On the Road Again: Thanksgiving Edition - Insider Tips from Truckers to Enhance Your Holiday Journey

On the Road Again: Thanksgiving Edition - Insider Tips from Truckers to Enhance Your Holiday Journey

Navigating the Holiday Highway: Truckers Unveil Expert Tips for a Seamless Thanksgiving Road Trip

Embarking on the journey to Grandma's house during Thanksgiving might feel like an epic battle, but seasoned truckers have a playbook to turn your road trip woes into a joyous adventure. Jenice Turner, with over 15 years of trucking experience, shares her mantra: "Today is going to be a good day, happy, happy, joy, joy," reminding us that a positive mindset can conquer holiday traffic blues.

As the founder of the Black Women Truck Drivers Facebook group, Turner, along with Monte Wiederhold and Marco Padilla, lends their road-tested wisdom to USA TODAY. Wiederhold, president of B. L. Reever Transport Inc., and Padilla, an owner-operator, weigh in on strategies to make your Thanksgiving trek smoother.

Padilla emphasizes strategic city navigation, dodging rush hours in major hubs like San Antonio and Houston. Turner, on the other hand, advocates for going with the flow, unwavering even in the face of traffic. Her secret weapon? Audiobooks, a free delight on the Libby app with a library card.

Wiederhold suggests regular pit stops every three to four hours to stretch legs and refresh. Meanwhile, Padilla takes a financial approach, planning fuel stops based on the varying prices in different states. He quips, "When I get to Arizona, I'll (only) put in so much fuel knowing that fuel is cheaper in New Mexico."

Fueling up becomes a strategic game for Wiederhold too, who notes that proximity to the interstate often comes with a convenience cost. Despite the extra miles, he asserts, "That's a principle thing."

Whether it's avoiding rush hours, embracing audiobooks, or playing the fuel-price game, these truckers turn their miles into moments and share their keys to a triumphant Thanksgiving journey. So, buckle up, hit the road, and let the holiday adventure unfold.

Truckers' Road Wisdom: Navigating Safety and Comfort on the Open Highway

In the vast expanse of the highway, where every mile counts, truckers Monte Wiederhold and Marco Padilla, along with seasoned driver Jenice Turner, share their invaluable tips for a safer and more enjoyable journey.

Wiederhold's advice is clear: avoid lingering in blind spots. "Drive like your life depends on it," he emphasizes. Padilla echoes this sentiment, cautioning against speeding and passing trucks on the right. From his towering vantage point, small cars on the passenger side remain unseen, a potential hazard that demands careful maneuvering.

But it's not just about defensive driving. Padilla sheds light on the essentials every trucker should have on board—flashlights, blankets, a thermos with coffee, and water. Preparedness extends to Turner's portable toilet, a discreet necessity for those unexpected moments when nature calls in inconvenient places.

Turner, with her trusty GPS and roadmap book, advocates for strategic pit stops. Big-name truck stops like TA, Petro, Love's, Flying J, and Pilot top her list, emphasizing their 24/7 accessibility. Apps make locating them a breeze, ensuring a safe and comfortable break.

When truck stops aren't an option, Padilla navigates the challenges of rest areas. Daytime stops offer activity and maintenance, but nighttime requires vigilance. Ensure well-lit surroundings, park close to restrooms, and be aware of your surroundings—simple yet crucial steps for a secure break.

Wiederhold introduces the concept of a "one-stop shop" — seeking places for fuel and food together, or at least off the same exit. It's a time-efficient approach to refueling both the truck and the driver.

Padilla takes it a step further, detailing his wife's role in ensuring he has home-cooked meals for the road. Frozen and stored, these meals become a comforting ritual, microwaved to perfection during the journey.

As you hit the road, consider these nuggets of wisdom from those who navigate the highways daily. Their experience transforms the road from a mere passage to a journey marked by safety, preparedness, and a touch of home comfort.

Roadside Feasts and Truckers' Dining Wisdom: A Taste of Life on the Highway

In the world of long-haul trucking, mealtimes are a cherished ritual, and for Marco Padilla, it's a culinary journey prepared by his wife. "I'll have biscuits and gravy. I'll have homemade burritos. She makes me potato wedges and rice, whatever I want, and I just eat in my truck," he shares, offering a glimpse into the comfort of a home-cooked meal on the open road.

Monte Wiederhold, however, offers a cautionary note amid the allure of roadside diners. "Don't always fall for 'Oh, I see a lot of trucks parked there, so the food must be good.' That is not true," he advises. Instead, he suggests looking for places with a local crowd, reasoning that locals, with endless dining options, choose a particular spot for a reason.

Jenice Turner, with her extensive trucking experience, sheds light on the not-so-glamorous side of the road—the occasional rude gesture. "I've had plenty of people flip me off. You've got to understand, you never know what that person is going through, (if) it's road rage or they're going through something. I try not to look their way. I just keep going forward. I always tell myself, happy, happy, joy, joy."

In the trucking world, where every mile brings a new experience, these moments of shared meals and unexpected encounters become threads in the rich tapestry of life on the highway. It's not just about the destination; it's about savoring the journey, one homemade burrito and roadside wisdom at a time.

Navigating the Open Road with Truckers' Insight

As the highway stretches into the distance, the stories of truckers Monte Wiederhold, Marco Padilla, and Jenice Turner unveil a tapestry of experiences unique to life on the road. From the comfort of homemade meals in the cab to the cautionary tales of choosing the right roadside stop, these seasoned drivers offer more than just road wisdom—they provide a glimpse into a lifestyle marked by resilience, camaraderie, and the ability to find joy amidst the challenges.

In the world of trucking, where each mile brings new landscapes and encounters, a positive mindset becomes an invaluable companion. Turner's mantra of "happy, happy, joy, joy" resonates not only in facing traffic or unwarranted gestures but as a philosophy for embracing the unpredictable nature of the open road.

The road is more than just a path to a destination; it's a journey through diners and rest stops, each laden with its own stories. Whether it's Wiederhold's savvy dining advice or Padilla's meticulous preparation for the road, every tip becomes a marker on the map of a trucker's life.

As we traverse the highways of life, let the wisdom of these truckers guide us—finding joy in the small moments, appreciating a home-cooked meal, and steering forward with resilience, regardless of the occasional bumps in the road. After all, in the rhythmic hum of the engine and the endless miles ahead, there's a unique beauty to be discovered—one that unfolds with every turn of the wheel.


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