Mid-Year Truckin’ Stats

Greetings from the road!

How have you all been faring in 2021? I tell ya, weren’t we all looking forward to this year? After the [original] and socially dividing pandemic, lock-downs, racial tensions, and other confusing outrages of 2020? Can anyone say that this this year has been any less confusing? It’s approaching September 2021, and we’ve dealt with Gender Identity hatreds & hypocrisies, Devastating weather rollercoasters, home schooling children, watching as areas of the country “re-opened” when vaccinations were rolled out, folks openly refusing to work, book-ended by “masks yes, oh wait… masks no, oh wait… masks with caveats”. Not to mention political atrocities that can only make one’s blood boil, and now, added to the original pandemic’s mysteries and social divisions, is a variant strain of The Virus identified from 2020.

What have y’all been doing to mentally cope with these things? I’ve been driving over-the-road, long-haul (and some not-so-long haul) since March of 2020. While certain things became a bit easier in year two of my newfound trucking career, I continue to struggle. Albeit with a different set of challenges, I strive for coping skills for these newer pain points. The photo below is my latest inspiration when I get down. While it’s more a snapshot-type image than a photograph, as Nobel Prize-winning photojournalist Eddie Adams wrote:

If it makes you laugh,

If it makes you cry,

If it rips out your heart,

that’s a good picture.

Rollin’ Pre-Dawn in Indiana, USA

This image doesn’t necessarily make me laugh cry or break my heart, but it brings to mind the serenity and my love of being behind that wheel of that tall rig. Yes… it was safely captured hands-free by my mounted go-pro. Pre-dawn is my favourite time to start my day; during the dark and then watching as the world wakes up while I’m rollin’.

OKAY…

I promised you (via the title of this post) some mid-year stats! Many of y’all know I daily engage both sides of my brain, as do many creatives. The factual, numbers, and analytical side, (left) and then the abstract, creative, artistic side (right) (paraphrased here as a relatable reference). I prefer to be given the facts and make my own determinations and interpretations. I actually abhor being spoon-fed others’ points of view without knowing the facts. Don’t mistake this to mean I don’t listen and appreciate differing view points; it’s what makes the world go ’round and teaches us many things, but let’s suffice it to say that I, and those who process information similarly, are *not* the ones who jacked up the story as it went around the circle in kindergarten! HAHA. Ahhhh. I digress!

As some of the fog was clearing in year two, getting past those first year jitters, I was able to design a chart to analyze a few things, which I’m hoping in the long run will assist me in figuring out a favorable work-life balance out here on the road. But even then, these may be fun facts that my friends outside the industry may enjoy seeing.

From Jan through Aug, I:

2019 White Freightliner Cascadia
2022 Champagne International LT Series
  1. Had two trucks. A 2019 Freightliner Cascadia and a 2022 International LT Series. The first had a Detroit Engine DD12 and the latter a Cummins X15. Both engines are automated-manual transmissions. This means I can drive them either way, but are basically built for company fleets to spec the [bleep] out of, in their most researched efforts for best mpg performance in automatic mode. Or so that’s argued all the time I believe – haha. Definitely subjective; not objective.
  2. I Drove a total of 54,300 hub miles (actual miles).
  3. I was paid for a total of 52,600 miles. Why the difference here?, you might wonder. A mixture of reasons, with the top two being:
    • That Schneider encourages us to choose our own best routing. They support us going a few miles longer when advantageous to our mission and safety goals, such as staying off small routes for weather or timing.
    • Mid-year Schneider moved off an older mileage model of HHMG (Household movers guide), to what’s called Practical Mileage model. The older model was basically center point of town to center point of town, and often hurts truckers because it’s the shortest and uses roads that truckers are not always allowed to use, so a 100 mile run could actually take me 150 miles to run because we are restricted from certain road usage.
      • You can see that my variance is only 3%, which I anticipate will be even less in 2022.
  4. I moved 115 loads.
    • My cargo is a mixture of goods. I’ve hauled Cereals, Doggy Treats!, Chips, Paper goods (shhh!), Health bars, Beer, Washing machines, bales of cardboard for recycling, pallets for reuse, audio visual equipment, just to name a few things.
      • Most Memorable Shipper? [Cereal Manufacturer] in Buffalo NY! Upon arrival I feel like I’ve driven into a box of Lucky Charms! MMMMMMmmmmmm
  5. I worked 160 days on these 115 loads.
    1. I was off the road a few weeks in January, had a 10-day break in March and 11 days of Tanker Training in May.
  6. My longest haul was 1,524 miles (MI-TX) and my shortest was 0 miles! Yes! ZERO… one side of town to the other. Flat short-haul rate.
  7. I drove an average of 6.65 hours per day, 330 miles/day
    1. When I visited Schneider Corporate Headquarters in WI and shared this (and some of my other nerdy stats) with some department managers, one had inquired “If I asked, ‘Why not 7 or 8 hours a day?’, What would your response be?” I uncharacteristically retorted without hesitation: “Stop giving me so many live loads, short-hauls, and stop pulling me off OTR and tossing me on dedicated routes.” I think it was the first time I put into concise words some of my pain points of 2021. LOL.
  8. I had an average of [paid] miles of 1,949 miles per week, and my average length-of-haul was 458 miles.
  9. I began tracking Live Loads versus Drop & Hook Loads in the third quarter, because the number grew exponentially! In Q3 I hauled 46 loads, and 27 had a live load component to them! That’s 59%!
    1. As I write this, I have unresolved negative feelings behind this surge in live loads. Reason is: I do not receive compensation for live loads unless I am docked for over 2 hours. I will write a separate post on that component of my job, and link to it as soon as I publish it.

I drive mainly 24 states currently:

Currently where I basically pull loads from, to, and through…

In April I opted out of the New England Market. I take a $0.02 cut per mile to stay out of this area. My analysis showed that even with the 2 cent per mile deduction, I earned more in gross pay per week. New England is eerily congested. Traffic, combined with lack of truck parking and tattered road conditions, inhibited my ability to keep the wheels turning. More seasoned and younger drivers I speculate have an easier time up there than I. But you all know my love still lies out west, and my 5-year goal is to get out that way, or at least try to move around a bit more west than I currently do.

Well, that concludes this mid-year [ish] summary.

I hope you found some bits to enjoy! I am attaching a draft of the cover art of my second book. The front is a section of Interstate 81 South in Pennsylvania, and the back is me actually working on the second book at an AirBnB. Stay Tuned!

Thanks for all your continued support!

Love and Blessings,

JJ

xx

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