big show coming up. BTW, as a geocacher, I have learned to trust my GPS much more religiously over time. Saves money, time, and senseless hassle. I like the whiteboard idea too!

March 19, 2014 21:42:51 PM

Very interesting topic. Definitely a challenge that most drivers don't think about, but that is just part of the adventure!

March 19, 2014 8:10:24 AM

Henry I have a bigger problem when we get home as the surroundings are odd.. It only takes on night to figure this out though. Part of the fun of Team Driving!

March 18, 2014 15:35:19 PM

Daniel that is a great idea! I can only imagine how bad some of our drawing would be. It would really be helpful and I appreciate you sharing that great tip!

March 18, 2014 15:21:38 PM

Nice story Linda. I can only imagine what its like waking up in a new area that you did not go to sleep in. Even though I am a solo driver its not unusal to wake up and take a few minutes to figure out where you are and which direction to go next.

March 18, 2014 8:35:02 AM

Cindy and I have a piece of whiteboard on the dash for making notes. If we park in an unfamiliar place, we draw a map out of the truck stop and onto the freeway for the sleeping driver. A map of the parking lot is often helpful, too. Works great, except we have learned that if we are pretty tired when we park, our artistic skills suffer.

March 18, 2014 5:35:25 AM