By Sue Lynch
As I ride through Minnesota, I can’t help but think that this is my last trip in our truck. Time has come for hubby to retire. Many things have come into play in this decision: age, health, safety, liability, the whole trucking environment and a president who won’t listen to the will of the people.
In some ways, I am glad. I’m happy for hubby’s opportunity to retire after 35-plus years as a trucker, happy for all the places we have been, the friends we’ve made, the accomplishment of being able to own our own truck, have our own business, and to finally have found the best run of our lives, “the dream or gravy run,” as some would say.
We’re having the best year financially, as well as mechanically speaking, and with more time at home, we’re finally able to get some things done.
“So why sell out now?” you may ask.
Now is when our truck has value. Now is when we can make the decision.
We have more control of the selling price now. We can choose a buyer, to ensure a good sale that won’t come back to haunt us. We have had people come to us without advertising, which says that we are good business people and good truckers and that others respect us.
This trip is bittersweet. I’ll miss this old truck. Today is our eight-year anniversary with her. She has pulled us through thick and thin: team driving 1,000 to 1,200 miles a day, time in the shop, the dream truck of chrome and power and of all the bells and whistles you could want. We sought adventures on the open road ahead. We shared it all. We had pride in our ride.
There were bad times of slow freight, having to look for a new lease company when contracts changed or owners sold out. There were lean times when we had to decide which came first, the truck or the house. There were times we spent only two or three days a month at home, and weeks I spent in a hospital far from home with a critically ill husband-driver. It all goes into the mix of learning to run a business.
I’ve learned a lot about this industry, and I’m still learning. I don’t think one can ever know all there is to know about trucking.
This job takes a team of truck owners, drivers, bankers, accountants, dispatchers and mechanics. As this team breaks up to retire from this truck, the team of husband and wife continues. We are taking a break to rethink where we go from here. Our travel vehicle downsizes to a motor home for now, to soothe the call of the open road and provide a vacation from the demands of being a truck owner. I need to continue the final bookwork of shutting down this trucking business and wrap up tax work.
It’s the end of an older trucker’s time on the road; retirement has come. Looks like we made it!
So long, old truck. We’ll miss you, old friend. LL
Editor’s note: Sue and Bill Lynch live in Prairie Du Chien, WI. They are veteran truckers and longtime OOIDA members. Sue has served as an alternate for the OOIDA Board of Directors since fall 2002.