That’s a mouth full but when you are talking about a Maine trailer truck, the devil is in the descriptiondetails.
My Dad and Mom raised potatoes for 24 years. Had eight trailer trucks to haul their potatoes and loads they bought from other local Maine spud farmers. Before trucks came in to the picture, trains did the potato market delivery to Boston MA, New York City, Hartford CT.
But over night service, deliveries tomorrow morning by loads ordered the day before became the demand, the norm. With just in time inventory control and because some railroad cars disappeared for days, weeks. And when located, deep in the heart of Texas, the load poured out the door, stunk to high heaven, ruined.
Dad’s first truck was a 1963 White cab over 250 Cumming diesel engine red color truck with sleeper. It was a twin screw, had a sleeper and was purchased with a 1957 Trailmobile trailer. Most of his trailers after that were Great Dane stainless steel types. One Fruehauf though. Allison Britton, a local painter sat on a wooden stool, hand lettered the truck doors with “Prem Pak”, the name of the trucking business arm.
Back in the early 1960’s you needed ICC rights to haul certain products in a set collection of states.
So Dad hired an ICC lawyer named Mary Kelly in Washington DC to work the deal to buy Mulcahey Express. Part of the purchased ICC rights allowed furniture moving which was not used. But the paper products for the New England states was. French fry cartoons for a back haul to Potato Service, other potato processors in the Presque Isle Maine area helped make the profit. Pay the fuel for mileage which was less than 4 miles per gallon.
Other Northern Maine truckers would lease the paper hauling rights, give a percentage of the freight charge for the load to my parents. They had Prem-Pak plaques to put on their doors to show under who’s authority they were hauling their load of laden for and where to in the paperwork in the cab. Next to their log book and the eight tracks of Buck Owens, Johnny Cash, Red Sovine, George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn.
Other White trucks were bought, always with Cummings diesel engines. There was a Transtar, an International truck with a 903 diesel, a Peterbilt with a 335 diesel. And Dopey was a 220 Cummings diesel, single screw with a extra tag axle, no sleeper. Jeff Bossie, Doug McNutt were two early drivers of Dopey and paid an extra 35 dollars a trip. For motel room or a bonus if they just leaned over to lay down on the passenger seat. Catching some shut eye while waiting to be unloaded in the produce market.
Ole Elmer had a bumper with the name on it, was a gas job single axle conventional White used to “donkey” back hauls of paper products from Houlton to Presque Isle, Caribou, Fort Kent Maine.
And to pick up potato loads to head south being pulled by their regular diesels. That were being engine serviced in our barn converted to a truck terminal. While Ole Elmer set, landed the next load for the regular driver home sleeping. Charlie McCordic was the day driver who would donkey north to pick up a potato cargo load.
Another truck, #5 had “Here Comes Kelley” on its bumper and was driven by Elwod Kelly. I went on lots of trips as a young kid to the produce markets. Pulling in to Fargo Potato on D Street in Boston. Helping unload with the promise of a seafood fried clam dinner at the Bel Aire Diner on Rt 128 on the way back to Maine. If you did not hire the brother of the guy with the big hand that raps on your truck semi’s door at 4:30 AM, you could be jerked around and delayed a long long time.
Truck #2 had “Home Wrecker” written on its bumper and Sonny Howe, Joey Nadeau I think were its drivers. Jack Graham, Dean Lynds, Astle McPherson, Carl Cottle, Albert Fitz, Charlie McAtee and lots of other really good drivers were in behind the wheels of these rigs.
I respect truckers, want to eat where they do on the road on trips.
I flick my lights off when they pass on the Interstate to let them know they are clear to pull back in the lane. And the morse code on and off of their trailer lights makes me feel good to have had some trucking injected in my blood as a kid growing up around them. They can not stop on a dime, get a bad rap when there is one trying to avoid a driver texting or on their phones and involved in an accident.
Having to go out with a load regardless of the weather. Missing lots of holidays to make a living to feed their kids. Put a roof over their head in homes that they are not themselves in very long. And when they are, they are sawing logs, sleeping soundly. Getting ready to go back out on truck. Listening to country music, socializing on the CB radio. Missing their kids, wife, girlfriend.