27th January 2020 Happy belated Australia Day to all.

Goodaye all, it has been an interesting week. Happy belated Australia Day to all. I hope you did something truly Aussie. I must say I enjoyed the new extended version of “We are Australian” from the Melbourne benefit concert, it nearly brought a tear to my eye. Well done to Bruce Woodley and all who took part.

Completed one trip Dubbo to Melbourne, flour down and chemical back. Back in Dubbo Wednesday, replaced a couple of Air Tabs on one trailer curtain, wrote a list of mostly minor repairs to be done along with a major “C” service for the prime mover, due every 100,000 kilometres, so twice a year.

Intercooler out for cleaning, check all oils, do bearings and other items on the list, all on top of a normal oil change and service, along with doing services on both trailers as well, while the truck is being done. So little things like a light torn off by a roo a week ago, another out that we had to order a replacement for, but not safety critical, included to be done at the same time.

With such a job, well over a days full work for two blokes and subject to what they find and may then include other things, good time to go off filming.
Thursday I did manage to get to the dentist for a little filling, sent a heap of emails for those supporting (or at least those I am asking to) the next TRUCKRIGHT Industry Vehicle, before flying out early Friday morning. My flight was on time out of Dubbo, but the next was a late plane into and then out of Sydney and that led to an on tarmac quick hop into the next one in Alice Springs. That turned out not to work so well, as my luggage and the tripod for the film camera didn’t make the transition. We got to Uluru and I had nothing but my camera bag.

We asked and followed up the lost luggage, but with no real clothes shopping available there, I had to wait and whilst we did film off the shoulder Friday, if you ever have to carry a true film camera, you will know they are not light nor easy to carry, let alone hold for an hour or so filming etc. After arrival at the resort, we went out to the Rangers Station and did an interview to confirm filming, what we could and couldn’t do, as any commercial filming must be approved and permits issued before you even go there.

Stephen stepped up and filmed off the shoulder Friday afternoon, we waited for the right light and got some good footage. I went out very early to watch the sunrise Saturday, as many others did and I do recommend you do if you ever get to visit the rock, too good an opportunity to miss whilst there, as I don’t think I will be there again at this stage, then back for a bit more sleep. Out to the airport to our late lost luggage, get some clothes and a tripod and now we were fully kitted. Then we headed off, again meeting with the ranger to confirm filming angles and specific issues to avoid, got set up and filmed and moved to different sites, again finishing after sunset Saturday.

A big well done to all the small but passionate Whiteline Television team, Stephen and his wife Sarah, producer Jessica and my on camera partner, Amelia.

We were well received and often helped by many of the true tourists, giving us some quiet when we needed it, some space and even turning off their cars, so we could film and it was warm and the flies were very friendly, so thanks to any we inconvenienced, even if only for a little while.

Some of course asked what filming here had to do with roadtrains, but of course those who spend their time on the road holidaying and seeing this marvellous country we live in, are those we are hoping to help be safer on the road and they will be at and visit, such places. But to get there, they will be on the road, sharing it with us as we deliver the goods. Even the tourist brochure for the resort, mentions the roadtrains that deliver all the goods, food, fuel and equipment for those who stay there.

Now Qantas had been apologetic about the luggage when we found it missing, (you would think they would count the number to transfer, but maybe there was another issue) and we did get it the next day, it just meant no clean undies etc, till then. It could have been worse, without the camera we would have been there for nothing!

But then they cancelled the flight Sunday and that threw a whole new heap of angst into the mix. Others beyond ourselves, had commitments and connecting flights and whilst we were never told early of a problem, I must say the young lady from Qantas in Uluru took it all in her stride. A couple of people were getting stroppy as you might expect, but she asked us all to give her some time as she played musical flights and needs and she took each in turn and sorted it out. Someone said they would not have wanted her job for quids, but she got it all sorted and I wish I had her name to give her a well done.

Some were moved onto direct early Jetstar flights, but I and a few others, due to the much later departure of the Jetstar flights, simply would not make the connecting flights all ready booked to get home, so were put up in Sydney for the night. I would have rather been home and when I spoke with my son telling him of the delay and not to pick me up, he said it was pretty lame. I remarked, I would rather them cancel the flight if they thought they had a problem, than have it fall out of the sky later.

It is all about how you look at it. My son had given me a book when I said, I need something to read while waiting at the airport in Sydney and that book was “The Alchemist” 25th Anniversary edition. I had never read it and finished it on the plane to Alice Springs, but it certainly has a message. It says it is the book translated into more languages than any other and I enjoyed it. Back to work tomorrow if the service etc is all finished. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

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