Sunday, May 02, 2021

Starting Out as Solo Truck Driver


 I showed up for my exam. First, they put you through a written test just like DMV (traffic department). I passed, missing one or two only. Then I went out with the the intimidating driving guy to do backing and maybe the road…. On condition I pass the backing part. Here we go again, dear goodness! 

I took a couple of Jolly Ranchers candy and headed out. This time, I was going to be tested on an automatic, versus the stick shift from last time! I think this is better but a lot of drivers say backing in a manual transmission truck is better  Oh well!

I got in the Freightliner truck; I’d no idea where what was. i learned in a Stick Volvo Truck and went on the road in a Kenworth for a month! I had to adjust the mirrors and seats etc. Forget all those, I didn’t even know how to turn on the engine! The scary looking guy had to show me! The Kenworth gear lever is on the right side of driver, on the floor. The Freightliner’s is by the steering wheel. Mh kay! This should be interesting! Whenever I step onto the gas pedal, Scary tells me to take it easy! It was all too much  luckily, I made it. 

Back into the yard. Cue the PTSD from trucking school! I had to back into a slot between two trailers. Great! I set up good. I’d a good feeling about it. I’m pretty sure I set up how Carlos yelled at me not to set up, in week 3! I backed that thing once and got it all the way in. I pulled forward just a little bit to make 100% sure it was within lines. I fcking passed! Whew! Thank you, stars!

Someone give me my fcking truck! 

They congratulated me, told me to go downstairs to meet my new Driver Manager. I did. He told me my truck was waiting for me outside. I went out there and searched and looked and…

Solo Driver Brook

It was beautiful! I tried to visualize this truck while I was out with my trainer, Carlos. I didn’t know what Color I wanted it to be but I know I didn’t want it to be blue. The ones we trained with that I sucked in, were blue. Nobody needs that kind of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder)! I kept seeing it white in my visions. I would try and push that image aside and have it be grey or something cool but nah!

The truck was locked with the curtains to the sleeper shut. I tried peeking in to see if It had a fridge inside. I was so caught up in that, you can’t even imagine! I knew I was going to cook in the truck. It was important that I have all the tools of the trade! I didn’t feel like having to buy a truck fridge! I jumped up and held onto the side mirror, peeked inside and what did I see? A giant ass refrigerator. It was gonna be a good day on the road for this trucker! 

I went back to the Driver manager, by the way, about him: I had talked to him before, asking about something or another. He introduced himself and gave me his card, this was before we knew he was going to be my manager. After he shook my hand, I shook my head to myself and said, pls don’t let him be my manager. I just didn’t wanna think it was a match. Lo and be fcking hold! He was to be my manager! When I went back for the truck key, I was told that I needed to go to some class with the yard jockey (the guy whose job is to move trailers around all day long). I was ready for my first load, now these mutha truckers are telling me to go attend some class. Class for what? I literally just passed my final test, man I please just do what I was told was next in line? Ughhhhhhhh! I asked driver manager what the class was about. He told me he had no idea but was just told so himself. Great! 

I go find the yard dog (another name for yard jockeys). He was with a fee other truckers. They asked if I was there for the “close quarters” blah blah blah class as well. The close what? Apparently, because of the accident I told you about here; I had to be taught how to get out of tight spaces in reverse. OK, Fine! But I hit the pillar face forward! I wasn’t backing out o’ nuthn! (Which, I’m sure, sounds even worse). You congratulate me for passing everything, including backing and then tell me I don’t know how to back because I had a situation NOT backing. Fckkkkkkkk! Let my people go! The yard guy (another name for a yard dog  haha, just kidding), put a truck in different scenarios and made us back out of them. He first taught us HIS WAY of setting up. Now, I have to forget everything I learned while out there strictly to learn and memorize what this guy is teaching me last minute after my graduation. What kinda mind fck is this? When I tell you, I was devastated! Angry! I was more angry than anything else! I asked my group of truckers; my classmates and I have a chat group on our phones, if they knew about that class. They told me it was a new thing. I was lucky enough to be in the first group. Nice! 

At the end of the day, some of us were let to go n their merry way. I was in the group that was NOT, because you know, I wasn’t good at backing, obviously. The guy was telling me I needed to trust myself. Well, I did when I passed my exam the first time but there’s something about being told, actually, we’re kidding, you’re not good enough to go on the road yet, that makes you feel like, well, YOU’re not good enough! OK? It’s in the afternoon, I had a load to try and find keys to this gosh darn truck they assigned me to that was locked. And I had a load to deliver. I’m not good enough to be set free and be the trucker I fcking wanna be but I was good enough to be used to deliver a loard down the road in a locked truck without a key  mh kay! I see yall! I gave the guys in the shop, they cut me a key, I made my way to the truck. At this point, I was rushing. And I hadn’t even met the truck’s inside yet. I was flustered and overwhelmed. And I kinda wanted to quit. I am not sure who put me on a load when I was clearly still in school. The whole thing was fcked. I got into the truck, drove around the yard, looking for the loaded trailer I was supposed to deliver. I didn’t know then that I could just request (read: demand) to be removed from a load. I arrived at this place, that I, Spoiler alert: have never been back to since. It looks like it was gonna be a breeze to back into. It took me forever. It was dark outside, I was having a day from hell and I had just been told over and over again, I didn’t know how to back, so I didn’t know how to! They unloaded me, I headed back to the yard. It was around 1am at this point. Did I mention I was having a day from hell? 

I get back to the yard, park, go to the back of the truck to sleep, no mattress! Normally, you get two, one for each bunk. It’s a double bunk in there. I had none. The shop was closed. I wasn’t about to drive from the Inland Empire to Pasadena (my apartment) that hour of the night after the kind of day I had (hint: it was straight from hell). I went to dispatch office and requested a hotel room. They normally give you one when you need it. Not me! They told me I live close enough to drive. Kay! I held the tear drops with everything I had and texted one of my classmates about the kind of day (from hell haha) I was having. He told me He was in the terminal as well and I could borrow his bunk mattress. Wow! A turn around! Am I dreaming? Spoiler alert: I wasn’t cos I wasn’t in bed yet, like a normal person should be at 2am. Mind you! I had class at 8am! Welcome to my trucking nightmare, folks!

Click above to see the inside of my new truck, filmed just as I walked in for the first time!

I just posted a bunch of photos and videos and links and and and and all that stuff disappeared because cellphone blogging thanks Apple! 

Let’s see if  I’ll remember everything I typed here cos when you update, you get info you’ve been keeping in your memory out, to make room for more memory stuff. At least,  That’s what I do! Here goes nothing…

The truck looked good. I was excited to make it home…

Engine. 

In our pretrip inspection, we have to open up the hood (bonnet) and see if everything looks normal. We also have to kick all 18 wheels to check abnormalities. 

What’s up!

I’m smiling, partly because I had spent some tome with my boo thang, Derrick. It’s always a good time over there. He cooks, we bum on the couch and watch lots of tv and he’s hilarious. I’m thankful for all the reasons I have to smile. 

Passenger’s seat

Is that a long cellphone charger cable or am I happy to see you? I like to have chargers plugged in all over the place. I’m all about convenience. Speaking of which, they have electric outlets situated conveniently in the sleeper berth. They also have several car charging ports in the driving area. We do appreciate all that. I tell ya, if they had bathrooms in these trucks, I might really love this lifestyle!

My favorite part: memory foam bed

The blanket is from The now defunct, Queen Latifah talk show. I told you about the amazing Christmas episode I was there for, where I got so much good sht! Read all about that here. Sidebar: I placed a book on my bed for staging purposed only. When last did I read a book? Actually, not that long ago. I just hadn’t really been reading at the time this photo was taken. 

Kitchen area
I told you my fridge was huge! It’s a double freaking door for a small ass truck space! I hit the jackpot with this one! 
I brought my microwave from home, which went well with my Silver fridge. I also brought the InsaPot to cook in, as you can see up top. If you follow me on YouTube and Instagram, you’ve seen my instapot cooking videos. If you don't, Please do. 
Driver’s seat

Hindsight: having driven several trucks since the beginning, I can safely say, this Freightliner was one of my favorite  

Below is what I ate while out with my trainer Carlos in his truck that didn’t have a fridge  


Press play

I went through quite the roller coaster writing this particular blog. I did it over a couple of days, reliving some moments wasn’t fun, some were cool and then deleting material and having to redo was frustrating. If you enjoyed it, please post a comment below, it’ll make it worth the trouble. 



@BabalwaBrook on all social
Write me at 
P. O. Box 4502
Ontario
CA
91761
USA







Friday, April 30, 2021

United States of America

 A few of the State lines I crossed for your perusal! 

Utah rest area.

Carlos was nice enough to suggest this. I’d thought of it but didn’t wanna be too forward. I pencilled the idea for when I’m alone on the road in my own truck. 

When he offered to take the pics, I wasn’t gonna say no. It was generous of him. The picture below was the first one he took of me. It was also my first time in Colorado. 

Welcome to Colorful Colorado!

I totally recommend a drive through Colorado. It’s such a beautiful one! I don’t necessarily recommend driving a truck through Colorado in winter. If you’ve done this route before, you know exactly what I’m talking about! 

Indiana 
I believe Indiana is in the Midwest. This is an FYI that may not quite be useful cos I’m not too sure how factual it is. 


Not a state line, obvi

I woke up in the middle of the night needing to use the restroom. Carlos was driving. We were headed to North East. That’s the New York state region. Seeing us crossing Connecticut state on the GPS was a little nostalgic. I hadn’t been to Connecticut since I lived there. If you dig through, you will find blogs about my experiences there. I was fresh off the boat from South Africa. You. Can imagine the memories that flushed through my mind as We passed through. The above picture was taken in a restroom in New York. I was like man, I’m  really cross country trucking! (Even though I wasn’t technically the one doing the driving!). We also drove through New Jersey. Even if just a bit. I did live there for a couple of months as well, back on the day. 


Feeling Peachy in Georgia

It must be from all the reality TV shows I’ve been watching, but I was extra excited to set foot in Georgia… The state not the country! I’ve Already been to the country, still waiting for my T-shirt. Insert eye roll emoji here. 

AZ. 

St. Louis

Oklahoma 

Nevada / California border 

I parked right across the border and ran from California to Nevada to take the following picture. 

NV



Talk to you later. 

@BabalwaBrook on all social
Write me at 
P. O. Box 4502
Ontario
CA
91761
USA





Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Talk to you never!

Week three into training was very challenging. I may have been partially responsible for this! I have this thing at the back of my mind, that, when sharing space with someone; it’s all good for the first two weeks. Come week 3 and the tail pops right out of where they had been hiding it and you get to see their true colors. I might be wrong! Maybe it’s week 4 or year 7. This was my experience in my time of having roommates. 

This is not my house, nor his, it’s a freaking tiny truck  I better suck it up, butter cup! It was hard though. No pun! I got tired of the permanent whispers on the phone 24/7 between Carlos, My trainer and his wife, doing all the driving, while he parks at Walmart and buys more food, when it’s his turn, all the little things! We were still getting along. I just was sick of the situation. 

 One night, Carlos was driving, I was asleep. My routine was to wake up more than an hour before start and shower  we would, obviously use separate showers. He would hang out in the truck shop after showering; I think he would be having breakfast. I would go straight back to the truck and have my breakfast, then, pre-trip inspection, preselect music, and drive. When my ten hours or so on duty was up, We would switch after I did my post- trip inspection of the truck. 

I drove daytime as I mentioned before. He drove nights - but I would almost always wake up to the truck parked and everybody sleeping, so, there’s that. 

One night, I was asleep and woke up on the side of the freeway! Don’t freak out! I was still in the sleeper berth of the truck, just, we were stopped on the side of the freeway. Carlos was outside. We had orange cones next to our truck like breakdown situation. “What happened?” Tire explosion! 

Looking at the tire, I couldn’t even tell you how that must’ve happened. You’re probably smarter than me and have already figured it out. In which case, Bravo! It was much darker outside than it seems in these photos. 

  

Luckily, nothing weird happened to the rest of the truck. I mean, I didn’t even realize what had happened. I slept right through it. Hopefully Carlos didn’t!

He waited for help while I went back to sleep. I needed my sleep. I’m the one doing most of the driving, plus he was on the phone... as usual. 

Speaking of accidents and tire situations; I had one of my own! 

One morning, I remember waking up in Oklahoma. We were in a random truck stop, in a fuel spot  (I forget the name). Carlos was snacking on something delicious as usual, insert drooling emoji! He asked if I wanted to drive us to a truck stop with a shower. I wasn’t trying to say no in any learning opportunity as I was there to learn. This was not the norm. I was still in my night gown. I’m not sure what possessed him to make me drive braless in a night gown. It was such a weird predicament. I was half asleep. I miscalculated a turn and ended up hitting a random cement pillar with the back tires. All I heard was an explosion. That woke me up! 

He freaked out! I didn’t. Delayed reaction, remember? I sometimes have to fake being upset when something happens and it’s my fault. I feel bad that the other person affected may think I don’t care. So, of course! I went ahead and put my hands over my head: OH MY GOSH! Oh nooo! I’m so sorry! I was sorry! I didn’t feel bad but I was not upset. It happens. I’ll be upset later or the following day! 

That’s the damage caused to the rim


That wasn’t the time to point fingers about being made to drive half asleep in my nightgown. I put on decent clothing and called for help. We sat there for two to three hours. I wish he’d just let me sleep longer. 

Eating deez nuts while waiting for mechanic. Press play!

While waiting for help, I went inside the convenience store to get hot water.

Maybe the tire explosion didn’t wake me up cos this happened:

Don’t try this at home! It burns like a mofo

Mofo is Short for mother fcker. You’re welcome! (I think!) i sat there and burned like heck while this think was shriveling  in my hand (no pun intended). The guy was nice enough to offer me a foam cup. Much smarter than Our trucker in training here!

En route back to California , it’s the last week of my training. It was only a few days before I hit my total number of training hours. When I did the math, I realized that I’d still be in Texas when that happened. Both Carlos and I live in California. He had a Vegas tripped planned for after my training. At first, I was nervous that that was going to infringe upon my training time. But now that I was almost done, I was ready to head back. He was chilling. I overheard him talk to dispatch about how he didn’t mind another load that would take us out out of the way. He was in no rush. Well, I was! I wanted to get the heck out of that truck! Go take a bath in my apartment, sleep in my California king... and with him! Just be home, man! 

I researched what my options were. Apparently, I would have had to start over with my training if I wanted to get out of that truck AFTER my training. Go figure that sht out and make it make sense! If you don’t like your trainer, you’re allowed to quit, good luck finding one that you like. There have been stories of mentors who shut the curtain and poop while you’re sitting in the driver’s seat, driving.  Imagine that sht! Pun intended! Just so you know, there are no toilets inside semi trucks! 

There have been other versions of weirdnesses as well. I hit the jackpot when it comes to that. Carlos had a nice personality, he liked to shower, he even wore cologne. He really wore that cologne one time we were in Denver, Colorado. We arrived in the evening. He told me he had friends from high school that he wanted to catch up with. Carlos is in his late forties. But I get it. I have contact with my high school people and I’m not that much younger than him. He really made himself nice! He looked better than when his wife came over. While he was gone, I looked at my map app, saw that there was a Walmart a mile away, and I walked there. 1mile=1.6km. I bought things I had no business eating, like buns and M & M chocolate slaps. I think I also bought a Cadbury’s slab. Those are hard to resist because I grew up on Cadbury and they don’t always have it here in the States. They never have my favorite, Top Deck. I settle for Dairy milk. I don’t know when Carlos came back because between eating myself to a comma and the walk, I was nice and relaxed. 

I must say, it was nice to be home alone for a change. That was the second time. The first was when we were in California and he spent the night at hime with his lovely wife. He took his laundry with him that night. 

I sucked it up, buttercupped some more until we got back to Cali. I was due to be tested on what I learned during training. We’re supposed to do no less than 40 backs while out there. I hope I did. Carlos had a notepad where be was ‘recording’ everything. Except, not really! He started to try to remember everything while we were back at the company base. I was amazed! What was this guy doing all along? He wasn’t driving, so! 

Any who, They scheduled me for the test the following day. Carlos had promised to take me to the spot where we would be tested to reverse and let me practice a few times. After he finished fake remembering what we did on the road, he ran right out of that thing as if be heard another tire explosion. He screamed for me to lock the truck and text him where I left the key. I was shooken! This is how we part ways? Where’s my practice run? 

I took my sht, which stayed in suitcases anyways. Story of my life.  I placed the key somewhere safe, sent Carlos a text; blocked Carlos and left! See ya mutha trucker!

@BabalwaBrook on all social
Write me at 
P. O. Box 4502
Ontario
CA
91761
USA







Sunday, April 25, 2021

How We Met... Sike!

Two weeks into riding with my truck driving trainer, we went to this giant truck stop, Lord knows where. We were going to take a break and shower there. It was in the middle of the day, probably noon-ish. I browsed around, quickly for an open space or 3 side by side, for my amateur self to park. I found one where there were two side by side spots. I pulled up to set up, got out of the truck to double check all around my truck. Carlos freaked the freak out! He asked me where I learned how to set up like that? I literally set up the same way I’d been setting up since I started with him. It was so surprising to me that he saw something different about what I did. I was completely thrown off! 

When I told him that that’s how he taught me to set up, he completely denied it and told me he wouldn’t have asked me if he’d seen me do that before. He was very frustrated by the whole thing, I could tell! I wanted to fix the problem but how? This is what we’ve been doing for two weeks. He’d complimented me on how improved I was on backing, based on the set up I was using. This was doing a number on my confidence on this person, and everything he’d taught me!  I can’t stand inconsistent people! I can’t stand people who do one thing and then deny it. Imagine being in school and then halfway through it, being told everything you knew was false? Did you just waste half your training? What the eff?

Anywho, I set it up how he wanted to do me this time around. He was telling me how the way I did it was fine too but it was for well experienced people. That’s how HE does it but it doesn’t mean I should do it the same way. What the actual fck was going on here? Dude was freaking out over something that’s not wrong. That he himself does. He wonders where I could’ve learned it. Could it be he taught me? Long story short, If I was a countdown to the end of training before, i was Really was doing it now. 

Cut to, one time we were going to be driving to Southern California. This was exciting cos we did most of our driving far from home. I was looking forward to the chance of perhaps bumping into my boo thang; Derrick. I told D that we were going to be Cali side. He was going to be in the desert, camping with his group of friends. 

Lo and beFreaking Hold, turns out our route was going to pass by where they were. I called him: no answer. Left him a message s to why I called. I told him I could pull into a gas station if he wanted to come say hi. I was so excited by this spontaneous opportunity. Derrick not only didn’t pick up the phone, he didn’t text back either. It wasn’t until my mentor sympathized with me that I got sad over this. I wondered if there’s  something about this relationship that I keep missing. People seem to have similar reaction towards this Derrick guy’s actions  towards me and I seem to be bothered s much as outside people. Am I the fool here?  

We went on to meet up Carlos’ wife who did show up. So, now, ure really getting to see what it’s like when people love each other. They show up, haha. I laugh because, oh well!

We parked at this giant Flying J, one of the national truck stop chains. They have a Denny’s restaurant and other spots. I’d met wifey before, remember Day One? I’ve now heard all kinds of stories about their relationship dynamics. It was interesting to see her under that light. Also, I was about to spend more time with her than before. She invited me to have breakfast with them at Denny’s. That was nice. I had a cobb salad and tea. They sat right across from me, he was being lovey dovey...  Having heard his version of how they met, I thought it’d be interesting to hear hers. She told me that she had received random emails from dating sites who offered free happy hour membership. Her friend told her to join. She was going to be able to chat with guys for free during the happy hour window. She wasn’t looking as she was in a relationship the time. 

She joined for the heck of it. Carlos had told me they met pn a truck driver’s dating site. The wife is considering being a truck driver, so she wanted someone on the same path to date (no pun). She told me that she started getting messages from truck drivers for some weird reason. She didn’t know why this was as she hadn’t joined a truck driver specific site. This was all news to Carlos. He was like: wait! So you weren’t ont he same truck driver’s site I was on? 
She: no! For what?
He: I thought you joined it because you wanna become a trucker? Why did you think One of my first messages to you was about trucking?
She: It was?
He: I asked you if you had a CDL? (CDL stands for Commercial Driver License)
She: I had no idea what that was! I thought you meant California Driver License!
     Listen! They don’t serve popcorn at Denny’s! This sht was movie material. I’d my own opinions about this relationship/ marriage based on the stories I heard. To be front row, viewing this mess first hand, was quite something! These people got married based on how they met and how they met was a pure misunderstanding. He thought she has plans to become a trucker. She doesn’t! He’s even told me she will join him on the road, to which I said: no offense but my gut feeling tells me she won’t! I mean, sorry!

The conversation ended up back on a normal footing, we ate, I took my  leftovers with me, they paid. Very nice of them. Back on the Truck, back on the road again!

Destination: Eastbound!

I heard back from Derrick. He told me he was backing, moving things into and out of truck and Camper. They were heading back home that morning. At that point, it didn’t really matter what was going on. The boat had been missed. Or the truck. I wasn’t mad. I think he didn’t want to go out of his way to go say hi. I can’t prove it, so I let it go. Also, he might have had to tell his friends who he was going to greet and nobody knew Of my existence. In my opinion. Derrick also told me that even if he hadn’t missed my calls, he wasn’t going to be able to haul an entire pick up truck and camper to meet me. Except, I was hauling an even bigger vehicle and trailer so, mh kay dude. This was not my ball and chain, the love of my life. That kind of thing stung a little but it wasn’t devastating. If any of this makes sense to ya. 


@BabalwaBrook on all social
Write me at 
P. O. Box 4502
Ontario
CA
91761
USA




Sunday, February 28, 2021

#BeInspired Life on The Road

 

Grocery drawer

Some of my over the road food as mentioned on this blog. Unfortunately, the truck didn’t have a refrigerator. I had to bring things that would survive not in it. I grew up without electricity, so, I know all about that life. Sidebar: I also grew up without indoor plumbing and running water, so I’m well equipped in that life as well! 

Canned chicken breasts + Mayo


I ate so much canned chicken during this month on the road that I was off it for a while.... maybe I still am! Just the canned stuff. Don’t get it twisted! Chicken and I are still tight! Spoiler alert: I had chicken for lunch yesterday! It’s 4:30am right now as I type this. I’ve a little bit of time to kill, so I thought I’d see if I can squeeze in another blog before February ends. I’ll finish this later, God willing. 



One of my goals for becoming a truck driver, was to continue to lose weight. For those of you who may not know, I’ve lost more than 100LBS so far. I hear all the stories about truck drivers and weight gain. I made a resolution to change the narrative. I love challenging myself to that kind of stuff. I lose weight in Winter, simply because, people will say that its harder to do so. So I prove them otherwise. For fun. When I lived in South Africa and would go home more often than I do now, I would make sure not to gain weight when I went to mom’s for holidays. Or during holiday period, period. It’s another way to make push you towards your goals. I’d love to hear what your “things” are that you’ve challenged yourself with. 


When Carlos, my truck driving mentor, found out I’m someone who’s watching my weight, he got excited and told me that he needs to lose a few pounds. Maybe having me in the truck would motivate him to clean up his act, so to speak. Music to my ears. If anything, I like to try and inspire. One of my faves hashtags, that I made up for myself is  #BeInspired. I use it so that, people who come with the negative mindset of, blah blah blah, so you’re posting another before and during weight loss picture! Good for you! No! Not just good for me! Good for you too! Not a lot of people are going to see this post, there’s a reason you came across it. Use that as inspiration in your own life to prove what can be achieved. It’s not just a weight loss thing, weight loss just happens to be something visible that you can show people, therefore I use that, amongst other things. 



Carlos eats a lot of snacks. All kinds of nuts. The good ones! All kinds! I happen to love nuts. They’re one of those things I go out of my way to stay away from. If I have them or even nut butter around; that’ll be my sole focus! I will eat nothing but that until it’s finished. Carlos doesn’t seem to have that problem. Good for him. I envy people who don’t have problems with food. I mean, he must have some kind of an issue, hence being as big as he was before. But it’s probably a different one to the ones I have. Recently, someone told me that they’re inspired by my weight loss but aren’t as disciplined as I am. Uhm! If I were that disciplined, how come I got that big? Or they’ll say, they love food. Uhm, duh! 


There are a few big truck stops our company works with. Those companies give out reward points for fueling. You can use these points to buy anything in the truck stops, including “premium parking”. You also get free showers, terms and conditions apply for showers. Because my trainer owns his truck, I believe they have a different rate for him. He gets more points, possibly even double at some spots. Don’t quote me on this. It was nice of Carlos to make sure when we did fuel, we used his payment card (I had one assigned to me by the company), and my rewards card, so that I can be rewarded in his scale, which was higher. Free money!

Eating Chesters chicken for the first time. Surprising amount of sugar!

I drove an average of 10 hours per day, that’s around 500 miles / 800km per day. Your body feels beat because you’re not used to it but you quickly build up stamina. It also helps to have a decent driver’s seat. Carlos had a few seat cushions to choose from. Honestly, though, I’m not sure if they helped but I definitely had my favorite one. Based on, well, it looked cleaner than others. I knew that he had been training students on his truck for seven years. The truck wasn’t the cleanest, so I didn’t  know the pillows ever saw a washer. At the same time, you’re in someone’s home. You shouldn’t offend. I just white bubbled myself through it all. 
Eating fried Frog Legs for first time. Carlos’ treat. I’d had cooked ones before in Palm Springs


I ate my precooked meats and boiled eggs asap as they were going to go bad if I didn’t. Not being in the fridge and all. The truck was freezing throughout the day. I guess that helped some. I like room temperature but I’m a trooper. I went with his temperature. I knew I was going to get used to it. We would stop at Walmart for groceries. As you may know, you don’t have fridge, you shop often. That helped. Kinda. It’s not really my style of financial management, shopping often. When I go shopping, I at least buy enough stuff to last me a week, as I didn’t know what lay (lied?) ahead. Carlos bought us 24 waters for the truck and kept the empty bottles to recycle. I’m all for going green and the earth and all that but it’s already a small space. There are already left over empty bottles from Lord knows whenever! 

Nice view from Rest area where we stayed the night

I let him buy us the water once. I know he promised but I’m not used to feeling like I owe someone a favor. Next time we went to Walmart, I paid for the water. He didn’t like that, so we had those weird moments of, no I got it! One time, I let him pay for it but bought an extra couple of gallons of water. I don’t think he liked that. I get it: rude! But why is it polite to make someone else comfortable and rude to make myself comfy? Am I the narcissist here with this logic? 

The air in the truck was nice. I think we were both matured enough to be able to co-mingle. At least, I hope he was ok as well. He taught me how to back. One thing I was the least good at. See what I did there? Haha. He would tell me to watch how I set up before I even start to back up. The thing about driving a tractor (truck) that is hauling a 53ft (16metres) trailer, is that, it’s longer than anything I’ve ever driven. And I learned to drive on a box truck (I think that’s what a lorry is called in America). That thing has nothing on an 18 wheeler truck! I would set up, look in the mirror and realize, sht! This thing is long! How in the world am I going to fit this in between those two trucks without causing any damage? It was intimidating for sure. Having Carlos there, with his nice demeanor, helped a lot. Also, we do what they call, in the industry, GOAL. WHich is an acronym for 
Get
Out
And
Look. 
I had asked from the beginning that Carlos let me do all the backing, even if he happens to be driving. As long as I’m awake, let me back that thang up! And he did. Lots of getting out to see what everything looks like from the back. No pun, and then back in the truck. About that though! Yeah, it’s nice to know you’re not about to hit anyone but the perspective is totally different. At least, from how my brain works. I see people measuring from the back, in person and then getting in the truck using that estimation to fit it in. That’s not how my brain works. The perspective is different from mirror, to in person from the left side of truck, to right side, etc. Sometimes, I’d get it the first time. Those days were exciting. We did a lot of counting to 4. Turn the wheel four times this way, back up, counting to four. One one thousand, two one thousand, the whole shebang.  Going downhill? Foot on brake, count to 4 seconds, then release. Good teacher, that Carlos was. I got lucky! Trust me. I’ve heard the stories. 

At least, he was a good teacher, until two weeks in. Everything changed as I knew it! 
More on that next blog. 

Thanks for riding along with me. Pun intended. 

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BabalwaBrook on all social
Write me at 
P. O. Box 4502
Ontario
CA
91761
USA












Saturday, February 27, 2021

Truck Driving on US Route 66

 My driving coach / mentor and I are headed to our first delivery together. #TruckerBrook is in the driver’s seat. Honk! Honk! Destination: Atlanta, Georgia. I’m excited!

Press play!

It’s late afternoon. Carlos, my driver trainer had already asked what time of day I’d prefer, nights or days. I told him I’m more of a morning person, I can start as early as can be, as long as I get to work days. He told me a lot of his students prefer it that way( so he’s used to driving nights. Perfect!
Now, with our first load, we had started in the middle of the day. I had 11 hours of driving time ahead of me. We get maximum  11 hours of driving time and a total of 70 hours in a row. The moment you go on duty, to type on the computer or do whatever, the 70 hour clock starts. Maximum on duty time per day is 14 hours, that includes the 11 driving and whatever else, checking in with the guard, processing paperwork etc. 
New Mexico... I think

We didn’t go that far, Carlos started vaping right next to me in the truck. There’s one thing I hate next to smoking cigarette in my fact... vaping in my face. I don’t care how amazing it smells to you. This is not about you, Sir! How would you like it if I sprayed my great smelling, expensive Christian Dior Poison perfume in your face? Exactly! When I requested a non smoking trainer to the job, I wasn’t kidding. Now, I’m a guest in your home, It’s our first day together. I wasn’t going to tell this man not to do whatever the fck he wanted in his own home. I was, however going to remember that he is that guy, moving forward! The truck was foggy from this vapor, or whatever its called. 
Desert Life. I grew up around prickly pear. We used to sell it to road users on the road between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth (South Africa)

We drove until around midnight or so, then? We found a random truck stop? With hardly any services to crash for the night. I must tell ya, I went to bed with so much new information in my head. Carlos taught me so much just in that half a day. He was a good teacher, too. 

Following morning, we freshened up, ish, and continued our journey east. I drove, he sat in the passenger seat. We had a lovely talk getting to know each other. Mainly, me getting to know him, cos I can be guarded. I like to ask questions, he was pretty open, so, we talked about his love life. One of my fave subjects. He’d recently been married to a woman he met on a truck driving dating site. Some people on there aren’t truckers but they’re looking to be in relationships with truckers. I guess, she was one of those people. Their ultimate goal as a couple, is to drive together, she will drive day tome, he will do nights. But that’ll be after her youngest goes to college or something to that effect. The whole story didn’t feel right to me, Being a woman, I just didn’t see this lady trying to drive trucks. But what do I know. I’m a lady who drives trucks. Right? I would ask questions, he had answers, he seemed in love. It was sweet. But I wondered about the other half of the couple. It gave me something to focus on other than  driving on Route 66. P. S. Driving on Route 66 was super exciting. I felt like I was really exploring America. Which, I was! 
Gratitude journal next to me. Oh and boobies!

I appreciated Carlos’ openness to a complete stranger. I found myself being protective of him and his finances in some of his story about this relationship with this woman with 4 kids, whom he moved into their own home. She had been living with her ex husband and father of the children.  But after meeting Carlos, they thought it best for him to rent a house for she, her 4 kids and Carlos except, Carlos is never home. But I get it! Also, We won’t go into full details as this is not my story to tell.  I was told thinking to myself, sure if yalls own home. Except, ure never home. Carlos also mentioned that he had a trip planned for a month from my first day of training. Which meant that A month was what I had with him. The guy needed to be in Vegas. Which means we would need to be back before then, so that he can go home, get his family and make it to Vegas in time. Wow! Okay! I better learn fast then; I thought to myself. 

Carlos is making payments towards his truck. Eventually, he’s going to own it, meaning, the truck we were using is his own truck, not company owned. 

He taught me a bunch more things about driving and what to do and when, scheduling, etc. we ended up stopping very late that night. There was a bit of night driving in there but I under. We did start late. Following morning, I wake up and go to the bathroom. I tell ya, I’d no idea where what was. These trucks are so tall and I’m trying to see where the actual building is for restrooms and showers etc. Good Luck with that! I eventually find and and, me, being myself (spoiler alert: I get lost everywhere), I couldn’t find my way back to the truck! All these trucks come in one of 4 or 5 colors. Golly! 
#TruckerLife These are people’s homes!

We had spent the night in Texas, one of the largest states in America. It’s kinda fun going through a bunch of different states in one day. You really feel like you’re doing this sht! Carlos let me play my own music while I was driving, which I thought was nice. He was asleep most of the time. On the passenger’s seat. I’m over here, trying to peek the mirrors. You know how when you fall asleep, your neck becomes loose and your head bobbles al over the place? I wasn’t mad about that. You’re no the one driving, so you passed out! It can happen to anyone. Your job is to watch me but nature is nature. 

It was my first time in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, in no particular order. we passed through a little bit of Arizona as well in this trip. I’d been there before. I remember waking up in Amarillo, TX with the song Amarillo by morning stuck in my head. Guess which song I played first when we headed out? No prizes for guessing. Arkansas, some song by Ray Charles, came to mind here, Tennessee, the home state of Dolly Parton (In my Tennessee mountain home. That song!); and of course, Elvis Presley / Chuck Berry’s song - Memphis Tennessee! , Alabama and finally- Georgia! This trip was over a week, like I mentioned before. I enjoyed every single bit of it. Learned a lot along the way. My trainer was decent. He talked a lot on the phone. When you don’t think he’s on the phone, because he uses Bluetooth headset, he’s still on the phone. If he’s snoring in bed, you will hear him respond to someone on the phone, as if he’s been talking to that person for a while. He was either on the phone or sleeping. Or snacking. He had the best snacks haha. Very hard when you’re trying to be skinny. Turns out, he had lost a lot of weight too a few years ago, and was trying to keep it off. He told me he goes off and on Keto. Mh kay! 

Video taken in trainer’s truck. Day1. 


Me: karaoke-ing Memphis Tennesse in Los Angeles. Press play!


Get at me! 

@BabalwaBrook on all social
Write me at 
P. O. Box 4502
Ontario
CA
91761
USA