Q1 2016, Vol. 4
Welcome to our latest edition of Aces & Freights – our newsletter, written by Operations Analyst and former driver Ken Moore, regarding the trucking lifestyle.
Questions or comments? We’d love to hear from you. Please don’t hesitate to contact Ken at firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope you enjoy the content and we look forward to your comments, suggestions, and all the stories you may have to share, too!
Being in shape is all about numbers. Calories taken in, calories burned, minutes of activity, heart rate, BMI, weight, reps, sets, time of day, etc. There are a thousand things I can list that are all about your health and how it’s gauged by numbers. Personally, I have no interest in writing about health-related numbers, getting you to calculate anything, or telling you that you have to eat the healthiest foods on the road if you want to maintain or lose weight. What I can do, and without using any numbers (well, maybe just a couple…), is to tell you how I managed to stay the same weight over the course of a few years over the road without putting a great deal of effort into it.
When I first started driving solo with Maverick, I had not driven OTR before. I’d driven for a few years, but always locally in a 36’ straight truck and I was home every night. So, going out on my own was a new experience and a little overwhelming. I give a lot of credit to my wife for getting me prepared. She bought me multiple pieces of cooking equipment so that I could make my own food, and, honestly, this is the secret! Make your own food because it will be better for you (and it’ll be more affordable) than eating out.
“But,” you might say, “I’m so hungry at the end of my day that I can’t spend the extra time making something. I need food now!” I knew that feeling all too well…until I started snacking properly. By properly, all I mean is frequently. Get something that you enjoy that’s not high in sodium and not fried. I ate a lot of lightly salted sunflower seeds throughout the day between meals and an occasional cereal bar, but you should find what works for you. If you snack well, you’ll find that you’re not unbearably hungry at the end of your day. You’ll still be hungry, but not the kind of hungry that makes you go into the fast food restaurants and consume 1600 calories and a TCD trailer worth of salt in a small meal. Admittedly, on a rare occasion, I would still be unbearably hungry after snacking all day. When this happened I would snack while cooking and that generally solved that issue. One more thing, drink more water. Soda was hardly ever found in my truck. I drank a bottle of it maybe twice a month. There’s so much processed sugar in soft drinks that some people drink more calories than they eat in a day. I promised not to get into numbers too deeply, but the large cup size at a Pilot supplies better than a quarter of your day’s calories…all in sugar!
As to physical activity, Glass and Flatbed are both pretty physically intensive during loading and unloading times, but we need a little extra here and there for proper upkeep. Since there’s no tarping in Temperature Control, those drivers may need to do a little more upkeep. Personally, I always enjoyed hiking and often planned my day around it. I’ve hiked all over the US and Canada and in some of the nicest places to hike on the continent. (FYI, there is parking at a few national parks, such as the Theodore Roosevelt National Park in the North Dakota badlands off I-94, exit 32—just check out your chosen location before you decide to go!) Usually, because I know I’d be tired at the end of the day, I would plan my physical activity during a lunch break and eat a sandwich while doing it. I never skipped meals because I know that I’d feel better throughout the day and that I’d be a safer driver if I ate well. Many of you already realize that if you trip plan well, you can do most anything you want to do and do it where you want to do it.
Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota—a great place to hike!
That’s it really. I kept it simple. We have enough on our minds as drivers to have to worry about anything else. If you don’t eat fast food but do eat smartly and you stay active that’s just about all it takes for a lot of people. Of course, if you need a more structured approach, and some of us do, there are a lot of apps out there to help you keep track of everything. “S Health” for example, which comes preloaded on Samsung phones, keeps a step count for you every day, tells you how much of your time has been more active, allows you to create a food and water diary, and as long as you have a relatively new phone it can take your pulse and record the number, measure the amount of oxygen saturation in your blood, and also record your stress level. We also have resistance bands listed on the Company Store site that you can get to through your Omnitracs unit, should you want another option to stick into your physical fitness arsenal. They’re a good alternative for cold, rainy days or to add a muscle toning aspect (in addition to tarping) into your plans.
Through the Eyes of a Trucker’s Wife…by Amy Ramsey
When you think of the terms “trucker’s wife” or “trucker’s family “, what do you think of? What role does it play? What does it mean to be a trucker’s family? Are we a breed of our own? Many things come into play with being a trucker’s family.
When Matt and I met, he was just starting out in trucking. I thought being a trucker’s gal would be easy. I was already a trucker’s sister and daughter. I knew a little bit of what it takes with dealing with a trucker. I thought I could handle it. I was wrong, very wrong! Going without seeing your brother for three months is different from not seeing your boyfriend. It drove me crazy!
I started watching the weather more and I knew every route Matt was taking. I started picking at him to see what he wanted for his truck. After a year of dating, Matt moved to another company where he was home every 2 weeks. That was so much better on us. I can’t lie the stress got to us, but we stuck with each other.
We had our special songs, movies, special things, and Skype when we can. He gave me a teddy bear that I have one of his shirts on and he has one of my blankets on his truck. There are a lot of things I buy Matt to make his truck feel like he is home with us.
Our world is based on trucking. Matt asked me to marry him, while I was in his truck. I was putting clean sheets on his bed, and when I turned around there he was with the ring. For our wedding I had a white freightliner take me down to where our wedding was. We rode off on that same white freightliner.
As we were headed for our honey moon, Matt stopped and bought me a trucker’s wife shirt! He was happy to have me as his wife.
As I was pregnant with our youngest child, the nights that I could not sleep I would listen to trucker’s songs or look up different things about trucking. When she was born I would exercise her legs and sing her a song about chasing her daddy around the truck stop. She sings that song all the time now to her daddy. I am teaching her about why daddy is not home. Every truck she sees, she calls out dad’s truck!
One of the down falls of having a trucker as a husband is the 100 questions game. Will he be home this weekend? Will he make it home for the holidays? How you do it? How can you be mommy and daddy while he is gone? I hate all these questions. Everyone has to make a living and I support my trucker. Maybe we have to celebrate something late or early but as at least we are together.
I send pictures every day to Matt, so he can see the things that we are doing. I know he misses out on a lot but he can be there in pictures. We have CB handles for all of us. When we have him on the phone we act like we are calling on the CB. Our youngest loves calling her daddy on the CB telling him bear!
Being a trucker’s family is not a pie job. We love and support our trucker as we can. We have learned many things too! When planning anything always have plan A through E worked out, learn the phrase “that’s trucking”, and prayer works. Every day, Matt calls and we do a prayer. Knowing God will look out for him helps me a lot. Thank you truckers for everything you do for us!
Thank you, Amy, for writing about your experience as a driver’s spouse. It’s a great reminder of who we’re working for and why we do what we do! If you would like to offer your insight to what life at home is like when your spouse is a driver and how you support him or her, or if you would like to talk about your experience as a driver and how your family supports you, we’d like to hear from you. If you can offer your experiences, then new drivers and their families can get a leg up on the learning curve and adjust to the life more easily. Please send your stories to email@example.com.
Sky Map—When I was on the road, sometimes I parked in some pretty dark places at night, which I loved because I could see the stars better. This app is great because it turns your phone into an identification device. It identifies stars, constellations, comets, planets and more. Basically, face the backside of your phone into the sky and wherever you turn your phone will change the view of the map to match your view of the sky.
Wifi Analyzer—This app can help you find free Wifi wherever you go. Technically, it shows you all of the Wifi signals and how strong they are, but it adds a little asterisk next to the free signals. This way, if there is more than one signal around, you don’t have to mess around and waste time with attempting to connect to them first to see if they’re private signals, or you can use Wifi Analyzer to compare free signals so you can use the strongest one.
Up Close and Personal with Driver Trainer Rick Louallen
Truck #: 158007
I went to MIT class in December with Rick and thought I’d see how he was doing. Rick’s a good guy with some good stories if you get a chance to hang out with him. He had his first student with him and all was going well.
Ken: Hey, Rick! Where are you right now?
Rick: We’re around Chicago heading out to Michigan.
Ken: How long have you been with Maverick?
Rick: I was here in 04’ and 05’ and came back 9/11 of 14’.
Ken: So why did you come back?
Rick: Well, I knew about how good Maverick is and I wanted to come back due to the economy. I wasn’t making enough money and I knew I could do it with Maverick because I did it before. Economics, I guess you would call it.
Ken: Why did you become a trainer?
Rick: I was a trainer at another company. I enjoy it. I enjoy teaching other people how to make money driving a truck safely, be on time, be a professional. I enjoy the education part of it, you know what I’m saying? And of me teaching someone.
Ken: I know you just started training with us recently, but how are you liking it so far?
Rick: Hey, it’s a blast! We have a lot of fun in this truck. Seriously, I’m all about joking around and playing around, but when it comes down to business, it’s all about professionalism, you know?
Ken: How was MIT class? What did you get from it?
Rick: It was different. Very informative once you realize what you’re there for. The first day, I was like what are we here for!? But by the second day I realized we’re in a psychology class.
Ken: How’s your student doing?
Rick: He’s great! I can’t give him enough complements. I drove the first day and he’s been running the truck since like a pro!
Ken: Awesome! That’s great to hear! All right, Rick, last one. What would you tell other drivers who are thinking about going into training?
Rick: You don’t know if you like it until you try it. It’s really self-rewarding to help somebody to achieve what you can achieve, to do the job that we do.
Ken: Cool, Rick. Thanks for the interview!
Safety Awards 4th Quarter, 2015
Name Award Award date
Henry Pasquet 5 Year October 22, 2015
Darrell Sherbert 5 Year November 5, 2015
Matthew Jess 5 Year November 5, 2015
Carl Dunlap 5 Year November 18, 2015
Allen McCutchen 5 Year November 28, 2015
Earl Myers 5 Year December 9, 2015
Greg Carr 5 Year December 5, 2015
Terry McMIllian 5 Year December 6, 2015
Mark Weigant 5 Year December 15, 2015
Samuel Sykes 1 Million Miles October 21, 2015
John Callands 1 Million Miles November 25, 2015
Colin Jumper 1 Million Miles November 29, 2015
Dave Bennett 10 Years October 14, 2015
Ken Parham 10 Years December 15, 2015
Congratulations, Drivers! Thank you for making our highways a safer place to drive!