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by Sean Killcarr, in Trucks at Work

Tgoose 1here are lots and lots of interesting trucks hauling freight out there on America’s highways, in configurations so numerous and varied even a partial list would run several pages.

But there’s only one big rig named “The Goose” out there as far as I know. And the husband-and-wife team operating it – Daniel and Phyllis Snow – turned this 1996 Freightliner Classic XL into a model of self-sufficiency that many truckers (drivers as well as carriers) could learn a thing or two from.

[FYI American Trucker spotted “The Goose” during the 32nd annual Shell Rotella SuperRigs competition, so to view more photos from that event, click here, here, and here.]

For starters, “The Goose” has nearly 2 million miles on the odometer and had an engine overhaul at 1.5 million or so – proof that trucks, if maintained properly, can last a long, long time and sport lower life cycle costs as a result.

[To view more photos of “the Goose,” just click here.]

And while much of trucking – indeed, much of the business world – is going “high tech” with apps and software programs to handle every need, it seems, the Snows prove that “elbow grease” still offers truckers large and small some significant dividends.

Take the super-sized sleeper on the back of their tractor: the Snows rescued it from a salvage yard after noticing that, while the interior was completely wrecked, the sleeper’s outer shell remained solid and tight. Then both Dan and Phyllis turned it into a high class residency, with wood floors, television, sink, even a shower.

“There’s nothing like going to bed all washed up and clean after a long day’s work without having to wait in line for an hour for a shower,” Dan explained to me.goose 2

In another bit of ingenious inspiration, the Snows realized that when they loaded their trailer out, about three feet at the very end typically never got used. So they took that three foot “dead space” and transferred it to the trailer nose, where they built a dividing wall to house a small storage area for parts, supplies, even extra cowboy favored by Dan – all easily accessed by a weather-proof RV door installed on the trailer nose.

Altogether, the Snows said they spent maybe $300 on their portable storage area.

Yet, in the end, a truck is just a truck no matter how sharp it looks (incidentally “The Goose” won a trophy at the 2014 SuperRigs contest for best lights.)

What really matters are the people behind the wheel of such big rigs – the ones piloting such huge hunks of steel, rubber, and diesel up and down our highways every day – and the Snows really fit the bill; a married couple who raised five kids (four boys and one girl) and who now love traversing the country together, though they don’t like to go any farther west than the Rocky Mountains.

“Snow and ice is difficult to drive on, so we avoid where and when we can,” Dan said.

They are also quite generous with their time, opening up their home away from home to visitors as a way to help dispel a lot of the negative stereotypes that surround the trucking industry and truck drivers in particular. “Our truck is something we love to show off, and we’re thankful people want to see it,” Dan noted.


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