Every parade has a supporting crew that makes it all happen. Without the vehicles pulling the floats, the parades would be reduced to marching bands and dance troupes. Let’s take a look at one of this year’s Mardis Gras parades and take notice of the tow vehicles that make it all happen.
The parade started with a nicely appointed 4-Runner. This truck wasn’t all pomp and circumstance. The dirt on the tires, running board and the paint suggests this SUV isn’t a parking lot queen. This is a fine way to start a parade!
Next up we have a Ford Super Duty with a significantly larger load. I didn’t get close enough to see if it was a gooseneck or a fifth wheel, but this truck handled the load with aplomb.
Here we have our first GMC product of the day. It’s a Sierra pulling a small flatbed trailer with a tow hitch. The owner did the right thing by installing an adjustable-height hitch. Without it, the poor people on the trailer would have rolled right off the back.
Bigger trailers demand bigger trucks! Unfortunately, this photographer did a poor job of catching our first Denali HD of the day!
This truck wasn’t pulling anything, but it was one of the more interesting vehicles of the day. The “Titan 9" was designed to put WAFB’s meteorologists in harm’s way. It has interior on-board cameras for on-the-go reporting, a roof-mounted camera with 30x optical zoom and a full range of motion, an on-board weather station, and all of the communication gear a roving reporter might need to stay in touch with the station. Neat!
Our next rock-hard machine shows true grit pulling such a large trailer. But don’t be fooled! Look closely and you’ll see that this isn’t a trailer, it’s a wagon! The truck is using a standard tow hitch and there’s hardly any weight on the tongue. I’m disappointed.
Now we’re seeing a truck workhorse of a truck! This is an F-350 dually rocking a Powerstroke diesel and a custom flatbed. Too bad it’s just pulling another wagon. I’m disappointed.
What’s this?!? A U-Haul branded Silverado? I don’t think U-Haul sponsored the dance troupe tromping down the road behind it. Poor thing didn’t get a chance to show off. It was relegated to shepherding duty.
I’m not sure how I feel about this poor school bus. On the one hand, it’s not sitting in a junk yard. On the other hand, the roof has been ripped off and it probably gets used only once or twice a year.
Man, the local Shriners have really fallen on hard times. There were only 6 people on the whole float, including the driver! At least we know this truck is a true work truck.
So, what have we here? This was the first of several bro-dozers in the parade. I’m not sure what the back story on this one is. Every Mardis Gras parade is sponsored by a “Krewe,” a group of people who take care of organizing the event. I discovered that members of the Krewe are allowed to drive their personal vehicles in the parade if they wish. If you aren’t part of the Krewe, you can pony up $40 and drive in the parade. I’m not sure which scenario applies here, but the guys who were with me dubbed this the “Krewe of Meth.”
Our next truck was a little less bro. This is a clean F-150 doing shepherd duty for another dance troupe.
Finally! A big rig! This is an older Peterbuilt pulling a small fifth-wheel trailer. Despite many pumping arms, the driver wouldn’t release the fury of the air horns.
Our first van of the day! As you can guess, this van was playing shepherd to another dance troupe. Three members strong, I commend the girls for doing their best to put on a show.
Another F-350 Powerstroke dually pulling another wagon. I wonder how many miles have passed under these wheels.
Here’s another Silverado, but much less bro-ified. Again, I wonder what they were doing in the parade. Not advertising, not throwing anything, just cruising down the road. It’s like they took a wrong turn, got caught in the parade, and haven’t found a big enough gap in the crowd to get off the road.
Finally! Proof that you don’t have to be a truck or hold 10 passengers to be a dance troupe tender! This tired Impala was cleaned up to be somewhat presentable, but it looks like it could use a headlight polishing kit. Someone send them to Autozone!
Here’s our first RAM of the day! It’s a true workhorse, pulling a flatbed trailer complete with sound system, a second deck, and a porta-potty.
Here we have another Sierra pulling a wagon. If you haven’t noticed, LSU and Tigers can be found everywhere down here. Such is the nature of a college town.
You have to give some respect to the smaller dance troupes. They are willing to do what it takes to support their kids.
I have to believe this is the most dedicated dad I’ve ever seen.
It’s our second Big Rig of the day! Unlike the Peterbuilt, this Volvo was on the horn almost continuously as he made his way down the route. Fortunately, Volvo didn’t see fit to equip this beast with air horns. Instead, it sounded like an oversized Mazda. Beep, beep!
This is the first bro-dozer doing actual work. It’s pulling a fairly large trailer equipped with a fifth wheel or gooseneck and you can tell by the Carolina squat that it’s actually carrying some weight. Even so, there was no evidence this truck has ever been off road. Heck, he even has his own paving crew to make sure those tires never see dirt! :)
The next bro-dozer is a disappointment. Yep, pulling a wagon. This one is an F-250 with a BDS lift kit and spikey lug nuts. At least his spikes are hidden within the wheels and aren’t threatening any parade-goers. That guy sitting on top of the trailer is one short stop from a ten foot drop onto the pavement. First rule of riding on a trailer or in the back of a truck - don’t sit on the side!
Now this truck has seen some stuff. That trailer behind it is a food trailer and this truck is the primary hauler. It’s probably been to every festival within a 100 miles. This is Louisiana. There’s a festival somewhere just about every weekend of the year. The trailer is from Cou-Yon’s, a BBQ/seafood place that tries hard to bring Texas BBQ to South Louisiana. They try, but just like you can’t get decent Cajun food in Texas, you can’t get Texas BBQ in Louisiana.
That wraps up my coverage of the 2020 Krewe of Good Friends of the Oaks parade. There were a few more floats in the parade, but I had to drive to Houston, so I left in hopes of beating the crowd to the interstate. I’m glad to report that my plan worked perfectly and I was able to get on the road before the crowds cut loose.
Perhaps next year I will brave the New Orleans crowds again and get some pictures from the parades where tractors reign supreme.