Keepin’ On Truckin…My Life on the Road
By Richard A. Fleetwood – May 2001
Prologue: August 2009
I started this story in 2001. I never got back to it…until now. I intend to finally get around to this story after all these years…because the beating that our economy is taking right now, is going to force mass migration like this nation hasn’t seen since the Dust Bowl Days. Stay tuned..it’s about to get interesting. -Rich- 8/11/09
I know lots of folks who have been in the same place, the same job, and/or the same rut for years. Some have never ventured far from their hometown and never cared to explore much outside their sphere of influence. Others, like myself, have always had natural inclinations to see what was over the next hill, around the next bend, or in the next big adventure.
Well, I did it. I took a chance to help a friend out with his RV park, by helping him deliver RVs and Campers cross country during the winter months when campers are few in the relatively chilly Wyoming area, where a few inches of snow on the ground most of the winter is normal. Not enough income comes in from space rentals, so that is why he started the trucking thing. Problem is now that the adventure is over…the truck of his that I was using (a 2000 Dodge Ram 1 ton diesel dually 4×4 pickup), having outlived its warranty, and breaking down literally every month, got wore out at 168,000 miles…just not dependable…problems on EVERY trip I was making. I made the truck payments and insurance of a $1000 a month, but the breakdowns and lack of backloads after 1000 and 2000 mile trips didn’t bring me enough income to keep doing it, and I am now looking for a new job.
However, this story is not about failing in a new venture, losing a job, losing a home, and losing a friend. I cover those in other pages. THIS page is about what it was like to travel across this nation in a big pickup truck (hauling $30,000 to $128,000 worth of other peoples RVs) and seeing things I have never seen before, read about and wanted to see, exploring the back roads and wide highways coast to coast, and nearly every mountain pass I have ever heard of and then some I had not. It’s about people, scenery, wildlife, life and death, and time alone by myself for weeks at a time. It’s also about survival… living with little but a bit of food in a homemade pantry, sleeping in the small backseat of a extended cab pickup, dealing with road hazards and accidents, and the worst weather conditions I’ve seen in my life. It’s about this big guys “walk-a-about’…in a nation with too much history in every place to NOT think about those things as I passed thru. In short…it’s about the trip of a lifetime….the equivalent of *3* times around the world in less than a year…by myself..my skills…my wits…and my dreams. I think you might find some of it interesting.
With all my inborne need to explore, most of it was either in books, on vacation trips, or on some quest to accomplish something else that had nothing to do with “just exploring”. A small part of me jumped at the chance to jump a federal career and fulfill one of my lifelong dreams…to see this entire nation of America coast to coast.
What a tremendous thrill it has been, and what unexpected pleasures it has given me, but the opportunity for exploration has also put into practice many things I wasn’t quite sure I’d know how to deal with, if and when the time ever came.
It was not an easy life, but here are some hints on what this new career offered, and can offer anyone else who “thinks” they might try…