THE LONG HAUL

A Trucker’s Tales of Life on the Road Author: Finn Murphy 229 pages. W.W Norton & Company, 2017

Review by KATHY MEGYERI

Florida’s population is currently over 20 million people and the state is adding more than 1,000 people a day. It has passed New York as the third most populous state after California and Texas. Ever wonder who moves all those people here?

One of those drivers, Finn Murphy, has recently released a book about his moving adventures and the industry itself called The Long Haul, A Trucker’s Tales of Life on the Road. In it, Murphy who uses the handle U-Turn, recalls his numerous
cross country trips in his 53-foot, 18-wheeler named Cassidy.

He takes his readers on a wild and enjoyable ride, reflecting on a variety
of characters and situations that he’s encountered in his $250,000-a-year job:
the gutsy New Hampshire hoarder, a lonely military spouse who wants to be bedded, and the beloved piano that was destroyed
during unloading.

Then there’s the widow who wants her Indian artifacts returned to the Southwest
but dies mid-way, ultimately positioning Murphy to be honored as the Great White
Mover.

In 1980, he dropped out of the top-rated Colby College, where he’d been a student
for three years, to drive a truck. He loves
life on the road but admits to long periods of loneliness, enormous physical tolls,
seasonally demanding schedules and the necessity of using Gatorade bottles as urinals.

He says most drivers listen to NPR, believe that maps are still better than GPS and use AT&T air cards for the Internet.

Murphy talks all about his moves to Florida including traveling through Alligator Alley, the “great, straight road without restaurants or motels.”

He says drivers to Florida always arrive with full loads but concedes that “hardly anyone moves out of Florida except in a coffin.”

Finn also knows that furniture people haul to the Sunshine State probably won’t be wanted when they get here, like the Ethan Allan living room set that just
doesn’t work in the beach condo. And when they have stuffed that new condo to the hilt, it’s off to the mini storage to put aside more useless stuff. As Finn admits, I know because I’m the guy who eventually puts it all in the dumpster.”

In this book we meet a competent, caring driver, eager to talk about the wise, the arrogant, the humble and the strange – all with wit and candor.

Like he says, “Where else could a man get paid big money for essentially being on the lam?”

 

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