Channel 19

Todd Dills

Memorializing the Alaskan ‘haul road’

| February 26, 2009

In a Feb. 12 report for the Fairbanks, Alaska, Daily News-Miner, Jeff Richardson tells the story of a commemorative plaque dedicated to the truckers of the Dalton Highway, or the “>haul road,” as it’s known to most residents, connecting Fairbanks with the Prudhoe Bay oil fields. The commemoration now graces the site of the Fairbanks Hilltop Truck Stop, listing the names of various and sundry of the truckers who’ve run the road and have now passed on for various reasons.

Monica Bus is the force behind the memorial. Richardson writes, “>Bus has a special reason to feel close to the men who drive the 414-mile-long haul road. She worked at Coldfoot, the Brooks Range truck stop, in the mid-1980s and drove a pilot car on the Dalton for a decade. Most importantly, her husband, Matt, was a longtime trucker on the remote, narrow road. He died suddenly two summers ago after being stung by a wasp.”

The legend on the memorial (a second plaque was made without names so that the memorial could be ongoing) reads, “Grieve not, nor speak of me with tears, but laugh and talk of me as if I was beside you there.” Bus told Richardson that that pretty much summed up her effort.

For the rest of the story, read on here. Or follow this link for Overdrive Editorial Director Max Heine’s brilliant piece on a ridealong he did with a haul-road trucker for Truckers News a few years ago. The picture here is from his trip.

  • Paul

    Great reporting Todd. I’ve been down that road many years ago and it’s one of those runs that you never forget – I would describe it as both beautiful and eerily dark all at the same time! What a great gesture on the part of Bus, and anyone who pushed this memorial through – these types of things are what I’d like to see more of on heavily traveled routes.

  • Todd Dills

    Thanks, Paul. I hear the Tennessee DOT erected a memorial off I-40 for fallen highway workers, but yes, haven’t heard of much for truckers like this, and it’s good see it.

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Todd Dills

Todd Dills is Senior Editor of Overdrive magazine and writes from Nashville, Tenn. He frequently covers business, regulatory and lifestyle topics for the magazine and at OverdriveOnline.com. His work on the “CSA’s Data Trail” series in Overdrive about the federal CSA program was awarded the highest honor in trade journalism – the “Grand Neal” – by American Business Media at the 2014 Jesse H. Neal Awards. Dills’ Channel 19 blog covers a grab bag of on-highway hearsay, owner-operator news and driver views from the roadways the nation over. His work in trucking journalism builds on a background of news feature, fiction and other creative writing and editing. Find him here at the Channel 19 blog and via his Twitter feed, or send tips to tdills@randallreilly.com or via phone at 205-907-2481.

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