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This vintage TIME interview with truckers might convince you 1979 drivers were the “last free SOBs in the US”

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This vintage TIME interview with truckers offers a look into a time period some drivers might consider the peak of trucking in America thanks to input from drivers passing through Transport City back in 1979. 

Conducted at the once coveted “Trucker’s Heaven” in Georgia, the TIME article outlines exactly what the 51 acre truck stop compound had to offer the country’s drivers at the time. From fuel, to saunas, to motel rooms, “Trucker’s Heaven” was a place for drivers to fuel up, rest up, and congregate with like-minded men (and a very few women).

The article details a now-antiquated aspect of truck stops: the call board.  

“On the board are buttons that connect them directly with the Georgia offices of 29 nationwide freight carriers. ‘May I have your attention, please,’ an amplified female voice will vibrate through the room. ‘Anybody with a reefer interested in going to New York, New Jersey or Pennsylvania, please come to the desk.’”

Also mentioned is a phenomena that seems to have disappeared from the industry entirely: an appreciation of truckers.

“Like rock music and politics, trucking has its groupies, young girls who stand outside places like Transport City waiting for a hitch… Some drivers complain that Transport City harasses the women traveling with truckers. But the owners say they are just trying to protect the drivers.”

While the details of trucking may look quite a bit different now, some things are just the same as they have always been. 

“Talk at truck stops centers on highway conditions, the size of the biggest pothole, state regulations and, endlessly, the highway crimes and misdemeanors of ‘the four wheels,’” the article explains. 

“We’re an outlaw breed,” said a 29-year-old trucker in the 1979 article. “We’re the last free sons of bitches in the U.S.”

“That’s mainly why a driver is a driver,” explained another trucker-at-the-time. “He’s by himself. Drivers can’t stand a lot of racket. They like to get out by themselves and think.”

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