I met Joy at a rest stop on my trek up to where the polar bears swim. The official name of the Haul Road is Dalton Highway, a too-narrow gravel road with deep potholes, arctic weather, and a caravan of trucks taking supplies to the oil fields of Prudhoe Bay.
I was pleased with my painting so I tracked her down. Not many women drive the Haul Road, so Joy was easy to find. I invited her to my gallery opening and she and I became friends. We met at a coffee shop several times. Driving a truck is not all fun and adventure. The danger is real. Joy Wiebe was hauling a 59-foot tanker with 9700 gallons of diesel fuel across the tundra when her truck flipped off the embankment. She left behind a broken-hearted husband and three adorable children. I remember her smile and her chuckle. I think she would want us to remember her chuckle.
Amy Butcher wrote a book about Joy that was released a few days ago. Mothertrucker: Finding Joy on the Loneliest Road in America. The movie will be released soon.
– Raven, at Alaskan Raven Studio