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Life On The Road

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izifaddag

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What I will do with this entry is speak about my life on the road in America. I will just keep continually updating it. 

It seems to me that nobody new to Pattaya Live is reading any of this. It is just old forum members who are aware of my strange life. However for the sake of a fresh start I will outline things a bit.

Unlike the majority of American truckers I actually live in my truck. It is not just my place of work but also my home. I have lived in a truck since 2008 on and off and it was the move into a truck that in its own way started this first thread now blog of Snapshot. It was originally called A Small Snapshot Of The Future. It got abbreviated to Snapshot as time went by. The reason for the original title was because I was on the edge of losing everything and I could see that the coming storm was going to envelope Europe too. That what was about to happen to me was going to come to many Pattaya Live board members too. Turned out I was right back in early 2008. The financial crisis happened and for many the world was stood on its head. I went from being an electrical engineering technician at Motorola specializing in RF and oscillators to being a truck driver. My struggle of a middle class life in Fort Lauderdale with year round sunshine, swimming pools, beaches and Cuban 'cuisine' teetered. Then it fell all the while using PL as an outlet for frustration and one final (so I thought) beano in Thailand. 

However I seem to have a knack of survival and this was no exception. I started driving for others then bought a truck and finally started my own business. There have been some upsets and stupid mistakes over the last couple of years but it had stabilized until 2018. The old truck just gave me the finger one too many times and I bought a new one about a month ago. 

It cleaned me out. I see hope and a future but it has wiped me out. AGAIN. 

The trouble with moving trucks is that the money wheel must keep spinning. Otherwise it is all over. Therefore time for adapting the truck into a home can be a real struggle to find. I was in the old truck for a long time and didn't realize just how much I had done until I had to make the move. At the beginning you throw what you think you'll need into the new truck and launch yourself out onto the highways of America to get the money flowing. It is uncomfortable and very frustrating. Slowly you find homes for everything. You make improvements and that truck turns from being a jumble sale into a home. Just as with a house the problem is divided into sections. Kitchen, living quarters, bedroom, entertainment office and bathroom. It can be done but it is slow and tedious and meanwhile you live in what seems like a garden shed. There are cables and boxes everywhere. Milk crates are temporary cabinets and always that elusive tool you need ends up being lost. 

As time goes by I will show the work that I do to the truck and you will see the changes take place. Believe it or not it takes a lot of woodworking. Yes you wouldn't think that was involved but it is. By using the original Freightliner stuff I can create some beautiful cabinets with sliding drawers. As each box of crap finds its home the truck life becomes easier. Things stop being in the way. It becomes ordered.      

I have a storage bay in Mississippi and it has turned into a woodworking shop. It is where I make the stuff for the truck. At the moment there is a commode sitting there that I need to put the finishing touches to and bring onboard the truck. I made it for the old one but as luck would have it it is a perfect fit in the new one. I have to creatively make liners for the inside of the walls of the cabinets then shelves then drawers. All the while trying to pay all the bills. It is a challenge. The passenger seat must be removed the airlines tapped off and the cabinet for the fridge installed. Frankly I don't think I have the energy but I must try. 

I was in Mississippi about a week and a half ago. Taking care of loose ends and paperwork. I threw some more stuff from one truck into the other and headed out pronto. Tupelo where Elvis was born to Memphis then down to Houston Texas. From there up to a remote town called Circle in Montana and then right across North Dakota to Grand Forks which is where I am now. I have a load of Unilever crap to pick up on Monday for Independence Missouri. Kansas City way. I am tired. Driving is tiring. 

The truck is ok but needs work. Just adjustments. Hopefully I can have the winter without any mishaps. As I said I will update this thread within the blog for trucking stuff.

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22 hours ago, Bubblegum said:

8 hours non stop ? That's a lot to me and I'd guess it could get boring as fook on the roads over there, there was a way to wangle it in the UK where we could do 9 hours driving with only a 15 minute break but I'm sure they closed that loophole or maybe I'm wrong ?

I see in your last post you were waiting for paperwork, that brought back memories, bad ones at that. Get tipped or loaded quick and think you're on a winner and then the long dreaded wait for the paperwork.

What weight can you legally carry over there as I'm assuming you have tri axle trailers and unit and is your trailer a fridge or just a box ?

I enjoyed the job when I first started it in 1989 as generally the owner / manager had done the job and knew what could be done and what couldn't but as time went on these jobs went to the university graduates whose only delivery experience was a paper round as a kid. H+S in the early days was non existant and you had to rely on common sense, that's all changed now.

I'm on a Facebook page for HGV drivers and I honestly wonder how we managed it in the old days with just maps and A-Z's to find where we were heading and no phones, I see questions on there like "help, I'm going from Leeds to Kent, what's the best route, are there any low bridges ? " FFS.

You're right about the trucks being too electronic nowadays, it's the same everywhere, they're great until something goes wrong and then the real problems start, the last truck I had in the UK was fully automatic, it was good until reversing when you just needed that bit more clutch control as it was nearly always all or nothing !

Here I am in Independence Missouri. Think Kansas City - where the steaks come from. Damn fine steaks too. 

Let me see I f I can answer Bubblegum's post.

8 hours non stop ? That's a lot to me and I'd guess it could get boring as fook on the roads over there, there was a way to wangle it in the UK where we could do 9 hours driving with only a 15 minute break but I'm sure they closed that loophole or maybe I'm wrong ?

Well mate maybe it does seem a lot to you but I think the reason is that you have to drive under very different conditions. When I was a waiter in MIami  in 84 I had a nice lady who enqired about my accent. I yold her I was from England. She said I know the city of England. I thought she was being stupid as a lot of Americans are and I corrected her. She smiled and said she knew exactly what she was saying and we both laughed. You see the UK especially England is indeed like one big city compared to America. 70% of the population in the USA lives in the big cities. The rest is in Jack and Diane country. Two American kids growing up in the heartland. Today I started out in South Dakota at a town called Watertown. Now I am in Kansas City. Check it out on a map. A whole lot of nothing. I can easily do 8 hours at 65 making phone calls, thinking up stuff, designing things and that doesn't include reading and the radio. You'd love it.

To be honest I like to break it up. I like to start at 7 am then run until maybe 1pm. I like to eat then and go to sleep for a while. Then back into it usually until 9 pm. It is a nice pace especially when you are a bit lazy like me. :)   

I see in your last post you were waiting for paperwork, that brought back memories, bad ones at that. Get tipped or loaded quick and think you're on a winner and then the long dreaded wait for the paperwork.

Yes mate that was a bad situation. Soon as I went n for paperwork the guy wants to talk about mu accent. Typical. 34 years plus and I still get this. To be honest most stuff goes smooth but every now and again I have some place that thinks I have all the time in the world. I might just recount the story a super nice guy told me about 2 months ago. Made me laugh but I am sure it was true. 

What weight can you legally carry over there as I'm assuming you have tri axle trailers and unit and is your trailer a fridge or just a box ?

The total weight I can put on the road is 80,000 pounds. That is a rule of thumb because some states let me carry more but 80 is what we shoot for. That is 12 on the steers, 34 on the drives and 34 on the tandems. I sold my reefer last year to an asshole in Mississippi. Mulphy thought I should have shot him. I am just waiting. Nowadays I just run my dry van. 53 foot long and 13' 6" from the ground. Gotta watch for those low bridges man. I'll post pics.  

I enjoyed the job when I first started it in 1989 as generally the owner / manager had done the job and knew what could be done and what couldn't but as time went on these jobs went to the university graduates whose only delivery experience was a paper round as a kid. H+S in the early days was non existant and you had to rely on common sense, that's all changed now.

The only way to really do this is the way I do it. Well, if you have the same view on life I do. For me it is all about freedom. The money is nice but being free is like ambrosia. Freedom is the sweetest wine the purest freshest air. I need my freedom.  

I'm on a Facebook page for HGV drivers and I honestly wonder how we managed it in the old days with just maps and A-Z's to find where we were heading and no phones, I see questions on there like "help, I'm going from Leeds to Kent, what's the best route, are there any low bridges ? " FFS.

I normally run 2 GPSs and always have Google maps in reserve. My main one is a 7" Rand McNally - the map people. They are expensive !!! It is a specialized trucker GPS and is geared up to avoid low bridges and illegal roads. It warns me of dirt roads and a bunch of other stuff including weigh stations. Steered me wrong today though, the little bastard. 

You're right about the trucks being too electronic nowadays, it's the same everywhere, they're great until something goes wrong and then the real problems start, the last truck I had in the UK was fully automatic, it was good until reversing when you just needed that bit more clutch control as it was nearly always all or nothing !

You said it brother. Amen to that. They have taken it to a level that is mind boggling. I try to keep up as can be seen in this thread but I am only human. I know a lot about it but basically I just want to drive. I like driving. Anyway I hope I have answered your questions and if you want to talk further just post right here and I got yer 6.

Git 'er done :) 

Edited by izifaddag

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