From Copenhagen to Colorado

Steen Gronlund, OOIDA Life Member

People ask me why I don't go home more often. I tell them that when I'm driving my truck, I am home. I love doing this. Most people work to live. I live to work.

I've been a truck driver for 47 years. I turned 70 years old in December, but I don't plan to stop driving anytime soon.

I was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1945. My family came to Canada in 1954, and then I moved to the United States in 1968. Raised on a farm in Canada, I used to ride horseback to school. There was a barn at the school for the horses.

We didn't have electricity or running water until after I left home. I used to light the fires at the country school for 75 cents a day. On the farm, we hauled hay and milked cows by hand. We did all of our chores before we went to school. I had to wake up the rooster every morning. It didn't matter if the temperature was 40 below; you went to school.

Did you ever see the television show "Little House on the Prairie?" That was us.

I remember being young and thinking truck driving was what I wanted to do when I grew up. But I didn't think about it anymore until the opportunity came that someone was looking for drivers. That's how I started driving.

In 1978, I bought my first truck in Gillette, Wyo.

Early on, I was running with a friend from California to the East Coast and back to California. We did a roundtrip every week. We were hauling produce.

I worked for D.G. Coleman, hauling chemicals and jet fuel. I also hauled rocket fuel for the Titan II missiles for six months. Then I went to work for Leprino for 20 years until they sold out of transportation.

Currently, I'm hauling Red Robin buns out of the Mile Hi Bakery in Denver. I work for Mile Hi Specialty Foods. I'm on my 14th year with them.

The trucking industry has changed bunches since I started. But so many people let stuff get to them. I say just do your job and keep a low profile.

I love driving and the scenery. I've traveled through all 48 states, but I prefer being west of Interstate 25. For the past 20 years, I've been mostly in the west. I love the Colorado mountains, and the cold of Colorado doesn't bother me. You have to remember that I grew up in Canada.

I've won the driver of the month award in Colorado four times. In 2007, I was named the Colorado Driver of the Year by the Colorado Motor Carriers Association. I've been an ambassador for the Trucker Buddy Program for 15 years.

I'm an OOIDA life member with 5 million safe miles.

A year ago last July, I cracked a femur and broke my pelvis after falling in the parking lot. I was out nine months and I got a total hip replacement. As soon as I got my new hip, all the pain went away. Now, I'm back doing what I love.

I plan to keep doing this until they close the lid. LL