Truck Driving Jobs

Author Topic: The end of an era. Memories and stories of the Fifth Wheel truck stops.  (Read 2371 times)

Dan Burkhart

  • Regular Membership
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 657
  • Oakville Ontario
 I put this thread in the stories forum, because I have a ton of stories, and I'm sure some of you do too.
 The first location opened in Milton at almost exactly the same time I began my trucking career. How well I remember that big Arrow Petroleum sign that was visible from the highway.
 Anybody remember the chef's salad they used to serve in the early days? The thing was huge. Looked like a family size bowl, full of lettuce, topped with cold meat, hard boiled egg, shredded cheese. Man those were good.
 In the late 70s, when I was hauling CN piggyback trailers into Toronto, My wife and I had a room there, and I ran the truck during the day, typically 4 Guelph rounders, and she would run 2 London switches at night. We got to know a lot of the regulars there, as we would usually have our dinners together, and a lot of the same people would be there.
 The first story I'll share was a tragic one. I'm not sure exactly what year it was, probably about 1979. We were having dinner, and the chaplain that used to hang out there, I think his name was Ken, joined us. A couple of guys came in looking for him, saying they had found a dead guy in a truck. It was winter, and the truck had been sitting there running for a few days, and was deeply snowed under.
 They decided to try the door, and found it unlocked. They didn't need to go any further than opening the door to know, because the truck had been running with the heat on, and the body was pretty ripe.
 Turned out I knew the guy, and had worked with him a couple of years before. He died by his own hand.
 I have tons more stories, all more cheerful than this one. I'll add them later.
Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement.

Hank's Truck Forum


Jim Herriot

  • Regular Membership
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1234
  • ........who?........
Re: The end of an era. Memories and stories of the Fifth Wheel truck stops.
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2015, 03:40:39 PM »
I put this thread in the stories forum, because I have a ton of stories, and I'm sure some of you do too.

              ...In the early 80's ::)...In Grimsby @ any given night, the parkin lot was full, but always lottsa room in the resturant :o...follow the well worn path to the T-A next door, ;D...it was standin room only. :-X...Jim. ;)
...duties and obligations, before pleasures and desires...

Rob Archer

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 19460
  • Forum Administrator
    • www.hankstruckpictures.com
Re: The end of an era. Memories and stories of the Fifth Wheel truck stops.
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2015, 10:28:20 AM »
Just after high school and the first few years of full time employment I worked part time for a guy who bought and sold firewood. He was based in Streetsville but went to the Mennonite farms around Elmira for his supply. He then hauled it to Mississauga and Etobicoke where large homes had fireplaces and would need a steady source of delivered firewood.
He bought a 1968 or 69 Chev C30 truck. It had a 16 x 8 foot flatdeck with 4 foot plywood sides. The back tires were duals (yes we got a flat on the inside dual on a January night one time) and there was a wet line to hoist the box to dump the wood in the customer's driveway. So, it was a truck in minature.
We stopped for lunch at the Fifth Wheel coming back from Elmira one Saturday.
I parked it with the Big Trucks right in front of the restaurant. I think that is where they built the office for the fuel islands later.
Right beside a cattle truck....Yuck!
And the sight of the poor crittters looking at us through the slats in the trailer was almost enough to put me off my Roast Beef Au Jus on a bun. But- not quite.

Dan Burkhart

  • Regular Membership
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 657
  • Oakville Ontario
Re: The end of an era. Memories and stories of the Fifth Wheel truck stops.
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2015, 08:30:12 PM »
 My Ex wife was born in Scotland. This is the same wife who will feature in most of these stories when I mention my wife, although I have since moved on to wife 2.0.
 anyway, I believe it was 1980, her aunt and uncle came to Canada for a visit. We picked them up at the Toronto airport, and were to take them home to Kitchener with us.
 Her aunt Betty was a delightful lady, but a bit ditzy if ya know what I mean. Her fondest wish was, that during her visit to Canada, she wanted to see a mountie. we explained to her that mounties do not hang around on street corners, and the likelihood of seeing one live and in person was practically nil.
 Well, we had skipped dinner in case they arrived hungry, so we stopped at the Milton Fifth wheel for a bite to eat on the way home.
 One of the regulars there was a local cop named Ernie, and we knew him quite well. Well, wouldn't ya know, we walked into the restaurant, and there was Ernie sitting in a booth, and across from him in all his splendor was a mountie in a full dress uniform. We could not believe our eyes. He had been at some kind of special event, and had stopped in to have a coffee with Ernie.
 So, Betty was then convinced that we had been lying to her, and that they were everywhere, but at least she got to have her picture taken with a mountie, and she went home happy.
Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement.

Dan Burkhart

  • Regular Membership
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 657
  • Oakville Ontario
Re: The end of an era. Memories and stories of the Fifth Wheel truck stops.
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2015, 05:46:03 PM »
 I'm not sure when or if they discontinued this tradition, but in years gone by, all Fifth Wheel locations used to serve a free Christmas dinner to drivers for the week or so leading up to the holiday.
 One group of regulars that we got to know quite well was the Dean Foods drivers out of Chicago. They would typically run in a convoy of 4 or 5 trucks, usually all going to the same place.
 We were enjoying the holiday freebie with 5 of their drivers at the Milton location, when one of them looked out the window and asked the others if they knew of any other drivers that were coming up. They didn't think so, and he said, well one of our trucks just drove out the driveway.
 So, one of the guys said, he thought he should go check it out. When he came back in, it was with the news that one of the trucks was gone.
 It was loaded with 40,000 lb of cheese, a fairly high value load.
 The truck was found on a side street in Brampton the next day, minus the load of cheese.
Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement.

Dan Burkhart

  • Regular Membership
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 657
  • Oakville Ontario
Re: The end of an era. Memories and stories of the Fifth Wheel truck stops.
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2015, 10:57:05 AM »
 Decades before LCVs officially came to Ontario, there was Al and Ernie. Can't remember either of their last names, but Al had a truck on with CTL when I worked there, and Ernie was his driver.
 Al had other interests which included a fleet of old reefer trailers that he rented out, mostly for storage. Most of them were more or less roadworthy, at least to the extent that they could occasionally be moved from one location to another.
 One evening, a few of us were having dinner at the Milton fifth wheel. I happened to glance out the window to see Ernie driving in with a set of containers. But that was not all. Hooked behind the train was a 45 foot reefer.
 I'm not sure if Ernie had nerves of steel, or if he just didn't give a darn. Maybe a bit of both.
 In a little while, he came sauntering in and sat down with us. I asked if I had really seen what I thought I saw.
 He said, "yeah, Al needed the reefer brought back to Kitchener, so I grabbed a convertor from the yard and went and got it".
 Turned out it was not the first time, and he said it was more or less a regular thing on Friday nights.
 Far as I know, he was never caught.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2015, 10:59:28 AM by Dan Burkhart »
Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement.

Jim Herriot

  • Regular Membership
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1234
  • ........who?........
Re: The end of an era. Memories and stories of the Fifth Wheel truck stops.
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2016, 10:49:53 AM »
The first location opened in Milton at almost exactly the same time I began my trucking career. How well I remember that big Arrow Petroleum sign that was visible from the highway.

                      ...found this. ;D...Aug 1985.Jim. ;)...


                                                                               
...duties and obligations, before pleasures and desires...