Des Moines, Iowa - Charles Bowles is a long distance truck driver. He is also a rabid Star Wars fanatic. Today, Bowles is standing beside his brand new rig, "Millennium Truckin'." Inspired by a DAF 95XF he saw sporting Star Wars themed artwork at a European truck festival, Bowles went to work developing his own vision of a Star Wars trailer.
"Boy, oh boy," said Bowles with a whistle, "this is one red letter day for me. I always identified with Han Solo - not that I'm a smuggler mind you - and I named this rig for his ship, the Millennium Falcon. Just look at her will you?"
In January, Bowles won $100,000 playing the Iowa State Lottery "Xtreme Green" scratch-game. He used these funds to finally make his dream a reality. "I've been dreaming and saving and dreaming and saving for a long, long time," he explained. "I have a good business but to kit myself out the way I wanted to, I needed a bit more capital. This money was just what the doctor ordered."
"Millennium Truckin'" features a Great Dane P-101 high-cube freight van that is towed by a Kenworth T2000 long-haul tractor. Both the tractor and the trailer feature a custom paint job that illustrate many famous and familiar scenes from the Star Wars film saga - including scenes from the upcoming installment, "Revenge of the Sith."
"To be honest, I had the tractor and trailer all squared away with the dealer, but I didn't want to make my move until I could do it right, and that meant this awesome paint job. And believe me, artwork like this isn't cheap," said Bowles, gently running his hand along the side of the cab. "Just look at that airbrush work will you. I don't know whether I should drive it or park it in a museum."
Bowles wife Patrice isn't as enamored with her husband's new acquisition. "Sure it looks pretty," she admitted, "but there was a whole lot of good could have come from having $100,000 in the bank. I know there's taxes and whatnot, but it would have been nice to have had some say in where that money all went."
"In December, we didn't have this money, but I had a dream," said Bowles. "Now, we still don't have the money, but my dream has come true. I'm not sure why Patty doesn't get that logic."
For now though, Charles Bowles isn't going to let anything stand in the way of his happiness. As he slowly rolls off the lot, he sounds the trucks horn. Rather than the traditional sound motorists are familiar with, the Star Wars theme blasts from Bowles' rig. Behind the wheel he is beaming.