Trucking Life Memories (Episode 1)
For the past four years I was quite complacent and comfortable living the trucker road life experiencing life as if home was a temporary hotel. All of a sudden things changed without warning when the covid-19 pandemic started in March 2020 and I was unable to continue being on the road and my boyfriend had to do the job by himself because the US/Canada border closed for what is deemed non-essential travel. My boyfriend who drives a semi is considered essential as he is part of the workforce hauling essential products to keep the economy moving.
I pose the question: has anyone, including myself ever stopped to think what would life be like after this pandemic is over? Will life return to the normal we all once knew, the time when life was lived by planning and not thinking that those plans might get interrupted to such a point where it’s life altering and you face great uncertainty?
I used to be on the road trucking with my boyfriend of 25years and I never missed a single trip. It was ours, we were a team that thought of the job as one mind to do the best we can and at the same time have as much fun as possible; until this pandemic started back in March 2020 and is still ongoing up to today January 2021. This changed a lot for us as we are not used to being apart for a long time, and we are the type of people that experience events in life together as one. I am hoping that when I return to trucking again it will resemble the previous years in some way and the change will not be too different.
No matter the destination we were headed to, we always made it fun even with the ups and downs of trucking where there could be unexpected delays which mostly were out of our hand. I always thought some of the travel centers we visited were like a home away from home especially when we were on a reset (offtime of 36hours). I remember doing laundry, going to restaurants, and buying amazing souvenirs, some of which we hung on the wall in our apartment. Each item we bought or place we visited has a form of story and I am in the process of creating a form of time capsule of memories for future viewing.
Some of my fondest memories are of the times we were able to explore the places we visited and it felt as if we were living there but in fact we were paid tourists.
My favourite iconic travel center is the IOWA80 in Walcott IA which is the biggest truck stop in the world. The first time we went there was November 2018, we visited the Trucking Museum where they have antique trucks that date back to the early 1900’s with a brief story about what they transported, the process in which they were built and by whom. Also, they had antique models of the fuel pumps on display that were used to pump fuel. We walked through the entire museum for quite some time after which, we went to the travel center store itself where it is truly a disneyland for the passionate trucker since every accessory for trucks is available for purchase from lights, to seats, funky steering wheels often seen in Peterbilts or Kenworths. I found treasures in the gift shop section where they sell clothing, hats, boots, womens purses, jewellery and a whole slew of souvenirs.
My assessment of travel centers was sometimes based on the available souvenirs instead of parking and food.
We also went to eat at the Iowa80 kitchen restaurant that seats 300 people, the food tastes like homemade and the portions are more than generous. I definitely want to return there and do exactly the same thing as back in November 2018, it will be a walk down memory lane, but this time more souvenirs will be bought because I always like to make out like a bandit.
IOWA 80 Pictures
These are just some of the pictures we took when we visited Iowa80 Travel Center. It was quite interesting to see vintage trucks and gas pumps from around 1930. It was like something taken from the past and brought into the future. We took hundreds of photos but I will include few to provide an idea of what our experience was like.
(Iowa I-80 PIX Here)
Barstow California Pictures
Barstow California where we visited Barstow Factory Outlets and at that same place around 50 restaurants to choose from to eat, and that’s when we experienced some of these places like IHOP for the first time since we never went to one in Canada.
My boyfriend and I went shopping at the outlets for an entire day, and I bought sneakers called skechers. He got some cool clothes. We took many cool pictures which capture moments frozen in time. It was super cool and fun, another place I am hoping to one day return to.
(Barstow Pix Here)
Now, for a few more unique memorable experiences that we learned on the road and that is at some places to name one Illinois, I saw hookers offering “date” services and at times some lonely truckers actually accepted. A few times they approached our truck by knocking on the driver door, my boyfriend just told them he already had a “date” and was “busy”.
As we drove along on the road for nearly 10hours per day, I used to read books, find travel centers for us to park for the night and also fuel as well learn how to navigate google maps to see if the place where I wanted us to stop was on the way. I remember not enjoying night driving as I fall asleep, so my sweet hubby would put on music to keep me from sleeping or if I did fall asleep in my seat he would wake me up if he was hungry and wanted a snack.
Also we invented word brain teaser games where one person came up with a word with a specific number of letters and only had one letter of the word and the other person would try to guess the word by saying letters, similar to hangman.
We made so many jokes and had so many laughs especially when one of us used up alot of letters to try to guess the word the long drive became fun.
Trucking gave us a huge perspective about how products are transported, handled and we were part of that shipping and delivery process, so we can relate to challenges that can be faced out there. The most work was driving with reefers (items that need refrigeration like frozen food, or items being shipped at certain times of year and have to be temperature controlled; you consistently have to monitor the temperature of the reefer, ensure it does not break, fuel it. It’s also noisy when it’s set on continuous, I prefer start stop. I honestly experienced the trucker driver seat experience without having a license to drive a truck.
The fact that I was on every trip, to the point where people in truck stops like Loves in Fargo ND, a frequent fuel and stocking up on food places each time we crossed the border began to know us and we kind of formed a friendship in a sense.
In my perspective we are team diesel who were living on the road and at the same time had a small but limited home life. Our home from 2016 to 2020 was a hotel that we were renting and we visited a few times a month during a brief offtime.
In the summer we would go out to places and eat hot dogs, enjoy seeing the classic car show people would sit outside with lawn chairs food and just watch the classic cars driving by on the road, a great way to spend a Sunday which is the day it used to be on, and we would also see the motorcycles.
We are the young crazy alternative couple going through the experience together as one in mind, body and spirit. It will be incredibly sad and heartbreaking to lose this experience or have it change in a way where we cannot do it the same way we used to hopefully it will just be an easy new adaptation.
In all our years together we always did things with a style that was never an ordinary
approach to whatever we venture into, people around us seem to notice that our methods were unique to us since we invent and jump as we go. .
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