What would make a fifty-something, well brought-up mother all of a sudden make a decision to go trucking?
It was the right question and, like most good questions it had answers both basic and complex. From 'it sounds like fun' through 'it's an authentic immigrant job' via 'well, I could earn more dollars in a truck than I can by using a Master's degree' with a detour along 'I've driven ambulances and stretch limos, if I want to get bigger it's either a truck or even plane and this course is cheaper'...none of these reasons quite encapsulated everything.
And these were merely the rationalisations for that much vaguer pull towards the massive beasties that I'd been enjoying watching on the roads ever since emigrating from the UK to Canada. There was no rationalisation obviously for the other vague pull, a lifelong dependence on doing things merely because they are a bit bizarre.
Adding to my list of excuses that it appeared to be a good angle for a book on trucking
helped a little when explaining to those who have no imagination, but not much.
To be honest, I hadn't predicted fear when I breezed into Tri-County Truck Driver Training one afternoon in 2008. I just desired to determine what it took to be a lady trucker
. I wanted to observe America, how hard might it be?
As expected there is a bit of a difference between finding out how to handle a 75-foot, slow-moving guided missile and dreaming of getting money 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 endless prairies and across The Rockies, and sometimes getting lucky enough to return 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.
I've been almost arrested in Baltimore, sick as a dog in Tennessee, terrified in Chicago, Dallas and Detroit and dug out of the snow twice in one night in Alberta. I've made friends in Virginia and enemies at home. And, given half a chance, I would probably forget all about how impossibly strenuous it is and head out again to drive 18 wheels over the horizon.