Trucks That I Have Owned And Driven Over The Years
Click on images for larger picture

The first job I had as a teamster was when I was 15 year’s old, skidding logs with a horse, then when I turned 16, I got my drivers license and my Class B chauffeurs license. I got a job driving a 1 ton KB 1 international picking up and delivering freight around Prince George.

Later I drove a variety of lumber and logging trucks in and around Prince George similar to the one below, trying to back under his load.

lumber and logging trucks

Then in 1954 I joined the Canadian navy, where I stayed for ten years and got out in 1964. After I was released from the Navy, I drove bus for one summer and then I started driving for Imperial Oil in Victoria. In 1968 when they closed the plant in Victoria, I transferred to Prince George.

When I got to Prince George I was given this truck to drive, it had a V-12 gasoline engine that had an appetite for gas that would break even an Oil company to-day.

Old GMC

In 1969, we got a brand new Kenworth to replace the old B-7000 GMC so I inherited the 1967 Kenworth and I couldn't have been happier. The International gravel truck is one I delivered to a mine site on a day off.

1967 Kenworth International gravel truck

One winters day I was called to the bush, on top of a small mountain to fill up 2-1000 gallon tanks that were supposed to be empty. Only one tank was empty.

I headed down the Arch Truck road with 1000 gallons on back of the truck. I caught up to the grader and when I tried to stop, the back end slid sideways on my chains, caught a tree in the right hand ditch that one of the Arch Truck had lost, with the front end of the truck on the road and back end in the ditch, it tripped the truck and ever so slowly we rolled over.

After we hauled it back to the shop, they changed the exhaust pipe, put in new coolant and oil and a day later, I was back on the road.

truck crash truck crash

The next two pictures show the truck almost on it’s feet, the other shows the east end of an Arch Truck heading west.

Note the two sets of triple rail chains on the drivers.

rolled over truck Arch Truck

A very young Mel McConaghy with a very new International cab-over in the late 1960’s.

Young Mel McConaghy

In the early 1970’s I decided I should own my own truck, you know, master of my own destiny and all the rest of that BS so I bought one.

It was a 1964 Kenworth with a 1674-250 HP Cat engine and a 13 speed transmission with 38,000 lb Diffs. I was a light truck, but it was my first and just like a first love, I still have a warm spot in my heart for it.

The first job I had with it was hauling fuel and asphalt for a company called Tank Truck Service out of Prince George.

From the look on my face in this picture, I wasn’t having a very good Day. "Did you loose your best friend, son?"

My First Truck Kenworth

I changed jobs and went hauling lumber for Bulkey Valley transport, one day I was asked to go haul some equipment, I told the boss I had never hauled equipment before. He said, “Any idiot can haul Equipment so the next pictures are of any Idiot.

Loading a very heavy Feller-buncher with very little track on the deck of the 8 foot Low-bed. Scary when your green, looking down from the cab waiting to fall off.

Feller-buncher

8 foot Low-bed

Checking my tie down chains and synchs.

chains and synchs
Even a good engine needs a little oil once in a while.

Adding Oil

In 1978 I decided I needed a heavier truck with a little more power and heavier running gear. I found a one year old Kenworth on a lot in Prince George and traded the little Kenworth in on it. The previous owner had painted ‘Mean Machine’ on the left hand corner and considering the payment, I thought it would appropriate to leave it on, so it became the ‘Mean Machine’.

The Mean Machine parked in Topley, BC

In the mid 70’s the truck drivers mentality cut in, I thought if I can make X number of dollars with one truck I should be able to make twice as much with two, right. So I bought a 1974 Mack and hired a driver and we went hauling Asphalt from Taylor, BC to Whitehorse in the Yukon and I never got the chance to find out because the driver, through no fault of his own went over the side of Sikanni Chief Mountain, totaling the truck and was killed. Not only did I lose a good driver and a friend, but a good truck.

1974 Mack Truck

1974 Mack Truck

Munco Lake - Alaska Highway Summit Lake - Alaska Highway

On the left is the Mean Machine at the south end of Munco Lake on a dirty wet day, the picture on the right was taken just below Summit Lake, both on the Alaska Highway.

When summer and the asphalt season ended I went to work for Lowmac low-bedding out of Prince George. That winter it was looking like it might get a little slow I went to Ft. Nelson to pull a short log trailer and low-bed for a sister company of Lowmac’s. The winter turned out to be a brutally cold one with the temperature not warming up above -30 for a month and a half and some times dropping to -60 below.

A load of logs on the ‘Hay Rack’ on a -36 degree afternoon.

Lowmac low-bedding - Fort Nelson

Loading a 977, Cat grapple Loader in the bush at Ft. Nelson. As you can see the Mean Machine was a long wheel base tractor, a little awkward in the bush, but great on icy roads.

977  Cat grapple Loader Cat grapple Loader

The next summer I made a trip to just North of Mayo, in the Yukon to a mine crossed the South McQueston River. After I left the main road I was on a cat trail and there was a lot of silicon in the soil which made it very slippery when wet.

North of Mayo - Yukon

Then I had to ford the river.

River Crossing

When I got back to Whitehorse I was told to go down the Stewart-Cassier Highway south of Watson Lake and pick up a load of Ties. Before I made it to Kitwanga, where I could pick up fuel, I had to stop and let the fuel run over to my left hand tank where the fuel pickup was and shut the valve isolation. With the crown on the road your fuel would all run over to the right hand tank.

Stewart-Cassier Highway

When my wife started her long battle with cancer and my nephew got killed in a logging truck accident the luster started to wear off trucking so I sold the ‘Mean Machine’ and went selling logging equipment But then the old wander lust cut I and I went driving truck.

I went to work hauling into a mine that was 250 miles back in the bush behind Mackenzie, up past the end of Williston Lake for three years. The truck I was driving, I later purchased and sold when the job finished, I called ‘Old Blue’ was old, but for the job it was ideal, it was a 1974 model 4070-A International.

‘Old Blue’ in the mud. Oh well I guess I’ll have to put on another set of chains.

Old Blue - 1974 model 4070-A International

After I sold ‘Old Blue’ I went back selling trucks and while I was doing that I was thinking. A lot loads I was seeing on the highway were less than 40,000 lbs. and you didn’t need a big, fuel consuming class eight tractors to haul them. Why not a single axle tractor with a tandem trail so I sold myself ‘Little Henry’ named after Henry Ford.

Henry and I. When I built Henry I rigged it out as a winch tractor so I could drop the front of the trailer and pull what ever onto it, in the second picture you will see a burnt skidder I recovered from the bush.

Little Henry burnt skidder

Henry with a 966-F Cat log loader I had to load and haul. The transmission had failed. I had changed the colour after an encounter with a 'Swamp Donkey'(a moose).

966-F Cat log loader

Little Henry with a load of power poles.

load of power poles

I ran Little Henry for six years and then I got a good deal on a LTL9000 Ford, so I put the little truck in an auction and went back heavy hauling. Big Henry as I called the new truck was a brute, it was ugly as sin and after I put a 60 inch walkin sleeper on it and got it rigged out with low bed ramps and a bull board it weighed out at around 22,000 lbs. but it was a good tough low-bed tractor and worked hard for me. Unfortunately I never got any pictures of it.

When I turned 60 years old and was tired Loading and and tying down big loads and bush work the company that I had worked for the past 10 year, Vanex Truck Service, had a Reefer division Hauling fish out of Prince Rupert to the Coast and Seatle, Portland and other southern places. Big Henry was too heavy for this work so I went looking for a lighter truck, I found a 1993 Mack that seemed to fit what I had in mind and bought it. This turned out to be an excellent truck.

The Mack had a Bulldog on the hood and being a Walt Disney cartoon fan it was only natural for me to call it 'Spike'. Spike all shiny

A driver seeing my name on the grill asked me if it was the name of the truck or my name, so I told him the story. I bet he was sorry he asked.

The Mack

This picture was taken in the Pine Pass On our way to Ft. Nelson on a beautiful sun shiny morning.

Pine Pass

Then one -40 degree morning in January, just after midnight I started a trip north to Ft Nelson with a load of groceries. I had just rolled through Ft McCloud an hour and a half later when an empty logging truck with a hayrack behind pulled off the shoulder of the highway and started to make a left hand turn into a driveway, with out signaling, when I was right beside the trailer.

I hit the truck in the back left hand corner of the cab, picked it up and carried it into the lefthand ditch on the front of my truck. This was the demise of Spike.

Wrecked Truck Wrecked Truck

Spike was a write off, the engine was smashed and the frame was bent. With this truck I had planned to retire and it would have been a perfect opportunity to do so, but I was only 68 at the time and didn't think I was ready for retirement yet.

I had been cleared of any fault in the accident and although I never got a cut or even a scratch, the insurance adjuster said it was lucky I wasn't killed. Spike had carried safely through to the end. The accident didn't scare me, but it really pissed me off.

I wasn't ready to retire yet and I needed a truck. A friend of mine had some heart troubles,three years previous and had lost his class one. He had a 1995 Volvo/GMC that he had bought new in 1996, I had worked with him for years so I knew the truck and how he had maintained it so we made a deal.

I called the truck 'Olga', Spikes Swedish cousin. Vlvo had bought Mack a few years earlier so I though it was appropriate.

1995 Volvo/GMC

Old 'Olga' and I ran for the next three years, then a couple of days after my 71st birthday after returning with my wife from a cruise there was a call on my answering machine, some one wanted to buy my truck.

Before we had gone on the cruise I had been telling people, half heartily, on the radio that I was thinking of selling it. I had just turned 71 and I had told my wife I would retire when I sold the truck so what could I do, I phoned him on Saturday arranged to meet him on Monday morning. By Tuesday I had the cheque in the bank and the truck transferred. Late that afternoon after cleaning my tools and things out of the truck.

I stood in front of old 'Olga', with my plates in my hand thinking, what am I going to do now. After a life time of trucking, meeting schedules and dead line, I had nothing to do.