"How My Tour Idea Got Started"
This material was originally written for Truckers News in 8/94, but never used.
In November of 1985 I accompanied my mom to Germany, to attend my Aunt and Uncle's
50th Wedding Anniversary (my mom's sister and her husband). At that time I was already
going to a lot of shows with my truck and visiting schools with my truck, so I always had a
large supply of photos of my truck in different setting around the USA, that I would give the
youngsters at the schools I visited and for shows and on the road. I took several hundred of
these photos with me for my visit. These photos were very popular and when I came home
three weeks later they were all gone. While in Germany I was invited to visit my cousin's
son's High School English class, it went over so good I was invited to stay the hole day and
visit with all the English classes. I also visited the trade school were my cousin was
assistant director, where I visited with their classes for future truck drivers, where I told them
what it was really like to be an American trucker. They had a lot of misconceptions about
trucking in America that they had gotten from TV and the movies. One of them asked me
how many Smokies I had run off the road.
My cousin also took me to the DKV truck stop 10 miles from his house, here I got to meet
with some German truckers, there was a great deal of interest in how it was being a trucker
in America and as every where else the pictures of my truck were very popular. Here I also
got to buy my first German trucking magazine TRUCKER, it was Germany oldest, biggest
and best I was explained, I have since come to the same conclusion. In this TRUCKER
magazine, was a contest for best photo of a driver and his truck, with first prize being a two
week trip to the land of the trucks, USA, naturally I submitted one of my photos, I sent them
my favorite photo of me by my truck, the same photo used a year earlier in Owner Operator
magazine. Several month later I started to get mail from Germany and the surrounding
European countries, addressed Henry R. Good, Monticello N.Y. USA. From this mail I
discovered that I had been one of the contest runner-ups and that my truck was on a
German truck poster in TRUCKER and that all these people had gotten my name and
address from the poster. While on my visit, after seeing how popular my truck's photos
were, I thought to myself, how much more popular the real thing could be, and why not try to
find a way to bring my truck to Germany. After seeing the reaction from the poster, I just
knew I had to find a way to get my truck to Germany.
By the middle of 1986 I started to explore all the possibilities of getting my truck to
Germany. I started to write to different companies in the US and Germany about what all
would be involved and the expenses and to try and to find sponsors, I also started to write
TRUCKER on a regular basis. I found out real fast this would be an expensive and
complicated venture and would take a lot of work, patience and perseverance.
In the summer of 1988 I went back to Germany. I was going over for my cousin's 25th
wedding anniversary. I had also been in contact with TRUCKER about my visit and they
invited me to come visit them at their office in Munich and also ran a small article with photo
about my visit and how I was trying to find a way to get my truck to shows. This article came
out three weeks before I left and by the time I was leaving the mail was already come in,
one of these first writers is now one of my best friends in Germany. After visiting my
relatives I went to Munich and met with Rolf Berckhemer the Editor and Publisher of
TRUCKER, we had a friendly meeting where he gave me some tips about what I had to do
to get my truck to Germany and arranged for me to be a guest on a radio Country show that
weekend and to visit a small truck show in Munich that weekend. We also agreed that he
would let me know of any possibilities for my truck and I would let him know of any
interesting stories about American trucking. We are now good friends and he and his
magazine were one of my financial supporters for my first visit to Germany with my truck.
I also went to a small truck show in Munich that weekend. I noticed immediately, even so the
show was smaller then most shows in America, it had a lot more atmosphere, it was like a
little fair revolving around trucks with plenty of country music and food, they even had rides
for the kids. At this show I made some real good friends, and we are still good friends.
Some of these friends were very helpful over the years in helping find a sponsor for my tour.
After visiting my first German truck show I was even more convinced to find a way to get my
truck to Germany, especially after seeing the reaction at this show to the material about my
truck and the peoples reaction to my wish to bring my truck to Germany, it was 100%
positive. On this trip I had made only one little mistake, my return flight was booked to go
back home three days before Germany's and Europe's biggest trucking event the Truck
Grand Prix at Nuerburgring, which draws over 100,000 people a day for three days. Every
major company in the Germany trucking industry comes here, and this would have been a
prefect opportunity to pitch the Highway Hilton. Had I made this show, I might have had my
truck in Germany a year or two earlier, the problem was I came over on a charter and I
couldn't change the return flight.
When I returned home I got a little surprise, I had a box of mail waiting for me at the post
office, all replies to the article in TRUCKER. I answered each and every letter that had a
readable return address. About four month later I started getting a second patch of mail
from this article, this time from behind the Iron Curtain, it took this long for the Magazine to
get smuggled in and their mail to get out. I answered all their mail. Several of these writers,
including two from East Germany, are now good friends of mine.
With the fall of the Berlin Wall in November of 89, I became even more determined to get
my truck to Germany. In the summer of 90 I went to Germany again and this time I made
sure that I did not return until after the Nuerburgring Truck Grand Prix. I also had a planned
meeting in Paris, I met up with a Washington DC lawyer representing a friend of mine from
Texas who also wanted to get his show trucks to Europe, and the two of us met with the
Editor of France's leading trucking magazine. The interest was there, but not the necessary
money. After our unsuccessful meeting the lawyer went back to DC and I went back to
Germany. Traveling this summer had been made a lot easier then past visits, one of the
friends I had made at the Show in Munich in 88, the owner of a small trucking company and
a couple of show truck had lent me his Mercedes 190 for the four weeks of my visit for free.
I also got to drive his 1989 Freightliner show trucks up to a show in Lillehammer Norway. I
also got to go to a truck show in his town, where I met with several of my friends from past
visits and made several new friends. I also got several more tips and leads on sponsors.
The last event I would go to on this visit was the Nuerburgring Truck Grand Prix. Let me tell
you, boy was I impressed, I had never seen anything like this in America, it had Truck Grand
Prix style racing, Drag Racing, Truck Beauty Show, Trade Show and a massive Country
Music Concert all at one event. Now I could see how they could draw over 100,000 people
a day for three days. My friends at TRUCKER and the show management went all out for
me. They arraigned for several interviews with radio, TV and the press. Tom Jeier, the lead
journalist for TRUCKER also arranged a meeting with Tom Astor, Germany's leading
Country Music Singer, on the stage, in front of 50,000 country music fans. We also
prearranged a meeting for the three of us for the following weekend in Nashville. They
wanted to do a photo shoot with my truck. My friends at TRUCKER also got me invited to a
private party at the DKV hospitality tent. DKV is Germany's oldest and leading truck stop
chain, they are also Europe's biggest truck service card provider. It was at this party that I
met my now very good friend Dieter Kniebaum the operator of one of Germany's best
known truck stops. Dieter was also a well known truck show promoter. On the last day of the
show Dieter promised me that he would find a way to get me and my truck to German
shows. I had heard these promises before, but this time I had a feeling that this might be it.
Two days after the show we were headed home and that following weekend I was at the TA
in Nashville for my meeting with Tom Astor and Tom Jeier. That meeting made it possible
for Ton Jeier to run three different articles in TRUCKER with my truck. Tom Astor also used
these photos of him by my truck for two different CD and cassette covers. I also stayed in
close contact with Dieter.
Dieter had found shows in 91 that were very interested in having my truck, but still no
sponsor to pick up the expenses of getting the truck to Germany. Tom Jeier was also
trying to help, in early May I got a call from Tom, could I be in Nashville at the end of May. He
was coming to America with a Germany TV crew doing a report on trucking in America and
he had arranged for them to use my truck as one of the lead trucks in this report. Even the
TV crew was helpful in my search of a sponsor, in my interview they let me talk about my
dream to bring my truck to Germany and how I was looking for a sponsor.
In the fall of 91 I got to go to Germany again, I was accompanying Carroll Feuerbach,
President of CAT Scales on a business trip. I was taking him to the different truck stops that
I knew and translating. On this trip I also had the chance to visit my friend Dieter's truck stop.
They had just totally remodeled his truck stop and there was going to be a big party
celebrating this. He let me know that all the big bosses from his truck stop chain were going
to be there and that this would be a perfect opportunity to convince them to be my sponsor.
Wouldn't you know, this party was going to be the day after I went back to America, again I
had tickets that could not be changed.
Dieter tried to get Lufthansa to let me change my flight, no luck. So I tried, I called
Lufthansa's office in New York. As I had already been in contact with Lufthansa's New York
office, about being a possible travel sponsor, I had someone I could call for assistance, she
told me that this was usually not possible, because of regulation, but she would see what
she could do for me, and that she would call me. Forty five minutes later she called me at
Dieter's truck stop to inform me that she had gotten permission to change my flight, were
would I like to pick up my new tickets.
Being able to stay for this party really paid off, I got to meet all the bosses from DKV and
had a long meeting with Walter Berger, chief of the advertising department. He was very
impressed, he asked me to send him some material on my truck and he would have a
definite answer for me on the sixth week on the next year. Upon arriving home I went to
work, as I had been unable to work since the beginning of September, with a supposed
back problem, I had plenty of time to get all the material that Mr. Berger had wanted, and
sent it to him.
When my fax rang at three in the morning on the second Wednesday in February, I knew
what it was and was up and watching the paper come out of the machine. As I could see the
DKV logo start to appear I really got nervous, was it yes or was it no. When I could finally
read the part that said, it was their pleasure to inform me that they had budgeted the money
to bring my truck to Germany that summer, I felt like I had won the lottery. The fax also
informed me of their planned schedule for my truck and asked me to start making the
transportation arrangements. I had one big problem, the day before this fax I had been
informed by a doctor, that the pain in my leg was not from my back but from my hip and the
treatment he had planned would lay me up for at least six month. With the help of my friend,
Congressman Ben Gilman, I got an almost immediate appointment with New York's leading
doctor in this field. He was going to use a new style hip replacement that was lifetime and
assured me that if I had the operation before April, I would still be able to start my tour in
Germany in June. I had the operation March 31st. I spent the next month doing daily
physical therapy and dieting.
Now came the problem of getting my truck ready for this tour. It had been sitting for seven
month, and with not working for all this time funds were also very tight. That's were
Kenworth, Rockwell, Panelite and CAT Scales came in. Rockwell was giving me a new
Easy Pedal clutch. Kenworth had budgeted money to help get the truck ready for this tour.
Panelite was going to help make it look even more impressive, as long as I got the truck to
Oklahoma City and Carroll from CAT Scale was arranging for me to fuel my truck at
Truckomats there and back, and I had found a friend to drive my truck to Oklahoma and
Five days before we were to leave, my friend informed me that he wouldn't be able to drive
my truck as promised. I wasn't going to let this stop me. After an examination of my hip the
doctor gave me permission to drive my truck to Oklahoma City, as long as I took it very
easy and did not use my left leg to get in the truck. That problem had already been solved
with the use of a step ladder, all I had to do was find someone to go along and work the
ladder. The night I was suppose to leave I finally found someone to go along, his only job
was, whenever I stopped, put the ladder by my door and when I got back in strap the ladder
back to the frame of my truck and that how we got to Oklahoma City. I felt good being back
in the drivers seat and finally no more pain.
We were with my truck at Panelite from Monday until late Friday night, getting it ready for it's
European tour. I had just one more problem ahead of me. US Customs wanted my truck
four working day in advance of shipping, this meant it had to be there Tuesday, but I wasn't
getting home until sometime Monday, this gave me less then a day to load everything on my
truck. I called the shipping agent and asked if there was anything that could be tone so that I
could bring the truck down one day later, he answered me, that that was not possible and it
had never been done before. After a call to Custom from my Congressman's office, the
shipping agent's reply now was "when would you like to bring your truck Mr. Good, Friday or
Saturday", all I had to do was send the necessary papers in advance, We decide on Friday
I spend the next two days, with the help of my mom and my young helper Brian loading
everything that I thought I would need for my tour. Late Friday morning, with Brian as my
ladder man and my mom following in her Jimmy we were off to Wilmington Delaware. We
dropped the truck off without a hitch and went back home. I went back to Wilmington DE on
Sunday to meet with Bette Garber, for the loading of my truck and the rest is history.
The following was written in 12/92, after I returned from Europe.
EURO-TOUR 92 Day by day run-down
This is a day by day run-down of my tour from beginning to end.
05/21/92, Drop my truck off at Port of Wilmington, Wilmington Delaware, for customs
inspection, and drive back home with mom who followed me down to the port.
05/24/92, Drive back down to port of Wilmington to meet with reporter Bette Garber, and
have photo shot of my truck in front of the ship HUAL INGRITA, which was taking it to
Also had the privilege of driving my own truck on the ship, and watch it get secured. I guess
they sensed how worried I was.
After seeing how much the crew of the HUAL INGRITA cared for my truck, I was no longer
05/30/92, Drive to Kennedy Airport, New York N.Y. in Hertz rental car with three members of
my New York Show Crew, Brian, Billy, and Alan, to meet Philip Worroll age 13 my young
helper from Chico California. He had flown in from San Francisco to accompany me to
Europe and be my helper for the summer. Philip has been helping me for years now at
shows and keeping the truck clean, and as I was recuperating from a total left hip
replacement I could really use his help. From the airport back home to finish packing and to
repack Philip's luggage.
05/31/92, Load luggage into car in heavy pouring rain, get late start and have to drive all
the way to airport in heavy pouring rain, worried we would get there late, all we needed was
one major traffic jam because of the weather and we might miss our plane.
We lucked out and no traffic jams coming through New York City, and got to the airport right
at the time I had planed. Dropped car off at Hertz and have to unload our luggage in heavy
pouring rain, by the time we were in the airport we were both soaking wet. We went rushing
to LTU's counter to check in and get some good seats and they were still closed, after
some investigating we found out that their plane was going to be at least two hours late. All
that rushing for nothing. When we finally did leave we were five and half hours late. I said to
Philip "had we flown with Lufthansa like I normally do this would not have happened" I also
thought quietly to myself " I hope this is not an indication what the whole tour was going to
06/01/92, After an uneventful flight arrive at Munich's new airport (only two weeks old) at
11:30 AM, still five and half hours late.
Waiting for us at the airport was my good friend Dieter Kniebaum. Dieter was the retired
operator of DKV Autohof (truckstop) Berg, and the person responsible for convincing DKV
to use my truck for a show tour. Dieter was also going to be my manager for the tour.
Dieter was quite shocked to see me coming off the plane on crutches. We headed right to
Berg. today was Dieter's birthday and there was a party planned that night for him.
06/02/92, This was a relax day and slept late. That evening friend Wolfgang Hoelscher
came from Berlin, after a nice supper at the truckstop, we were off to Berlin, we arrived in
Berlin a little after mid-night and after a little night time tour of Berlin for Philip we arrived at
Wolfgang's apartment a little after 1:00 AM.
06/03/92, This was a relax day and slept late and then checked out Berlin by subway while
Wolfgang was at work. After work Wolfgang took us on a trip to Poland, only a hour and half
from Berlin, it's my second time here but Philip's first time. Of course at the border we had
to get some photos and exchange money, now I am a millionaire at least for a little while,
that is because $100.00 buys 1,300,000 in Polish Zlotys. After driving in Poland for about
an hour in the direction of Warsaw we turn around before it gets dark and head back to the
border, but not before stopping for supper at a little Polish Restaurant about 20 minutes
from the border, I had stopped here on my first visit and I love the food there. After supper
head back to Berlin, but cross back into Germany at the old border crossing at
Frankfort/Oder, of course some more photos. When we arrive back in Berlin we take Philip
to get a piece of the old Berlin Wall and let him go to work with a hammer to get his own
personal pieces of the wall, I already had some from my last two visits. After the wall take
Philip to a Berlin McDonalds, had to make a taste test, results were, tastes the same just
more expensive then back home. Now its after midnight again and time to head back to
06/04/92, Another relax day, After a breakfast of pastry from the bakery around the corner,
we off to explore Berlin some more, first by U-Bahn (Subway) and then by S-Bahn (above
the ground commuter rail). We meet Wolfgang back at his place after work and head off to
his parents place in Bad Wildungen. On the way there we stop and visit old friends of mine
in Gottingen. We finally arrive in Bad Wildungen late at night.
06/05/92, This morning we get an early start, thank god we are finally getting over jetlag.
After a German breakfast we of with Wolfgang and his father to Erford, in the former East
Germany where Wolfgang Sr. wants to check out a site for a hotel he wants to built. This trip
also gives me the chance to show Philip a little more of what East Germany used to be like.
After returning we check out Bad Wildungen a little while. That evening we are of to Kassel
accompanied by Wolfgang's girlfriend Anne, we have a surprise for Philip, We are going to
take a ride on Germany's new ICE train, Inter City Express, Germany's new high speed
bullet train that travels at 265 kph (165mph). Being friday night and us not having any seat
reservations, we find standing room only and that was even hard to find, luckily we were only
going to Gottingen where we had planed on catching another ICE back to Kassell.
When our return train arrives we found a whole car of empty seats, but there was a hitch, it's
a smoking car where the ventilation has gone kaput, we don't care at least we all have a
window seat for
our return trip and can really enjoy the 265 kph back to Kassel.
From there we all return to Bad Wildungen.
06/06/92, Having stayed up late the night before, we sleep late, after taking care of a few
things and having one of Wolfgang's moms delicious lunches we are off to Toni's Truckstop
in Geiselwind, site of one of Germany's most favorite truck shows. We had pre-arraigned to
meet Dieter here. When we get there, the place is packed, and after two hours we finally
found Dieter and Toni, we bring our stuff to our room and walk back, so that we can really
enjoy the truck show and don't have to worry about driving back to the hotel. The show had
row upon row of beautiful trucks, even so the German trucks are smaller then the American
trucks, they still have some great looking trucks, some even more decorated then the
American show trucks. There was also a gigantic tent where they have live German Country
Music and plenty of Great German food and of course plenty of Great German Beer and
lots of atmosphere. Walk in this tent and you think you are in Texas, a large portion of the
people are wearing western cloth, cowboy hats and boots, and waving rebel and American
flags to the music, the only thing that gives it away that you are not in Texas is the size of the
beer glasses, which are one liter big and everyone is speaking German. At this show I also
meet with Mario Specht, a teenager that I had met at a show the year before, and his family.
Mario and his family had started the Hank Good Fan Club, which they call Hank's Highway
Family. We all enjoyed the atmosphere late into the night, thank god we had left the car at
the hotel, walking back was hard enough.
06/07/92, After sleeping off the headaches we had gotten from all the atmosphere at the
show, it was back to the show, there was still a lot to see and a lot of people to talk to. By
late morning Mario and his family had to leave for home and by early evening Wolfgang was
heading back home. Because Monday was a holiday, there were just as many people there
on Sunday night as on Saturday and the atmosphere was just as lively. But we couldn't
enjoy it as long as the night before, because we had to get up early the next morning to go
to Amsterdam, so by midnight Dieter, Philip and I were off to our hotels.
06/08/92, Early the next morning after a delicious breakfast at Toni's truckstop, Dieter, his
wife, Philip and I were headed to Amsterdam. Two and a half hours down the road we
stopped to check out the truck show at the Aral truckstop at Rheinbollen. It was dead
compared to Toni's truck show. Half an hour later we were rolling again. After another three
hours of driving we were crossing the border to Holland.
An hour later we were looking for a nice place to eat lunch. After lunch it was off to our hotel,
DKV's Holland branch office had gotten us room at a nice new hotel right by the Amsterdam
The rest of the afternoon was spent relaxing, then had a nice supper and then Dieter and I
socialized for a little while in the lounge with some very talkative people.
06/09/92, We all drive to DKV's office just outside of Amsterdam, where I get the rest of my
sponsorship money. Then we head to Rotterdam where the shipping company is that
arraigned all my paper work and had my insurance. After this was taken care of we were
headed back to Amsterdam, were Dieter dropped of Philip and I and he and his wive
headed back to Germany. Dieter would have liked to stay, but he had his own truck show
coming up in less then two weeks and still had a lot to do. With no other formalities to take
care of, Philip and I took mass transit into Amsterdam and spent the afternoon exploring,
boy was Philip surprised by what went on at the side walk café's, we also took a tour of the
canals. From there it was back to the hotel and supper. Later that evening we were met at
the hotel by Dutch journalist and president of the Dutch Mack Truck Club, Willem Kuiper
who gave us a tour of Amsterdam at night.
06/10/92, This was the day my truck was coming in and I was getting all anxious, Dutch
journalist Niels Jansen was going to be meeting us at about 12:30 at the hotel to take us to
the port to pick up my truck and to get some photos. I was so anxious, that by 11:00 I was
already at the front desk to get my money and papers out of the safe, boy was I glad I went
early, the safe was locked and only the manager had the key and he was away. 1;00 we
finally get into the safe to get my papers and of to the port to get my truck. With little problem
we find Autoliners office ( HUAL name in Holland), pay the harbor fee and get our clearance
papers and pass into the harbor. Now we are off to get my truck, after walking about five
minutes we can see the ship, the doors are already open and the unloading is already
taking place, as we get closer we can see that my truck is still in it's place, but with several
motorcycles parked right in front of it. The boss of the unloading crew told me that it would
most likely be two hours before they could get my truck out, Niels took me to the side and
whispered that if I tipped them 25 guilder it could help speed up things, boy was he right,
fifteen minutes after I gave the tip the bikes were out of the way and my truck was
unstrapped and ready to drive out, next problem, as a precaution my truck was locked in
Wilmington and the key given to the captain, and now they did not have the key, I solved that
problem, because I always carry a few extra keys to my truck, especially this far away from
a Kenworth dealer. Now it was time to drive the truck out and they had given me the honor
again. Because of the close quarter, I couldn't
make the turn to drive out forwards so I had to back out, wouldn't you know I finally make it to
Europe with my truck and I have to enter backwards, but at least I was there, and boy was I
happy. Now with Philip watching the truck I was off through the ship trying to find my key. I
didn't really mind, because it gave me a chance to do something I had never been able to
do and I enjoyed exploring the ship, and the view from up top was great. After a few minutes
up top I found the first officer and my key. Now it was back to the truck and the front gate
and customs. Before getting to customs I had to show my papers to the shipping company's
security gate and to get there I had to pass two trucks that were waiting there, and the first
two trucks that I got to pass in Europe and they were both from Russia. After passing
security it was off to customs, but not before getting some photos at the sign Port of
Amsterdam. Paperwork at customs went a lot faster and easier then I thought, and after the
papers were done I was asked by the lady at customs if they could get some photos of my
truck in front of their customs building, I gladly let them. Now I was finally driving on a
european street with my truck, I was like a kid with a new toy, first I followed Niels to a little
truckstop in the harbor where we had a cold drink and then left his van. He climbed into my
truck and we were off to a windmill that he knew of, to get some photos of my truck. After the
photos which drew a little crowd, I took Niels back to the truckstop, after letting him know
how greatfull I was Philip and I and the Highway Hilton were finally headed to Germany.
After about a three hour drive we were within sight of the border crossing at Venlo
Germany, A quick stop at the service center just before the border, wanted to make sure all
my papers were in order before getting there and asked a few questions to make sure I
knew which line I had to go to. I was told with just a tractor and no load I don't have to stop
and can drive through the car line, I was also looking for some fuses for my camcorder
which kept on blowing them, with everything done I was off. In the thirty second that it took
me to get to the border I had gotten cold feet, I could not believe that I could just drive
through without stopping, guess I had gotten used to driving in the USA, so I turn off and into
the truck inspection area and pulled up to the border of Germany at 8:30 PM. After about 20
minutes of talking with the officials about my truck and giving them photos and them giving
Philip candy by the hand fulls I was told that I was at Dutch customs but I didn't have to stop,
but just to make sure I went over to the German side and they confirmed it, I didn't have to
stop, after driving truck in America for more then 19 years I just couldn't believe it could be
so easy. At 9:00 PM my dream had become reality I was in Germany with my truck. I wasn't
in Germany ten second and I was already breaking their traffic regulations, but I just had to
stop along the road and get some photos of my truck by the welcome sign.
After about an hour and half drive on the Autobahn I was at my first German truckstop, I was
calling it a night at the BP Truckstop at Frechen, BP is TA's European cousin.
06/11/92, By 6:AM we were up already' after a quick German Breakfast, which consist of
rolls and butter with jam and some cold cuts and cheese, of course you eat the cold cut and
cheese on different roll then the jam, but don't tell Philip, he likes it all on one. After
breakfast we were off to Koln, about 20 minutes away, we had an appointment with Sixt
truck rentals, a division of Budget, they wanted to give me a trailer free of charge for my
stay. But first we had a few problem to solve, first the king-pin was a foot to far back and the
lights had to be changed from 24 volts to 12 volts and I would need an over length permit,
as Germany only allows tractor trailers to be 54 foot overall, and my tractor with a Sixt
Trailer would be over 57 feet. The first two problem were no big deal they could be done in
a couple of hours, but the over length permit meant dealing with bureaucrats and that was
going to be a lot harder. We were told, had I come with a American registers trailer I could
get a permit and were my tractor registered in any European country, I could get the permit
with a German trailer, but there was no way that they could give me a permit to pull a
German trailer with a none European registered tractor, but I could pull a shorter German
trailer if it had dealer plates. As Sixt only had one length of trailer this meant I was on my
way without a trailer. I guess if I visit Germany again, I'll have to find myself an old American
40 foot by 13 foot trailer to take with me. Now we are back on the Autobahn turning heads,
and boy did we get a lot of attention. After about an hour and half drive on the Autobahn 61,
I see the sign for Rheinbach, one of my cousins lives here and my sick aunt is also here, so
a make a little detour to surprise them, just my luck, no one home and I can't wait because
Dieter is waiting for me at his former truckstop. The truckstop is now run by his daughter,
Sabina, and son in law, Manfred and he is still a regular there and friends with all the regular
truckers that stop here and he has told them I would be there before dark, and I sure can't
disappoint him. Well I back on the Autobahn, head toward Dieters, but an hour and a half
before Dieters, is Toni's truckstop in Geiselwind,(this is the biggest truckstop in Germany, it
is a Shell truckstop,) as promised I stop but only for a little while, I should keep on going,
well the little while turns into two hours. I finally get out of there at 8:00 PM, it's an hour and
half drive to Dieter's and it gets dark around 9:30, after a fifteen minute drive on the
Autobahn 3, I see my exit for the B 505 which cuts across Bavaria to the A9 (A=Autobahn),
now I really have to go slow the speed limit for trucks in Germany on un-divides roads is
only 60 kph, 38mph, I'll never get there on time at that speed, so I drive the Autobahn speed,
plus the allowed tolerance of 10%. If I
get stopped this is my first day here and I thought this was the speed limit besides they
never watch this road at night, and I am only doing 55mph and by our standards that is a
safe speed. After a little more then 45 minutes I'm at the A9, next problem, because this
Autobahn is so mountainous and has so much traffic volume, most of it is no truck passing,
the road also has a high volume of powerless east block trucks which crawl up the
mountains at 20mph or less, which makes for quite a truck traffic jam, thank god for loop
holes, the truck no passing sign, read for trucks over 7.5 tons, my truck weighs 20,000lbs,
but the registration reads 16,000, and Germans go by paper work, I quick pull out the little
pocket calculator that DKV had given me and figure out that 7.5 metric tons is over 16,500
American pounds, guess I can pass. At 9;25 PM we finally see the exit sign for Berg which
is where Dieter's truckstop is at. We had made it by 9:30, and the time was great, dark
enough for my 155 lights but still light enough to see the truck. I pulled my truck up between
the fuel islands and the restaurant and let go with all six of my Grover air horns, that emptied
the Restaurant. First out was Dieter, all smiles, announcing this was his good friend from
Amerika, Mister Henry Good and his world famous truck der Highway Hilton. The place
went wild, the truck had a hard time getting to the fuel island for all the people, all kinds of
questions about the truck and trucking in America and everyone wanted a look at the
inside. Philip and I also got a little surprise, a young junior trucker who had been there right
from the beginning came over and started to ask all kinds of technical questions, in perfect
English. So we asked him how did he know English so well, he replied "I was born in
America", he was 12 year old and his name was Kevin, his family now lives in Germany, his
dad is a trucker and he rides with him all summer. Philip finally had someone to talk to and
Kevin knew trucker slang in both languages. Before he left that night with his dad, I gave him
a ride around Berg in my truck. I was at the truck stop into the early morning talking to the
truckers and several times I had to go outside and start my truck and give a light show to a
new group of truckers, of course they all wanted to get a look at the inside also. I could have
stayed there all night, but Dieter said it was finally time to go home for the night, and to park
my truck behind his house so that it would not be climbed over all night by all the curious
06/12/92, No late sleeping today, had to get up early. After breakfast at Dieters truckstop, it
was off to the big construction and trucking company in town were they had given me
permission to use their wash bay to clean up my truck. After a good washing it was back to
the truckstop to do some polishing, but I didn't get to much done with all the question I was
getting, but I had to get as much done as possible, because I was suppose to be at a press
conference with my truck early that afternoon.
After lunch at the truckstop, Dieter, Philip and I got in my truck and we were off to Schleiz,
about twenty miles from the truckstop in the former East Germany, to meet with the mayor
and with the press. About five minutes after leaving the truckstop we were crossing the old
border between east and west, a lot of the old security buildings were still there, but they
were in the process of taking them all down. Fifteen minutes later we were at the exit for
Schleiz and getting off the A-9. The East German roads were narrow, but they had been
repaved. When we got into Schleiz it self, we found streets as rough as NYC but all
cobblestone, after five minutes of bouncing around we were in front of the local newspaper,
where we were to meet with the mayor of the city and have our press conference. We
immediately had a crowd, including a lot of youngsters, who were just getting out of school,
one youngster, Tim about 12, was especially interested and very helpful, I offered him a
spot on my show crew, for the up-coming show in Schleiz, seven days away, if he wanted.
He said he would definitely be there. After meeting with the press and the mayor we were
on our way back to Berg, for more polishing, but this time behind Dieters house so that we
could get some work done, but here we got a crowd of the local people. After supper we
were headed back to East Germany to a city twenty miles in, called Lobenstein, were I was
going to be the center of attention at a new restaurants grand opening ceremony. The way
to Lobenstein was a typical East German road, narrow and winding, and here I could
understand having a speed limit of 60 kph. The restaurant we were going to was right in the
center of the city, along the main street. Within in five minutes of setting up, we already had
a crowd, it got so crowded that I had to put up my safety triangle, so that no one would get
run over. After the grand opening it was back to the truckstop for a quick snack and then to
bed, because we had another busy day ahead of us.
06/13/92, After breakfast and some more polishing, that is as much as I could get done
between all the questions I got asked while at the truck stop, we were off to our first
engagement of the day. We were going to Staffelstein, where we were meeting with the
Belamy Bros and German journalist Tom Jeier. I was following Dieter in his Mercedes, we
were on the German road B-173 and traveling between 90 and 100 kph, remember trucks
can only drive 60kph, when here comes a green and white car, sure enough it was a police
car, and I could tell they were looking for a place to turn around. Within three minutes they
were behind me, I found a place to pull over and came to them with all my paperwork. They
weren't even interested in how fast I was going, they wanted to know where was my license
plate, I showed them my California plate, and then what was I doing here, I explained I was
on vacation in Germany and visiting truck shows and DKV truckstops. As soon as they
found out I was a friend of Dieter everything was in order. By the time Dieter had turned
around I was already to leave again, I gave the two officers a stack of my truck post cards
for their buddies and we were on our way again.
This time we made it to Staffelstein without any more problems, we found the Hotel and
waited for the Belamy Brothers, and waited and waited and waited and were just about to
leave, when they finally showed up, three hours late, one of them had gotten a bad case of
the flu. Before rushing to their rooms they still took enough time for some quick photos by
my truck for the German press. Now we were on our way to our next engagement, we had to
drive through Nuernburg and then an hour and a half beyond to a town called Kunselsau,
where they were having a big, once every two year, truck show. We arrived at about 6:00
PM we were immediately mobbed and had to be escorted to my place of honor in the
middle of the show. When Philip and I started to set up we got a big surprise, our friend
Mario and his family was there, we surprised them also, because this show was not on my
original plan. I could really use the extra help, as I could not yet do too much with my new left
hip, Philip was stuck doing most of the work, but soon Philip and Mario had a half dozen
little helpers all wanting to know could they also help and what to do. I put Philip and Mario
in charge because they wanted me up on the stage in the music and beer tent. I was taken
up before over 4000 people and introduced as their special guest aus Amerika who is
visiting their show with his famous Amerikan truck. After nervously saying a few words in
German I got a standing ovation. Now I had to get back to my crew because the crowd was
really getting heavy. I stayed up until early morning answering all their questions, mostly by
my truck, every time I went into the tent someone would ask me, could I please turn on my
lights so that they could photograph them and then I would be stuck there for at least a half
an hour until the crowd would dye down again. I finally just stayed by my truck and listen to
the music from outside and the boys kept me stocked up on refreshments.
06/14/92, After breakfast in the tent with all the other truckers at the show and their families,
it was off to a little more cleaning before the truck parade through the surrounding
communities. The show promoter had told me that he wanted my truck to lead the parade,
this was a real honor for me. The parade starts right at twelve noon as planned, Dieter is
riding up front and Philip, Mario and some of the other young helpers are riding on back
behind the cab. After the parade it's time for the trophies, I'm not really expecting anything,
as I had agreed with DKV not to actively compete at any shows while under their
sponsorship, so boy was I surprised when my name got called, I had won the long distance
award, of course I had to give a little speech again. After trophies we had to celebrate, but
with soda, I had to drive back to Berg that night. After trophies I try to leave, but it takes over
two hours, everyone wants me to visit with them, their all still having bar-b-ques going, they
call it grilling.
The German trucker, because of German blue laws, can not drive until 10:00PM, two of the
exceptions are bob-tail tractors and show trucks, so I can drive. After finally getting out of
there I drive about fifteen minutes on the A-6 to the new Shell truckstop in Ansbach, just
wanted to check it out and get some sodas, here I find my lowest fuel price yet, only 99
pfennig a liter, that works out to $2.47 a gallon, but that still better then 1.18 pfennigs a liter,
that's $2.95 a gallon, which is what it has been every place I've been. After paying for the
diesel and our sodas we start leaving, as I pass the pay phone in the hallway I get this gut
feeling that I should call home because something is wrong. I call home to my mom and
sure enough she has bad news for me, my aunt that I had tried to visit on my first day in
Germany had died, this was my mom's sister, so after talking to my mom for a while to see
how she was doing and to comfort her, we were off again, we still had quite a drive ahead
of us and we were both tired.
06/15/92, Arrive in Berg 1:00AM sleep in the truck right at the truckstop. Early the next
morning have breakfast and tell Dieter about my aunt, he says don't worry he'll get me a
rental car to get there. After breakfast, call my cousin in Rheinbach, find out the funeral will
be there on Wednesday morning. This only give us two days to get my truck ready for this
really big show, Philip and I get to work. Because of my hip, Philip has to do all the climbing
and crawling and heavy lifting, but then Philip is a real hard worker. After washing the truck
again we go behind Dieter's house and go to work until it is so dark that we can't see
anymore. After a quick supper at the truckstop it's off to bed.
06/16/92, After an early breakfast it's back to cleaning and polishing and detailing every
inch of the truck. We work until evening and then take the truck to the show grounds in
Schleiz, where our rental car is waiting for us. We work on the truck some more, until it is
too dark work any more, about 10:00PM. Get in our
rental car and head to the truck stop for a hot shower, clean clothe and a quick supper. By
the time we're ready to leave for Rheinbach its already midnight
06/17/92, Reach Bamberg about 1:00AM because of poor road marking end up on a
different road then I planned, but we luck out this one is all new Autobahn 70 to Schweinfurt.
Now I can put the hammer down, this little Renault can only do 180kph, that's 112mph, I
guess it'll do. Drive through the night, Philip's doing a good job keeping me awake, I never
thought I'd have trouble staying awake when driving over 110mph, but I did. At 180kph had
to stay right, getting passed all night long. Little before 6:AM arrive in Rheinbach, too early
to go to my relatives, so sleep in their driveway until 8:00AM. Philip stays in car to sleep
some more while I go to my Aunt's funeral. After funeral get Philip to meet the family. After a
little time with my Uncle and the rest of the family I have to go to the American Embassy. I
needed a special medication to keep from getting an infection in my new hip, my mom tried
sending it to me by Express Mail and German Customs returned it. So when I called the
American Embassy for help monday, they told me that German has very strict laws about
the importation of drugs and they could not help me get my American medication but if I
came to the embassy with my prescription they could write me a prescription for the
German equivalent. After getting lost twice I finally find the embassy. After clearing the front
gate we go to the front desk, we are not allowed in, so the doctor comes down and gets the
fax of my prescription, he returns in ten minutes with my new prescription and a little map to
the only drug store in Bonn that take them. Twenty minutes later we are at the drug store, but
they don't have the complete prescription, but can have it by 5:30PM, no problem we'll wait.
While we wait I take Philip to explore the Rhein river, only three blocks away, the river I used
to visit almost daily as a little boy before moving to America. After getting my medication I
head back to Rheinbach to visit my relatives one more time, after coffee and cake we are
off. After several hours driving I get to Toni's Truckstop in Geiselwind. I'm so tired, can't stay
awake no more, catch some sleep in the car at Toni's.
06/18/92, Awake early at Toni's and head for Berg, arrive for breakfast at the truck stop.
After breakfast, head to Schleiz to work on the truck some more, in between a lot of
intermittent rain, work till late.
06/19/92, In the morning more rain. by early afternoon some of the trucks start to arrive, so
does my help, Tim the boy from the press conference shows up with good friend Martin,
both are good helpers also several of the youngster that live around the show site have
asked to help. the first night is not too busy, tonight its folk music and that usually draws an
older crowd. Get to enjoy the show.
06/20/92, This is the first full day of the show, that is billed as the biggest truck show ever
held in East Germany, By morning most the trucks are here now, and the crowds are really
packing in. Got to stay with the truck all day, there is always a crowd around and there are
so many people getting into the truck that two of my young helpers have to be inside the
truck all the time to keep control, they take shifts at it. Several reporter also stop at my truck
to get stories. Early afternoon they bring my truck out on to the track to officially introduce to
the people. Afterwards me and my crew get to stay out there a little while to watch the show
from back stage, and a show it was, wheely trucks motorcycle stunts and the Berlin Police
motorcycle trick team. Then it was back to the crowds with my truck. There were people
looking at my truck till past midnight.
06/21/92, By early morning there were already people around my truck, and the crowds just
kept get heavier. Today was the day of the big truck parade into Schleiz and back and I had
the honor again of leading the parade, the crowds were just great, after the parade it was
back to my display again until late into the night, but tonight not as late as Saturday, also the
crowd were not as big tonight because of the big soccer game on TV.
06/22/92, Get to sleep late. 10:00 AM start to pack up for our trip
back to Berg, today was our first show at a DKV truckstop and its Dieter's. The EKU beer
company sends their American promotion truck also, Coke shows with one of there
portable bars and a local country group shows up. By late afternoon things get going and by
early evening the little beer garden is full of truckers enjoying the music, food and beer and
checking out my truck. It goes well into the night.
06/23/92, The day start off looking great, but by afternoon thunderstorms start rolling in, and
just before the show is to start a major T-storm hit the truckstops, that cancels the show.
06/24/92, This is a driving day, after loading up our supplies we're off, headed for DKV
truckstop Mellendorf. We are planning on taking Autobahn 9 through East Germany to A-4
to A-7 in West Germany.
On our way there we decide to take a short cut through East Germany on the B-247, it
should save us over fifty miles and we get to see some old East German cities. The B-247
was a major road, but it was also a major construction zone, with several detours on roads
so narrow two big trucks could not have passed each other and through villages with street
and turns so tight that I was glad I did not have a trailer, but we really got to see East
Germany, and I wasn't in any rush so it was sort of fun. I also got a kick out of watching the
peoples reaction when I drove through their little villages, most on them had never seen a
truck like mine. Several hours later we were back in West Germany and better roads. Stop
at Gottingen to keep a promise to my friends and a skate board shop to stop and visit. Five
minutes after I get to the skateboard shop the parking lot is a sea of kids, have problem
leaving have to drive real slow, as there are about twenty kids following me on their bikes.
Go back to my friends house were I meet with the local press. I finally get to Mellendorf at
midnight, just in time to celebrate my birthday, with a few beers with Dieter.
06/25/92, Today is my 40th birthday but the show most go on. After wiping down my truck I
put it on display in front of the main building and talk with truckers all day. That evening have
a birthday dinner with some friends and relatives.
06/26/92, Am on display all day, several of the
truckers park their trucks next to mine to get photos. Leave at 10:30PM head to our next
06/27/92, Stop at DKV truckstop Gross Mackenstedt for coffee and to visit, this is the truck
stop where I'll be on display in two days, this is also the first German truckstop I ever visited,
back in 1985. After coffee we are off to our destination, Neermoorland in northern Germany,
right by the border of Holland. The whole way there we are being passed by high speed
motorcycles on their way to the big bike races in Holland, they are all driving like if they are
already in the races. Get to the rest area outside of Neermoorland at about 2:30AM and get
some sleep. 8:00AM Dieters friend Max comes and gets us and takes us to the show site,
we'll be on display in the parking lot next to the fire house. I am on display all day, and it's
about 100degreesF. That evening go to Max's for a little grill, as they call it.
06/28/92, Another hot day, on display all day, leave late afternoon head for DKV Gross
Mackenstedt, get there early evening.
06/29/92, Set up next to the truckstop and talk with the truckers. At noon I get a surprise, a
young man, about twenty, comes up to me and says" do you remember me" and before I
can reply he says" you visited my school class in 1985 and gave me a picture of your truck
and I still have it". after a few minutes he leaves and comes back about twenty minutes later
and sure enough he still has the photo I had given him. You can bet I gave him a whole new
supply of photos. That afternoon I meet with the local press and we take a little tour of all the
surrounding towns with the truck and then go back on display and talk with the truckers until
late into the evening.
06/30/92, In the morning the truckstop operators daughter takes us all on a tour of Bremen.
In the afternoon I am on display again, and again it goes late into the evening. Get call from
home, got an important fax from a Swedish journalist I know, Sven Lindstrand, would I like to
come to Sweden with my truck. Call him to get more details. Philip get all shock up, the
news has there's been a large earthquake in California, calls home, everythings OK.
07/01/92, This is a travel day, after breakfast we start out for our last DKV truckstop, which
is in Haiger. On the way there we stop in Gavelsburg, I am keeping a promise to my new
friend Renate Stein to visit her at her office. Renate and her partner Ralf own T.C.S music
one of Germany's biggest country music distributors and also a major player in bringing
American country groups to Germany. Dieter and Renate are also old time friends. While
there, we meet with the press and after a nice supper we are off to DKV Haiger, getting
their just before sunset.
07/02/92, At this DKV truckstop they are revolving their drivers appreciation day around my
visit, there is a real carnival atmosphere here and we are all having a good time. In the
afternoon a lot of the executives from DKV show up also. That evening I give them all rides
in my truck. the festivities go late into the night.
07/03/92, This is a slower show day, the truck is still on display, but the main part was the
day before. By 6:00PM we are on our roll to our next engagement. But first we stop of in the
city of Olpe, where my friend Klaus Kretschmer lives and works, I had met him a year earlier
in America, at Iowa 80 and promised if I made to Germany with my truck I would visit. We
went to the truck terminal where he works and the place went wild. We were lucky we had
stopped, just as we were getting ready to leave a car pulls up, it was Mario and his father,
they had missed us at the truckstop by ten minutes and have been trying to catch us since.
Mario was going to be coming along for the rest of the DKV tour. From there we head to
our destination, Bielefeld.
07/04/92, Arrive Bielefeld 12:30AM, after looking for our street for a half an hour, Dieter
hires a taxi to guide us to the trucking company Walh and Co. We were going to be the
center of their yearly meeting, later that morning. This was going to be my first indoor show
as they wanted me on display on their loading dock. After that we were headed back to
East Germany, to the city of Muehlhausen. After several hours of detours we finally get there
two hours late. The last few miles we are guided by a little convoy of old East German car
right up to the show. When we pull in we are immediately mobbed by hundreds of people
and we need the help of four security people just to get set up, half way through setting up
and I have to leave Philip and Mario in charge. They want me up on the stage so that the
mayor and the county executive can welcome me and so that they can introduce me to the
people. Once up on the stage the mayor proclaims me the city's guest of honor and gives
me the city's honor medallion, and of course I have to give a speech in German. The truck is
surrounded by people late into the night.
07/05/92, The next morning we wake up to a pouring rain. So we set my table up inside the
tent. Even in a pouring rain there is always a crowd around my truck, so the boys volunteer
to take turns and sit in the truck so that we can leave it open for the people to get into. By
afternoon the field we are in is one big mud pie and all the German single axle tractor and
trucks are needing to be towed out so we decide to get out of there also before we are
stuck. They offered to pull me out and already have the truck there, when I tell them I don't
need a tow, that my truck will get out on its own, you can tell by the look on their faces that
they're thinking to themselves, we'll see.
Now I just knew I had to get out on my own, I engaged my power divider and using some
trick from my days of off roading I put my truck in a high gear and went for it, I had mud flying
everywhere, the hard part was at the end where there was a sharp left turn and then a steep
muddy driveway up, to the street, when I got to this turn I had my truck sliding sideways and
fish tailing but I couldn't stop now, as I left the muddy driveway, and onto the street, I sighed
in relief, developed a gigantic smile and thanked my truck loudly. When I parked and
checked things out, I found that I had mud everywhere, but I made it out. Now that we were
out it was time to leave before the roads got rained shut. It was a very slow ride out of there
on a very narrow and winding road up and down steep mountains, boy was glad to see the
Autobahn. We went to the rest area at the old east west border for supper and then to the
rest area at Kassel for the night.
07/06/92, After breakfast and a nice hot shower(most Germany Autobahn rest areas have
showers for the truckers) We're off in the direction of Dusseldorf. First stop, the Shell
truckstop in Diemelstadt, I know the restaurant operator and promise him that I would visit
with my truck if I ever made it over, and it was on the way to Dusseldorf, so it was time to
keep a promise. From there it was on to Krefeld, a suburb of Dusseldorf, where we were
staying the night with one of the executives from DKV. We had supper in a great restaurant
in an old train station, what atmosphere, what food. I had a gigantic pigs knuckle on top of a
big plate of sauerkraut and potatoes, followed by a big dish of vanilla ice cream with hot
raspberries covered with home made whipped cream, no wonder I have been gaining
weight since getting to Germany, and so has Philip.
07/07/92, After breakfast, we're off to Dusseldorf. First stop the little truckstop at the edge
of the city, that used to be Dieter's, to use their pressure washer to clean the truck, we had a
lot of mud to get off. As we get close to the city we hear on the CB that there is a truck
inspection going on at the city limits, what are we going to do, we have to go this way, then I
said to myself, "what am I so worried about, I never have any problems back home with my
truck, besides it would be fun going through a German one, just wish my truck wasn't so
dirty". As we get to the city limits, Dieters old truck stop already in sight on the opposite
side, we can see the rest area where the truck inspection is going on, but it is full. As we get
closer, in morning rush hour traffic that is just crawling, this German Policeman spots my
truck, he actual come running to the exit with his little stop sign in hand, he definitely wants
me. As I stop I am politely greeted with "good morning, can I please see your truck papers,
drivers license and tacho-graph disk".
I get out and give him my N.Y. CDL, my California Apportioned registration and my log
book and tell him I don't have a tacho-graph. He inspects it all, but I can tell he doesn't even
know what he is looking at. He then asks me" what are you doing here", I reply "oh I'm here
on vacation, visiting German truck shows, today I'm visiting my sponsor here in Dusseldorf
DKV". With that I was clear to leave, before I leave, I give him a stack of my truck post cards
for him and his buddies and head over to the truckstop to clean my truck. An hour later the
truck is clean and we head to DKV'S main office. We arrive at 10:30 AM, and all the office
worker and executives come out to check out the truck and get some truck post cards. After
lunch at DKV, Dieter and I split up, he stays in Duesselldorf to visit some old friend and I am
heading on down to the famed Nuerburgring Grand Prix track where our next show is, we'll
meet there again tomorrow for lunch.
On our way to the Nuerburgring we again drive past Rheinbach, so I again try to visit my
cousin, and again no one home. This time I'm more persistent, I leave a note, get
permission to leave my truck at the service station, one block away. This was no problem
as they had already read about my truck in the Trucker magazine and it would be an honor
to have my truck there. Then I take Philip and Mario to Bonn by train and go by streetcar to
Bad Godesburg. This was my childhood home, until moving to America at age 3 ½, We
check out down town and then take a walk up to the castle. Afterward we head back to
Rheinbach, still no one home, so we're off again and get to the Nuerburgring just as its
getting dark. Find this nice Italian restaurant, one village over, after supper get permission
to park right there for the night.
07/08/92, Wake up early because the truck is rocking, wake up see faces looking in, get
up and discover a group of truckers checking out my truck. They were parked on both side
of this little road and just enough room for one car to get through. Most of them had already
read about my truck and just wanted to get a closer look. Afterwards we drove over to the
next village, Kelberg, found a place to have breakfast and then found the big parking lot
Dieter told us we could work in peace and quite and start detailing the truck. Dieter shows
up about 12:30PM with lunch, afterwards we detail till early evening and then back to that
Italian restaurant, to my surprise Dieter knew the owner. After supper we head over to the
Nuerburgring track, get there at just the right time, dark enough for the lights but light enough
to see the truck. As we get close to the track there are already campers and tents on both
side of the road, as they spot my truck they start up, whistling, waving, blowing their horns,
some even set off fireworks, what a feeling. After showing our ID and getting in we parked
our truck by DKV'S tent and check out the place, most of the race crews were already there.
07/09/92, This is a work day start to detail some more, and then it starts to rain, use this
time to go into town with Dieter in his camper and do some shopping, when the racing
starts he can no longer drive in and out. When we get back we try to do as much work as
possible in between all the rain showers, use the rainy time to check out what is all going
07/10/92, This is the official start of the show and races, and it rains most of the day. Have
my truck open and on display as much as possible, but during the really heavy rain, close up
and visit with friends and check out the rest of the show. That night DKV take us out to a
nice supper of wild game at this fancy restaurant 25 mile away.
07/11/92, Today they expect large crowds but also more rain, sure enough both show up.
Do the best I can in between the rain, when not on display go visiting, I am also on live radio
today. That evening is the big country music awards, and I am supposed to bring in the
awards with my truck, but the rain also change these plans. Big fireworks display in the rain,
watch it from my truck, don't feel like walking in the mud with my hip.
07/12/92, More rain, but still large crowds. This is a busy day for me. Two radio interviews,
TV comes to my truck, they also shoot a German country music video in front of my truck,
and photo shot of German country singers in my truck. That evening it is all over, they
announce that 300,000 had attended the weekend. Now its time for goodbyes. My contract
with DKV ends today, I say goodbye to them all as they leave, also to all my trucker friend
who are leaving already tonight. We are staying until morning for something special.
07/13/92, Today I start my stay as a tourist, no more sponsor, and less then two weeks to
tie down the Sweden show. A group of the show trucks had stayed over night because we
had been given the permission to go out onto the track and drive around as a convoy for the
press and TV. Afterwards we all say our goodbyes and leave. I go to the castle Nuerburg for
some photo and then I am also on my way. At the Aral truckstop in Rheinbollen, I catch up to
them all again, and just in time for more TV. After lunch we are all off again, we all run
together until I turn off, headed to Mario's house in Nuerburg. After taking care of some
minor repairs at Mario's I'm off with Mario's dad for a ten minute drive to the Rhein river so
that I can get some photos of my truck by the Rhein.
07/14/92, After breakfast we're off to the Mercedes Truck Plant in Worth, where I have been
invited to take a tour. Park my truck in the bus area and go on the tour, normally no
cameras, but they make an exception.
After the tour they ask me to please bring my truck over to their customers service building
so that they could get a closer look at my truck. Within minutes I had Mercedes engineers all
around my 2,000,000 kilometer Kenworth, checking it out, and it still looks so good, they
also could not believe how much of my Kenworth was still original. Afterwards we were off
again, Philip was going home with Mario and I was keeping a 6 ½ year old promise, I was
going to visit my Uncle Heinz in Bad Krozingen. 2 ½ hours later I was there, after finding a
place to park my big truck and show it to him, we went to his favorite Café' for coffee and
cake and a little walk, we have always enjoyed taking walks together, as long as I have
been visiting him ( I am sure glad I kept my promise, as my uncle Heinz went up to be with
his wive, my aunt on 11/14/92). After a nice visit with my uncle it was back to get Philip.
Mario and his dad will meet me at the Autobahn rest area near their house so that I don't
have to back track. Goodbyes are hard especially for Philip. I drive a couple of hours and
call it a night at BP Truckstop Feuchtwangen.
07/15/92, Get to DKV Berg late morning, here to load up the rest of my spare equipment
and supplies, spent all day. That evening go to Schleiz with our friend Ronny, for supper with
him and his wife. Spent the night at his dad's, get a chance to sleep in real East German
07/16/92, Leave early morning headed for Berlin. In rest area get photos of my truck next to
Russian trucks. Stop off at Potsdam on the way, this was my moms home town, try to visit
relative, no one home. Wait here for Wolfgang, he will guide us to his place. He arrives a
little after 5:00PM. Cross into Berlin on the famed Glinicker Bridge(where all the spy
exchanges used to take place) and go to Wolfgang's Go to the Yugoslavian restaurant a
block from his apartment (this is one of our favorite eating places) and meet with my Berlin
Police friend Kriminalhauptkommissar Dieter Lentz and his family. I had met them two
years earlier at Petro truckstop in Kingman AZ. At that time I promised that if I made it to
Germany with my truck, I would come to Berlin and visit, and Dieter was going to try and get
me permission to drive my truck through the famed Brandenburger Tor. We plan to meet
the next morning at the Tor at seven AM. Before calling it a night Wolfgang, Philip and I take
the Highway Hilton for a night cruise down the famed Kudamm, a very famous shopping
street, have fun watching the people reactions.
07/17/92, After driving through Berlin with my truck, get to the Brandenburger Tor, just
before seven, Dieter and his family is already there, and has already gotten the permission,
but have to keep it quite, because technically they should not let me go through.
As we are discussing how we are going to be doing this, a Paris to Moscow rally pulls up, I
guess they want to do the same as I. After finalizing our plans he walks over to the police
van with a stack of my truck post cards. Wolfgang, Philip and his family along with him will
all set up on the other side to get pictures of me driving through, just give them five minutes
to get ready. While I wait I set my camcorder up on the dash to film driving through. At
7:30AM on July 17th 1992 I become the first American truck to drive through the
Brandenburger Tor. When I get to the other side I have permission to stop for a short time
and take photos. As we are photographing, the Paris Moscow rally also comes through and
as we are finishing up our photos this man come over, takes a few photos and asks some
questions. Now it is time for Wolfgang and Dieter to go to work, and Dieter's wife and son
take me to some more nice places to take photos and then it is back to Wolfgang's place.
Afterwards Philip and I catch the U-Bahn into Berlin and then the S-Bahn and go into East
Berlin and beyond, but can't go too far because we have to be back at Wolfgangs by three
to meet with a TV crew who wants to film my truck. On our way back we walk by a news
stand and get a surprise, we've found out who the man from this morning was, he was a
reporter, and what was to be kept quite was on the front page of the Berlin afternoon
newspaper, with the caption "With the truck through the Tor". After meeting with the TV crew
until seven we were off to Wolfgang's parents for the weekend. Because of heavy weekend
traffic and more rain we get there late in the night.
07/18/92, Early the next morning it is off to a car wash and wash the truck. At ten we meet
with a local reporter doing a story on my visit. That afternoon my truck is on display at the
yearly picnic from the local fan club for the Dortmond soccer team, this goes late into the
07/19/92, Sleep late our first relax day in a while. Late in the afternoon take the truck to
Castle Waldeck to get some photos, back to Wolfgang's.
07/20/92, Headed back to Gottingen, to try and visit my cousin, who was on vacation my
last two time through. This time I am in luck she and her family is there. Just my luck, she
breaks her foot climbing out of my truck.
07/21/92, Unless something comes up, this is my last full day in Germany. One promise left
to keep, I have to visit my friend Tex Walchek in Castrop Rauxel about three hours away.
After breakfast we leave, 45 minutes after leaving Gottingen I get stopped by the police,
who claim to have been chasing me for twenty minute and they think I have been going to
After showing my papers, explaining that I was here on vacation visiting truck show, giving
them a stack of truck post card for there buddies and taking photos of them and their car by
my truck and promising to send it to them, I was free to go. A little more than two hours later
I was at Tex's. I still hadn't made up my mind if I was staying longer or going home. Tex had
a show coming up, in three weeks he wanted me at, so it was time to make some phone
calls. First call home, everything is OK, then call Sweden, they will include new tickets home
for me and Philip, call HUAL Autoliners, they say they will leave me go home from Sweden
for the same money as Holland, then I call Rotterdam and the insurance is also extended a
month, now I need at least one more show. There is a big show in Memmingen, I had been
there two years earlier and had promised I would bring my truck if I came to Germany, but
because my flight home was the same weekend as the show and LTU wouldn't extent I
thought I wouldn't be able to make it. Now I was trying to get my friend Walter Wieland, the
man in charge, to see if he still wanted me there. Nine o'clock that evening I finally got him,
his answer was "what do you mean do I still want you, of course I want your at my show. That
was it, everything had fallen into place, we were staying, Philip, call home, tell your mother.
The two open weekends did not bother me any more, I just knew I find something.
07/22/92, Relax at Tex's.
07/23/92, Leave in the morning, headed toward Memmingen, but no rush. Stop at Toni's in
Geiselwind around lunch, after talking to Toni, set up at his new express restaurant, this is
also the first restaurant that I know of with a drive in window for trucks. Stay there all day and
late into the night talking to the trucker, there is always plenty of interest..
07/24/92, After breakfast, we leave, but not before Toni tells me I am always welcome here.
I take the A-3 to the A-7 and head south, 45 minute later I'm at Wornitz, I stop at the Shell
truckstop, I'd been here in 90 and there is a picture of my truck on the wall, so I thought I'd
give them the courtesy of stopping, I'm invited to a truck show they're having, have to
decline that weekend already booked. I take another fifteen minute ride and stop at the BP
Truckstop at Feuchtwangen, I remembered they were also having a truck show. Their show
is on one of my open dates, get the promoters phone number, after a short phone call, now
next weekend is also booked, only have to find one more show. Now I'm off to Memmingen,
get there just before lunch. After lunch get to work on the truck. By late afternoon the trucks
start rolling in, by evening the place starts filling up and the people start coming, it goes late
into the night.
07/25/92, Trucks rolling in all morning, by late morning the place is full, but they still fit a few
more in. This show has a lot of really nice trucks, and real good crowd too. this is the first
show where I can actively participate for a trophy, I'm real curious to see how my truck will
do. Show goes late into the night, I stay by my truck, can hear the music real good from
there and keep an eye on my truck.
07/26/92, 9 AM is the trucker breakfast, by the time it is over the crowd is already coming
in, another crowded day. 4:30 it's time for the trophies, I nervously await the results, then it
comes to the Super Truck division, when my stiffest competition gets second I know what
that means, I've won first place. After the divisions, its time for Best of Show, I sit there,
wishing I could win, but not expecting it, first its third place then second and when its time for
first, they announce ' the winner all the way from America is mister Henry Good, what a
surprise, Philip and I go to get our trophy with ear to ear smiles. What a hornet nest this has
stirred up, there was an immediate protest, the complaints 1) I was not a German club
member and 2) I did not work with the truck, well they were wrong, since July 1990 I have
been a member of the Mercedes Benz Trucker Club, member#1001 and with more then
2,000,000 kilometers in 11 years the truck definitely works, the trophy stays. After packing
up, we head into down town Memmingen to check out the mid-evil days they're having, and
then head of to Munich, we have three free days ahead of us. Lay over in rest area just
07/27/92, Not wanting to take the truck into Munich, we check my map for an S-Bahn station
in our area. We find one in Gauting only fifteen minutes away. We head over there hoping
they have parking, we luck out, they have a big Park and Ride lot, its half empty and at the
far end there are already some trucks and campers parked, so it most be alright to park
here. Buy a 24 hour pass, which give us unlimited excess to the whole system. First we
catch the S-Bahn out to Tutzing, to meet with my friends at Trucker magazine, who is also
one of my tour sponsors, after lunch head into Munich, then to the Olympic center, and then
supper at the Hofbrauhaus, this is like being home, its full of American and Japanese
tourist. Catch the last train back to Gauting.
07/28/92, By nine we heading back into Munich, first breakfast at the Burger King in the
main train station. Afterward we go to the German Museum all day, and then back to the
Hofbrauhaus for supper, Philip and I really enjoy it here. Afterwards to Marienplatz and
watch the street musician, while I wait for a friend who never shows. By Ten we are heading
07/29/92, Up early and into rush hour traffic, have to be at the north end of Munich by 9:30,
we are going to the MAN truck plant for a tour of the plant. I had befriend one of the
executive of MAN at Nuerburgring, and he had invited us for a tour. Drive up to the security
gate and they call my friend Raimund. After parking the truck, we get a royal tour, they even
let Philip work on the assembly line, afterward we get to go to the military test grounds and
watch as they are demonstrating their 6X6 and 8X8 to the Australian military. Afterward I
get to drive their new experimental truck. After the tour its off to Raimund's house for a
relaxing evening with his family.
7/30/92, Up early, want to beat rush hour traffic, we're off to the show at the BP truckstop in
Feutchwangen, going there a day early, its going to rain again the next two day and we
don't feel like having to wash the truck again. We get there late morning. the tent is already
on its way up. We start detailing the truck relaxingly, we beat the rain so luckily there is not
too much to do. We also have three new friends, their dad is working with the show
07/31/92, Early that morning Mario's dad stops by on the way to deliver a load, he's got a
surprise for Philip, its Mario, that make Philip's day. We spent all day pittering around the
truck waiting for the show to start. Because of the poor weather the crowds are not to good.
08/01/92, Bad weather again, unusually hot and then t-storm, keeps the crowd down. Find a
lot of time to relax.
08/02/92, More bad weather and low crowds, by 8PM the concession are already shutting
down. Give me a chance to speak to Renate Stein who is at the show with her concession,
I tell her I have one open weekend and I'd like to go to one more show in East Germany, she
says she thinks she has one for me, to keep in touch. We leave just before mid-night.
08/03/92, Arrive at Toni's in Geiselwind 1AM, get some sleep. Later that morning meet with
Toni, tell him I have three free days, would he like me there, his answer, sure. He gives me
some passes for the local amusement park, for Philip. After wiping the truck down Philip
goes to the amusement park til 6PM and then helps me til dark.
08/04/92, Same as day before.
08/05/92, Today Philip convinces me to join him at the amusement
park, days are usually slow anyway, Go back at 6PM and am on display until well after dark.
08/06/92, On the roll by 9AM, have to be in Castrop Rauxel by three to meet with a TV crew
for filming, get lost, get there 3:30, TV crew still there. after TV go to Moers for interview on
radio KW. After radio head to show grounds in Keverlear.
08/07/92, First we do some promotion work for the show, then back to the Mercedes dealer
to wash my truck and then back to the show to set up. Show starts that night, crowds not that
good, it’s the weather they says. This is one of the hottest summers ever.
08/08/92, First full day of the show, another hot one, weather is more like California then
Germany, plenty of people come but no big crowds, plenty of nice trucks. We get some
good helpers again, two boys out of East Germany whose parents have a concession at
the show. My friend Renate's show truck is also here, but not her, she is with her other truck
in East Germany. The show makes me their Guest of Honor. That night strong T-Storms.
08/09/92, Another hot one, poor crowds doesn't look good for the show. This is really a nice
show and plenty to do, just not very many people, because of the weather. 5PM its time for
the trophies, I win another 1st place in Super Truck, this show has no Best of Show. When I
go to get my money find out the show has done real bad and the promoter has disappeared
and he has the keys to the safe. I say I'll wait, and sit down in the office. Persistence pays
off, after about an hour they finally find some money, and pay me, but the last 300 marks is
in 5 mark coins, I leave with heavy pockets, but I leave successful. Afterwards we pack up
and say our goodbyes. We are going to stay here over night and leave in the morning,
about 10:30 that night I get this horrible gut feeling to get out of there and fast, so we leave.
We drive to the first rest area on the Autobahn in the direction we have to go, its just outside
of Dusseldorf, get there just before mid-night and park between two trucks, one from
Austria and the other from Yugoslavia, and call it a night.
08/10/92, 1:30 AM I wake up because the truck is rocking real bad, I find that Philip has
already climbed out of the top bunk and is sitting there in just his shorts, he says nervously
"Hank Hank I I I think we are in a tornado" I reply " come on Philip they don't have them
over here, he replies "but this is just like them storms we have been in, in the Midwest" after
looking at what was going on out there for a few minutes, I thought to myself maybe he's
right. The wind was real strong, flying depree, what trees we could see were leaning real
bad, very heavy rain, a lot of lighting and now it was starting to hail, thank god we're
between two tractor trailer with vans. I turned on the radio to see if there were any weather
bulletins, no luck, this ain't America,
after about fifteen minutes we find a station with the news, finally the weather, there is a real
strong storm system rolling across Europe, with real strong winds, heavy rain with flooding,
large hail and there have also been some TORNADOES, it is now in Holland and Belgium
and will hit western Germany later in the night, as far as I am concerned its here already.
After another half an hour the storm dies down and we go back to bed. The next morning we
wake up and find the rest area full of litter and several damaged trees, I also spot a beautiful
windmill at the far end, that I just know I am going to have to photograph my truck by it
before we leave. Later that day we find out that the show area got hit with golf ball size hail
and wind so bad that several of the remaining concession got knocked over, boy are we
luckily we left when we did. 9AM sharp I'm on the phone with Renate, have you got me that
show in East Germany yet? I asked. She explains, she has a country show at a place called
Griefenstein, that's between Chemnitz and the Czechoslovakian border, that is looking for
some American trucks, but has no confirmation yet, call back in an hour. All day long it is,
call back in an hour, its almost like back home, waiting for a load. That evening she explains
to me that she is almost certain that they will want my truck, but because of the poor phone
service in East Germany, she has been unable to reach the promoter, why don't I be at her
place in the morning. We stay at the rest area another night.
08/11/92, After breakfast and photographing my truck at the windmill, we're off, on or way to
Gevelsberg to meet with Renate and her partner Ralf, to see if there is any confirmation yet
from the East German show. When we get there, there is still no confirmation, they have not
been able to get through, the phone system in East Germany is still absolutely horrible. They
keep trying all day, finally late that afternoon, Renate finally get through to the show
promoter, sure he wants my truck, then she goes to work negotiating, when she is finished
she has gotten me twice as much as I expected and he's also paying the taxes. That
evening a nice supper at a beautiful restaurant.
08/12/92, Up early, rolling by 5:30AM, taking the slightly longer route over Berlin, have
some more photos I want to get. Making real good time, by the time we get to Hanover we
are several hours ahead of what I had planned, so we turn off and go to DKV truckstop
Mellendorf, only fifteen minutes away, and decide to use the time to do our laundry. Just my
luck the machine goes kaput, now two hours late we leave the truckstop with half washed
laundry. As we are walking across the parking lot to my truck, I feel something crawling on
me, as I reach for it, it bites me, it was a yellow jacket.
Quickly I go for help, I usually get a reaction, I go into the fuel island office and tell them what
has happened, the lady says"no problem" and hands me a tube of cream and tell me to rub
it on quickly and hard. She explains that because of the unusually heat this summer, there is
a large population of yellow jackets and bees and that several driver have already been
bitten, so they have medication for it on hand. After waiting a half an hour, to make sure I
don't get a reaction we are finally on our way to Berlin. Can't make much time, 100 mile of
no truck passing and no weight exclusion, so I have to stay in line. On this Autobahn there
are a lot of east block trucks, so most the time we are lucky to be doing 40mph. I have
prearranged to meet Wolfgang at my relatives in Potsdam, at 5PM. Get there a little after
five, just my luck, again my relatives are not home, they don't have a phone yet so I can't call
them in advance, but at least they can't say I didn't try. Wolfgang gets there about 5:30, and
we are off to Berlin, again over the Glinicker bridge and then to his place, he wants his
camera also. By the time we are finally headed to the Berlin Wall it is getting late. On the
way there we decide to also get some photos of my truck at the Reichstag, the old
parliament building. While we are there, in a restricted zone, the police show up, Wolfgang
who is by the truck explains to them that I am a tourist from America trying to get photos,
must be good enough because they leave. Afterwards we head to the Berlin Wall, at least
what left of it. The only good section we can find is on a closed restricted street, we go in
anyway. Its to late and dark for normal photos, I dig out my tri-pod. As we are there taking
photos, here comes an old East German police car, they stop and want to know what we
are doing here, as if it wasn't obvious, gotta think quick, I answer them in English," I speak
no Deutsch", show them my passport, point to my camera on tripod and to my truck and
say"take photo". It worked, they mumble something about Amerikans to one and other and
leave. We decide to come back the next day when the light is better, but first to Check Point
Charlie, for a few night photos, in the day time too many tourist. After McDonalds back to
08/13/92, While Wolfgang is at work we take the U-Bahn, first to the big TV tower that you
can go up in at Alexander Platz in East Berlin, and then to the Check Point Charlie
Museum, here Philip get a little surprise, he discovers that the wall came down on the same
date as his birthday, November 9th. Afterwards head back to Wolfgangs to meet him after
work. Take the truck back to the Berlin Wall to get some more photos, in better light, this
time no police. Afterwards head back to Wolfgangs and supper at the Yugoslavian
restaurant that we all like so much. We all have our favorite, Jagerschnitzel, and talk late into
08/14/92, 12:45AM finally leave, headed for Chemnitz. 2AM stop at the Dahnsdorf rest
area on the A-9 get a snooze. 7AM wake up to more rain, head for Chemnitz where we are
to meet Renate and Rolf at the little truckstop just north of the city. Can't make much time,
this Autobahn is even worse than PA I-80. Get there little after ten, their truck already there,
but they are still sleeping. Find a phone and keep another promise, I have a pen pal in this
city, a trucker and his wive who I have been in contact with since before the fall of
communism. I call him,"hello Roland its Hank I'm in Chemnitz with my truck, I'm at the
truckstop", boy was he surprised and replies "I'll be right there". By the time he get there,
Renate and Ralf were awake and we were having breakfast. Afterwards Roland offers to
show us the best way around Chemnitz with our trucks and leads the way in his little 4X4.
As we go through the out skirts of Chemnitz we come to a bridge with a sign 3.80 meters
high, now what, we're both 4 meters high, Roland comes on the CB all the trucks make it,
sure enough we fit, we even had a couple of inches to spare. Afterwards we drive through
several little East German villages with narrow streets and tight turns and the up a steep hill
to the Griefenstein natural open air theater. This place was absolutely beautiful. After
washing the truck and setting up it was time to relax.
08/15/92, By morning there were three more American trucks here, all Freightliners and all
registered in Germany. At noon time it was time for the show truck convoy through all the
little villages in the area. Where ever we went we got mobbed, the people here are really
enthusiastic, most of them had never seen trucks like this before. After the convoy it was
back up the hill and set up again. After dark, we close up with the exception of a light show
every ½ hour, and enjoyed the music and meet with the country stars back stage (this is
something we got to do at all the shows we went to).
08/16/92, Another rainy day , but it doesn't stop the East German enthusiasm, the crowds
were still big. On display all day, great crowd, very friendly people, and could hear the music
from my truck. Made new friends, one in particular was Kalla Vock owner of one of the
Freightliners at the show, he had come here with his whole family in his truck. He was the
first East German trucker to own an American truck. He insisted that I come visit him before
leaving Germany, I said I would try. That night after the show all the other truck leave, I
decide to go down the hill in the morning, we all say our goodbyes. Kalla's last words
"remember come visit". Philip and I load up that evening, Roland is going to be there first
think in the morning to show us the way to his place.
08/17/92, 9AM sharp, Roland is there and we head down the hill toward Chemnitz, right by
his apartment building, no time to stop, the press is waiting for us in the city center. They set
us up in front of the statue of Karl Marx, take some photos and interview us. During the
interview they find out that I had hoped to get to Russia also, and they suggest that we go to
the Russian Army Garrison, maybe we can get in and they could photograph my truck by
their monument. When we got to the front gate, the poor MP on duty didn't know what to do.
As the reporter, who knew some Russian explained what we wanted, the truck drew a
crowd soldiers, officers and their families. I wasn't getting anywheres and I had to break the
ice, that's when I remembered that in my collection of magazines that I had along, there was
also a Russian magazine with photos and an article about my truck, this broke the ice. After
a group of officers read the article, one of them pointed to me and said "Henry Good" I
answered "da" which is Russian for yes, that did it, before I knew it we were getting
photographed together in front of my truck, by Philip. I had to promise him to send him
copies, and he gave me his name and address. My new Russian friend was Wladmir
Nestzatenko. We were finally told we had to go through channels to get the truck into the
base, and the reporters said, that they would take care of it and call us. So we headed over
to Rolands, where his wive Rosie had lunch waiting for us. At 4:30 we got a call from the
reporter, that we would have needed eight different people to approve us getting into the
base, and that he had gotten seven of them and that the last person to approve it, had
already left for the day. So we take the truck to the factory where Rosie works, she had
already made arrangements for me to park my truck here next to the security building. They
felt this was safer then at their apartment.
08/18/92, After Breakfast go to get my truck. As we are leaving the factory parking lot,
several truck loads of Russian troops arrive. They are here to do some work. I recognize
some from the day before. I am told that as soon as they are set up, in about a half an hour,
that I can park my truck next to theirs and get some photos, which I do, I also give a short
ride to one of the Russian Army truckers, who speaks some English. Afterwards it was of to
Rolands for our goodbyes, before I left I had one more stop, had to get a stack of the
newspapers with my story in it, from the newspaper. Now I was off again next stop Berlin
and find a one hour photo so that I could get Wladmir his photos before I forgot. As I am
driving down the A-9, I spot a big Russian 6X6 and it is just pulling into a little rest area,
got to try an get some more photos. Armed with the magazine I approach them, and
discover that they both speak a little German, this make things a lot easier. After reading
the article they both agree to let Philip photograph us all by our trucks.
Off again, got to get to Berlin before it is to late to get the photos developed. As we pass
the rest area 1 ½ hours before Berlin, we spot Kalla's Freightliner and he is just pulling out, I
lay on all six air horns as I drive by. Kalla comes on the CB "Hank, please wait, please stop
at the next rest area". Fifteen minutes later I come to a small parking area, in I go, what a
mistake, there is an old car from Czechoslovakia broke down in the middle and blocking
the way out. Its too late to warn Kalla, he is already in and another truck behind him. Kalla
really wants me to stop by his place, after assuring me that there is one hour photo in his
town, I agree. After helping to push the car into a parking spot, we're off again, with one
small switch, now Philip is riding with Kalla and Kalla's son with me. An hour and a half after
driving through Berlin we're at the exit for Kalla's town, now its just another twenty minute on
a narrow tree covered road to Kalla's home of Schonberg, where we spent the night.
08/19/92, Go with Kalla for a ride in his Freightliner, while he delivers one load and picks up
another, and then back. When we get back I discover that Philip and Kalla's kids have
completely cleaned my truck, they had done a great job, it was ready to go to Sweden. Now
quickly to one hour photo, and then back for supper. Afterwards its goodbye and we're on
our way again. As we're driving through Hamburg I decide to make a little half hour detour
and we go to the Shell truckstop in Sittensin, I love their food there and we want one more
German meal before we leave. Afterwards its back through Hamburg and on to the last
Rest area before Kiel, where we call it a night.
08/20/92, Into Kiel and find the ferry for Sweden. Wait for the ferry the first officer has the
papers and sticker we need. Ferry arrives late morning, I get my papers and sticker from
my two new sponsors, Trucklite and Stena Line, the ferry company. I apply the bottom
sticker and Philip tries his best in strong wind to apply the stickers to the top windows.
Afterwards we go into Kiel buy some goodies, mail Wladmir his photos and one last meal
at a German McDonalds. My truck get loaded at 4:30PM, a half an hour before the rest. Go
find our cabin, and then enjoy the ride out, once we’re in open water it really get fun, high
winds and rough water. After supper I give Philip 100 Crowns ($20.00) to do something he
couldn't do at home, play the one armed bandits, he does pretty good, it take him four hour
to loose his money.
08/21/92, When we wake up we can already see land, its Sweden. After a quick breakfast,
we enjoy the ride into Goteborg. As we roll down the ramp I can see my friend, Swedish
Journalist Sven Eric Lindstrand, and the press, a little bit farther was radio and TV.
We got a live interview on Radio, TV was for the evening news and the newspaper was
going to be the next day (I got all of page 3 and in color). After clearing customs I was
officially welcomed to Sweden by my friend Swedish show trucker Blondie and his custom
Scania show truck, where there were more interviews. Afterward we followed Sven Eric to
the Volvo factory, in rain, where we had a tour waiting for us. After the tour it was off to
Kungsbacka, where we were going to be staying with Blondie. After washing the truck in the
rain, I got to pull my truck into Blondies shop, where we could detail all we wanted and didn't
have to worry about the weather, work late into the night.
08/22/92, Spend all day detailing, that night a party at Blondies house, main meal salt water
08/23/92, Detail the truck, also watch Blondies crew work on their trucks.
08/24/92, Same as the day before.
08/25/92, After interview with press we're of to the show. Arrive in Jonkoping early
afternoon. We're staying at the Eurostop, this is a combination truckstop, hotel and mall,
rooms $200.00 a night, we stay for free as long as we park our truck in front of the hotel
08/26/92. Today on display at convention close to Trucklite press release. Meet with press.
Back to Eurostop for the night.
08/27/92, Today on display at convention, back to Eurostop for the night, go with Sven Eric
on tour of Jonkoping and to Swedish McDonalds.
08/28/92, Today at Nordic Trophy show, this is the working show, detail all day, small party
and then back to Eurostop.
08/29/92, Today the Nordic Trophy Show gets going full swing a lot really nice trucks, large
crowds, today is all judging. Take truck back to Eurostop and take shuttle back to Nordic
Trophy awards party. I get a 1st place trophy, stay late, return to Eurostop.
08/30/92, Back to Nordic Trophy, meet with photographers from Swedish and Finnish
Magazines. Another busy day, a lot of interested people, After show go to back lot and get
my own photos. Back to Eurostop for one more night.
08/31/92, Head to Goteburg. Stop at Stigs Center Shell truckstop, stay for free, if I park my
truck in front of the fuel islands. Relax rest of day.
09/01/92, Today is a packing day, rearrange, what goes with us and what stays in truck. In
the afternoon Blondie drops off the rest of my supplies and says goodbye. We finish
loading the truck.
09/02/92, After breakfast quick to the bank in the truckstop, morning news has said that the
Dollar is at it lowest point ever, this is the time to turn in all my European currencies, clean
the first bank out of Dollars, now I have a pocket full of twenties. Another bank a quarter mile
away, go there and finish the exchange.
At noon Sven Eric comes to guide us to the harbor. Early afternoon arrive at Walham
marine terminal and drop of my truck, they park it in their security building, that makes me
feel better. Back to Goteborg and to the Newspaper to get more copies of my story, Then to
Sven Eric's house for the night.
09/03/92, Up by 5:30 AM, gotta catch an early flight from Goteborg to Stockholm. Plenty of
time before our flight to the US. First find a bank and exchange all my twenties into
hundreds so that its easier to carry. Still plenty of time, look around and send post cards.
Finally board, now we are heading home, Philip's glad, he's been home sick the last week
and I wish I could stay longer. Over Greenland, its an unusually clear day and a great view of
the glaciers. Finally in N.Y.'s JFK, customs a breeze, now try to find Philip's flight to LA, with
all our luggage, get lost two times, finally find it, say our goodbyes and one last photo, and
I'm on my own to get three heavy suit cases, a videobag and camera bag to Hertz in
pouring rain, thank god for the courteous Hertz bus driver. Get my car and a rainy ride
09/04/92, Drop off car at Hertz, Steward Field Newburg.
09/22/92, Go to Port Wilmington Delaware, with mom, ships in already, but my truck is still
aboard, go in and check it out, it got back in one piece, I'm really glad, film it getting
unloaded, clear customs, again a breeze, pay for the freight and insurance and we're off.
First stop in America, Petro Truckstop Bordentown N.J., time for a real American steak and
they are always good at Petro. Next Stop, Carretta Trucking in Paramus N.J., to let them
know I'm back. An hour and a half later and we're home in Monticello N.Y., the tour is now
What next, try and do it again and this time go farther East.
THE END. Watch for EUROTOUR II The Sequel.