This month’s “cool creation” was built for the Hernandez family, owners of Hernandez Trucking in Manteca, CA. Pulling end dumps and roll-offs, the company currently has a small fleet of Peterbilts, including the “nice pair” seen here. These two trucks were ordered a few years apart but are nearly identical. The Hernandez boys did this with the specific purpose of building brand recognition out on the road, as well as a positive and clean image for themselves, their company and the trucking industry, in general.
The head of the family is Rufino Hernandez Sr. (75), who has been married to his wife Alicia for 48 years. With five children, 23 grandchildren and one great grandson, they know what family is all about! Starting with their oldest son Hector, then comes daughters Laura and Lourdes, son Rufino Jr. (Junior), and daughter Leticia. Laura is married to Horacio Lopez, and they operate Lopez Transportation – and have six children. Lourdes is married to Jaime and they are both teachers – and they have six children, as well. Leticia is married to John Gonzales and they both work for PG&E – and they have four children.
Oldest son Hector (47) has been married to his wife Angelica for 22 years and, like a few of his other siblings, they have six children, as well – Alec (16), Alan (14), Adan (10), Alexa (8), Anna (4) and Adrian (1). Rufino “Junior” (39) has been with his girlfriend Dawn for seven years and they have a daughter, Annabelle (5), and a step-son named Fin (18) that lives with his dad in southern California. These two brothers, Hector and Junior, along with their brother-in-law Horacio and father Rufino Sr., are the primary players in Hernandez Trucking.
When Rufino Sr. was younger, he worked as a laborer in the San Francisco Bay area, but he was always intrigued by trucks. So, in 1976 he quit construction and purchased a Peterbilt day cab and a short end dump trailer. He operated that combination for a few years and did very well, but when the economy got shaky in 1979, he got nervous and sold his truck. Investing all his profits in rental properties, he went back to work for the union and eventually retired in 2000. He still has those rentals today, and they proved to be a solid investment decision.
In 1998, while working at his uncle’s oil company, Hector decided to get a truck. Leaning on his dad for guidance, Rufino Sr. helped Hector get started. They bought a 1999 Peterbilt day cab and a Reliance end dump and Hernandez Trucking was born. They ran that first rig for a long time, having just recently sold it. A couple years later, Hector bought his second truck – a 2000 Peterbilt 379 long hood with a 63-inch sleeper. Rufino Jr. ran the ‘99 day cab for a few years, and then in 2003 he bought a 2003 Pete 379 long hood with a 70-inch sleeper. In 2012, dad added a nice 389 Peterbilt long hood with a 63-inch bunk to the fleet, which they still own.
In 2015, Hector and Junior called me and ordered a beautiful 2016 Peterbilt 389 long hood with a 48-inch flattop for Junior and his dad to share. Painted white with a Teal frame and fenders, Charlie hid the DEF tank and installed straight pipes, and then the guys in the body shop painted and installed a drop visor, breather lights, cab and sleeper skirts with small lights underneath, and polished half fenders. Dump valves were added to the steer axle, along with an over-inflate system on the drives.
On the day of the delivery, the weather was not cooperating, so I wasn’t able to get any good pictures. We were hoping to get pictures later, but it just never happened. Thankfully, a few years later, the guys called me to order a second truck, just like the first, and we were finally able to get some pics of both these trucks.
The most-recent rig, ordered for Hector, is a 2019 Peterbilt 389 with a 48-inch flattop, also painted white with a Teal frame and fenders, with all the same modifications as the 2016, except this one has full fenders, clear-lens LEDs, and a custom rear light bar made and painted by Stuart Loewen at Nor Cal Custom Trucks in Corning, CA. Tyler in the Service Dept. hid the DEF tank and installed the straight pipes on the 2019. Both trucks also feature LED load lights and flush-mount painted deck plates.
When the Hernandez boys (which included Junior, Rufino Sr., Hector and his 10-year-old son Adan) came to get the 2019 truck, the weather was decent, but the truck wasn’t actually done, so we didn’t take many pictures. After picking it up, they drove to our friends at Thunder Graphix in Joplin, MO where Nicole and the guys added the three-tone upper stripe and lettering, then away they all went to a truck show. Special thanks to everyone at the New Vernon Truck Wash in Barstow, CA for helping to keep the Hernandez trucks looking top-notch all the time.
These days, Hernandez Trucking runs five Peterbilts, along with their brother-in-law’s truck, hauling anything that fits in an end dump or a roll-off. Rufino and Alicia taught their children to work hard, have good ethics and do the best they can. Hector and Junior both said their dad is amazing, and the backbone of the company. He still works every day, driving or doing whatever needs to be done. The boys have learned from the example that their dad sets to have good family values and keep a positive image. And with a nice pair of matching Peterbilts like these, it would be hard not to notice them.