When it comes to being “old school,” some guys talk the talk but don’t always walk the walk. This is not the case with Todd Campbell and Kevin Young – they not only walk the walk (or drive the drive), but they dress the part, too. On a recent trip out west to make a delivery and then to attend the big ATHS antique show in Salem, Oregon, these two friends and co-workers, who both drive old cabovers, decided to make the trip entirely on old 2-lane highways and back roads, and document the whole journey with pictures and posts on social media.
Calling it the “Back in Time Tour,” these guys went all-in. Buying vintage 1970s clothes and growing beards and/or sideburns, the guys avoided truck stops and the interstates, they cooked most of their meals on the side of the road, they slept in their trucks, and they stopped to enjoy the scenery and take pictures whenever they wanted to. Always keeping an eye out for old trucks sitting behind a barn or out in a field, the two made many unscheduled stops along the way to knock on doors and meet new people (and see some really cool old iron). All-in-all, they traveled about 2,250 miles from Tulsa, Oklahoma, to their drop in Moses Lake, Washington, and then on to Portland, Oregon, and only drove about 20 miles on an interstate, which happened just one time in Idaho.
Todd Campbell (48) is the owner of Knox Transportation out of Knoxville, Tennessee. He currently has twelve owner operators that pull for him, and one of them is his friend and “Back in Time Tour” cohort Kevin Young (29). Both of these guys drive old Freightliner cabovers on a daily basis. Todd owns about 12 trucks, and eight of them are cabovers, but this red and white Freightliner is his favorite. Todd’s rig is a 1995 Freightliner that he rebuilt a few years ago using body panels and parts off a 1979 Freightliner to make it look older. The interior came out of a 1982 Freightliner from a junk yard. Powered by a newer electronic Detroit Diesel engine, Todd did most of the work himself.
Kevin’s rig is a 1981 Freightliner cabover that he found parked behind a house in California a few years back. It had sat for 22 years and, when Kevin found it, a homeless guy was living in it. Needless to say, it was in pretty rough shape. Powered by a mechanical 8V92 “Double-O” Detroit Diesel (the predecessor to the “Silver 92”) with 500 hp, this somewhat rare engine was marketed for a short time to owner operators (hence the name Double-O). Kevin has done a lot of work to his daily driver, and these days, by the looks of it, you would never know how rough it was when he first found it.
Leaving about a week before they needed to be in Salem, the two took loads of steel from Knoxville, TN to Missouri. From there, the two headed southwest to Tulsa, OK, to pick up the same load – large steel power poles that were sectionalized into several big pieces – going to Moses Lake, WA. After zig-zagging their way through Oklahoma, they headed north on Route 385 from Boise City, OK. Stopping near Campo, CO, they backed down a dirt road and slept there for the night.
The next morning, they continued north on Route 385 up to Highway 50, where they began heading west through Colorado. They stopped at the top of Monarch Pass (at an elevation of 11,312 feet) and took a scenic gondola ride to the top of the snowy mountain. After that, they continued on until Grand Junction, where they stopped for the night.
From Grand Junction, they continued on Highway 50 until they reached State Highway 139, taking it north to Rangely. Once there, they picked up State Highway 64 going northwest. At the tiny town of Dinosaur, they got on Route 40 and began heading west toward Utah. In Vernal, they turned north on Route 191 and headed up to Route 44, near the beautiful Flaming Gorge Reservoir, and then continued on Route 43, eventually working their way to Kemmerer, WY. From there, they took Route 30 northwest toward Pocatello, ID, but stopped a little short of there in Lava Hot Springs for the night.
This next part of the journey was one of the best. Leaving Lava Hot Springs, ID, they continued north on Route 30 to Pocatello, and it was at this point that they jumped on I-15 for about 20 miles, and then they made a quick exit at Route 26 near Blackfoot. Traveling northwest on 26, which eventually turned into Route 93, they made their way north up through Idaho, traveling along the beautiful Salmon River, until just before Missoula, MT, where they made a left turn in Lolo on Route 12. Traveling southwest through Idaho on Route 12, they stopped at a nice spot next to the river near Kooskia for the night and made themselves dinner.
Continuing on Route 12 through Lewiston the next day, they made their way into the state of Washington, with their delivery destination getting closer by the mile. Around Starbuck, WA, they turned onto State Route 261, which was a narrow, winding road, with plenty of ups and downs. Eventually, they made their way to State Route 17 and then headed north to Moses Lake. After making their deliveries, they stopped there for the night, before finally heading toward the truck show.
The last leg of their 2-lane adventure took them south on a few different roads until finally reaching Sunnyside, WA, via State Route 241. From there, they cut over to Route 97 and then headed southwest toward the Columbia River (the border of Oregon and Washington). Interstate 84 runs along the southern side of the river (in Oregon), while State Route 14 runs along the northern side (in Washington). Of course, they stayed on Highway 14, and took an amazing ride along the river, through the gorge, and on to Vancouver. From there, they jumped on I-5 and headed across the river to the old Jubitz Truck Stop in Portland, where they made their last stop before heading to Salem.
Once in Salem, at the ATHS show, everyone was talking about their trip and asking them to pose for pictures in their “vintage” clothes. They were quite the celebrities! Averaging between 400-420 miles a day, the trip, including all of their extra stops and detours, only took six days, and that included the one extra day to drive over to Portland after making their deliveries. And, given all of the positive responses they have heard from so many drivers (and non-drivers) out there, they are excited that their little “two-lane tour” touched so many people.
Speaking about all of the positive responses they have heard from others, Todd said, “You would not believe how many people have sent me messages, telling me how they decided to get off the interstate and take some back roads. These drivers are finding more interest in trucking and enjoying their job again. That was one of the things we were hoping to accomplish with this trip, and I am happy to say it has worked out well.” When asked if they were planning any more adventures, Todd said, “Of course! I am kinda known to be a guy who likes to take the path less traveled, and that won’t be changing any time soon.”
If you are getting bored with “the big road” and think you might need a change of pace (and scenery), consider taking a 2-lane “Back in Time” adventure of your own. Whether it be just a few miles or a few days, get out there and have some fun. As a truck driver, you have so much more freedom and independence than the average person, it would be foolish for you not to take advantage of these career perks from time-to-time. So, get out there and get lost – you just might find yourself