We have eight trucks to move from Nashville, Tennessee to Wilmer, Texas. Wilmer is just south of Dallas a few miles on I-45. This is the first “Full Hook Up” we have done since November and Joe’s appendectomy. Our most recent trip from Dallas, Texas to Dixon, Illinois was only taking two trucks. This time we are taking four.
Usually…and I do mean USUALLY, it takes us just a few minutes over two hours to fully hook up and be ready to hit the road. Last week at the pick up site in Nashville it took us most of the day. Headlights were out, turn signals didn’t work, a wiper blade flew off mid swipe. These trucks were supposed to be fully ready with no extra work to be done to them. So we got to cool our heels while the work was being done. We arrived at 9:00 a.m. and left at 3:00 p.m. Long day just waiting around.
2001 was the first time one of Joe’s trailers was ready to hit the road. Every time I see our pickup suspended in mid-air on the trailer I am amazed by Joe’s skill and talent. I’m not the only one that is in awe. People that walk up to watch the process gasp and take many steps backward as the pickup is raised in the air. Then the questions fly out of their mouths faster than we can keep up with. Did I ever tell you how proud I am of Joe?
As you can see, from the photo below, there is a difference in the truck heights between the two of these. The one of the left is a “Stand Up” sleeper truck and the one on the right is a “Condo” sleeper truck. All four of these trucks are manufactured by Freightliner. They are the Columbia class.
What this means is that the “Stand Up” sleeper has enough height a person can stand up inside the cab to get to the sleeper section behind the driver’s seat. There is only one bed (or bunk as it is called). There are “closets” (loosely used term) to hold the driver’s clothing and other things that will be stowed during travel. There are shelves in the sleeper area to hold a television and a microwave. Some trucks have a designated area for a small refrigerator. These trucks are, literally, moving homes.
Stand Up sleeper trucks are designed for solo (single driver) or teams (two drivers). In “team” driving one is sleeping in the bunk while the other is driving. After eight or ten hours they switch to keep the truck in motion. Fuel stops, bathroom breaks, and quick grabs at food are the only times that team drivers stop. Rough life that is.
For the team drivers they have to share the small storage spaces. Generally husband and wife are team drivers so the antics and fight over shared space is normal operating procedure. For teams that are not related, by marriage or family, there is always the possibility of having one slob and one neat nick within the cramped confines. Can you imagine the banter that ensues?!
“Condo” sleepers are taller, have a window at the top of the sleeper cab, and have two beds (bunks). Bunk beds to be exact. The closet spaces are taller, although narrow. The shelf space is about the same as in other trucks. Just enough space for a small television and a small microwave.
Condo sleepers were created to give the team drivers more space and comfort. Not much comfort, especially on the top bunk, but the space is roomier. For solo drivers they have tons of space to cram their junk. Have more junk than closet space….chuck it up on the top bunk.
Years ago, back in 2001 and 2002 we used to have to go to places to pick up trucks that had been repossessed and stored at dealerships or storage lots. Some of the trucks we picked up were beyond mind boggling with the junk left behind. Condo sleeper trucks were crammed with so much stuff from the roof down to the floor. The bottom bunk had a very small area for the driver to sleep. I wondered if that person ever feared being smothered by the junk as they rolled around in bed. Creepy! I won’t even tell you about the smell 😦
One day, I will figure out how to take a good photo of the inside of one of these trucks to show you the closet space and the shelves. I’ve tried on numerous occasions and have failed at each attempt.
When I began riding with Joe in 1998 the standard sleeper truck had no head room. The bed, or bunk, was just behind the driver’s seat. Closet space was a shaped piece of metal tubing to hold hangers and storage was under the bunk. For the driver to get undressed for the night he/she had to sit on the bed to disrobe. Often banging their knuckles on the ceiling as they took off shirts. Stooping to keep from banging their heads on the ceiling to take off their pants or jeans. When the higher roof heights were manufactured in the early 2000’s the truck driver’s that got the first Stand Up sleeper trucks were the envy of the road.
One day I may tell you about a trip from Vermont to Florida with a big honkin’ hairy spider that appeared and disappeared, all the while I drove, from different areas of the dashboard.