For the past 24.5 years, I have had the privilege of being the Editor and Art Director of 10-4 Magazine. For the first six months of the magazine’s existence, which printed its first copy in September 1993, I worked in the mail room and did other odds and ends to help. When the girl who was producing the magazine got pregnant with twins and had to go on bed rest, she gave me a crash course in computer graphics (Aldus PageMaker 4.0 for the computer geeks out there) and I took over – that was in February of 1994. All these years later, I’m still at it, and it has been quite a ride.
Celebrating our silver (we call it chrome) anniversary this month, the last 25 years has been filled with hard work, travel, cool trucks and, most importantly, fun! We have always operated 10-4 with the attitude that if it wasn’t fun, we didn’t want to do it – and you probably wouldn’t want to read it, either. With that philosophy in mind, we have never been a “normal” kind of magazine or a “normal” bunch of people. Sometimes that may have hurt us, but after all these years, we stand by our style. Many trucking magazines have come and gone over the years, but we are still here. I’ve always said, “Showing up is half the battle, and we just keep showing up!”
Although fun has been a common theme with 10-4 since the beginning, we could hang our hat on the theme of hard work, as well. We work hard each and every month to bring you an informative and fun publication that inspires you to be a better trucker and enjoy your job a little more – to be proud of your career choice – whether you chose it, or it chose you! We have never harped on politics or complaining or anything negative, for the most part, and always strive to be fun (there’s that word again), heartwarming and positive. And who doesn’t love a great success story? Finding folks that have done well in this business and then telling their story is a great way to show others that they can do it, too.
Traveling the country for photo shoots and truck shows is exhausting, but it’s the best part of our job. On most of these trips, I am with my fellow photographer (and the publisher) Erik Sieben – we have undoubtedly traveled several hundreds of thousands of miles together. Meeting new people, seeing new places, making lifelong friends and memories is what life is all about, and we love that part of the job. And getting to do cool things with cool people and cool trucks is awesome – like spending the day being chased by the infamous “Duel” truck, or driving around a closed parking control gate, over a curb, and taking a truck out on the grass in New Jersey with the magnificent skyline of Lower Manhattan behind it, hoping to get our shots and get out of there without being arrested (which we did)!
Thinking back at other memorable photo shoots, we once flew to Oklahoma in 2005 and spent 3 or 4 days hanging out with the Wilkins family, who run Wilkins Oklahoma Truck Supply in Tonkawa, OK. We went out on a few recovery jobs with their old Mack wrecker, got a tour of the “seedy” side of town from Tanner Wilkins, who was only 10 years old then and got to stay home from school that day to entertain us, and even had dinner at a speakeasy, a secret restaurant that served alcohol during the days of prohibition. Now, how often do you get to do something like that? Of course, we got some fantastic shots of their old Peterbilt, as well.
From dusty cattle ranches to lush parks, National Monuments to explosive gravel pits, seedy cityscapes to stately mansions, we have shot photographs of trucks just about everywhere. But, some of the most rewarding shots have come from the most difficult situations – some photo shoots take 3 hours, and some take 3 days! Over the years we’ve been apprehended, questioned and threatened by various law enforcement agencies, supposedly banned from some National Parks, fined, and thrown out of some nice places – but we always got our shot!
Most of you know how much the public doesn’t like trucks or trust truck drivers, now throw in a big camera and call yourself “the media” (very loosely) and you have a tasty recipe to scare the daylights out of your average security guard or park ranger – especially one with a chip on their shoulder, a badge and a gun. But it’s all good. Most can be reasoned with, and the ones who can’t will usually take a free t-shirt and/or a 12-pack of beer to look the other way. After all, we never do any damage or make a mess – we just want to use their location as an interesting backdrop or scene. No harm, no foul – really.
Sometimes the location is beautiful and scenic, and other times it’s all about the truck. But we never let the backdrop upstage the truck – after all, in the end, it’s all about the truck! We’ve been out on the Bonneville Salt Flats with Jeff England, on the sand at Pismo Beach with Jeff Botelho, and at one of my
favorite places on the planet – Smith Rock in central Oregon – with Jeff Houts and his slammed matte blue hot rod Peterbilt! Another scenic location we have used several times is Valley of Fire State Park just outside Las Vegas – that place, with its red rocks, is gorgeous!
In 25 years of doing this and taking trucks lots of places they really shouldn’t be, we have only got a truck stuck once where we had to call a wrecker to pull it out – sorry about that, Josh O’Farrell, but we did get great shots of your loaded (and obviously heavy) KW in that scenic but very sandy canyon near Indio, CA. Colorado is always nice, and we were lucky enough to spend several days in 2004 hanging out with Dino Guadagni on Loveland Pass, getting some amazing shots of his wild 1954 Kenworth. On another trip to Colorado, in 2006, we covered the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, but this trip was not memorable for good reasons – altitude sickness is the worst (just ask Erik)!
But, the most memorable trip, for me, was when we went to the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama to shoot John Ray’s famous flag-carrying Peterbilt 379 for our April 2016 cover. After taking a few laps around the track at over 100 mph with their media guy in a modest SUV, he left the facility and locked the gate behind him, saying, “Take as long as you want. The track is yours today.” Me, Erik, John Ray and Mike from Talladega Fiberglass were the only ones inside that huge venue for several hours (the track is a 2.66-mile oval). Being a big NASCAR fan, Talladega is one of my favorite tracks, so to be there was a dream come true – but to be in there and shooting a truck, it was almost too much to take. What a day! And John Ray was one of the coolest guys ever.
Sometimes the trip is memorable, sometimes the location is memorable and sometimes the people are memorable, but oftentimes, just the photo itself is the most memorable. Some of my favorite shots ever came with little fanfare – like the one of Mickey Gwillim’s “Gold Digger” 359 resting on the grass in his backyard out in the rain, or Dustin Dickerson’s blue and silver Peterbilt show truck and matching dump trailer sitting out in their freshly-cut wheat field. Some of my other favorites include Oldland Distributing’s teal-colored 359 sitting next to an old white church in Oregon, and Rolando Nava’s striking orange W900L “laying low” in front of the rock face at California’s Point Mugu on scenic Pacific Coast Highway.
A few more shots I had to include on this “favorites” list would be a sunset shot of Jesse Bounds’ orange hay-hauling Peterbilt 359, Todd Campbell’s red and white Freightliner cabover in front of an old vacant house in Joplin, Missouri, and one of my favorite night shots ever, featuring Chris Kikelhan’s classic 1956 KW, parked in total darkness (except for our lights), in the back of a truck stop near Hoover Dam. That shot took well over an hour to set up and included help from strangers, who were just walking by, to hold lights. Sometimes, the perfect picture does not just present itself – it must be diligently pursued, and that night we worked our butts off in the cold and dark to get it – just ask Chris!
I wish I could keep going, but some stories will just have to be kept for another day – maybe the next significant anniversary. It was really hard to choose just a handful of favorites but looking back at these shots and reminiscing about past trips and locations has really been fun for me. I hope you enjoyed it, too, and got a little insight as to what we do here at 10-4 Magazine and, more importantly, why. We do it for the fun of it – for not only us, but you, too!
We have always said that trucking can be fun and, for the past 25 years, it’s been our job to show all the fun stuff to you. So, keep picking up and reading the magazine, and tell all your trucking industry friends and business partners to keep advertising, and we’ll keep having fun – for you – hopefully, for another 25 years! Many thanks to all our readers, advertisers, contributors, friends and fans for all the great memories.