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2008-01-22

TRUCKER'S STORY * USA - The oldest commercial truck driver on the road in California

90-year-old trucker keeps going and going

Oakdale,CAL,USA -The Arizona Daily Star (Tucson,AZ) By Christina Salerno -22 Jan 2008: -- At 90, Joe Rocha fondly remembers the days when truckers used flashlights to communicate, engines had to be cranked by hand, and it took 29 hours to drive from San Jose to El Centro in Southern California... Today's truck cabs look to Rocha like the inside of an airplane cockpit, with a dashboard full of buttons and switches. Everyone has a cell phone. And instead of puttering along at 30 miles an hour, trucks can travel at speeds more than double that... Rocha climbed behind the wheel of his first truck in 1938. The Oakdale, Calif. resident officially retired in the 1980s, at the age of 66... Six months later, Vincent "Fritz" Hummer, the co-owner of Hummer Trucking in Oakdale, asked Rocha if he'd like to help out occasionally. Rocha was a little bored with retirement, so he said yes... A couple of hours turned into a couple of days, then a couple of weeks... Twenty-four years later, Rocha still shows up at 9 a.m. every workday at the office of the family-owned trucking company and checks the schedule for his route... Douglas Hummer, the company's operations manager and son of its founders, said he believes that Rocha is the oldest commercial truck driver on the road in California...

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