As truckers, we all have our stories concerning experiences on the road. It could be anything from a weather event, an accident, something to do with a shipper or receiver or the challenge of a load. The more years you’re on the road, the more experiences you have to tell at the truck stop counter, in the drivers’ room or to the grandkids sitting at your feet. Bottom line – trucking is a series of short stories that explain a lifestyle of the men and women who transport the lifeblood of our nation’s economy.
The stories I can relate from nearly a quarter of a century and two and a half million miles in the left seat of a tractor trailer are numerous. Some are humorous, others are very sad – and many teach valuable lessons about life. Trucking is life at its grittiest and most challenging, but at the same time with all the beauty of the wide open spaces this expansive nation has to offer. Truckers get to experience people from all walks of life, from multiple cultures, languages and ethnicities. Trucking is one of the few careers in which you have the opportunity to experience America in all its ugliness, goodness and beauty – at the same time.
The stories I can tell range from loading and unloading a 3-ton granite boulder in a moving truck without the aid of any mechanized equipment to moving Korean stone effigies dating back to the 5th century BC which were being returned to the South Korean government from a basement in an American home (not all war refugees are human).
I’ve moved a former Canadian Prime Minister and a Marine SPC headed home from the first Gulf War. I’ve transported multi-million-dollar mainframe computers used in cell phone chip manufacturing and artifacts of our nation’s history for the Smithsonian. And hauled training simulators for the F117, the B-1 and the Raptor, before they were known to exist. I’ve seen death and births on the highways of America, from the most horrifying to the most glorious. Every one of these events has its own story, some that need to be told, others that can’t be told.
These experiences are all unique to my time on the road. But there are nearly 4 million other truckers with similar but different experiences, stories of their life on the road.
Trucking is a lifestyle like no other; as exciting as it is boring. It’s an ever-evolving, ever-changing industry that’s at the cutting edge of technology but retains its mystery and rogue American Cowboy persona. It takes a special person to become a trucker, as many carriers are finding out from the excessive turnover in the industry as a whole. The challenges faced by America’s truckers while the industry’s changing in the light of new regulation and technology are still the same – as a trucker’s life can change in a flash, just over the next rise or around the next turn. Certain aspects of its unpredictability will never change. And so will come more stories from more truckers from their life on the road.