Trucking across America
28 Mar 2008
-What is your profession?
I'm a 51 year old long haul trucker and have been trucking for over 30 years. Currently I travel coast to coast pulling a tanker full of food "grade A" products such as milk, cream, liquid eggs, yeast and assorted juices. Driving on an average of 700 miles a day doesn't leave much time for sightseeing but I take advantage of every opportunity and stop I make to take pictures of the places and people I come across.
-Where do you do this?
Currently I live in Florida but work out of Northern California and travel all over the country primarily from Florida to California and the Midwest.
-Do you enjoy what you do?
I love what I do and can't imagine doing anything else. I started driving a truck out of high school in 1974 and with the exclusions of a couple of non related driving jobs I have been trucking my entire adult life! :)
-When you were young, what did you want to "be" when you grew up?
When I was 10 years old I lived with my grandmother and our next door neighbor was a trucker and would drive his truck home every night. I would love to hear him driving up the road and would run out to watch him pull his huge truck into his small front yard. Sometimes he would blow his horn and I was always fascinated by the big wheels and long trailer and would dream one day I could drive a big truck like he did!
-What are the most and least satisfying parts of your job?
The best part of my job is the people I meet and the independence I have. I enjoy taking pictures of people I meet on the road at truck stops, rest areas and restaurants all over America. Everyone I photograph becomes a friend and I think this is hard to beat. The freedom and independence come with a price though because many times a trucker is all alone to solve his or her own problems but with this added responsibility comes a feeling of pride and accomplishment that makes it all worth the struggles.
The hardest part as a long haul trucker is being away from your family 4 to 5 weeks at a time. The divorce rate for truckers is high and it takes a special woman and an understanding family to make this occupation a success. I have been blessed.
-How do you combine photography with your job?
I travel all day so my time is limited for sightseeing and when I stop for a break I always take my Nikon with me. I know this sounds dangerous to many and it would be if I was looking through the viewfinder while shooting but I preset my camera to around 50mm and focus to infinity and shoot with the camera pointed out in front of me while driving but not to obstruct my view. I try to capture the landscape I travel as the viewer would see it if he or she was in the driver's seat. No more difficult than drinking a cup of coffee! ; -)