This month’s creation was built for Jack Mott (55) of Cottonwood, California. Growing up in San Jose, Jack had four older sisters and one younger brother, so there was never a dull moment at their house. Jack’s mom, Joan, passed away when he was just 19 years old, and his dad, John, among other things, drove a truck – but he never encouraged Jack to do it. In fact, he told him to NEVER become a truck driver, because it just wasn’t a “good” life. Jack took those words to heart, but that still did not stop him.
Jack’s father, John, started out working at Safeway as a manager, until a friend got him hooked-up at Bekins Van Lines. Jack remembers his dad’s first truck – it was a 1966 Mack that he kept for two years. After that, he got a 1970 2-axle KW and then a 1971 3-axle KW, and went to work at Baywood Express. Jack’s dad always told him, “Don’t be a trucker. Learn a trade or do something else.” Liking motorcycles (he had a Suzuki 750 for almost 20 years), Jack got a job with FOX racing, in the warehouse, at age 18. While at FOX, he met and became good friends with Brad Lewis.
When Brad decided to change jobs, Jack did, too. Brad happened to be dating a girl who had a sister that Jack liked. Being a chicken, Jack was afraid to ask her out, so he had Brad ask for him. After she agreed to go out with Jack, they hit it off, and 32 years later, he and Cheryl are still happily married. Brad ended up marrying Cheryl’s sister and became Jack’s brother-in-law, which he still is today.
Brad and Jack both eventually ended up working at a diesel fuel injection shop. Jack got to drive the delivery truck, and back in the 1980s, when General Motors still made a lot of diesels, there was no shortage of work rebuilding pumps. Brad eventually moved to a turbo company (Turbonetics) and Jack got a job at Baywood, where his dad worked, cleaning out trailers and doing oil changes in the shop.
At 21, Jack got his CDL, but Baywood’s policy was that you had to be 25 to drive for them. After being told that Viking would let him drive at 21, Jack left Baywood in 1983 and went to Viking Freight Systems, where he worked on the dock for a couple of months. Then, after just three days with a trainer in a truck, he took his first delivery to downtown San Francisco.
Taking a line-haul run between the Bay area and Southern Oregon, Jack decided to move to the other end of his new route. In 1984, he began running out of Medford, Oregon, and he and Cheryl bought a house and moved to Grants Pass, Oregon. Jack ran nights for the next 15 years – until 1999 – and hated it. In the back of his mind, he always remembered that advice his dad once gave him, about not being a trucker. And that haunted him. The more he drove, the more he thought that he really didn’t like what he was doing. So, he decided to make another change.
Taking a driving job at Walmart in Red Bluff, California, Jack figured that he would never have to sleep in a truck again. He moved the family to Cottonwood (north of Red Bluff) to be closer to work. Unfortunately, as it worked out, he ended up sleeping in the truck five nights a week – which he hated. He worked at Walmart from 1999 until 2003, and then decided to “take a leap of faith” and buy his own truck.
Looking through the Truck Paper, he found a 1999 Kenworth W900B, bought it, and then started running for another guy. This gig only lasted for four months, so Jack got his own authority and ventured out on his own. He ran that ‘99 KW until he found a 2004 W900L, painted white and Mocha Frost, in June of 2007. Jack ran that truck until he wrecked it in 2013. While driving that 2004 KW, he started reading 10-4 Magazine, and liked the rigs that Clint Moore was building. So, needing to buy a new truck, he mustered up the courage and called him.
Hitting it off right from the start, Clint convinced Jack to buy a nice white 2013 Peterbilt 389 with a 48-inch flattop he had on the lot, instead of ordering a new one. The truck was a little longer than Jack wanted, so Clint had it shortened for him. When Jack came out to the dealership, he stayed for a few days and he and Clint had a good time. Since the truck was just plain white with a black frame, Clint suggested that they add a stripe. A little unsure, Jack agreed and the two got a roll of tape and added black stripes. He never regretted it, and those stripes lasted for years.
This 2013 Peterbilt turned out to be a great truck. Jack ran it for 447,000 miles, and during that time, he came to a realization that he liked his job – he liked trucks and he liked trucking. After years of dwelling on his father’s advice, to never become a trucker, and feeling guilty about becoming one, a friend said to him, “You chose your path, now live with it!” This hit Jack like a ton of bricks, and, for some reason, turned his life around. Jack realized that the worst thing you could ever tell someone was NOT to do something. And never say never, because that is probably precisely what you will end up doing.
When it came time to order a new truck, Jack wanted something similar to his last ride, because it was a solid rig – but he was ready for a new color. Clint sent Jack some paint chips, and he decided it was going to be brown. The new rig is a 2017 Peterbilt 389 with a 48-inch flat, a 560-hp ISX Cummins, an 18-speed, a modest wheelbase, and a vintage brown color from the 1980s. The rig also came with a tan Platinum interior, a wood-grain dash, and a full set of gauges.
Once the truck arrived at the dealership, Jack had Charlie hide the urea tank in a step box and add straight pipes, while the other guys in the shop mounted a drop visor and changed all the cab lights over to LEDs. Clint’s dad made him some breather panels, while the guys in the body shop painted the boxes and tanks. Jack flew out to pick up the truck and ended up hanging out for a day or two, just for old time’s sake, and to have some laughs before heading west.
Still living in Cottonwood, on a 30-acre farm in the woods, when he’s not out pulling his curtain van up and down the west coast, Jack likes to cruise around in his old ’77 Ford pickup and chop wood. He wanted to thank his wife, Cheryl, and their two daughters, Caitlyn (24) and Corrie (19), for their help and support over the years – and for putting up with his craziness. He also wanted to thank his friend Eric Stricker for helping him to keep his truck running in top shape.
Jack’s dad may have told him to never become a truck driver, but thanks to him, Jack got the bug anyway. “Never say never” is good advice – just ask Jack Mott – the trucker who said he would never become a trucker. But these days, he is not only happy that he made that choice, he loves it!