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Stories from the valley

Pickup Trucks

Contributed by Steve Beckley

There’s no doubt that pickup trucks play a major role in the Sacramento Valley culture. The list of who drives them is long and varied from those in agriculture, commuters, sportsmen and folks that just want a cool ride.

My fascination with pickups started right after I was born in the Colusa Hospital and I was brought home to Grimes in a Ford pickup. The first vehicle I owned was a 1968 Ford F-100 and it survived farming and a stint at Chico State. My current fleet now contains a 2015 Mustang, 2015 Ford Escape, and a 1960 Ford F-100 pickup. You may have figured out I’m a “Ford Guy”.

Having been involved in agriculture all my life and worked in the field for a good part of this time. I’ve learned it is a necessary skill to be able to identify a farmer, crop consultant and others in the industry by the pickup they drive. You need to hone your skills to be able to identify them from a distance, driving down the road, in front of coffee shop or at a meeting. Some farm operations have the same paint scheme on all their pickups, but white seem to be the prevalent color. So, you have to learn to look for the small things to identify whose truck it is, be the type of tool box, bumper sticker, or the dog that rides in the back.

There are Fords, Chevrolets, GMCs, Dodges, and even a few Toyotas and Nissans out there. Some of them are big, some are little, some are shining clean and others haven’t had a bath for a quite a while. Do not get in an argument on over which brand is the best; many farming families have driven the same brand of pickup for many years. Local farms and agribusinesses are very important to the local rural auto dealers as pickups make up a big percentage of their business and the sales taxes on those vehicles help the local communities and cities.

My 1960 pickup will never see the fields, but it does cruise the back roads of Colusa County. It also makes the annual car show in Arbuckle. It has been modified with a 351 Ford Windsor Engine, Mustang 5 speed transmission, Crown Victoria front end and few other amenities. As with most all older vehicles it has a to do list that is long. I appreciate the help of my nephew Mike Charter in keeping it running and housing it in Arbuckle.

So, the next time you are cruising the back roads of the Sacramento Valley and see a pickup coming, make sure you wave at the driver. There’s an excellent chance the driver is someone helping feed the world.

I know a lot of our readers have and drive pickup trucks, so post a picture of your truck in the comments section and tell why it is special.

See you on the road.