28th March 2021 Video 1 of 4

Goodaye all, this is the first of 4 videos which will be self-explanatory. They are mine alone and all failures and failings to the standard of some of the past efforts with young Stephen at Whiteline Television, must not defer you from watching and promoting our Truckies Top Ten Tips, Rest Area and Caravan videos, all of which you can find at www.sharetheroad.net.au  and which with Stephen’s expertise, look so much better and far more professional. I will thank him here for his efforts, Thanks mate.

To every other person and sponsor who has contributed to the current TRUCKRIGHT Industry Vehicle (TIV), thank you for that support and I hope you have been happy with my efforts. To all who ring me up, wave and say Goodaye, say thanks for my efforts, I am more than happy to help as and where I can, as long as you recognise I am an employed driver and can’t fix that much on my own, but will have a damn good try, if I think there is a chance I can help.

21st March 2021 Back from surgery.

Goodaye all. Surgery seems to have gone well Thursday evening and I flew home, perhaps a day too early Saturday and after little sleep from the awkward sling, the flight did have some repercussions, but luckily not inside anything that was moving. But no problems since then except sleeping with a large sling and pad. Doing very light exercises, but sling on for 6 weeks, then we will see. Doctor and hospital all excellent, let’s hope the results confirm it. So only a short note, one handed typing not going that well. Till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey,

18th March 2021 Goodbye to the current TIV

Goodaye all. Sorry for missing Sunday and you will think it strange for a post on a Thursday, but all will be revealed. It all went downhill from about Thursday, loading again back to Melbourne was OK, so on my fifth leg for the week, but we had 6 trucks in Melbourne and I was going to be the last in after unloading two drops of wool. I wasn’t sure when the first place opened and due to finally getting the new screen for the Teletrac device, we had been trying to meet up since November and finally did Wednesday in Melbourne.

There were some issues and it now needs a new modem, but the rest is working fine. Having taken longer than planned, I got out of Melbourne after 4, had a shower and tea at Lavington, then pulled up at a little village of Girrel (where there is now two green reflector bays) at 1AM. Got unloaded OK then went to load my wool, but it wasn’t ready, so lost a bit more time and then later down the road decided to have tea at the Caltex at Wodonga. I had read a post about good food and thought, I would give it a try. Food was good and very good value, then a mate turned up I hadn’t seen for ages and the talking went a bit longer than I planned and I didn’t get into Footscray till 12.30AM.

I had got a park, a fellow tapped on the door and I let him and the next bloke round me as they only had single loads, then after completing my 7 hour break, went in to unload. Done and off to second drop and found the dickhead driver, me, had been thinking of other things, as will follow, and not delivered all to the first drop. When loading, I had split the two drops on the two trailers, but in the meantime, forget how and missed some on the back of the front trailer, so after unloading, back again and was told, most people don’t like coming here once and you came back. I was very lucky then as when I left there were 3 full b-doubles lined up to go in.

So by now we had a load, but it was likely to have a late loading time, all good. Rang to check on 4PM load time as told and yes, load ready, come now at 3.15. Oh good. Got there, opened up, started loading, two drops again, and load numbers changed slightly, so modified my plan. Ol mate on the fork wanted to put the part load on the b trailer and then split the other drop over both, no way, started loading and had to have mezzanine floors up for number of pallets. He loaded front section, then found next lot of pallets would not fit under mezz, so unload and reload that section again. Loaded and back to the depot and fuel, we had been waiting for a delivery and saw trailer lights on, yet I hadn’t turned them on. MMMM. Rang our mechanic, explained, yes lights work etc, OK see how you go, but then I tuned the park lights on and the ignition came on, rang mechanic again, that is not good.

He was to chase Kenworth and after I rang back again and he said wait till tomorrow because Kenworth would not answer the phone, I said what about an auto elec?  So he tried them and they said they would be there in a while. Bloke turned up, explained and he said, do you have reversing lights on trailer? Yes. That is the problem. He had had it happen before, pulled the plug apart and disconnected the reversing lights and finally on the way. So pulled up at Barnawatha for bed at midnight, up and keen to go at 7AM, truck wouldn’t start. The auto loom has a problem and it was back. Lifted cab and removed fuses to rest, but no go. Rang mechanic, me again, need more help. Got Cummins from Albury had to finish another job, came and played, dropped cab and happened again, lift cab covered one possible wire, dropped cab, rang mechanic and told and said loom needs either replacement, big bucks or auto elec to sort, can’t do now so go and hope for best, yes OK.

This is getting long winded I know, but we are getting to the serious part now. So finally home 7PM Saturday night and with the need for a 24 hour break to keep me safe, meant I could not leave til 7PM Sunday to do my two timeslots Brisbane AM Monday, lucky we have good laws to keep us safe with insufficient flexibility to allow us to drive when fit and sleep when tired when nearly everything we do is affected and controlled by others.

Out 7PM Sunday night after making a quick video which you will see later, but I don’t have with me, bugger, to Gundi for a cat nap, into Brisbane, do first drop but no dock, round the block then back in, down to yard, swap trailers, back up for second slot which we were told was changed to 10AM after loading in Melbourne to be told, NO, 6PM tonight. Lying wretches. So now can’t load and get home.

Went to get load in morning, no, stocktake on, sorry not booked, wait and ring and wait and ring and OK, go and get this load. Loaded and back to yard, can you take this urgent pallet, yes fine and on the road.

The reason this was all a problem, was that in getting back to Dubbo at 11PM Tuesday, I was booked on a 10AM flight to Sydney Wednesday and still had to get all my gear out of the truck and trailers. Why is that you ask? Because after 9 years and 9 months in this my beloved TIV, I am stepping out of the truck and am flying to Sydney to have shoulder surgery and will be off for about 3 months.

Yes I may have been a bit keen trying to get an extra trip in, but I had allowed for a couple of hold ups as often happens, not 5 or 6. So it is goodbye to this set of trailers and the K200. Another driver will be going in them and I have asked him to recognise he may well get called up as Rod, it has been a long journey and that I don’t expect him to do anymore than look after it and do the right thing.

But I will be back. This timing for the surgery etc is all in yet another plan, to see me return with a new truck and trailers. I did not want to get out and then expect to get back in after such a time and whilst I have been working on this new TIV for years, it has only started to come together since December, but there is still a lot to sort and organise and I hope to have it ready when I am.

Next blog (and I will keep it going while off the road, the same for the Triple M spot) I will list all those who have helped make it happen, but I will thank everyone who has contributed here again and to all on the road, for now, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

7th March 2021

Goodaye all, just a quick note, had plans for the week end, but other things came along. Had plans to stay overnight in Melbourne for Friday morning, after loading Thursday, good easy load, and due to the freight we had carted sometimes before now ending up on the rail, only to have the train derail last week and screw up many freight plans, so trucks to the rescue again.

So instead of bolting Thursday and being home Friday evening, got an EBS problem half sorted Friday morning, could not arrange the next thing and then couldn’t solve my other problem at Albury. Never give up, it will get done. So off up the Hume to Albury, rang Vicroads with another list, 2 previous issues along with another request about the Broadford weighbridge being closed. A gent rang me back to tell me NHVR now control the bridge and I said, thanks, I will follow that up this afternoon.

Qued up, not normally here this time of day, got the truck and trailers washed, terrific job, thanks gents at the King of the Road Truckwash in Lavington, had to pull out just as the NHVR Owner Driver zoom meeting started, parked up and took part for the next hour.

As per the chat time at the Puma at Moree which the NHVR held on Tuesday past, with about 50 drivers talking and asking questions and some free meal vouchers supplied by the Road Safety Officer from the Moree Shire Council, some will say the NHVR has not solved all our problems, and nor is it NATIONAL. But they, with such meetings at Moree and others, along with this group I have been invited into, are giving us a chance to comment and contribute, so I do say, well done to all.

These Owner Driver meetings by the NHVR have been going on using zoom for some time. I do recognise and have said before, we do not get to contribute to many of the things that affect us on the road. NHVR has responsibility for many things, but not all and whilst complaining to them about truck rest areas, over which they have no control or jurisdiction might seem to be wasting time in some ways, it does make them aware of the challenges we face in being safe and complaint and I hope, then gives them more ammo to use against the states when they fail to provide what we need.

I did get a follow up call after the meeting, the Broadford bridge is having some work done hopefully next week and should be up and open after that for us to use to check weights. I did commend Vicroads when they left it on and open for us, but complained when they turned it off and we went in there and found it closed, only to have to drag your loaded b-double back up the long hill. A sign saying it was closed is not too much to ask. Pity RMS or whoever they are this week can’t do the same, but they can spend $2 million putting up a roof at Daroolbalgie. MMMMMMMMMMMMM!

I raised a list of issues, there was a presentation about the work of Healthy Heads in Trucks and Sheds and I have asked to be more involved with their rest area group. Let us hope this help gets to those who need it more. I then headed off to get into Dubbo late Friday, Saturday morning helped my son pick up a car with another son and then home to have a shower and attend the Livestock, Bulk and Rural Carriers (LBRCA) meeting in Dubbo. I spoke there seeking their support for the Stop the River St Bridge campaign, asked for support with the green reflector marking of truck bays and put some questions to the two lovely Transport for NSW ladies in attendance.

The MC didn’t want me picking on them and giving them a hard time, and as an invited guest, I had no association backing as such, but they took my questions in their stride, have given me contact details and I hope we can work together to get better outcomes for all on the road in the future.

No association can do much without passionate and committed members. The LBRCA do a good job in representing their members and have been successful in getting up a Farmgate scheme that allows access to farms on roads not already approved for b-doubles and the like. Well done to them and those who have participated and got this up and running in 6 council areas so far. Getting Transport for NSW to have people attend and answer questions as well, is another feather in their cap. They held their AGM, voting in the new committee before I got there and then had a dinner, which I attended. They also have a young driver of the year award and the winner gets a trip, subject to covid to investigate and finds ways to improve the industry. I do not have the young fellows name, but did congratulate him and also think it is a good way to recognise those who make more than the normal effort in this job.

So a finger in some more pies, some minor steps forward, some agreement from the Transport ladies that maybe they do need more driver input, particularly once the jobs are started to be designed etc, some work to follow up with after the NHVR meeting and now trying to get sorted and off to Brisbane. No rest for the wicked, they say. Till next week, Safe Travelling.