Thrilla From Wasilla: Lisa Kelly on 'IRT: Deadliest Roads'
Today's cuppa: "donut-shop-blend" coffee (no, it's not Dunkin' Donuts blend, which isn't the same unless you buy fresh-brewed it at the drive-thru, which I can't do in L.A. *sniff*)
On Sunday, Dec. 5, History airs the season-one finale of "IRT: Deadliest Roads," which pit three North American truckers (actually four, since Canadian Alex Debogorski quit after a day) against the traffic, weather and precipitous roads of the Himalayas in northern India.
The remaining drivers are Canadian Rick Yemm (left), who's also been featured on History's "Ice Road Truckers," Alabama driver and TV newcomer Dave Redmon (right), and Lisa Kelly (below, left), who joined "Ice Road Truckers" when it shifted location from Canada to the Dalton Highway of Alaska.
Kelly is possibly the most famous resident of Wasilla, Alaska, not named Palin -- Kelly has said she's not acquainted with the city's former mayor, and the state's former governor, Sarah Palin, who has a TLC show of her own -- and the diminutive trucker has earned points for her toughness, tenacity and ability to work around her lack of physical size and big muscles when it comes to fixing her truck or getting herself out of scrapes.
With her blond-streaked hair, Kelly has attracted a lot of attention on the roads of India over the run of the series. She's learned some hard lessons in overcoming her fears and asserting herself, not only in a male-dominated profession but also in a very different society.
It hasn't been easy for any of the North American truckers, as they struggled with cultural and language barriers, rickety bridges, wood-framed trucks, horrendous traffic, dangerous storms, mudslides, rockslides, lack of pavement, lack of passing room, and the ever-present danger of getting a few inches too close to the edge and plunging down steep cliffs to their deaths (as frequently depicted in the Thom Beers Graphics of Doom).
Kelly was kind enough to answer a few email questions from HCTV about her experiences (no word yet on whether there'll be another season of "IRT: Deadliest Roads." but never count out executive producer Thom Beers -- he's always thinking).
Without further ado, Lisa Kelly ...
Q: Knowing what you know now, would you do this again?
A: I would go to India again, if I knew what I do now. I knew I was in for an education of a lifetime, and that it was something that shouldn't be passed up.
Q: Which moment were you most afraid?
A: I was most afraid when a dump truck went off the cliff an hour before I got there (and the person inside had died), and then I had to move over at the same exact spot to let another dump truck by.
Q: What did you learn from this experience?
Q: What were your best and worst decisions?
A: I feel life is a series of decisions and I honestly made the best choice with the information I was given. I would most likely make all the same choices over again. I didn't regret anything.
Q: How happy were you to be driving in North America again?
A: I was very appreciative to be in the U.S. again. I had a harder time adjusting to the right-hand driving again, but I loved how quiet the roads were, and how I could just crank my tunes while driving alone. I have a much higher tolerance now for drivers here.
BTW, if you're wondering what happened to the stray puppy Kelly adopted, click here ...