Hank's Leisure Time Interests
My hobbies have, over the years, always been tied to transportation. As a kid in the 1950's, one day a friend of the family brought some car brochures for me. This was in 1954 and all the brochures were of Plymouth, Dodge, Chrysler, and DeSoto. This started and interest that I continued for many years afterwards. I would always go to the car dealerships and ask for brochures of the new cars when they came out. Over the years the collection got quite large and I would store them away so that my Mother wouldn't get after me.
The interest in transportation would go from cars to trains after receiving a model railroad for Christmas in 1960. The train was mounted on a sheet of 4'x8' plywood. I had a passenger train and a freight train. It was an OO scale Hornby Dublo train (a British train), but it was so much fun to play with. Deep down I wished it was a North American prototype railroad. I started to go to hobby shops and purchase HO scale box cars and use them on the trains that I had at home. The couplers would actually interconnect.
In time my interests started to shift to trucks and trucking. My Dad had driven truck through the 1940's into the 1950's, and I loved to hear his stories about the things he did and the trucks he drove. I started writing to trucking companies and truck dealerships and asking for pictures and brochures. In the town near where we lived, there was an International Harvester dealership. They sold mostly tractors and other farm equipment but they did have a good supply of trucking brochures there. Each time that Dad had to go to town for something for the farm, I would get him to go to the International dealer so that I could look for some brochures that I didn't already have. When I look at my collection of truck brochures, I have a lot more International truck brochures than anything else. Through high school, I would try to incorporate my hobby into some of the projects that I was required to do for school. One year I did a report on Transportation and I wrote other places for information and received even more than I had asked for. Later in high school I did a science project on diesels engines. For this project I wrote many different truck dealerships in Canada and the US and received many 8x10 glossy pictures and some great brochures. Most of this collection of information I was able to keep to this day.
In the early 1960's, I bought a camera at a service station for $2 and I used this camera for taking many pictures of trucks and most anything else I saw. I kept this camera till 1969. For many years I didn't have a camera and I always wished that I still had to old $2 one.
Over the years though, interests changed and some things got lost. Eventually my interests turned to photography. This hobby opened up all sorts of interests. Once I purchased a decent camera, it was great to go out and take pictures with a good camera. The results were so much better than the one I had many years before.
In the early 1970's I started a new career as a bus driver in Vancouver, BC. I did this for 6 years and quit the job to pursue other things as well as get married. The "other things" didn't turn out so I went back to driving bus. I wasn't able to get back at driving city bus, but I was able to get a job driving for a charter bus company in Vancouver at the time. I really enjoyed this job and got to drive buses I had seen on the road but. This job ended when due to cutbacks. I was fortunate though, to get back driving city but again and stayed at this job for an additional 11 years.
During this time at driving bus, my interests shifted from buses to trains and then trucks and then trains again. Because there was good benefits at the job, I was able to take some very good vacations. Each vacation for me was an opportunity to take pictures for my hobby. Every other year we would take a trip to southern California and I would always insist on a day at the Tehachapi Loop. It was on these vacations that most of my train pictures came from.
One snowy day my bus driving career took a hard right turn. I slid into a curb and injured my wrist. I didn't feel it at the time but later the pain was severe. I managed to drive with this for a few months more until, driving over some potholes made it too painful to drive. After being off work for quite a long time and having a doctor tell me not to return to driving, I had to make a life changing decision. What does a person over 40 do when they can't do what they have been doing?
Well thanks to my wife she saw an interest that I had started a few months previous as a possible new career. We had purchased a computer for the family and I was really getting into it. So my wife saw something here that could make me marketable.
I applied at a community college for a computer course and I was told that there was a program called Computer Information Systems. I looked at it and thought that this was probably the one for me. Well the first shock came when the counselor told me that I had to complete my grade 11 Math. Way back then Math wasn't important, besides who would need it anything. Well 26 years later I found out. I was amazed how well I did at the Math considering back in high school, none of it made any sense. Well I managed to do very well at this course and was able to complete the Math 11 course in about 2.5 months.
I went back to the counselor and showed him the final grade for Math 11 and I was into the program. I was really excited about going back to school. After buying all the textbooks, I started looking through them. Oh boy, this is not going to be easy. How right I was. Those were the hardest 2 years I have ever been through. My family also suffered through those 2 years. I had to spend every waking hour working on the schoolwork. This was hard for someone who had been out of school for so many years plus has a family to support and home as well.
Two years later I finished the course, got my diploma and actually before I completed the program, I already had a job. I would hire myself out as a computer instructor. I would teach people how to use their computers. Eventually I got a job at a business building a database for them. During the two-year program at the college, I got very interested in databases and database design. This job was great. I got to use the skills I had learned and really apply them.
Before I completed this project, one of my instructors from the college wanted me to work with him on designing a database for a company in Vancouver. I agreed and looked at what they needed and worked with this instructor. The company decided to hire me full time as their database coordinator. I enjoyed it and worked hard at it.
One day I talked with a friend who in turn told me to apply at the university where he was working. They needed someone in their Computing Services department as a technologist. I applied and was hired shortly afterwards. When I started there, the university was building up their resources to allow for networking capabilities to everyone both staff and students. My first job was to build a database of computers on the campus. The job eventually went to computer rebuilding and trouble shooting as well as a lot of computer support.
While at the university I started to use the Internet. I was finding many interesting things out there. I got familiar with HTML programming and started to create some simply web pages. I then started putting some pictures onto my simple web pages. I think my first and only page at the time had 2 pictures on it.
I started to put some of my train pictures on the web site and then a few of the truck pictures that I was able to scan. This was back in 1997. Then I bought my own scanner. Well away I went. I scanned most of my vacation slides and added them to my train pages and I also started scanning a few more of my truck pictures too.
The web site always had a Transportation theme to it, but it was primarily railroad based with trucks and buses thrown in too.
Since 1998, I have become very interested in trucking again. Since adding more trucks to the web site, I have been receiving such positive feedback on my truck pictures that I have focused most of my web page time on trucks. I have been very fortunate to get to know some people who have become very good friends, who have helped my trucking pictures be so successful. My personal collection is small compared to some others, but through these friends, who have sent me pictures and loaned my their pictures to put on the trucking web site, have helped to make the site what it is.
On much of my spare time, I am out taking pictures of trucks or all kinds. It's surprising when you see trucks day after day, you take them for granted. Then one day the company has folded or has been taken over by another company. Then all of a sudden the paint scheme that you have seen day after day is gone, never to be seen again. Some how someone should keep track of these companies that are here today and who have been around for what seems like forever, then all of a sudden, they're gone. An example of this is Pacific Intermountain Express (PIE) in the US. They were one of the largest and successful trucking companies in the US, but they are gone. Now if you are lucky, you may see a trailer that once wore the PIE logo, parked in a field or in a lot somewhere.
In 1999 I joined the American Truck Historical Society because of my growing interest in the trucking industry. I found many people who have been doing what I did when I was younger in the 1960’s, except they started much sooner and have not stopped collecting information and pictures on trucking. There are a lot of people who belong to the ATHS who share the desire to keep trucking history alive
I want to thank all the people who have submitted pictures to my web site, and to all the people who will send me their pictures.
My job at the university has changed from being a technician to now being the university's Database Administrator. I still love working with databases and pulling out the information for people. It's a challenging job but enjoyable.
I am still hoping to one day build a model railroad empire. The roads that I will be primarily modeling are Southern Pacific (before the merger with Union Pacific went through), and Santa Fe. The area will most likely be the southern California area with mountains being much like the ones around Tehachapi. I like to model passenger trains especially Southern Pacific's Daylight, Lark, City of San Francisco, and the Cascade. Included will also be Union Pacific's City of Los Angeles and Santa Fe's Super Chief. The time I will be modeling will depend on which trains are running at the time. I will also be modeling TOFC and double stack container trains.
I have a collection of approximately 1500 slides of trains. I started taking these slides in 1973 and these slides cover areas of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, and California. One day I would like to put all these slides on to a CD ROM.