From Associated Press
HELENA, Mont. (AP) -Jim and Eva Sisler began traveling the country nearly 10 years ago, a couple of empty nesters in their 50s with a desire to see new places and build some assets before retirement.
Driving from California to New Jersey in two days, using layovers to visit historic sites in the South or ethnic restaurants in Chicago, the Sislers pack in a lot. Back in Montana, they revel in the simple pleasures of home. It's a nice change from life in an 18-wheel truck.
U.S. trucking companies want more people like the Sislers, to deal with what the companies fear will be a worsening shortage of long-haul drivers. The industry is launching an ad campaign for recruitment and is particularly interested in older couples, free of concerns about missed family time and perhaps looking to replace worn-out jobs with new ones before retirement. Putting two at the wheel helps business. The hours a truck legally can operate double and freight arrives sooner. Some of the customers demanding just-in-time deliveries, which cut the need for large inventories and warehousing, [are willing to] pay extra for team driving.
“Breaker, breaker, this is Gopher, me and the missus got a load of evolution-themed science textbooks that we need to get to the southland. Any smokies in this neck of the woods? Over.” “Ten-Four, Gopher. This Bocephus, me and Mrs. Bocephus just passed a couple of staties coming east on 10 at mile marker 268. Say, ya’ll up for some wife swappin’? Over.”
What a great marketing campaign by the trucking industry! There has been a big increase in RV sales to the boomer and preboomer crowd and though the cab of an 18-wheeler may not be as comfy as a Winnebago, it is considerably cheaper and gives couples the chance to earn some money while crisscrossing the nation. The danger, outside of being mangled in a horrible highway accident, is that some couples really should not work together. Add to that the stress of deadlines and backseat driving and we would not be surprised if, “I swear to God if you don’t shut the hell up I will jerk this goddamn rig into oncoming traffic!” was shouted a handful of times.