Ch 1 – RV’ing in a Semi

RV’ing in a semi truck is living the good life. No boring meetings, No pesky bosses to haggle you. And when I get tired of the scenery, I just get up and go.

And when I can’t decide where to go next, I just get on Truckers Edge and find a load somewhere – hopefully somewhere warm, that has a beach and isn’t someplace I’ve been before.

Insurance, taxes and registration is high, so to offset the cost, I book loads often, mostly long distance up to 1500 miles.

The loads normally have a tight schedule but many times, I would transfer new or used trailers from the yard to the customer, and I was allowed to take my time. When this was the case, I would map out my route to do some sightseeing, to visit restaurants and to meet people along the way.

And when I delivered my trailer, I was now free to go wherever I want and park almost wherever I wanted to. Driving bobtail, I could fit in almost any parking lot under 13’6″ , including beaches, parks and downtown.

Why did I choose this route? Well for one, I was in the Navy for 20 years and I guess I never got rid of the travel bug. Been a Surface Warfare Officer, I was used to late night watches on the bridge, when things were dark and lonely.

After I retired, I attended George Washington University to get my MBA. I left with a diploma but with also a food tech startup called RUNINOut. Our goal was to add as many restaurants, stores and attractions to the site and after running it for five years, I had oversaturated the local Washington, DC market. It was time to take RUNINOut on the road.

So I thought what better way to do that than to become a truck driver and make some money on the side. I attended trucking school in Middletown, VA and spent many nights sleeping in my car near the foothills of the Shenandoah.

Then during a period of an year and and half, I worked for three different companies, and picked up the requisite skills to succeed as an over-the-road trucker.

As a newbie trucker, I was issued International trucks which is infamous for breaking down. Despite their reputation, I got accustomed to driving these trucks and stopping frequently at the most inopportune time to do a parked regen, cleaning out the soot buildup in the emissions.

Eventually the EPA sued International for failure to meet the emissions standards and many companies who suffered down time were returning their trucks to Navistar like it was going out of style. The company could not keep the trucks in their lots and were willing to dispose of these trucks as part of a total fire sale.

It realized then that I might be able to acquire one of these trucks for a song and a dance, perhaps as much as 1/3rd the price of a similar truck that had not gone through the same fate.

I purchased the truck but I did not need a trailer. I would drive power only and pull other people’s trailers. This allowed me the freedom to go wherever I wanted and to park in any open spot that could fit me.

But RV’ing in a truck also came with the perils of trucking. Accidents, incidents, break downs, distractions and of course the pesky emissions issues that also appeared in my truck.