Channel 19

Todd Dills

Looks like we got ourselves a parade!

| May 16, 2013
Sam Peckinpah's 1978 "Convoy" flick memorialized the truckers protest convoy in the days of the 55-mph speed limit. The C.W. McCall song on which it was based scored No. 4 on our 2011 reader-provided-and-voted-on list of the top 10 trucking songs of all time, behind only "Six Days on the Road," "East Bound and Down," and "Teddy Bear."

Sam Peckinpah’s 1978 “Convoy” flick memorialized the truckers’ protest convoy in the days of the 55-mph speed limit. The C.W. McCall song on which it was based scored No. 4 on our 2011 reader-provided-and-voted-on list of the top 10 trucking songs of all time, behind only “Six Days on the Road,” “East Bound and Down,” and “Teddy Bear.”

Convoys are a thing of trucking lore, and reality, even today in some cases, as haulers band together on the roadways to run together for the sheer joy — rather than as mutual protection from 55-mph speed traps, as in those old days — of the spectacle. The wistful tone of the letter and proposition below from Knoxville, Tenn.-based hauler Kyle Cantor, posted to Overdrive‘s Facebook page a month or so ago, got me wondering how often these things happen in this day and age. Asking the question on Facebook yielded some interesting response.

Jeff Mathews was among the first to respond: “Convoys are illegal…. I prefer the term parade!”

I suppose caravan could well work, too, but parade it is, Jeff. Here’s Kyle’s note on a Memorial Day “parade” he’s hoping for:

Hey drivers, let’s get a Memorial Day convoy going for the Thursday before. You all remember shooting up 75 through Kentucky getting it together, then hitting Ohio 70 strong, Bird Dog in the front and Drag on the rear in a big rocking chair. Everyone ratchet-jawin’ and havin’ fun doing the job we love, all the lights stretched out for miles…

Don’t know about you, but I miss it, and we need to do it one more time. Heck, we can go 65 so the fun of the bears chasing us won’t be there. Let’s meet at the BP truck stop in London, Ky., get some good food, nanner puddin’ and go-go juice. I was thinking 3-5 p.m. and pick up stragglers along the way.

Let’s show these young dogs how much fun it is and let them see what we saw every night.

What was the last impromptu convoy (er… parade) you’ve seen? Following find a round-up of responses from my Facebook post to that question:

Lee Rexroad: Twenty-one trucks rolling out of St Louis on I-70 heading east, had the back door. Looks good from the back.

Scott Davis: I had about 15 trucks coming out of San Antonio — a “good time gang” with me in the rocking chair. It was pretty cool.

Casey Sanders: Impromptu? That’s a big word! Not sure how to answer!

Steve Vaudrey: And impromptu has only three syllables. Cooperation has five. Now that is a big word. My last impromptu convoy was 22 trucks. …

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  • Carol Walker

    I came up behind a long line of trucks and end up taking the front door and it was great. I dont drive anymore but i have some great memories.

  • coolbreezzee

    Hi There everybody,, I was part of a huge worlds largest convoy near Atlanta Ga , That touted over 160 trucks of every shape size and description .. along with Doc holiday,Granny and Snuffy Burt Renolds and many , many others to numerous to mention,, all donations going to a worthy cause,, Special Olimpics .. Many special olimpians were also there. tons of food , bands playing . all with the cooperation of many local law enforcement depts. Have not seen or heard of a convoy this size before or since then. hope more are in the works .. I miss everyone,, COOL BREEZZEE

  • Hooty

    I remember one night coming west along the I-80 in OH. It started out as only 3 of us, just talking running the 55 speed limit. Sun had now gone down and nobody was looking back, no reason to, just enjoying the ride, then someone asked a question of one of us, a voice I did not recognize. I glanced in the mirror and called to my lead truck (I was 3rd of the us 3), said look behind us. Apparently they had been listening to us but never said anything (forgot what was so interesting). There must have been what looked like a hundred trucks. Ohio is flat on I-80 and every time we went around a little bend I looked to see if I could find the end, never did. That was the proudest night to be a trucker. I have been off the road for about 15 years now, thinking about going back, but all those new regs have me worried. LET THEM TRUCKERS ROLL!

  • David Osborne

    originally convoys were to detere theft. but lets keep them rolling. glad i could drive better than i spell. hahahaha.

  • gary d

    you could say kinda of a forced convoy…running I-40 through the gorge from Tennessee to north Carolina where we have to use the right lane there must have been about 30 of us by the time we could pass again. we all caught up to a bunch of first timers going through there,

  • T Darnell

    I love the comments on these stories, I wanted to be a driver since i was eleven years old when I seen my first episode of MOVIN ON, then one summer i got to ride with my uncle Bubba for two weeks in a early seventies cabover, leaving from Nashville and ending in ohio where he lived, making stops along the way to load and unload equipment and parts on the lowboy, then when I was ready to get my license he talked me out of it and out of respect for him I didn’t, but I will never forget those two weeks, I can still smell the diesel at the truck stops and I was even in a convoy one night, I can remember all those truck lights in what seemed like a hundred miles to me back then, the CB chatter blasting over that big diesel engine, getting bounced around that passenger seat like a bobblehead…..GREAT TIMES!!! strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.