First, she noticed that many had classic trucks parked on the premises. Then she realized that those classic trucks kept popping up, like a hood with a bad latch, in many of her photographs.
"By winery number five or six, it dawned on me how nice it would be to have a collection of photographs of the old trucks," she said. "That's when the obsession began."
Harris captured 60 of these timeless trucks in her self-published book, "Wine Country Trucks of Napa & Sonoma Counties," released in April. In the 150-page book, she captures an eclectic assortment of vintage vehicles, from cherished and chipped to gleaming and glamorous.
"To me, the old trucks are works of art," she said.
Originally, Harris envisioned a simple coffee table book. But she ended up collecting stories about each truck as well, weaving them into a tapestry that reflected Wine Country's earthy past.
"The book became more about the agricultural stories and adventures," she said. "Through lengthy interviews, sheer determination and sometimes mild pestering, I was able to discover their untold stories."
For example, Harris photographed a 1927 Ford Roadster that has hauled turkeys, hay and feed in
"The valley had a thriving moonshine industry, and this truck was a moonshine runner," Harris said. "It made many a moonlit ride on the back roads of
Then there was the 1961 Willys Jeep that worked for the
"They still get visitors from the
Harris also photographed a hulking 1928 Ford AA -- still boasting all of its original parts -- parked at
The owner of
"That's a very unusual Woody, because it has a Country Squire emblem on the side," Harris said. "It's in perfect condition."
One beauty -- a 1952 International Harvester truck -- was restored to mint, 1950s condition outside, and updated inside with a Corvette engine. The sleek black truck was a gift from
Along with winery mascots, you'll find cafÉ mascots as well, which lend an air of retro chic to roadhouses like the
Yet others are rusty relics, with one tire in the final parking place and the other in the wrecking yard. A 1946 Chevy flatbed, once used to haul grape pomace and wine pallets, has been put out to pasture at the south end of
Harris grew up in the
Up in Bend, she worked as a real estate broker and lived on a ranch, where she kept an old truck for carting hay and making dump runs.
"His name was Wally," she said. "It was a 1971 Ford, faded orange with a lot of chips."
Harris uncovered Wine Country's hidden trove of trucks by scouring the Internet and through word of mouth. She would contact the truck owners, then set up a photo shoot.
"They'd wash the truck and put it out for me to photograph," she said. "They saw my vision."
Her first book-signing at
"It was epic," she said.
The books are available at 32 wineries and retail outlets in both
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