Alaskan Duramax Pulls Big Weight

Owner: Rene Garza

While Rene Garza calls Alaska his home, his business Northern Cross Transport keeps him away for most of the year. In fact, he hasn’t been home in 17 months! The road and mountain range in his company logo is an actual photographic view from his hometown of Soldotna that he uses to remind himself of where he comes from. The name comes from the astronomical asterism in the northern hemisphere of the celestial sphere, corresponding closely with the constellation Cygnus the Swan. It is also the backbone of the Milky Way and can be seen clearly in the night sky of his hometown.

Rene tows heavy equipment far and wide on his trailer for a living. Some examples of the equipment transported are excavators, bulldozers, loaders and other big loads… up to 23,000 pounds big. When companies need to transport this type of equipment from state to state, Rene is a trusted go-to transportation service. But it’s not just the United States that Rene services, he often transports to and from Canada as well. In fact, with over 25 years of driving (18 under his own authority) Rene has traveled most of the US, all of Canada, Antarctica, New Zealand, Peru, Australia. He is no a stranger to the open road.

His all-purpose tool of choice, and the backbone of his business, is his 2019 Chevrolet Silverado L5P Duramax. After having a Peterbilt as his tow rig years ago, Rene finds his Chevy more economical in every way, and just as capable. “Less engine oil to go through,” Rene explains, “instead of 10 tires I have six, and literally half the annual fuel costs. Overhead costs are about half of what they were across the board.” What made him choose the Duramax? “Since birth, I’ve been a GM guy,” says Rene, “I’d never drive a Ford or Ram. I just don’t like the taste or smell of them, you know? If you were to give me one, I’d trade it in. I’m loyal to my brand, which is GM. I’d put my truck toe-to-toe with any of them. This one-ton truck tows right under 50,000 lbs. This thing is a beast!”

Because his business depends on his truck, Rene does his best to take care of it. “I treat this truck like I would treat a big truck. Service intervals religiously, and I also do maintenance on it myself being that I’m a heavy equipment mechanic. I went to Universal Technical Institute in Arizona and have an associate’s in automotive transmission (both automatic and standard), refrigeration and air conditioning. I’ve worked on just about anything from a CAT tractor to a Rolls Royce. I’ve put on everything that Banks makes for it to get the extra power I need for towing, Bilstein shocks, and an auxiliary fuel tank, 16 ply tires all around.”

So what does one do if they want to hit the open road and be their own boss doing something like what Rene is doing? Well the answer is rather simple: ask him! “I’m usually posting on Instagram, which populates my Facebook and Twitter feeds automatically. I don’t consider myself a mentor, but I’ve learned a lot in my years doing this. Back when I was getting on my feet with my own business there was no internet, so I learned a lot by just doing. I’ve made mistakes and learned how to do this whole thing successfully. There’s a lot that I can pass along, so I’m happy to answer questions from folks looking to get into this line of business.”