Being the feature editor for Mini Truckin' magazine means a lot of things. One thing for certain is it means I do a lot of traveling and racking up thousands of miles in the air and on the ground. Sometimes we get to drive, but most of the time we rely on the help of friends to get us to and from the shows. Traveling is expensive, and renting a car sometimes isn't in the books. Luckily for me, over the years I've made several friends, in several states, who are more than willing to lend me a ride. One of the ongoing jokes with my club members is that we're expanding worldwide, just so we have somebody to pick us up at the airport in every state and country we visit. I never looked at it that way, but now that I think about it, I should have used that to my advantage a long time ago.
Recently, I needed to travel to the Super Truck Nationals in Owensboro, Kentucky, to cover the show and the 15-year anniversary of Negative Camber. Jamey and Duck from DIB Customs had invited me to ride with them to the show, and I agreed. I figured, what better way to cover the event than ride out with some friends, and see what it's like to be a Southern minitrucker wanting to attend long-distance shows? Well, I was in for a hell of a weekend.
It started with a red-eye flight out of Ontario, California, the same late June weekend of the unsuccessful terrorist bombings in the United Kingdom. My flight was delayed three hours in the middle of the night. So, I didn't get any sleep. This also meant I missed my connecting flight in Houston. I was supposed to be in New Orleans at 8 a.m., instead I landed roughly around noon. The plan was to hit the road with DIB at 7 p.m. However, we ended up leaving closer to 9 p.m.
I called Duck to see what the plan was, and he told me they would leave as close to 7 p.m. as possible. But, he sounded kind of worried, so I asked him why. "It takes a lot to get this circus on the road," he told me. I couldn't stop laughing, but soon realized how right he was. It's one thing to load a running truck on a hauler, but try pushing a body-dropped Crew Cab dualie up it, with bent ramps, and a bad winch-not fun. But, they were dedicated and weren't taking no for an answer. The dualie would go. What a nightmare, I thought, but this wasn't the end of it. We ended up needing to unload and reload the dualie to put two more trucks on the trailer. All of this added up to a 14-hour trip.
The trip home was no different. Once the show was over, we hit the long road home with fierce determination. Many of the guys on the trip needed to be at work the very next day, and I had an early morning flight. We ended up getting into New Orleans at 4 a.m. I had to be on a plane by 9 a.m., so sleep wasn't really in the cards for me.
Being from California, I was never used to traveling long distances to the shows. You see, in California, all of the events are within hours or less of my house. But as time has changed, we've managed to lose several exhibitions, which meant traveling longer distances to see the truck shows. I learned how hard it is to be in parts of the country where you don't have events in your backyard. Some people have to make crazy sacrifices in their personal lives to hit the road week after week. Minitruckers are a rare breed, but they are a dedicated breed. Fourteen hours with some Southern boys really taught me a thing or two about the hardships of the road and how tough it is to be a minitrucker, sometimes.
When it's all said and done, is it worth it? You bet your ass it is.