Hello, I'm Samantha, some call me Linewalker, some call me Freedom. Some call me worse. LOL I got into trucking back in the early 80's.
When I first got on the road, a lot of guys were very nasty towards me. Many guys thought I was stealing a job from a man who had a family to support.
My first 2 yrs on the road, except for yelling at me, and insulting me, men didn't talk to me.
They pinned my airlines, messed with the air dryer, mothballed my fuel tanks, sliced my tires. Any and everything they thought would run me off.
Funny thing is, I didn't run away. I learned their dirty tricks, their secrets, their ways. And I just kept on rolling. One day an old timer in the Reno,NV area, asked me why I was out there.
I told him that my husband had died, and that he didn't want me giving into people. My husband wanted me to be strong and free.
Trucking was tough work, the trucks didn't have air ride everything. So trucks were hard on the body. But when you think about it, 9-5 people, spend their lives working in the same office, looking at the same people, the same walls, the same work everyday. And for what, 1, maybe 2 weeks of vacation a year.
People fight for an office with a view, then for a corner office. Driving a truck, my office had two corner views, that changed as I went down the road.
In the nearly 18yrs OTR I did, I never seen the same thing twice. I learned that I could take a day off here and there on the road in different cities around the country.
I've seen people bust their behinds for a weekend in Las Vegas, and here I got paid to go there. Once I realized I loved what I did, and that I was not much more than a paid professional tourist. Life on the road was fantastic. I had become a paid professional tourist. What better life could I want.
Yeah from time to time I would run into some low life that tried to make my life as bad as theirs. But when you figure I was OTR maybe 340 days a yr, and 300 of those days were fantastic. I could deal with 25 low lifes a yr.
I learned that if I stayed out on the road longer, drove over holidays, and took loads to the mountain states during winter time. I got a lot more perks and respect from everyone, from dispatchers, too other drivers.
Sometimes guys would bug me on the radio, but I had ways of dealing with them. A lot of the time, I drove during the middle of the night. Most of the trouble makers were parked in truckstops with their little heads on pillows sleeping. And I was out there making miles.
A lot of the time I played audio books. A good 10 hour audio book could get me 700 - 900 miles. If I wasn't paying attention.
(O/O w/ a slightly faster truck than some) LOL
But it was fun out there. I seen beauty and wonder that most people are too busy to notice. I was a flatbeder, so I seen the more ugly side of the bad guys in trucking. Many thought a woman had no business pulling skateboard. That I didn't know how to load it right, or tie it down.
I was one of the first 9 women to drive solo for ECK MILLER Transportation. But guys quickly learned I knew my job. And in many cases I knew it better than they did. I didn't take my gender for granted. I wanted to know how to do my job right the first time. I hate repeating the same job twice.
That's one thing I don't know if it's still happening out there today. But back in the 80's and 90's, a lot of guys thought because they were men, that they had some special genetic code for doing the job, that they, and they alone were expert at.
Many of those guys back then, who hated me, became some of my best friends in time. They called me LINEWALKER, because I could put that steer tire on the line, and it never strayed from it.
I guess that means I had earned their respect. Which once I had figured that out, made driving so much nicer. I didn't act like I was better than they. I kept my ears and eyes open, and learned from many drivers over the yrs.
One time back about 1992, I was down in Ocala, FL. I had a load going there. But the place was a real tight fit for a 280in wheel base Pete, pulling a 53ft trailer. I tried and tried to get it in there.
I finally asked for help from an old timer sitting in an old COE. He said yes, then grabbed a box out of his sidebox, placed it on the ground. Looked around at everything, and set blocks out in the places of the building and every truck out there.
He played with those wood blocks for 10 minutes, then he put them away. He came over to me and said, "now do as I tell you, and you'll be in the dock in a jiffy". I wasn't sure, but I trusted him. And darned it he didn't have me in there on the first go.
So you never know who you might learn something from. If your good, you can even learn from those who wreck, roll over, or get busted by the scales all the time. Lessons are out there all over the place. You just have to keep an eye peeled, and your ears open.
I once had a guy bad mouth me from Knoxville,TN, all the way to the VA line up 81. He said I had no business being out there. He said women should be home, having babies, taking care of things for the man.
Once I crossed the state line, I had had all I was going to take. I let him have it, all the way to the PA line. And the guys fallowing him told me, once we hit that first rest area in PA, he pulled off, ripped his cb out of the truck, threw it in the trash, and never got another one.
When I was growing up, my grandfather told me, never let anyone tell you that you can't do something. And I have never let anyone tell me what I could or couldn't do in my life. I miss my husband, but he knew I was strong, and that's why he wanted me to live free.