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15th August 2018. Listening to the same story in a different place.

TIV-Logo jpegTRUCK That Australia Drivers Club logo

I am in Columbus Ohio and have just had dinner, walked to a local supermarket for supplies for meals tomorrow and on the way back spoke with a local Police Officer, parked in a servo. I asked him did he have much to do with trucks and he said no. I said there are quite a few round here, using the motels etc and he agreed, but again, said they did not have any trouble with the trucks.

I then asked about the rust I see in a percentage of cars and do they do inspections? “No, they used to many years ago, but not now” he said. It seems you can drive it till it dies and many do. In a rest area last week, I am nearly sure the thin cargo strap around the ute body, could have been all that was holding the thing together and would have taken a photo, but the fellow inside may have taken offence.

I hear broken exhausts, brakes rubbing as cars drive past and see the rust, through mudguards and over wheels and under doors, often all together on one vehicle, at least a number of times a day and even in the big cities. When I told the officer we would not be even allowed out the gate like that, he said ”Oh really, MMMM”.

I then walked up to a trucker and his wife and another driver. I said I had two questions, the first is that I don’t see many Western Stars? He said they are around and Western Star is owned by Freightliner and it is like the difference between a Chev and a Cadillac (basic and luxury) and he had this truck built for him in 2017. He was too long to legally pull his 3 pup (28 foot trailers each with dolly at front and single axle at rear) in his 379 Pete on the Ohio and other turnpikes (read freeways) and so he bought this and went from 4 and a half MPG to over 7, but he also now does 1500 revs at 73 MPH with a 12 speed auto against the 18 speed manual, the gear fast run slow ethic gaining more and more momentum.

The second was my basic question, “What is your biggest safety concern on the highway” and this is where the title comes in. For all intents and purposes, he could have been as Aussie truckie with all of his comments, bar one. “Car drivers are the biggest problem, you leave a space and they fill it. I had a friend have a car pull in front not leaving enough room and he hit the car, the car driver told the Police “I was just sitting here at the lights waiting to turn and the truck hit me”, the trucker gave the police his dash cam and all was sorted quickly.” I said I too have heard that story and do you know that the idea of recording cars to protect us, because no one would believe a car driver would be so stupid (don’t we wish) was first done by an Australian Truckdriver.

He said he is going to get a camera soon and then we went onto my trip and why etc. I told him I think the UK lorry drivers are worse off as they have no one working for them and asked about here. He is a member of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) and believes they are trying, but they are fighting the government, who all know better and are happy to tell us how to do our job, whether they could or not. I have emailed OOIDA with no luck, the emails bounce, but do plan to catch up with them at GATS.

What about truckers? Yes there is that too, not being trained properly and the public think this is the easiest job in the world, yet say when they get the chance to see things from our side, who would do that job?

He went on “These ELDs are forcing blokes to drive tired, they don’t allow for traffic etc, blokes are pushing from the minute they start the clock and no one else cares about us.” “I wish we could all get together and shut down for a week” and I said as I have before, I have more chance flying to the moon in your truck and he agreed. I then explained those who have advocated blockades in Australia will simply be pushed off the road by the authorities and that unless you have two important things, someone or a group the industry will stand behind and a short list of both, problems and solutions, the government will simply laugh at you.

He then spoke of a lack of rest areas, Police in some states who will write up drivers for parking on freeway ramp shoulders, no excuses accepted at all. The fact that the industry is simply there now for revenue, as the authorities are not getting it like they used to and on one occasion, when pulled up by a trooper, who could find nothing wrong with the truck, then wanted his logs and seemed to get very annoyed when he could find nothing wrong. Our trucker said, “Isn’t that how it is supposed to be?” but the officer clearly had the bothers, that he could not write him a ticket.

California not being just a different state, but a different country etc and whilst I had said to him after the first five minutes, can I go and get my video camera, you are saying all I have heard, but altogether and quite well, but he was not keen. While he works for a broker, the trailer had a name that some would know in Australia from many years ago in that section of the industry and I was holding them up as they were about to go and eat.

I apologised and then he asked me about, you guessed it, our roadtrains. They do have what we would call a roadtrain (and I mistakenly labelled the two or three short trailer combos as turnpike doubles previously, yet it seems as here as at home, where you are changes what something means), but they pull two 53 foot trailers as turnpike doubles in the USA (or as Heavy Goods Vehicles HGVs, in Canada) and with their long trucks, would well exceed our 36.5 metres. They talk in miles here and I can cope with that, but weights in pounds still has me thinking about conversions, and normally by then the driver is on the next comment.

So a wrap up to this point of the trip. Truckdrivers biggest problem on the roads are car drivers who do not, or have never been taught, to understand trucks. There is a much smaller problem with other truck drivers, but it is there and is growing. Electronic Logs (ELDs) are putting more pressure on many and not all are coping. Some have no problem with them and it seems this is largely due to the type of work and or where you run and or, who you work for.

The ELDs have exacerbated the lack of rest areas in some states and I have seen a site yesterday on a four lane highway where you can access it from both directions, yet there is a slow down lane barely big enough for a single car on the opposite side and none at all on the rest area side and traffic in a 70 MPH zone, has to nearly stop in the lane to enter the rest area and or cross the road and traffic drives back and forth across the highway with barely a car length between sides. This in a state that also has a rest area with a near mansion for a toilet block and acres of gardens around it, that you would be proud to have in a show place.

My Western Star friend did say he thought the government was being driven by certain groups baying about road safety, but the trucking industry was not being given its voice and certainly not the drivers and the government will follow the loudest noise.
In the theme of good news which must of course be a good way to end this, when sitting on the balcony with my new friend Bruce at his home in Toronto Canada and having a beer, my first for the trip, I got a call to say I had not been successful in my bid to win funding for more Green Reflector Informal Truck Bays. Now to be fair I have just got the Newell done and I will both say thanks to NHVR for their help and support in achieving that and look forward to doing some press in that regard when I return.

However, the next call was from my partner in all things trucking in Australia, Stephen from Whiteline Television and http://www.truckingnation.com.au to say he had been successful in winning funding for us to do the TRUCKIES TOP TEN TIPS (for sharing the road with trucks) on video. Our aim is to do it professionally and make it available to all road authorities as a resource, so that new drivers will see and hopefully recognise some of our issues when they get on the road as well as making it available to all others who can use it to teach or simply, to see our side of things. I have been promoting these tips for nearly 20 years now and have had some terrific comments and support, but it has been a long time coming to be able to do it in such a way and with Stephens incredible and professional talent with a camera, I know it will be top notch.

Congratulations to all others who have been successful with projects and I hope each and every one of these, helps to improve road safety for all Australians. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

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13th September 2022

Goodaye all, sorry for the gap, there is often very little spare time and whilst I have kept busy, I have spent some time chilling, watching a bit of tv and trying to very slowly, complete the last of the excellent Robin Hobb Assassins Apprentice series. I am onto the last book, number 9 and am filling gaps, but don’t want it to finish. I very much enjoyed the Rangers Apprentice, even more as it was written by an Australian to get his boys to read, but this is even better.

The meeting with Minister Burke in Canberra was preceded by an informal meeting with Minister Kings Transport advisor in the lobby. He has come back to Aus from a stint in Canada and we spoke of his time there and the need for more driver involvement. I have offered him a trip when back on the road. The meeting I was there for started at 3.30 and there was a wide range of industry, union, associations, suppliers, transport, retailers and also the gig economy was represented.

Minister Tony Burke opened with an overview and thanked the industry for its efforts during covid. His advisors then offered an outline and then Glen Sterle gave a passionate lead in to the discussions.

Each attendee was given a chance for comment, including my self, but in one way, being one of the last, meant I could take notes and not only fill gaps, but then be suer I could cover what others had missed or not considered. This meeting was to pursue and then hopefully see enacted, the first two recommendations for the Senate inquiry into a Safe and Viable Road Transport Industry. It was then to report or contribute to the skill and employment meetings held in Canberra that week.

Had I not been on workers comp and still attended, I would have been the only person not being paid to attend and the only full time driver, out of the 30 or so attendees. There were some via zoom, academics including Professor Michael Quinlan who was the chair of the “Beyond the Midnight Oil” inquiry. I spoke of contributing to many such things, my role and the importance of having drivers involved. I did state I recognize the good intent of all, unions and associations, but again pushed that none of them, or those attending, live fulltime on the road and so do not live the life and fully understand the ramifications of it.

I was told I had delivered a passionate and powerful message by the Minister and all were informed this meeting would see results. It was specifically stated, it was not a matter of if anything would be done, it will and the only issue was when! I do believe it was worth the effort to drive down and have a say, it was my last day with the sling on and I wore it there not just to protect the shoulder, but to hopefully lessen the chance of being bumped or patted on the sore one. I did attend (and have two lemonades) at the dinner held by the TWU after the meeting finished at 5, but left at 9. It was agreed by all, and many from the Ministers meeting did attend, that it had been a long road covering many years, that the job was certainly not done or complete, but it was a good start and the intent to finally have an industry body to contribute and be a part of industry change. It is a good start and will only work if all keep pushing.  

I had planned to stay in Canberra for the night, but had physio the next day and so headed home and ended up doing my spot on Nightshift at Wellington, before getting home and to bed in the rain.

I have some jobs still to do on the truck, am chasing some suppliers about bits and pieces and hope to have it all done, (with just the rear taillights to be fitted when I can get it to Brisbane) and then the cupboards. Once I have a date for return and the 50 year trailers are complete, it will be back into it for another 4 or 5 years, with new trailers due next year. I will have to reengage with many who were willing to supply parts and photos and support for the trailers, it has taken longer than I hoped, but many have commented on the look of the truck and with its dedicated trailers, it will look the part and do the job. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

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7th August 2022 a new left hand shoulder for my birthday.

Goodaye all, well home with the new shoulder, but the surgeon said the tendons reattached itself and while it was further down than he would have liked, it would have been silly to cut and then reattach again. Shoulder was said to be a big tear, not as much meat as he would have liked to secure to, but believes it will work and keep me going for a few more years if I do the correct rehab and don’t do anything silly. Pain is ok unless I move the wrong way and the biggest problem is as it was before, trying to sleep wearing a sling and after surgery.

Hope to do a few tidy up jobs on the truck and to finish some lights, then return with the Rod Pilon Transport 50 year trailers all done and looking the goods till new trailers in the new year. Will stay short and sweet, keep safe on the road and talk soon. Cheers and Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

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31st July 2022 now for left shoulder surgery.

Goodaye all. I had a couple of things planned for this week, last minute found they were having a K220 Kenworth launch night in Dubbo, would have been good to have a look and was then to be in Canberra for a convoy Saturday and then dinner, but Thursday night headed to St George to unload. That was OK, all open and ready by the time they opened up, had another plan to fix some green reflector sites with time to spare on my way home and the rest would fall into place.

But when unloaded got a call, come into Brisbane to load. Now looking at distance and time and the need for a DG registered trailer, thought MMMM, this will be tight. Made it with a few minutes to change trailers at the yard and go and load bulk DG before they went home for the week-end. It must be nice to work normal hours and be able to plan a life and stuff. Back to the yard, play trailer musicals, drop loaded one, hook up my A trailer, drop the B I had brought in and then hook up the loaded one again. Ready to leave Brisbane with already 8 hours in my book, so off to Fisher Park for tea.

The TIK Tok video “safetravelling, TRUCKSTOPS AND LIVING ON THE ROAD” has obviously hit a note with some, many remembering the times back when you looked for trucks parked and that was where you got a good feed on the road. It must be hard for truckstops, we struggled during covid when the authorities initially closed them down, then we complained and they reopened them, only to have some police threaten them with big fines. Glen Sterle had far more weight than a single truckie and got some saneness back into play, but it should not have been that hard to recognise, that truckies need good food, as well as decent rest areas for good sleep, let alone access to toilets etc to survive and stay fit on the road to deliver everything to everyone.

Truckstops struggled like many businesses which lost much of their trade and like so many now, are finding it hard to get enough good and competent staff to service their customers, us and others. The few that still look after us, like Fisher Park at the top of the Gap where I did the video, are getting rarer and those that have to reduce hours or such, can then find we look elsewhere. What is the solution?

I am off to get surgery on my left shoulder this week, then 5 weeks in a sling and start physio and hopefully back to work in 10 weeks or less. May be a bit slower, but keen to get truck and trailers sorted and get to some shows. New trailers now hopefully sorted for the new year, then four more years of trying to see change and safer roads for all in my spare time. I will be continuing most of my other activities, blog, radio, column etc and hope to see you all soon. Safe travelling, Rod Hannifey.  

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24th July 2022

Goodaye all, back to a semblance of a normal week, just two trips to Brisbane and leaving again today, for up there tomorrow. Got my medical done last Monday morning with some discussion on time and an eye report, but have that booked for next week to complete and then have handed in, in time for the due date. Got held over in Brisbane Tuesday and ended up doing a delivery to a produce store, then the second trip up, better timing but another delivery down to Beaudesert.

Will have my old trailers on later today, they are showing a bit of age but the whole unit still does its’ job of promoting the road transport industry and road safety and I now have some certainty of a new set of trailers in the new year that will match the new truck and then I will have maybe four more years to push that barrow.

But next Tuesday I will be in surgery now for my left shoulder. Had the right done last year and that went well, but have again completely torn the tendon (so no real pain and have “Popeye” syndrome on both arms now) and damaged the shoulder and was told the same, yes I may get away with it for a year or two, but there is a chance I may then not be able to lift my arm above my shoulder and if I want to keep working for another four or five years, it should be done.

So off to Sydney Monday, home on my birthday with a fixed shoulder, then 5 weeks in a sling, then physio and hopefully, with an auto, Kenworths fold out cab steps, my RPT 50 years rear trailer finally done with gate skates and new curtains, back to work even if gently, sometime soon after that. While I am off the truck will have the finishing touches that we have not had time to do, completed, a service and will be ready to go and with the smick trailers, keen to get to some events and of course, work on the design and set up of the new trailers too.

Will still be doing all the other stuff and for those of you who listen to the spot on Triple M Tuesday morning, the CEO of the NHVR, Sal Petrocitto will be on and answering questions for the first hour this week. I hope to have some others join in at times and we will see how this goes. Got to finish a small job on the truck etc, so till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

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14th July 2022 NRFA Conference and TIV K200 hits 100,000

Goodaye all. A mid-week post to catch up, simply have been flat out running to keep up. Out Sunday over a week ago to load, a couple of issues with a DC timeslot Monday in Melbourne, then nowhere to camp, typical to many. Had a kip and then out of Melbourne for Brisbane, in Wednesday, load one trailer ready to run out to Toowoomba, load another Thursday for another driver and load, then out to Toowoomba that night as truck booked in for 100,000 service there for Friday. Did a local radio interview early Friday morning, to the bank to sort an association change-over of signatories etc, lunch and back to wait for the truck. Full day, but then not told it was ready, not clean and off to our informal dinner for NRFA Board and guests before the conference.

Had to leave at 8.30 PM whilst most others having a beer or two, to take another trailer to Brisbane and pick up my other two for my b-triple to Mt Isa. Back after midnight, shower and bed by two and up at 6 for the conference. Thanks to all who made it happen, lots of work behind the scenes by a small crew and from where I sit, it went well, but I will let others decide that.

Dinner that night, awards given out to deserving industry people, had an auction and thanks to those who contributed, all will be listed on our NRFA page. Up early for our truckies breakfast, in one way our only failure. A Sunday morning at Charlton, it seems most had already left to get to their destinations, but we had 6 health checks done and I left at 11 AM and made it to my delivery point with about 5 minutes to spare the following afternoon a long way away.

Pressure off then, into Mt Isa Monday night and Tuesday some fun local deliveries, load and leave that afternoon, finally into Brisbane this morning and do a dog run, taking trailers out to then pick up my third and try and deliver a container, rang ahead, yes come, got there, we can’t unload that here now with the forks we have, so another hour or two wasted.

It has been a big few weeks in many ways, some k’s done, some green reflectors done, some small wins (yet to be seen but hopeful) with lights and other issues in Central Qld. Our conference done and of course, it alone did not fix the problems, we now have to continue all the behind the scenes work and effort to try and see some of those issues addressed, unless of course you will do it all for us? And then there is family that I have not seen much of, so no post this week-end as I hope to be home Saturday, but either out Sunday or a yearly medical to do Monday and then on the road again. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

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2nd July 2022, NRFA Conference is coming next week-end in Toowoomba.

Goodaye all, home Friday afternoon, out Sunday lunch. A bit of time to catch up with the family. Even planned to go to the pictures, but busy for school hols in NSW, so hopefully next time, but that will be a few weeks away. Trying to refit some shelves in the sleeper gap till I get some cupboards in the future, the KW ones pretty expensive and hope I can end up with something more workable. Icepack Services Toowoomba doing some very well thought out, designed and fitted cupboards inside and also excellent work outside and they will be helping. Sick of stuff on the floor behind the seats, so will try this for the interim.

Next week-end is the NRFA Conference in Toowoomba, so off to Melbourne tomorrow, load for Brissie from there, plan to be in Wednesday, unload, load a flat top loaded and take to Toowoomba, then truck booked in for 100,000 service in Toowoomba Friday, down and pick up two loaded “A” trailers that night after dinner and then have to be in Cloncurry by Monday afternoon with the “B” triple. So off straight after our truckies breakfast at the BP Charlton Sunday 10th July 7AM till noon.

All are welcome to attend the conference at the Toowoomba Golf Club, no charge to attend, but we would certainly like you to let us know you will be attending. If you want to attend the dinner that night, with an auction, Yogi Kendall as guest speaker, you will need to purchase tickets and again, let us know if you want to attend so we can cover for catering and numbers. The truckies breakfast is free and we will have a special sponsored brekkie deal on the day, so come along, have a say or ask a question and sign up and join the NRFA.

I have to catch up with my audiobooks page, pack some clothes and sort some more things for next week, so will keep it short and ask you to consider attending the conference and hope you will and come and say Goodaye. Till next time, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

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25th June 2022 Away again, naturally.

Goodaye all, back to normal it seems, in Brisbane now having a 24 hour break before heading off to Mackay in the morning. Thought I was getting two days home before off to Isa again, planned to go to the movies with my eldest son, started work on my extra steps on the truck, then told, no sorry, plans changed and off to work that night.

Into Newcastle for a couple of drops, pick ups and then load, again to find some changes, leave a bit off and now have to go to Brisbane to add in an urgent tank, even had to put a boat on, so good for floods, but the little 4hp won’t pull the b-double out of too much water.

Up the Pacific in the daylight, something I haven’t done in a while and again, welcome the Stopping Bays, but after a good feed at Moorelands and then trying to get into Brissie to get my 24 hour break in and by dark and into Queensland, the lack of anywhere to stop on the Gold Coast motorway into Brissie, not a stopping bay or even a shoulder for nearly the whole length is a concern and is on the list to TMR.

So have had some time today to catch up, complain to Transport for NSW about losing some more truck bays, TMR about some sideroads on the Landsborough Highway to see if we can have them left there for trucks and emails, friend requests etc.

Much work on the phone with setting up stuff for our conference coming up in Toowoomba, looking good and with many saying they will come.

Having missed an important meeting re the HVNL review on Friday, where I had to work, funny that, I have just spent an hour reading, another doing a survey and another responding to the suggestions. I have added a comment that we as drivers are the ones most affected, both now and into the future, yet how can I be involved when I have to work? This must change.

So into the shower, then bed and on the road in the morning. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

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19th June 2022 A weekend at home (or half at least)

Goodaye all, well half a week-end at home, the first for a while. Many drivers seem to be flat out, there are not enough people to do the work, whether it be mechanics, packers, drivers and even barristas. Heard there are currently 13,000 adds for them, I did not think we had that many!

So another trip north, this time as an ab-triple to a mine, then home to load cotton, unload cotton at another gin, then reload at yet another and back to Dubbo, a short visit home while the truck got a service (missed an “A” but back on track now) then Brisbane as a b-triple and home as a b-double. A fairly big week, nearly 5,500 ks, but some loading and unloading in there as well.

Many calls and time on the phone during the week with details and discussions re the NRFA Conference in Toowoomba on the 9th July at the Toowoomba Golf Club, a dinner that night with speaker and auction, then a Truckies Breakfast at the BP Charlton on Sunday 10th. BP will offer a free coffee with breakfast and Haultech Engineering, who you may know as the makers of the excellent ICEPACK, have agreed to sponsor the breakfast, so you should get a cheap brekkie, full details yet to be confirmed.

We will have a couple of speakers in the Saturday morning session, then a panel discussion with a wide group seeking to not only discuss issues, but to come up with some solutions to a few industry problems. We won’t solve them on the day, but we hope to be genuine and if all invited do attend, have those there who can make some decisions and hopefully then some headway.

So outside of a couple of jobs on the truck, I did look at “The Ice Road” movie as was fairly disappointed, stopped watching when it got too ridiculous, but will finish one day when nothing better to do. There have been few trucking movies that show us well, most want to highlight the bad, even Smokey and the Bandit, for the incredible success it was, showed a less than legal side. When “Prime Mover” was due to be filmed, they had an info session at the Dubbo Tourist building and I dropped in and offered my view and of course, wanted a spot for a truck promoting the industry and road safety. I was told that I would be the only one who watched it and they needed more.

For those of you who have seen it (and I did mange to be home to attend the premiere in Dubbo) it did not do the industry many favours. Yes it had a love story and a sort of truck love story too with the young bloke following his Dad, but it had a bad side and was a bit too contrived, for me at least.

So with Slim long gone, no good movies or much trucking music, we need someone new or if Jimmy Barnes will do another trucking song for us, maybe we will get heard somewhere else. Come on Jimmy, come for a trip and sing us a new song. Till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

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16th May 2022 from 11th now on TIK Tok too.

Goodaye all, I have a mate who calls me a media tart (or something like that depending on company at the time) and he has been in the media and music industry for years. So to keep up the good work, I put up my first TikTok video on my way to Darwin two weeks ago. Since then I have done two more and most comments have been good, a couple not so, but you can’t please all the people all the time. So if keen, check out “safetravelling” and let me know what you think.

Made a call to NT Dept of Infrastructure from Augathella on the way home from Darwin and I was very impressed when someone rang me back within 15 minutes. I have detailed some concerns, sent him some plans and details and will see where that goes. Had a phone hook up with Transport for NSW on some rest area work north of and hopefully eventually in Dubbo as well, there were four industry people invited and Tpt for NSW have listened to our concerns and made some changes to planning for each, but even more specifically the Tycannah Creek Rest Areas south of Moree. I was told of plans to “improve” these sites nearly 12 months ago, spent ages and many calls asking to see their plans and when finally got a copy, was not impressed.

I said that if they planned to remove any of the trees, we would have a big and public brawl. They have now changed their first plans to remove some of the trees, so I thank them for listening and hope this is a new and ongoing communication that will see us far more likely to have more input well before such things are done, because then it is too late to fix. The money is hard to come by and once built, you can’t fix it to work for us, no matter how good the original intent was.

Off to hook up a b-triple, then to Bourke to re-configure into an AB Triple and away north again. So only a short visit home and back into the frey. Till next week, Safe Travellling, Rod Hannifey.  

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5th June 2011 Darwin Ho!

Goodaye all, back into Mt Isa yesterday from Darwin, where it was nice and warm and muggy for all you southerners freezing your bits off. A bit of a drive with three trailers, lots of photos and some realisations. I stopped at some roadhouses and some truck bays and some new green reflector bays, but was talking with a driver at Truck Central, the big new roadtrain site at Wishart and he said his wife had come up for a trip and made a comment.

A moment aside here, what a good site, plenty of room for parking up to triples, a loading ramp, (which I used to double up trailers) and when I suggested it was good BP had built it, some one said (and I tried to ring, but will confirm) that yes BP built the fueling site, but NT Dept of Infrastructure supplied the funds/land for the parking. This has been done in Queensland before at Miriam Vale, but then the servo burnt down and some truckies complained the vanners took it over. It is a better way to get what we need and will be pursued much further.

His wife had said, “How come all the truck bays have bins and nothing else and all the car/caravan bays have toilets and shade and tables?” I had looked at some truck bays, stopped in one to make a phone call and thought they looked big enough, were paved and mostly (a few were missing some signage and the skidmarks confirm others miss them too) well signed. I looked at the many bays for caravans, mostly with NO TRUCK signs and thought they looked OK too.

But once this subject was raised, I looked a lot closer on the way back south. Many years ago, I did a trip up with Simons National Carriers and recall then, the one place with a toilet sign, you could not even park a semi on the shoulder to go and use the loo, let alone a triple and it seems, little has changed. There may have been one southbound caravan bay, where you could park safely on the shoulder, but most not.

So where do truckies go to the loo????????? How can they build some for them and not for us? Yes we can go to truckstops, but so can all the others, caravans have their own showers and toilets in some, but I am yet to see a truck with a toilet, but is that how far removed the road managers are from reality, that they think trucks have toilets?????

So I will be contacting NT Transport and Infrastructure with a list tomorrow on my way south. There are some big gaps. Next truck bay 75K etc, there were only two green reflector bays, but by magic a few more appeared over the last couple of days, and toilets. From Mt Isa to the border, signed stopping bays at least filled the gaps between truck bays, but north from Augathella on the way up I had a strap come loose and was looking for a spot to stop for kilometres. Asked another driver to be told of a spot completely unmarked, but you can turn a triple roadtrain in there, yet wouldn’t even know. That too now has some green reflectors.

So TMR Qld will also be getting a call, but I did try that last week and spent over 30 minutes on the phone till it dropped out.

But then there is the far bigger subject and problem, why are we going backwards with truckstops? I think the blame lies with Woolies and Caltex when they started to build in shopping centres, that became their focus, then Coles/Shell tried to compete and then shut every one of their truckstops, including in Mt Isa which now has bugger all. So now Caltexs such as Yamba, Nebo, Longreach, Wyong, Yarroweah and others have over the last few years, closed their kitchens and we are left with take away crap. But who delivers every single thing they sell, including their fuel and yes, in the suburbs there is one on every corner, but Mt Isa, Longreach and other towns that we supply, now don’t care about us!

It must be said, BP has grown their sites, but even at Ballina they only have takeaway, no kitchen and I can only hope, that is a single change, not their future plans and yes, I have already had that discussion with them. I rang and complained to Shell before, I have had many discussions with Caltex re Longreach and other sites, but where is it all going? Like in covid, how the hell are we supposed to stay fit healthy and not get fatigued, when we can’t get good food, and don’t have suitable places to get good sleep? Is it simply cost cutting, we can get rid of staff and bugger the truckies, they can eat what we dish up? What do you think and have you made your views known to any of the trucking associations or the fuel sellers. Who does it best now, is anyone filling the gaps? Till next week, Safe travelling, Rod Hannifey.