Let’s Take This Show on the Road
Truck Drivers: Roadies or Rock Gods?
Screaming fans, weigh stations and truck stops seem pretty unrelated, but does a connection exist? When Bon Jovi got off the ground they weren’t living much differently than most truck drivers, neither were U2, Metallica or really any rock band throughout history. Musicians may have the glitz and the glamour, but there are some astonishing similarities between them and truckers that many wouldn’t expect.
Driving a big rig isn’t easy, Hell, you have to be properly certified before you can even think about getting behind the wheel. Truckers may not be dishing out solos courtesy of Stevie Ray Vaughn, but still, there is a learning curve. Basically, what the guitar lesson is to the guitar player, the CDL test is to the truck driver, and you can bet that most people off the street aren’t cut out to pass. You can’t expect to just hop on stage and hang with the pyrotechnics, you have to be educated.
- Get smart, this isn’t for everyone: CDL tests aren’t easy, no tests that give you the responsibility
- of other human lives ever are. But before you get on the road get your head in a book and study whenever you can to avoid having to take the test more than once.
Hot Dogs a la Gas Station
What a lot of people take for granted besides education on the road are home cooked meals and a cold beer. On the road it’s not mommy in the kitchen or dad on the grill, you have to fend for yourself, and it often isn’t pretty. Any trucker knows about the necessary evil that is the gas station chow line, as does any musician that has spent time in the van. But when you’re a thousand miles away from home you still have to eat, even if it’s week old donuts, or worse, those horrendous Cheddarwursts.
- Hunger pains or not, you got to do what you got to do: A great way to counter your horrible diet
- on the road is to cut calories at home. Nachos are great after sitting in the truck all day, but maybe after spending some time wrestling with your kids or playing with your dog a well-balanced meal is an adequate reward.
Time Away From Home
Speaking of miles from home, for both the rocker and the trucker, time spent away is one of the hardest things to get used to. More often than not there’s a family you have to leave behind, or a significant other, and it is never easy. The relationships you have with even your neighbors are tested when you’re on the road so get used to missing and being missed. Family photos help while you’re away but they will never stack up to when you roll back into the driveway after a long haul.
- Bring mementos, the more the merrier: It’s not fun to spend time away, but being on the road gives you time to reflect on life and assess yourself as a human being. Take advantage of this time. And if that’s not your thing, stock up on some “photos of your girlfriend.”
But maybe that’s what makes all of this worth it…maybe that’s why musicians spend 6 months on the road, or why truck drivers continue living such lifestyles: the thrill of the ride. Or maybe it’s something a little more wholesome than that. Maybe the reason they stay gone is because they know that they have people worth coming home to.
Let’s face it, neither of these road dogs have it easy. Sure, there are perks to never sleeping in your own bed, but at the end of the day you would kill to have Mom in the kitchen, or Dad on the grill, cheering you on from a safe distance every night.
- You’re a rock star in your own right: Not everyone is blessed with natural music ability, or born a natural grease monkey. But when you pit touring musician and truck driver against one another it comes out to be a pretty fair fight. You’re on an adventure everyday of your life, chock full of late nights and bad food, but always remember there’s something waiting for you when you return.
Submitted by: Mark Kinsel is the President of Driver Solutions and for the past 19 years has passionately shared his knowledge and experience to help young truckers find their way. When he isn’t showing a trainee the ropes of the road he writes for Great CDL Training, a national leader in commercial truck driver training.