I was taught 11 years ago to drive a truck (which was my dream as a child). My husband drove since the early ’70s and when I met him he took time off from the road. Our adventure began in 1999 out of Idaho. I was allowed with my permit to drive while he sat in the front seat.
I was scared to death but excited as well. I finally felt comfortable enough to get my CDL (after a year, not 12 weeks), and we started doing the team thing. We spent 6 years as a team and in November 2005 my father had a massive stroke and passed away. Not more than 3 months later my husband suffered a massive heart attack while we were loading for a trade show in New York. This load would have taken us to Las Vegas, which is where his family is. On the way to the hospital my husband was talking and laughing when all of a sudden he died instantly with no notice. We just pulled up to the hospital, which was only 5 minutes away. I had to sell our home, truck (which I got screwed on by a fellow driver) and our personal vehicle. I then set out looking for company driving jobs. I was never aware of how empty it would be without him. I had my mom come with me on trips so I wasn’t alone. My first year and a half I don’t even remember. It was like a dream.
I worked for several companies before I decided to go back to being an owner-operator. At that point I was ready to move forward. I have been an O/O for the last 2.5 years again and love it. I live in Florida and run to Cali and then back home for a few days. I managed on my own to run and operate this truck pulling a flatbed trailer. I believe I have conquered the tough times and will always be ready for the next adventure.
There are so many women drivers out here and really we should stick together and realize we can do it, too. I hope this can be an inspiration to all the truckers who lost loved ones out here and to all the women who are just starting out — and to women who have been out here awhile.
At some point the loneliness disappears, and you realize just how content you are being alone but still enjoy the times with others. You learn a lot about yourself being alone.
The industry has changed quite a bit just since I’ve been out here. I love to hear the stories from the past because that’s when truckers pulled together and respected each other. I travel with little dogs that I have rescued, and they are by far the best companions. They don’t give me a headache.
Anyways my truck if anyone sees it is a black 780 Volvo with “GIRL POWERED” on the doors. Honk and say hello. Don’t be a stranger. We’re all doing the same job in keeping America moving. Stay safe to all and love what you do and your friends and family. Please, truckers, realize that the four-wheelers are not taught to watch out for us, we are taught to be the eyes for everyone and we are the professional ones, no matter what they do.
Panama City Beach, Fla.
Old and young still need to learn
A few weeks back I went on a vacation with my little brother and his wife out to California. We stopped at a truckstop to get Truckers News. It’s the first time here in a long time since I’ve read it. You had a good article about the old school and young guns. I really enjoyed your article. I hope you all can keep the good work up. I am retired now but still think about it a lot. Trucking was good to my dad and good to me, and my two brothers also drove.
Well, the old school been here for a long time and will remain. I never did go to a truck-driving school to start off with. I learned to drive a truck and trailer while I was in the USAF, plus when I got out my dad and cousin taught me the ropes. Truck-driving schools weren’t around until much later. I started driving a truck with two axles pulling two flatbed trailers, hauling vegetables out of the field to the cannery up and down U.S. 101. Our pay wasn’t much.
Other drivers would help me make sure my load was OK. If we saw a highway patrol we would blink our lights to the other drivers. Well, the AM radio came to trucks and a few years later the CB radio was really a big deal, in the late ’70s and ’80s. Also before the ’70s were up, they brought A/C into the trucks. I started driving coast to coast in the late ’70s up to 2007. All these modern-day trucks are real great to drive.
When you get stopped by a state trooper or a city police they want every bit of your paperwork. First, your CDL, then your health card, your log book, your bill of lading and your permit book. But when you’re in a four-wheeler, it’s not that much with the paperwork.
All is takes is just one of your papers to be wrong. The fines are higher for a tractor-trailer than for a four-wheeler. Also, your diesel fuel is three times more than regular unleaded gasoline is. No matter how old or young or what kind of school you went to, you’ve still got to learn.
Jack Gilliland Jr.
What do you think about the proposal to establish a cross-border trucking program by October?
I want them to tell me how the little companies are even gonna stay in business when we have to compete with Mexico.
— Bryan H.
I had thought Obama campaigned against funding it.
— Frank P.
There is already backlash with the CSA 2010 standards that are being implemented. The new Federal emissions DEF tank program is being criticized by Navistar who claims it doesn’t work. And with all that the Federal government is going to tackle a monster like cross-border trucking?
— Michael S.
There was concern about the safety of trucks from Mexico. I think today’s concern is driver safety of Americans going to Mexico.
I think it’s B.S. The Mexican companies don’t want to be here, and we don’t want to go there. So why is the government pushing it?
Another bad idea from our “fearless leaders.” Where do they have their heads?
How do you prevent cargo theft?
Everything I have is double keyed. I leave my truck running and lock the door. When guys pull up, you have to look out. Use pad locks for security.
— Bill Sandkuhl, El Cajon, Calif., leased to Vulcan
A big billy club. I’m getting a shotgun soon. But, really, park in a safe spot and put padlocks on there.
Steve Johnson, Salem, Ore., driver for Thomas and Sons
It’s all about parking. Find a secure parking area where there are cameras, possibly a guard. Make sure your locks are reinforced.
— Ron Dickson, Norco, Calif., independent owner-operator
Park in a safe location. Go back and make sure everything’s locked. Other than that, there’s not much to do. Just try to find a well-lit area to park.
— Tony Anderson, Belmont, Calif., driver for Robertson Transport
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