My sister recently posted the following line on my Facebook page, “you like big trucks and you cannot lie.” This is an obvious nod to the fact that I like big trucks and some revised lyrics/homage to the 1992 song from Sir Mix-a-lot.
I don’t drive big trucks anymore. I haven’t hauled corn, soybeans or fertilizer for years and last year was my final in the sugar beet field-at least for now. The reason for my exit is the same for each situation-too much waiting in line. Most people don’t realize that a big part of driving truck is sitting and waiting to receive your load or deliver it. Either situation demands way more patience than I could muster anymore.
I think my favorite trucks are the huge single units. Especially grain trucks used by farmers before most began using separate tractor-trailer units. These tandem, tri-axle and quad axle beasts are really something to see and carry a lot of product. They don’t carry quite as much as a tractor/trailer combination and they probably aren’t as flexible but they are still very cool. When I think of big, single-unit trucks the big Chevy Kodiaks come to mind. Also the chunky Dodge trucks made until the mid-seventies and the massive Ford trucks with the beastly 534 cubic inch gas engine-this was before Ford sold off to Sterling. I will still almost sprain my neck in my rush to check out any decent C-65 with tip-tops and a nice paint job.
Conventional trucks are the ones with a long nose and the engine mounted forward. There used to be something called a cabover too, also known as COE for “cab over engine.” The control station for a cabover was mounted directly-above the front tires. Two of my brothers used to drive cabovers at work and I rode passenger with brother Dave and got a little drive time with brother Darrel on a trip to Illinois to the John Deere plant. It wasn’t enough to form an opinion but Dave told me that cabovers where nice because you knew exactly where the front end was all the time. These trucks were excellent for getting in and out of tight farm yards or narrow crossings. I suspect the cabovers demise was caused as that flat nose was not very aerodynamic and most semi’s rarely leave the highway and so the benefits of the better view weren’t needed very often. Cabovers looked so cool and tough but I like conventionals too-they just aren’t as unique as the COE.
If you loved trucks as a child, then your love for them as an adult is pretty simple-trucks remind you of something. They remind you of a time when you didn’t need glasses, your hands didn’t hurt and you could still immediately recognize a friend when you saw each other buying coffee at Petro Pumper. However, if your love for trucks came about later in life then it is something different-the addiction to movement. The constant stimulation of seeing new terrain or familiar terrain quickly, is addictive. The same guys who find a meditative state when driving their motorcycle probably find that same place in their mind when they drive a truck. I would say this little addiction is one of the least harmful way to get through middle age. In my case, both factors mix together. Most likely, it’s different for everyone; the truth is-I just love trucks.