Driving down Interstate 65 toward Indianapolis last week, my wife and I were presented with intermittent vehicle convoys that had our toes on both pedals. We passed where we could and held back as other vehicles, including tractor-trailers, passed us. It’s not that they were going so fast, but that they were sometimes in a solid line of vehicles that we dared not cut in on.
Along the way we stared at the backs of a lot of trailers, sometimes running side by side as one driver inched past another at a speed differential of 1 to 2 mph.
I mused that “image” is a concept that many trailer owners haven’t heard of, because the backs of many were dirty and often rusted.
Some of the big truckload fleets seem to try to get their trailers and tractors washed, and letter them to clearly proclaim their ownership. Private, LTL and package fleets are better at it, adding large, colorful graphics and, maybe because they return to home terminals often, keeping them clean, too.
But the rears of too many trailers are rather blah, with little lettering or other identifying marks. And why does almost every trailer have to be white?
These are the thoughts that ran through my mind while I was driving down the I-road, which we wouldn’t have taken had we not been in a hurry. I pulled into a rest stop to turn over the wheel to my wife so I could take a short nap.
When I awoke, what did I see but the rear of this colorful semitrailer. What a pleasant change from the mostly bland traffic!
Don't the graphics on that clean trailer make you want to sip a bit of Mexican tequila?
At first I took the multi-colored van with its bold “Tequila Patron” bottle as an indication that the trailer was carrying liquor. "Now why would a trucking company that hauls booze advertise it?” I mumbled. “That’s asking for a hijacking.”
Then I looked closer at the low-floor van with its tall, one-piece rear door and realized that the door was actually a fold-down ramp, and it was a transport and mobile shop operated by an auto racing team. It was probably going home after a weekend race somewhere in the Upper Midwest, and the team’s major sponsor, obviously, was Patron Tequila from Mexico.
I don’t know that I ever tried any Patron tequila, but the many-hued décor on the trailer made me want to.
Anyway, the driver of the gloss-black tractor pulling the Patron racing wagon wasn’t the type to hog the left lane. He passed as quickly as other traffic allowed, then returned to the right lane. He cruised at a safe and sane 65 mph, and when my wife passed the rig, I spotted the racing team’s name... and promptly forgot it.
But the “IMSA” label on the trailer’s rear means International Motor Sports Association, and a web search tells me that the group races sports cars. Now we know what kind of vehicles are aboard, along with spare parts and tools.
Say, might there just be a bottle of Patron stashed in there? I wouldn’t bet on it, with DOT rules and safety enforcement as it is. But I’ll bet the crew is taken care of at the tracks, even if it’s with good beer.