He did his first trip for eastern Washington hay at age 16; now at 74 he recently won an award
LYNDEN — No one knows Snoqualmie Pass better than Terry Bosman.
The 74-year-old truck driver has been navigating that route over the Cascade mountains several times a week for the past 58 years. It’s helped him log over 6 million miles of driving. For easy reference, that’s equivalent to about 12 trips to the moon and back.
“There’s not a lot that’s got that many,” Bosman said. “I think I’ve driven over Snoqualmie Pass more times than anybody has. I don’t think anyone can come close to how many times I’ve been over there. It’s been consistent for 50-some years.”
Bosman, a Lynden native, was recently honored for his longtime dedication to the trucking profession. He was one of eight people to win a Golden Achievement Award from the American Truck Historical Society at its 2019 convention in Reno on May 31 over Memorial Day weekend.
He was nominated by Dennis Martinez, California’s regional vice president for the American Truck Historical Society. Bosman will also be featured in the organization’s bi-monthly Wheels of Time magazine.
“It was an honor,” Bosman said. “I’m not really into that kind of stuff a whole bunch, but it was a great honor.”
He drove to the Nevada convention in his restored 1982 Kenworth K100 that he uses as an RV hauler now. He pulled his fifth-wheel behind it, the way he regularly travels to truck shows these days, some as far away as Des Moines, Iowa.
The K100 was his regular hauling truck for years until it got worn down and it sat behind his shop for a decade. Then his wife, Norma, had an idea.
“I was going to get rid of it and she said, ‘Oh, just fix it up,’” Bosman said. “She was taking pictures while we were [restoring] it. We had a big truck show planned and we found out she had pancreatic cancer. Within three weeks she was gone. It was a low blow. We were married 50 years. She didn’t get to enjoy the truck, but we got it (restored) in memory of her. But life goes on. I’ve remarried and do have a good woman again. I’m blessed with that.”
Bosman also lost a daughter 12 years ago, and a son four months after his wife.
“It’s been a rough road in some ways,” Bosman said. “It’s been a change.”
But all that didn’t stop him from trucking. In fact, it helped him in the healing process, he believes.
“I think it was better for me,” Bosman said. “I had something to do. It was good just to get away. When you’re out there on the road, you’re not supposed to be seeing them. I enjoy driving. I hate the traffic, but I still enjoy driving.”
Bosman grew up on a Lynden dairy farm where the railroad tracks cross Grover Street, near the Edaleen Dairy Store. He was happiest when his dad let him drive his truck around the fields.
“I knew I was going to be a trucker when I was a kid,” Bosman said. “It was my passion.”
At age 14, Bosman approached Gordy Bogaard, whose father, Andy Bogaard, owned Bogaard Hay Company in Lynden. Bosman went up to Gordy in the back row at church and asked if he could ride along on one of the trips. Gordy said, “Sure.”
So Bosman accompanied Gordy on trips to Eastern Washington, bucking hay bales onto an elevator for $10 a trip.
“I just wanted to get into trucking so bad is the reason I did it.”
Within two years Bosman was driving for the Bogaards. He began the day he got his driver’s license in 1961 and hasn’t stopped since. His first trip was by himself to Eastern Washington with a truck and trailer to get a load of hay.
Bosman went on to work for a couple of other companies over the years before starting his own trucking business, Terry E. Bosman Enterprises, in 1984 to be hauling on his own. Now he runs his own truck and two of his sons also haul for him.
He’s still going strong.
Bosman now regularly drives a 2005 Kenworth T800, which has 1.3 million miles on the body. One of his sons replaced the engine after 900,000 miles. He has three sons and four daughters, and all three sons work with him.
He most recently left for Spokane with roofing supplies Monday afternoon with a load. On his way back he’ll pick up a load of hay in Moses Lake and deliver that to local dairy farms.
He still drives a couple of days a week, with all trips in-state, mostly to Eastern Washington destinations such as Spokane, the Tri-Cities and Moses Lake. He has a contract with Iko Pacific out of Sumas to haul its roofing products. The hay hauling is strictly by his own arrangement; he buys, sells and delivers to different dairy farms around Whatcom County.
The farthest he’s driven in one trip is to Alaska to deliver equipment for the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System when it was being built in the 1970s. He used to make routine trips to Montana too, but not anymore.
Bosman is fortunate to have not experienced one serious accident in all those years and miles on the road. He hasn’t had even a minor accident in the past 20 years.
And he doesn’t plan on stopping his driving anytime soon.
“I’ve been blessed with health,” Bosman said. “I just really like trucking and I enjoy my work. Everybody always asks me why I don’t retire. I just passed my physical again, so I’m good for a couple more years. Just keep going for a while yet and see how long they’ll let me drive.”