Sometimes you only hear about the special events an over-the-road (OTR) trucker misses – college graduations, weddings, family barbecues. And that's always regrettable – the only way to work around those occurrences is to get a good relationship with dispatch and make sure you and the home office both hear about events in plenty of time to do some planning.
But what about other events, like the Indy 500 or the Super Bowl? Naturally you can aim for getting to those hosting cities whenever you can – but what happens when you get a last-minute load to a 'hot spot' but you don't have tickets? Or kick-off is right in the middle of delivery?
Most of us don't want to pay scalpers' prices. And it goes without saying, you're not going to miss your shipping deadline. So, revise your agenda a little.
At least half of all of us on the road nowadays have smart phones. So use your phone to go up on the website for the event and find a place to park your truck, catch local transportation, and hit the places where the parties, entertainment and the best food are all being staged. Sometimes, depending on the host city, there are free buses available at all hours, and the restaurants usually stay open almost 24/7.
Parking your truck also enables you to get to the fun without tearing your hair out while dodging cars, motorcycles and bicycles, all with passengers intent on the big game or the race, and frankly, not really watching where they're going.
For just one example, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, always held in early October, draws about a million extra people there each year. But there are parking areas where you can leave your truck, catch a shuttle, and be out on the launching field in time to watch as the hot air balloons are inflated and rise to meet the dawn. As the 'most photographed event in the world,' it'll keep you interested until your feet finally complain loud enough you have to go back to your truck to rest.
Tip: Stay at the TA in Albuquerque – you can catch a bus that goes out to the balloon launch field every day of the Fiesta. And you won't have to maneuver your truck past hundreds of thousands of other vehicles that are there for the event too.
Don't let lack of tickets cause you to miss out on some of the fun that surrounds a big event – enjoy your trucking career by taking in the bonus goodies, too.
Please share stories of your extracurricular activities while on the road by commenting below.
Photo by Marlon Long courtesy of Albuquerque International Ballooon Fiesta, www.balloonfiesta.com.