Last evening as I was opening the door to my Cascadia, the door mounted light allowed for me to clearly see the entry steps into the truck. This simple light brought to my mind how far trucks have advanced since the beginning of my career in 1983. When I began driving, most trucks barely offered insulation and driver comfort came secondary to hauling freight. The cabs were small, uncomfortable and offered little in the way of ergonomics. As you climbed in and out of the old cab over trucks, you needed to know where to put your feet as you could not see the steps. In fact, the first few I drove only offered an AM radio and a heater as major comfort items.
In those days I couldn’t have imagined comfortable air ride suspension, air conditioning, power steering, AM/FM satellite radio, air ride seats, cruise control, AMT transmission, refrigerator, microwave, closets, driver lounge including table and two seats and idle free quite battery powered Park Smart HVAC System. When I compare what I drive today to the trucks of years ago, driver comfort sure has come a long way. Back then, a driver did not just stand up out of their seat and walk back to a fully equipped sleeper area. There are two reasons for this. The first on being that you could not stand up inside the older trucks. The second reason was that there was a need to climb over the dog house/engine cover to the sleeper which was nothing more than a mattress behind your seat. Standing up was not an option, in fact in many cases a taller person could not sit up in the sleeper. When you woke up and got dressed, the process was to shimmy into your clothes while lying in your bed. Oh yes, your clothing didn’t come out of a closet/cabinet however you retrieved them from your duffle bag or suitcase. If you wanted something to eat or drink that morning, it was either done by going into a restaurant/store or having an ice filled cooler in front of the passenger seat. To access the cooler, you either had to climb over the dog house/engine cover or get out and walk over to the passenger side, open the door and get whatever you were getting out of the cooler to eat or drink.
As I finish reflecting on the trucks of the past, I sure am glad to be driving my well-appointed, quiet, comfortable riding truck of today. That being said, I’m sure the drivers that came before me in the open C Cab trucks would have thought the trucks I drove in the beginning of my career were luxurious. Those trucks did not have heat, radios or in some cases windows. As I stand at the porch light on my 2018 Cascadia, it stands out to me in a big way just how far we have advanced.