The Adventure of Writing a Book, Part 8

Truckers 

Learning about whole segments of society that I knew nothing about has been a blast as I research my next book, “Losing It”.

A cross country trucker is an important character in my book. We see these drivers and their big rigs every day, but do we really know much about them? Who are they? Many cabs have sleeping quarters in the back and we can see rows them at truck stops all over the country. Are they sleeping? How many hours can they drive before they must rest? What are the regulations?

How do they pass the time as they drive from California to New York and back again? How do they stay awake? Do they drive as a pair or individually?

I stared visiting trucking companies and asking questions. I called a trucking school in Wilmington and they gave me the contact information for Libby Vance, a woman who had been a cross-country trucker, an instructor at the trucking school and later, the dean of the school.

I called her and she graciously agreed to meet me for lunch and talk about my book. We had a blast and I listened, totally in awe, for two hours. We agreed to meet again.

Now retired from trucking and trucking schools, Libby was full of stories and information. Not only that, but she brought me two of her instructional books, all marked and tagged for the most important information. How cool was that?

She told me that there are many kinds of truckers, local, regional and long-distance. Government regulations abound and each state has its own laws that must be followed. Trucking not an easy job. You must know how to handle your rig, back it up, brake on hills, shift gears, etc. Imagine backing up a big trailer into a small opening in a warehouse or factory. Yikes! Certain states allow double and even triple trailers, and they have their own required certifications and rules.

Truckers haul various kinds of loads. The trailer may be a box, or a flatbed that can carry an assortment of loads, anything from logs to large generators.  Then there are the tankers which carry vegetable oil or chemicals or fuel. Loads can shift. Stopping a tractor trailer in case of an emergency is difficult if you are carrying liquids or a product that can slip and slide.

Truckers haul all the things we use every day.  Whatever you have in your hand right now, a coffee cup or computer mouse or candy bar, it was hauled by a trucker:  the chair you are sitting on the car in your driveway, the shingles on your roof, the carpet in you living room.   

Thank a trucker today!  They are invaluable people doing a difficult job.

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