The 389 and Iowa 80
Back in February I had an incredible opportunity to drive a semi-truck for the first time. Not just any ol’ rig… about damn near every trucker’s dream: a Peterbilt 389.
The fact that I had never driven a big truck came up in conversation on a hunting trip with two friends of mine, Jeremy Payne and Kevin Kennedy… both of whom I travel the country with on tour.
During that conversation, I told them how obsessed I was with that truck… to the point that any time I was down at the warehouse… I would hop inside of the cab and just sit in it.
As fate would have it, the 2020 tour was kicking off in Moline, Illinois… which happened to be about 20 miles away from Iowa 80 – The Largest Truck Stop in the World.
It turns out Jeremy and Kevin needed to swing by Iowa 80 for some parts… and this would be the perfect opportunity to get to drive!
I went VERY out of my way to visit this truck stop en route to Alaska in 2017... but stopping here from the confines of a Peterbilt and experiencing this from the perspective of a trucker was entirely different… and downright magical.
In all honesty… just riding to this truck stop with these guys in this rig was enough to make my year. But what would transpire after we left will be an experience that I will never forget.
As we left, Jeremy hit i80 headed west. We were just driving along, talking trucks… Jeremy looks o’er at me and asks “you ready to drive this thing?”
I shook my head in disbelief that this was actually happening and replied “ABSOLUTELY”. To my surprise Jeremy then hopped up out of the driver seat! I exclaimed “OH, this is how we’re doing this?!” and grabbed ahold of the steering wheel as I lept into the driver’s seat! They told me I could drive as long as I wanted… and I joked about deadheading to Alaska. I wound up driving about an hour, before doubling back just past Iowa City.
I cannot even put into words what this experience meant to me. This was life-changing and I am ETERNALLY grateful to these two gentlemen for providing me the opportunity to drive this truck. This truly meant the world to me and I cannot thank them enough!!
This whole experience still feels like a dream to me… even several months after-the-fact. I shot about half of a cartridge of super 8 film during this adventure… so I threw a fun li’l edit together to mark the occasion. Enjoy!