Posted by: fringe62 | January 29, 2013

Maiden Voyage (almost)

In the summer of 1999 I bought a brand new truck at the Freightliner dealership in Branford, CT.  It had 310 miles on it from transport to the dealership.  A beautiful, deep maroon color with a long hood and a Cummins 500hp engine.
My father had always wanted to go trailer-truckin’ with me on a trip out west.  So, with a request to my dispatcher, I picked up a load on an August afternoon in Scranton, Pennsylvania.  Once I was loaded I called my mom and dad and told them to meet me at the Petro truckstop in Milton, PA., which was about 20 minutes from their house.
My dad kept a journal during the trip and with his permission I am publishing it here.  Keep in mind with some of his observations, he was raised on a farm in central PA and grew up to be an Ag Agent for Penn State, so crops and dirt are his thing.  If I add any embellishment or highlights for context I will put it in parentheses.  I also spell out most of his abbreviations.
Because it is rather long I’ve split it into a different page for each day of the trip.  I’ll be posting subsequent days within the next couple weeks. Enjoy!

Monday, August 2 – 5:00pm
Heather calls – meet her at Milton truckstop at 6:15 – we’re going truckin’.  Jan (my mom) and I arrive at truckstop at 6:00.  I order two grilled cheese sandwiches and learn a trucker’s cost, $7.00  Then Jan said that Heather says to order for children “out in your truck” and the sandwich is only $4.00.
We get a quick tour of her truck facilities – lights (switches for overhead and in the bunk area), refrigerator, microwave, storage etc…  Heather and I remove the plastic protective seat cover (from the passenger seat – new truck) and I load my luggage in under the bunk and the closets where she had made room.  (Duke, my dog had to go stay with “grandma” for the next week or so).
We need two gallons of oil because oil pressure is not what Heather thinks it should be.  A long wait.  Nearly two gallons of oil into the 500 horsepower Cummins diesel engine.  Heather updates her logbook and we start west on I80 a little after 7:00pm
Lots of trucks (on the highway).  Through Union County, then Center, Clinton etc…  A beautiful evening as the sun goes down.  A real golden/red glow on the mountains west of Snowshoe, PA.  Heather says her new truck pulls the mountains really well.
On west – Brookville, Clarion, Mercer, Sharon and finally cross into Ohio at 10:07pm.  Heather says we’ll be on the other side of Columbus before stopping for the night – possibly by 2:00am.  She is just like in an office – driving, checking on the CB (radio), on the phone to friends to see where and how they are – watching the radar detector (which is illegal in an 18 wheeler), watching the dials… one has a light out which is annoying her.
I’m getting sleepy – it is 12:00 midnight – I crawl into the bunk and soon asleep.  Sunbury, Ohio – I’ve slept for an hour.  We pull into a truckstop for fuel.  I help with the fueling – one tank is full and one is empty (two fuel tanks at 150 gallons each – one on each side of the truck under driver and passenger doors)  We pull out and soon I’m sleepy and ready for bed again.
It’s 1:35 and we have pulled into a rest area west of Columbus.  I pull on my sleeping clothes and am soon again asleep.

Dad and I in front of my new truck somewhere in California

Dad and I in front of my new truck somewhere in California



  1. How do I get to other pages?

    • Hi Sandy,
      Sorry, I’ll fix this but I’ve not posted the other pages yet. I guess I should’ve said that. The next ones are coming up within the week! Thanks!

  2. Wow-love this Heather…I could hear Dad talking which is awesome.
    You both look SO young 🙂
    What a cool memory for you to have w Dad!

    • I know, while typing this whole journal I can hear him talking and remember other things we talked about. It was a great trip! Unlike the one with Mom (not her fault – truck troubles) which I’ll have to write about sometime 🙂

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