What’s It Like to Drive A Giant Hot Dog Car?
Parking in Boston is hard enough. Parking a giant hot dog-shaped car in Boston is even harder, however.
Just ask Cokie Reed, one of Oscar Meyer’s Weinermobile operators, who swung into the city late Wednesday night to begin a four-day promotional campaign through Massachusetts.
“We went to a concert [in Allston], and we took the Wienermobile. Parking was really difficult. But we ended up finding a spot on the street,” she said.
And then there is sitting in traffic, as people stop and stare at the 27-foot-long vehicle. “The traffic has definitely been something to get used to. We have been to about probably 15 different states, and the traffic here, I’m not used to it,” she said.
Besides that though, Reed, whose work name is “Cold Cut Cokie,” something bestowed upon her by her employer, Oscar Meyer, said she enjoys traveling the country in the hot dog car.
A graduate of the University of Texas, Reed was an avid sports player but decided after school, before looking for a long-term career, she would enter what is known as “Hot Dog High,” a two-week program where Oscar Meyer’s trains recent graduates to drive their Wienermobile.
She is one of twelve “Hotdoggers” currently traveling the highways. The twelve employees were selected from over 1,200 applicants.
“It’s kind of like driving a large SUV. They train us with minivans. I would say the turning radius is the hardest to get used to, you really have to get used to that. But they prepare us for that in training.” said Reed of her year-long gig, which ends next June. “Driving it is a blast, though. Who wouldn’t want to drive a 27-foot-long hot dog?”
She said drivers get used to pointing and honking, too, when the Wienermobile hits the streets, and that it’s all part of the promotional campaign to “spread miles of smiles.”
Reed said she has a coordinator back in Madison, Wisconsin, who plans out their trips. Right now, she is on her East Coast beat.
The Wienermobile left Boston Thursday morning, and is now headed to several spots in Western Massachusetts, including the Hanscom Air Force Base.
Reed and her driving partner, Sam, will be on this side of the country until January, then they will reroute, head back to headquarters for an annual meeting, and then get shipped out on their next adventure in a different region.
“It has been a good experience to get around the country. I have always traveled, but I haven’t had the opportunity to be a tourist. I get to work and be a tourist now. It’s been a real good opportunity for me,” she said.