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Two show-ready rigs -- and owners -- moving toward retirement in style: Meet Bruce and Kellie Cone

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Updated Jul 11, 2022


The subject of retirement is always a hot topic among owner-ops. Leaving the road well set up for it requires a diligence that isn't easily achievable, to say the least. Yet this well-matched pair of owner-operators -- Bruce and Kellie Cone of Redding, California -- have prepared better than many as they start to run out their last half-decade in business. That's the long-range plan, anyway, for the proud of owners of a pristine pair of Peterbilt 389s you'll hear all about in this edition of Overdrive Radio.

[Related: Seize the day for your own future: There's no better time than now to prep for retirement]

Antique train bell under the rear deck of Kellie Cone's 2022 peterbilt 389The podcast jumps off with the sound of the antique train bell out of North Carolina that’s mounted under the deck of owner-operator Kellie Cone’s custom 2022 Peterbilt 389, christened "Clifford the Big Red Truck." The bell’s activated by the in-cab switch that formerly controlled the sliding fifth wheel – which slides no longer, as you’ll hear her tell in the podcast.

Kellie comes from an education background career-wise, but several years back she met Bruce and took to trucking in an outsize way, originally on ridealong trips in-cab with the third-generation owner-operator. Bruce has hauled longtime for direct customers in California and Oregon, today mostly home every night after a 30-year career that took him all over the Western states and occasionally farther afield.

Bruce and Kellie aren’t team operators, though. Bruce’s own 2020 389 replaced a 2010 that Kellie got her start in as an owner-operator before upgrading to the 2022.

Mr. and Mrs. Cone's 2020 and 2022 Peterbilt 389s parked up side by sideMr. and Mrs. Cone's 2020 (left) and 2022 Peterbilt 389s

I got a close look at both rigs at out at the A.J. Soza Memorial Truck Show two weeks ago in Merced, in "sunny" California, as they say. The old adage didn’t disappoint -- there wasn’t a drop of rain in sight for the show, and temps rose in the afternoon above 100 on the mercury. The heat, the then-specter of the AB 5 contractor law coming into play, $7-plus diesel and everything else the state has thrown at the trucking world in recent memory didn’t tamp down the spirits of the owner-ops we’ll hear from today. Take a listen: 

Also in the podcast: We’ll hear from another owner, one in his very early days trucking -- Tony Gonzalez. Like the Cones, it's clear Gonzalez has the bull by the horns, so to speak. Get a closer look at Gonzalez' rig, leased to his father's San Miguel Transportation under-10-truck small fleet, via this link if you missed the video yesterday. Hear much more from our conversation in the podcast.Also in the podcast: We’ll hear from another owner, one in his very early days trucking -- Tony Gonzalez. Like the Cones, it's clear Gonzalez has the bull by the horns, so to speak. Get a closer look at Gonzalez' rig, leased to his father's San Miguel Transportation under-10-truck small fleet, via this link if you missed the video yesterday. Hear much more from our conversation in the podcast.

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