Jesse Corona always loved trucks. Born and raised in San Jose, CA, Jesse (49) moved to Redding, CA in 1987 to begin trucking when he was 24 years old. Inspired to drive trucks at an early age by Jerry Reed in Smoky and the Bandit, Jesse can still remember sneaking in to see the movie with a friend – he thought the freedom and attitude of the truckers in the movie were “really cool” and that feeling stuck. When he decided to become a trucker, he already had a two-year-old daughter (Alisha) and a son on the way (Christopher). Shortly after the birth of his son, Jesse formed PORT-A-MEX Trucking, which was named after the mixed heritage of himself (Mexican) and his wife (Portuguese).
As most know, trucking can be a hard life, taking you away from home. Jesse vowed to truck hard during the week but to always be home on Saturday for family dinner – and he was! He never missed a holiday with his family, and although he missed a couple of sporting events his children played in, he never missed any of the important ones. He even volunteered to ride on a bus full of middle school cheerleaders from Redding, CA to Los Angeles, CA just to support his daughter in the cheerleading championships. It was a long, noisy bus ride, but he was there, ear plugs and all. Jesse also helped coach his son’s youth football team and is very involved with the local community – every year his truck is displayed in the local Lighted Christmas Parade, and he has also pulled floats for the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and Home Depot’s Kids Workshop. He is also a proud sponsor of the American Cancer Society and the Relay for Life walk, in his mother’s name. Jesse and his entire family are also big supporters of the Humane Society of America – just ask their rescue dog Coco.
In 2005, Jesse purchased his blue 2002 extended-hood Peterbilt 379. He drives that Peterbilt with pride, hauling building materials on his flatbed from Southern Oregon to Southern California. Jesse is known for keeping a clean truck, and is often seen wiping it down while he is waiting to be loaded or unloaded. When that truck is dirty, Jesse is not a happy trucker. His chrome obsession is legendary – it drives his wife of 30 years, Tina, crazy. Over the years, Jesse has made several changes to the truck, including a 20-inch boltless bumper, extra lights (including red LEDs under the cab), 8-inch straight stacks with picket elbows, Hogebuilt quarter fenders, a drop visor, single square headlights with shaved blinkers, and let’s not forget the train horns. His neighbors always know when Jesse is leaving on his L.A. run on Sundays because he honks those horns to say “goodbye” to his wife!
In the early days of their marriage, Jesse and his wife owned a baby blue 1968 Chevy Camaro – well, let’s be honest, it was hers! In 1985 they welcomed their beautiful baby girl into the world, but, unfortunately, the Camaro was not baby-friendly so they sold it to buy a family car. As that Camaro left the driveway, Jesse vowed to buy another one someday. Years later, in 2007, Jesse found out his mom, who he was very close to, had Ovarian Cancer, and in January of 2008 she lost her battle with the disease. Not long after that, he lost his father too, from a broken heart, they say. It was a hard time for Jesse, but trucking kept him busy, which helped with the grieving period.
The day his mom passed away, Jesse and his family were driving home from the hospital behind a car hauler with two Camaros on the back. Jesse, as usual, had to point them out saying, “See, mom wants me to have one – it’s a sign.” Tina then replied, “Babe, I really don’t like either of those colors. I think we should wait for a blue one.” Just then, the car hauler turned a corner, revealing that it was full of Camaros, and a beautiful blue one was right on top. Jesse decided right then and there that it was meant to be, and a new Camaro was soon to be had, in his favorite color, blue. In 2009, they went down and purchased a fully-loaded, limited edition 2010 Camaro SS in Aquamarine Blue.
Jesse works hard during the week driving his Peterbilt up and down Interstate 5 so he can spend his weekends playing with his Camaro. His dream is to take a trip along the original Route 66, cruising in his “Hot Wheels” ride, which many of his friends like to call the Camaro. Truth is, it is hard to tell which ride he likes better – the rig or the sports car – but one thing is for sure, Jesse does not take either of them for granted. He worked hard to get where he is today, and is very proud of his accomplishments. We would like to thank Jesse’s daughter Alisha for her help in getting us this story and the pictures.