How to Use A Runaway Truck Ramp

“Nothing, not even your dream coming true, is perfect.”

Before I went into law enforcement I lived in the world of advertising and public relations for almost a decade. All these years later, I am still drawn to a compelling headline or an irresistible book title. When good content follows, I’m affirmed and happy.  (I still believe words have a power that even a badge and a gun can’t touch.)

That said, how coSmucker book coveruld I resist a title like “How to Use a Runaway Truck Ramp”? I was hooked immediately.

I already knew Shawn Smucker’s writing from reading his blog and following him on Twitter. I knew he was accessible, funny, and wise, committed to his family and his faith. And here was a bonus: this book promised to introduce me to his wife, Maile, also a writer and deep thinker. I couldn’t wait to go along on his family’s cross-country journey.

Seriously, you ask, did they really take their four small children (ages 2, 3, 7 and 8 ) on a four-month long bus trip across the US and back again in a big old lumbering bus they named Willie?

Yes, and they survived with some great stories and more than a few surprising lessons. Both Shawn and Maile journaled throughout the experience so no detail was missed in the retelling. The result is a sometimes white-knuckling, often hilarious, completely relate-able story, not just of their journey, but of their transformation.

The writing is engaging:

“The road there is like a sliver of thread dropped amongst rocks, and it winds along the path of least resistance.”


“But what if my ‘today’ must die in order for such prolific life to rise? What if the destruction of this current beauty must take place so that the root of something even more glorious can push up new shoots through the darkness?”


“I wonder if maybe I didn’t fill my real life with enough gusto to make it worth staying in.”


“That’s the thing about adventures. The stuff that happens isn’t always easy. It’s not always fun. But it’s always worth telling.”

And inspiring:

“Adventures will change you. They’ll saturate you with a fresh view of life. They’ll take every foundation you ever stood on and shake them until they crack. Adventures will tear away layer after layer of you, and in the end, when it’s all over, you’ll step away from that pile of old skins and barely recognize the person you have become.”

How to Use A Runaway Truck Ramp: A great title that delivers fabulous content. (Can you tell I’m affirmed and happy?)

Click here for a sample of Shawn’s writing and then get a copy of the book here:

Shawn Smucker is the author of How to Use a Runaway Truck  Ramp and Building a Life Out of Words. He lives in Lancaster County, PA with his wife Maile and their four children. You can find him on Twitter and Facebook, and he blogs (almost) daily at Maile blogs at 

About Diane Rivers

Diane is a native Floridian whose career as an FBI Agent got her transferred to the North. She's retired from that gig now and "repurposed" as a freelance writer, author, and sometimes poet who blogs about the bumpy, bone-jostling ride of her “workaround” life. She loves Jesus, her family, black coffee, kayaking, biking, and hiking, and she looks forward to eternity with the One who will make all things beautiful. (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

3 thoughts on “How to Use A Runaway Truck Ramp”

    1. When I was about 10, my family took a cross-country trip from Key West to San Francisco pulling a small travel trailer. This book brought back so many memories (good ones) of that experience. Shawn and Maile have given their kids a great gift!

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