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Living out of a Semi
1 in-frame.. 60 series Detroit. Dang thing was bullet proof. They had to do the sleeve epoxy because the previous owner used a lot of water instead of coolant so I had block corrosion between the bore and the sleeve. Never did rebuild the transmission or rears but I used regular gear oil in them and a gallon of Lucas in each one changed out once a year. 1995 Freightliner FLD-120 tall cab with a 13 speed. Got about 10 mpg more or less until everything got switched over to the ULSD and then I dropped about 1 mpg. Only problem I had with that engine was I had the 2 big bolt mount alternator with the adjusting nut thing. The bottom bolt eventually wore a hole thru the front plate where the bull gears were and it leaked oil there pretty bad. I cut a steel pipe and bored out the hole big enough for a force fit and then used JB Weld to hold everything in place. Never leaked again. Ok, I'm gonna have truck dreams tonight I just know it....
If we were meant to stay in one place, we'd have roots instead of feet.

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The following 2 users say Thank You to Motrukdriver for this post:
John61CT (12-15-2017), gsfish (12-15-2017)
I too ran OTR for many years...but that was back in the 80's, and the job was WAY different back then. Heck, it was downright fun back in those days!!

I had to check in with dispatch by 9am with an update of how/where I was, and how things were going. If I was behind my schedule, I could tell 'em that I was in Evanston, WY, when in fact, I was still back in Casper or Lusk (back at the other end of the state). They had no way of telling where I actually was...nor did they care. I was making my deliveries on time.

There were days when I could drive for 16 hours, and still feel great. But there were some days when I'd only get 100 miles down the road and feel like I was run over! :/ It was up to me at how far I went or not.

I drove a privately owned tractor, that was leased to a national company. I could run as hard or not as hard as I wanted. As long as everybody was in the black at the end of the month, they were happy.
I usually hauled paper from the valley in Wisconsin, out West, usually to L.A., San Fran, or Phoenix. Then I'd haul whatever would fit in the 48' box I was dragging behind me back East, (often to Chicago), and the circle would be complete. I had a great semi-regular run that went out to LA, then up to Seattle, then back home. I liked those runs!
If the company didn't have a load waiting for me to take back to Wis, then I'd check out the load boards in the truckstops, and would often scrounge up loads myself. I got to see a lot of interesting parts of the country this way. I once found 3 back-to-back round trip loads that went from LA, to Bangor, Maine! Back into the dock, get unloaded, and Re-loaded, then hit it for the other end. Do it again at that end, and head back to the opposite coast! Made great money with that run, and loved seeing New England states in the late fall! BREATHTAKING!!!!

To me, (much like the title of this thread) I felt like I was living for free and getting paid to see the country. Back in the 80's, I ricocheted from one end of the country to the other in an International cab-over with my dog. I had a post office box, and my motorcycle was at my buddies house. Life was very simple.

I eventually met my wife and started a family, so I gave up long hauling for local driving. (I wasn't going to have the kids see their dad 1 day every 2 weeks.)

Now, I own and operate my own sign and graphics shop, and 80% of the work I do is truck lettering, so I still get to run a few trucks around the area picking them up and running them back for my customers. It's a unique thing I can offer my special customers, and they love the convenience of not having to shuttle them back and forth themselves. (plus it allows me to play 'truck driver' every once in awhile!) Big Grin

Things have changed so much for our drivers out there. NOBODY respects driving anymore. We have all these wonderful devices to distract us from the fact that we're driving a 2-ton killing machine! Other drivers are mean, and I can't drive 1/2 hour up the road without getting absolutely pissed at some other clown out on the road. Sad
Plus, with the introduction of these computer-based logbooks, and the new longer hours-of-service's a miracle that we don't see more ugly crashes out on our roads these days!

I still have my CDL, and have driven just about every try and brand of truck out there, but will I ever go back to driving professionally??

...and I miss it too! Sad
"Good Times & Good Friends Make Life Better!" Big Grin
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The following 2 users say Thank You to Patrick46 for this post:
gsfish (12-16-2017), Minivanmotoman (12-15-2017)
Great story Patrick. Respect, it's at the root of so much and yet is missing in so many places.
It's a brand new day
   Cheers, Rick 

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I started driving truck in 1982 after 3 years working in related businesses, hearing the drivers talk of all the places they'd been and the things that they would see....I had to get me some of that!

So I did. 

37 years and 3 million miles of it.......but stick a fork in me, I'm done.

Time to hang up the keys and the logbook and let others do it...
About to be 'vanless' after FOUR years...
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