I rode with Charleston, a Milwaukee, WI based driver. He drives tanker truck for Klemm on a dedicated route between Milwaukee and St. Louis, Mo delivering 4,000 gallons of laundry detergent 3 nights a week.
I met up with Charleston at the terminal in Milwaukee on a Friday afternoon, jumped in the truck and hit the road to St. Louis. It took a little getting used to how the truck handles with a tank full of a liquid. Unlike box trailers, this product moves and shifts and can pull and jerk the truck when stopping and starting. Being with a tank driver also gave me something new to work with visually.
Charleston is a great guy. He welcomed me in his truck and was quite comfortable with having a personal paparazzi on board. He's been driving truck since 2005, first as a long haul and now with a dedicate run. For some, dedicated runs can get a bit boring and mundane, but the advantage is that you are home in your own bed on a regular basis. It also helps to have a great soundtrack of disco and R&B on the iPhone as Charleston does.
Since this was a short overnight trip, I didn't feel I had the opportunity to get a variety of images and situations. It didn't help that the company we delivered to would not let me out of the truck with the camera. It's not unusual given security and company secrets, but it's typically where the more interesting things happen visually. I do felt like I came away with some keepers for both myself and Charleston.
It was great to finally meet Charleston in person and get to document a bit of his world. I'm always grateful when drivers such as Charleston take the chance to have a stranger in their truck in support of my project.