The Whole Country is our Workplace
This post is from my Dad from Camp Chaotic but he never blogs there. Thank you, Dad!
Hi everybody! I drive a truck.
For ten years or more I have asked for a run that would allow me to be home more. I finally got it a few months ago. Shawn (SAJ’s younger brother [everybody knows that I guess]) and I now drive each week coast to coast and have almost two days off to boot!
So I thought I would describe a typical week.
We drive for Werner Enterprises but this run we are doing now is called a dedicated run. We haul for a large carrier named Conway. They are much like UPS. Conway is what they call a Less-Than-Truckload carrier, LTL for short. Werner is a Truckload carrier, meaning we generally haul only full loads. Sometimes we may have an extra stop or two but usually not more than that. LTL companies will stop by your office and pick up a single package or a pallet or two, whatever you need to ship. Their freight rates reflect this kind of service. Werner, on the other hand, hauls only full-truck loads (with the few exceptions mentioned earlier) and therefore our freight rates are lower.
Conway will accumulate freight that needs to go clear across the country and load it in a Werner truck, and we take it all the way across the country in two days. This is cheaper for Conway than hauling it in one of their trucks.
We drive a little more than 5,500 miles each week, leaving from Santa Fe Springs (a suburb of Los Angeles) early Tuesday morning and arriving at Carlstadt, New Jersey (a suburb of Newark), Thursday afternoon. After dropping our trailer at Conway in New Jersey, we hook up to an empty Werner trailer and take it back west to New Columbia, Pennsylvania, a little south of Williamsport, PA.
(When you drive this hard, you don’t get to shower as often as you’d like.)
We get most of an evening to get a shower and a meal at a Petro truck stop and relax a little. We get a good night’s sleep before picking up our return load at the Conway in New Columbia around 8:00 Friday morning and will be back in Fontana, California, Sunday morning.
Nobody likes to drive all night so Shawn and I cut the night shift in half. We each work basically a 12-hour shift, starting at 3:00 AM or 3:00 PM. Shawn works the evening shift and I work the morning shift.
The law allows a driver to drive 11 hours and then requires a 10-hour break. With fueling stops and restroom stops, that just about accounts for a 12-hour shift.
I like the morning shift. I start driving around 3:00 in the morning. In two hours, the sun is up and I have daylight for the rest of my shift. On the other hand, Shawn likes his shift. He starts driving around 3:00 PM and by the time he is tired, it is 2:00 in the morning and he hands it over to me…works great!
A few weeks ago my brother gave me the extra XM radio he had. We got it hooked up and working, and now Shawn can listen to the Dodgers play baseball no matter where we are in the country. I, on the other hand, am usually sleeping. Bummer.
So…it’s Friday morning, August 15. I am sitting at the Conway yard in New Columbia, PA. Our load is ready, but the trailer has two bad tires. The Mechanic is replacing them, giving me some time to finish this blog. Then it’s on the road to California…be there Sunday morning sometime.
If you would like to guest post on this website, please email me (SAJ). I will be posting guest posts from now until September 15th.
i must admit, i was entirely captivated by this. totally cool.
Hi SAJ’s dad! I always wondered what the schedule was for a truck driver. Thanks for the inside look. It sounds like a lot of hard work, but it must be nice to be able to do it with family. Have a safe trip home.
Me too, Ashley. The truckers are the unsung heroes of the US, they keep things moving! Thanks for the guest post, I’ve always wanted to see the inside of a cab.
Wow, what a great post thanks for the little peek into your week! Drive safely!
When we’re on road trips, I always try to drive the “morning shift” – I love watching the sun come up!
When we were driving across the country in June, I waved at each Werner truck we saw, knowing that it could be Brenda’s dad or brother driving. :-) Thanks for the inside look at a trucker’s job, Tom!
Love this post! It was like a documentary and I loves me some documentaries!
That was really interesting. I’d love to hear more.
I used to work in Moonachie, next to Carlstadt, and know exactly where the Conway lot is! If you don’t already know, have someone point you to “Soups On” – a tiny place on Commercial Ave where you can get a great bowl of soup and some excellent bread fast, cheap, and to-go.
What a great post. So informative. I really enjoyed this. Safe travels, Mr. SAJ and Shawn.
I was captivated too. And I thought it was neat, the east coast end of your journey ends up only about 30mins from where we live. Small world. :) Safe travels!
I agree with the other commenters. This was so interesting. Thank you for doing the work you do, SAJ’s dad and brother! We’re going on vacation soon. My kids and I will be waving to all the Werner trucks!
Wow this is really interesting. I had no idea you could travel across America so quickly. I guess this is attributed to how hard your father, brother and all the other truck drivers work. Truely amazing. This summer we have had petrol/gas strikes across Europe due to rising fuel prices. Although the strikes have been resolved for now, it did make me think how important truck drivers are delivering all the food to the shops and how reliant we are to having everything we want on the supermarket shelves.
Hi Tom! So great to read you again, and what a GREAT (and informative!) post!!! (B knew I’m such a big fan of yours that she tweeted me at Twitter to make sure I didn’t miss this.) ;) How great that you and Shawn get to work together, and nice that you finally get to be home more. Tell Brenda to schedule you for a few more guest posts in the next few weeks. ;)
P.S. And don’t forget YOU have a blog. ;)
Bethany Actually is so cute!
I loved this entry and getting a peek into the lives of truck drivers! Thanks SAJ’s dad!
Jummy – I must admit, I have waved at Werner trucks for a long time because the company is headquartered in Omaha. :-) Seeing one of those blue trucks has always been like seeing a little piece of my hometown.
I loved this! Your Dad is neat, Brenda :)
I used to be on the highways a lot and also got addicted to XM radio. I found that if the Cubs weren’t playing I was listening to the Comedy Channel.
I really enjoyed this too! I have more questions- you’ll have to have a follow-up post!
Looks like you guys drive right through Columbus, Ohio on 70. Maybe I’ll see ya on the road. I drive a red Pacifica with an autism awareness license plate :-)
hi uncle tom!! this was really interesting! you should stop by vancouver again sometime…its sort of on the way…sort of :)
Cool. What a neat thing to learn about! Thanks!
This was super interesting – thanks Tom!
Hi Brenda’s Dad! So neat to hear about a truckers week! I felt like I was watching “How it’s made”. But rather “How it’s done!”.
So cool to see!
Thanks Tom!! As we drove South to Delaware twice this summer, I thought of you a couple of times when we would wave at one of the truckers, either passing them or them passing us. If my son is lucky enough they will sometimes blow their horn for him. I always try to smile at them as we pass them by and since I have known Brenda I always wonder if we may be passing you on the road and want to be sure to offer a smile. It is possible we crossed paths as we do drive close to Newark and through Pennsylvania. Happy Trucking and it sure is great that you and Shawn have been able to work out a good route together.
My Dad says that if anybody has any questions, go ahead and put them here and he will try to answer them. :)
is it just me or is shawn the spitting image of baby bug? or is it the other way around? ;-)
emomily, my thoughts exactly!
Looks like you guys run through Indiana on your coast to coast. I’ll wave at you and give a honk next time I see you driving through our fine state. Okay, I just honk at truckers anyway, but this time I’ll have a reason. LOL
I think Rapunzel looks really like her Dad and Grandma.
well now that i’ve read bethany’s comment i’ll simply have no choice but to wave at all the werner trucks from atlanta to salt lake when i drive out there next month. “it’s an internet thing, dad. you wouldn’t understand.”