Deluxe Accommodations

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When the name of your trucking company is Deluxe Distribution, your customers most likely assume the service you provide them will be “deluxe” and above average.  This would be true of Ron Beer (48) of Orange, California, and his company that primarily services the entertainment and trade show industry, which is a discerning bunch, for sure.  But what they might not expect is this rolling hotel Ron brings with him, providing deluxe accommodations, wherever he goes, while he waits for events to end, so he can pack it all back up and take it to the next event (or bring it all back).

Based in Southern California, Ron Beer is the third generation of truckers in his family.  His grandfather Gilbert Beer began driving for Greyhound Van Lines out of Chicago in the 1940s.  Ron’s father, Ron Beer Sr., followed in his father’s footsteps and began working at Bekins Van Lines in 1955 – he was just 18 years old.  Astoundingly, Ron Sr. stayed at Bekins for his entire trucking career.  After almost 50 years with Bekins, he “retired” for medical reasons in 2002 and passed away in 2003.  Mostly doing bed buggin’ (household goods), Ron Sr. also did some computer moving, and later spearheaded the trade show division at Bekins.

In 1968, Ron Sr. married Eatau, known to everyone as Toy, who was from California.  At this point, he left the Chicago area and moved to Southern California to be with her.  Being his second marriage, Ron Sr. had four children – two boys and two girls – that he brought with him, and Toy had a son of her own.  In 1974, Ron Beer Jr. was born in Garden Grove, CA (a suburb about 40 miles south of Los Angeles).  This was Ron Sr. and Toy’s only child together, so most of Ron’s siblings were much older than him – some were already adults when he was born!

From the beginning, Ron absolutely loved trucks and trucking, and he went out with his dad whenever he could.  When Ron was born, his dad was running long haul, and at just three months old, he and his mom got in the truck and ran with Ron’s dad until it was time for Ron to start kindergarten.  At that point, Ron and Toy got out of the truck – so she thought.  Apparently, Ron would still sneak away with his dad in the truck, until he missed so much school, they held him back and made him do 1st grade a second time.  But that did not stop young Ron.

During every summer break and every school vacation, Ron spent that time in the truck with his dad.  He would literally get out of school on the last day, board a plane, and fly to where his dad was.  After spending the entire summer out on the road with him, he’d fly home and go back to school.  He did this for several years.  While still in high school, Ron started working at Apace Moving Systems, an agent for Bekins, helping load household goods on the weekends.  Eventually, while still in school, he began doing office and industrial (O&I) moves for them.

Graduating from high school at 19 years old (remember he was held back in 1st grade) in 1993, he went trucking with his dad full time for two years.  He didn’t get his CDL until he turned 21 a couple years later, but that didn’t stop him from doing his fair share of driving with his dad before that.  After finally getting his CDL, Ron continued to run with his dad for a couple more years after he got a “local” gig, hauling loads between Fountain Valley, CA and San Diego, CA, five days a week.  This fell under a new division that Bekins had formed called Timelok, which focused on time-sensitive LTL freight.

Wanting to go out and drive on his own, Ron went to work for Vince Amato who ran Pyramid Logistics out of Fountain Valley, CA (another Bekins agent), driving one of their Kenworth T600s locally.  In 1999, Ron started running regularly between Los Angeles and Las Vegas and San Francisco – all day every day (as he described it) – in a newer T600.  In 2001, he decided it was time to buy his own truck and ordered a custom 2002 Peterbilt 379 with a Cat 6NZ, a 300” wheelbase, and four large fuel tanks.  Painted all white with a Charcoal Grey frame, Ron felt like a king in his new stylin’ ride.  Back then, long and low trucks were just starting to be a “thing” everyone wanted, and Ron was at the forefront of that trend.  Leasing his new truck on at Pyramid through Bekins Van Lines, Ron never thought he would leave.

As an interesting side note, Ron met his wife Joan while working with Pyramid – she was his dispatcher for many years.  They got married in 1999, bought their first house in 2000, and, as Ron put it, “The rest has been an awesome ride ever since.”  In 2002, shortly after Ron got his new Peterbilt, Joan secretly reached out to us at 10-4 Magazine and sent us some pictures.  She wanted to surprise Ron by putting his truck on our cover without him knowing it.  By then, we had done a few “surprises” like that and, quite frankly, they never worked out well.  We have since made it a policy NOT to do surprises!  Needless to say, it did not work out and Ron’s truck (back then) never got put on our cover.

And now, here we are, 20 years later, finally getting it done.  I asked Ron if he was glad we waited, and I got a resounding “Yes!” from him.  I hope we made it worth the wait, Ron.  I like to think we are better at what we do now, and the magazine has come a long way over the past 20 years regarding quality and color.  Back then, there was no centerfold, the cover story was only about a page or two long, and all the pictures inside were black and white.  Compare that to now, with glossy paper for the cover and now a huge color centerfold, along with a six-page story filled with beautiful full-color pictures, and I’d say it was smart for him to wait – even though he had no idea we would ever be doing this in the future.  Anyway, back to our story.

After running with Pyramid in his Peterbilt for about three years, Ron had a bit of a falling out with the owner one day and, on a whim, he and his buddy Paul Roop, who was also an owner operator at Pyramid, decided to stop at the local licensing place on their way home and apply for their own authority – and Deluxe Distribution was born.  Starting out with just their two trucks, they began hauling trade show stuff for Tri-Valley Transportation in Livermore, CA (to this day Ron still does some hauling for them).  In 2007, Ron got a call from Vince Amato’s brother Steven, who runs Premier Displays & Exhibits in Cypress, CA.  After striking a deal, they became one of Ron’s primary customers, and still are today.

Hauling all sorts of interesting things related to trade shows and entertainment events, Ron also has warehousing space in Santa Fe Springs, CA where he offers storage to many of his clients.  His warehouse is filled with all sorts of weird stuff like a lowrider car made out of Lego bricks (that actually runs and drives), statues and figurines of characters from EA Sports’ video games, and props from various movies and TV shows (he recently did some hauling for The Walking Dead television series).  He also hauls a lot to Comic-Con, an annual convention held in San Diego focused on comic books and superheroes, stuff for Lakers basketball games, and Corona Extra beer (he stores and hauls a 20-foot container that has been converted into a mobile bar and party lounge).

Some of the larger trade show exhibits he has ever hauled were for Skechers Shoes and Hilti Corp., a company that manufactures and sells construction related tools.  The display he hauled for Hilti, which was set up at World of Concrete in Las Vegas, included 27 loads and 30 containers as part of their display.  The booth he hauled for Skechers, to a shoe convention, was massive and also featured 27 loads.  This booth had glass entry doors into the space flanked by real waterfalls on each side – it was amazing!  Most displays are not this elaborate, but Ron, along with a stable of owner operators when needed, is up for the task if they are.  Some of his “go-to” guys are friends of ours and well known in the trucking community – guys like Arlyn Workman, Tony Huttenstine, Danny Castillo, and Dane Nelson.  All these guys, at some point, were featured in our magazine.

Driving that 2002 Peterbilt 379 until 2018, Ron “retired” the truck (which was no longer CARB-compliant in California) and parked it in a corner of his shop.  Since it was paid for and he didn’t want to get rid of it, he just tucked it away.  Purchasing a white 2005 Peterbilt 379 with a 90” ICT bunk and equipped with a DPF, Ron drove this truck for just over a year.  Ron likes white because it goes with everything and is easy to keep clean.  In March of 2019, he bought the 2016 Peterbilt 389 seen here on these pages (and the cover and centerfold) from a guy named Ken Tucker out of Kissimmee, FL.

When he bought the 2016 Peterbilt 389, which had 219,000 miles on the odometer, it was already equipped with the extra tall 120” ARI sleeper and fitted with a 565 Cummins ISX, an 18-speed, and a nice 300” wheelbase.  The truck had good “bones” to start with, but Ron pretty much changed everything else after that.  Ron’s friend Chris Governo of Southside Tow in Bell Gardens, CA (he has since moved to Texas) helped him with many of the modifications, including custom brackets for the Hogebuilt stainless-steel full fenders.  Chris also installed the Air Ride by Horse system on Ron’s front axle, allowing him to raise and lower the truck’s front end at the flip of a switch.

Other modifications done to the truck’s exterior include swapping out the stock exhaust for a 5-inch system from Dynaflex with Pickett elbows, old-school heat shields, and custom chrome-plated brackets underneath, a visor from RLK Services, chopped screens on genuine Vortox air cleaners, and a 20” bumper featuring hand-rolled ends from Valley Chrome.  The truck already had seven bullet-style cab lights on the roof, but Ron switched out all the lenses to real glass, along with every other light on the truck.  Custom steel steps, leading up to the painted Merritt deck plate (black to match the chassis), were made by Ron’s in-house fabricator Cesar.  The final touch was plenty of orange and gray pinstriping done by Danny A (Danny Alvarado) of Danny A Designs in Monrovia, CA.

Purchasing all his lights and accessories from Caliva’s Chrome Shop in Montebello, CA, Ron and Vic Caliva have been friends for a long time.  Vic is a world-famous polisher, a great friend of mine, and a longtime advertiser in 10-4 Magazine (his first ad appeared on the back cover of our October 1993 edition).  Following in his dad’s footsteps, Vic’s son Colby Caliva takes care of all the mobile polishing, and always keeps Ron’s rig looking shiny and bright.

Moving inside the cab, the interior was well appointed but mostly stock when Ron got the truck.  Since then, he has had the door panels and headliner piece reupholstered with black leather and gray double stitching, Danny A pinstriped the lower kick panels and dash, and stainless-steel dual watermelon (glass) dome lights from Pickett Custom Trucks were added to the ceiling.  Ron also installed a Forever Sharp steering wheel, which he had chrome plated, a chrome CB, and custom brake valve knobs that look like little polished aluminum wheels.  Since this is an everyday work truck, Ron kept the black rubber floor and rubber Peterbilt floor mats for practicality purposes – and to be different.

Walking into the large ARI sleeper, which features six inset watermelon lights on the back, Ron and a friend removed the couch that was originally there and built a custom full-sized bed that tucks away when not in use.  This bed is much more comfortable than what the sleeper came with, and when it is folded up, there is still a bench that Ron can sit on.  The sleeper also has a 42” Smart TV with DirecTV, a full bathroom with a toilet and shower, a sink with running water, and a convection microwave oven.  With most of the amenities from home, Ron can comfortably spend extended periods of time in the truck, which is often required in his line of work.

Under the hood sits a clean and tidy 565 Cummins ISX, which has been embellished with a chrome Dynaflex air intake kit, more pinstriping from Danny A along the edges of the wheel wells, and chrome shocks.  The engine has also been fitted with intake and exhaust manifolds from PDI, along with a PDI tune, pumping the 565 up to about 610-hp now.  With 343,000 miles on the truck today, you’d hardly think that by looking at the engine compartment.

Typically hooked to his 52’ 1998 Kentucky furniture van, painted white (duh) with Charcoal Metallic Grey rear doors and nose cone, it also has chrome door handles and a handy Interlift Tuck Under lift-gate.  This trailer also sports orange and gray pinstriping, but it was done by Ron’s previous painter, Brian Stoner, who moved out of the area.  In addition to this trailer, Ron also has a 2017 Reitnouer step deck with a conestoga top, along with a 2012 Dorsey flat floor 53’ van, that are available when needed.

Having only owned a handful of trucks over his long trucking career, three to be exact, for a short time (from 2007 to 2010) Ron also owned a 1985 Kenworth K100.  Fitted with an Aerodyne sleeper and painted to look like a replica BJ and the Bear truck (red and white), Ron used this truck for a few deliveries but mostly just owned it for fun.  Apparently, the ride was a little less than to be desired (rough!) making it not that fun to drive – especially after driving a comfortable Peterbilt for all those years.  After fixing it up a bit and “playing” with it for about three years, he sold the cabover around 2010.

By 2013, Ron’s company had grown to include seven leased owner operators, and things were going great.  Then the pandemic hit in 2019.  Everyone was affected by all the shutdowns, but most not as hard as the trade show and entertainment industries.  This being the core of Ron’s business, he recalled hauling his last trade show load in March of 2019, and then did not haul another one until January 2021.  During that time, Ron cut all his owner operators loose, hooked up to his step deck, and went over-the-road, hauling anything he could put on that trailer.  From machines to steel tubes and everything between, Ron was glad to find work and keep the doors open.  Thankfully, as it seems we might be coming to the end of all this craziness, trade shows, concerts, and other indoor events are starting to happen again, and Ron is finally getting a bit back to normal.

Planning our photo shoot on a perfect Southern California weekend in early February, we were blessed – or maybe cursed – with amazing weather (bright blue skies, temps in the 70s, and nothing but warm sun).  The weather was so nice, everyone decided to go where we were going!  Searching for beach locations and palm trees to represent Southern California, we found a few beautiful spots in Rancho Palos Verdes, an upscale area outside of Los Angeles with amazing estate homes, hiking trails, rocky cliffs, a stunning Trump golf course, and many unobstructed views of the Pacific Ocean.

After driving around all day on Saturday (and I mean all day), we found a few locations, with our favorite being a dirt parking lot next to the Point Vicente Lighthouse (see cover and centerfold pics).  We also found a great ocean view up at the Rancho Palos Verdes City Hall, and decided a sunset shot up there would be amazing, so we did that one on Saturday night, as the sun went down (the land you see out in the ocean is actually Santa Catalina Island, which is 20 miles out from the coast).

After having dinner, we headed over to the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center, which is a train and bus station.  Built in 2014, this futuristic structure features an arched steel frame, covered in glass, and illuminated with lights that change colors every few seconds.  This location was Ron’s idea, and we thought it was a perfect spot for some night shots.  We left our hotel at 9:00 AM that morning and got back around 11:00 PM.  Like I said, it was a long day… and the real shooting hadn’t even begun yet.

Taking most of our pictures on Sunday, it was another perfect day.  Getting finished around 1:00 PM, we headed over to Ron’s shop to get a few final shots hooked to his trailer.  After that, it was time to hang out, relax, and have a few celebratory beers.  Times like these are my favorites – when the work is done and we just chat and get to know each other better.  Life is about people, and forging lasting relationships with the folks in our 10-4 family is paramount to what we do.  A big thank you to Ron Beer and his longtime friend and best buddy from high school Chris Markley for getting the truck ready and
allowing us to hijack their weekend.

When asked about the future, Ron likes being a one-truck operation, with a few owner operators available when needed.  He does not want the stress that comes with trucks and drivers!  Ron’s wife Joan helps run the business, and she has a grown daughter from a previous relationship that lives with them.  This daughter brought a grandchild into their lives in 2007 – a daughter named Hailey (14) – which Ron says was the best thing that ever happened to him.  He loves being a grandfather and adores Hailey and the amazing relationship they have.

Wanting to give a special thank you to his wife Joan, I asked, “For what, exactly?”  To which he quickly and emotionally replied, “Everything!”  He also wanted to thank his mom and dad for not only instilling a great work ethic in him, but also for passing their love of trucking to him.  They were always huge supporters and helpers to Ron, along with Joan’s parents, Mama and Papa Quizon.  Unfortunately, Ron lost his mom in 2002 just a few months before his dad passed away in 2003.  That same year, he also lost his grandpa and a brother – it was a tough time, for sure.  Ron also wanted to say thank you to his nephew Steve Jackman who, among other things, helps him get ready for truck shows and such.

Winding down our long interview, I asked Ron what the most important thing to him was, and he said, “Good friends and bad ass rides!”  This is sort of a moniker he lives by.  Trucking is ever-changing, and there’s nothing we can do about that.  However, we can focus on the good stuff – like real friends and cool trucks – and keep that old-school trucking vibe alive.

If you hang out with like-minded people with cool rides, like the ones mentioned in this article (Arlyn, Tony, Danny, Dane, and Chris Governo), and focus on having fun instead of all the bad stuff, that is what will keep you motivated and moving forward.  And if Ron Beer comes to the party, you always know there will be “Deluxe” accommodations for you to enjoy!

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