More than thirty years ago, Finn Murphy dropped out of college to become a long-haul trucker. It was an unlikely profession for someone from a middle-class family in Connecticut. “I was raised to be an investment banker or a lawyer or something like that.” In the summer between semesters in college he worked as a mover for a local moving company “then one year they put me on with a long haul driver and we crossed the George Washington bridge and headed west and that was it, I was seduced.”
Since then he’s covered more than a million miles packing, loading, and hauling people’s belongings all over America. Known by his trucker handle as U-Turn, he spends his days (and many of his nights) in a 53-foot eighteen-wheeler he calls Cassidy. Murphy is what’s known in trucker speak as a bedbugger, someone who moves possessions, and furniture.
Other trucker nicknames include chicken choker: a trucker who hauls livestock. “In the hierarchy of truck drivers, the live animal transporters… (cows, pigs, chickens), they’re at the lowest end of the totem pole, in terms of status. Especially in the summertime, if you’re in a truckstop, you’ll always know where the animal haulers are because there are no trucks parked next to them because they smell and you can’t sleep in your sleeper.”
Finn Murphy writes about his adventures in his first book, The Long Haul, which takes the reader down the I-95 Powerlane, across the Florida Everglades, in and out of the truck stops of the Midwest, and across Loveland Pass on I-70 through the Rocky Mountains. As he crisscrosses the country, Murphy recounts with wit, candor, and charm the America he has seen change over the decades, from the hollowing-out of small towns to changing tastes in culture and home furnishings.