My first load on this date back in 1973

Discussion in 'Experienced Truckers' Advice' started by jbatmick, Jul 4, 2021.

  1. jbatmick

    jbatmick Road Train Member

    Dec 1, 2009
    hastings, Fl

      • 48 years ago today I tried to deliver my first load. I was barely 20 years old, sitting in Baltimore at a closed receiver, with a flat tire on my steering, loaded with sweet corn on a dry box [ no reefer ] , needing 3,000 # ice ASAP, on a HOT July 4th holiday.
        I live in Florida, was just a kid, but had been around trucks all my life. Dad was a trucker, and in the produce business. The summer I turned 20 years old, we bought a Kenworth for me to learn to truck. Paid $15,500 for a 1970 cab-over. 3 year old truck with a V-8 903 Cummins,13 speed, torsion bar suspension. Nice truck, and as dad said, it would outrun the word of God.Very fast.Bought a 40 foot Great Dane dry box.
        Well,I learned to drive it around the county for a few days, and then Dad called me one morning. He was in North Carolina, working a produce deal, and needed a truck for a load the next day.Told me to be there the next morning.
        I bought me a new black cowboy hat, cashed a check at the bank for 200 bucks [ fuel was only about 30 cents a gallon ], and left Florida for Eastern North Carolina.
        The Interstate was not yet completed, so some of the dead head 650 mile trip was on backroads. Not all 4 lanes.
        Got there the next morning, July 3, shipper told me to go to a farm and load 900 boxes sweet corn from a hydo-cooler, then go top-ice it at the ice-house. Remember, no refrigeration unit on my trailer.The shipper said he would usually not load a dry box with perishable sweet corn, but knew me and was OK with it.
        Finally got loaded and iced about dark, and he told me to head towards Baltimore, for a 6 am appointment at A & P . And yea tomorrow was a holiday, but they DO receive.Shipper had double checked.
        Left out for the 300 mile trip,AC quit, all on back-roads, finally found place about 5 am in downtown Baltimore.Very bad area. Remember, no cell phones, no GPS,very few CB,s. Hard to get info.
        Anyway, get there and the guard laughs and says no receiving until tomorrow, today is a holiday. I knew that was going to happen.
        Walk back to truck, flat on steering on drivers side.
        Still had about 100 bucks left, but finding a tire repair shop that made road calls on a holiday in downtown Baltimore ? Finally found one, got new tube put in for only $45. Remember this was 1973.
        Well, produce buyer had screwed up,and I was sitting with a load of VERY perishable sweet corn that required ice.Needed at least a ton blown on top.
        Dad finally found an open ice house in Wilmington, Delaware,and they sent me there. But they were closing early so I had to hammer down. Finally get there,the workers were mad because they had to wait on me.Anyway,blew ice on the corn, and headed back to Baltimore. I was getting tired, but knew if I screwed up there would be trouble. At 20 years old, I still had to prove myself.
        Maryland scale sign said closed, but I saw a cop car at the scale house, so I pulled in. Officer quickly yelled at me the sign said closed, and I had better leave quickly. Yessir, I replied. Do not believe I had ever seen a log book at the time.
        Getting back to A&P in Baltimore about midnight, I thought about my cash. Remember, this was before credit cards,fuel cards, ATM's. No way to get more cash. And very hard to communicate with no cell phones. Had to locate a pay phone, and hang around while you got a callback.
        Check in at gate next morning at 6 am,new guard tells me I should have been there at midnight,they had a message to give me a door ASAP. Nobody told me.
        First time I had to back in a door between trailers. Other drivers helped, and I finally bumped the dock.
        Could not afford the $25.00 lumper fee, so started unloading it myself. The forklift operator was slow about keeping the pallets pulled out of the door,and the corn was getting warmer. I gave the operator a dollar [ yes, a WHOLE dollar ] , and he got in a hurry.
        That first load taught me a lot.
        All of this for a load that paid 350 bucks. Not much even back then.
        People will give you wrong information,trucks break down, law enforcement can be a- holes,you get tired, everyone wants money from you,rates are cheap. and things just plain go wrong. Trucking is trucking.
        In the past 48 years, I have nearly always been involved with trucking. Either driving, having a driver on one as I farmed, or running several. I was always an independent, never would lease to the big guys.
        I posted this long account so newer hands could see trucking has not changed, and never will.

      • But I still enjoy it.

    Last edited: Jul 4, 2021
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  3. Ruthless

    Ruthless Road Train Member

    Aug 28, 2010
    The City.
    I like reading this story every year. Thanks @jbatmick
    86scotty, Roger McG, Team818 and 11 others Thank this.
  4. jbatmick

    jbatmick Road Train Member

    Dec 1, 2009
    hastings, Fl
    Yeah, first posted it about 10 years ago. Thanks.
    Team818, ‘Olhand, Brettj3876 and 5 others Thank this.
  5. Qbf594

    Qbf594 Road Train Member

    Aug 15, 2019
    Southern Canadian annex, NY
    That's awesome. Thanks
    Team818 and JoeyJunk Thank this.
  6. Capacity

    Capacity Road Train Member

    Jul 28, 2019
    Neenah Wi
    My first load was a load of laundry soap powder heading to Red Owl up in Minnesota , i got pulled over on 94 in Wisconsin and the LEO asked why i was going so slow.
    Little did he know that shiney 290 was all she could do.
    Ruthless, JoeyJunk and jbatmick Thank this.
  7. Linte_Loco

    Linte_Loco Road Train Member

    Apr 24, 2011
    LA (lower Alabama)
    Congratulations on that tenure in the biz

    I was 4 then lol

    But I’m sure you had some tunes on that trip. Let’s keep it real from the top 40 of that week

  8. Arctic_fox

    Arctic_fox Road Train Member

    Sep 16, 2016
    My first load was a load of about 200 live christmas trees stuffed into a reefer i had to hand unload. They were sticky, covered in sap and biteing insects and it was 102 at the time.

    We were getting screamed at by a guy who spoke NO english and was getting mad at us for not understanding him, while my and my trainers cells kept ringing every 5 mintues from my karen of a dispatcher demanding to know why me and my male filth trainer had not already finished the load, I finally answered and she responded word for word "it was a couple little trees it should take 5 mintutes at most, you two men are just proving how useless and subsentient your ####ing sex are. You have 10 minutes to finish or ill ensure you lose your job and put a proper woman in your place" Meanwhile pedro and co are bumbleing about taking as much time as posible to load the trees into the trailer to go plant them and we are pulling these nasty 100+ pound things out.

    And then when we got done we walked up to find a flat steer tire and the reefer leaking oil and are promptly and loudly shreeked at by our dispatcher who actully DID try to get me fired and tried to get jeff written up.

    Ah good times.
    slow.rider, JoeyJunk and jbatmick Thank this.
  9. nikmirbre

    nikmirbre Road Train Member

    Jul 27, 2011
    High Point NC
    I wasn’t even born then or even thought of for another 9 years. But, I like hearing stories like this.
  10. Brettj3876

    Brettj3876 Road Train Member

    Nov 18, 2014
    Land of local
    Thanks for posting. I knew i heard this one before, good read
    nikmirbre Thanks this.
  11. ibcalm19

    ibcalm19 Road Train Member

    Nov 30, 2015
    I love your history from how far you came. What a blessing to hear how it was then & now. We are going to miss live testimonials like this. God bless you & what a joy. This was is a great read. I admire you and your father. He had the "just do it" attitude. What a joy to hear you didn't want let your father down. All the best on the rest of your journey in life. Keep on trucking.
    Gatordude, jbatmick and Team818 Thank this.
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