Living out of a big truck

Posted by on November 18, 2013

I am often asked what it is like living out of a truck. I usually have some creative ways to say something like, “it’s like living out of a box 27/4.”

One grabs a shower whenever you can plan to stop at a truck stop or terminal long enough to take the time for it. This just isn’t always possible when planners sent “Just In Time” (JIT) loads with tight constraints on them. Another challenge is finding a branded truck stop for which you have shower credits for from previous fuel stops. Credits roll off every 7-14 days depending on the brand and one credit covers the $10-12 cost of the shower ($20-24 if you have a teammate taking a shower as well). Preference for truck stops over terminals means they provide towels and soap, and you don’t have wet towels to deal with afterwards – such as hanging up to dry and laundering.

Restroom breaks are a must have and the best way to make sure you get them is to plan for a stop about every 100 or so miles. Quality of the restrooms varies considerably from rest areas to truck stops. Some of the small mom and pop stops have the best restrooms and some rest areas have little more than outhouse style accommodations. The most frustrating part is the almost consistent use of air dryers in rest area (a few have a choice of paper towels) which, after many times a day, will dry the hands out terribly. The constant use of hand and/or body lotions is required to counteract dry skin. Many of the older air dryers have so little power or heat to be of any use, but those new models with extra power require less heat and are quite effective in a fraction of the time. T

After the lack of paper towels in most rest areas is the rather shallow stalls provided in certain truck stops and some rest areas. If you have to straddle the stool in order to close the stall door, there is a definite problem! I should not have to deal with the door meeting my head when I take to the porcelain throne (or steel as the case may be). Some architects seem to attempt to compensate by making the stalls a bit wider, however, the stalls are often quite narrow. For someone with phobias in the bathroom stall area, these small stalls are enough to cause one to run to the handicapped stall to complete the task.

Other details about restrooms of the frustrating nature is the placement of amenities within the stall. Too high and small children have difficulty getting paper out; too low and it is impossible for an adult to do so without standing on one’s head. And the feminine hygiene box! Some places have it set so high to have the top of the box near the head, above eye level, when completing the paperwork. Ewwwww! It should be a box on the floor, or if mounted to the stall wall, low enough to be out of the way, yet within easy reach.

The restrooms with the perfect amenities and location of all required accoutrements more tan make up for the inadequacies of certain others. Some are even nicely decorated and kept immaculately clean with regular checks from employees of the establishment. Granted, many of the shallow narrow stalls are often leftovers from decades old construction and sadly need to be updated.

The saddest thing is to drive past a former rest area which has been razed and blocked off, leaving too many miles until the next rest area. Some states have kept these as parking areas, while others have abandoned them altogether once the old structures are demolished.

For those wondering how one plans for these rest areas and truck stops, a trip to any truck stop may net one of a few truck stop guides available for purchase from $5.99 to approximately $14.99. Some are quite useful, while others are difficult to decipher. Refiner has a little surprise in the works for trucker’s across America.

Until next time, drive safe and allow plenty of space for truck drivers to maneuver. Your efforts to do so will be greatly appreciated.

Last modified on November 18, 2013

Categories: Trucking
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