Former Bekins Van Lines owner-operator-turned-writer Fred Afflerbach’s Roll On novel, due this month, tells the story of Ubi Sunt on what may be his last cross-country run to see the grandkids. The book evokes the 1980s in cinematic detail, such as rumors of an independent strike. Sunt, hauling in a 1956 Peterbilt cabover known as Old Ironsides, is the writer’s tribute to those who came before him. “When I came on, I was listening to these old-timers — these guys drove when the roads were more primitive, drove with more primitive equipment, too.”
The book is dedicated to “the ones who don’t fit in.” Afflerbach says, “Bedbuggers were the black sheep compared to the reefer haulers with the fancy rigs. It might take us a whole week to get full — the other guys could come in and out in one or two days. We were misfits among misfits.”
For more of the interesting and odd parts of trucking, visit Senior Editor Todd Dills’ Channel 19 blog at OverdriveOnline.com/channel19.
Designed to please
Independent Laird Fuller, of Broomsfield, Colo., parked his 1995 Peterbilt 379, equipped with a 435-hp Caterpillar and 18-speed transmission, for seven months to customize nearly every inch of it. With the help of a dozen friends and Vinny’s Design of Henderson, Colo., Fuller did a near complete rebuild, adding a left sleeper door and suiciding all other doors. Custom fuel tanks from AlumiTank and a 30-inch-stretched frame complete the package.
Waldo, Wis., resident Gary Geib drives this quad-axle 2006 Western Star for Silver Nagel Trucking. Geib uses the dump to haul gravel, sand and topsoil. He christened the rig Gambler Trucking because, he says, people say he resembles country music singer Kenny Rogers. The truck is powered by a 475-hp Caterpillar and an 18-speed transmission.
Gold mine dreams
Bright Wright, 21, of Montrose, Colo., hauls limestone to coal mines with his ’96 Peterbilt 379. While working in Nevada gold mines through age 19, he says, “I saved all my money and bought my truck and went to work for Colorado Lime.” He and his father are leased to the company, and they haul together. The truck’s pictured here in front of the Dillon Pinnacles and Blue Mesa Reservoir in Colorado.
Jenni Reynolds-Kebler and her husband, Robert Kebler, took a company driver job at a carrier with a no-pet policy, so they boarded their dog, Gizmo (pictured), with acquaintances near their Oregon home. But as Reynolds-Kebler detailed in her “Grizzly tales of the Gizanator” note on Facebook in February, her calls to check in started going unanswered. When she got a “this line has been disconnected” message, she began to try whatever social media avenue or email address she could. “I simply stated, ‘call me ASAP!’” she wrote. Turns out Gizmo’s caretakers had given the dog to an acquaintance, and was fine. After that, Reynolds-Kebler says, they bought a 2005 Freightliner Columbia and leased to Gordon Trucking. They call it a “Gizmo doghouse on 18 wheels.”
Never tire when you’re owed money
Have you ever had casing credits delayed with a new tire purchase? Owner-operator Phil Madsen hadn’t either until an Arizona tire dealer told him it had “to X-ray our old tires first and give credit only if they pass the test,” he wrote on his Learning Something New Every Day blog Feb. 8.
Because of their schedule, he and his expediting partner and wife, Diane, had to do business and move on. Months passed with no check for the credits arriving. Calls to the dealer went unanswered. On Feb. 19, Madsen learned perseverance pays: “Diane and I will not have to go to war to get the money a tire dealer owes us for casing credits. Learned when the check arrived.” Follow Madsen’s daily education via overdriveonline.com/madsen.