Friday, October 29, 2010

What you don't see

Hello gang. I've always eaten like a trucker and at times I even swear like a trucker, but I've never really lived like a trucker. Until now. It's different than I had imagined. In some ways, it's not all it's cracked up to be. In other ways, it's something special.

When I decided to come out on the road with Alex, I envisioned stops at dusty roadside saloons. I imagined a gonzo journey laced with interesting glimpses of americana. Some of that goes on, but I've been surprised by the straight-ahead, hard-driving pace of trucking-life. Yesterday, for example, we spent the day in Cleveland. We met a lot of good people, but we didn't get to know the city. Arrived in the dark of morning, hosted an event during the day, and pulled back out onto the road into the dark of night. And that's part of what you don't see: Truckers have "been everywhere man," but a lot of times they don't really get to see those places.

On the other hand, there is something special about a trucker's life on the road. Driving through a storm at night in Pennsylvania the CB radio chatter was all about how people are doing and what they ought to be careful about. The chatter was a mix of shared concern, raunchy humour, and a remedy for loneliness. It's a side of trucking life that the rest of us don't see. And the family-style chatter (with an R-rated edge) made it easy to see how Alex the trucker-philosopher-storyteller fits into this world.

Today we pulled up to Iowa 80, the largest truck stop in the world. It is massive. It has been a cool, sunny day. Within minutes of the Red Giant pulling up, people were outside taking cell phone pictures and asking about Alex. In a way these are his people. And Alex is definitely theirs. People wait in line to pray for Alex, to make sure he's taking care of his health, and for the first time so far on this tour: to play music for him. Another side of the road that the rest of us don't see.

Here's a reel Jay put together of a new trucking friend playing a tune at Iowa 80. Drive safe,


  1. My friend and I spent an hour having coffee with Alex in Cleveland. A real thrill for an old timer.
    I was amazed with the grace Alex displayed during our "coffee break". This trucker is a real human.
    I hope to catch up with him again in Cincinnati.

  2. What are the odds - world's biggest rig and worldn't biggest coffee mug at the world's biggest truck stop on the same day. That just blew my mind.

    Enjoying the reports, fellas. Keep on keepin' on.