I was just sitting here, thinking about when I was thirteen years old and worked for my brother-in-law, roustabouting (or is that,’rousting about’) for Phillips Petroleum in the Amerada Field, south of Midland, Texas. We got a rig-up truck from B and B Construction Company at Odessa. We used several different trucks while I was there. It depended on what we needed to do.
I found this picture on the net. This truck looks a lot like the GMC I am telling about.
I am now remembering a particular truck we used one time for a few days. It was a 2 ½ or 3 ton bobtail single axle truck with a heavy duty headache rack that had a pretty heavy winch. It had a bunch of tool boxes built onto one side and it had a good size set of gin poles and a rolling tailboard.
Sounds like a regular old rig up truck, you say, so what’s the big deal, you ax? Well, I’ll tell you. This was a GMC truck with a five speed main box, a three speed auxiliary box (brownie-short for Watson-Brown -Lipe) and an electric two speed rear axle. I mean, it would go about a thousand miles an hour forward and about 1 hundredth of a mile an hour in the lowest gear and in reverse, it would almost stand still in gear! I mean, this truck was really super geared!
Now what in the heck would anyone need with a truck like this, you ax? Well, I’ll tell you. The day we got this truck, it was in August and about a hundred degrees in the shade (duh-what is shade?) and we had about a half a mile of line pipe to lay. It would be from a well to a tank battery.
By now I had learned quite a bit about setting up tank batteries, heater-treaters and separators and the like. I, also, had laid some line pipe using both pipe tongs and chain tongs and it was quite a lot of work.
Now to make a long story short. At the well was a stack of 2 ½ inch line pipe, to be used as a flow line. Joe was short handed this day, with only me and one more man. He always walked around the site with a pencil and pad and checked things over before we started working. This day there were several things that had to be done and not enough people to do it easily. Then Joe said, “Jamsie, we’ll go on over to the tank battery and then you’ll have to come back and string this pipe. Do you think you can do it alone?” Of course I said I could and Joe showed me how to load the pipe (each joint was 16 feet long) onto the truck between the gin poles that we had set up onto the headache rack. I could haul about six at a time. I would string two joints, pull up and string two more. It’d be a job but I was kinda proud Joe believed I could do it by myself.
We went to the tank battery and I left Joe and the other man there and went back to the well. It was about a half mile away and all flat ground.
I got six joints loaded after stringing three joints by hand and started out. I pulled ahead and got out and pulled two joints off and got back in and did it again.
Huummm…I thought, you know what I could do?,- I axed myself. No, what I queried? Maybe I could tie the steering wheel and put this baby in low gear and just walk along beside it and drag all the joints off without having to get back into the truck. And, you know what? That’s zaktly what I done!
I put that baby into the lowest gear and almost had to wait for it to get to me! That truck went so slow, I could have fallen down in front of it and bumped my head and been groggy and still had time to come around and get out of the way before it got to me! Boy, was that fun.
I was finished in no time and Joe saw me walking along beside the truck when I got close to the battery.
”Hey, Jamsie, that’s some pretty good thinking!” he said. I still feel proud about it now, fifty eight years later!