27th September 2020 Did you miss me?

Goodaye all. Two week ends ago, I had a theme and story, but 26 hours home for my break left me short. I had a column for owner Driver to get in and things to do, but not enough time to do this as well, my apologies. That story was “Technology in trucks and the saga of the starter motor”. On my way to a farm in the middle of the bush, road closed due to covid and rang TMR to be told go 100k out of my way as the only border crossing open, then stopped to check out a green reflector bay, only to have the auto, flash up a code.

Having previously reported the starter motor not working every time, so knowing it was due, but again, busy on the road and not long enough in Dubbo to get it changed the week prior, with the auto code flashing and no go, had to stop the truck to reset the auto. Four goes to start, in the middle of the night and a farm to get to, but made it there and went to bed to get up and unload, then it would not start at all. Rang the workshop, knowing what he would suggest, tilt the cab and hit the starter. Did that and got it started, kept it running all day, back to Dubbo late that night and of course, it did start the next morning, but it got replaced. Leccy said, lucky you did not hit it in the wrong place (and there is not much room to do so either) as you can short it and have it end up melted on the ground. MMMMMMM.

The technology part comes with all the electronics on trucks now. Fantastic when they work, leaves you little chance to fix when they don’t. The auto code has not reappeared, so that is good, but the previous issue with the EBS and active cruise which was fixed, is back again since my trip to Mt Isa. Seems there are three brake light switches, one for normal, one for the Jacobs brake and another for the ACB. One was always coming up with a code that no one could sort, but this one drops out the cruise, stops you from doing a burn and has the EBS light on. So will have to go back again for another look and hopefully something simple, we will see.

So last week, having got home Wednesday to get the starter done the next morning, caught up on emails and thought, only going to Brissie, will leave the laptop home. Got to Brissie, split trailers to go to a fun spot to unload, then a phonecall, you will be taking a roadtrain to Mt Isa. Back to the yard, hook up trailers again, go and do another pickup then back to have a 24 hour break before leaving. Do my dog run Saturday, have to change the dolly to the other trailer when I got there with the second one and then, away we go.

It is awhile since I have been that way and the undulations west of Drillham kept me bouncing and meant a serious effort to check and resecure the load was needed after a nights camp at Morven. Was looking for a parking bay before there, but only one stopping bay it seemed for well over an hour. It is good to see Queensland acting to ensure truck bays are left for trucks but with only 21 truck only bays in Qld, as per their own admission to the Senate inquiry, no wonder we get tired looking for them.

Lots of business at the PUMA at Morven whilst doing check and prestart, so walked over and they agreed to put up a copy of my new poster as below. Thank you very much to Dick and Stuart from ATCC for the work and printing of the posters. They have done this for me previously and the old ones are in truckstops across three states at least. If you have a space that sees much motorist traffic and want to help us be better seen and promote sharing the road with trucks, you can probably get one printed. Let me know.

The next night I made it to just past McKinlay, where yet another old favourite truckstop has disappeared. Last time I was up there I had a terrific meal and they even had a lending library of audio books, but yet another gone, so sad to see.

It would seem I can’t add a PDF file here, so you might have to check the Facebook page? Rod.

Sorry if it is hard to read here, but in poster size looks the part and we can only offer it and have such things available for motorists to read, we can’t make them!

Into Mt Isa Monday, a couple of drops and then our depot manager took ill and I was asked to stay for a bit. Two triples, an AB triple and a roadtrain meant there were many hands and much to do and when a plan was sorted, I left Tuesday with another roadtrain load for a gold mine to deliver on the way, stopped at Longreach, marked some more green reflector bays and then to Toowoomba for a pick up, back into Brissie and load to get home for inspections for my trailers for rego, done Friday afternoon.

There is more to tell, but this will have to do as still have much to catch up and do and will detail big plans next week. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

6th September 2020 Happy Fathers Day.

Goodaye and Happy Fathers Day to all. I have just been out for lunch with 3 of my four boys and have got a call or covid hug from my three girls. I hope you get to be with and or speak with family if on the road.

Out Monday into the closed state of Victoria, been there each week since well before all this started, so went twice this week for fun. First time out, do not really still know why, but nearly an hour to get through the checkpoint at Kalkallo. I had started the day with a double split to do a delivery, only to follow one of Visys into the same street, which believe you me, is not what I would imagine would be a b-double route, but the way they went, is not open to all it would seem. I am confident I could get into the delivery site, but would have to do it a certain way or would simply not be able to get out as a double. Will have to do some more research.

Then due to that longer than hoped double delivery, smoko and different forkies etc, got delayed four hours to load, then the delay on the way out and being at HML weights, could not shortcut through Condoblin, had to go to Tomingley before I could cut across to get to Nyngan the next day, so all those things conspired to completely screw the next days plan.

Slept in a new green reflector bay just north of Parkes, got up and rang in and said, “Houston, we have a problem”! Luckily there was a solution, thank you Geoffrey for then picking up the load he was to take and then taking it back to the yard for me to come in later and reload and he went and loaded mine at 1.30, which I had no chance of doing. It meant he got the direct drop and I then got first a split and then another double split, to deliver Thursday.

A bit better loading window, but back to work to top up a bit and out of Melbourne at 67.8 tonne, checked weights at Broadford and away we go. I must say a well thought out idea from Vicroads, allowing all bridges to be left on, so we can check weights. It will go a long way to help us be compliant if you load different stuff all the time and for those who load mostly the same freight, you should be able to get it near perfect. TMR in Queensland leave the scales on at the entry and exit to the port in Brisbane, but I did ask RMS about leaving the ones on north of Parkes and they were not interested, even when I spoke of the other states doing the same.

Back to Dubbo Friday, fit a new mudflap, change a couple of curtain straps and make some plans for trailer service and then HVIS is due, so tentative plans for early inspection etc with next service. Had to email a new photo for my DG license, rang to check and the lovely lady there sorted it late and then processed it and have a copy with a new card to come in the mail.

I got an early call from a respected driver who asked about the current ATA/ Big Rigs have s ay in the HVNL. It asks you a number of yes/no questions, but does allow you to comment, why you agree or otherwise. I spent some time explaining my answers and whilst I have done written and oral submissions etc, I will not give up or miss another chance to have a say. Have a look and make a comment, please. Till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.