I was out on the West Coast, trying to make a buck and things didn't work out; I was down on my luck
Got tired a-roaming and bumming around so I started thumbing back East, toward my hometown.
Made a lot of miles, the first two days and I figured I'd be home in week, if my luck held out this way
But, the third night I got stranded, way out of town at a cold, lonely crossroads, rain was pouring down.
I was hungry and freezing, done caught a chill when the lights of a big semi topped the hill
Lord, I sure was glad to hear them air brakes come on and I climbed in that cab, where I knew it'd be warm.
At the wheel sit a big man, he weighed about two-ten he stuck out his hand and said with a grin
'Big Joe's the name,' I told him mine and he said: 'The name of my rig is Phantom 309.'
I asked him why he called his rig such a name he said: 'Son, this old Mack can put them all to shame
There ain't a driver, or a rig, a-running any line ain't seen nothing but taillights from Phantom 309.'
Well, we rode and talked the better part of the night when the lights of a truck stop came in sight
He said: 'I'm sorry son, this is as far as you go cause, I gotta make a turn, just on up the road.'
Well, he tossed me a dime as he pulled her in low and said: 'Have yourself a cup on old Big Joe.'
When Joe and his rig roared out in the night in nothing flat, he was clean out of sight.
Well, I went inside and ordered me a cup told the waiter Big Joe was setting me up
Aw you could-a heard a pin drop, it got deathly quiet and the waiter's face turned kind-a white.
Well, did I say something wrong? I said with a halfway grin he said: 'Naw, this happens every now and then
Every driver in here knows Big Joe but son, let me tell you what happened about ten years ago.
At the crossroads tonight, where you flagged him down there was a busload of kids, a-coming from town
And they were right in the middle, when Big Joe topped the hill it could have been slaughter, but he turned his wheel.
Well, Joe lost control, went into a skid and gave his life to save that bunch-a kids
And there at that crossroads, was the end of the line for Big Joe and Phantom 309
But, every now and then, some hiker'll come by and like you, Big Joe'll give them a ride
Here, have another cup and forget about the dime keep it as a souvenir, from Big Joe and Phantom 309!'