By John R. Greenwood
So, now I have my truck on the road and I head home where I will plug in the cooling system. The trucks back then didn't have their own diesel powered motors like today. Back then the trucks had what were called cold-plates. They were these giant wall or ceiling mounted plates that would frost up like a wet beer mug. They were huge metal blocks of ice that could last all day if you kept the truck doors closed and didn't let the humidity in. That's not an easy task in July. Now, there's a couple of problems with my lack of homework buying this truck. Number one it was an ice cream truck meant to deliver frozen ice cream not cold milk. There was no way to adjust these plates. They frozen solid and they worked perfectly, but I couldn't leave product on the truck overnight or it would be solid by 5am. I would have to unload the truck each night and reload it all in the morning. Because I spent the day climbing in and out of the truck, and because I had so many stops close to each other, the truck wouldn't have time to freeze the product during my deliveries. It worked out okay until the plates started to melt. That's when they would drip like a March downpour. I would be drenched with perspiration from the July heat and would have to get in that cold truck with ice water dripping down my neck all day long. It was a torturous to say the least. I blew $1500 I couldn't afford, I had to make it work.
Problem #2 almost sunk the Price's Dairy ship. All my other trucks were 110 volt single phase systems. Because this trucks freezer unit was built to freeze product it had to be a heavier duty unit, therefore it ran on a 220 volt three-phase system. I kept all my trucks in my yard a few miles out of town. I didn't have three-phase power on a residential site. Three-phase is used mostly in commercial applications. I didn't even know what it was before I bought the truck. Again my naivety was only overcome by my drive to put food on the table. I was in what you would call, "a pickle". I went to the Saratoga Dairy plant manager and explained my plight. We worked out a deal and they provided a spot for me to plug my truck in at a pole next to the plant. I would start my day there by grabbing the truck in the morning. I loaded my milk at the loading dock just a few feet away. It worked out for a year or so, then the old girl started to leak and burn more oil than a '65 Rambler. I remember the day I put a for sale sign on her windshield. It was a nice sunny day and my wife and I were just getting ready to take the boys for a ride. A young man, a little younger than me at the time, pulled in the driveway. He was looking for a truck to put a dump body on. His father was in the excavating business and the kid wanted to start out on his own. He had cash in his hand and the same look I did when I bought the truck from the Ellsworth's the summer before. I ran that truck for a year and I sold it for $1000. You can't lease a truck for a week for $500 bucks now. I guess I did alright after all.
*The photo of the truck above is not the truck written about here.