One stormy afternoon, early on in his career as a fleet driver, Darrin Williams looked past his windshield wipers and watched the car beside him drive off the road and make tracks for a nearby body of water. “I was 17, it was raining like crazy, this car was by me, and all of a sudden he veered to the right.” To Darrin, the driver seemed hellbent on a watery grave.

Luckily the water was only a shallow pond, roughly two feet deep. Darrin watched the speeding car slow to a comfortable stop. And the driver, shoulders slumped, climbed out of his car. Apparently disappointed, the man walked back to the road like his plan to end things had been rudely, but fortuitously prevented.

Recounting the story, Darrin laughed.

“Just when you think you’ve topped it all, a day or two later, there’s something else waiting.”

Freedom in the ride

Darrin has seen a lot. He’s a fleet driver with 23 years of experience, and he believes in a simple truth. “If your gonna do this job, it’s gotta mean something to you.” When asked what’s kept him going for more than two decades, he didn’t say the money or the benefits or the stability. “It’s freedom. You’re your own boss. I’ve seen a lot of beautiful landscapes, a lot of skylines and sun rises. There’s a lot of freedom in this job.”

He didn’t sugarcoat it though. Long hours, time away from his two boys and wife and trouble catching his favorite basketball games are certainly taxing. But drivers are a hardy people. For every bump in the road there’s a basket of ribs waiting for Darrin off the next exit. For every weekend away from the kids, there’s a hero’s welcome and a well-earned rest at the end of his haul.

You never know what’s coming

Sometimes the people sharing the legend of the open road are on the wrong side of crazy town. And sometimes, thankfully, the water’s not as deep as you thought.

The goods and the grub

Travel teaches you what’s important—specifically where food is concerned. Having put in enough miles to circle the world a good number of times, we had to ask Darrin where his favorite place to eat was. His answer—Rib Shack in Granbury, Texas. As a driver and believer in NCAA basketball, Darrin looks forward to catching the 2015 March Madness tournament on ESPN, feet up, live on EpicVue.