Long-haul trucker Josh Giesbrecht lives a strange and solitary life, spending weeks on the road at a time while hauling cargo from point A to point B, covering vast distances on seemingly endless stretches of pavement. The 27-year-old native of Manitoba, Canada documents his trials and tribulations on YouTube, showing off his adorable dogs (Diesel and Sergeant) and his long and lonely hours on the road. Giesbrecht spoke with us via Skype from somewhere in the middle of North Dakota while en route to Iowa. He couldn't talk about what he was delivering \u2014 oddly, that's verboten \u2014 but he was happy to discuss getting paid by the mile, why Canadian fuel is superior to the stuff sold in the United States, and how not to plunge over an icy cliff in the depths of winter.\nHow does the industry work? Do you own your own truck?\nI have my own rig, which I bought about a year ago, but I'm contracted to a company in Canada. I pull their trailers. Having your own truck gives you a bit more freedom with what you can do. I travel with my dogs, so I can take the passenger seat out and no one cares. If you have a good, reliable truck you can make more money. You get paid more per mile \u2013 as an owner/operator, you get $1 to $1.20 per mile versus between $.35 and $.45 per mile as a company employee \u2013 but you have to take care of all the expenses like fuel, maintenance, and anything else that pops up. As long as you take care of your truck and avoid the big breakdowns, you should come out on top. But there's a lot more responsibility having your own truck. Anything that goes wrong is your problem.\n\nWhat's the worst thing that's gone wrong with your truck?\nIn the company truck \u2013 I wouldn't want it to happen in this truck \u2013 I've gelled up before. If you buy fuel down south, it's not conditioned to withstand the cold temperatures up north. It can turn into a Jello-like consistency that prevents the truck from running. Then, you're stuck in the middle of nowhere with a truck that won't run. It's minus 50 outside. You have to call a tow truck, and hopefully they will be there before you die . If it's a real emergency and you need help right away, you have to call the police to come pick you up, bring you into town, and get you to a motel so you don't freeze to death on the side of the road. That happened to me in Saskatchewan, above western North Dakota. I was pretty much between the cities of Yorkton and Saskatoon. There's nothing up there.\n\nWhere did you get the fuel that froze up?\nI think I bought it in Kentucky. I'm not sure what they put in the diesel to condition it. I know that all the fuel in the United States is only good to about minus 20 Fahrenheit, whereas all the fuel that's sold in Canada will stay liquid down to about minus 40. \nHow many miles per gallon do you get?\nBetween six and seven miles per gallon. I have two, 150-gallon tanks, so 300 gallons total. \n\nHow many miles do you typically drive per day?\nI do 600 to 700 miles a day. I decide when I'm going to stop based on how the day goes. I figure out when I have to be at my receiver, and as long as I can get there the next day, I'll pull over if I get tired.\n\nYou recently picked up a load in Saskatchewan and are now bringing it to Iowa. Is that a typical run?\nI do a little bit of everything. This is a typical regular run between Iowa and the prairies of Canada. It's all farming communities. A lot of farm equipment. A lot of seed. Anything to do with agriculture goes back and forth between Iowa and southern Illinois up into the prairies of Canada. \nYou've done shorter hauls before. What's the difference?\nI was home every night before. The main difference is the money. You will make a lot more money doing over the road and being gone for long periods of time than you will be by being home every night. You get paid by the hour if you're local.\n\nIs there a limit on how long you can drive?\nIn the States, I can only drive 11 hours in the 14-hour period from when I start my day to when I end my day. So if I start at 6 a.m., it doesn't matter how far I've driven, I have to pull over by 8 p.m. I can only have driven for 11 of those hours, and you have to take at least a half hour break. Then, I can't get back on the road until 6 a.m. the next day. In Canada, I get 13 hours over a 16-hour period, and I can drive all 13 hours straight if I want.\nDo you usually drive that much?\nIf I'm in a rush to get somewhere, if I have a big deadline, I'll try to run between nine and 10 hours a day. If I have to go to the max, I'll go to the max.\nIs it seven days a week?\nIn Canada, I can drive 70 hours in a seven-day period. In the U.S., it's 70 hours in eight days. All of the regulations in the States make it harder to drive as far. It's easier to get further in Canada. In total, I run about 12,000 miles a month.\nWhat are the truck stops like and how are the showers and bathrooms?\nThe showers are very clean in my opinion. Lot lizards are a myth. I never, ever see them. Most drivers unfortunately stick to themselves but it's easy to find someone to talk to if you want, usually in the lounge.\n\nYou travel with dogs. Does that add to the difficulty?\nThe dogs do present challenges. You need to walk them, so I stop about every three hours. If you break down you need a hotel that will accept them. You can't leave them alone and go do whatever you want in your down time.\nDoes it get lonely?\nIt has to be something you can handle personally. I have a lot of friends who joined the industry but are very social \u2013 they have to be around their friends every day \u2013 and they couldn't handle the lifestyle. I like my solitude. I like being alone. It works well for me. I don't struggle with it too much. If I'm gone longer than three or four weeks, it gets to me. I like to get home and see people.\nIt must be hard to maintain relationships with your friends.\nMost of my friends are truck drivers. That's just how it happens. We end up grouping ourselves together because we all understand the lifestyle. Friends who aren't part of the lifestyle, it's hard to keep up with them. They don't understand it or you never see them.\nDo you talk to other truck drivers on CB radios or anything like that?\nIf we do talk, it's usually by phone, text, or Facebook. I'm not too much of a phone person myself. I have friends who drive trucks who spend 4,000 or 5,000 minutes a month on the phone. They talk all day, sun up to sun down. I couldn't do that.\n\nYou mentioned that there's treacherous mountain driving and extreme weather. What is some of the worst you've experienced?\nIn northern Ontario, you can have complete whiteouts where there's absolutely zero visibility. You could be driving through the mountains with half-mile cliffs on one side of you and possible falling rocks on the other, while you're trying to navigate tight corners with other trucks coming at you. If your brakes go out, you're going over the side and there's no real stopping you.\n\nHave you had any close calls?\nThere are always close calls in the wintertime, especially when you're learning how to drive. You have to learn how your rig reacts to ice and snow when it's loaded versus when it's empty. When you're loaded, you have a lot of traction. You feel like a tank, like you can just plow through the snow. When it's empty, you have no traction and it can catch you by surprise.\nHow did you learn how to drive?\nMy dad has been a driver for over 30 years. He taught me. I'd go with him on drives in the summer time. Most of my friends who are drivers now are second- and third-generation drivers. We say it's in the blood. It's something we do. It's not like a job or a duty. It's just what we do. It's who we are. Getting a truck is the next step in life. It's all we know.