Big Rig Two: More Comic Tales from a Long Haul Trucker

by Don Mctavish
ISBN: 1896300715

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A Review of: Big Rig 2: More Comic Tales from a Long Haul Trucker
by M. Wayne Cunningham

Calgary-born Don McTavish spent forty years of his life long-haul-trucking across western Canada. Now a Vancouver retiree, he has shifted gears and spends his time, effort and obviously abundant energies writing comic turns about his former career as, to use his jargon, mileage merchant, hi-miler or wagon yanker. And if you're a pavement pilot at heart looking for guidance in graduating from Gear Masher U, Donny's your man. What he doesn't know about the industry, its quirks and its characters probably isn't worth jawing about-at least to hear him tell it and he tells it well. In fact, it's old Donny's colourful telling that gives his book much of its entertainment value. His equally colourful stories make up the rest of the load. It's the same formula for success that drove his first book, Big Rig, up the best-seller lists.
As Donny tells us, he has driven rigs the size of bowling alleys and weighing tons over snow covered highways and onto narrow city streets. Vancouver in winter, for example, where "some of the hills in this town would bring tears to a mountain goat" is his fave-not. He has bounced down dirt roads and up creek beds to mining camps. He has dumped molten slag, loaded logs and hauled steel piping across a slushy ice bridge to a construction site. He has grazed at most local gag and heaves between Edmonton and Vancouver and counted as his friends folks with names like Chrome Stack, Zorro, Little John, Hydraulic Jack, Klink Klank, Yabadaba, Sowbelly, Sinful Sid and "a fellow pot-hole seeker, Fast Eddie." He remembers when rigs were outfitted with stump-mounted seats and had manual steering and tires with inner tubes subject to flats from sharp rocks. And he recalls Williams brakes being as "useless as foam rubber crutches." But for him the biggest improvement since his early trucking days has been, "Well leaping line-haulers-Air Conditioning." He was bitten-actually almost electrocuted-from having blind faith in a boss and he cheered mightily when a curmudgeonly weigh-scaler named Hockey Stick got sent down the road. Once he tried warming a tin of beans on his engine but with disastrous results. And more than once he was grateful for pea pickin' miracles and their non-disastrous outcomes.
McTavish's collection of tales provides a lighthearted look at the gear-ologist's life and turbulent travels. It's an easy and fun way to learn all about "bed bugs", "bogies", "deadheads", "pebble merchants" and more. And it will give you a whole new perspective on those asphaltologists roaring up the highway, and heading to only they and their dispatcher knows where.

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