Sunday, September 3, 2017

Destiny's Truck

The photo on the left features the tree that almost flattened my dream. The one on the right is the same tree after it fell. Had the body still been on the old chassis when it happened, clearly the dream would have been over. Please see the post immediately prior to this one for detailed photos.

click on photo for larger view

As I remarked to a friend the other day, only half-jokingly, I have to believe my truck was spared in this incident because it is destined for great things. Like my lifelong dream of an epic coast to coast road trip and a slow roll up Cady Run to our 50th family reunion in Ohio next August, perhaps...

Of course, such dreams are not realized without a lot of hard work, dedication and help from others. I've got those first two things covered, and hopefully that's where y'all will come in. The image on the left above is one of many designs available in my Tee Public store. All the picture designs you'll see there started out as photos taken by yours truly, and there are many different styles and colors available for each design. If you could check out the link and perhaps make a purchase and/or simply share the link with friends, I would really appreciate it. I hope you'll also check out and share the links on the right here to my full short story, which not only documents the history of this truck in our family going back to the summer of 1981, but also reveals exactly why this project is a tribute in memory of my mother. Please feel free to contact me directly anytime with any questions, via the email link on the right here.

Thanks as always for stopping by... See y'all down the road!


Thursday, August 24, 2017

Feelin' Pretty Lucky

I was in my work truck yesterday finishing up my last stop, about 45 minutes from the office and another 15 minutes from home when I got the text from Meg: "Houston, we have a problem!" I kept trying to reply to find out what was going on, but the message wouldn't go. And the pictures she was trying to send along with that message weren't coming in. I started to make my way back and finally got enough of a signal to receive this photo:

I pulled over immediately and called. She was out and came home to find that the huge tree had fallen and was not only blocking most of the driveway but also the front door, and the back slider was locked. She managed to get a ladder up to the back of the front/side porch and break enough branches to get in the house. Very thankfully, neither of us was home when it happened. There would have been significant vehicle damage and almost certainly severe injuries if either of us had been here and either going to or coming from the car. No damage to the house either. We're extremely lucky.

Then, of course, my attention turned to the truck. I couldn't tell from the first photo if it had been hit, and had no idea what I would find when I made my way to the other side of the tree...

The good luck continued when I discovered that other than a small dent in the roof, the cab was fine, as were the front fenders, hood and the bed. The larger branch missed the front of the cab by about 18 inches. The S10 that will provide the new chassis is at the other end of the driveway and was completely untouched.

If the body had still been sitting on the old chassis, the truck would have been completely destroyed. I have to think that Mom had something to do with the tree falling just the way it needed to so the truck would be spared. Once again very lucky and appreciative, especially for the friends who showed up with their chainsaws and manpower to help get the driveway cleared. Thank you so much once again, Jason, Stewart and Michael.

Here's a short Facebook video clip I posted yesterday. I realize these are just old trucks to most people, but this one means the world to me. I can't look at or even think about this truck without also thinking of Mom, which is why this project has always been dedicated to her memory, and why you hear the emotion at the end.

Can't express how relieved I am to still have a reason for readers to keep stopping by. Thanks, as always. See y'all down the road!


Saturday, August 5, 2017

Dream Prep Rolls On

The rain falls as I type at 6am, thankful that I got the lawn done last evening but hoping it stops so I can get out in the driveway and spend the day working on the S10. Today's goal is to get the rear portion of the chassis sandblasted and ready for paint. If time allows I'll also pull the hood and front fenders for access to the front part of the frame, and use a heavy canvas tarp to keep the engine covered. The cab will stay in place, probably until the truck goes down the road to Custom Conversions here in New Milford (CT) for the body swap. We'll finish the chassis cleanup there and the remaining S10 body parts, which are in very good shape (the 26 year old truck was obviously well taken care of) will be sold off.

Two trucks in the driveway will be one before long...

One week from today we'll gather on the family farm in New Matamoras, Ohio for our 49th reunion. For readers who may not be familiar with the story, the goal is to drive this thing coast to coast next summer and roll in to our 50th reunion next August, returning the truck to the place I saw it for the very first time as a teenager in 1981, in loving tribute to Mom, Dad and all those family members who have passed on but are surely always there with us in spirit.

1st reunion, August 1969 - Yours truly second from left, front row

Please see the various links to the full story on the right side of the page here. If you are so inclined to help this overgrown boy live the dream, I would be truly grateful. Thanks as always for stopping by. See y'all down the road!


Monday, July 24, 2017

New Chassis in the House

I can't say enough about how appreciative I am. Jason and his wonderful wife Suzie not only provided the temporary storage space for the S10 but also brought it here to the house on Saturday. The running, driving '91 will provide the new chassis for the '49, which all at once will give us a 4.3 liter V6, 5 speed manual trans, power steering and brakes, ac, heat, and of course the modern era suspension.

The '91 and '49 together

Bumper off, work begins

Can't wait to get back behind the wheel. This is gonna be a blast.

Thanks as always for stopping by. See y'all down the road!


Monday, July 10, 2017

Bring On the S10

Finally. After advertising via Craigslist and a used car Facebook group, countless messages from people who asked "Okay, what's wrong with the car?" despite the fact that the ad was very specific, and being blown off completely by two allegedly desperate "buyers" who made appointments but never showed up, the Saturn is gone. She now belongs to a very nice couple from Litchfield, and I truly wish them all the best with it.

7/7/17 - The Saturn heads off to its new home

Now as soon as Jason's schedule allows, we'll bring the S10 here so I can get the chassis cleaned up and some new parts added before it heads down the road to Custom Conversions (Jason's shop here in New Milford, CT) to have the '49 body attached.

Slowly but surely, we're gettin' there. Stay tuned.

Thanks as always for stopping by. See y'all down the road!


Saturday, June 17, 2017

Makin' Space

Figured it was about time for a fresh blog post, since the last one was more than a month ago. Here's our current status: Jason is ready to bring the S10 here so I can take the body off and get the chassis cleaned up and ready for the '49 body to go on. The problem is the 1997 Saturn we have sitting in the driveway. Need to get rid of it to make room. I've been putting it out there and received some interest, but apparently the excitement level for a 20 year old car with 197,000 miles, that also needs a muffler and should have the brake lines replaced (because of some corrosion on them - although the brakes currently work well) is not very high.

The car starts right up and runs well, has a brand new battery, and the headlights, brake lights and turn signals are all working. I'm going to try a little longer to sell it, but thinking we might have to just donate it to a worthy cause to get it out of here. Need to sell it within the state of Connecticut so we can use just a bill of sale, since we can't find the title. Any interested parties please email me directly from the link on the right of the page here. Asking $750, negotiable.

Finally, just a reminder about the new t-shirt store... TeePublic is much more user friendly than the other retailer I was using, and their finished product looks fantastic. I've got 18 designs up so far, with more to come. All picture designs began as photos taken by yours truly. Many non-truck related designs as well. Multiple colors and shirt styles available, and the store also features mugs, notebooks and stickers. I hope you'll check it out, and of course feel free to share...

Thanks as always for stopping, see y'all down the road!


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Trying to Make it Happen

First things first: We'll have a little movement soon, with the '91 S10 coming here to the house so I can get the chassis cleaned up and ready for a trip down the road to Custom Conversions in New Milford (CT) to have the '49 body attached. The S10 is a running, driving truck in great shape, and in one shot will give us all the modern era features we'll need to make the truck cross-country capable. When we're done, John's Old Truck will have a 4.3 liter V6 engine, 5 speed manual transmission, power steering, power brakes, heat, AC and a solid modern suspension. Not only will she be ready to run coast to coast, but I'll also be able to go farther from home on a regular basis for regional events. And she'll be a total blast to drive.

I realize there are some fans of these old Chevy trucks who don't agree with the idea of the S10 chassis swap, and to be honest I struggled with it myself at first, but when this S10 practically fell into my lap I knew the swap was the way to go. The parts alone for an upgrade of the existing chassis would run into the thousands of dollars, many multiples of what I paid for the entire S10. And like the header of this blog says, Johnny is a total amateur. Not in a million years could I simply buy all these parts and install them myself.

And speaking of needing help...

As a regular working schmoe, I would never be able to make this project and the road trip happen on my own financially, which is why I've come up with a few different ways people can help.

There are several locations where the full short story is available for purchase:




As well as a GoFundMe page featuring the full story with all the photos, where readers can donate any amount. The story would be about 40 paperback pages if printed, so it's a quick read.

Check out the GoFundMe page here.

And a new store featuring various images of the truck on shirts, with multiple styles and colors available, as well as mugs, stickers and notebooks. Non-truck images also available.

Visit the new store and of course feel free to share the link.

I would be honored and truly grateful for any help you would like to provide. Please also check out the video and photo links in the sidebar here, where you'll also find a link to email me directly with any questions. Please feel free to reach out anytime.

Finally, just to clear up any possible confusion with my name: Schneider is my actual last name. "John Perry" is the name I have used on the air since I started in radio in 1984, when "John Schneider" was already famous, thanks to the guy with that name who played Bo Duke on Dukes of Hazzard. I use "Perry" mostly online, because that's the name that anyone who has ever known me through radio is familiar with...

Thanks as always for stopping by! See y'all down the road!


Sunday, April 9, 2017

Video "Interview" - Can We Get This Thing on TV?

Living the epic road trip dream won't be nearly as simple as getting the truck in good enough shape and hitting the highway. In addition to mapping it out, we'll need to have a plan for lodging, time away from work and a good idea of cost for the whole adventure. My initial time frame thought is at least six weeks, but I don't really know for sure because I've never done this before. Could be that the price tag is too steep, or the company I work for won't agree to the time off or even guarantee me a job when I get back. There are a lot of things to think about. Of course, if we could drum up some interest among tv execs and possibly get the story on the air in the form of a reality show, perhaps most if not all of these issues would be taken care of.

I've never pitched a reality tv show idea before either, so I have no idea of the right way to go about it. But I do know that if you make no effort whatsoever, failure is guaranteed. A friend suggested the "interview" concept of the video below. I liked the idea, so here it is. If you like it I hope you'll share, and hopefully at some point the right people will see it...

As always, thanks for stopping by! See y'all down the road...


Sunday, April 2, 2017

Old Rides and Road Trip Prep

I stopped by to see Jason at Custom Conversions this week, just down the road from our house here in New Milford, CT. He had the '56 Pontiac he recently bought to use as a family car up on the lift, and we chatted about his plans for it. Pretty much just the basics, at least initially, to make it safe and road worthy. Very solid car.

Jason's '56 Pontiac

We also talked about dressing up the 4.3 liter engine on the S10, to make it look a little more traditional after we get the '49 body swapped onto the S10 chassis. It's not some big honkin' V8, but I don't need that. I could tell just by driving the truck onto the trailer and then to its current storage spot that it's got plenty of power for me. I'm not going to rule out swapping in a small block V8 at some point, but for now the V6 will do just fine.

I love hanging out in the front office part of Jason's shop, where the walls and shelves are adorned with a bunch of cool old stuff, including many references to Route 66. And speaking of that, the mail lady brought me a little bit of Christmas in March the other day...

Turn by turn and where to eat and sleep on the Mother Road

Several pieces will need to fall into place to make the dream trip happen in conjunction with our 50th family reunion in August 2018, but I figured it would be a good idea to start planning ahead regardless...

Thanks for stopping by! See y'all down the road!


Sunday, March 26, 2017

Remembering My Best Buddy

My better half Meg and I met him in August of 2001, near the family farm in southeastern Ohio, just a short drive from where I saw my truck for the first time. After making the annual drive out for the family reunion (this year will be the 49th), I was showing Meg some sights and he came out of the woods as we were pulling in to check out Dad's childhood home. We were immediately struck by his very friendly demeanor and the way he chased us down the road as we were leaving, and figured it just might be a sign that we needed to bring him home with us. After Aunt Marce confirmed that he was a stray, we knew what we had to do. We named our new family member Shay, after the road where we found him - Shay Ridge.

Meeting my new friend, August 2001

Shay with his new mommy, August 2001

After getting him back to Connecticut and to the vet, we learned he was about 8 months old. Of course, we had no way of knowing the exact day he was born, so we decided that he would have the same birthday as Meg's grandmother, January 14th. The vet also told us that Shay had every parasite they tested for, and might have lasted another month on his own in the woods. For us that was just confirmation that we had done the right thing by bringing him home. And it might seem strange, but I've always thought he understood just how lucky he was that we came along when we did. Of course, we were very lucky too.

In the truck, summer 2014

Celebrating Shay's 16th birthday, January 2017

Little brother Zachary looking after Shay - March 16, 2017

The friendly demeanor and strong spirit he'd always had were still there, but his body was failing him. Although he was quite obviously in steady pain, he never made a sound that would indicate it. We had to carry him up and down the stairs, he had difficulty walking and a very hard time just going from standing to lying down. As much as it broke my heart to let him go, I just couldn't stand to see my boy suffer any more. He left us for the rainbow bridge on Saint Patrick's Day 2017.

I picked up his ashes yesterday, along with the paw print in clay. Meg will use some of the ashes in her garden (where Shay was always sniffing around), to mix with the soil as she plants some annuals. Come August, we'll also spread some at the spot where we met him 16 years ago, to bring the story full circle.

See you down the road, Shayboy. I'll always miss you. Thank you for being the greatest best friend I've ever known.