I Love Trucks!

c1979 or so Dean, Dad and my Big WooMy son, Dean, at about nine years old, and I pose next to a Mack, one of many trucks I drove during my truckin’ days. C1979

I drove big rigs for about ten years, pretty much during the decade of the 1970s. So, while traveling the highways and byways of the country I have a great time watching for unusual trucks of all kinds. The bigger the better, as long as I’m not being held up! There are some real monsters to be seen on the highways.

September, 2019

2019-9-25r passing turbine baseTo properly view this huge rig, click on the photo to enlarge; click again for even larger.

In Norfolk, Nebraska, while parked for the night at Walmart on US275, this monster drove by. Wow! It is the base of a huge wind turbine. What a rig! According to what I could find on the ‘net about these monsters, the payload here is somewhere north of 100,000 lbs. That would explain the 12 axles plus the tractor’s front axle. This type trailer is called a Schnabel. It requires no trailer below the load, permitting the load to be carried very low to avoid overhead wires, overpasses, etc.

Here’s a YouTube video of a similar rig negotiating a tight corner:

June 2017

Large mining dump trucks are so big that they must be shipped in pieces to the site they’ll work, and are assembled there. Here, its weight and length spread over 13 axles(!), the front of one (note grill and headlights) heads east on I-80 in Wyoming. (June 2017)

On the same trip but heading west on I-80, we encountered this super sized mining truck dump bed that blocked two lanes of traffic and was accompanied by several pilot cars and even the highway patrol – and another identical load.

As a school kid back in the 50s I would get into trouble for drawing trucks in class. I loved ’em even as a kid and from those days I always wanted to be a truck driver. Then in the 60s, after I was out of high school I could find no way to learn the trade. There were no truck driving schools back then, at least none I knew about.

I worked a number of other jobs until I was 28 years old when I met a veteran log hauler in Red Bluff, CA at the truck company’s yard that was in my neighborhood. I was selling Fuller Brush products door to door at the time, and did Ok doing that, but I still wanted to drive trucks for a living.

Zirkle Logger 2Here’s the rig I learned on and identical to the one I drove waaay back in the 70s. The logging trucks of today are much improved but still have about the same appearance as this old timer. This logger had walking beam suspensions that rode like a tractor. They were powered by Cummins 335 engines and had the old 5X4 main/Brownie transmissions.

That fine fellow, Paul Fox, put up with me for three months as he taught me how to drive a 1960s era Peterbilt logging truck. It had a Cummins 335 and two transmissions; the main which was five speeds and the Brownie which was four speeds. I learned how to shift the old “main and Brownie” twin sticks in the woods and mountains, and we shifted gears virtually all day long. If we weren’t driving off road, we were driving along mountain highways. It was “old skool” truckin’ and it was hard, dirty work – sometimes so muddy our trucks would bog down in mud and have to be pulled out with large log skidders. We drove many miles off road to and from the landings where the logs awaited loading, then we hauled them to the saw mills.

After the three months of learning, I was hired on, and that first load I hauled on my own made for a mighty proud moment. I stayed with log hauling for that year, including winter, and drove on mud, ice and snow. Conditions could be downright miserable hauling logs, so…

I looked forward to a highway job to get away from the mud and slop of log hauling, and I eventually learned the ropes of hauling lumber. I hauled lumber and plywood from saw mills in Northern California to the lumber yards in Southern California. Pavement beat mud, and I preferred highway driving!

Once on the highway full time I drove for a few different companies which included hauling lumber, plywood, sheet rock, sugar and molasses, soda ash, and ag products such as rice, tomatoes, and bulk milk.

Pictured here are some of the rigs I used to drive…

Sunrise lime from Ridgecrest CA to Salinas

Old #34 when I hauled lime from Ridgecrest, California near Death Valley. This load was likely heading to Salinas, CA.


Brandt lumber

After hauling logs I learned to haul lumber and considered it a much better job simply because I was off the rough old logging roads and full time on the highways.

Sunrise Mack bittern water

A Mack conventional that I dearly loved to drive. It had the Maxidyne and a very slick 5 speed transmission. With its airbag under the back of the cab, it was one of the nicest riding trucks I ever drove.

Nunes milk unloading Gustine

The old milk tanks I pulled with a Freightliner powered by a Detroit 318 with 4X4 transmissions. Here I’m unloading at the old, long ago closed Carnation canned milk plant in Gustine, Calif.

About FishWisher

Over the years I have posted many exciting fishing and boating stories here, but now in my seventies, it was time to sell the boat and find less demanding pastimes. All the fishing stories are still here! I will now post my travels aboard the motorhome and other activities. I hope y'all will still enjoy the fishing and boating adventures and perhaps peek in on my post-boating activities on occasion. Thanks for dropping in and I hope you enjoy your visit.
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