Friday, July 24, 2009

Our Weird Routine

When folks learn we are truck drivers and that we team, they are often interested in what kind of schedule we keep.  When we are on a regular work schedule, we basically operate 24 hours a day.  In order to regulate our bodies to the rhythm, we have found it best to stick with the schedule even when we aren't driving.  
 Here, I'll try to break it down . . . 
I work from 3 pm to 3 am.  
Tony works from 3 am to 3 pm.  
What happens during that time is considered our shift.  
We both do the same job.  
Of course, we each have strengths and weaknesses, but mostly we each do our own thing during our shift.

So, lets start with midnight.  
I'm on duty and usually driving.  I love driving at night.  Hated driving a car at night, but in the truck, I am above the headlights of the cars and can see forever.  I will often take us in to a shipper to drop or get set up for a pickup/delivery in the morning. 
Tony's alarm goes off at 2:20 and he turns on his pre-set-up coffee maker and starts his day.  He usually doesn't open the curtain between the front and the sleeper until 2:45 or so.  Tony tends to be a little tiny teensy bit grouchy when he first gets up  (actually, he just isn't cheerful and I sometimes interpret that as grouchy).
So, after he gets his coffee ready, I find a spot for us to switch.  Usually at this time of night, I can pull off onto an entrance/exit ramp on the interstate.  We have a little bit of catchup on weather, road conditions, any messages from HQ and off we go.
I head straight to bed.  No getting out of the truck to walk the dog, etc.  Just straight to bed.  If I keep the interaction low-key and don't get engaged with anything, I can usually close up the sleeper and go right to sleep.
Tony may have pickups during his shift because it is morning for the rest of the world.  His hardest hours for driving are often just after sunrise when his natural body rhythms tell him he should really be sleeping now.  When our dispatch allows, he pulls over and catches a quick nap.  
I slumber on in the back until 10:30 or 11:00.  One of my great joys of this routine is that I don't have to wake up to an alarm clock.  I absolutely hate, hate, hate that.  It just jangles my nerves and gets my day off to a bad start.  Tony has thoughtfully set up the coffee maker with my coffee fixens, so I reach over and start the magic brew.  
I get up and open the sleeper curtain and we have our "together" time for the day.  This usually involves a stop of some sort if we have time on a particular run.  Lunch/breakfast is the meal we most often get to eat together.  I would say we try to have a sit-down /out-of-the-truck meal 2 or 3 times a week.  
Between the end of his shift and the beginning of my shift, we have 5 to 6 hours of together time.  During that period, we will each fix food for our shift and take care of mail, phone calls and family business. 
Tony winds down and heads off to sleep at 6:00 each evening.
When we are on a tight dispatch, the stops are only for fuel and some potty breaks.  We roll 22 hours out of 24.  
Laundry, showers and other frivolous out-of-truck stuff just has to wait.  
Oh yea, Leo gets his playtime in with each of us and has 4-6 walks a day.

Tony and I both operate really well with this routine.  
We keep the truck tidy and well stocked so that we are ready for whatever our fleet manager wants to throw at us. 
  The end of one dispatch and the beginning of another is fun for us, we never know where they will send us.
As I write this, I am sitting in Buttonwillow, California.  We are scheduled to deliver in Stockton tomorrow morning and then head over to Sacramento.  We will pickup there and strike out for St. Louis, Missouri.  
Did I mention that we love this job!!!!!


Corrick family said...

Love hearing about your daily routine, but we miss you guys down here! It's been a lovely summer (read: wet!) so far. xoxDanielle

The Daily Rant said...

I like your daily routine. Ed and I have NO routine....LOL Although, I usually wind up driving at night (which I also love) but not always....

I love driving as the sun rises, he doesn't. It makes him tired - even if he just got up from 8 hours of sleep.

He is also crabby in the morning. Well, let me rephrase...he is crabby when he gets up, no matter what time of day it is. I, on the other hand, am a ray of sunshine!!

And I'm with you.....I LOVE this job! :)