Our first team run

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My mom and dad's kitchen chalkboard.

Our first team run took us through Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington and back again. We drove on mostly interstate highways, but also a two-lane windy, mountainous road in Idaho where we needed a special permit to drive our truck. We made a delivery in Idaho, picked up a new load in Washington, then head back to Wisconsin. We drove, we slept (some), and we loved it.

We hustled back because we had a new load assignment that would put us right back out on the road again once we got home, and both Adam and I were cool with that. We began loosely planning the trip, counting our available hours, and mentally preparing ourselves to keep on truckin’.

Once back in Wisconsin we got news that the load had been cancelled and we were going to have the weekend off. At first I pouted because I was really excited to keep going, but after allowing myself to think about taking a break… I got tired. Really tired. Whoa! What the heck was that all about!? Adam and I talked about how we can convince ourselves to postpone fatigue. I guess I realized that was probably what I was doing and that this new way of life is going to take some getting used to.

We’ve come up with a plan for our next run that we’re going to try. It’s a schedule for us to drive in shifts. We are going to try 12-hour shifts from 2:00 – 2:00. I’ve got the am to pm shift and Adam’s got the pm to am. We’ll see how that goes. I sleep really well in the truck, but I’m not sure how “quality” that sleep has been, and Adam’s been stuck trying to sleep mostly during the day and struggled with sleeping a bit more. We’ll get used to it more and more as we go, and pretty soon I bet I won’t be able to sleep if my bed isn’t moving forward at 60mph!

Even though we’re still getting used to everything, it was a successful first team run. We delivered and picked up on time, we drove safely with no incidents, and nothing broke down. Not even a marker light. After we dropped our load and head back to Kaukauna, Adam blasted some fun music on the radio and we high-fived (horribly) to celebrate a good first run together. We really suck at high fives – we miss every time. But it makes us laugh.

Other randoms from the first run:

Our hot water kettle doesn’t work in the truck. It pulls too much power for our weeny inverter. We are going to get a better inverter installed soon, we hope, and it should work on that. We did carry the kettle into a rest area once where we were able to plug it in, but that was a hassle. I miss my daily dandelion tea!

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The kettle plugged in at a rest stop.

The lumbar support in the driver’s seat is up too far and my back has been killing me. My trainer suggested I fold up a blanket to raise me up a little bit so that the support is in a more comfy spot, so I’m going to try that. I hope it works. It could also just be another part of adjusting to driving, and the more relaxed I get, the less tense I’ll be. Who knows… time will tell.

We were told that we can get loaded faster if I check us into places. Shippers are used to all the burly guys rolling through, so when the lady truckers walk in, supposedly we get quicker service. I haven’t noticed anything yet, but we’ll see!

I backed into an outdoor portable dock for the first time, which is basically just a big ramp. It was a little rough at the start, but the forklift operator was very patient and nice, and I got it back in nice and straight – it just took a while. I’m pretty sure he knew I was a rookie. :)

I’m finding myself wanting to impress Adam with my driving skills, and I’ve easily let frustration surface when something doesn’t go just how I want it to – scratching a gear, oversteering a back… whatever little stupid thing it is. I felt a lot more laid back about my small screw-ups when I drove at school or with the trainers. Adam knows I’m new, is super calm and patient with me, always just trying to help, and that’s been great. I want to be a pro right now, but I’ve still got much to learn! Seriously, though, he’s been freaking amazing. I just need to be patient!

We got really close on weight distribution on this last run. I hope to go into this in a little more detail on a future entry. It’s so interesting. We were overweight on our steers (the front tires) by just a couple hundred pounds, and we couldn’t get our 5th wheel slide to work, so we reweighed with Adam in the bunk and figured in that we’d have less fuel weight in the tanks as we drove. We were totally fine, but it took us three trips through the scale and some tandem sliding to get it to where it could work. We need to get our 5th wheel slide working, though, because we’ve been really close on our steers on every load. It’s weird that with all the weight that gets carried in these trucks, the weight of the driver or a tank of fuel can actually put you overweight and in violation if you’re not careful.

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Scale.

So much math! Weight distributing (as mentioned above), available hours, miles, miles per hour, times of arrival, different time zone converting… it’s constant!

It’s all in a day’s work! We’re both still on our weekend as I write this, but we’re getting ready for our next run. Westbound again! Wooo! We’re excited to go to work!


Tonight I love bonfires. With our last-minute weekend off we head to Phillips to see our fams. A bonfire had to be had.

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Rollin.

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Pretty icicles at Lolo Pass.

Thanks for reading and being a part of my journey!

With love,
Toots Magoots
(Robin Grapa)

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5 thoughts on “Our first team run

  1. Congrats on your first run together! Going out west is really nice as long as you don’t have to chain up in the mountains. :)
    Remember when putting a power inverter or amplifier into your truck to use a fuse or breaker close to the battery. I’ve seen a few trucks catch fire over the years because the live wire would ground out on the truck chassis without a fuse to kill it. If you look on eBay type in “12v 200 amp waterproof breaker.” It’s only $9.95 & you can just reset it if it trips instead of dealing with fuses when it’s necessary. That should be good for up to a 2500 watt inverter while using 4ga wire. (Watts/Volts=Amps) When purchasing power hungry appliances like microwaves & toasters don’t forget to look at how many watts it draws. (Amps x Volts= Watts)
    Hopefully this helps you save some money down the road. :)
    (lol, down the road…truck driving….sometimes the jokes just write themselves)
    Happy trucking!

  2. Highway 12 west of Lolo Pass. Did you have to stop to put your rig in traction after 99 miles of curves? That was a delightful stretch to walk. Much easier than squeezing 53 feet of trailer around those endless curves. The welcome center at the pass is a great place to stop. Plenty of resources including free coffee, tea and hot chocolate with really good people stationed there. If Colleen is there, give her a hug for me. Happy trails and miles. Be well. jim

    • The visitor center was closed when we went through (but the restrooms were open!). If we ever pass through there again we’ll see if Colleen is there. That’s funny you remember the 99 miles of curves sign. If the could have fit more digits they would’ve because later there was another for 75 more miles of curves! It was s great road. Adam drove and had a sore leg since he couldn’t use the cruise the whole way.

  3. So cool that y’all are doing this! And glad you made it through my home-state, Montana. I had thoughts of trucking post-trail, some fam in Conrad, MT have a company. Admirable work. Good for you guys!

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