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Driving Truck Jake Turner had been driving diesel for 20 years and had never learned how to read. Growing up in the deep forests of Virginia, he had always had a love for the winding roads and agriculture. Now he prided himself on driving some of the biggest rigs in the nation. He had been to Washington where he hauled logs and transported equipment. The life there was hard and the hours had taken their toll on him over the past few years. His back was out and so was his beard. Now he wondered more than ever. What would it have been like if I hadn’t chosen a life on the road?

His Father Deep thinking had always come natural to Jake as his father had been a preacher and self-made philosopher. He was always questioning his son and trying to get him to think things out with a different angle. His father had always loved him but for all his life at home had never been able to help him read. Reading was just not something that Jake could ever understand. The weird symbols all smashed together would give Jake a frightful headache. He had diagnosed himself with severe dyslexia even though he never knew for sure. As Jake thought back on the path he had taken to get where he was he remembered the fateful day that he decided to join the ice road truckers, (his first and most dangerous assignment). Jake was 19 and as ambitious as any other trucker. When he heard about the 60% increase in pay for ice road truckers he knew that he was going in the right direction.

Sterkov He reached Alaska right before the winter was setting in and he met his employer. His employer’s name was Sterkov, a mean Russian who understood the cold better than anyone Jake ever knew. Sterkov lit up a cigarette and made Jake stand outside for a few hours. Then he told him to come on in. When Jake came in, he was astonished at how warm it was inside. It was


like a sauna. Sterkov handed Jake his first assignment. It was supposed to be an easy one that would take him along the coast. Jake readily accepted the assignment and went off to his new truck. This was the beginning of his trek across hundreds of frozen acres to bring supplies to a company that was isolated from most of humanity. It was on this trek that learned how to fix a diesel particulate filter, prepare grizzly bear meat, and how to warm his toes with the cigarette liter. Those days were long gone but as Jake thought back he knew that he was meant for this job. He knew that he could do things that most human beings couldn’t and it was this courage that had gotten him this far. He never regretted choosing the life of a trucker and new that his Dad would be proud if he were still alive. It was how he did the job not the job he did that counted. Photo Credit: Ryan Holst, Monica’s Dad


Driving truck