Personally, I prefer over-the-road trucking over local work, even though I have done my share of local driving. The home time is great, but I start to miss the road, too. One of the less glamorous but most memorable and demanding jobs I ever had was driving a dump truck for a few years. It’s a tough job – it exercises your patience, as well as your driving skill. Recently, I had the opportunity to help in the restoration of my friend Don’s (D & G Backhoe, Inc.) 1971 Peterbilt 359 dump truck. He bought it from his friend, Gary Baker, who ran it for years in Washington State, in its original yellow color. It has now been painted blue and white, as per a drawing I did for Don, showing what it might look like wearing his company’s colors in a retro, period-correct paint scheme. The truck is driven by my friend, Jason Solada, who was also very instrumental in its restoration. This truck is not a show truck – it is a classic truck that works hard. Jason keeps it looking great, and it’s already getting plenty of attention on the job sites and around the Puget Sound area of Washington. The photos show the rendering I did and the actual truck as it recently looked participating in a parade. I was inspired to write this poem for Don and Jason without their knowledge in appreciation for allowing me some creative input in the build of this beautiful classic truck. With the fall weather bearing down on us, I don’t envy (but I do respect) Jason and all of the other dump truck drivers for the stressful jobs they do in the dirt, while I enjoy the pampered luxury of baby-soft hands and cruise control. Don and Jason, I hope you enjoy this poem, as well as everyone else.
THE DUMP TRUCK
By Trevor Hardwick
I fire up the diesel… the Big Cam Three’s alive,
I brace for colder weather, as I pull out of the drive.
Early in October… a chill is in the air,
All the leaves are turning, and soon they won’t be there.
The amber lights are glowing… ‘cross the hood of this ol’ Pete,
And glowing in the spray, the tires kick up off the street.
Today, I’m hauling pit-run… from a job site out of town,
Hoping for some overtime, if rains don’t shut us down.
The holidays are coming… I can’t afford to slow,
But hauling dirt can really hurt, when rain succumbs to snow.
The windows remain foggy… the mirrors cannot compete,
The wipers slap from side to side, and I can’t feel the heat.
It’s hard to stay ambitious… when the cold cuts to the bone,
The mud, the muck, the gettin’ stuck, the tires that have blown.
I do love this ol’ dump truck… she’s blue and white and chrome,
She ain’t no pavement-pounding rig, or home away from home.
She’s narrow ‘tween the doors… and wide beneath the hood,
She may get dirty, now and then, but that just does her good.
The rain has not relented… the forecast calls for more,
The wind is whistling through, the gaps between the door.
The afternoon is dull and gray… the day is finally done,
My mind takes me to drier times, of runnin’ in the sun.
I pull her in the driveway… and I park it for the night,
I hope to be back on the road, before the morning light.