Sunday, October 17, 2010

Green and Naive

I was 24 years old and had only been in Dallas for two hours when this employee card was made.   For insurance purposes I was  25 not 24.  Roger fudged the form he had to file with the insurance company.  Seems the insurance company would not insure any driver under the age of 25.  But I had come highly recommended by Ron, their top driver, and they needed a new driver immediately. 

Just prior to the snapping of this special Kodak moment I had been crawling around inside, outside and all around the sweetest almost brand new White Freightliner I had ever been inside of.  New everything.  Big motor, AC, air ride seat and it had a real sleeper.  I had never driven a truck with a sleeper.  If truckers had a heaven, this was surely it

It had only been 24 hours earlier that I told Don, my boss at Advanced Moving & Storage in Towson, Maryland, that I would not be humping furniture for him anymore.  I was headed for the brightly lit stage of RocknRoll.   His only question before he told me "Good Luck" was "How much does it pay?" 

I remember looking at him and saying, "Who cares?  It's RocknRoll.  My first tour is with the Who."

The following two years wiped the grin off my face, but left me with no regrets.  It was no picnic pounding the highways with a band's equipment on board.   The night driving, asshole promoters and band managers, and sycophants who would do almost anything to use me to get close to their idols.   I would get more traffic tickets than I could count, I would suffer more than a couple of beat downs, robberies, and truck break ins.  I would find love and then have it snatched out from under me.  I would spend time in a couple of local jails for being too loose a dog.  All in all I have to say 1976, 1977, and 1978 were some of the most interesting years I can remember.



BBC said...

May you live interesting times.

I let dispatchers push me a lot at times but just in hours so I got very few tickets during my trucking gigs, two as I recall, for minor things.

The last trucks I drove made anything made in the 70's seem like junk, comfort wise anyway.

Bigger engines, bigger sleepers, lock up rear ends so you seldom had to chain up. But cruise control was the coolest thing, just set that baby and let her roll on through the night.

BBC said...

My favorite interstate to run coast to coast?

40 !!!!

Kulkuri said...

When I was 18, the brother of a friend kept asking me how old I was and muttering if only I was 25 I could drive truck with him. 25 was the magic age for insurance. 30 years later I got my CDL drove truck for awhile. It didn't seem like fun then.

I probably would have drove longer, but I didn't like being lied to. I think the thing that really got me was the one about if you average 2000 miles or more for 4 weeks, you'll get another 2 cents a mile. I'd do good for 3 weeks getting more than 2000 miles and the fourth week I'd be lucky to get 1200 miles. At the time that 2 cents was almost 10% more.

Four Dinners said...

....and you haven't changed a bit!...;-)

Tom Harper said...

Sounds like a fascinating gig.

And Route 40 rocks.

El Cerdo Ignatius said...

All in all I have to say 1976, 1977, and 1978 were some of the most interesting years I can remember.

What? You still remember them??

Kidding aside, no doubt they were interesting times, Mike. And how many out there can say they worked in rock 'n' roll, man?

susan said...

I have a feeling that if anyone had offered me a job driving the Who's equipment around the country I would have gone too. Of course, it's just as well they didn't because I still had zero driving experience then. I'm sure Pete would have been unhappy to find his Stratocasters in a ditch.

The Blog Fodder said...

That is so cool. The Who! Rock n Roll at its finest.

Demeur said...

I might have passed you somewhere out on the blacktop. Those were the years I was rolling around the country doing the photography thing. You wake up in the middle of the night wondering what city/state you're in. The pictures on the motel room wall are all about the same.

BBC said...

Not that I want to take away from your wonderful trucking experience, but who in the hell is the Who?

Mauigirl said...

Wow, sounds like a really amazing experience! Love the old pic from the 70s, I should dig out mine....

I remember 1976-78 too; we're the same age. I was drifting too, but only between dead-end jobs before I finally got serious and got a real job!

Chef Cthulhu said...

Awesome, man...thanks for sharing.

MRMacrum said...

BBC - I learned to hate I-40 with a passion. Especially going through Tennessee. But to be fair, I learned to hate most of it.

Who were the Who? Look it up.

Kulkiri - one of the reasons I stopped driving as an independent were the sleazy brokers, dispatchers, etc. That and all the bureaucrats who fouled up my runs. Too many rules.

Four Dinners - Not on the inside anyway.

Tom Harper - In that I-40 became a sort of commute drive for me, I would have to disagree.

El Cerdo Ignatius - Any memories seem to come back in bits and pieces. I hope that is normal.

susan - later in my stint with SHOWCO I did put ELO's sound gear in the ditch on my way to a gig in Erie, PA. Lost it on some black ice and went over a guard rail and down into a ravine. I still managed to find enough tow trucks and spare rigs to make the show. Two hours late, but I made it.

Blog Fodder - Yeah, they were at the top of their game for sure. It was the last American tour with Keith Moon.

Demeur - Yea, you know.

Mauigirl - That experience is what finally beat out of me any interest in living rootless and with no direction.

Chef Cthulhu - Thanks for swinging by.

PENolan said...

You don't look that different, to tell you the truth.

MRMacrum said...

Penolan - The mirror says otherwise.