Not everything that goes on “behind the scenes” each month to produce Diesel Tech magazine is necessarily of interest to most readers. Sure we could share stories about standing on the top of a forklift just to get a unique angle for a cover photo (see May), but in most cases it’s really not that exciting.
However, the inside story on last month’s cover with our Honey Badger project truck is a different case. Any time the police get involved it usually doesn’t end well. Our challenge each month is to come up with a unique look for our cover photo. Sometimes we go for an industrial background that includes old buildings or possibly a train. Other times we look for mountains, trees or some type of nature-like backdrop to really help our cover truck jump off the page. But with our 2002 Dodge dually project truck, we wanted a desolate-looking backdrop in the middle of nowhere because after all, the Honey Badger just don’t care.
While in search of a good back road to tear up for a good photo, we pulled through an open gate that looked perfect. Hindsight is always 20/20, but our first clue that we were somewhere we weren’t supposed to be should have been the well-kept road that truly is miles from civilization. Our intent wasn’t to destroy the road, but rather to get a great cover shot of our project truck kick’n up a little gravel. We were just getting started when a dark SUV came up over the hill. It’s not that we were necessarily doing anything wrong, but of course our first instinct was to get back to the main road as quickly as possible before whoever was in that SUV had a chance to get any closer. Not that it would have really helped, since I’ve yet to see a lot of trucks sprayed with a yellow bed liner finish; we’d be easily recognizable to say the least.
It wasn’t a mad dash to the highway, but we were trying to get out of there as quickly as possible without it looking obvious. But it was too late. We were busted. In the rear view mirror truck owner Chris Searle started seeing cherries and berries: the SUV was a police officer and we were on his road.
Turns out this well-groomed road leads to the training facility where police officers in the region train. This wasn’t a mall cop pulling us over; this was one of our country’s finest—complete with a bulletproof vest and his badge around his neck like you see in the movies. The Honey Badger might not care, but Searle sure did. He was sweating a little as the officer approached his door.
Let’s see. Trespassing, reckless driving, speeding—yep, in my mind from the back seat I was adding up the possibilities of how this photo shoot was going to turn out. Diesel Tech Publisher Greg Larsen, who is still hesitant to admit that it was his idea to turn down this road, did his best to explain that we weren’t just three guys out looking for trouble, but rather, technically, just trying to do our jobs.
Now any time a police officer starts a sentence with, “I tell you what I’m going to do,” it’s a real good thing. He was in a forgiving mood and said if we fixed our divots in his road he’d let this one go. We didn’t need to be told twice; we were on it. Of course with a dually the holes were as wide as they were deep, but luckily Searle had a shovel in the back of his truck.
We got that road fixed up good as new and got out of there before he changed his mind. We never did use any of the photos that we took on that road, but it doesn’t matter. This is one photo shoot we won’t soon forget and of course those back in the office aren’t willing to let us forget it either.