Thursday, June 23, 2011

It’s a journey, not a race

When the kids were little we would take road trips. We’d pack the car with juices, snacks and lunch meat and they’d get the speech – “Yous better pee when we get gas because the next break is not till the next time we fill up” and "Yous don't want shit, don't need shit and don't ask for shit".  They knew better than to ask for anything when we were on the road – everything we needed was in the car.

I was something like a staff-sergeant while they were growing up. There was no “He’s touching me”, “I’m bored”, or “Are we there yet” type of exchanges. On many occasions we were complimented on how well behaved the kids were and I never minded bringing them out in public. Plus they knew a trip to the bathroom would be in order if anyone stepped out of line. Generally “the look” was sufficient to bring order to mischief.

Unfortunately, I’m not as disciplined as the kids. I take a little too long when we stop at Walmart. I like to collect mugs (and I’m currently on the lookout for unique salt & pepper shakers for my cousin) and window shop. I have spur of the moment urges for things like buffalo wings and chicken fingers. AND, I’m spoiled – so I usually get my way (or I pout).

Now that the kids are grown – I can say they stayed true to their roots and take road tripsthe same way as when they were little. Recently, Ben & Raquel drove from Texas to New York. They did a 26 hour drive that took them 24 hours (without stopping) – apples right off the (old) tree. They only stopped for gas and took care of all the necessities (food and potty) during those breaks.

Truck driving (for a living) is a different animal. First off, it’s regulated by the Feds. A truck driver can only be on duty for a maximum of 14 hours per day and of the 14, can only drive for 11 hours. If you have a trip that takes 15 hours – it’s going to take a day and a half of driving. How a truck driver is kept honest is with their log book which tracks when they were resting, working (loading/unloading), driving and completely off duty. If they go through a weigh station or get pulled over by a cop – the first thing that’s asked is “let me see your paperwork”.

Riding with Aboy, I had to change my mentality of “road trip” to “job”. He drives for a couple hours, stops and takes a break.  He’ll drive for a couple more hours and stop for lunch. When he’s closing in on 11 hours of driving, he starts looking for a place to shut it down for the night.  His day usually starts about 5am and ends somewhere around 8pm. It’s a job.

Just like driving a cab – in order to make money in a truck, you have to put in the hours. It’s not hard work, but it definitely deserves some respect. I have a new found level of respect for what Aboy does and if I were to drive solo, don’t think that it would be something that I could jump into whole-heartedly.

The good thing is we like riding together. It makes it more like “quality-time” and less like work. Plus we’re seeing the country together.

Good thing we’re friends!

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