Love on the Highway: A Husband-and-Wife Trucking Team on the Road to Success
For Alice and Martin, trucking is more than just a business: it’s a way to live out their passion for the open road and the freedom it represents. It’s a lifestyle that has made them the successful trucker power couple they are today. This year, the couple celebrates 18 years on the road together and reflects on their vast experience, from running their own authorities to managing a linehaul fleet at FedEx Ground, the couple has seen lots on their miles traveled. And since 2021, YouTubers can follow the couple’s journey as they experience the ups and downs of trucking through their YouTube channel: Trucking Together.
Drivewyze sat down with Alice and Martin to learn more about the couple’s humble beginnings, their experiences driving under their own authority, and what life is like as a husband-and-wife team on the road.
Trucking Runs Deep
Martin is a trucker by heart. As a second-generation driver, he grew up in the trucking business and recalls that “ever since I remember, life was always about trucks.” Instead of going to summer camps or playing in the pool, Martin would join his father on the road from the Midwest to California to haul produce across the nation. He vividly remembers his road trips. “The feeling of the vibration of the truck, the smell of the burnt diesel fuel, and the sound stuck with me. I knew I wouldn’t want to do anything else.”
Martin followed his desire and got his CDL the day after his 18th birthday. “I’ve never really thought about any other career choices. Once it’s in your blood, it’s there and you’re not going back,” he adds. Only four weeks after obtaining his permits, Martin purchased his first truck, with his father’s help, and started hauling steel in Michigan. “I pretty much became an owner-operator at 18 years old and I’ve never looked back,” he recalls.
Little did he know he would soon meet the love of his life, brought together by a shared passion for the road.
Alice knew from a young age that trucks got her heart fluttering. She loved the semi-truck in the iconic 80s show Knight Ryder and recalls, “when I was a little kid, we’d always ride our bicycles around and pretend we were truckers.” Her family was no stranger to the industry, yet Alice admits, “I never really put much thought into making trucking my career.”
She took several detours before seeking her CDL. Alice went to college to pursue a career in graphic design and worked for several years in the automotive industry, but her heart yearned for more. “I wasn’t feeling secure or happy in any of my career choices and, back in 2005, I kind of made a radical decision to go to truck driving school,” she recalls. Alice chuckles as she remembers her time there and her difficulties with backing up the truck and understanding the physics of her axle weights.
While the change wasn’t easy, she reflects, “it put me more in charge of my destiny and gave me control, time to reflect on myself, and the ability to travel to see new things.”
Finding Love on the Road
So, how do two truckers find love on the road? For Alice and Martin, the matchmaker was an online trucking community called LargeCarMag. Both sought companionship from like-minded individuals and would frequent the online community to escape some of the isolation the trucking lifestyle can bring.
Martin explains, “She was a pretty girl with a truck and others [users] were kind of mean to her, so I felt compelled to reach out to her and we just started talking on the phone.” They quickly found they enjoyed each other’s company and talked on the phone through their long nights of driving. They discovered that they had a lot in common. “We would start talking all night long. She’d be on her way to San Diego and I’d be dodging winter storms on the I-40 coming back from Arizona with produce. Hours later we’d still be on the phone.”
A month later, they finally met in person.
Navigating the Trucking Industry
After hitting it off, Alice and Martin combined their authority and tackled the trucking industry challenges together. They ran under their own authority for several years, but when the market declined, they shifted gears and signed on with a company hauling pharmaceuticals. After welcoming two more bundles of joy to their family, they decided to accept a new opportunity in managing a linehaul fleet with FedEx Ground.
The experience was challenging but added a new dimension to their skill set. Martin admits, “It was definitely a learning curve. You get more of the back-office experience when you actually have employees involved and you have to cater to people’s needs. If you think managing a trucking company is easy – it’s not!” But, after five years, the road was calling again, and they leased on as a driver team for CEVA Logistics, enjoying the perks of a set schedule and steady pay.
Husband and Wife Over the Road Goals
Alice and Martin love spending their time together on the road. “We’re essentially the same person: soulmates. So, it just works for us. We share the same passion and can experience it together,” explains Alice. But Martin admits there are some downsides to sharing a cab. “One of the biggest challenges about team driving is the sleeping situation. If the truck rolls non-stop, some people just can’t get sleep when the truck is bouncing up and down, especially in Colorado.”
Another silent disagreement is the ambient temperature of the cab. While Alice appreciates the warmer temperatures, Martin is not a fan of an over-the-road sauna and admits he has had to bite his tongue more than once. Spurred by that revelation, Alice adds, “I love riding with him because he is my best friend and we’re doing it together. But I do have my frustrations: Martin will raise his eyebrows at my shifting game. Apparently, I’m not shifting the truck quick enough.” Martin is quick to defend and explains, “everybody has their own style of driving and she’s just trying to be a perfectionist. She’s a very good driver.”
All in all, they love to share their experience with their best friend and enjoy rolling down the highway with their truck ‘Fancy’ – a red 2009 Kenworth W900 with 13-speed transmission.
A Word to the Wise
When asked what tips the couple would give other drivers, they quickly agreed on four significant aspects.
Get a Roadmap and Trip Plan
Martin is stern in his recommendation: “get a roadmap and don’t just rely on Google Maps. If you’re taking a new route, you should always study the roads and trip plan.” Alice quickly adds, “We’re very big into trip planning. We know where we’re going to get gas, stop for dinners, and even where we’re going to switch before we start our drive.” Indeed, pre-planning your trip is essential to keep costs low and driver’s safer.
Know Your Limitations, Stay Safe, and Be Nice
Alice and Martin agree that common sense and understanding your limitations go a long way. “It’s important for drivers to understand their limitations. The best advice is to be aware of your surroundings, slow down, and never be afraid to ask for help.”
And, as the old saying goes, what comes around goes around. “Always be nice to everybody because you never know when they’ll open a door for you. You never know who will give you your next opportunity,” says Alice.
Stay Ahead of the Curve
“As a business owner, the hardest thing is to stay ahead of the curve and know when to adapt your business,” says Alice. “Many people get caught off guard because they’re not paying attention or are being too optimistic. People watching our channel might think we’re indecisive, but I think we’re just very aware and make changes as they’re thrown at us. Be flexible and adapt your business model based on what the economy tells you. Make yourself aware and don’t be afraid of change, even if it means giving up your own authority for a while. You always have to look out for yourself and your family first.”
Use a Weigh Station Bypass Service
Martin admits, “I don’t rely much on technology, I don’t even have a trucker GPS. But one thing I use is Drivewyze PreClear.” The couple loves the extra time savings, “When we went to Denver and back, we got bypasses at almost every scale. You’re already so limited in your time. It’s great that there are tools that give you some time back. I’m surprised not more people are using weigh station bypass,” explains Alice. Other perks they’re experiencing with Drivewyze PreClear are the free weigh station heads-up alerts and Safety Notifications across North America.
Steering Into the Future
With 2022 in the rear-view mirror, the couple anticipates a bright future with many new and exciting opportunities in 2023. If you’re following their channel, you’ll know they recently purchased two additional trucks (‘Tiny Dancer’ & ‘Lady Hawk’) and are on their way to establishing their own modest fleet. They also recently launched their own website.
Apart from their work ambitions, they’re already raising the next generation of truckers, with their oldest daughter already in the driver’s seat and the younger ones practicing on their parents’ laps. “We’re going to look ahead to the future. Life is wonderful with its ups and downs and you never know where it will take you,” says Alice.
Watch them tackle the ups and downs of the trucking industry and bypass weigh stations across the nation on their YouTube Channel.