The Ricahrd Crane Memorial Truck Show is coming up (Sept. 15-17) and I am looking forward to it. This year the Frightliner folks from lower Michigan are bringing up the Detoit trailer (a must see). For me - I am looking forward to Saturday night and the lights parade.

Sometimes I forget. There is a spirit to the trucking induatry. We all share it. Some of us were born gear head. Some of us a generational truckers. Many of us were trained by our dads. I wasn't. I went to college at night and loaded trucks duting the day. When I earned my B.A. degree in 1985, the economy was tight and I had trouble getting a job. Frustrated, I hit what I thought was  rock bottom. I went to truck driving school, and got a "temporary" job driving a truck. Driving a truck was cool to me.

The natural tendency for me is to get caught up in the business side of trucking. That is not a bad thing. An owner operator needs to think like a business person. It is hard to enjoy driving when your business it struggling. I'll never regret the hard work that I put into earning my degree. At Team Run Smart we are about the business of trucking. We are constantly looking for ways to increase profitability and sharing them with others. Sometimes, I forget how much I enjoy driving a truck.

Bad news always seems to lead. It is harder to find good news about our industry. Media, including the trucking meda, dwells on bad news. This regulation is coming. The infrastructure is crumbling.Congress can't seem to pass a highway bill. We fret. We believe that the general public hates us. The public remembers that one trucker who tail gated them or ran a turtle race for 5 miles at 63 MPH in a 70 MPH zone. They don't remember the 1,000 truckers who were doing our job professionally with courtesy. When they go to the store, they don't think about how the merchandise got there.

We are just as guilty. We remember that 4 wheeler that cut us off. We remember that one that flipped us off. We remember the one who exited from the hammer lane. We forget the 1,000s of drivers who interacted with us safely. Maybe we forget the people who buy the freight that we deliver and don't appreciate them making our jobs possible.

Then people remind me. We have a spirit. The vast majority of people do respect what we do. I left the show in Saint Ignace on Saturday night and I was tired. My motel was about 2.5 miles from the show and I was walking. On the way back, I walked through the classic trucks that were parked on Main Street. At Saint Ignace they block off Main Street to park classic trucks. I admired those old White Freighliner cabovers. There was a beautiful 1947 Brockway that caught my eye. They had classic trucks of all kinds, the old B model Macks caught my eye.

I stopped for dinner on the way back. When I finished dinner, I started walking the rest of the way back to my motel. People were pulling over in the grass. They were setting out chairs or just sitting on their tailgates. As I walked up the hill people were lining up to watch the truck parade. They were excited to see what I took for granted. I could feel the positive spirit. I had planned on just going back to my room and watching TV. I stopped to watch. Air horns were blasting in the distance and I could hear the crowd reaction. Soon, I could hear the engine brakes and I could feel the crowd reaction. I started getting into it. I pulled out my camera and started taking pictures. I ran up to the best viewing position where US 2 meets I75 and I 75 heads towards the Mackinac Bridge. It was then that the spirit of trucking in me was renewed.

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Jeff Clark

Jeff Clark of Kewaunee, WI has been driving a truck for 24 years. He has been an owner operator for 11 years.

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