Journeys
Second-generation trucker

By Heather Hogeland, OOIDA Life Member

My dad, Robert Warren, was the best, most patient teacher ever and taught me what I needed to know about truck driving as well as the regulations. He took me down to the DMV where I got my CDL (which back then was called a class A) on the first try.

I was only 20 at the time so I couldn’t drive out of state, but my dad bought a second truck for me. We ran together for a while, going all over the state, hauling two loads so I could gain experience and he could be right there to help, train and encourage me. I know how blessed I was to have his guidance, his tutelage and his patience. I only wish there were some way to bottle up his expertise in order to pass it on today. He is still driving, by the way, and is a life member of OOIDA and lives in Pinion Hills, Calif.

As soon as I was old enough, I left California, going first to Las Vegas and Phoenix, then to Texas and 11 western states, eventually branching out to the entire 48 and parts of Canada. I ran by myself for eight years before deciding to take a job as an instructor at a truck driving school so I could stay home with my son for a while. At the time, the requirements for a California instructor’s license included eight years verifiable driving experience, and I was told back then that I was the first woman to get that license.

In 1984, while I was working at the school, a new instructor joined our shift. A tall, blue eyed, good-looking guy named Roger Hogeland from Alabama came along and changed my life forever. We married later that year. Roger was born into the industry as well. His daddy and many of his male relatives drove trucks, too, so we share the love of all things truck.

After we left the school to drive team, we drove for a couple of different small companies before buying our first truck. We ran cross country, hauling produce out of California into Chelsea Market in Boston and fish back from Gloucester, Mass., for a while. Then we pulled doubles between Memphis and Los Angeles for a few years and back to produce and reefers, our first love. Just something about those big, beautiful long-nose trucks and spread-axle refrigerated trailers.

Seemed like everywhere we worked, no matter what we hauled or where we went, we had to drive the most beautiful truck on the road. Even if it wasn’t beautiful when we got it, it was beautiful while we drove it. Whether we owned it or just drove it, we made it stand out.

There’s something inside both of us that says it reflects badly on us personally if we drive an ugly, dirty truck. We were destined to have show trucks. We had two CAT Scale super trucks, one Shell Rotella calendar truck in 1999, and one Shell Rotella SuperRigs best-of-show runner-up winner in 2000.

What we enjoyed most were the looks we got as we went down the road. We loved setting a good example for the industry we love so much. We worked so very hard, both driving those trucks and cleaning them so we could represent a positive image everywhere we went.

Thanks in large part to those truck shows, I was given the opportunity to begin writing for Movin’ Out in about 1996, something I do still to this day. And earlier this year I began writing a weekly blog for Iowa80.com, along with my dear friend Kim Grimm. It’s not only a whole lot of fun, but keeps us both up to date on current trends and issues industry-wide.

In my 39 years in the industry, many things have changed and many more are changing daily. I was able to achieve 4 million safe miles while driving professionally. Even though I maintain my CDL, I am retired from the driving part, but I will always be a part of our industry. As I have always said, driving a truck is not a job; it’s a lifestyle. LL