As many of our readers know, Scott Casey is the President of Military Minds, an entirely volunteer-run, international non-profit organization, that assists first responders and military personnel with PTSD. Scott organizes a cross country motorcycle ride each year called the Rolling Barrage to raise money in support of Military Minds. The ride is approximately 20 days and involves a tremendous amount of planning and organizing. Scott spends a good part of his holidays each year preparing for and then leading the ride. This year had him so occupied that he did not have time to write his column for this issue. Scott is an excellent writer who is a trucker through and through. I have taken this opportunity to re-print one of his articles that is a favourite of mine and one which many of you can relate to.
The Dream (July 2005)
Remember when getting behind the wheel of a rig was all that you ever wanted to do? How do you feel now? It can be easy to dwell on the negative if you listen to the continual banter on the VHF and or C.B. radios in regards to the state of our industry today. And of course, the negative bombardments by the media can also feed the unhappy sentiments. I have been fortunate enough to have my thoughts published here between the covers of Pro-Trucker, and I feel it is time to reflect on why many of us are out on the highway. Remember the Dream of the open road?
Think back to the way you felt when you first climbed into a truck. The smell of the dusty parking lot as you approach your ride. You have to squint from the glare of the hot sun reflecting off the chrome as you do a casual visual inspection. It’s hot today. A bird, off to your right, calls to its mate, who is somewhere close by. Like them, you too will be flying soon. The familiar sound of the key slipping into the lock, followed by the clunk as the tumblers turn and the door unlocks. The vacuum seal of the cab as the door opens to reveal the view of the pedals and gazing upward you see the rest of the interior. Placing your things aside, you perform your pre-trip inspection. The cab creaks as you climb up into place in the driver’s seat. Ah, yes, the moment you’ve been waiting for, you turn the key, and the power plant barks to life, the high pitch beep of the low-air warning chirps away. “Click, click, click” sounds as you check your turn signals. The feeling of the gravel on your back while you adjust your brakes, and then it’s time to get rolling.
Swinging out of the yard, the suspension on the trailer groans it’s displeasure with the sudden shift in weight. Maneuvering through the city streets out to the highway, you are constantly vigilant for the “what ifs” of driving. All the while thinking of where you are going, what time you should be arriving at your destination and that the load you are hauling is somewhat fragile. Cracking your window open, the wind refreshingly rushes into the cab and across your face and down your back. The sun reflects off of the hood as the engine purrs while you bringer’ up to highway speed. In your mirror, you notice the trees are all moving in the breeze of your rig, and they seem to want to go with you, to be travelling and seeing different sights.
“Ahhhh,” you sigh. This is what it’s all about. Just you, your truck and the open road. No one to listen to, no one telling you what to do, no one looking over your shoulder. Sure there are rules and enforcement people out there, but no worries, you are a pro, and all is well. I don’t know about you, but I am on the road because I like it. Driving a truck is one of the things I love doing in this world, and I am taking the time to enjoy it. I don’t necessarily like a lot of the nonsense that we are exposed to out on the highway, but I am making the most of my time out there. My life out on the highway is like the Ronnie Milsap song says, “I’m imprisoned by the freedom of the road.” Perhaps your days will be brighter if you can re-connect with why you’re out here.