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​How Many Miles In One Room?

By James Walbridge

June, 2019

The first Breakfast Meet-Up was in April of 2018 with 9 old friends getting together at The P&H Truck Stop for breakfast and to catch up. Some of these drivers hadn’t seen each other for thirty years or more.

The conversation centered on the “good old days” and “My, my how trucking has changed”. 

Everyone agreed that too much time had passed and they really enjoyed re-connecting.

When they realized, sadly, how many of the old group were gone, it was decided to meet every six months from then on, and October 27, 2018, was chosen for the second Breakfast Meet-Up.

Word spread and on October 27th, there were twenty-three attendees, all connected over the last forty or more years by the highways they traveled and the CB radio. (Remember when the CB was a good thing?) Occasionally, their routes and times would coincide at one of the little fuel stops along the way where they enjoyed hot coffee, steamed hot dogs and good conversation.

Again, everyone was happy to reconnect and agreed that time passed too quickly, and man, oh, man, how life on the road has changed! 

The third Breakfast Meet-Up was on April 27, 2019. 

Thirty-three drivers were on hand this time and the conversation was lively as breakfast was served. Cheerful, light-hearted banter between drivers and waitresses (just like old times) and old friends reminiscing as they devoured omelets or pancakes, home fries, toast, and of course, good hot coffee.

After the meal, the friends retired to a meeting room upstairs for more conversation and group pictures.

As in the last two meetings, the talk evolved from “What have you been up to?” and “Oh, what ever happened to ‘so and so’?” and “I’m trying to remember the last time I saw him”, to “How do you like the new ELD regulations?” And, “They sure don’t make ‘em like they used to…”

The observer would notice that after the heartfelt greetings and good-natured ribbings about old times, age, weight, hair, (or lack thereof) the common theme was how much trucking has changed over the years.

The alert observer would also note something that has not changed, but before we get into that, let’s take a closer look at this group of drivers.

•Collectively, this group shares more than a thousand years of over- the- road experience in trucking. Yes, over 1000 years!

•They range in age from early sixties to mid-eighties. Keep on truckin’!

•They have hauled (and several still do) everything from milk, lumber and hay to fuel, beer and junk cars; from livestock, new automobiles and packaging materials to building stone, gravel and hot mix. Propane, water and gas. Pipe, steel and logs. Equipment, mail and common freight. And more.

•They’ve pulled tankers, flatbeds, dry vans and pneumatic tanks. Reefers, drop decks, stepdecks and RGN’s. Bull wagons and covered wagons and dumps. You name it, at least one of them has dragged it.

•Now, think about this … thirty-three drivers, each with between twenty and forty plus years of driving … say, roughly, one hundred thousand miles per year … Buddy, that’s a whole lotta miles, all in one room!

Hats off to this bunch of seasoned truck drivers for all they have done and continue to do. Ten-Four!

Oh, and what did the alert observer notice that hasn’t changed? 

•The genuine friendship and camaraderie that exists among these “old school” truck drivers.

•The “light up your world” smiles, warm wishes and sincere good will.

•The heartfelt “so longs” and “see you next times”, and always,

•“Stay safe and keep ‘er shiny side up, 10-4!”

Remember, most of them hadn’t been in touch for years, due to the way “stuff” happens and how “life” works. And yet …

•Back in the day, when any one of them needed a hand, the rest would each lend him two! 

•And that hasn’t changed. It’s just as true of them today as it was forty-some years ago.

That, friends, is a “not changed” that should be celebrated!

And a great example for the trucking world today.

Oh, by the way, before the group broke up, they set the date for the next Breakfast Meet-Up - October 5, 2019. 

How many miles will there be in that room?