When Long-Haul Driving Runs in the Family

Stephanie GrandestaffPrime Good Dads

Prime driver, Anthony Eck, is Utah born and raised. He is the father of four kids—three boys and one girl ranging in age from 22 to seven. He also has two stepsons with his wife, Prime driver Heidi Eck. They are 20 and 19. When we caught up with Anthony for a recent podcast, he was hauling oranges from California to St. Louis, hoping not to encounter too much “weather” in route. Of course, with Anthony’s history and experience, questionable weather is nothing new.

Anthony’s daughter, Savannah, with dad’s truck

Anthony understands life on the road more than the average long-haul driver since he spent most of his preschool years on a truck with his mom. In fact, he says the two of them still laugh about a time when they were in New York and he pointed out, “Mom, that’s your exit,” as they drove past it. Even as a child, he had a head for navigation and directions.

According to him, driving a truck runs in the family. “My mom drove a truck,” he says. “So did my dad and both older brothers.” In fact, he says he was “on the truck from the time he was two-years-old to age five when his mother came off the road so he could attend school.”

Anthony’s love of driving clearly was shaped by these early experiences. “By the time I was five,” Anthony proudly reports, “I had seen all 48 states.”

Some drivers connect their love of driving to the opportunity to see the country. Others say they like being their own boss. Anthony likes these things too, but the most important thing to him is the actual opportunity to drive. “My favorite part of driving is driving. I love to drive.”

Today, like all the other members of his truck-driving family, Anthony drives a “reefer” with his wife Heidi. She typically drives during the day and he more often drives at night, often beginning his day at 1:30 or 2:00 a.m.

When they’re both awake, Anthony and Heidi use that time to connect with their kids. He says the hardest part of driving is trying to get home for special events, e.g. birthdays. Because he can’t always be there in person, Anthony does his best to connect with his younger children every day and with his older kids at least a few times per week.

“FaceTime is my friend when it comes to seeing what my kids are up to. Talk to them every chance you get. Keep up with what’s going on in their world.”

Enjoying a camping trip together

Other tips from Anthony for truck-driving dads and moms include the following:

  1. Take your kids out with you when you have the opportunity to do so. Let them see what you do, the country they live in, and the places they learn about in school.
  2. Have longer conversations using FaceTime versus just the phone. Kids want to see you and want you to see them.
  3. Send cards and postcards to your kids. They still get a kick out of “old-fashioned mail.”