It’s funny how things work out sometimes. Just over a year ago, I was talking to a friend, and it was with his encouragement that I dared to dream that maybe, just maybe, I could buy my own truck and trailer again. Bottom line: dreams do still come true! That little bit of encouragement was all I needed, and from there, it was go-time, and the search for the perfect ride was on.
One phone call to a friend and I found the perfect trailer – a 2008 48’ Utility stainless spread axle reefer. Then, the hunt was on to find the truck to pull her. With the help of another friend, success happened at Quality Truck Sales in Springfield, MO when I fell in love with an ’07 black 379 Peterbilt. I am blessed and grateful for all the friends in my life and for their help and support in making this happen.
In early January 2015, me and two of my girlfriends, Diana Krug and Tamie Pohlmann, along with our four cocker spaniels, began the road trip to pick up my “new-to-me” truck. Memories were made very early in the trip when Gibbs, one of the dogs, figured out how to roll down the window by stepping on the switch, and out the window he went, sending us all into cardiac arrest (he was okay) – and so it began!
After picking up the truck, Diana and three of the four “kids” went home while Tamie and Mr. H (my dog) rode with me in the truck to Minnesota to get the trailer. It was below zero cold, and we had to spend the first night in Sioux City, IA because I-29 was closed. I used the time to get the truck ready to hook-up the power cords and air lines that were located underneath the trailer. It was the only way I could pull it, since the front of the trailer had no hook-ups.
The next day, the sun was bright, the sky was blue and it was bitter cold, but when I hooked the two together, it was a match made in Heaven! There is no right or wrong when it comes to the trucks and trailers a driver prefers – it’s a personal choice. For me, “perfection” is a black truck with plenty of lights and lots of shiny stainless, and this rig has never disappointed me. I think extra lights are a safety thing, too – after all, what trucks do you see farther away at night – the ones all lit up! In the fog, you at least have a better chance of being seen, too (reflective tape in that situation is not going to make you more visible).
I knew before I even signed the papers that I could lease back on to D&G Transportation in Germantown, WI, where I had been for years when I had my last truck. They were happy to have me back and I was thrilled to go back! So many of the people that I had worked with when I was there with the blue KW I had called “Illusion” (which graced the cover of 10-4 in November 2005) are still there – it was like I had never left.
All of the graphics on the truck, including its name (Dark Angel), all the necessary names and numbers, and the saying on the back of the bunk, which reads, “Here I go again, going down the only road I’ve ever known,” were put on in Springfield, MO before I left with her on the trip to Minnesota to pick up the trailer. The “Dark” is because the truck is black, and the “Angel” is in memory of my friends Bette Garber and Linwood Hunt, who both passed away several years ago, within seven months of each other. I put a sticker with a picture of Bette on the bunk window before I left Missouri, and then D&G had stickers made remembering Linwood, which I later added to the window, as well.
During the first couple of months, things happened, and I kept thinking they were a test to see if I was still tough enough. Well, with lots of help, I am still tough enough, and to everyone who helped me during that time, I am very grateful to each and every one of you.
So, now I was back to the food warehouse delivery madness, where I quickly realized that lumper fees had climbed to obscene amounts. I tell people at some of the places where I deliver, “I came here to get unloaded, not robbed!” Sadly, both happen sometimes. Some things never change, but I really can’t complain too much – I get reimbursed, and I knew what I was signing up for. I still live for the challenge of it, and take a lot of pride in getting the job done.
After finding the perfect “angel” to put on my sleeper, I took my rig to Willy Osborn, owner of Killer Kustom Paint in Waterloo, WI in June 2015, and let him work his magic with an airbrush. Willy has been painting since he was 16, and I would say he is a master. I did not get to meet him personally until I picked the truck up, but I could not have been happier with the finished mural.
I trusted Willy’s artistic instincts and, just talking to him, he picked up on so many things I could see in how he painted her. He made her arms strong, and in the clouds he put the names of the friends I wanted to remember. Her head is hung over in grief over losing these friends, and so many more, that aren’t named on the truck. I always say “thank you” when other drivers compliment me on the angel, but many times I have to explain that the name is the truck’s, not mine. There is nothing “Goth” about it, just a heartfelt display in remembrance of friends that I miss.
In the fall of 2015, I was finally able to get the red frame underneath the trailer painted black, another bit of making her all mine. Fast forward to February of this year (2016), when I took a week-long vacation, and used the truck’s down-time to make some major improvements inside. The trailer got a little vacation, too, and the truck got an interior makeover by the twins, Dan and Dave Brown, at DB Kustom Trucks.
Dan and Dave each have their own ideas, and these two twin brothers have an ongoing rivalry with a “my truck is better than yours” deal, but the real winners are the drivers who end up with the trucks! This is the case with the interior of my truck. We talked and I had a few ideas, but I trusted them with my baby, and when I got back, the inside was more than I could have ever dreamed of. I thought I wanted things I had before, but now I know, that was then and this is now! When I opened the door, I was stunned at how awesome it looked – it was a real work of art. Climbing inside, I didn’t know where to look first!
After gutting the stock interior, they started out by painting everything Iridium Metallic Black, and then added a bunch of gorgeous accents in Legendary Red, including the dash panels, steering wheel, shifter and floor plate. The door panels are black and red, and the name of the truck is stitched into the upholstery. The new Silver Legacy seats, with a mix of cloth and leather, are not only super comfortable, but they also have the same beautiful stitching of the truck’s name on the headrest. The guys also installed an amazing new floor made with real wood planks. The only old thing that went back inside was the shelf in the bunk that my friend Tamie Pohlmann and I covered for my angel collection to sit on, along with the silky material that looks like night and stars behind it.
I can’t thank the team that worked on her enough. This was the first time they had ever installed a wood floor, but I can assure you that it won’t be the last (Ed and Tim installed the floor). Dan worked on the mechanical stuff, while Richie was in charge of deciding where to apply the red accents, which make me smile every day. All together, they knocked it out of the park! If you want the guys at DB Kustom Trucks to make the inside of the truck you own now everything you’ve ever dreamed of and more, you can contact them through www.dbkustomtrucks.com.
It’s a pleasure to drive her at night, glowing down the highway, or in the daytime, shining in the sun. She is a work truck and she gets the job done, even with a hiccup here and there. That’s trucking – always has been, and always will be. Drivers are human and trucks are machines, but together they make a team. And, it’s not “just a truck” – but only other drivers that feel the same way can really understand. Either way, be safe out there, and say “hi” if you see me and my “Dark Angel” trucking around. And when you see us remember, dreams do come true – and yours can too!