This month’s creation was built for REA Hauling Services out of Riverside, CA and their “old-skool-cool” driver Aaron Hoffman. Ryan Simpson is president of Simpson Sandblasting and Special Coatings, which specializes in sandblasting and painting bridges, water storage reservoirs, pumping stations, water treatment plants, petroleum tanks and more, and REA is part of the transportation side of the outfit. Between the three owners, Ryan Simpson (President), Elisa Simpson (Vice-President) and Russell Simpson (Secretary), there is over 60 years of experience in the industry. But this story is not about Simpson – it’s about REA Hauling, one of their dedicated drivers, and their new “old-skool-cool” Peterbilt transfer.
Before Aaron Hoffman (48) was born, his grandparents owned a dairy near Corona, CA. When his grandfather died in 1961, his grandma sold the dairy – they had 14 kids. Aaron’s dad, John Hoffman, went on to be a salesman for D.L. Mudd Hay Company and then L.W. Hay in Chino, CA in the 70s, so Aaron grew up around the hay business. Aaron’s mom Mary died in 1999 just a few days after her 50th birthday, and his dad passed away ten years later.
When he was just eight years old, Aaron can remember going out with his dad to deliver hay to some dairies. Tossing hay off the trailers down a long, skinny dirt road, when they got to the end his dad handed him the keys to the truck and said, “I’m going to run inside and sell another load of hay. When I get done, you need to have this set of doubles backed all the way out to the road so we can leave.” Aaron learned fast, but he has always loved a challenge.
You could say Aaron has the trucking bug pretty bad, even after his dad suggested he pick another path. When he got out of school, he went to work for Lucky’s (a grocery store) and wound up being the announcer guy and, later, a meat cutter. He also met his wife Melissa there (she still works for Albertson’s, which bought Lucky’s a long time ago). Aaron eventually left the grocery store and got a job hauling hay. His dad always told him, “Run with the older guys, because they will teach you what to do – and what not to do!” This is a lesson Aaron never forgot, and one he still reflects on today.
Following his dad’s advice, Aaron ran with the older guys, and they told him, “Take a local job so you can see your kids grow up, because one day they will be grown and not appreciate your efforts to provide for them out on the road. Make less now and be there for them, then go out and run later.” This was sage advice, so Aaron got a local job with Betts Express, hauling for All American Asphalt, where he worked for five years while his two girls were young. Then, he hauled for Nevada Hay Connection for several years, before going back to All American, where he ran a transfer for Moore Truck Lines for ten years, before finding a home at REA.
When it came time to order a new truck for REA, Aaron suggested they call me to build it. The truck is a Galaxy blue 2018 Pete 389 daycab with 14’ Rogue transfer boxes. Powered by a 500-hp Paccar MX engine hooked to a 13-speed transmission, the truck was ordered and built to look good, but it still needed to be practical, because some of the places he must deliver to are located way up in the hills on fire roads.
When the truck showed up, our service shop hid the urea tank and installed straight stacks. The guys in the body shop installed an extended cab kit, painted the stripes (and the floor inside to match), and then added a ton of Rockwood stuff to the dash. The rig also got double 359 headlights, extra grill bars, a visor, spotlights on the pillar posts, a Texas-style bumper, custom cab skirts and breather panels. My dad built Aaron a second shifter for the splitter, which he installed himself at home, along with a bunch of blue underglow lighting. The finishing touch is a hood ornament from a 1941 Cadillac.
Since getting the truck, Aaron has hit a few shows and represented REA well. The company’s name is based on the initials of Ryan’s three kids – Ryan, Espn (like the sports network) and Aiden. Aaron wanted to thank his nephew Scott Silva for helping him look good at the shows. He recently competed at the Truckin’ For Kids event in California and took 1st place in the Transfer class and 3rd in the Interior class. I guess this new hard-working rig really is old-skool-cool, just like its driver.