After 23 years of photographing and writing about trucks, riding across country in them -- in awe of their drivers' ability to claw their way through snow and ice storms, navigate narrow dock access, confound squirrely drivers and ugly road conditions -- I am about to give it a whirl myself.
Today, I start truck-driving school.
Can I shift gears without stalling? Can I learn to back up one of those big brutes in a straight line? Can I absorb the details necessary to pass a pretrip inspection? Can I conquer the fine art of log book entry?
Perhaps most important: Can I emulate the many truck-driving women I have met and come to respect and call friends over the years?
Women like Kim Grimm, Karen Bartley, Heather Hogeland, Nancy Drummond, JoAnn McDonald, to cite a few, who started their careers behind the wheel some 20 years ago and persevered in the face of snubs and taunts and worse.
Can I do what they do? I want to know.
I know it's not going to be a slam-dunk, and I don't want it to be. We're doing this right, 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily, at a new, state-of-the-art school, the Bordentown Driver Training School, in Bordentown, NJ.
I will be writing a daily journal of my progress for truckinginfo.com.
As difficult as it may be, I'll keep my eye on the prize and look forward to the day when congratulations are in order and I can stand proudly before the world to say: I am a licensed truck driver.
Any and all prayers in the interim will be appreciated.