Sunday, November 25, 2012

Colourful Carriers: Vintage Working Trucks Part 1

Eastern Washington is farm country and during planting or harvest, you may find yourself dodging some old seed or grain truck on the two-lane roads. They soldier on for decades, until the day something important breaks, or they just won't start anymore. Then they're towed by tractor off to the side of the farm with the rest of the junk implements. In many cases, after the farm is abandoned, the trucks are left behind.

I've noticed in my travels that the brand I'm most likely to find left behind is International Harvester. I don't want to try to read anything into that but I do know that it is sometimes hard to get parts for certain brands of machinery. The "Big Three" brands have always been popular with enthusiasts so they may have been eager to take those trucks for parts or for restoration.

Some 50-year-old or older trucks are still serving as grain trucks, junk haulers, or as crane trucks. I think these days the farmer is more likely to call up the guy from St. John Hardware to bring out the fully-equipped, modern service truck than to rumble out there in his 1949 GMC with the home-built crane on the back.

In recent years someone in the town of Sprague, Washington has been collecting old farm trucks from here, there, and everywhere and placing them on a lot in the center of town. They make a great photographic workshop. I asked a woman in the antique store about the owner and what he thought about photographers on the lot. She said he didn't mind as long as they didn't hurt themselves on the broken glass and rusty metal.

I have been to the lot many times but still prefer to find them in "the wild" where I can try to work them into a composition showing their place on the farm...or perhaps where they're still chugging along, performing their designated tasks. I will share photos of trucks still working the harvest when that season approaches, next summer.

All shots taken in Washington.

This is one of my earliest finds, and one of the oldest trucks, a 1937 Chevrolet. It was parked next to the road across from the farm, so no one was going to mess with it. Reardan.

The Great Pumpkin. Five Mile.

The city of Waterville has a museum and some of the displays are out in the open around the town. Not sure if these trucks are part of it.

One of the trucks in Sprague.



Found next to a windmill, east of Lamont.


This truck had burned. Sprague.




Mt. Hope.

Seen with others, original and restored, at a vintage equipment wheat harvest. The grain was offloaded into restored vintage grain trucks and driven to a nearby elevator. Davenport.

From hauler to holder, parked at an events center in the country. Seen holding wedding gifts, Rockford.

An amazing find, note that the grille and the driver's side headlight are still intact. No bullet holes, how did this one survive? I found it by chance when I happened to look back from the top of a hill. The truck was parked behind a small abandoned farm down a dead-end road. There were also three old cars in the area, what a find! I had great light on it as the sun was getting low and the light was being filtered by high clouds. Sprague.
More to come...

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