Pam and Ed Wetmiller, OOIDA members from Lima, OH, tried traditional tractor-trailer hauling for a couple years, but got into hauling expedited freight when they were looking for a company that would allow them to bring along their dog, Jazzy. After meeting a driver who hauled expedited freight for Tri-State Expedited Service out of Toledo, OH, they decided to give it a try and liked it.
In their 2000 Freightliner FL70, the couple hauls expedited freight for Tri-State. Although they haul a variety of products, 65 percent of their loads are auto parts heading for automobile factories, and this sometimes includes government sensitive freight. Their lightest load weighed half a pound and was hauled from Atlanta to Toronto. Their typical haul is 800-1,000 miles from Detroit to Texas, and they average 3,000 miles a week.
Because of their light loads, the couple’s Cummins 260-horsepower engine averages 10.1 mpg. They change their oil every 15,000 miles and use Mobil Delvac 1300. Why Mobil Delvac? “It will let your engine run for a million miles before needing an overhaul,” Ed says. In the winter, they add Howe’s antifreeze to their diesel fuel.
In two years, they have put 330,000 miles on the engine and report little trouble with the truck. “Our only problems have been windshield repairs and replacements,” Ed says. “And, that’s covered by our OOIDA truck insurance with no deductible for windshield repairs.” In addition to their regular pre-trip inspections and DOT inspections, Ed says Tri-State has them come in every four months for a thorough inspection.
Their 96-inch sleeper, built by AA Sleepers in Fort Worth, TX, provides them all the comforts of home — refrigerator, microwave, satellite television, laptop computer and a Qualcomm system.
Because the Wetmillers enjoy their new life on the road, they decided to share it with school children through Trucker Buddy International. Through the mentoring program, the Wetmillers write letters to their “buddies,” as well as send postcards and photographs from their travels. Just before stopping at the OOIDA headquarters in Grain Valley, MO, on their way to Detroit from Oklahoma City, the Wetmillers visited their Trucker Buddies — Ms. Laura Martz’s fourth grade class at Northview Elementary School in Olathe, KS.