Gliding in a new direction

by Mark Lee

No sooner had I submitted my last column to Truck News on maintaining the status quo in my career, when I saw something that caused me to reconsider everything I had written.

My comfort zone suddenly felt a little too comfortable.

It was quite by accident. I was driving into Winnipeg to drop a trailer and passing one of the truck dealerships, I saw a truck that caught my eye. A few days later, my wife and I were heading into the city for some more supplies in the seemingly never-ending task of “putting our personalities” into our house; this time it’s a new family bathroom.

Trucking is now something I do to relax in between major construction projects.

Anyway, I went to the dealership and had a closer look at the truck. It was not something I would ever consider running, but it was a thing of beauty. I spotted another truck on the lot that caught my eye and peered below to see which color engine it had, just out of curiosity, and was shocked to see that it was yellow. The truck I was looking at was a glider and this catapulted me right out of my comfort zone and back to the normality of my ‘what if?’ life of imagining new possibilities.

The following Monday I made a phone call and found out the details of the truck. It was as if whoever built this truck had read my mind and built my dream truck, just for me.
Like most dreams, it seemed at first that it would remain just a dream. But then I started crunching numbers and buying this truck started to make more sense, so I started to go through the motions and got approval to finance the truck. It all hinged on selling one of my current trucks though, and that’s where things started to look a bit sketchy.

Now I say sketchy, but that’s only part of it. The reason it’s sketchy is because of the residual value of the truck I want to sell – in short it isn’t enough, which underlines one of the main reasons why buying the glider truck makes so much sense.

It will never depreciate to the same extent as a brand new truck. In fact, it will almost be like a savings plan as the extra cost to purchase it over a stock truck will end up back in my pocket at the end of the term.

So, I’ve convinced myself that it’s the way to go and as long as I can sell my current truck for the price I want to get for it, I will be going for the new glider. Obviously, that is not a foregone conclusion.

Somebody could come along with a trunk full of cash and buy it before I do, or I may not get what I want – or more accurately, need – for my current truck. But that’s life. The encouraging thing is discovering that I’m still me. I’m not content with just sitting back and watching the world go by. I still have the desire to constantly make improvements in my life and business.

Life is short and it’s what you make of it that matters. I don’t want to get comfortable, really. Well, I do, but not in the way that I become a passenger in life, especially as the clock keeps on ticking.

Soon I will reach an age where I will be unable to exercise much freedom in certain aspects of life. Buying a truck with a projected 15-year lifespan is just one of those decisions.
There’s not much point doing that if I’m only going to be working for another 10 years. That’s a way off just yet, but as that clock ticks away, it draws closer. So, I need to be thinking about that and coming up with a strategy that allows me to continually challenge myself and improve.

The first step towards that goal is to do just that, turn my dreams into targets. The new truck is just the first step in that direction and if it doesn’t work out, then I’ll just move on to the next step, whatever that may be.


A fourth generation trucker and trucking journalist, Mark Lee uses his 25 years of transcontinental trucking in Europe, Asia, North Africa and now North America to provide an alternative view of life on the road.

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