The majority of the time when I imagine my favorite truck or reminisce about the past, I think of trucking through California in the sunshine. One of the most notable California setups is either a cabover hay truck and trailer or a single axle with a set of flats. There’s nothing cooler than a pressed-out hay wagon with a tight load and shiny tires.
Many years ago, Walt Armas of Hesperia, California, started hauling hay in California, Washington and Oregon. When he resided in Washington, he drove for a well-known hay hauler named Del Austin (Del had drove for my grandpa and later had some really cool Peterbilt cabover truck and trailers). After trucking for Del, Walt drove for Van Diest, pulling tankers, and would later order a brand-new Long Hood A-model Kenworth to pull these same tanks. Walt drove this truck for some time while still living in the state of Washington. Later on, he relocated to California and started hauling hay for Troost and many other well-known hay transporters.
Years later his son Scott would catch the trucking bug and start driving, too. Together, they have had several clean rides, including a Freightliner Classic, cabovers, a couple Kenworths and an awesome Peterbilt 379 that was purchased through Clint Moore several years ago. I first met Scott in 2007 when we had a chrome shop. Scott had been hauling hay from Ellensburg, WA to California in the dialed-in Peterbilt, and popped in to check out our place. He would continue to drive this truck until switching brands years later.
Along with Walt and Scott, another owner operator recently joined the hay industry – Bruce Graham of Yakima, Washington – a longtime friend of Walt. Bruce, for the most part, was a truck owner that hauled building materials for many years around Washington and Oregon. He started his career as a driver hauling apples down to California and beer back north. Many miles would be logged running south in his super clean Peterbilt 379, hauling building materials (with help from his dad), until it was later converted into a car hauler about 20 years ago.
This truck would spend the majority of its life hauling cars, until being sold last year. Bruce’s trucks were always clean and tidy, and painted either gray and black or white and gray. With a little influence from Walt, Bruce suddenly hit the reset button on his trucking career. Bruce went from a white and gray Peterbilt hauling cars to a Viper red single axle W900L hauling hay. He put a lot of trust in Walt and Scott, who directed him on what was working best for them. Walt had ordered a new W900L single axle from me for Scott to drive, and Bruce followed suit.
Scott and Bruce’s trucks are both 2020 Kenworth W900Ls with 62” flat tops, 565 Cummins engines, 18-speed transmissions and Neway air-ride, following a similar footprint to Walt’s previous 2019. There are now three W900Ls that roll down the highway, together from time to time, with Scott’s being the most recent, getting delivered in December 2019.
All three 2-axles have RLK visors, bus lights with glass lenses, lowered front ends, Hogebuilt quarter fenders (a must on any California hay wagon), tall stacks, 255 tires and Seattle Package interiors, done by Two Bee’s Upholstery. Although there are many similarities, each truck has its own special touches that set them apart. The frame layouts and wheelbase are the perfect fit for what they were designed to do, as well. These trucks have a clean and timeless look that will easily stand out in a crowd for another 20 years.
I want to give special thanks to Walt, Bruce and Scott for thinking outside the box, including Kevin Pfeffer, Charlie Roseland and many others before them, for giving me this amazing opportunity. In the end, it is the people and pride that make the ride, not the brand. Here’s to many more cool rides, no matter what your favorite color or flavor is!