Long as I can see the OOIDA light

March 13, 2018

Wendy Parker

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OOIDAPut a candle in the window
‘Cause I feel I’ve gotta move
Though I’m goin’, goin’
I’ll be comin’ home soon
Long as I can see the light

Pack my bag and let’s get moving
‘Cause I’m bound to drift a while
Though I’m gone, gone
You don’t have to worry
Long as I can see the light

‘Guess I’ve got that old travelin’ bone
Cause this feeling won’t leave alone
But I won’t,  I won’t
Be losin’ my way
Long as I can see the light” – John Fogerty

I remember the first time my husband George and I ever set foot inside the OOIDA building in Grain Valley, Mo., pulling into a lot that didn’t belong to a shipper, receiver or truck stop. There were parking spaces reserved for trucks with trailers — a welcoming sign.

 We were heading east on I-70, towards home, after my first cross-country trip in a commercial vehicle. Exhausted from 10 days in the Pacific Northwest, where parking was (and still is) a nightmare for commercial vehicles, the “candle in the window” moment of arriving at a place we were actually welcome, and wanted, was something I’ll never forget. We weren’t “home,” by any means. Rather they offered friendly sanctuary, and that’s not something truckers get an enormous amount of.

Fast forward five years, a whole lot of miles and an ever-evolving perspective on the business of trucking. One minute I love it, the next minute I hate it. I’ve found that most people who are involved with the industry for any amount of time, have the same love/hate relationship. Sometimes it’s the most incredible job in the world. Sometimes trucking is little more than a poop popsicle on a hot day.

My feelings about the industry still vacillate wildly. However, one thing has always remained constant during the years I’ve spent living on a truck and writing about it. The “candle in the window” at 1 OOIDA Drive, in Grain Valley, Mo., continues to burn, shining light on what can sometimes be a very dark and lonely road.

“That ol’ travelin’ bone” seems to be one I can’t break, “cause this feelin’ won’t leave me alone.” Trucking is our family’s livelihood. It’s what we do, whether or not we love it every single day.  “But I won’t, I won’t be losin’ my way,” anytime soon. OOIDA and Land Line Magazine have given me the opportunity to be part of the light they shine on this industry as a staff writer, and part of the amazing team of people at  1 OOIDA Drive, where there’s always a candle burning in the window.

I’m home, y’all. Thanks for having me.

Pilot Flying J
Wendy Parker

Wendy Parker has covered the trucking industry since 2012 after she says she “lost my mind and decided to climb inside my husband’s big truck to travel with him as an over-the road, long-haul trucker.” Her unique writing style that ranges from biting satire to investigative journalism coupled with her unbridled passion for fighting round out a wildly talented stable of writers.