Goodaye all, back on the road again. Whilst off, I became enamoured of the “Assassins Apprentice” series of books by Robin Hobb. I had read all the “Rangers Apprentice” and “Brotherband” series by Australian author John Flanagan and recommend them for kids and adults. So into book 5 “The Golden Fool” and took it and was barely able to keep up with my diary and so did not even get to read a word. So much for a gentle return.
Now if I was to detail the issues, all of you who drive trucks would say, just a usual week, but others may not be aware of the life we lead, so they can have food, fuel and clothes etc. I was obviously dreaming when I had hoped to have the truck and trailers I was to drive (till the new truck finally gets here) in the yard early so I could go over them and give them a tidy up if needed. In the end I had to go to Sydney to pick up the truck, that then involved some issues before I even started it up. Then there was the other truck which had left before me and he had a problem, with more that just mechanical issues, some of understanding and language as well.
So, “Rod will you please go out and see what the problem is and report please”? on my way back to Dubbo. It turned out to be the gearbox, but was not immediately obvious and we ended up having to drop one trailer, bring the truck back down the (big) hill and then tow the other truck up to the top, go back and hook up and go to Dubbo.
Seeing us in the dark (I had triangles out) and had just given me new shoulder a good workout winding down the legs and had unhooked the hoses and lights to tow the broken down one to the top, I saw some blue and red lights behind us. I went back to explain and was asked why were we in the dark and where was my mask? So I explained and thought, they might stay with their lights on while we moved at least one bit, but no, “Don’t be long” and they were gone. I was perhaps a bit jabbery, but was trying to get it done as we were only inches off the road and not in the best spot.
Then I had a plan to have all day Monday to get my gear together, get a few things tidied up on the truck and trailers Tuesday morning (due to the NSW public holiday), but got a text apologising for interrupting me, but could I call. One of the drivers wife had been taken to hospital and I may be needed tomorrow, could I help? She may be OK, but will know in the morning. Yes I can go if needed, Thanks.
Nine AM Sunday, you’re up. I had a timeslot to load, got most of my gear and by ten was on my way got my next covid test, did shopping, gear in and on the way to break down half way there. Mechanic came out, sorted, rang the loading point again to say I was now on the way and when I got there, they said “You will get a good nights sleep in here, we will even turn the lights off”. I was the last truck to load Sunday and whilst they were not impressed, they were fans and like many during the week wanted to know what I had done wrong, was I being punished, where was the TIV etc?
That was the start of the week and it never got much better. You all know how things change and no one else customers etc, care about your time as much as you do. I had to deliver another driver to pick up a truck and he did not want to sit in the passenger seat while I slept, as I had to do a delivery first (geez Peter, I am not that bad company am I) so we compromised and I had tea and a shower and went back to the truck to sleep, leaving early the next morning and that threw me out a bit later that night.
Again, it was not the week from hell, it was just a normal week nearly, but as the first week back after 6 months off and aiming to be gentle on my new shoulder, some of the steel gates have tested it, but some places did help or did so when I asked, but some like always, you do it all on your own and hurry up without even a please, let alone a thank you.
So three states, many passes, tests and highways covered, very nearly 5000k, so kept going and just 24 hours off and back into it tomorrow. Lucky I love this job! Still so much to do, the Newell hasn’t got much better overall, we lost 20 unmarked informal truck spaces with the work towards Goondiwindi and now they have closed the southbound More pads with gates. The Pacific still needs a changeover bay somewhere, yet the new Grafton bypass looks a million dollar road, does have two big new parking bays (and I slept in one) and I only found one bad dip.
The new TIV is still coming, is painted and getting radios, a turntable, central tyre inflation and one or two more things and then off to Brissie for the balance. Maybe on the road in a month.
So now for the video. I heard the other day there are over 200,000 truck drivers in Australia, but I bet less than 10,000 are in associations. I will ask all of you for two things and want you to comment, either tell me how to do it better, or what I am doing wrong. If you join one for one year, then I want you to push them to support our 6 point plan. If you have the solution, let’s hear it. If not give this a try for one year. I don’t think it is too much to ask. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.