My name is Merle and I am a recently retired truck driver. I started driving a truck in 1976 and over the years on the road I have met tens of thousands of truck drivers and realized every driver has a story. Everyone has a reason they get behind the wheel and I want to share it. This is in no way a commercial page, rather just a page started by a bored old truck driver that wants to give credit to you drivers where it is due.
Here’s my story. I started driving in 1976, did mostly flatbed when I started out and did pull reefers for a bit hauling swinging meat. Trucking sure was different then and I drove hard, drove hard enough to get divorce number one. After 5 years of OTR trucking I got on with Consolidated Freight and that by far is the job I hang my career on. I worked there until they closed in September 2002. At that point I bounced around to 10 jobs over the following 10 years looking for something that wasn’t there. I did settle with a smaller company at that point that I worked at until 2018 hauling reefers mostly to the west coast and back before the last three years working for a locally based company doing whatever needs done, but now health has ended my driving career.
Along the way I have a lot of great memories of great drivers. Myself due to not being the camera type and three divorces and house fire I don’t have a lot from my time trucking besides memories. Ideally the purpose of this site is to share you drivers stories with pictures of your trucks and a brief biography. Pictures and stories from back in the day are fine to. Lets give this old trucker some entertainment as well as build a group of friends. I would like to hear your story, send us a message on here or email (insert email address) and I will post it. I hope to get one post a day and help build a community of trucks like we had back in the day. Contact me on Facebook @ officialtruckinglegends
JUST AN OLD TRUCKER LOOKING TO SHARE OTHERS STORIES
Discussion in 'Road Stories' started by RoadLegendsMerle, Feb 9, 2022.
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truckerman75103, JolliRoger, smokey12 and 17 others Thank this.
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Allow Me. Trucker Forum STAFF Staff Member
- May 28, 2009
Hello Merle, yeah I'm like you. Got CDL in 1976, went to Federal truck driving school in Orange. Ca. ($300) which was a little connected to American Red ball movers. So school was easy because I had been driving a 6 wheel tow truck and had no problems backing or being in traffic. I've had a ton of jobs, many that I worked at more than 1 time. And all these co's are long dead and burried. Bray lines, Cushing, Ok. Cherokee Lines, Cushing, Ok. Sam Tanksley trucking, Cape Girardeau, Mo. H &R Hill, Muskogee, Ok. Direct Transit, N. Sioux City, S.D. Smithway, Ft. Dodge, Ia. and many local outfits. Been to all 48 in a truck. Been a good career, but was enjoyed more when i was single. (no worries about getting home).
I remember when C.F. went out of business. No warning, Just closed up shop, couldn't come up with a big $$$ payout. Today's trucks are nice VS. those old cabover int'l (36" sleeper) running team. Even the original 76 truck stops with military style showers ! UGH ! I atarted out being an O/O and finished doing the same. In between, a co. driver. After being retired for 7 yrs and not a CDL holder anymore, a farmer in Ky. where I was living asked me to driver for the harvest. It was a bit strange driving without a CDL, which wasn't (isn't) required to haul farm crops close by.truckerman75103, Kenny Vader, Suspect Zero and 8 others Thank this.
I've pondered from the start about writing a book about my adventures in trucking. I've done a decent amount of writing over the years, but it was all technical writing. Previously I was an electronics technician and then I was a cartographer, so writing occasionally was part of the job, but it was always writing to explain technical things. I've made a few stabs at writing some of my adventures up, but they end up explaining a bunch of stuff and not really entertaining anyone.
Anyway, here's my basic story. I accumulated a total of 30 years of Federal service between being in the Air Force and then a civil servant. So, had the chance to retire from that, but still had 8 1/2 years before I can actually retire. I took about a year off, which was wonderful, and moved to Florida by the Space Center. I've always been a space nut and loved being by the space center, pursuing the visitor's center and watching rockets launch. But, eventually needed employment and kid situation kinda forced me to move back to Yuma Arizona, the place that been my default home since 1995.
As to being a truck driver, it began by being irate at work one day. In November, 2012, I was sitting at my desk, steaming about something and out of left field, or far far left of left field, this random thought came into my head, "I just want to go drive a truck." First time in my life I think I'd ever had any kind of such thought. But, it got my attention. Hmm. Interesting. So, started kind of looking into it a bit, to include finding this place, joining, and starting to read and learn about being a truck driver. I needed to retain my existing job till April 2018 for the retirement issues. So, had some time to contemplate about it. It was on and off for awhile and mostly ended up as a plan B more than anything. I do know that what I learned on this site was precious to me in the long run. From everything I could ponder and evaluate, I figured it was probably something I actually could do and that would fit me. Two biggest facets being I love to travel, have never grown tired of it and that I knew me well enough to know I was comfortable in my own company for extended periods of time. Also, I always had a thing with driving. I lived in Europe for 6 1/2 years, ripped down the Autobahn in a fast BMW and even drove around Rome Italy for a month. This doesn't include the numerous cross country road trips I'd had the chance to enjoy over the years, both in regular passenger cars or in U-Haul trucks pulling a car trailer behind.
So, when thing went sideways in Florida, my plan B basically became my Plan A. Despite the negative I had heard, I decided to go with Swift to get a start. It helped that they had a Veterans program which offered a couple advantages. And, in August of 2019, I arrived at the Swift Academy in Phoenix (FYI, not a good idea to go to the Swift Academy in Phoenix in August unless you are REALLY well acclimated to hot weather, even then it is taxing, quite taxing!!).
Finished the Academy, tested and got my license on a Friday the 13th that September.
Rolled out a couple weeks later with a mentor. I ended up with a ruff, crude, old Mexican guy named Jose (FYI, My mother-in-law's maiden name is Garcia, so I know, understand and have no issue with the Mexican culture). I could write a whole book on that adventure alone. But, it was a good one, Jose was a great trainer and he and I laughed alot! during our time together.
Finished up with Jose, 'tested out' as they call it on Halloween 2019 and on November 1, 2019, I went solo and started being a truck driver.
Already being too long, being concise has never been my forte. So, I'll kind of end it there, at least for now. I will say, I was right, being a truck driver is something I can do, enjoy doing and will probably continue until April of 2027, which is when I fully intend on retiring from the working world completely.Suspect Zero, pumpkinishere, Boondock and 2 others Thank this.
pumpkinishere, Boondock and bumper Jack Thank this.
This looks like a good home for @JolliRoger .
Buckle up, boys!
JolliRoger Road Train Member
- May 8, 2007
pumpkinishere Thanks this.
pumpkinishere Heavy Load MemberRoadLegendsMerle and Boondock Thank this.
REO6205 Trucker Forum STAFF Staff Member
- Feb 15, 2014
Maybe we need to bring X1-Heavy back? Naaaaa. I think we've already heard his stories.Suspect Zero, Gatordude, Coffey and 1 other person Thank this.
Shackdaddy Medium Load Member
I understand truck drivers were the princes of the highway in those days.AfterShock, pumpkinishere and Boondock Thank this.
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