Once Upon a Time
By Werner Schwabe

When I arrived in Canada back in December 1951 the biggest thing I ever drove at that time was a three speed bicycle. But I was determined to see as much of the country as possible as in 2 - 3 years I was going back home.

Well to travel, one needs money. I thought the best way to get it is to drive a truck and make money at the same time. But who is going to hire a young fellow to drive a truck with only bicycle experience. One has to start somewhere so after I finished my stint on the farm where I had a chance to drive a tractor and a pickup, I ended up in Edmonton, Alberta, and worked on different construction sites. Once in a while the boss let me drive the gravel-truck. So things were progressing slowly towards my goal to become a "Double Clutcher".

Werner Schwabe

After a few "White Lies" I landed a job delivering and picking up freight with a 20' trailer around Edmonton, Alberta. What a challenge this was, when backing up, the trailer never wanted to go where I wanted it to go. Good thing I had a good boss, he was an old trucker himself and he gave me a break. I did not know a thing about gross weight or axle weight. The first load of butter (50 lbs, wooden boxes) I loaded at N.A.D.P. (Northern Alberta Dairy Pool) I stacked the boxes as high as I managed to lift them. I would have put three trailer loads into one. Good thing there was always someone around to tell me how to do it. But in no time at all I could back the trailer into any hole as long as it was big enough, and I learned all about axle weight etc.

In 1954 I landed my first highway job, Edmonton to Vancouver via the Crow's-nest Pass.

Edmonton to Vancouver via the Crow's-nest Pass

I drove a 650 Jimmy with a 35' Trailmobile trailer. I had never been out of Alberta before and crossing the border into the USA, "wow" that was exciting and also scary. But again a driver from another company, (Prairie Pacific) also traveling to Vancouver took me under his wing and showed me the ropes, what to do at the border and which roads to take.

So after doing this for a couple of years, with various companies, I started with Midland Superior running sleeper from Edmonton to Toronto and Montreal. (By now my plans to go back home were all forgotten). Here I drove my first cab-over, 51/52 Freightliner # 31 the same truck Bill Weatherstone drove when it was new. (His fingerprints were still on the steering wheel) It was not exactly a powerhouse (180 Cummins) but it got us there.

Freightliner

After a few years I dispatched for a while, went back driving, made a few trips up north and in the fall of 1962 we (The wife and I) moved to Seattle, Washington. I got a job with L.A.S.M.E. (Los Angeles Seattle Motor Express), running double pulling "A"-trains. After three years we moved back to Canada.

Werner Schwabe

I drove for different companies and finally gave up highway driving and just worked around town. (Vancouver) In the fall of 1989 I pulled the pin for good and now I do my traveling on the internet.

The rest is history. --- Werner

As a hobby I took up photography and weather permitting I am going on day-trips looking for nice scenery and subjects to photograph.

Cliffs on Fraser River
Cliffs on Fraser River


Visit Werner's website for more pictures!.