Before I set off to drive from New York to California, I was looking forward to some of the automotive natives of the rural and urban South and Southwest. I expected to see lots of old Pontiacs and Plymouths, and I was happy when I did indeed find them. Well, I didn’t expect to see anything quite as iconic, or dramatic, or stereotypical as these three old pickups in West Texas.
I can’t help but associate trucks like these with the expansive horizons of ag land. Growing up in a college town in the Central Valley, trucks like these would rattle in like emissaries from the predominantly agricultural majority of the county. They’re simply rural vehicles no matter what shape they were in or who was driving; you could just as easily find the son or daughter of a rich landowner behind the wheel of a pickup like this as you could one of his employees.
In Yolo County though, trucks this old were no longer the vehicles of farm workers by the 1990s and 2000s. Toyota pickups and Dodge Grand Caravans more often dotted the sides of melon and strawberry fields I might have seen on the way to the coast or the Sierras.
Still, there was something emblematic to old domestic trucks like these. If you wanted to buy into the country look yourself, an old pickup was just as much a part of the outfit as loose blue jeans and a penchant for nu-metal. Poseurs and real-deal workers can all share in a bona fide truck.
I didn’t have to find three Chevrolets framed by a vaulted Western sunset to associate an old pickup with the rural US of A, but it sure didn’t hurt none neither. It’s not that you can’t find a decades-old pickup in the city. I’ve seen plenty in NYC alone. It’s just that trucks always reference rural America, particularly the wide, open West. The cynic in me thought these three Chevrolets looked like some picture postcard Heartbeat of America! sell out brochure or ad campaign.
The rest of me was just completely geeking out over the sheer Amerigasm of three generations of Chevy pickups out in West Texas, parked at a gas station that served barbecue, and in front of a sunset to top it all off.
First I saw the green early 1970s Cheyenne when we pulled in to the station, but then I saw the mid-sixties C10 and then the early 1980s Silverado popped up too. It was like West Texas just decided to serve me up a slice of Americana pie. I went in and had it with the brisket.
God bless America.