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‘The Long Haul’ review: Buckle up for a trucker’s fun, informative ride

Finn Murphy’s “The Long Haul — A Trucker’s Tales of Life on the Road” is a hoot. The author will appear June 20 at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park.

“The Long Haul — A Trucker’s Tales of Life on the Road”

by Finn Murphy

W.W. Norton, 229 pp., $26.95

As his first book opens, mover Finn Murphy crests Colorado’s Loveland Pass at 11,991 feet where the road vanishes into fog, wind and snow even though it’s July. A sign warns him the first runaway-truck ramp is 1.5 miles away. Too far. His rig weighs 70,000 pounds. Although the speed limit for vehicles exceeding 26,000 pounds is 35, he plans to stick to the 20s if his brakes don’t lock or fail.

Another sign asks if his brakes are cool and adjusted. Cool: yes. Adjusted? He hopes so. Yet another sign reminds him he’s required to carry chains Sept. 1-May 31. But they’re in his equipment compartment. He decides the “practical aspects of putting on chains in a snowstorm, with no pullover spot, in pitch dark, at 12,000 feet, in a gale, and wearing only a T-shirt, is a prospect Dante never considered in enumerating his circles of hell.”

Sweating, shaking, a sour taste in his mouth from his latest greasy burger, he starts down, “one blown air hose away from oblivion.” Whenever his speed edges toward 30, he caresses the brakes, praying he’s not on ice, which could cause the tractor and trailer to jackknife.

Author appearance

Finn Murphy

The author will discuss “The Long Haul — A Trucker’s Tales of Life on the Road” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 20, at Third Place Books, 17171 Bothell Way N.E., Lake Forest Park; free (206-366-3333 or thirdplacebooks.com).

On the CB radio, other “freighthauling cowboys” taunt him, blowing past near the bottom. No matter. He’s almost to Aspen. Working for a boutique van line and specializing in “high-end executive relocation,” he can make $250,000 a year.

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