I’ve spoken to my mentor driver on the phone several times over the last two days. He called me again early this afternoon to confirm that we would be picking up a load from the Potlatch plant here in Lewiston tomorrow morning and making a trip straight to St. Paul, Minnesota. I’ll meet him at 8 a.m. Zero Hour! Hee Haw!!! Where the heck is Minnesota??
Per MapQuest I find that this first trip will be a little more than 1400 miles intersecting four states via the northern plains. Nearly 350 miles of it will be travelled on I-90 through Montana, with 825 miles along I-94 through North Dakota and into Minnesota. By car it’s estimated to take a little more than 21 hours of driving time.
Within minutes after posting my last blog I received a call from a woman at our Lewiston Terminal. Her task was to coordinate the myriad paperwork, checks and processes leading to final confirmation that I’d been hired. She said she needed me to sign a few papers. Turns out when I got there I find that my Driver Code was issued late the afternoon before making me an official employee of Swift Transportation. I was relieved knowing I could make definite plans now to be on the road with my mentor this weekend.
My mentor it turns out drives a dark-purple Kenworth Tractor that I’ve recently seen parked here at the terminal. Very, very nice! From what I understand it’s a newer model. One of my priorities is to buy a new digital camera so I can better document my travels, but it’ll probably be a couple of weeks before I’ll be able to do that and post them on this site and possibly elsewhere. By-the-way, for those of us familiar with the Seattle area, Kenworth trucks are built at a plant in nearby Renton with their headquarters in Kirkland. Seattle’s PACCAR is the parent company which also builds Peterbilt trucks. Kenworth and “Pete’s” are considered by many to be among the cream of the crop in the trucking industry.
So the next 18 hours will be among my last here in Lewiston, at least for a while. I started out just over a month ago arriving here on April 10th not knowing for sure what to expect but confident, based on similar life experiences, that all would be well. I’d hoped it would be smooth sailing to this point and for the most part it has been, with just a few bumps along the way, both literally and figuratively!
I’m excited to be finally hitting the road for some “real world” experience. I’ve received rave reviews regarding my mentor and I know I’ll learn a lot under his guidance. There’s no doubt about it, there’s a lot yet to learn in these next six weeks, things they can’t possibly teach you in school. In fact I’ve heard it repeatedly said that you never stop learning and growing in this business, no matter how long you’ve been on the road.
I hope you’ll continue to check in regularly and follow along as my adventure continues. I’m not sure what to expect regarding my access to the Internet while on the road. I know many truck stops offer wireless Internet service for a one-time or even monthly fee. Depending on the regularity of that access I’ll try to continue posting entries at least every few days. Regardless, I’ll be thinking of all of my friends and family and looking forward to seeing all of you again, and some of the new ones I’ll meet and make along the way.
It’s a huge lifestyle change for me, that’s for sure. But those of you that know me best know that it’s a lifestyle, in many ways, that I’ve grown accustomed to over the last few years. It’s amazing the changes and circumstances that have brought me to this point in my life. Who would have thought, just a short time ago, that I’d be doing this? But with me, what in my life has ever happened, according to plan? Not much to tell you the truth!
I often think of my father, who I never knew. I’ve been blessed to live 23 years longer now than he. That’s a long time! There are others who I came to love, but who were taken from us far too early in their lives as well. I often wonder, why have I been so lucky? So, I often remind myself to be grateful for every day, every minute that I’m allowed to live on, regardless my circumstances.
It’s just as singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett has expressed in one of his songs, and something I’ve shared in other places: “Some of its magic and some of its tragic, but I’ve had a good life all the way.” So, why I ask, should the future be any different?