Mike Curle loves to fish. In fact, he claims he could make a living out of just fishing. He hopes to retire to a lake one day to try and do so.
In the meantime, the 48-year-old driver is running nationwide in his 2000 Freightliner Classic.
“I’ll haul anything that can be hauled on a 48-foot step-deck, to all 48 states,” says Curle, who has been with Jones Motor Group since 1999. “I like the ones that pay a lot of money, but you’ve got to take the good with the bad.”
Curle says his most unusual load was bees he picked up in California.
“I brought them back East,” he says. “The bee boxes are mounted, and there’s a mesh net built around them to keep the bees both in and out.”
Before going to Jones Motor, Curle was a fleet owner hauling construction equipment with two tandem dump trucks and two trailer dumps.
No matter the type of trucking, Curle’s motto is “to treat others the way I want to be treated,” he says.
His relationship with Jones Motor has benefited from Curle’s practice of this adage.
“He is an excellent example of a hard-working owner-operator,” says Jon Batten, recruiting manager for Jones Motor. “Jones has many, many excellent people working for us who happen to be truck drivers.”
Curle is grateful for the way Jones Motor works with owner-operators. He says the best way to cope with fuel, equipment, repairs, insurance and other costs of operation is to work for a company that is willing to help out.
“When I say help, I mean a company that sets up accounts with vendors and gets fleet rates on most of the products we will need,” Curle explains. “A company that will help you with initial costs and will then work out payments.”
Curle is on the Jones Motor Advisory Committee and received Safe Driver Awards from the company in 2001 and 2002. He hopes the example he sets for others will help improve the image of truckers.
“I believe if everyone would have respect for himself and show that same respect for others, the industry’s image wouldn’t need improving,” he says. “I always try to respect others. It’s not always easy to do, but if everyone would at least try, that would be a big improvement.”
Curle is spreading his example coast to coast, driving about 100,000 miles each year. New York, particularly New York City, is his least favorite area for driving because of the congestion. He loves New Mexico and Arizona because “they’re wide open and no one messes with you out there.”
He says he’d really like to get to Alaska, although he wouldn’t drive. “I do that often enough,” he says. “I’d fly up there and rent a car once I got there.”
And no doubt find a beautiful lake or trout-filled stream to enjoy some fishing and a well-deserved rest.
FAVORITE MUSIC: Country. I like Toby Keith.
BEST MEMORY: When my sons were born.
FAVORITE FOOD: Steak and baked potatoes.
LEAST FAVORITE FOOD: Raw oysters. That’s about the only thing I won’t eat. I tried them one time and that’s all it took.
PET PEEVE: People bumping into my truck with their doors and stuff.
FAVORITE TV SHOW: M*A*S*H.
FAVORITE MOVIE: Hope Floats.
GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT: Raising my two sons, Jerry M. Curle Jr. and Ryan Avery Curle. My oldest is an electrician, and the youngest drives a truck for John Moore.
WORST THING ABOUT TRUCKING: Nowadays, the way people look down on truckers.
IF I HADN’T BEEN A TRUCKER, I WOULD BE: I started out as a factory worker, so I guess I’d still be doing that.
HOPES: To be able to retire and live on a lake.
DREAM VACATION: Sitting over the lake, fishing and drinking a cold beer.
BEST THING ABOUT TRUCKING: You’re on your own, no one looking over your shoulder all the time
Do you know an exemplary owner-operator with 15 years of trucking experience and an excellent safety record? Write to Laura Crackel, Overdrive, P.O. Box 3187, Tuscaloosa, AL 35403, or e-mail lcrackel@eTrucker.com. Honorees are considered for Trucker of the Year.