Why would a fifty-something, nicely brought-up mother suddenly make a decision to drive a truck?
It’s a good question and, like most good questions it had answers both easy and complex. From ‘it sounds like fun’ through ‘it’s a conventional immigrant job’ via ‘well, I’m able to earn more money in a truck than I could by using a Master’s degree’ with a detour along ‘I’ve driven ambulances and stretch limos, if I want to be bigger it’s either a truck or even a plane and this course is cheaper’…none of these reasons quite encapsulated everything.
And these were merely the rationalisations for the much vaguer pull towards the massive beasties that I’d been looking at on the roads since emigrating from the UK to Canada. There was no rationalisation obviously for that other vague pull, a lifelong obsession with doing things merely because they are slightly unusual.
Adding to my list of excuses that it seemed like a terrific angle for a book on trucking assisted a little when trying to explain to individuals with no imagination, however, not much.
I should confess, I hadn’t expected panic when I breezed into Tri-County Truck Driver Training one afternoon in 2008. I simply wanted to find out what it took to be a lady trucker. I wanted to discover the USA, how hard would it be?
Of course there is a bit of a distinction between learning to handle a 75-foot, slow-moving guided missile and dreaming of receiving payment to see the continent; and actually earning a living. Spending 14 hours every day smelling of diesel. My first job was taking trailers full of mail from East to West. Team driving across Canada’s unending prairies and across The Rockies, and sometimes getting lucky enough to get home via Texas. That Lake Effect Winter Storm was just one of our countless weather-related narrow squeaks. North American trucking can be quite the adventure.
Ihave been almost arrested in Baltimore, sick as a dog in Tennessee, terrified in Chicago, Dallas and Detroit and dug out from the snow twice in one night in Alberta. I’ve made buddies in Virginia and adversaries in Ontario. And, given half a chance, I’d probably forget about how impossibly tiring it is and head out again to steer 18 wheels over the horizon.