Monday, November 12, 2012

Long Haul

I like driving the stretch of Interstate 5 just south of Salem, Oregon. There's so much to look at: vineyards, thickly forested hills, amusement parks (including my childhood happiest place on earth). But I bet the one thing that gets the most double takes is the Transformer Truck.

At least, that's what I call it. Transformers™ Truck would be more accurate. Decepticon Dump Truck would surely be more precise, though it took me some internet research to figure that out. I've never played with Transformers, nor had any interest in doing so, though even as a little girl I had to concede that the toy concept was clever.

So I had to consult the Transformers Wiki (of course there's a Transformers Wiki) to learn that a truck much like this one actually exists in the Transformers universe. Its name is Long Haul. Long Haul "wishes he could spend more time in battle, destroying his enemies with projectile weaponry. Instead, he often finds himself stuck in the role of pack mule, lugging around the other Decepticons' gear." Poor guy. Who wouldn't want to spend more time in battle, destroying their enemies with projectile weaponry?  

I've intended to stop for a closer look for years, but was always in too much of a hurry (mostly due to my tendency to begin road trips 1-2 hours later than intended). It wasn't until this August that I finally had both time and energy to pull over at the next exit south, backtrack on the little road that parallels the freeway, and turn in at the quarry.

The truck perches on a great crumbly mound of crushed rock and blackberry brambles, easily visible from the interstate. It would be a brilliant advertisement, except that you can't see a business name or contact info until you pull up to the gate. The quarry was unattended. I gingerly climbed up the rock pile for a closer look, half expecting somebody to yell at me to get down from there. Below, traffic zipped past at 65 miles per hour. I resisted the temptation to wave.

Later, I called the number on the quarry sign. The office is in a coast town, almost two hours away. "I was wondering about the big green truck at your quarry on I-5," I said.

"What about it?" the lady asked.

"Well, I mean, what is it there for?"

"To hold the flag."

At first I took this for mind-your-own-beeswax snark, but no, she was serious. When her husband acquired it years ago, it was burnt out and useless and neon green, and he put it up on the rock pile to hold the flag. Which it does, admirably.

"What about the big Transformer face on the side?" I asked, still puzzled.

"What do you mean?"

I boggled. How could she not know?

"We didn't change anything about it," she said, after a pause.

It looks to me like the Decepticon insignia was applied at the same time as the coat of green, which means this isn't a case of clever graffiti that's somehow gone unnoticed for years: it was already painted this way when the current owners bought it. But why?

Only Long Haul knows, and he ain't talkin'.


  1. and now I will not have to stop and climb up there myself - Fields

  2. Oh No! the decpticons have captured the flag!
    autobots roll out!
    or is it a political statement.
    I thought I saw Megatron's name on the ballot,
    he was running with Gargamel as VP.

    1. I heard he got more votes than Skeletor.

      It's so great to imagine Long Haul waking up one dark and stormy night, crunching and grinding into his robot form: rain pouring off his rusty shoulders, rocks tumbling down the hill as he shifts his weight and looks around, then lopes off into the darkness. But THEN what happens to the flag?

  3. What did it feel like to sit behind the wheel?

    1. Good question! I was not quite daring enough for that. Maybe next time. ;)

  4. Lindsey,

    Fun post. Shawn sent me to this blog after I misplaced the small sheet of paper with your blog name. Long Haul is one that I don't remember, but then again, I didn't have money for the real transformers. I was stuck with friggin' Go Bots.

    There was a truck/flag like this that I saw in the Iron Range of Minnesota sans the Decepticon symbol. I wonder if this is a Decepticon plot of some kind. They are always up to something.....

    1. I also can't believe it only cost $9.25 to get into The Happiest Place On Earth. That's a flippin' deal man....

    2. Seriously, if you're ever in western Oregon, take the kids to the Enchanted Forest. It's cheesy, creepy, clever and just downright odd -- a combination that I find irresistible. A flippin' deal, indeed.

  5. Are you still in Oregon? That's not so far from us you know. We've got a busy spring and summer coming up. Or I guess I could not be sneaky and say: Lindsey, why not come back and volunteer at the Guild this summer.

    1. Oh, I'm definitely coming back! Probably not during your 2013 busy season, though. I'm in Chicago now, and have a lot more of the US to see yet before I head back to the PNW. I'll e-mail you more specifics. :)

  6. Just read this post. Hilarious! I hope you can compile all your stories in a separate work about figuring out why stuff is the way it is from your adventures. In this case, it remains an unsolved mystery, but I admire your efforts to uncover the truth. Maybe you should pain the Mystery Machine logo on your car ...