First Year of Driving The Big Rig

My First Year of Driving The Big Rig As of this writing it is April 12, 2016 and Deanna and I have been CDL holders for about a year. We have approximately 90,000 miles behind the wheel team driving. Two years ago I would have NEVER guessed that’s what we would be doing now. Practically the farthest thought in our minds. Another farthest thought would be ME without any kind of musical “job”.

My last endeavor was with Crambone and I officially quit them at the end of 2015. It just got to be too much trying to schedule shows around the driving schedule. Crambone deserves to grow and they cant do that with one member never home. They also deserve a great bass player and they have one in Michael “Oz” Osborn.

Do I miss the music thing yet? In some ways yes and in some ways no. Would I give up what we are doing now to go back to a full time music gig? Right now? No. Having WAY too much fun and seeing WAY too many beautiful places. We also see a lot of the not so beautiful places but that’s “the world.” It aint all pretty.

On a side note: I’ve noticed my ring constantly falls off my ring finger now. I don’t think Im losing weight so Im going to have to attribute it atrophy since Im not playing guitar, bass, or ukulele no where near that I have over the past 20 years or so.

Driving through Portland, Oregon today I took pictures of many “campsites” I could see along the interstate. “Homes” created by tarps and tents and plastic buckets and whatever else one may scavenge up to live in the bushes alongside a busy highway. I also noticed that the city of Portland put up wrought iron fencing underneath over passes and bridges so that no one would take up residence up in the crooks and crevices. Its life and some choose to live that way.

Some look at the way Deanna and I live now and cannot fathom themselves doing it. Once again, we did not see that either a couple years ago. Two years ago Deanna was knee and elbow deep into perfecting her garden in our backyard and looking for ways to expand and improve. Not now. Not even home enough to cut the grass let alone tend a garden. Two years ago I was involved with my King James and The Verses band in full electric and in duo or trio acoustic versions. Also there was Crambone. I was still looking for any kind of musical gear deals and tinkering, repairing, restringing the gear I had. We both had different day jobs also. Deanna was mainly at a desk helping the community at the John Boner Center and I was selling musical retail and teaching guitar, ukulele, and bass. How does any of that point to getting behind the wheel of a T660 450HP 15 speed Kenworth truck pulling a 53 foot trailer with a gross vehicle weight of often times a shade under 80,000 lbs? I supposed one piece of evidence would be that we both tend to change careers after so long. I’ve held out longer in my career choices being able to maintain basically two choices: The automotive service and retail business for 20 years and then being a professional musician for 20 years. There was some overlap but that’s about it for my work experience. Oh sure there was that year away at the Phoenix Institute of Technology where I had a handful of jobs that the school pointed me towards. I worked at a 24 hour McDonalds for about a week. Kmart for maybe a month. Evening janitorial for a few businesses for a couple weeks. And a carwash making 7 quarters an hour ( that’s $1.75/hour ) Oh, but plus tips. I did that for maybe a week. But the point here is I suppose it was time or a career change. Neither of us saw this one coming.

I’ve mentioned before that this job isn’t for everyone. There are a few reasons why it works for us:
1) We are doing it together. We’ve both had careers that kept us away from home so now was the time to have a career that put us together.
2) We both love camping and trucking is a form of camping. You have to be able to live with just the essentials due to space. We’re just not setting up camp and a tent anymore. Now our tent and camp is on wheels and our campsite is wherever we can park 75 feet of vehicle.
3) We get to bring our dog with us. This was a BIG deal. We were offered jobs from companies but they didn’t allow a pet to go with you so we really lucked out with Bulldog. Also, every so often we get to take our grandson along with us and that’s a BIG plus.

4) We get to see a large part of America.

Granted most of it is via the interstate but if you haven’t done that you need to. No amount of pictures or post cards can justify seeing Mother Nature at its finest. I think I got the “bug” for that touring with the Kelly Richey Band. Even then I thought it an added bonus to be able to drive the tour van and see things. Knowing that I could do that made it an easy decision for me to get behind the wheel of a Kenworth and do it. In the band we always joked that we didn’t get paid for performing, it was the driving and set up. Now I actually AM getting paid to drive. Its funny how sometimes I lose track of where we are. As I’ve discovered touring, people look the same everywhere you go. It’s not until they speak and you hear an accent in their speech do you realize the region you are in.

To sum it all up, we are a year into driving the big rig and see no stopping yet.

1 comment

  • Cora
    Cora Oxnard
    And sometimes you can run into family on the road! That was a great visit in Memphis!

    And sometimes you can run into family on the road! That was a great visit in Memphis!

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