Written by Deanna Toncray, Executive Administrative Assistant
Mt. Sterling Driver Dick Kramberg began his career with the company in 1976 and has seen many changes in the driving job over the years.
One of the biggest changes is improved equipment.
Tractors today are automatic versus manual and have power steering. Air conditioning is much more reliable, and sleepers are walk-in rather than having to climb up into the sleeping area.
Trailers have swing doors rather than roll-up doors, and product is loaded on pallets versus floor loaded.
Drivers today deliver dry, refrigerated, and frozen product.
“When I started at Dot, we had dry trailers, with the exception of one refrigerated trailer used to store chocolate chips and keep them solid until delivered in Texas,” said Dick.
When Kramberg was hired in 1976, the company had 10 tractors (#16 – #25). Dick’s first tractor was #20, and his current one is #3794. The truck shop at that time was a green metal building on the West side of Mt. Sterling and now is located East of the gate station.
Today, Dot drivers deliver to the 48 contiguous states. But, in the 1970s, they only drove as far west as Kansas and as far east as Southbury, Connecticut. In the early years, many of the customers were in the South—in Eastern Texas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, and Tennessee. Drivers’ northern runs were mainly to Wisconsin and Michigan.
Eating While on the Road
Food options for drivers have changed considerably.
“Meals are mainly fast food from truck stops, whereas, in the 1970s, drivers ate home-style meals at mom-and-pop restaurants,” Dick said.
Like most drivers, Dick has a plethora of road stories in his memory bank. One that stands out in the bottle rocket story.
“While I was driving in New Mexico, a fireworks display was being launched on the side of an interstate to celebrate New Year’s,” Dick said. “One rocket got crossways and shot across the interstate in front of my truck, and I drove through a big burst of sparks.”
What has kept this driver on the road for 45 years? “I like to eat,” exclaimed Dick.
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