The other morning, my wife Helena and I were sitting on the front porch goofing off when I showed her a photo of this wonderful 1968 Dodge pick-up.
“See this? It’s exactly like the one I had in high school.” Her response was epic.
First, some background.
The truck was purchased for our family business but in our house, business and personal matters were so intertwined and co-dependent that you couldn’t tell work from non-work. And since I was spoiled something awful, the truck was mine to use.
It had a slant six; a three-speed (3-on-the-tree) standard transmission and no radio. Both my older brother Alex and I learned how to play harmonica behind its wheel.
It came from the factory blue and when I was 16 I put some very distinctive racing stripes on the hood.
I used that truck to go to Sudbury Secondary School; I used it for trips to the 69 Drive-In Theatre and I used the Dodge to haul oodles of empties to the beer store on Lorne Street. I carted my friends to parties to the Bowling Alley on Notre Dame Avenue. And I ran errands for my dad.
By any measure, the truck made me cool.
Among my fondest memories: Driving around Sudbury with our slobbery old St. Bernard Casey in the back; her drool flying off in the wind. Winter and summer alike.
And I just remembered something else about my dog-and-truck show.
At one time, I had a part-time job at the McDonald’s on Regent Street. There, if a cooked burger sat unsold for more than 10 minutes, it was deemed unsaleable.
But on my shifts, I didn’t toss the old burgers. I kept them aside. Some days, there were so many they’d fill a green garbage bag, which I would then truck home to feed Casey.
Seems to me Casey and the truck started getting old and frail at about the same time and same rate and eventually, both had to be put out of their misery.
I also just realized I’ll be having more fond memories of that truck come October 5th and 6th because for the first time ever, I will be a judge in the annual Great Canadian Truck King Challenge.
The organizer, my old friend Howard Elmer, invited me to help compare all the latest pickups and I’m childishly excited at the proposition. It’ll be my first time. Watch for an update in a future column.
Meantime, even before the competition starts, I know that, no matter how high-tech or powerful or beautiful those new trucks will be, in some way I will be comparing each and every one of them to that old Dodge.
I guess it’s sort of like a first love.
Which brings me back to Helena’s response when I showed her the picture of the Dodge. And before I tell you what she said, I have to tell that how she said them was just as important.
After I told her I had that truck in high school, she didn’t, say, pause for reflection. Her reaction was too instinctive and heartfelt; and I never saw it coming.
Her reaction was so fast it reminded me of that saying “you never hear the bullet that kills you.”
Here’s what Helena said after I told her I had the truck.
“Really? And you didn’t have any girls!!?”
It was right at the top of her brain, the one she used to earn a Master’s Degree in Science from the University of Toronto. She was quite unable to reconcile my having that truck with the fact that I didn’t get any dates. That’s right. Any.
What she said was accurate but it wasn’t necessarily something I liked talking about. She then reminded me that one of her high-school boyfriends drove-of all things-a yellow VW Bug! (Try carting Casey around town in that toy!)
Anyway, I guess we can stay married awhile longer.
AYR, ON — In 1980, Terry Fox dipped his leg into the Atlantic Ocean to start his run; on another continent a creature named Pac Man appeared; and in the south-central Ontario town of Cambridge, Phil Henning launched Mill Creek Motor Freight.
All three phenoms are still with us, in one way or another, and on Thursday, the folks at Mill Creek took the afternoon off to celebrate their 35 years of successful operation, in all the company’s iterations.
Version one was Henning’s. Then, in July, 1998, Henning sold 40 percent to the Alberta-based Mullen Group followed by the rest later that year.
Sixteen years in, Mullen announced that it was joining with Mark Seymour’s Prescott, ON-based Kriska Holdings in a new enterprise, Kriska Transportation Group Ltd. (KTG).
Editor Carter’s niece Jennifer Carter has a Bachelor’s Degree as well as a Master’s Degree in Political Science. She has been putting both to good use for a number of years now as a Federal Public Servant in Ottawa. She is a home owner, an accomplished kick boxer, a card-carrying life-coach and world traveller. She is also a mistress of sarcastic wit. Carter has tons more Jen stories he’d be glad to share if you drop by the Sudbury Petro-Pass Tuesday August 25.
OSHAWA, ON — The Mackie Group, CCT Auto-Trans Inc., Verspeeten Cartage, Hard-Co Construction, the Canadian Red Cross, and Clarington Contracting Services want kids to get up close and personal with their iron so the youngsters get to know and love trucks. That’s why those operators, as well as numerous others are, are participating in the third annual Touch-a-Truck event on Friday, August 21st, 2015 from 5pm to 8pm at the General Motors Centre in Oshawa.
TORRANCE, CA- Limiting idle time is a sure-fire way to cut fuel costs for over-the-road fleets, but how do you do it without compromising driver comfort and safety?
WINDSOR, ON – Good news for truckers heading across the border at Windsor-Detroit. After four years of construction, the portion of 401 between North Talbot Road and the E.C. Row Expressway will open Sunday at midnight, so your loads won’t have to hit all those grade-level red lights anymore. Not only that but after Sunday, your eastbound trucks won’t have to use that pesky roundabout either.
MISSISSAUGA — One of Canada’s largest and oldest freight-matching service providers has taken exception to how long-time, existing load boards were described earlier this month. VentureBeat.com recently reported on the debut of Truckloads Marketplace, a web-based and integrated phone app service “where freight needing regional or long-haul trucking – and trucks needing loads – can connect and make deals.”
In an interview, the CEO and founder of parent company Trucker Path Ivan Tsybaev compared other load boards to Craigslist.com, hinting their layout is dull, and they don’t offer such information as credit scores, insurance information along with other details showing that both freight brokers and truckers are properly licensed.
Hold the phone there, Bub, says Karen Campbell-Jones, marketing communications manager for TransCore Link Logistics.
Logan Township, NJ – Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America, Inc. (MFTA) has announced that Jecka Glasman will succeed Todd Bloom as President and CEO, effective July 1. The announcement was made by Marc Llistosella, Head of Daimler Trucks Asia, and President and CEO of Mitsubishi Fuso Truck & Bus Corporation (MFTBC), the parent company of MFTA.
SALMO, B.C. – B.C.-based Sutco Contracting has just added six new Kenworths to its fleet of 70 but these six are even greener than the usual forest shade of their other trucks.
LANGLEY — The British Columbia Trucking Association (BCTA) has named a Board of Directors for 2015- 2016 at the BCTA’s Annual General Meeting and Management Conference in Whistler, BC. Board Chairman Kevin Johnson of Coastal Pacific Xpress will remain on for the second year of his two-year term.
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are proposing standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles that would improve fuel efficiency and cut carbon pollution. Furthermore, for the first time, trailers will be subject to fuel efficiency and GHG standards.
The proposed vehicle and engine performance standards would cover model years 2021-2027, and apply to tractors, large pickup trucks and vans, and all types and sizes of buses and work trucks. They would achieve up to 24 percent lower CO2 emissions and fuel consumption than an equivalent tractor in 2018. Additionally, the proposed standards:
Rely on cost-effective technologies that are currently available or in development.
Do not mandate specific technologies.
Allow banking and trading of emissions credits for most manufacturers.
TORONTO–TransCore Link Logistics’ Canadian Freight Index demonstrated a slender gain in volumes in May.
Month-over-month load volumes edged up four percent from April. Despite this gain, year-over-year volumes were down for the fifth consecutive month, decreasing 22 percent over May 2014. Cross-border loads leaving Canada fell 23 percent, and inbound loads coming into Canada fell 21 percent year-over-year. These volumes averaged 70 percent of the total data submitted by Loadlink’s Canadian-based customers.
Intra-Canada load volumes represented 25 percent of the total volumes and were down 25 percent year-over-year.
A notable shift in the distribution of loads was observed entering western Canada and into Ontario. Month-over-month, western Canada saw a decrease in loads destined for the region by 15 percent; in contrast, Ontario saw an increase in loads destined for the province by 24 percent compared to April 2015.
CALGARY, AB-Oilfield transporter Aveda Transportation and Energy Services Inc. is purchasing Oklahoma City, OK.-based Hodges Trucking Company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Seventy Seven Energy Inc. (“SSE”). With the purchase, the Canadian-based Aveda becomes the largest rig-moving company on the continent. Hodges currently owns approximately 900 pieces of rig-moving and heavy-haul equipment, including approximately 200 haul trucks, 400 trailers, 70 bed/pole trucks, 35 cranes, 40 forklifts/loaders and 160 service vehicles. Aveda, incorporated as a private company in 1994 only to go public in 2006,
WROXETER,ON.-Come Canada Day, you will see no more Celadon Canada trucks. On July 1, the merger of Celadon and Wroxeter, ON.-based Hyndman Transport will be completed. “We have come to realize the strength of the Hyndman name in Canada,” commented President and CEO of the Indianapolis-based Celadon Group Paul Will. “Hyndman has always promoted and supported a family atmosphere for their drivers and staff. This merger reinforces thae core value of the company.”