I Love Trucks!


While traveling the highways and byways of the country aboard our motor home, 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 interstates, and here are a few examples:

2017-9-28f heavy load


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. (June 2017)

2016-9-6q-widest-load-everSeptember, 2016:  Along Wyoming’s remote Highway 51, we pulled over for the widest wide load I had ever encountered along a two lane road. All northbound vehicles had to pull to the shoulder to let this behemoth by. It was a large dump body for a monster mine dump truck.


I loved trucks since I was a kid…

As an elementary school kid back in the 50s I would get into trouble for drawing trucks in class. I loved ’em even then 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. I met a veteran log hauler in Red Bluff, CA at the truck outfit’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 two lane mountain highways. It was “old skool” truckin’ and it was hard, dirty work. We drove many miles off road to and from the landings where the logs awaited loading, then we hauled them to the mills.

Click to view some of the old iron I used to drive – and the captions.

After the three months of learning I was hired on, and that first load I hauled on my own was a mighty proud moment. I stayed with log hauling for that year, including winter, and drove on mud, ice and snow. 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. It was a lot different than hauling logs and I liked it!

Click to view a very cool GMC Astro I drove:

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

My last trucking job, near the town of Stockton, CA, included hauling molasses in tanks to and from Spreckels Sugar plants scattered all over the Central Valley and also bulk chemicals from near Death Valley to the various sugar plants. I loved that job but eventually, after five years with that company, I wanted a life outside the cab of a truck.

In 1980 I started a landscape maintenance business and my trucking employer allowed me to drive gradually fewer days each week ’til I built up a sufficient number of gardening customers to be full time. I’ll always be thankful for their cooperation!

Once in my own business I never went back to trucking, but I’ve always said that trucking was my true calling and my favorite job of any I ever had – there was just too darn much of it! During my trucking years there were times that I literally lived in the cab of a truck. It’s too bad it can’t be just an eight hour a day job, but it sure isn’t.


Having the truck history I have, I am always admiring the big rigs of today with whom I share the highways when I RV around the country. So, instead of posting a photo of an interesting truck on each travelogue to get lost and forgotten over time, I will now also post them to this page so they will all be available on one page. I hope like minded truckers and those interested in trucks will find this page entertaining. Enjoy!

September 26, 2019 in Norfolk, NE: Wow! 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.
(To appreciate this huge rig, click on this photo to enlarge; click again for even larger.)


2019-6-24n fleet of trucks with bridge partsNotice what I believed to be huge highway bridge beams on those three 13 axle rigs! Along I-40 in Arizona in June of 2019, we passed this fleet of big rigs at a weigh station. (Click to enlarge; click again for full size.)


2018-2-2k-huge-load I-40 Kalif.February, 2018

Somewhere along I-40 east of Barstow in the vast Mojave Desert, this heavy hauler was parked. Note the jeep dolly attached to the fifth wheel, and the hydraulic steer trailer taking up the rear. A very impressive rig, indeed! (Click to enlarge, click again for even larger.)


June, 2017: You know you’ve been passed right properly when one of these huge Utah rigs, up to 105 feet and 129,000 pounds, passes you! This rig cruised by us along I-80 as we crossed the salt flats of Utah. 

More trucks that caught my eye on the June, 2017 trip to Denver and home; click to enlarge and read:

That huge white “tube” in the series above is a base of a wind turbine. That one is being hauled on a “Schnable” trailer. They are designed to let the base ride as low as possible. Here is a video about those incredible rigs:


The Pebble Beach Best of Show in 2012 beauty below was photographed in January, 2015 at a K-Mart lot in Deming, NM. If a truck could be poetry, this red beauty is it! 

 


The phrase on the back of the sleeper reads: “Chasing the Demon Wind”.

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Tanker and double trailers on I-80 in Nevada. That is efficiency!

This 13 axle rig was west bound on I-80 along the salt flats of Utah in June, 2011.

 

This set of Old Dominion triples, and the UPS double 53 footers was also photographed along the salt flats in Utah.

This seven axle bobtail crane was cruising along near Tooele, Utah.

This wind turbine was heading west along I-80 in Wyoming aboard this huge 13 axle rig in June, 2011.

My favorite modern tractor is this Navistar, formerly known as International Harvester or “Cornbinder”. This model is dubbed the LoneStar – and is a retro style that I think is just stunning. Taken March 31, 2011 at an I-5 Rest Area above Sacramento.

The following wind turbines towers were taken along I-80 as we headed for Denver and Branson, Missouri in September of 2010.

These tower section has to be extremely thick and heavy. I presume that by the number of tires on the ground. I count 13 axles; the usual big rig that grosses 80,000 Lbs has just five axles.

This double belly dump rig must net double the usual five axle rig normally seen. This was in Utah along I-80, September 2010.


A section of wind turbine tower.


And another.


An off road dump truck heading down I-80 on seven axles!

This is a long abandoned truck stop in Laramie, Wyoming. I cannot understand the locals putting up with this mess, but it was there, along with the abandoned trucks seen below, back in June of 2010 and again three months later.

This had to be a fatal. This is the only rig that wasn’t there in June, but was abandoned there when we visited in September. I’d guess it was an uninsured/under-insured total wreck, and the owners had it dropped there.

These two tractors and the semi-trailer had been sitting just as shown for over three months. I consider them abandoned, and there was evidence of homeless spending nights in the KW cabover. What a sad tale.
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July, 2012 

Along I-5 in the Los Angeles area I passes this monster mobile crane heading south.