Fantasizing about travel to exotic locales captures the imagination of many women, but seeing the world while riding in the cab of a tractor-trailer?


"I could just see myself behind the wheel of an 18-wheeler and going to all the places I can't go to," said Margarette Kirsch, an 82-year-old resident of Florida.


So on June 6 in Pittsburgh, PA, Kirsch hopped into the passenger seat of semi-truck cab with former Hesperia resident Annabella Wood behind the wheel. Over the next few weeks, the duo traveled through Chicago, Denver, Las Vegas and Barstow before stopping in Apple Valley where Wood performed a concert at the High Desert Center for Spiritual Living.


After the event, the two trucked to Torrance to spend the time with Wood's parents and then began the lengthy but thoroughly rewarding journey to the Merritt Island, FL, home of Kirsch and her husband of 53 years, Jack Kirsch. After reaching Florida on June 21, Wood will head home to southeastern Pennslyvania through six states.


The fantasy-come-true was made possible by the Twilight Wish Foundation, a Pennsylvania-based charitable organization that has helped fulfill more than 1,500 senior citizen wishes since 2003.


Kirsch's opportunity came after she read an advertisement about the foundation in a national magazine. She called the number and left her contact information.


"They called and talked to me," she said. "They liked me. They said, 'We can make that happen.' "


Wood, who still considers Hesperia her hometown, moved to Pennsylvania in 2004. She decided to end her 30-year trucking career, sold her truck and entered college. Last year Wood graduated with a bachelor's degree in Religion, Spirituality and Holistics and with a concentration in the Metaphysics of Quantum Physics.


Retiring from trucking also enabled Wood to pursue her passion country-western songwriting and performing. She posted a video of one of her songs, "Truck Driver Mama," on YouTube.


"The head (of Twilight Wish Foundation) saw my video," Wood said. "Can you make this happen?" the director asked. "I don't know," she replied. "I don't own an 18-wheeler anymore."


Despite selling her semi-trailer, she'd kept her commercial driver's license and her passion for the open road.


"I love trucking. I always love trucking."


Wood ran into a cousin, who owned a semi-trailer, and together with the Twilight Wish Foundation made Kirsch's dream come true.


Sharing the cab with another lover of trucking has made the trip especially enjoyable to both. One of the highlights was a detour off the I-15 to Main Street in Barstow. They stopped for a meal at TravelCenters of America and chatted with patrons.


"She loved it," Wood said. "She knows something about everything. It's important to take time to listen to older people. They're fascinating."


The admiration goes two ways for the ladies of trucking.


"I love the truck," Hirsch said. "I love sitting next to my wonderful truck driver. I'm having the time of my life."