Runs In The Family

I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying, “It runs in the family,” and for Cameron (Cam) Jarvis of Medford, OR, this is just the case. As far back as the 1940s and 50s, Cam’s grandpa Leonard Clifton, based out of Canyonville, OR, owned up to 15 log trucks. Cam’s father, Mike Jarvis, grew up over on the Oregon coast, and began driving log trucks and chip trucks locally by the time he was 16. So, it is safe to say, for Cam Jarvis, trucking runs in the family.

When Cam’s dad Mike turned 18, he moved to Medford to attend college at Southern Oregon University, while continuing to drive trucks. In the 60s, Medford was the home of a company with a small fleet of beautiful Mack cabovers called White City Plywood, and Mike fully-enjoyed driving for them while going to college. In college, Mike met and became friends with one of our past cover truckers, Jim Oldland of Oldland Distributing in Medford, OR. Southern Oregon University was also where Mike met Cam’s mom, Ginger, who also grew up around log trucks (her dad owned a bunch). With both being very involved in trucking, it was not a surprise that the two quickly hit it off. By the late 60s, he married Ginger.

Mike always had a soft spot for trucking so, naturally, he went straight from college to trucking. The 70s began with a bang for Cam’s parents, with Cam being born in May of 1970, and then his little sister Vicki was born in 1972. Some of Cam’s earliest memories start when he was around four years old, riding around with his dad in his long wheelbased 1974 International Transtar COE pulling flatbeds. In those days, Cam’s dad ran with some great west coast flatbedders – men like Nick Sauer, Dale Chamberlin and Norm Stainbrook were Mike’s good friends, as well as great truckers. Cam liked nothing more than to watch his dad interact with these guys, and to learn how to strap loads as gracefully as they did. By the time he was about eight years old, Cam was finally big enough to lob the 30-foot straps over those loads of veneer.

By the early to mid-80s, Cam’s dad had bought a cool blue 1982 Freightliner COE, with a 3406 Cat, and eventually went to work for Bob Louvring out of Eugene, OR, pulling 28.5 ft. high cube doubles, running throughout the west. When Cam was finally old enough to learn to drive, his dad, who was the best teacher a guy could have, taught him the ropes. Cam recalls a small two-lane somewhere in Arizona where his dad first gave him that chance to pull those doubles “without touching that damn white line!” As nerve wracking as it was, Cam can barely recall a better moment than that. Of course, Mike could have slid across that Freightliner’s doghouse as quick as lightning and given Cam a hand, if it was ever needed.

Later in the 80s, while in high school, around age 16, Cam’s dad made a deal with him. Mike bought a 1978 Ford F100 pickup for Cam to drive and told Cam if he graduated high school with a C or better average, he’d give Cam the title. About that same time, something else caught Cam’s eye – his future wife, Kim. In the end, Cam did not let his parents down, and he earned that Ford pickup’s title after graduation.

Right out of high school, Cam went to work in the woods, logging timber for Allen and Gibbons logging from Canyonville, OR. He did this from 1988 to almost 1990, then began working in truck shops locally around the Medford area. In 1991, Cam and Kim brought their first child into the world – a boy named Cameron Michael Jarvis Jr.

Cam eventually ended up at Papé Caterpillar in Medford, until one day when a good family friend named Mark Maurer rolled into the shop and convinced Cam that even with a bad driving record, he could put him in a truck. Cam jumped at the opportunity, and a short time later, there he was, driving Mark’s hopped-up dark blue 1979 Kenworth A Model, running the west coast at a good pace! Not only was Mark’s A Model as cool as it gets, but in 1994 Cam and Kim were blessed with the birth of their second child, a daughter named Amanda, which made the 1990s picture-perfect for Cam and Kim.

The 1990s kept getting better when Cam was offered a job driving for Mike’s college and trucking friend Jim Oldland out of Medford, OR. Joining Jim’s team, he began driving one of Oldland’s stellar Peterbilts. Thanks to Jim and his crew, especially Ron DelGrande and Larry Meyers, Oldland Distributing was a perfect fit for Cam throughout the next decade and a half.

It got even better in 2010 when Jim offered to sell Cam a red and white 1979 Kenworth daycab, contract carried, and even a little up-front money, too! Cam jumped at the chance and kept plenty busy, hauling for Jim around Oregon and California. About a year later, after paying off the A Model, Cam bought another truck from Jim – one of their turquoise 2003 Peterbilt 379s – and then paid it off in just 22 months!

Not long after that, in 2013, Cam and Kim drove to Nebraska Peterbilt and picked up their first new Peterbilt 389. Buying a brand-new truck was always a dream for Cam, and as he climbed up into the cab of this light brown beauty, smelling that new truck smell in the cab, it all sort of dawned on him… he made it. And, with Kim sitting right by his side, nothing could have been better. To top it all off, the dash plaque said “Custom Built for Cam and Kim Jarvis” – which was just the icing on the cake.

If you ever meet Cam, out on the road, don’t expect to get bored with a big-talking, story-telling type of guy. Cam is a humble gentleman and will be the first to tell you that he is where he is today because of his father’s patience, love, and willingness to share his life and time with him. Cam is grateful to Jim Oldland for giving him the opportunity to become an owner operator with such trust and generosity. Most importantly, Cam will always be endlessly thankful for his wife Kim, for being the world’s best mother to their kids and his best friend for life.

About Bryan Welsh

Bryan Welsh’s love for trucking, both old and new, probably began while rolling around in his custom lit-up Radio Flyer wagon with chrome wheels when he was a kid. Over the years he has owned, built and driven several trucks and his involvement and pride in the trucking industry has only grown. Bryan, who writes from both “the road” and his home in Junction City, Oregon, has been a regular contributor to 10-4 Magazine since October 2009.