Cattle Trucking To California

Eating In Del Rio

I was a 17 year old kid just before I turned 18, just a growing boy I was. Butch Sayers got me to go with him to Marysville, California to deliver a truck load of Corriente Steers (Mexican Roping Steers). We left Marble Falls in the middle of the afternoon and arrived in Del Rio at the stockyards after dark.

The trip had been sprung on me suddenly and I didn’t have a chance to eat before we left. I mentioned to Butch a couple of times that we may want to make a stop for some grub. All he was thinking about was getting to Del Rio and loading those steers. The Stockyard Cafe was right there when we drove up. I suggested we have a bite to eat and then load the steers. That fell on deaf ears I guess, because he backed straight up to the chute and we started loading steers in the trailer.

I noticed a lot of those over the road truckers didn’t eat all that much. It was like they were all on a diet.

After we got loaded, we both went in and ordered up a big chicken fried steak. It was a busy place that night and took forever to get our food. For what ever reason I stabbed my fork in that steak to drag it over in the middle my plate to keep the gravy from running off the side. In doing so, I lifted the steak up and noticed something underneath my meat. It looked like a small birds nest or something. Upon closer inspection I found out it was a big wad of hair.

I wasn’t as discriminating an eater then as I am now. Upon seeing what I’d dragged out from under my steak, Butch immediately abandoned the table and headed for the truck. I got to thinking about how far it was to California and how much trouble I’d had getting Butch to stop, I went ahead and devoured my steak and then ate Butch’s too.

I understand how a single hair could get in one’s food, but I never did quite understand how a wad of hair as big as a brillo-pad found its way under my chicken fried steak. I guess some things you don’t have to fully understand.

The Rest Of The Trip To California

After eating the big ole hairy steak in Del Rio, Butch crawled back in the sleeper for some much needed rest. He had been on the road for several days straight.

We were in his Cabover Kenworth that was powered by a 335 HP Cummins engine that was turn to something like an additional 100 HP. This truck was equipped with 4 x 4 transmission. Meaning it had 2 – 4 speed transmissions. To shift those transmissions you stuck your left arm through the steering wheel and shifted the front transmission while shifting the back one with your right hand.

This is the same truck a few tears later, after Butch Sayers sold it to Mark Fox and then Mark sold it to Cecil Lewis – pictured with it. Back when Butch owned it, it was Red & White with Black & Gold accents.

With the power and gears, 8 track tape playing loudly over the noise of the engine directly below, heading west to California, I was living a dream. Butch had calculated that we would need fuel in El Paso and to wake him up then. We got to El Paso and stopped at a truck stop to regroup, get fuel and eat.

I thought maybe Butch would want to drive from there, with going into different states but he got back in the sleeper for another snooze. He said if I hadn’t heard from him by the time we got into California to stop and let him know before we headed down the steep mountain at Tehachapi Pass. He knew I had never driven a big truck in the mountains.

When Butch came out of the sleeper we were half down Tehachapi grade going toward Bakersfield, Ca. There wasn’t exactly a place to pull off so I continued to drive with him setting up in the the edge of the seat, scared half to death. I knew he was annoyed with me.

When we got to a place to pull off he took over and drove the rest of the way to Marysville, which was north of Sacramento. We unloaded and headed back to Texas. He continued to drive until we were almost out of California. We fueled and he turn the wheel over to me and I drove back to Mason, Texas before I heard from Butch again.

It was a rough few days but a lot of experience was crammed into those days.Fond memories that have never left me.

Just over a year later I married Butch’s niece and the rest is history as they say.

One thought on “Cattle Trucking To California

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