This month’s creation was built for Don Thomas Jr. (52) of Atascadero, CA. Don is like most of us that have caught the trucking bug. His family was not in the trucking business directly, but trucks were around to support their fishing and seafood business, and Don got “hooked” on the trucks and not on fishing, keeping him safely on shore.
As the owner of Golden Nugget Seafood in Morro Bay, CA, Don’s father, Don Thomas Sr., was a fisherman who also owned boat docks and a fish processing plant. Things were going good until the state decided that drag fishing (trawling) was not good for the environment and opted to not renew their license.
Don never cared too much for the sea, but the cool trucks that were loading out of the docks, hooked him for shore – literally! His dad died in a car accident in 2000, and his mom Carol retired from the restaurant business after over 40 years of service.
Meeting his future wife JoGena while still in high school, she came to California when her dad got a job at the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant and relocated the family to Morro Bay from Illinois. She was the new girl at school, so Don was extra nice to her.
Apparently, his plan worked, because Don and JoGena have been together ever since, married for 33 years now. The couple has two grown boys – Ryan (33) and Dalton (27). Ryan is a Captain with the Santa Barbara Fire Department and has two kids, while Dalton drives a transfer dump for dad.
When Don graduated high school in 1984, he went straight to driving trucks locally and hasn’t really done anything else. Hauling all construction-related equipment and aggregates, Don still drives (mostly) local, just for himself, and has two trucks – a 2002 Peterbilt 379 transfer he bought in 2015 (the one his son Dalton drives) and this latest one you see here. He always liked Peterbilts, so when it came time to get a new one, he gave me a call and we hit it off.
Wanting a nice new long hood day cab to run local, he told me that he needed it to be taller than most to get into the places he must go. And thank goodness I listened, because he has already been on some job sites that one of our normally-slammed units would have lost the tanks! But, just because its taller, doesn’t mean it can’t look sweet, too.
His favorite color is blue, so Don picked a nice bright blue. The new truck is a 2019 Peterbilt 389 long hood day cab with a modest wheelbase, a front air-ride steer axle, AirTrac rear suspension and a pin-type 5th wheel. Powered by a 565-hp X15 Cummins hooked to an 18-speed transmission, the rig also has full locking differentials, dual 100-gallon polished tanks (one is split for the wet kit), and the Platinum interior package with no navigation (most construction sites don’t have addresses yet, so there was no need for navigation).
The truck arrived later than expected, and Don was really busy at the time, so he needed the truck fast. Not wanting to look at an ugly Urea tank, Tyler and Kenny hid the DEF tank, and since all Peterbilts should have a nice set of straight pipes, he opted for us to mount those, as well. Dad chopped the air cleaner screens, and then Tyler added a flush Merritt deck plate. Our guys hustled and banged-out the truck and got Don on the road, headed back to California, in just over a week. Way to go, guys!
Don always told his kids to be nice, polite and work hard, saying, “Just keep your head down and keep making forward progress.” This philosophy has served him well, as he continues to grow his own business and make forward progress – and stay “hooked for shore” on trucking!
If you would to have Clint order and/or build you a cool creation, contact him at Kansas City Peterbilt by calling 800-489-1122 or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org. He won’t steer you wrong!