Pictures of Big Shots

HearingVoices

Don Hastings. “He was KOOL before KOOL was KOOL”

Thats what Cliff Whitley said about Don lately it was last, missing piece of puzzle in my long term research about KOOL. It started when my sweet wife told me once how they were leaving Minnesotta on their way (with her ex-boyfriend then) to New Jersey and they rolled over in the middle of snow storm and when cop arrived to the scene, he said “all right kids, I’m gonna take you home now” and he took them to his house, where his wife served them dinner and made them bed so they could stay warm. When I heard this story it got stuck in my mind because I had no clue about Northerners, being Sotherner myself. But I also left seeking luck in New York where obviously met my wife and since she wasn’t impressed with her partner driving skills – I stole her and some time after that we went to Far West, running away scared of East (nothing new, we did that before) – and ended up on some insanely incredibly beautiful beach on the most westward Hawaii Island called Kauai. Problem was, sun was setting down and it made me feel like I run this world and decided to make a statement by taking that Jeep 4×4 for a ride along the water and sunk it so badly we couldn’t dig it out for so long, the Pacific started coming up asking for it. We were exhausted digging like crazy and and about to give up when somehow (not sure how. No clue how) a guy taking a walk with his wife appeared and asked if we need some help, then let the air out of tires and pulled out like pro because thats who he was – he used to play in mud his whole life with construction equipment he owned. In Minnesotta. Thats where he was from. Then, few years later I have met Don Hastings on a trucking forum where despite wild criticism sparkled by some very sophisticated joke I was pulling on them all – he was the first guy to like my truck pictures. Now, the thing is Don is the man who took the best trucking picture I have ever seen. But it was before anyone even knew whats KOOL – yet they knew that in Minnesota. They got it going on. I’ll try to get his permission to post this picture. You will get it then.

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Scary Movie

What would be Hitchcock’s choice for scary-truck in “Scrap Yard” thriller? It would be CAT truck – psychopatic rig full of twisted logic… rounded hood with… straight-cut fenders and… zig-zag widow lines. Random and unstable. Those CATs are really weird – now they even going to use Cummins aftertreatment…

Well, newest Kenworth T680 don’t look bad anymore.


Kenworth T680. No past, no future – just greed

Here is why we had that tough Paccar meeting few  days ago – Kenworth is cutting off the family tree branch  they were sitting on for so long. They apparently hired some new product managers who just graduated from community college and figured that they no need no stinking tradition. Screw that 100 years of building classic trucks – now they going to cater mega-fleets with T 660 (aero), T 700 (aero) and the newest product shown below: T 680 (aero). They want to outsell Peterbilt 579 (aero with some classic touches) using  new 680 (aero with no touches) – the only problem I see that they don’t is… there is nothing to look at. It looks exactly like  T 700 and I don’t know what their major was but it sure wasn’t marketing. You don’t want to build premium model that looks like the one you are already selling as an economy truck. It’s against basic p r o d u c t  d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n rules. No wonder student loans crisis is just around the corner…

Kenworth T700Kenworth T680New Kenworth T60 Straigh out of factoy and immediately out of service

 

 

 

 

 

 


PACCAR Family Affairs

This is strictly confidential and under no circumstances this discussion can let out of our family circle as the problem is of very delicate nature and troubles me deeply. Before we proceed with this secret meeting in our old winery let me introduce myself as a big lover of both branches – I don’t believe there is any advantage Peterbilt has over Kenworth when I don’t buy that crap about how all the trucks are the same tools with different names either – this is wrong. To prove my standing on the matter of superiority of both brands, here is my picture showing me eyeballing random KWhooper Truck:

Now, lets get to the merit. Here is Peterbilt bloodline – grandfather (359) and grandson (389) – anyone can tell there is similarity:

Well, I have asked you to come here tonight, because I want to know WTF HAPPENED HERE ?

 


Peterbilt 579 – First Encounter

Not surprisingly, Long Haul Trucking from Albertville, MN – the guys who apparently love aero 387 model (introduced in 1999 and still extremely controversial – not something hardcore Peterbilt lovers could get over with in last 12 years apparently) seems to be one of the first buyers of 579.  I didn’t even realize it was sitting there at the time I took the picture, it was too far to see… or it is too similar to 387 behind… Big windshield being major change. Well, thats the sign of the times – people can’t see things…

 


Roads West

Is it really about trucks?


They Are Here

So, the appointment for pickup was 6PM but it took 8 hours to get the door, typical deal for this place where they just don’t care – they just pay $40/h detention to the brokers, who hold to it – this way the longer it takes, the more money they make when drivers just sit for free. But finally I backed into door 22 and went to sleep, because I knew its gonna be tough day coz of the delay. 3 hours later I felt side hit and and jumped out of the truck, half asleep and half blind but at least fast enough to take this shot:

The mistake I have made was that you never, ever go to sleep when someone might be backing or doing any maneuvers beside you because these days truck drivers can’t drive. This year alone I pulled the horn TWICE saving my trailer from ugly damage from them unexperienced / unskilled drivers. But you gotta be awake to do it. Good thing was, the driver, young half-Russian half-Armenian immigrant was smart enough to be backing very slowly, and he just touched my trailer. Damage to S/S walls is irrational to fix, it’s not worth fixing due the rivets being stainless steel – to replace the side wall panel the whole inside wall  liner (53″ of it) and some insulation need to be taken apart. I was pissed. But, stayed cool suppressing adrenaline boiling my brain because I fought stronger man yet never about the insurance certificate – so I just took more shots and demanded papers and driver license – which he produced to me when… dearly apologizing for his mistake. I said “Now I’m going to help you back it up”. If you drive a truck for living, you can tell from the picture, this guy is new to this. However, he started to truck… with own 2007 truck (Volvo 780) and 2007 reefer. That was strange to hear but when we talked later on he said he was working construction, electrician, have a wife and kid and always pays for own mistakes because he believes in God and wouldn’t try to run away from any responsibility of any of his action. That’s when I have noticed the cross on his neck. And started connecting the dots – he was no different than who I was few years ago, except even more aggressive and much faster to buy a truck and start family. I went to sleep and woke up 2 hours later because it was still quiet – means I’m not loaded at all. I went pissed again to the shipping office where they told me… there was mistake and the guy… took my load! Now I wasn’t even pissed no more. I was stumbled. The accident took place only by mistake in the shipping department, I should be loaded and gone… the way my new friend was at this moment… We looked into each other eyes and I have seen the lady eyes got wet (seriously) when she said “Im sorry for what happened… He hit you, do you have his cell number?” I catapulted myself thru the door going to grab it from my truck only to… freeze in my tracks seeing… Volvo parked behind the fence. He didn’t go nowhere. He was saying he hit me because was tired – so he stayed here. We woke him up to tell him what happened. Now he looked at me and I shouted “You hit me AND stole my load!” and seeing his still sleeping, puzzled face I started laughing, that was too much to take it seriously – I said “At least we will teach you park properly this time”. I explained him the concept – Evgeniy did it. Perfectly. First shot. He went from the screw up  shown in the picture to perfect – somehow. I’m posting this picture so you know this Russian/Armenian is a good man and my friend now. He speaks good english and don’t get excited easily which is good given the fact that polish and russian special forces don’t get along very well.  Now, if  you wondering  why I’m telling you all this – the reason is that above ridiculous situation caused delay to my another pickup (after I delivered this load) in Idaho where being 60 minutes late (I overslept the moment my trailer was unloaded at Walmart DC) I pulled into Pilot truckstop in McDowell, ID to get fuel and shower and call it a day. Parked the truck in the corner and when left noticed red Peterbilt 377 pulling in – which was looking exactly like the grey 377 I parked beside which made me look back over my shoulder to confirm it and that’s when I noticed there was an old-skool driver sitting behind the wheel smoking cigarette, our eyes crossed and he waved me. Now, I’m approaching the building when suddenly some lady materialize in front of me saying: “I’m 64 old, my car broke and I’m on my way to family reunion in Nephew, UT, are you going south?” I said “No, I’m going North” “Do you  have a CB radio, so I could ask other drivers here?” I said “No, my radio is down. But I know who we can help” And we went back across the truckstop to the guy in the grey Peterbilt because if there is only one person who will help you in todays world – it sure be old truck driver. That’s just how they are. During the walk I noticed she was afraid of the trucks and trying to follow me. I explained him whats going on and he jumped out the cab welcoming her to take a seat and talk. She talked, talked again and again but every time she repeated with less energy hearing nothing back when someone replied: “we hear you young lady, it just so happens nobody here is going south”. She looked defeated but only till Bob (the driver) told her that her luggage she just mentioned stayed in the truckstop building is probably gone by now. Now the lady was really scared and I said: “lets go grab it and come back here to Bob’s truck”. We started walking across the parking lot and she started shaking and said with breaking voice: “I believe in God. My husband died 3 months ago but I feel like he is here watching after me all the time”. I said “I’m a believer too, we will replace your husband tonight” which was strange thing to say and I don’t know how come I said it. On the way I asked 3 drivers if they are going south but they were all numb. Luggage was still there in drivers room, kinda heavy so I grabbed it and across the truckstop we went again. Then I left her with Bob and went for shower finally I wanted but there was none ready so had to wait. Then realized its getting dark soon and its going to horrible night to her. Figured… I can let her stay the night in my big bunk then in the morning we go north 45 miles, get loaded and then I was going to go south. Took a shower and walking toward them and here is what I see – Bob smoking another cigarette laughing, the lady sitting in the passenger seat all happy and looking 15 years younger now – they having great time now in sunset rays blazing thru the cigarette smoke dancing to the music playing. I’m like “What happened?” Bobby says “we started talking and figured that after I get unloaded after midnight up north – I’m going West, toward Boise and tomorrow morning her family will be going thru there on the way to Nephew so they can pick her up” I went “Wow, are you saying the solution was here from very beginning?” That’s right, I somehow knew who to talk to from the first moment I met her.  Then Bobby said: “It’s called propheticing and there is a prayer for that, I just forgot what was it but I knew it once, my sister is a missionary”. We all chatted with true happiness and when she went asleep tired in the seat me and Bobby talked a lot – he started driving when big trucks had 160hp and would blow fire from the stacks – we talked for hour or two about trucks and all and exchanged telephone numbers.

Next morning when I got loaded I called Bob to ask how it all went  – he said it was perfect, the family was already waiting when they pulled in… “There is one thing she didn’t mentioned to us yesterday though” “Whats that?”I asked. “They were all going for family reunion but the reason for it was her husband memorial”.

They are here, looking after us.


Those Damn Pirates!

We have a delicate situation when comes to how truckers are being portrayed in media and in general that picture isn’t really pretty. So, there are numerous attempts being made into “improving” that image by seeking ways to attract more women (which is actually counterproductive, coz they have more balls than modern man has) into industry or forbiding CB-radio usage on company trucks so those poor, sensitive drivers never learn about how their own “driving techniques” are being received on the road. Not too mention all those kiddos are being held locked-up in truckstops after dusk to avoid dangers that inevitably come with darkness. I’m so glad their bosses figured they all need to be saved from from bad influence – just think what damage to their sensitive souls could do seeing real sailors who learned this job from their rum drinking, tobacco chewing, constantly swearing predecessors who also accidently discovered this land. Sissi-World could immediately collapse!

 

 


Burning Midnight Oil

There is nothing more amazing than late night running out West because when  there is not much  traffic during the day – nights are complete charm… its like plowing the Moon. Just me and and the humming Cummins – I can hear it better at night especially when my stereo overheats and shuts down. It just feels so good… like original, Made In USA freedom and I think that is the very feeling many past trucker generations had to experience the same way – when its dark and you can only see the highway there is no way to know what year is it… Look at the first picture…. 1939?

Then look at the second… 1984? There is almost no way to know since Peterman started building trucks they had to invent hammer lines because them Peterbilts were too large and didn’t fit anywhere else…I was having a blast!

… when suddenly lightning stroke and ruined everything taking me back to 2008 and sad reality full of mega fleet wonders :-/


The Judgement Day

“Oh, Dear Lord I’m so glad to see you! When my wife couldn’t find a job and my sons were considering joining the Army I was praying every time I had to climb mountain pass so my old shaker won’t blow the gasket… so I can deliver just one more load  and my boys won’t have to go to war. That old girl never let us down and our family could stand up against evil times for so long… It was beautiful fight we have had… Thank You Lord, we did all right”

 

 

“Sir, I wasn’t aware you really exist, but let me explain – when we were moving all those factories from US soil to China we didn’t realize it will wreck all those American families and make Chinese communist so rich they will become superpower and force  that crazy military spending upon us. But when the war started someone had to supply them both sides with weapon anyway, right? Lord, I was really trying to repent, I got me that electric car – I was told it’s all about karma and money flow. Lord? why you are fading away…why its getting so dark?? heeeellllll……p”


Trucker’s Son…

Since I declared my plan to become a trucker like my daddy was – my parents immediately started heavy campaign to discourage me so I can have a life. Part of it was my father pretending that “it’s just a job” and “I’m doing it because I had to” stuff. I was always suspicious seeing his company rides being clean and in perfect working condition even that they were not Kenworths nor even Freightliners but weird, POS machines rusting already in factory lot – but my parents outsmarted me and directed into higher education and white collar job. Their plan worked kinda well but only till I hit 29 and started driving trucks like I always wanted, all they achieved was that 10 years delay and their plan was a fail. Now, being parent myself to our 3-year old I’m facing the same issue from opposite perspective – I sure want Konrad to have a life but since my father idea didn’t work too well I needed to improve it – and decided to tell him the whole truth about trucking so he can get over it and move on. This bright concept already backfired when we went for that heavenly vacation in Maui, Hawaii which is easily one of the most incredibly beautiful places full of epic beaches, fishes, flowers, volcano and humpback whale chasing rides – and here is what he liked the most: Hawaii truck junkyards. Mommy is not impressed.

 

 

 

 


I got loaded.

When you on your own, it is not easy to get loaded because it all depends on your own skills. There is no boss to tell you when and where you have to be and go – and some people miss those call from their lovely dispatchers (yeah, right) but produce haulers in the wintertime face bigger problems. There is no demand. No freight. And rates are shit. So, you really need a good plan to get back to the road. Here is what I did. Last year I planted that winter-vacation idea into my lovely wife cute head – I did it around November because good plan is always well timed one. Now, I waited patiently till she booked the cheapest package we could afford to take our 3-year old to his first family vacation – and it took a while because she makes good deals only. No bad deals allowed. So, after she nailed it I go: “Honey, do we need money?”  because I knew she will feel bad after spending this kinda money and… there still will be no reason to go. But the first base was covered. Then, I have seen one bad picture posted on the internet by my friend Gene Petrosky: back of his trailer totally covered with snow and ice – and this made me have those flashbacks from past ice storms in Wyoming again – you know that kinda things you will remember because it scared you shitless… so I went to Salinas and got loaded.

 

 


To Hell And Back

This picture reminds me one of those experiences everyone is having at some point in life. I was driving thru the long night to make it home and see my sweet darling waiting there for me – I knew she was lonely, we just moved to Cali and didn’t have any friends yet, nobody to talk to. So I’m rolling thru some long dark granite valley, feeling good about it but those black rocks are shinning kinda weird, lighted by some strange light source. Slowly I became overwhelmed with those surroundings and at some point i have noticed it is a tunnel with granite ceiling as well. I was amazed. Next thing I see… I’m blasting thru Salt Flats West of Salt Lake City and thats when  got scared shitless – I realized it was just a dream. Since then I have changed my ways. I pray. 


Hearing Voices

I’ve been watching those two old trucks sitting right in the middle of pretty amazing junkyard in western Nebraska which I’m passing by for 8 years or so. They look like two old buddies sitting at the porch in some old town commenting on whatever get in their sight…. “Hey, pal have you heard about gay marriages? Why would they want to do that? Because they can’t handle turn signal right, much less a woman… In my days when you showed up at some government building with a woman they didn’t even check your ID, you were trusted to be a good man… Today? Look at that plastic truck driver – he thinks water stinks”. I sure hope the old pricks didn’t talk about me. Had no time to hand wash my reefer this week, did just the truck


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