Just Do It!

While on the road, every once in a while, I’ll walk past one of our 10-4 Magazine racks somewhere and wonder how many of our readers live by the term “Just do it!” I’ll put money on the fact that most of us do, and not in a sports advertisement kind of way, but in a real-life way. This month’s Fog Line Rewind article features Steve Lucas, a prime example of a guy with that “Just do it” attitude – and he’s been “doin’ it” for decades, and still is.

Fred Lucas and his wife Ramona, who lived in Corvallis, Oregon, at that time, introduced their new son Steve to the Pacific Northwest on December 31, 1947. A few years later, they moved to nearby Monroe, Oregon, a very small community about 25 miles north of Eugene, after purchasing a brick yard there with Fred’s brother, Harold Lucas. This brick yard serviced and supplied customers throughout the state, from border to border (as far north as Portland and south to Medford), and for young Steve, all he ever wanted to do was hang around the yard and the trucks.

Throughout Steve’s grade school and middle school years, every chance he’d get, he’d hop in the brick yard’s old 50’s gas-pot Ford cabover semi pulling flatbed doubles with plywood side racks, with his dad Fred, and go with him to make deliveries. Back then, the brick yard also had a 50’s Ford conventional bobtail, and Steve liked to ride in that one, as well. Steve remembers times, while climbing over the passes in those trucks and only rollin’ at about 5-10 mph, he’d jump out onto the ground and race them rigs on foot! These were great times, for Steve, and very formidable for him. Along with developing a bond with his dad, he also realized that this is what he wanted to do when he grew up.

Steve’s dad knew he was raising a “gear head” son, so by the time the early 1960’s came along, Fred helped Steve buy his first car, but made damn sure that Steve knew that if he broke it, he would be the one fixing it. Needless to say, Steve learned a lot about turning wrenches throughout those early years of driving. Throughout the mid-60’s, Steve also learned a lot about driving trucks. The brick yard had a dump truck, and you can bet that Steve would jump in that thing every chance he could during the summer and on weekends.

Joining the Army in 1967, Steve spent the next two years driving trucks in Germany. He recalls learning a few things from his time overseas, and he loved doing what he did every day, but he didn’t much care for taking orders from people. Steve knew that when he went back home he was going to “just do it” and go out on his own. After returning home, in the early 70’s, Steve did some logging, setting chokers, and logging in the forests for IP Miller Company. Later, he hit the jackpot when he got hired on as a driver, running a sweet Kenworth A-Model with a 335 Cummins and a 5×4, for Melvin Clark in Junction City, Oregon, hauling lumber.

Two short years later, after Melvin lost his main haul, he managed to help Steve get hired-on at a large lumber outfit called Bohemia Lumber Co. as the mill’s boiler tender. Steve loved this job, especially when he got to go outside in the yard and operate Bohemia’s big front-end loader. But, like they always say, nothing ever stays the same, and in 1973 Bohemia Lumber Company closed the mill that Steve worked at, leaving him jobless. But, for Steve, this opened-up yet another opportunity for him to “just do it” again.

After Bohemia Lumber Co. closed, Steve hired-on at Oceanway Transport, a well-established flatbed company on the Oregon coast, owned by Don Wilbur and his son, Lee Owens. Hopping in one of Oceanway’s Freightliner cabovers, Steve was loving it! Oceanway mainly hauled lumber around the west, and Steve stayed primarily within the states of Oregon and Idaho. Things were going great for Steve, but he wanted more.

When one of Steve’s friends, Ron Cox, leased-on at Oceanway, he decided to sell his beautiful dark green Freightliner FLC conventional, and Steve knew he had to have it. Around 1980, Steve bought the rig and leased-on with Oceanway. Several months later, Oceanway decided to sell off their operations to Knight Company, and these new owners had no interest in continuing the flatbed operation. But, after shutting the entire division down, they offered to sell Steve a flatbed trailer, along with ALL their flatbed customer contacts! Basically, if there was ever a time to “just do it,” this was it – and he jumped at the chance.

By this time, Steve’s dad Fred was also running his own truck, so the father-and-son duo teamed up and formed Lucas Trucking out of their hometown of Monroe, Oregon. Immediately, there was a lot of freight at their fingertips and not enough trucks, so Steve had to bring on several good operators and buy more trucks. Good owner operators like Doug Hodson, Andy Bailey and Steve Fanger were all first on Steve’s list to get the job done, and between their hard work and Steve and Fred’s continued dedication to grow the fleet, the 1980’s were off to a great start for Steve and the company.

The 80’s became even better when, in 1982, Steve married the love of his life, and his true teammate, Georgia. These two just made a perfect pair from the beginning, and this pair soon grew to three in 1984 when their son Josh was born. By the late 80’s, Steve’s fleet consisted of several nice Peterbilt 359s, along with a bunch of sweet cabovers.

At this time, Steve decided to climb out of the trucks and began to take over the main role in the office, along with Georgia. Josh was tall enough to hand wash the sides of dad’s flatbed trailers, and Steve and Georgia made darn sure that he did a good job! Good parenting makes for good kids, and in 1988, Steve and Georgia welcomed into the world another good kid, their daughter Jackie, who later followed in her big brother’s footsteps, helping out with the family business. Back then, her first real “job” was dusting and cleaning the dashboards of all her mom and dad’s trucks!

The 1990’s were a very busy time for Lucas Trucking, growing their fleet to upwards of 20 trucks, but also a sad time. In 1994, Steve’s dad Fred died, leaving Steve and Georgia determined to keep everything going just the way they always had. The term “just do it” seemed to fit more than ever before, and for the Lucas family, that would not prove to be a problem.

Throughout the 2000’s, the outfit has seen a lot of changes and made a lot of changes – and mostly for the good. Steve and Georgia have been blessed with many good drivers and a lot of great customers. Their daughter Jackie has blessed the family with two sweet granddaughters, Aurora and Charley Jo. Their son Josh plays a vital role in the family business as the DOT specialist and the shop foreman, looking after their fleet of over ten very nice Peterbilt 379s (all pre-everything). These days, their daughter Jackie is absolutely counted on as mom and dad’s “computer specialist” and tech expert, however I’d bet she’d still get out and dust dashboards if her mom and dad asked her to!

Special thanks go to Lee Owens, the co-owner of Oceanway Transport, for teaching Steve so much about fleet management and dispatching, and to his wife Georgia, for way too much to fit in to this article. From rounding-up fuel pump parts to rescuing Steve on the side of the road in the 80’s, to making a house a home and raising their babies throughout the decades, and even, to this day, spoiling their grand babies and helping him run their operation, while always being Steve’s once-in-a-lifetime business and life partner. For all of this, Steve says “thank you” to Georgia.

We at 10-4 would like to thank Steve and everyone at Lucas Trucking for letting us share your decades of dedication and hard work. For some, “Just do it” is merely a catchy phrase or memorable advertising headline, but for others, like Steve Lucas, it is a way of thinking and an attitude toward life.

We are glad he has “done it” for so long and has had (and still has) so many cool rides to highlight in the photos here. Give ‘em a look, because there are some amazing rides pictured here, and anyone living in or around Oregon for the past few decades will remember them – heck, some of them are still on the road today, so keep an eye out!

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.