not much freight to be moved this week either.Unloaded in Emporia Monday,went to Petersburg and loaded A load of beams for Chattanooga,Tn. and had to deadhead to Birmingham to reload.Got a load of 55' beams going to South Plainfield,N.J. but we unloaded them at the shop today because they didn't want them in N.J. yet.That's OK with me,I don't like going to New Jersey anyway.
The year before last I went to the ATHS show in Winchester for the first time. I saw A book there on Saturday called " 100 Years of Semi Trucks",but I didn't buy it.I kept thinking about it and decided I was going to buy it the next day,but ended up going on A side trip to Altoona,Pa. and never got back to the truck show. I ended up ordering the same book from Amazon.com,and I don't remember the price but it was money well spent.I had it out today looking through it,and this one paragraph on page 21,chapter 3,says so much about how trucking has changed from the 30's to today-" Driving trucks back in the 1930's was not easy. Although the highways were improving,riding comfort was not what it is today.Most of the roads were two-lane highways and in the mountainous regions,a driver could wear himself out by all the frequent shifting. 'The First 50 Years',a history of Consolidated Freightways,recounts a run by a C.F. driver in 1937 from San Francisco to Reno on old Route 40. From Roseville,California,to Reno,a distance of 125 miles,the driver shifted gears 844 times. On a 36-mile stretch from Roseville to Colfax , he shifted 318 times in 1 hour and 58 minutes. And on another stretch from Fox Farm to Donner Summit, a distance of 3.2 miles,the driver shifted 59 times in 18 minutes. A lot of trucks at this time had two sticks to shift,compared to one stick or an automatic today." ...WOW!
I take A lot of truck pictures on the road,and truck show pictures when I can get to A show.For years I used an old Kodak 35mm,and it took good pictures.Then I bought A Nikon 35mm from A guy near Monroeville,Oh. for $40 and it took good pictures too,but everybody said "you need to go digital,you're way behind the times". So I did,and I'm glad because it's so easy to put the pictures right on the computer,crop them,e-mail them,or whatever you want to do. I bought A Kodak digital camera from Wal-Mart for $199.99,the best I could afford.Then the price went down to $179,then $159,and the last time I was in Wal-Mart it was $149. When I had to replace my old PC I bought one for $698,the best I could afford because I figured it would be the last one I'll get.Today I saw the same PC on sale at Staples for $349.
" Lots of folks stop at truck stops, they just naturally think they should. Cause they figure any place that a truck driver eats, well the foods just got to be good." Thats the way the song goes, but the reality is, if you're driving a truck, and you want to stop and eat. You have to find a place where you can park the truck. One of my all time favorites, was located off the main highway, in Goodyear Arizona. "Not Yo Mama's Down Home Southern Style Mexican Restaurant", Was owned and operated by Leroy Johnson, Leroy and his brother had driven for LS Trucking out of Forest Park Ga. When Leroy hooked up with a Mexican girl from Gila Bend, his brother went back to Americus Ga. to manage the BBQ Restaurant owned by his mom and dad. A lot of the drivers who had known Leroy, got into the habit of stopping, just to be supportive of his new business. A place to park and, and the down home southern style food were almost an instant success. After all, there was not another place anywhere on I-10 where you could get a collard green burrito, or a bowl of refried blackeyed peas.
I spoke with Shirley Sponholtz on the phone recently,and she is A very nice person.You might be thinking,"so...who the heck is Shirley Sponholtz?" Well,she's the editor of "Old Time Trucks" magazine. I called to order some back issues my mixer was in,and she answered the phone! And she talked to me like A regular person,so I guess she's A regular person. When the back issues came,they were the wrong issue,but I just kept them and re-ordered the issues I wanted by mail.Yes,I paid for them!.They sent the wrong issue again,so I sent an E-mail telling them it was wrong,and she called me,but I wasn't home,so they called me today to get everything straightened out,and we did. Most people wouldn't bother to call twice if you had A problem,or once for that matter,but it really impresses me that people like Shirley,Barry,William Weatherstone-all trucking people-will go out of their way to help you with A problem,and treat you like an equal ...well,I'm just happy to know people like that. I've never met Paul VanScott,Bulldog Man,or Freighttrain,or anybody else but I like them all,and kind've feel like I know them...know what I mean? All good truckin' people. I'm just A Mr. Nobody,but A great antique truck magazine is called "Old Time Trucks"-give Shirley A call @513-573-3513,maybe she'll answer the phone.
Alright James, what seems to be your problem? What problem? I don't have a problem. I just thought I might need a check up. Why? Well, I can barely hold out to work 14 to 16 hours a day, my knees hurt like they are on fire, so do my elbows as a matter of fact. And crawling around in the dirt under a truck just isn't to appealing anymore. Alright, how old are you James? I am 16 you Moron, you should know by now, you ask me the same thing every time. OK, OK, how long have you been 16? Well let's see, since January first 1959. Hah, you're not 16 anymore, you're 64, Liar, Liar your pants are on fire. Actually you're not even 64, you're 64 and 3/4. Ahaaaaaaa . Are you sure? Yep. Don't you need to run some kind of test, to be sure? Nope. How in the heck did this happen without me knowing about it? Ahaaaaaaaa.
Just an update -
I listed my 1959 Willys for sale on E-Bay this week. 1st time for me trying E-Bay.
Nice experience. What a great way to advertise your stuff.
The truck did not sell, but I think it was my fault. I put the reserve too much above the starting bid.
In the end, though, I think the truck will sell to one of the two high bidders with a negotiated sale.
And if it doesn't sell - I will use it as ground transportation at the truck shows next summer.
Got my prize package from Barry today - free stuff is always good.
After the funeral Tuesday I mentioned to Jeff that it was the longest funeral I'd ever been to.He said "yeah,if I go before you do,try to keep mine down to about 30 minutes,and one song-'roll on big mama'-something everybody'll like". He's very funny.Only made one round this week,it was very slow.I went to Donora,Pa. with 6 pallets of kyanite-half A load,usual load is 13 pallets,little over 46,000 lbs.Made up for it coming back though,loaded 3 coils at Beech Bottom,W.V. going to Emporia,Va. to unload Monday morning - they're A little over 50,000 lbs.Total weight of course,not 50,000 each-I'd have needed A push truck to get home.
Do you know the difference in a fairy tale, and a truck driver story? Well, a fairy tale starts with "Once upon a time" and a truck driver story starts with " You ain't gonna believe this s---. The line I like the best, I borrowed from my friends from Louisiana's bayou country. "Now this is a true story." Stories, to follow, James
Joey Spencer, was just a young fellow when I first met him. He had a young family also. If my memory serves me right, there were two or three little girls along with a boy who was about three and a half, at the time. Every time Joey would start getting ready to leave on his run. That little fellow would say " Mama, I'm going to California with Daddy this time." Then every time, Joey would have to get him up into the truck and hold him. After talking to him for a while, joey would pass him off to Mama and leave. Not this time. I'm not staying here this time, he announced. I'm going to California with you Dad. To keep from leaving on a sour note, Joey told his wife," I'm just going over to Athens to pick up a load of chickens, probably won't take long then I'll bring him back by." WRONG. It took all day. That chicken plant actually has a nice break area, and cafeteria. Joey didn't know that though, He and his son spent the whole day on the opposite side of the plant, backed up to a loading dock. The day was about gone, when he finally got his bill of lading and closed the trailer doors. When he stopped off at home he got out and carried a worn out little boy inside. as his mother took him into her arms, the little man said "Mama I'm not going back to California no more" Why son, she asked? " Cause there's no food and there ain't nobody to play with." Good Night, James
I-10 east bound, somewhere around Wilcox AZ. Bring it back over Charlie Marion, said the driver I had just passed. Thanks, I replied. Hey, he exclaimed, your the guy who passed me coming up the hill out of Indio yesterday. I'm sorry I said, I apologize. Yeah, you passed every truck on the hill. Well, I said, I just couldn't help it. Who have we got up there? Call me Bollweevil I said , I'm just a looking for a home. Who am I talking to? You've got the Whirley Bird back here. Well, Whirley Bird, lets make some miles. It was a beautiful Saturday morning, and as we talked back and forth the miles flew past. We cleared the NM. port of entry, and were bearing down on Deming. The 112 mile marker east bound will be forever etched in my memory. Whirley Bird, take the left lane and get beside me, don't let anybody around. There is a bad wreck in front of us. I can see a van on it's side, and there's people and junk every where. As we stopped and set the brakes I could see that we were not the first on the scene. There were 3 or 4 Air-stream trailers parked to the side. When I hopped down,and rushed forward, I realized I was stepping in someones hair and brains. There were three children involved , a baby boy about a year old still in a car seat, screaming his head off. A little girl about three, apparently unhurt, and another girl about four with a mild asphalt rash on her arms and legs. A young man was on his knees cradling the injured child. Suddenly he stood up, Where is my wife , he cried. She is still in the van, an older gentleman said. I need to go to her, I need to see her. No You don't, she didn't make it, and you don't need to see her explained the older fellow. Has any one called this in? I asked . We stopped a fellow and sent him on to Deming to call the state police. Thank God for Grand Mothers, there were the or four, just like yours and mine taking care of the children. Is there anything we can do to help I offered. No, we are just waiting now, was the reply. Well, Whirley Bird, let's move the luggage and clothes to the side, and get out of here. Shouldn't we wait for the police, he asked. The police can see what happened, these people have had a bad enough day without having their stuff scattered all over. My wife and I are going to stay. OK I'll see you Later, James
Aguilar Colorado, just a small place, small fuel stop, small cafe. I sat in a rear booth nursing a cup of coffee, along with a bad case of the Mullygrubs. What's Mullygrubs? Well, it's a state of mind, kind of like the" Can't Hepit's" mixed with the " Don"t Lakit's". I had left Denver earlier in the day, empty again, and was dreading the prospect of having to clear the NM, port of entry. I still haven't forgotten the Alamo. The self important attitude of the port officers, coupled with the fact that NM has an agreement with Colorado to collect fees and fuel tax unpaid when leaving CO. all added to the way I was feeling. Shucks, I would probably head out through the Comanche National Grass Lands, and just bypass the whole mess. As I sat there, looking out of the window, I saw a Tyson truck pull into the lot, and in a few minutes, the driver came in and sat in a booth nearby. The waitress brought a menu and took his order for ice tea. When she came back I overheard him say " I think I will just have a bowl of chili". FLASHBACK, Van Horn Texas, the Chevron Truck Stop Greyhound Bus station. I was a lot younger then and had started hauling produce from California to Atlanta. Just like this driver, I knew I didn't want another cheeseburger, Chili I told the waitress, and about a gallon of iced tea. When she brought my order, I did a double take, it looked like beef stew. large pieces of stew beef and peppers. just like beef stew only no carrots, just pepper no potatoes, just pepper no onions, just pepper. Wow. Red or Green I heard the waitress say. Huh. Red or Green. Red or Green what? Said the driver. Chili said the waitress. WAIT A MINUTE. Where are you from I asked? Alabama, he replied, north of Birmingham.
Well, I explained, they don't make chili out here, like we make it at home. Can you bring this driver a sample of red chili, I asked? Just a spoonful? Sure can. Wow, he exclaimed after tasting, I am sure glad you said something, I'll have something else. I guess if a man likes home cooking, he needs to stay at home. I like truck stop food myself. Home cooking tears my stomach up. Hope every one has a good day, James
Saw in the paper this morning that Mrs. Moore passed away Sunday. She was the wife of H.H.Moore,mother of F.L.Moore,and Jeff and Todd's grandmother.I work for them now at F.L.Moore and sons,but I drove for H.H.for more than 25 years,started there in1979. H.H. and Evelyn started H.H.Moore trucking co. in 1946.I'll be here until tomorrow now,so I can go to the funeral.
Late one night, on my very first trip to Reno. I was headed N. on 95 about midway between Vegas and Reno. Traffic was light and mostly trucks. In the distance, I could see a lit up area and as I approached I saw a marquee, advertising somebody's Bunny Ranch. Being the country boy that I am, and a little slow as well, I thought to myself, this isn't much of a place to have a rabbit farm. As I drove past, a womans voice broke in over the CB. " you drivers stop in for a free cup of coffee". Huh, then a young sounding driver broke in " have you guys got showers" answer " well the girls have showers in their rooms". SILENCE
OK,Iknow this isn't the recipe corner,but today I cooked some doves on the grill- Jobyna's son Billy,who lives in Glouchester,Va,had to work in the area this weekend and is spending the weekend with us.His coworker went dove hunting and he brought 16 doves home this evening.I used to go dove hunting when I was A teenager,and I don't think I had 16 total kills in my dove hunting career. My mom used to cook them,but I didn't really remember how.So I put them in some wreynolds wrap with some olive oil and the rub,put A strip of bacon over them,put them on the grill,turned them once,and I must say they came out very delicious.Whod'a thunk it?
I cooked some ribs yesterday,and I know this isn't the recipe corner,but they were so good I thought I'd share. I saw A recipe in A magazine once,two rappers had A rib cooking contest,and I kind of modified the winning recipe.First I slice the ribs into serving size pieces,then boil the ribs in beer with A little garlic,black pepper,and some of my homemade barbecue sauce,which is mostly just vinegar,red pepper,and liquid smoke. Then after they've simmered 'til they're done I put them on the charcoal grill and brown them on both sides,and they're good to go.They always come out tender and delicious.And that's the recipe of the week...tune in next week for tomater sammiches.
New battery,I should have said,not batteries.They only replaced the one that was bad,so now I've got one new and three old ones.Should have replaced them all in my opinion with winter coming.But I did get 8 new drive tires too.They put Generals on it-had Michelins before-and boy did they feel funny at first.Went to Dillwyn to load and thought I'd hit A patch of black ice in the first curve,but it was 85 degrees. Went to Fremont then Macedonia to Roanoke and thought I might be done for the week,but then I had to go to Avon,Oh. and reloaded at Sharon,Pa. for Lynchburg.Had A little small adventure on the way back. I got off of I-99 at Roaring Spring,Pa. to get A drink and A sandwich maybe.I was thinking there was A little fuel stop there,but apparently I was mistaken.Didn't see A fuel stop or A turnaround spot,so I kept going towards Roaring Spring to turn around at the Wal-Mart,but didn't see one of them either.So I continued on,rode through town,ended up on 867 south,had no idea where I was headed,road getting smaller and smaller.After A few miles the road got bigger,but still no where to pull over to look at my map or turn around.Finally I saw clearance lights approaching and hollered on the radio,"HELP!" or something,but it was A straight truck.Fortunately he did have A radio,and told me to go to the stop sign and make A right,go over the mountain and I'd be right back to 99. So I did and when I made that right I started climbing.When I got in the high side of the transmission I had to go right back to the low side to get over the mountain. When I finally struggled to the top the sign said 12% grade,next 2 miles.So I eased on down,still in the low side because I didn't know the road and didn't want to run up on another 15 mph curve like I did coming up.Got back on 99 and didn't even want A drink and sandwich anymore.
Nice day here in Upstate NY. This is a good time of year for us.
Just got the news that one of the tracks on a rented Fiat Allis dozer just beat the tractor to the dirt pile. That's not usually too good. Apparently the chain broke. Turns out the owner knew it was worn badly - and just hoped it might work for another day. Cheap So and So.
So, before I go out to the job and lose my cool - I thought I would relax and post another blog entry.
It's hard to get too mad at my operator. Fred is a retired union operator with more experience than I can even imagine. And he is as trustworthy as the day is long.
The machine, on the other hand, probably shouldn't have been rented at all. And I can't say anything too nice about the owner right now.
I've leased a new tractor for Tuesday, and life goes on.
I commented yesterday on the life span of a Ford Jubilee tractor, or for that matter, any of the old tractors.
With proper maintenance and occasional work as needed, these pieces of equipment will run a long time.
That's one of the things I like about heavy trucks.
You can take almost any of the common older trucks and update it with safer brakes and plumbing, freshen up the diesel and do normal maintenance work, and it will serve you for as long as you want it to. Then you pass it on to the next owner, and it keeps on working. It is pretty unusual to find a truck that is so far gone that it cannot be saved, unless it has been parted out or wrecked.
New trucks might be faster (maybe), or might be more fuel efficient (unless the electronics are acting up), and they could be more comfortable - but - they are a lot more expensive, and unless you are working it hard every day, the new truck probably can't match the financial efficiency of the old one.
Recycling in the most pure form!
A while back I stumbled on a 1953 Ford Golden Jubilee tractor for sale by the side of the road.
You can guess what happened next ....
Anyway - the tractor turns out to have a Sherman three speed auxiliary transmission, which was a dealer installed
aftermarket option. Pretty handy.
My brother has my grandfather's original Jubilee. It has been used and abused by all of us for most of our lives.
As kids we all learned to drive on it. Some of us did our level headed best to make it go much faster than it was ever meant to go.
Now it's getting tired. So, we have decided to bring the tractor into the shop over the winter for a major restoration.
The plan is to split the tractor, rebuild the engine, put in a new clutch, pressure plate & throw-out bearing, radiator, belts and hoses.
The tires are pretty new, but the brakes need help. And there is a lot of other work to do.
When it's all ready, we will prep it and paint it in original colors.
Using these two tractors, and an Oliver HG42 crawler that I have, in the woods for firewood has been a blast.
These are a real tribute to American ingenuity and engineering. The amount of work these little tractors will do is fantastic.
With the rebuild complete, the Jubilee should last for the rest of our lives.
Pretty amazing in a throw away world.