Tony Gussie Collection

George Smith Truck Lines

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George Smith Truck Lines

In the early fifties, George obtained authority from the Manitoba Transport Board to haul machinery over a large portion of The US and Canada. He started with two Cab-over Mercury's and two 36' Brantford flatdecks. He owned one rig and Johnny Olensky owned the other. Later, Johnny O sold his truck to Gordie Sokol and moved on to greener pastures.

This is a load of Minneapolis-Moline "uni-harvesters' which were quite innovative in that they would take attachments for harvesting different types of crops. This load was corn harvesters, but the varieties of corn being grown in Man. at that time wer not kernel type corn, and these machines didn't do too well with it.They are being returned to the factory in Minneapolis. A load of self-propelled swathers from Killberry Industries in St. James (a suburb of Winnipeg.) headed for the states. Driver is an American owner-operator leased to Geroge. These S-180 coe 'binders were very popular then. 1954 - A load of Oliver model 55s ex their factory in Charles City, IA. to the dealer in Winnipeg. They were located off of Logan Ave. in Weston near the CP shops (probably on Henry Ave).
Another load of Olivers. Those Yanks sure knew how to gross out a load. A load of Allis Chalmers round balers at Smith's yard on Archibald in St.Boniface )a suburb of Winnipeg.).The little cab-over White is a classic. The first loads of Cockshut tractors from the factory in Brantford,Ont. to the dealer in Winnipeg. on Notre Dame, west of Erin.
Unloading. The white objects are wheel weights, which were nailed to the deck as each machine was loaded. Note the Ford "Woody" in the background. Minneapolis Moline tractors going back to the factory. They were still on the dealers' lots when the next model year started, so they'd haul them back to Minneapolis, make necessary changes, including the model year on the ID plate, and then haul them back again. A close-up of the same load. Note the A-blocks. The rear tires got scrubbed lightly by them, and the factory inspector called them damaged, which cost Smith the freight on the load. Smith never had a claim from any dealers for this, just the factory.
Another cab-over 'binder. This is a o\o rig pulling for Donaldson Transport out of Iowa.He's sure carrying a lot of jewellery for a single axle! Another Donaldson rig . These guys were running into Manitoba on Smith's authority. Note how Smith's name is taped to the door. When they hit the U.S. border, the signs would come off and they'd run their true colors.
An American o\o for George with a load of Inernational tractors ex their factory in Rock Island, Illinois going to the dealer in Brandon, Man. The tractor has to be an International also, because the wouldn't let anybody haul for them that had a different make of truck. The car carriers were the same - if you had a Ford truck, you didn't haul Chevys. This is a Diamond-T butt-nose (cab-forward) with An IHC cab, but with a Nash Ambassador car engine right from the factory. By this time,George had traded off the Mercury's for Diamond-Ts. That's a 977 ex Peoria.Ill.and it was legal even with the bucket on a three axle rig! It's also going to Powell Equipment in Winnipeg. Another Yankee o/o, Jack Rivers, from Racine, Wisconsin. These butt-nose binders had the 308 cu. inch "Black Diamond" International engine in them. He's delivering a Caterpillar grader (a 12, I think) to Powell Equipment, on the corner of Logan and Arlington in Wpg. The rear tires are removed to gain clearance on some low bridges in Iowa.

Gordie Sokol
Here is Gordie Sokol's wife Bernice standing beside the brand new Diamond T that Gord swapped one of the original Mercs for.

George Smith, Winnipeg, Manitoba
The machinery haul became too cut-throat, so George shut it down and got a contract to haul beer for Drewry's Brewery in Winnipeg down by the Red River near the Redwood Bridge to Brandon, Manitoba. . That's a brand new Trailmobile with a brand new Diamond-T. The latest techology here - a 450 cu. inch "Red Diamond IHC, twin screws and a rubber block suspension. It was so new in Manitoba that Ira Moore, the world's snarliest Govt. inspector, gave George a ticket for having an illegal suspension!

"in '61(?), George Smith, with the assistance of Gord Sokol, "repossessed" Connie Jeff's (a G.S. o\o) rig one night from the Govt. scale at Headingly,Man. (where it had been impounded for no authority) to provoke a public incident over the fact that at that time, U.S. produce trucks could enter Man. under the U.S. Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) "exempt commodities" clause, but Manitoba trucks were prohibited from doing the same thing.... Gord parked the rig on #1 on the west side of Wpg. and Smith called the RCMP to report the event. RCMP responded, but could find no plausible charge to lay.

They then contacted the Man. Govt (Mr. Bailey and Mr Penwarden) and demanded a meeting with Duff Roblin, the then Premier of Manitoba. When Mr. Roblin recognized the adverse publicity that would be generated by such a ridiculous state of affairs when it appeared in the press (which Smith and Sokol informed him they meant to contact), he agreed to let Smith continue to operate under his current status (a CT plate, which stipulated "owner's own goods") for an iterim period of six months, at which time he would receive PSV authority, thereby avoiding an embarrassment to his Conservative government.

One of George's Astros at his yard on Oak Point Road, Wpg. Some of the crew in front of #60, one of the original two GMs George started with. From left to right; Freddy Chapman,George Smith holding his son, David, Donny Gabel, Al Sadowski. Alec Kowalski's 4000 International with David Smith by the right wheel. This truck can be seen in much poorer condition in "North-Central Distributors".
One of the new Petes hooked to a NYK reefer. George is cluing in the editor of "Canadian Road Knight" magazine in 1974, and doing a good job of it too.

Ben Blue
Ben did a stint with George in'67. Here's a new "cracker-box" GM with a new Trailmobile underslung reefer on top of Roger's Pass. That's Ben standing by the drivers. Loading fruit at a packing house in Kelowna
At the Willow Inn in downtown Kelowna. Here's one of George's Astros that Ben ran double on with Oliver Good.

Gordie Sokol
Gordie Sokol had one more go-round at George Smith in 2000. Westbound on top of Rogers during a snow storm, The average snowfall on Rogers is 450 inches. Plugging along in the slop lookin' for plowed road.
Smith had a thriving business at the time moving frosen french fries by containers for McCain's in Portage la Prairie, MB to Vanterm in Vancouver.

John Searcy
John Searcy was at George Smith three times during his career. The first was with his '66 Freightshaker which you can see in "Midwest Truck Lines" Here's some pics he took from back then.
This is in 1966 after John quit Midwest to work for George. He's fixing a clearance lite. Rainbow Lake Lodgeon the way to Prince Rupert.
John was south-bound on BC#97 just north of the Kelowna airport when this occured. A lady named Marilym McGinn was northbound with several open cans of paint in her car. Half unconscience, she drifted across into the south-bound lane and hit John head-on. This was a Volkswagon Beatle, not the best car in which to have a head-on (trunk in front). She was pinned in there for a couple of hours. Fortunately for her, she only suffered two broken legs. Fortunately for John, an RCMP patrol car was following directly behind him and couldn't help but witness the whole incident. Here's the truck with a frame stretch and a new paint job.
John doing some fancy two-stickin'. Note the left arm through the rung of the steering wheel. This was when men were men and real trucks were two sticks (two separate transmissions). You weren't a real driver if you couldn't two-stick. One of two COE KWs that Smith bought in '68. #104 - 318 2 stroke joke,
12 speed, rubber block, 20" Buggy Wheels (spoke).
In January of 1970, the Freightliner was totalled in a wreck at Thompsons Landing on #1 in BC. Loyd McNeil lost it on a patch of black ice just west of Kingsway Corner and east of Oregon Jacks in a stretch of really bad sharp curves. He laid the trailer (which was empty) right across the highway and about two minutes later some guy with a "Boot" binder came sailing around the curve and drove right through it. John was in the sleeper. He bought the salvage and built this KW Glider Kit with it. Not bad, nobody killed.
In 1974, while John was still driving for CPT, he bought this Astro and put it on with Smith hauling potatoes. George later landed work out of Fletchers in Calgary, hauling containers to the Ports in Vancouver. This is the first load ready to leave their plant. Driver (in the red t-shirt) is John Cook.
John and his driver, Cliff Poulin were westbound down Albert Canyon on #1 in BC with a load of fries. which was a high-centre load. There's a sharp curve at the bottom and it was snowing. John took the curve just a hair too fast and she laid over and slid along in the snow. The rig slid to the side, so it left the road open. RCMP Seargent Bill Bishop from the Revelstoke Detachment (in front of the rad) attending the accident to direct traffic.
Here she is back on her wheels. The snow was deep enough to prevent any real damage to either unit and cold enough to prevent any thawing of the load. The wrecker out of Revelstoke (an old needle-nose K-Wobbler). I dumped one a few miles west of here a few years later when I was driving for Donny Gabel.
Smith #211 somewhere in the Okanagan with a big BC Tree Fruits emblem on the trailer. A Smith rig making a tight pass, with Dave Bright from England holding down the idiot seat.
John's Astro looking a little worse for the wear out of Enderby, BC in 1980.
There was a really bad curve (negative elevation ) where 97B (to Salmon Arm) and 97A ( to Sicamous) split. Don Body was at the wheel.
  The trailer didn't make out too well either
This one happened out of Calgary. The bogie is still hooked up to the trailer!
This is about as freaky as it gets. No one was injured. Good weather for transfering a load of frozen fries.
John's brand new 1990 GMC Volvo
(Series 60 DDEC1-430 hp, 350 Cummins, 13 spd)
Pulling an eight axle set of 20' reefer cans, westbound to Vanterm.
"This was an experiment in "pushing the envelope", which BC was not too impressed by (9 axles, which is one too many). They ran them off and that was the end of that." You can see the configuration better here. The Scaleman took one look and said "That's just a little bit more than the law will allow" The "Good old Boys" are Johnny and Stanley, John's son
In the south Okanagan John and a buddy making a pit stop
John's friend from Chzekoslovakia, Carl. John with Bill Joyce. Bill started with John at Smith in the sixties, so he ain't no spring chicken either. He's fighting COPD now. Some of John's driver friends; John ?.Rick Trygg, Jake Thiessen, and Jeff Burns. It's not at all hard to see how Jeff picked up the nickname Beluga".
Clarence Sanderson on the right(driving the Astro), and Alvin Nichols on the left( an 0\0, driving the Freightliner) at John's yard at Chestermire, east of the 1A exit on the north side of the TC. A line-up of Smith rigs at Searcy's yard Same rigs, but you can see the International next to the shop that John had on with S&S Brokers at the time.

This next group of pictures came from the George Eastcott Collection
Eastcott drove for Smith in the early eighties. This is at the border of Alberta and NWT (the 60th Parallel) northbound with a load of McCains frozen french fries. Mileage sign at just "North of Sixty" On the McKenzie River ferry . The river here is about a mile and a half wide. The McKenzie system is 2600 miles long and is the second longest continuous stream in North America
Unloading at Burns, Yellowknife at the old Con Mine site. This was a really bad place to unload. You can see the man's legs at the side door. You had to hand-bomb every case. The nose wasn't too bad, but behind the side door you were working on about a 5% uphill grade. I went in there once with a 45' with no side door and had to back up that grade and get to the dock without smashing it to pieces. Off-loading a loaded forty ' sea-can at Centerm in Vancouver.
One of the first loads of McCains to go to Kelly Douglas in Whitehorse. The bridge out of Kitwanga Corner on BC#16. It wasn't the best road back then. There was a section west of Kitwanga in the sixties that was atrocious. Dvers called it the "Cedarvale Freeway" Here's George and his partner Jeff at the Yukon/BC border dead-heading south for a load of cherries from BC Tree Fruits in the south Okanagan bound for Winnipeg. It's about a 1550 mile dead-head (to Penticton).

George LeMajeur
This occurred on Mar 23, 2005 at Masseter Mountain (Little Hells Gate) 12 km south of Blue River,on BC #5. If you look closely, you can see a CNR locomotive in the upper centre of this pic. It's north-bound on the CNR main line along the Frazer River. There's something else. There's definitely something there- It sorta looks like a big box.
Yep, It a sea can and chassis. Here you see 3 of the 4 air bags off the truck suspension still on the frame of the truck . The tandem bogie took flight to places unknown. LeMajeur had a driver on the truck and he was dead-heading to Edmonton after delivering a loaded reefer to the docks in Vancouver. A view looking back up towards the highway. The driver claimed to the RCMP that he had no recollection of the accident at all. Those corner locks held pretty good. Later, when LeMajeur talked to the RCMP officer, the officer commented "That's what happens when you're on Crack".
The chassis might need a tiny bit of fixin' though. No sign of the genset. It's a 40' TransAmerica reefer. This trip turned out to be a disaster for LeMajeur, although it was a single vehicle incident and the drive received only bruises. This is the cutout in the nose of the can where the reefer was. LeMajeur worked for Smith as an o/o fro 2001 to 2005, and had previously driven for Alex Kowalski on the 'Binder he had with on with Smith in the sixties.
The front motor mount and the Detroit Series 60 engine. The Bell housing and the transmission. Shortly after LeMajeur quit Smith in '05, Smith called and asked him to move one last load to the coast . There was a "must move" shipment of Maple Leaf pork and George had committed to it. It was a strange arrangement whereby Smith would provide insurance coverage on LeMajeur's truck, and the revenue due to LeMajeur was being paid by Prairie International. The whole shebang, including the complete front drive axle, laying in front.
Here's the reefer Winching her up to the road It used to be a Freightliner
A rear view. It's not clear what transpired, but the insurance on the truck expired when the load was delivered in Vancouver. The towing company's bill for recovery and storage (while the details were resolved) ate up the salvage value of the running gear and LeMajeur ended up with nothing, nada, zip, zero, zilch, more commonly known as "Sweet Bu--er All". The driver didn't bother to take the third turn off the top and drove straight through the curve - -and rode the no-posts for over 250 feet before starting the trip down.
LeMajeur has been an o/o operator at Prairie International for a while now, still hauling cans to the west coast and is quite content to stay there.

Here are some pictures from way back when. This rig belonged to Red Letkeman from Winkler MB., who worked for George part time in the soft fruit season. Red was OK.

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