The Trucker Spotlight series explores the lives of truckers and their journey to make a difference in their industry. We interview different truck drivers to understand some life lessons that make them who they are today. We also learn more about their motivations, and the problems that they encounter on the job. We also tackle how Trucker Path’s solutions helped them with what they do. The information that they provide helps inform other people who are looking to delve into the trucking world.
Today we are putting the spotlight on James Cole, also known as “Dooner LivingStone” which is his nickname since Highschool. He’s been driving for around 11 years now. He also has a YouTube channel under the same nickname where he shares his experiences as a long haul trucker with whoever is willing to put up with his “keep it real” documentary style videos. Let’s get to more about James and his trucking life.
What made you decide to be a trucker?
My dad is also an over the road truck driver and has been out here doin’ the deal for over 50 years. I’m pretty sure that influenced me to hit the road myself. As a kid I had spent several summers truckin’ across the country with him. A few years after got out of the Air Force I got the funds together to go to truck driving school. Best decision I’ve ever made. It’s like it was in my blood or something!
In the years that you have been driving, what are the significant changes that you’ve
noticed in the trucking industry?
In the 11 years I’ve been driving, I’ve definitely seen some changes in the industry. ELDs and mandatory 30 minute breaks have had the biggest effect on me personally. It drastically changed how I run and I still haven’t fully gotten into the swing of things. I like to take a break when I want and I want to take a nap when I want without it screwing up my schedule. I think that’s all I better say about that. LOL.
What’s the best thing about being a truck driver?
The best thing about this career field is learning something new everyday. I’m not, nor will I ever be an expert in trucking. Everyday is a new experience and every load is a new challenge. Anyone who gets into this lifestyle should remember to always remain humble and understand that they will never know it all. The minute you forget that, you’re gonna make a major mistake. But… what the hell do I know?!
Any times when you get lonely while driving? How do you deal with it?
It does get lonely out here from time to time. While driving, I keep my mind occupied by listening to Howard Stern or some good music. I also think of other ways to add a little more entertainment value to my YouTube channel. I grind more gears in my brain than I do driving my truck. When I’m off duty, I work on my videos, or try to hone my photography skills, or work on my guitar playing. Just recently, I brought my copilot, Elvis, with me to keep me company. Elvis is my cat.
What’s the most memorable experience you’ve had while over the road?
One of my most memorable experiences was when I delivered a windmill to what seemed to be a hippy colony. I think it was somewhere in Michigan. I don’t know, I can’t remember. A local farmer unloaded it for them and they were all so excited! My son, Zack who was 10 at the time and spending his summer with me, was treated like a little rock star because he was very knowledgeable in music and also because he was traveling all over the country and seeing things a lot of kids will never see. I remember the lady who seemed to be the one in charge giving him a few CDs of some old school blues right before we left. I thought it was a great experience for him.
What’s your favorite Truck Brand / Model?
I love Peterbilts 359, 379, and 389. Beautiful trucks! I drive a 379.
Aside from being a trucker, any other things you dream of doing?
I was a starving musician for years. Never really wanted to be a rock star but, I did dream of living a comfortable life as a performing musician. I also wanted to be a news journalist and write for a newspaper. Good thing I didn’t pursue that career ’cause journalism is dead. We don’t need to get into that though.
What’s the best truck stop for you?
The best truckstop for me is one that has plenty of parking, good food, and clean showers and restrooms. So many of the really good ones aren’t around anymore or they were bought by the big chains. There are still a lot of good ones out there. If I had to choose one as my favorite it would be the Bosselman’s/Pilot Flying J in Grand Island, Nebraska.
What was the worst breakdown or setback you’ve experienced while OTR
The worst breakdown? When I ran out of fuel 8 miles from my fuel stop. This was just a few months ago. My fuel gauge read that I had a quarter tank but my gut was telling me otherwise. My pride was was seriously damaged that day. Remember what I said about being an expert, remaining humble, and learning something new everyday?
What do you think it takes to be really successful in the trucking/logistics field?
As long as you enjoy what you’re doing and work toward being better than you were yesterday you will be successful. Gotta be in the right truck, pulling the right trailer, hauling the right freight, using the right equipment, and striving to reach your personal best. If it’s a job for you and you don’t have it in your heart you will be miserable and unhappy. Get out and do something else. This life ain’t for everybody!
We’re glad that you use the Trucker Path app on your day to day trucking. What features do you enjoy the most?
I use Trucker Path to locate truckstops, parking areas, and scales along my route when planning my trip or if I just wanna check something out along the way. I can see the differences in fuel prices, parking availability, restaurants, and also look ahead to see if the chicken coop is locked up. I’m sure there’s more to learn on the app but these are features that I find highly valuable!