I was out on the West Coast, tryin' to make a buck And things didn't work out, I was down on my luck Got tired a-roamin' and bummin' around So I started thumbin' back East, toward my home town.
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 pourin' down.
I was hungry and freezin', 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 'em all to shame There ain't a driver, or a rig, a-runnin' any line Ain't seen nothin' 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 nothin' flat, he was clean out of sight.
Well, I went inside and ordered me a cup Told the waiter Big Joe was settin' me up Aw!, you coulda heard a pin drop, it got deathly quiet And the waiter's face turned kinda white.
Well, did I say something wrong? I said with a halfway grin He said: "Naw, this happens every now and then Ever' 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 bus load of kids, comin' 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 'em a ride Here, have another cup and forget about the dime Keep it as a souvenir, from Big Joe and Phantom 309