Thursday, September 30, 2010

Bull haulers’ fifth annual reunion and hog roast

Photo: The bull hauler reunion had plenty of OOIDA members. Left to right, they are L.B. Blanchard, John Snyder, Glenn Hensley, Bryan Treible, Joel Snyder, Ed Snyder, Woody Everly, Tom Snyder, Mike Metzger and Bob Martin.

Timing is everything. I was going to start out with “A little rain couldn’t dampen the spirits of this group” true, but I think that line has been pretty well used up.

Anyway, I wrote a column in the August/September issue of Land Line Magazine titled “800 Hams.” It was about hog hauling in the ’60s. The magazine came out just a month before the bull haulers were having their annual reunion, and my article seemed hit home with these guys and gals. (For anybody that don’t know, if you hauled livestock you were a bull hauler.)

As soon as the magazine came out, a bull hauler and OOIDA Life Member John Snyder was on the phone inviting my wife Geriand me to their get-together on Sept. 11 near Pierceton, IN.

Who are the bull haulers? This assembly evolved from the core group of livestock haulers operating out of northern Indiana in the ’60s and ’70s. I couldn’t start to call the names of all of them but some name badges jumped right out at me, like The Everlys, Metzger, Gingerich. Some others I recall: Jenkins and Nagel, McCords, Dickerhoff, Temperly, Drudge, Morrison, Ray Shelmire, Hank DeKock and sons, Hartzler and Freeway.

There were two haulers based in Pennsylvania who were out here so much they seemed like locals. One was Gotwals Brothers of Oley, PA. They had a terminal in Logansport, IN, and I drove for them for a year or so.

Another brother act out of Pennsylvania was V.J. Derstine. They didn’t have a terminal out here. They didn’t need one. Those souped-up 335s in those KWs never stopped except to load as far as I could tell. I always wanted to pass a Derstine truck but I never saw one parked. When they passed you, it was like a Paycar passing a Tramp.

Some have passed on and few are in the business anymore, but were well represented at the reunion by their extended families.

Rich Gingerich brought his 1951 AutoCar and old possum-belly bull rack that he converted into a museum. Loads of memorabilia in there. The food was great, and the bull sessions kicked up memories of long ago.

They said the head count was 125. It appeared to me that 123 had a good time. Geri and I had a super good time.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

In Atlanta, the fox guards the henhouse

Who’s guarding the henhouse in Georgia? Evidently, it’s a hungry fox.

The people of Atlanta were assured years ago that tolls would be removed from the Georgia 400 once the bonds used to build the roadway were paid off.

But the State Road and Tollway Authority voted on Friday, Sept. 24, to keep the tolls in place for an additional 20 years past the original sunset date in June 2011.

Why would they do this? Because they can. It’s within their authority.

State officials, including Gov. Sonny Perdue, say the additional toll funding is necessary to pay for a list of 11 capital improvements, including expansion at the I-85/GA 400 interchange.

These officials are playing it up as a “new toll” and “new funding” rather than admit that they are going back on a promise made to the people years ago.

Few would doubt the need for improvements, and few are questioning the state of Georgia’s financial health, but highway users have every right to question the method being used to tax people more to drive on the GA 400. Yes, tolls are taxes and this is a “new tax.”