Book Review: “The Long Haul” explores life on the road
June 8, 2017
‘The Long Haul: A Trucker's Tales of Life on the Road,’ by Finn Murphy
"The Long Haul: A Trucker's Tales of Life on the Road," by Finn Murphy and published by W.W. Norton, is just what it says in the title. It is a story like no other and brings to life a whole new world most of us never even think about, trucking, but more specifically, moving trucks. We rely on them to transport most of the goods we use and consume on a daily basis, as well as our stuff when we want to, or have to, move to another place.
Murphy didn't know what he was going to be when he grew up, but ideas began to form in his mind about what else is out there when he watched to moving company across the way. When I started reading this book, it brought to my mind the song "Convoy," by C.W. McCall. Though that song is from the '70s, it still is holds some truth to the life Murphy would live.
He starts his book with a trip down Loveland Pass in a fully loaded truck. If you haven't driven that road, I highly recommend it. It's beautiful and twisty and steep. Now, imagine it in a semi truck. Murphy brings this story to life with all the things one has to think about driving mountains passes, or cross-country, for that matter. There is so much more to it than driving in a car, or even an SUV.
His storytelling is a picturesque look at the life of a moving truck driver. While other truckers drive food, building materials, heavy equipment and even books, moving trucks and their drivers handle our personal items and, more-or-less, the history of our families. Much care goes into this type of work, and there are lots of little tricks to learn.
Murphy uses all the lingo that goes along with the job and, at times, is funny when talking about some of his mishaps. He brings new light to a job looked down upon by some. He puts in perspective the hierarchy of the trucking world, not only the trucks themselves, but also who is driving them, what they are carrying and where they are going.
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In today's society, so many people are just about their things, but Murphy makes this job a very personal one, dealing with all the people who help through all the moves. There are so many helpers along the way in the task of moving a home. Murphy brings light to how rewarding this type of work can be.
While not directly, I could see this book as inspirational and a new way to look at that world. It has also given me a new way to look at the other people on the road while I drive to Denver.
Chris Erickson is manager at Off the Beaten Path.