AuthorTopic: My Truckin' Truck Life  (Read 16881 times)

Offline Randy C

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Re: My Truckin' Truck Life
« Reply #15 on: December 10, 2017, 06:20:50 AM »
As a part of finding a new life after selling my farm in 2015, I looked into over the road trucking with Swift in Minneapolis and decided against it for several reasons including my wife's health and concerns that I couldn't, at age 55, keep up with all the physical labor involved in securing loads.  I also looked into railroading but that has only generated one interview with no offers, so, I opted to go with a state funded rural transit service that pays about $14 per hour worked, working about 30 hours per week.  We live in a small, under 5,000, town and can walk or bike to most everything we need.  The bus barn is only 2 miles away and we don't see much of our management.  Our biggest problem with our work day are dispatchers that have never lived in our county and who have no idea how long it takes to secure and transport elderly people in wheel chairs.  And yes, we hate them....   ::)

Other than that, to make up the difference in pay, we participate in the FSA (Free Shit Army) thought Minnesota Care, which is based on income.  At my income, age and marital status, the State pays our premiums with no deductables so I'm taking advantage of it while it is available. 

In fact, my son, who also works out of the same office I do concluded that if we went full time we would be off Minnesota Care and would have to buy the crappy insurance that our employer provides, so he sews costumes for extra cash.  We also use the local food bank and will probably sign up for SNAP at some point in time. 

It sucks but I had no choice but to sell out in 2015.  After five years of farming, we looked at the books and things were not getting better.  The 2008 crash really took its toll on the region we were living in at the time and it was better to get out while we still had control of the situation.  It also took nearly a full three years to get the property sold.  We were really exhausted by the whole process and were very relieved when we signed the last of the papers, cleared out the loans, picked up our check and walked away.  We spent about two years traveling, helping an elderly parent and living out of a 21 foot camper van and are now in a small house that our son owns. 

I get your point RE about the cost of having kids... We had our one son in 1987 when you could still pay a hospital bill ($1,250) for a natural birth with an $8.00 per hour job, but those days are long gone.  I know a guy who is a successful software engineer in Fredericksburg, VA who, until recently, thought it was still possible to work your way through college as a young person.  He has only recently figured out that it is no longer possible after seeing his second daughter go miles into debt for a communications degree at a private school.  She will be paying those debts off for a long time, and she has three kids as well.  Just getting by, hoping the next hurricane doesn't flatten their single wide in Orlando....  :P

Yes, the youth are screwed and at some point in the not to distant future, they will collectively figure this out and it will be quite the shit show I'm sure... stay tuned...  ;D

Offline RE

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Re: My Truckin' Truck Life
« Reply #16 on: December 10, 2017, 06:44:53 AM »
As a part of finding a new life after selling my farm in 2015, I looked into over the road trucking with Swift in Minneapolis and decided against it for several reasons including my wife's health and concerns that I couldn't, at age 55, keep up with all the physical labor involved in securing loads.

LD is working flatbed, which is very physically demanding.  Hopefully he gets out of that line of trucking work before he is 50.

I pulled a dry box.  Dry box and Reefer are much less physically demanding.  In 7 years OTR, I only did a load or unload twice.  If the shipper/receiver didn't do it, I paid lumpers to do it.  Tankers fall in the middle here, doing the pump offs is somewhat demanding, but not like tarping is.  It also pays better.  Automotive hauling also pays well, but is demanding physically getting the carz on and off the trailer.

I considered myself to be strictly a Driver, not a Loader of trucks.  They couldn't have paid me enough to do flatbed.

RE
« Last Edit: December 10, 2017, 07:15:04 AM by RE »
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Offline luciddreams

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Re: My Truckin' Truck Life
« Reply #17 on: December 10, 2017, 07:27:36 AM »
LD

Are you eating healthy? Are you smoking a lot? Don't fall down that rabbit hole.

I'm glad you don't mind the job. Sounds like it has a good side, after all.

Well I'm not eating as well as I was when at home, but I wouldn't say I'm eating unhealthy either.  My typical day is I have a cup or two of coffee, then I eat a clif bar, and I have some other healthyish bars to choose from, but same concept.  For snacks I keep mixed nuts, peanuts, cashews, jerky, sunflower seeds, string cheese, and apples.  I typically will snack on some of that mid day.  When I stop for the day I make a sandwich or a wrap.  I don't eat truck stop foods. 

If I'm away from a terminal when I do my 34 hour resets then I will typically find a restaurant to walk to.  34 hour resets are like my weekends.  We can only work 70 hours in an 8 day period.  After we get to 70 hours we have to park the truck and not be on duty in any fashion for 34 hours.  After the 34 hours our clock starts over at 70 hours.  We can only drive 11 hours a day and can only be on duty for 14.  This is all regulated by the DOT and kept up with via electronic logs which the DOT can access.  There isn't much cheating that goes on with electronic logs.  Personally I like that fact.  It's takes the pressure away.  I want my 34 hours off after being on duty for 70. 

  I typically work a full 14 hours everyday counting load securing and driving.  My 34 hour resets are the only time I "eat out," and also the time when I drink alcohol.  I don't drink during my work week.  Occasionally I'll buy a piece of pizza at a truck stop, but that is typically during a 34 hour reset after I've had enough beer to not give a shit about the extra calories.  I could be doing a lot worse as far as calories and food go.  The jerky and lunch meats are probably the most unhealthy stuff that I eat on a regular basis. 

I don't smoke or dip.  My vice would be gum chewing.  I've got five different types and I unashamedly chew gum pretty much all day long when I'm driving.  I figure the chewing burns up the little bit of calories I'm taking in by chewing the gum...and some.  I chew sugar free.  I'm going to get one of those hand clamp things to exercise with.  I'll have ripped forearms before long  ;D 

Being that I'm flat bed I actually get a good bit of exercise in.  Some days I'm down right whopped after I'm finished securing and tarping.  Lumber tarps weigh 150 pounds each.  The chains we use are around 50 pounds, and the ratchet binders are probably 25 pounds each.  I'm getting up onto the trailer and back down over and over again during the process.  It's a lot different then what RE did being a Van driver.  I actually get a good bit of exercise.  Granted, I'm still sitting on my ass a lot...driving...but that monotony is broken up by the load securing and unsecuring.  I haven't weighed myself, but I don't think I've gained any weight since I started. 

Trucking is not a healthy lifestyle, but neither are a vast majority of all of the other jobs available to Merikans.  As trucking goes I'm in the most active branch of it being a flatbedder.  I drink a whole hell of a lot less then I was when I was at home.  I drank everyday then, so I'm taking in a lot fewer calories just because of that.  I was drinking an average of 6 beers a day, craft, dark, high calorie beers, and sometimes a lot more then that.  I was also sitting on my ass a lot.  Then it was sitting in my truck driving from place to place and then sitting on a lawn mower and then sitting on an easy chair at home.  At least now we don't have money problems and my credit is back to good. 

 

Offline Surly1

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Re: My Truckin' Truck Life
« Reply #18 on: December 10, 2017, 07:52:25 AM »
As a part of finding a new life after selling my farm in 2015, I looked into over the road trucking with Swift in Minneapolis and decided against it for several reasons including my wife's health and concerns that I couldn't, at age 55, keep up with all the physical labor involved in securing loads.

LD is working flatbed, which is very physically demanding.  Hopefully he gets out of that line of trucking work before he is 50.

I pulled a dry box.  Dry box and Reefer are much less physically demanding.  In 7 years OTR, I only did a load or unload twice.  If the shipper/receiver didn't do it, I paid lumpers to do it.  Tankers fall in the middle here, doing the pump offs is somewhat demanding, but not like tarping is.  It also pays better.  Automotive hauling also pays well, but is demanding physically getting the carz on and off the trailer.

I considered myself to be strictly a Driver, not a Loader of trucks.  They couldn't have paid me enough to do flatbed.

RE

Certainly understand Randy's decision. It's pretty amazing how the [aging] body makes a lot of these decisions for us. Pro videographers often face the same issues hoofing around ENG/EFP cameras, although the transformation to digital has made them a little lighter than they were in then 70s and 80s. That shit is a young man's game.

LD is a strapping motherfucker and can play this game for a while. I'm sure he will know when to fold 'em.

This past October I shot a wedding for a couple that are friends of my daughter. My Nikon D3/lens combo weighs about five pounds. It's amazing how heavy this shit becomes to hoist aloft after four hours.

The body has its own logic and ultimately gets the final vote.

"...reprehensible lying communist..."

Offline luciddreams

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Re: My Truckin' Truck Life
« Reply #19 on: December 10, 2017, 08:30:40 AM »
Talking about kids and doom would be a good blog all by itself...maybe I'll write that today :icon_scratch:

It's a complicated topic with a lot of conflicting emotions.  I love my children, and while I'm no Jesus, I certainly feel that I'm sacrificing myself for my children and wife.  I'm doing this to provide them all with the best life I can provide for them.  That means money, and it's too late in the game for me to go back to college.  Never mind the fact that I have no desire to go back to college, and also that's a gamble that seldom pays off anyways.  The only guarantee with college is the debt.  I put a lot of thought into getting paramedic and getting back on the meat wagon, but in the end I just don't think I can stomach the imperial bullshit that comes with it.  There is more bullshit to deal with in EMS then a bull shit shoveler would deal with on a daily basis. 

While I'm making under minimum wage by the hour, I'm still making twice as much money as I've ever made before doing this.  That is a reality.  Granted, I was getting around 20k worth of free shit by living under the poverty line with my business. 

Two weeks ago the library called GM and offered her a full time position.  She had applied for several library positions last summer.  We were trying to use her degree to secure the extra income.  She applied to about 10 different positions and was passed up on all of them.  We decide that truckin' was the best path for us, and then two weeks ago the fucking library calls begging her to take the position.  They wanted her so badly they were even willing to change the schedule around.  After crunching the numbers, due to child care, it ultimately was not worth it.  Besides, we would both rather provide our children with a stay at home mother then to pay strangers to fuck our kids up.  It was going to be about $1000 a month for child care. 

Now I'm paying 8k a year for medical insurance, which was free.  I'm paying god knows how much in income tax, which before I ended up with a check due to earned income credit.  Now we have to buy all of our food when before we got $350 a month in food stamps.  They really fuck you up the ass if you try to be a working man.  Now I'm hearing about Dumps tax reform shit which is going to fuck me even more.  Yet still we are way better off financially with me doing this. 

I'm structuring my life so that I can retire when my youngest is 18.  The single wide will be paid off as will the land.  I'll have some 401k saved up by then.  My plan is to get back to doing what I was doing.  Hopefully herb will be legal by then, but if it's not I'll just grow my own hydroponically.  I'm going to retire to growing herb, food, and playing shakuhachi in my bamboo groves.  I'll just get back to doing what I was doing before.  That is, live off of government assistance and do what I want to do all day long. 

Offline RE

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Re: My Truckin' Truck Life
« Reply #20 on: December 10, 2017, 08:52:13 AM »
I'm structuring my life so that I can retire when my youngest is 18. 

Unfortunately, I will not last long enough to see that day from this side of the Great Divide. :(

So far, I am not convinced you can pay off your Single Wide inside 13 years and retire to smoke dope in the backyard at age 53 or so.  The numbers don't work out.

RE
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Offline luciddreams

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Re: My Truckin' Truck Life
« Reply #21 on: December 10, 2017, 09:31:45 AM »
My conclusion...don't procreate in Merika, because if you do, then you are signing up to contribute to the "economy."  They've got you by the balls because they can threaten you with custody of your children if you don't have the money to be the change and live your counter culture life.  Which...if you are paying for it...it's not really counter culture.  If you are paying your way it's not culture, it's the Merikan way. 

Sadly, you came to this conclusion a little too late, after the horses had left the barn.  Having kids is for rich people.  I got this principle before making this mistake.  I have CFS and do not have my brains dangling between my legs.

Two of my prize gymmies from my last job's father was just your age.  He was an executive for a Civil Engineering firm that serviced the Oil companies, building roads and such.  When we had an away meet, they flew to it on the company jet.  At the Summer Solstice, they held a big party & BBQ on their property, complete with a barn housing 4 horses and a field about 2 football fields in size next to the house, all surrounded by mountains.  His kids were very happy.

I'm going to address all of this in a blog post.
Quote
Far as being chained in by buying a single wide manufactured home on credit, nobody is sticking a gun to your head forcing you to sign a mortgage for that.  The Child Welfare folks are not threatening to take your kids, they have a roof over their heads and hot water running out of the sinks, shower and tub.  Save your money and pay CASH for what you can afford.  See how much money you have actually saved after a full year OTR.  If you want to pay off a $100K house in 10 years, you're going to need at least $12K/year to do that, including the interest.  That's not including maintenance costs which need to be budgeted in.

I don't think we're going to agree on this.  You will never understand my position on this because you were never married with kids.  A nuclear family needs it's own roof in Merika.  Husband and wife require a certain amount of privacy for many reasons (and sexual is only one of them...in the end a closed door suffices for that need).  It's not just GM wanting her own nest, it's also me wanting it for her.  I want her as happy and content as possible so that she can be a better mother to my children. 

This may or may not be true, but one of past elderly clients told me that the symbol in Chinese for war is a house with two women in it.  Whether that is true or not, it may as well be. 

Taking the fact that we need our own place to be not only true, but also advisable, then the only consideration left is how best to achieve it?  Mortgaging a single wide is by far the least expensive option available to us.  No contest!  It costs nearly two times as much to rent a ghetto ass apartment then to mortgage a single wide, and that comes with actually having to live in an apartment.  If you have to pay rent then you are better off paying a mortgage, and this is especially true in this case.  A new single wide comes with new appliances, a new roof, and new hvac.  It comes with 10 years trouble free...at least that's a good bet.  It satisfies the child care gestapo.  We plan to build a straw bale cob house, or an earth ship, or some hybrid.  We have some good friends that run a business building the like.  The trailer is just temporary.  I'm going to buy an acre off of my mom's 11 acres, and the other half of the land will be left to my family. 

The single wide is the cheapest and best option for us. 

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You also have to count on never being unemployed for the whole 10 years.  No recessions, no layoffs, no accidents, no major medical bills.  The odds here are not very good on this gamble of future earnings.

Well, that's life.  Besides, if I can't pay a meager mortgage payment with a CDL then neither can anybody else because that means the trucks have stopped which means the economy has stopped.  Or...the robots have took over the job of moving our freight around.  Either case we're talking apocalyptic shtf and teotwawki, and the only hedge against that is to be independently wealthy...and even then money is only going to get you so far. 

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Live within your means, eschew credit of all forms.  It's how I broke free of the chains.  You have it harder because you made the mistake of having children as a poor person, but it is not an irreperable mistake.  You don't HAVE to buy a single wide on credit.

I don't have to be driving a truck either, but I am. 

Offline luciddreams

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Re: My Truckin' Truck Life
« Reply #22 on: December 10, 2017, 09:40:33 AM »
I'm structuring my life so that I can retire when my youngest is 18. 

Unfortunately, I will not last long enough to see that day from this side of the Great Divide. :(

So far, I am not convinced you can pay off your Single Wide inside 13 years and retire to smoke dope in the backyard at age 53 or so.  The numbers don't work out.

RE

I'll be mortgaging 60k. 

If I pay $1000 a month that's 12000 a year.  How does that not work out?  13x12000 is 156k.  I could easily pay that mortgage off within a 10 year period, and save money while I'm doing it.  It's conceivable that I could do it in 6 years.  However, I won't, because I want to save money to get through lean times.  I'm sure the economy will tank again like 2008.  I'd like to save enough money to get through a year without any income. 

Offline RE

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Re: My Truckin' Truck Life
« Reply #23 on: December 10, 2017, 12:21:32 PM »
I'm structuring my life so that I can retire when my youngest is 18. 

Unfortunately, I will not last long enough to see that day from this side of the Great Divide. :(

So far, I am not convinced you can pay off your Single Wide inside 13 years and retire to smoke dope in the backyard at age 53 or so.  The numbers don't work out.

RE

I'll be mortgaging 60k. 

If I pay $1000 a month that's 12000 a year.  How does that not work out?  13x12000 is 156k.  I could easily pay that mortgage off within a 10 year period, and save money while I'm doing it.  It's conceivable that I could do it in 6 years.  However, I won't, because I want to save money to get through lean times.  I'm sure the economy will tank again like 2008.  I'd like to save enough money to get through a year without any income.

You have a $40K downpayment?  That's a little more reasonable.

RE
« Last Edit: December 10, 2017, 03:03:46 PM by RE »
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Offline RE

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Re: My Truckin' Truck Life
« Reply #24 on: December 10, 2017, 03:01:10 PM »
You will never understand my position on this because you were never married with kids.

You have this completely backwards.  It's because I understand what it is like to be a married man with kids that I am not one of them.  It doesn't even matter if you are rich or poor on this, it turns all men into slaves struggling to fulfill the desires of their dependents.  You never can either, unless you get REALLY rich.  So your whole life becomes about making more money to buy more things that your wife and kids need want.  In a couple of years if you get your mileage pay up some, the single wide won't be good enough and you'll need to ugrade to a doublewide.  An old used car won't be good enough, you'll need to buy one on credit from the dealership.  That old couch you got at the thrift store not good enough, you need a new one from IKEA.  The list goes on and on.

It is because I understand your situation so well I didn't take the Joplin exit off the I-44 and marry Truckstop Waitress.  Making myself a slave for the rest of my life did not appeal to me.  So I didn't "have" to buy a single wide to make her happy and I could keep living in my truck, socking away the FRNs.  You unfortunately grasped the reality a little too late.

RE
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Offline luciddreams

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Re: My Truckin' Truck Life
« Reply #25 on: December 10, 2017, 04:16:49 PM »
You will never understand my position on this because you were never married with kids.

You have this completely backwards.  It's because I understand what it is like to be a married man with kids that I am not one of them.  It doesn't even matter if you are rich or poor on this, it turns all men into slaves struggling to fulfill the desires of their dependents.  You never can either, unless you get REALLY rich.  So your whole life becomes about making more money to buy more things that your wife and kids need want.  In a couple of years if you get your mileage pay up some, the single wide won't be good enough and you'll need to ugrade to a doublewide.  An old used car won't be good enough, you'll need to buy one on credit from the dealership.  That old couch you got at the thrift store not good enough, you need a new one from IKEA.  The list goes on and on.

It is because I understand your situation so well I didn't take the Joplin exit off the I-44 and marry Truckstop Waitress.  Making myself a slave for the rest of my life did not appeal to me.  So I didn't "have" to buy a single wide to make her happy and I could keep living in my truck, socking away the FRNs.  You unfortunately grasped the reality a little too late.

RE

right, so you don't have a rent payment then?  You are living in your apartment for free? 


Offline RE

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Re: My Truckin' Truck Life
« Reply #26 on: December 10, 2017, 04:39:45 PM »
You will never understand my position on this because you were never married with kids.

You have this completely backwards.  It's because I understand what it is like to be a married man with kids that I am not one of them.  It doesn't even matter if you are rich or poor on this, it turns all men into slaves struggling to fulfill the desires of their dependents.  You never can either, unless you get REALLY rich.  So your whole life becomes about making more money to buy more things that your wife and kids need want.  In a couple of years if you get your mileage pay up some, the single wide won't be good enough and you'll need to ugrade to a doublewide.  An old used car won't be good enough, you'll need to buy one on credit from the dealership.  That old couch you got at the thrift store not good enough, you need a new one from IKEA.  The list goes on and on.

It is because I understand your situation so well I didn't take the Joplin exit off the I-44 and marry Truckstop Waitress.  Making myself a slave for the rest of my life did not appeal to me.  So I didn't "have" to buy a single wide to make her happy and I could keep living in my truck, socking away the FRNs.  You unfortunately grasped the reality a little too late.

RE

right, so you don't have a rent payment then?  You are living in your apartment for free?

While I was trucking?  No rent payment.  Just my storage unit cost of $40/mo.

Once I left trucking, of course I had a rent payment, but always as low-rent as you can get.  Anyplace with a bed and toilet was good enough for me.  I didn't need a bunch of bedrooms for kids, and it didn't have to be pretty for the wife.

I also never took on debt for apartments I lived in.  I don't buy and saddle myself with a property i can't unload if I want to move.  I don't even like signing leases and spent plenty of time living in month-to-month Bates Motels.  I also was well ahead of the game by the time I jumped out of the driver's seat, I had plenty of money in the bank and no debts whatsoever.  No car loan, nada.  I have been a free man ever since.  Any job I didn't like, I could flip the boss the bird and be out the door in a heartbeat.  Nobody has ever been able to tell me what to do or how to do it since I made my vow to eschew debt.

RE
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Offline RE

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Re: My Truckin' Truck Life
« Reply #27 on: December 10, 2017, 05:14:34 PM »
Full Disclosure, I DID Violate my No Debt Oath once, when I bought my Freightliner from JB Hunt.  However, this was a very odd deal with very good terms for the drivers who qualified.

At the time, JB was trying to offload some of their debt to improve their balance sheet.  We got the trucks for half the cost JB paid for them new to begin with.  The down payment was very low, as I recall it was $5K minimum, I put $10K down.  If you didn't pay off the loan or couldn't sell the truck, JB would buy back for some amount depending on the condition of the truck.  The risk was pretty low for me at the time, and the upside was more money and greater control over my life OTR.  So I signed the papers and the truck was mine.  Unlike debt for a McMansion though, it had ROI.  It wasn't a money sink, it made money for me.

RE
« Last Edit: December 10, 2017, 05:45:24 PM by RE »
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Offline Eddie

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Re: My Truckin' Truck Life
« Reply #28 on: December 11, 2017, 04:10:03 PM »
Full Disclosure, I DID Violate my No Debt Oath once, when I bought my Freightliner from JB Hunt.  However, this was a very odd deal with very good terms for the drivers who qualified.

At the time, JB was trying to offload some of their debt to improve their balance sheet.  We got the trucks for half the cost JB paid for them new to begin with.  The down payment was very low, as I recall it was $5K minimum, I put $10K down.  If you didn't pay off the loan or couldn't sell the truck, JB would buy back for some amount depending on the condition of the truck.  The risk was pretty low for me at the time, and the upside was more money and greater control over my life OTR.  So I signed the papers and the truck was mine.  Unlike debt for a McMansion though, it had ROI.  It wasn't a money sink, it made money for me.

RE

A very important distinction. An 18 wheeler is an asset. A house (at least according to some experts like Robert Kyosaki) is a liability.

But most of us have to have a place to live, and renting versus owning is a decision that requires examining ones own needs and situation. If LD is buying land. owning a trailer gets him on the land right away. He could then build a small house, paying as he goes,and then sell the trailer, maybe, and not be tied to a huge debt for his whole career.
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline RE

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Re: My Truckin' Truck Life
« Reply #29 on: December 11, 2017, 06:40:18 PM »
He could then build a small house, paying as he goes,and then sell the trailer, maybe, and not be tied to a huge debt for his whole career.

When is he going to build this small house?  On his one week off out of 5 OTR?  He has it in budget to buy all the building materials for the house so it meets code?

Sell the mobile home?  Like carz, they lose 20-30% of their value as soon as you pull them off the showroom floor.  5 years down the line, you would be lucky to get half what you paid for it.

RE
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