Ask some kids what they want to be when they grow up, chances are none of them will say a "trucker". Back in the 70s it was a different story - truckers were idolized by adults and kids alike. The Boomers had found that life in the work force wasn't exactly living up to their freewheelin' hippie expectations. However, the truckers still weren't tied down and roamed free on the highways like a drifter who didn't have to answer to "the man". Truckers were the last anti-establishment figure who didn't even have to answer to the government - no roadblock was big enough to stop a convoy!
While trucking epitomized that free bird lifestyle for adults, they were like cowboys to 70s kids. Best of all was the CB radio, where you could pretend you were just as cool the truckers. The slang was awesome.
Antler Alley = Deer crossing
Beaver Fever = A trucker who misses his girlfriend or wife
Colorado Kool Aid = Beer
Don’t Feed The Bears = Don’t get any tickets
If you really want to learn some CB lingo read The B.J. and the Bear Annual (1981) which lists them out with illustrations here. Believe it or not, it was actually written by famed comic book writer/illustrator Alan Moore (V for Vendetta, Watchmen, From Hell)!
My parents didn't have a CB, but my uncle did, and on one wonderful day as we were traveling to the mall in his station wagon, we spotted a semi leaking oil. My uncle and cousin knew the slang and even had a "handle". This is basically how it went down:
Uncle: "This is Tic-Tac to the Big Mack headin' eastbound to Astrodome City at mile marker 18. Do you read?"
(There was a brief pause, then...)
(It was like I was in a friggin' movie. I couldn't believe there was actually a response from a real live trucker!)
Uncle: "Yer leakin' diesel juice on the blacktop. Do you copy?"
Trucker: "That's not gas. It's water."
Uncle: "10-4. Keep the shiny side up and the greasy side down. Truck 'em easy."
I'm guessing these truckers got sick of station wagons constantly calling in on their CBs. They were probably grateful when the trucker craze passed so they could get a little peace.
My favorite trucker song is of course "Convoy" by C.W. McCall.
The song became the basis for a trucker movie starring Kris Kristofferson and Ali McGraw (1978). Other trucker films include Flatbed Annie & Sweetie Pie (1979), Steel Cowboy (1978) starring James Brolin, and The Great Smokey Roadblock (1977) starring Henry Fonda and Susan Sarandon. Of course, there was the great ones: Smokey & the Bandit and White Line Fever.
There was also Coast to Coast (1980) starring Dyan Cannon and Robert Blake. You can tell truckers were idolized simply by the film's description: "Blake plays a scrappy truck driver who becomes Cannon's reluctant rescuer- a down to earth knight riding a 30-ton, 13-gear charger."
A great article on trucker movies at WFMU's Beware of Blog can be found here.
Here's a couple pages I scanned from a 1979 issue of Cracked that I think demonstrates pretty well how out of hand the CB craze had become. (click to enlarge)