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This is about a fictional trucker rebellion that drives from the West Coast to the East Coast of the United States without stopping. What they are protesting (other than the 55 mph speed limit, then recently introduced in response to the 1973 oil crisis) is shown by lines such as "we tore up all of our swindle sheets" (CB slang for log sheets used to record driving hours; the term referred to the practice of falsifying entries to show that drivers were getting proper sleep when, in reality, the drivers were driving more than the prescribed number of hours before mandatory rest) and "left 'em settin' on the scales" (CB slang for US Department of Transportation weigh stations on Interstates and highways to verify the weight of the truck and the drivers' hours of working through log books). The song also refers to toll roads: "We just ain't a-gonna pay no toll." Also putting the "hammer" or accelerator pedal down means speeding up and breaking the speed limit. (An album compilation of "trucking songs" was entitled "Put the Hammer Down".)

The conversation is between "Rubber Duck", "Pig Pen", and "Sodbuster", primarily through Rubber Duck's side of the conversation. The narration and CB chatter are by McCall.

At the beginning of the song, a "Kenworth pulling logs", driven by Rubber Duck, is the "front door" (the leader) of three semi-trailer trucks (tractor and semi-trailer) when he realizes they have a convoy. Following the Rubber Duck is an unnamed trucker in a "cab-over Pete with a reefer on" (a refrigerated trailer hauled by a Peterbilt truck configured with the cab over the engine), while Pig Pen brings up the rear (the "back door") in a "'Jimmy' haulin' hogs" (GMC truck with a livestock semi-trailer loaded with live pigs).

The convoy begins toward "Flagtown" (Flagstaff, Arizona) at night on June 6 on "I-one-oh" (I-10) just outside "Shakeytown" (Los Angeles, California). By the time they get to "Tulsatown" (Tulsa, Oklahoma), there are 85 trucks and the "bears / Smokeys" (state police, specifically the highway patrol, who commonly wear the same campaign hats as the United States Forest Service mascot Smokey Bear) have set up a road block and have a "bear in the air" (police helicopter). By the time they get to "Chi-town" (Chicago, Illinois), the convoy includes a driver with the handle "Sodbuster", a "suicide jockey" (truck hauling explosives), and "11 long-haired friends of Jesus" (a reference to the then-current Jesus movement subset of Christianity) in a chartreuse VW Type 2 ("microbus"). Meanwhile, the police have called out "reinforcements from the 'Illi-noise' (Illinois) National Guard" and have filled the "chicken coops" (weigh stations). The convoy crashes another road block when crossing a toll bridge into New Jersey, and by this time they have "a thousand screamin' trucks" in all.

The song's running gag has Rubber Duck complaining about the smell of the hogs that Pig Pen is hauling. He repeatedly asks the offending driver to "back off" (slow down). By the end, Pig Pen has fallen so far back, when Rubber Duck is in New Jersey, Pig Pen has only reached Omaha, Nebraska (a reference to the headquarters of American Gramaphone, which released the song, and also a reference to the slaughterhouses for which Omaha is famous). Also, Omaha was C.W. McCall's "home 20" (a reference to the ten-code for location).

[–] COFfer [OP] 1 pt (+1|-0) (edited )

Bil Fries, Jr ( his real name) was elected mayor of the town of Ouray, Colorado, ultimately serving for six years. He opened a multimedia (multiple slide projectors/screens with narration by Fies backed by symphonic music by Aaron Copland and the London Symphony) presentation of pictures of the surrounding mountains and takes you through the 4 seasons, called "San Juan Odyssey". The portion of the Rockies there are named the San Juan and Uncompahgre mountains.

The projectors are dark, the speakers are silent ... packed away with the screens and the slides. Gone but never to be forgotten. The San Juan Odyssey was Bill and his family's tribute to the incredible majesty and beauty of the San Juan Mountains.

It all began when Bill and his family visited Ouray for the first time in 1961. The beauty of the mountains captured their hearts, and they began the journey that ultimately produced San Juan Odyssey. The 1967 worlds fair provided the technological impetus for the project. Bill and his son worked in advertising, and were fascinated by the use of computer controlled 35mm projectors to display panoramic, multi-image presentations. Soon, they had incorporated this technology into their advertising work, but it was destined to serve a higher calling.

In the early '70s, Bill and his sons, Bill Jr. and Mark assembled the forebear of the Odyssey entitled Our Mountains. It was shown for free for three weeks at the Ouray school, and then went on a tour around the country.

A thousand miles to the east, back in Omaha, Bill was unknowingly laying more of the foundations of the Odyssey. The Old Home Bread advertisements, that led to the birth of C. W. McCall. It was the success of C. W. McCall that paved and paid the way for the Odyssey.

All the while that C. W. had been truckin' all over this land, Bill and his family had been working on finding a permanent home for Our Mountains, and it's successor, The Odyssey. In 1975 they signed a lease for the second floor theater in Wright's Opera hall. Bill and his sons spent all of 1976 in Ouray, photographing the San Juans in all four seasons. Once the pictures were in the can, the new show needed music and narration. The whole family loved the music of Aaron Copland, and so it was that Appalachian Spring and Billy The Kid were selected to provide the musical backdrop. Bill's creative story-telling talent had been brought to the fore by his writing for the C. W. McCall albums, and the expressive story of San Juan Odyssey was a natural extension of that work. The soundtrack was put together by American Gramaphone and Sound Recorders, the same folks Bill was doing C. W. McCall with.

San Juan Odyssey officially opened its doors in 1977. It featured fifteen computer controlled and synchronized 35mm slide projectors, and five screens connected in a 50 foot wide panorama. Bill wanted to use the equivalent of surround sound for the show, but it didn't exist in 1977, so he built his own system. Bill's sons were continually taking new photos to update the show, so that, although it always told the same story, there were always some new scenes from year to year. Over the twenty year run of the Odyssey, more than 30,000 slides were taken.

I've been there many times and once he was there and played a few songs before the show. He's passed now and last I heard the family had built their own theater and modernized the show, but still retains the spirit of the original. If you've never been up Highway 550 from Durango up to Silverton, it is some of the most awe inspiring area in the US, and probably the world.