When Charlona Moore (not her last name then) was just out of trucking school and working with a trainer, she met Bobby Moore in a terminal where she was waiting for a trailer and he was waiting for a load.
“We met there and three months later we got together,” Bobby said. “We lived together for about a year, married in 1990 and have been on the road ever since.”
The couple, who call Mill Spring, N.C., home, is leased to CRST, runs team with him driving at night and her during the daytime. They have been with CRST since April and were with them for almost four years before.
“We usually run eight-and-a-half to 10-and-a-half hours per day [each],” Charlona said. “It depends on the load we’ve got. When we first started we did five and five, but we found that we didn’t really get the rest we needed so we switched to 10 and 10.”
As most people can attest to, relationships, especially marriage, can be tough. But being together in a truck for 20 years night and day can be taxing on even the smoothest relationship.
“You’ve got to really love each other to get along in that truck for 20 years,” he said. “When I first met her, everybody said we’d only be together three years — that was my reputation — but we have the same goals and we’ve been together ever since.”
They run dry van loads all over the country in Charlona’s 2005 Freightliner. She’s been a trucker for 21 years, while husband Bobby started driving trucks back in 1971.
“When I started trucking it was the old days,” Bobby said. “If a truck broke down, four or five [truckers] would stop and help you.”
And Charlona said she’s also seen a lot of changes in her 21 years of driving.
“There are not as many prostitutes; they call them lot lizards,” she said. “They’ve cleaned up the drugs a lot.”
Bobby said that trucking has changed a lot with some good and some bad.
“The biggest thing is that trucking has changed but the pay hasn’t,” he said. “Some companies pay more; that’s how they get decent drivers.”
Bobby said he can’t even remember how many companies he’s run loads for that have gone out of business. Both said they have numerous safety awards. The couple didn’t know how many miles they have run, but guessed 3 million to 4 million miles.
Bobby said he completes most of the trip reports, while they have an accountant that does their taxes and other things.
Technology has changed trucking in a lot of ways and Bobby is happy about that.
“Since computers have come out, that to me is one of the best communication [devices],” he said. “A lot of people don’t like them. To me, it’s the best communication between you and the dispatcher you’ve got.”
The couple uses a Qualcomm to get all dispatches, delivery instructions and weather reports, but they are not on an electronic on-board recorder (EOBR) for Hours of Service.
“If CRST goes to them before I retire then I guess we’ll use them,” Bobby said regarding the replacement of paper logbooks with an EOBR. Retirement for him might come in five years, he said. He’s 61 now. Charlona is 58 and said she’d probably retire when Bobby does.
Bobby said that if truckers would pull together and strike they might accomplish something as a group.
“People complain on the CB but don’t do anything about the problems,” he said. “Right now it’s not real bad. Overall, trucking was doing pretty good until the economy tanked. We could use better rates than what we’ve got.
“They say this CSA 2010 is gonna put a lot of drivers out of business. I read a lot about it on the computer. I think it’s going to get a lot of bad drivers off the road. Today you’ve got more new drivers out here that don’t understand trucking yet.”
Before he was a trucker, Bobby said he served “three years for Uncle Sam’s Army. I served in Vietnam for a year and then got into trucking.”
Charlona worked in a sewing plant where she set pockets on shirts. She also spent time working at a carbide plant where she ran a press machine, worked at a place that made pipe, and was a waitress.
“I make more money driving a truck than I ever made before,” she said. “I got a divorce and had three kids and couldn’t support them on what I made in the sewing plant.”
Charlona’s three children are grown. Bobby’s got one grown daughter. Each has five grandchildren, but they don’t get to see them much.
“My baby’s 31,” Charlona said. “We just went to his wedding in El Salvador. He works in ITT for the U.S. government.
The team has a few helpers along for the ride — five Pomeranian dogs which greeted The Trucker with yappy barks when a reporter went to the truck to shoot photos.
Barb Kampbell of The Trucker staff can be reached for comment at email@example.com.
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