I was up in the Nebraska Panhandle last week to visit some friends and family. One person we always visit is a relative who still actually lives on a family homestead. She’s spent the last 40 years running the place and restoring the 1870's main house (literally a rock house built with 6-foot slabs of limestone for walls). The property itself is 900 some odd acres today, being split in the middle by US 30 and the Union Pacific mainline. My relative is a widowed lady in her late 70's (but whom most would mistake for 60 if you didn’t know her), but still actively runs many aspects of the property. The fields are leased to a neighbor now, but she still runs the cows with a hired hand on the evenings and weekends.
The owner turns out to be something of a gearhead herself. Here be some of the trucks she owns and uses down on the farm:
First up is this 1984 1-ton dodge with a 360 under the hood. She and her late husband originally bought a 2WD 3/4-ton Dodge truck when they took over the property, but it proved to not be up to the task of hauling the cattle trailer and wasn’t nearly as usefull around the property as they hoped it would be. After a few years, they upgraded to this 4WD 1-ton truck (although she hung onto that 3/4 ton until last year. It was a remarkable survivor, because it was only really used for a few years before becoming an occasional hauling stuff from town vehicle.) . I didn’t ask the mileage, but the engine and drive train have been rebuilt over the last five years or so. It was originally cream and white paint. A few years ago she had it repainted in the current color scheme, along with new wheels, tires and 4 inch lift kit. She made the body shop install the nerf bars and b-pillar handle so that she could get into it as a 75 year old. Her hired hand convinced her it lift it and go with the bigger rolling stock. She reports that she loves it, because it now gets to many places in the pasture that wasn’t able to in stock form. This truck is the primary work vehicle for the property, doing most all the hauling and towing.
Next up is 1978 (IIRC) Cherokee Chief. Last year she sold her late husband’s ran when parked, but not completed, model A restoration and bought this with the proceeds. This truck sat under a treeline on a farm in Dalton, NE for the last decade until she bought it as a project. It apparently took only fresh gas, fresh fluids all around, a new battery and a tune-up to make it a reliable driver. When we visited a trailer light hookup was being added to the truck (they want to be able to move the mowers around with a new, small open trailer and without having to use the big stock trailer. Like with the other truck, she had a small lift and bigger rolling stock fitted by a shop in town. She loves this truck, and primarily uses it to check on cattle daily in the bluffs of the North pasture. She says she is smitten with the capability of the truck with its short wheel base and ground clearance. It gets places that only ATVs had accessed on the property before. It does have some rust that is on the project list to be fixed, but she doesn’t have any plans to paint this truck; she likes it as is. Even the original interior is mostly intact with some tears on the drivers seat being the biggest flaw.
The original AMC 360 V8, The most impressive aspect of the truck for me was the 1980's era aftermarket A/C system that still works.