By Joe Novak
I spent hours on the road as a traveling salesman calling on companies in Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Kentucky, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. This is the time when the CB radio craze was in full swing and everyone had one. My “handle” (radio name) was rainmaker, given to me by some employees at a company I represented; it rained every time I showed up at that facility.
The CB radio was a tool used to avoid speed traps and also pass the time on the road talking with truck drivers and other travelers. I was chatting with a bus driver who was pulling into a rest area a few miles ahead and he asked if I wanted a cold drink. “I’ve got a refrigerator full of anything you want,” he said. I stopped and climbed into the bus where I was astonished at the luxury interior of this traveling house. He said the bus belonged to Dottie West, a country music singer who he drove for and he gave me a tour. We shared a cold drink and he told me stories about life on the road with a country music star. I was hooked; not on the blonde singer, but on her bus; I had to have one of these someday.
A dozen years later I purchased a bus; not as fancy as Dottie’s but still very nice. I traveled all around the country in this bus and it certainly was an experience that I will never forget. I even drove several high school students to their prom with the prom theme on the marquee. This was a fun time when traveling by motor coach was exciting but not inexpensive. My wife loved traveling with me as we called on my business customers and saw the country; a windshield view of the world.
I transitioned from traveling salesman to manufacturing company president; travel was quicker by airplane when necessary. I sold the bus but kept the memories of my adventures on the road, closing another chapter of my life. I still love new adventures and traveling around the world but sometimes I look back and wonder, what was I thinking?
Joe Novak retired from PGS,Inc. a manufacturing company he sold in 2005. He has written more than 150 articles for The Middlefield Post and is active in his community and church. Joe’s articles are based on his life and business experiences and though he tries to be as accurate as possible, he recommends you contact an expert or professional when in doubt.