NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Mark Gamble has been trucking off and on for the last 10 years, but he didn’t have family that gave him the trucking bug.
Gamble took the practical approach when he decided what he was going to do after getting out of the Navy.
“I’m retired military,” he said. “I’m used to being away from home. It seemed to be a pretty good marriage. It seemed like something I would like to do. I tried it and liked it. It was just a shot in the dark; no rhyme or reason.”
Gamble said that trucking is a great industry to be in and doesn’t see life on the road as just a job, although it can be tough in other ways.
“It’s more of a lifestyle,” he said. “It has to be. The money is great. It can either range from poor to great, depending on how you manage your time and go about it, and the company you work for. For me the money is great. Still, when you’re away from your family for a month at a time, you’ve got to love doing it or it ain’t going to work.”
“Since I’ve been in the industry it’s always been a high turnover rate,” Gamble said. “It’s good for this time and era that there are more [trucking] jobs than there are qualified people to do them. I’m not sure how to fix that. As it is, I like the way I’ve got it.”
Gamble said there have been things that have changed in the industry, but mentioned that trucking is still trucking, just the rules have changed a bit. Out a month at a time, he may have a different view than some truckers when it comes to going home.
“I look at it as 12 vacations a year, because I’m home a week,” he said. “I’ve worked for those companies that you get every weekend off. Your weekend consists of 36 hours. By the time you’ve rested up, it’s time to hit the road. I’d rather spend a long time out and a lot of time off. That’s my choice that others may see differently.”
Definitely seeing the glass half full, he takes full advantage of his time at home and said he enjoys boating when he has the chance.
“I relax,” Gamble said. “I’m out a month and in for a week. When I go home, I play. The wife takes care of the honey-do’s. If I’m not there and something big breaks, she hires somebody to fix it. I try not to go home and have a lot of big stuff to do.”
Gamble said being away from home is the worst thing about trucking and that there is a certain aspect that is getting worse on the road.
“Lack of truck stops [and] lack of places to pull over, that’s getting to be a problem,” he said. “You pull into rest stops at night and because so many other truck stops are filled for whatever reason, you can’t even find a place to park to run in and use the bathroom. That’s beginning to be a problem. There are no places for trucks to go.”
He said the money and increasing technology in the trucking industry is the best thing.
“If you’re good at what you do, the income is fantastic and there are plenty of jobs,” Gamble said. “That’s the best thing about it. Equipment is getting better all the time. With all the GPS and stuff out there, one of your biggest nightmares is getting lost in a place where you can’t turn around. I’ve been there.”
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