James & Rhonda Hale Would Rather Be Home

Would I Lie To You?
August 4, 2017
Mark & Kathy Thompson: Life At The Crossroads.
August 7, 2017
Which is why Baggett was a perfect fit for these Owner Operators.
James and Rhonda Hale have a house on 15 acres of land. They do not, says, Rhonda, have a “house” on their truck, one with all the comforts of home. And that’s just fine with them. Because home is Americus, Georgia. Not the road.
It wasn’t always that way.
Before joining Baggett, James and Rhonda worked for another Southeastern-based company, hauling produce. A job that left them, in Rhonda’s words, “run ragged with no pay. And grocery folks don’t really like truck drivers. Which is why we were looking for a change.
“We talked with a lot of different companies, but we just had a good feeling about Baggett. And Claiborne had a nice truck available for sale.” Just as importantly, Baggett made it clear that they could set their own driving schedule. And their own home time.
“That last company talked about home time,” Rhonda says. “With Baggett, we’re usually on the road about three weeks, and then we’re home anywhere from five to eight days.” The obvious question a lot of drivers would ask is: Doesn’t that limit your earnings capacity? “Sure, we could do a lot better,” says James, “but there are other things in life besides making money. Besides, we’re still earning a decent living with Baggett.”
So what do you do with all that home time?
If you’re thinking the two while-away their days rocking on the porch, you’d be wrong. With 15 acres to maintain, James spends a lot of time on his tractor mowing the lawn. It’s how, he says with a smile, he keeps himself in good standing with Rhonda.
Of course, a man’s gotta have his hobbies. James’s latest is his Dodge Hellcat Challenger. “It’s got 707 horsepower, and it’ll run about 204 mph.” That said, he’s quick to point-out, he’s never had it anywhere near top speed.
Rhonda’s taste in fast cars runs more to the NASCAR variety (“My guy is Bobby Labonte,” she says), but her main interest is a little more down to earth. “Right now, I’m re-doing the landscaping around the house,” which currently includes planting new flowers & trees — and building new walkways through the yard.
Last, but far from least: Family.
Together, James and Rhonda have five kids and seventeen grandchildren. An especially impressive figure, considering he just turned 50 and she’s only 48. What’s more, they’re about to adopt another “child”. James’s kids have a step-sister, Sheena, whose dad was anything but a father to her. “I just got attached to her,” he says. “Whenever I’d go pick-up one of my own daughters, I’d take her too. I’m the only father she’s ever really known, and making it official will do us both a world of good.”
Sheena’s now 33, with three kids of her own, and spends two days a week helping-out James and Rhonda with any number of projects around the house — including their books. A job, she might say, that’s taught her something James and Rhonda have pretty well mastered in their own lives: Balance.
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