For this article, we welcome guest blogger Joe G. to our site. We asked Joe to write for us because of his unique experience getting into the truck driving industry. For those considering a trucking career “later in life,” we hope you enjoy! ~ DDA
When I was a kid, we would head out to a popular local truck stop after Friday night football games. They had great food, and we were always ready to eat a lot. I especially enjoyed the time there at Kelly’s because of the drivers who were always there, stopping to eat and refuel as they crossed the country time and again.
The Modern Knights
For me, these guys were like the knights of old, riding on their armor-clad steeds. Okay, so it’s not the same, but for more than 50 years since I would be driving down the interstate and checking out the many different trucks and slogans they would have painted on. More than once I got left in daydreaming about what it would be like to be in a different part of the country every day, living out of a great setup in one of the modern cabs. I even picked up trucking magazines every once in a while at the major fuel stops.
When I finally retired, I really didn’t need to work or do anything to earn income. In fact, the wife and I looked at a number of RVs to buy. I saw that as a way to finally address my wanderlust. However, I got to be good friends with a truck driver in our church – 10 years older and well past retirement age. When he talked about his love of trucking he made it clear he wasn’t going to stop driving until he physically couldn’t. He also kept telling me there was a real need for older truckers and even for team drivers.
Getting Paid to Fulfill My Dream
One day I stopped in at a local CDL school just off the interstate. Before I knew it, I was sitting at the kitchen table with my wife and going over the brochures and discussing the opportunity. I shared that we could:
- Drive together as a team
- Get trained and receive our CDL in just a few months
- Drive someone else’s rig to see how we liked it, and then invest in our own specialized truck if we like it
- Choose the type of loads we wanted to carry, what kind of routes we wanted to drive, and pretty much design our own trucking career
- Eventually travel to all the places and sights we were planning to visit anyway
We agreed right then that this was worth checking out, and our journey began. I spent a few weeks checking out things like insurance, driver benefits, and types of commercial trucking we could consider. I was pleased to consider that we would be enjoying our form of retirement while adding to our nest egg, not drawing it down. So, we made the leap and signed up.
While we were going through training we met some couples who were a bit younger than us, but just as excited. One guy had decided he was through traveling in his sales job by himself, and another prospective driver was the victim of downsizing in the energy business. Of course, there were other individual students – from young guys just out of the military to some others looking to increase their income. There was even one kid that reminded me of those early days – he just thought he’d rather see the country than sit in a classroom.
We have just put the first 10,000 miles in our log books, and Sheila already has 35 magnets in her cities and states collection. We think it’s going to be great – even if I only imagine myself being Sir Lancelot.