I sit here in the passenger seat in amazement at the job my trucker does every day. Just over 9 months ago he was unemployed and seemed to be in dispair, our relationship was in trouble and I was worried. My husband only wanted to be a truck driver, since the day I met him he has said that was his dream job. The transformation he has made since getting his CDL amazes me every day. He truly is in his element amd the day he called me from the road and said he honestly felt he was born to be a truck driver, I knew we would be okay and that was why I felt the confidence I needed to leave my career and join him on the road. (This is his old truck, but look at that smile!)
When I am in the truck, it doesn’t feel like there is a 53′ trailer behind us. It is not until I am outside of this beast that I realize how amazing he is at maneuvering through city streets and parkinglots, navigating around 4 wheelers and congested alleys where loading docks are located. The behind the wheel work he does is amazing. But his job entails much more than this.
Here is how a typical trip assignment goes
A tweet comes through the Qualcomm saying we have a load assignment, my trucker has to go in to the office to get the paperwork (sometimes it can take a couple hours before the paperwork is even ready). He spends about 15 minutes filling out paperwork, highlighting each pallet for each store in designated colors. He then has to input all the addresses into his GPS (sometimes I will do this task to alleviate that step for him) then we are odd to locate his trailer. He will either have a refer for meat and produce or frozen dairy or he will have a dry trailer for remix or grocery. He has to back up his tractor to the awaiting trailer and then get out to raise the landing gear and attach the wires and put on his lock. He also has to do a pre trip inspection of both the tractor and trailer (tires and tread, lights, fluids and condition of trailer) which he writes down on a specific paper. If it is a refer unit we then drive to the fuel station so that he can fill the refer unit. We then go to the scales and get the gross weight (I have the job of writing down and calculating the numbers for him). We reach the guard shack and someone comes out to check his paperwork and the seal on the trailer and then we are off. We usually have at least one set of scales along the highway to pass through and the agricultural station as well.
When we arrive at our stores to unload, my trucker has to go to the receiving door (which isn’t always open so he often has to walk around to the front of the store) he has to find a manager to sign off on the load and then he stays with the person(s) unloading the truck. When he is finished, they place a new seal on the trailer and we are off to our next stop. This process occurs for each store. Most days we end up stopping at a layover WalMart or truck stop because he does not have enough hours to make it back to the yard.
Once we finally do make it back to the Distribution Center in Nevada, my trucker has to stop at the guard shack with his paperwork and final seal. We then have to take the empty trailer to a designated spot on the yard where my husband lowers the landing gear and disconnects the trailer and then goes to park with the other tractors. He has even more paperwork to do to finish his trip pack and then takes it inside to fax. At that point he is awaiting his next load assignment.
Sometimes we will have a backhaul which is a load we pick up to take back to the DC. If it is a live load, we usually have to wait around for our turn and then back into the dock where people load the truck right then and there (this can take several hours).
I do not do too much else to help him in his job yet, but I have expressed interest in learning how he raises/sets the landing gear and how he sets his tandems (sometimes a dock requires him to set his back wheels “tandems” all the way back so he must get out of the truck to adjust the pins and then get back in the truck to roll them backward or forward).
The best advice I can give is to offer help whenever you can, help keep the truck clean and help prepare meals whenever possible!