Six years of being an over the road truck driver afforded me the opportunity to see all forty eight contiguous states. The vast majority of them I didn’t do anything more than drive through them.
For some, that was all they had to offer, a road to get to a more interesting place. I won’t call any particular state out here, but one of those states offer the words “…the good life” on their welcome sign. Most states however, offered post card landscapes along their interstates and highway system.
That is how truck driving schools sell the occupation. You get paid to travel the country and see the sights. The problems is, in order to make a living, you can’t actually visit those sights, you can only see them. From a far, the freeway in most cases. The catch 22 is, if you have time to linger and go visit the sights you are near, you cannot afford to rent a car, or hire a taxi, because you’re not working hard enough to have disposable income. But, if you have plenty of disposable income, well then you are working hard and don’t have time.
One other issue with being a paid tourist is if you drive a company truck, then your down time is limited to the companies willingness to let their incredibly expensive equipment sit. Not a likely prospect, at least not for more than a day. There is also the issue of where to park a seventy foot long vehicle if you do have time, and money, to go see Mount Rushmore.
For most of the six years I drove truck over the road, I owned my own. So my only limitation was time and resources. Oh and the parking thing. In that six years I visited most every major city, but only spent time in a handful. Because of traffic I probably spend the most time in Atlanta, that place was always in gridlock!
Some of those places I did actually spend time in, and see the sights was:
- Las Angeles – My mom lived out in Riverside for many years, so whenever I took a load out there, I usually made a point of spending some time there. Me and a couple of buddies took my mom’s Ford Tempo, and went to Hollywood. We were surprised that the bars did not stay open any later than the ones in Minnesota. It was Hollywood!!
- Boston – There was truck stop almost in downtown. There was also one just down the road from one of the major sport franchises out there. I didn’t see any sights, but I did spend enough time out of my truck and around the people to decide I didn’t like it there.
- Seattle – That was one of those places, if you got a load in, good luck getting one out. Therefore, I did get the opportunity to check out the local music scene. Later I would take a real vacation out there with my dad and brother to dive the Puget Sound. It was a neat city back then.
- Toledo – Actually the bar/truck stop was south of the city. But I hooked up with a girl from Toledo for a couple of weekends and got to see the part of that city no one should have to see. Let’s just say, it wasn’t the most affluent woman who hung out in bars filled with truck drivers.
- Dallas – Another city, that in the early days of my career, if you got a load in, you would wait days to get a load out. Found it entertaining that you had to be a member of the club for them to serve you alcohol, but you paid your membership at the door. We called that a cover charge in Minnesota.