30th January 2022 Trying for photo, but not yet.

Goodaye all, well here I am in sunny Maryborough (it was when I started and has just rained) waiting to load tomorrow. Wednesday night over to the castle, too late for a feed at Sandy Hollow, so a sandwich and milk, then Thursday up, double split to unload and second trailer tarped, good tarp job by the loader except for covering the side lights. Roll the tarp, no help and lucky no wind and even still in a bit of shade, then two pick ups and off to central Qld.

It was urgent freight and trying to plan delivery times when pick up had some issues, some ugly freight etc, but said hope to be in Friday night, so if that is no good, Saturday morning, but thinking already, another week-end away. Rang and yes, no load till Monday, so enjoy the time off two thousand kilometres from home.

On the way out after loading, rang to confirm delivery windows etc, the sending depot to follow up and ring me back. Getting closer and no call yet, so rang again, so which one first, will come back to me, thanks. Rang yet again even closer now, yes the farthest one first, thanks, then rang them to confirm we were all on the same page. So when will you be there, Friday night as I told all yesterday, Ok will ring you back.

No immediate reply, so into BP Clermont for a feed. Last time I was there for a feed, nearly a year ago now, two things of note. Sitting and eating, I noticed my right arm muscle above the elbow much bigger than the left. I had first thought, geez those push ups each morning working well, till I looked at the left arm. I rang my son and asked him as he is into body building why they would be so different and he said, “You have probably torn the tendon” and this then led to the shoulder surgery as not only had I torn the tendon, but torn the shoulder apart as well. Seems still doing the push ups had strengthened the other of the two tendons and meant I could keep working, as I did till I went in for surgery.

The other thing was the size of the feed. I think then I got four rissoles and salad and chips and even potato salad included and I enjoy my rissoles and salad and could not finish it all, as I had also asked for bread and butter which I usually eat to clean up the last of the gravy etc. Without the bread and butter, I could have finished it. So the feed this week was just as good. The owner (and cook) had gone into town for supplies and the other bloke did not want to give me less than the best, so said there would be a short delay. No call yet to rush in and unload that night so all good, could not unload till the morning anyway and only a couple of hours to get there.

Catch up on my diary, have a coffee while waiting, dinner came and once I can show you the picture, 5 rissoles and I still got the bread and butter and ate it all bar a bit of rissole. Last time I had asked and been given a dish and taken the last rissole for the next morning, (then I had a frig in the old truck) but not in this one as I had only planned to be in it for a month or so. Now into my fourth month in old number 32, wish I had put the frig in, but such is life.

Finished dinner, go to the loo and the phone rings. Hello, “Yes where are you and when can you be here?” At Clermont, about an hour and a half, “No good, I have to go now, so in the morning?” Had they rang back hours before, I could have been there and unloaded, but in the scheme of things, still stuck away and can’t load till Monday and I had a bloody good feed at a fair price. Thanks BP Clermont.

So off to the delivery point, able to park right outside and a bit of reading, still on the “Tawny Man” book five now into the “Assassins Apprentice” series and would highly recommend to all. Up early in and unload, off and ring the second drop and make a time, had a serious call to sort the last bit for the new truck and all things being equal, will be registered and on the road next week. Thank you to Inland Truck Centres for the work to finish it off. I am chomping at the bit, now for the trailers.

I have spoken with a couple of trailer builders and they say they cannot build me a set of trailers, if I supply most of the components, their system will not work that way. It will be a one-of, but I would not have thought that so hard, but I will find a way. Should be on the road with the interim trailers, a tidy up, new paint and a new set of curtains to celebrate 50 years since Rod Pilon started the business. He bought his first truck in 81, but started the RPT business in 82.

So fifty years of building Kenworths in Australia last year and still going strong. So many Kennys years old and done millions of kilometres and still on the road, how many old Benzs and Volvos etc still doing the hard yards? Funny how we still build trucks here and many of the truck manufacturers use Australia as a test bed, when we don’t build cars here anymore.

So thanks to Kenworth and all who have supported the new TIV, there are many and once I have it on the road and a few photos, will list and thank them all here. Congratulations to Kenworth for the effort and the trucks (and still listening to episodes of the “Copy Southbound” podcasts and stories of the past) congratulations and sincere and heartfelt thanks to Rod Pilon for his support and allowing me to do it again and for reaching that milestone.

It seems we will get an apprenticeship scheme for truckies, long overdue and welcome, but sitting here and just chatting with another driver who is about to retire, his comments about why we don’t have enough drivers, when all those who tell us how and what and where and why to do it when none of them have to, is still seriously one of the problems. Can I fix any of this, not on your nelly? Can you, good luck, but if we all got together, we might have a chance, but alone, it is simply hard work. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.   


26th January 2022 Happy Australia Day, please have a beer or something for me, about to hit the road again.

Goodaye all, sorry for gap and been flat out, stressed getting truck sorted, trying to do it all, work, chase people and survive on the road. Old mate in an Argosy came across at me on the way to Port Augusta, had an idiot overtake me yesterday coming home and thought that was pretty stupid towards a blind crest, then the dickhead behind him waited till he could see a car coming and he went to pass me in a double and if I had not slowed and veered off, there could have been a tragedy. And that is just the highlights.

So a bit of a change, an open double to Port Augusta, had them unload and reload while I had a break, then off to Adelaide. Transport SA have told me the green reflectors have been put up on the Princess as a trial and if it goes well will expand them to other roads. There are now a couple more in SA and Victoria and NSW following this trip. If any of you have seen or used the ones on the Princess (and I have asked for photos and a list of sites but not forthcoming yet) please let me know what you think as it should help make them understand the value of them to us till one day we have enough truck rest areas.

I will be ringing them, coming out of Adelaide, as unless you pull off into the servos off the freeway, there is nowhere to stop and check your load, have a leak or anything till Nuriootpa and with my herd of rhinos (hopefully photos to follow) on top of some of the load, I had to check them etc, plus the wallowy bit near Roseworthy Road was better than most roller coasters I have seen, though the bit south of the pads north of Forbes is back and worse than it was when I asked them to fix it last time. Anyone else thinks this is dangerous (and from the skidmarks off into the bush, one bloke who didn’t know, see the signs and or slow down probably thinks it is) ring 131700 and explain the issue to them please. I too, will try!

So another week-end away, have just got dressed and even put my workboots on for those who wanted to hassle me over my thongs in the new truck photo (it was a week-end, I had just travelled and hadn’t even got in it yet) so I could do a TV bit for ad-blue, am trying to cram a few days jobs into a half day and am off to Newcastle, then central Qld hoping not to get stuck there for another week-end away.

Thank you to every single person who has contributed to the new TIV. It is nearly done, rego and a few finishing touches to complete, get the interim trailer sorted and on the road!! I can’t wait.

 To those who have offered comment and support (except the thong Police) thanks for your support. It has been a long road and I must say, pretty stressful the last few weeks, but there are always others worse off and I am thankful for what I have. I will say to you, when I started all this, I said, “The worst that can happen is I waste my time, my effort and my money and nothing changes, but if I save one life, then everything after that is a bonus.” And there are those who say I may have saved a few already. Let’s hope many more can be saved. Till next time, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.


16th January 2022 A full on week.

Goodaye all, another week of life on the road. Now those who do this will say, just another week, grow a set and get over it and others who don’t will wonder if I am telling the truth. You do know why you make plans, just so someone else can stuff them up, or you can blame Murphy. There used to be a column in a caravan magazine I wrote for, and it seemed to blame Murphy for everything. Now that may be right, but you must take some responsibility surely, don’t you, for your own actions etc?

So, knowing the current state of the transport game, you must be even more flexible than normal, we have had some changes in staff, so a few issues there, I have been towing different trailers, rather than my set and that has raised a few more and then there is that flexibility thing.

When I went home Saturday morning, getting a new logbook on the way and filling it out up to that point (well filling in the last two days of my record from when it ran out) and thinking, won’t complete today just in case, we had a plan. Load trailers Monday early in Dubbo, all good. Then I got a call there was another plan, which meant taking loaded trailers Monday, so being the ever keen driver, I texted Sunday morning and said, with the trailers loaded, I could go today and get a start. I was told no, all under control, have a rest and go Monday.

So plenty of time, but come Monday morning another new plan already, load asap and I of course, had made some plans for me before work, based on out loaded later that day. So rush into my stuff, get part done, out to work and yes load when you can, but can you take another driver to check them out? Sure, but he is still coming, then come back here and go to a completely different place than any of the earlier plans.

Now all through last week and towards this week-end, I had been working on and trying to find a way to get the new TIV back to Dubbo, allowing time to arrange completion of signwriting, so it can then be finished and registered in Dubbo. MMMM, maybe will still work, new fellow turned up, we had a chat with the Transport for NSW gents at Parkes, very nice fellows and all was good with a couple of words and discussion, then load. From last week, I had planned a phone hook up with NHVR re fatigue etc and of course, I was trying to watch and help old mate, we had a curtain jam and it was nice and warm and other trucks waiting.

Nearly loaded, started chatting, old mate finished loading, then out on the road and I kept going till nearly back at the telescope. This group, the people involved along with a couple of other groups, are seeing me hoping we will get at the least, listened to and some issues addressed this year. Back to Dubbo, drop off old mate, get some tyres done and away after 7.

Got to Mt Thorley, had a nice walk finding the place, had planned to ring and organise opening times and unloading place (not even sure we could get a b-double in there), but phone conference took  much longer and once you have someone involved and interested, you don’t normally want to let them go unless you have to.

Parked outside, thinking they will either wake me and unload me, or wake me and abuse me for being in the wrong place. Very affable and helpful chap knocked on the door, as you are in a double, just back up and will unload you from one side. That done then off to load. Again, from plan A or B or somewhere, had agreed to a local radio interview for Tuesday morn after the news and tried ringing the place I was loading as per instructions, but had not got anyone to answer. Finally they did, on the way and will meet me at the gate and did, just as I started the radio interview, so could not even really explain my rudeness in ignoring him, as I was live on air.

Finished, explained, opened up, started loading, a couple of count and product issues, but on the way to Dubbo. Rang in, where is the plan now, not sure for tomorrow, will sort later, OK thanks. Had planned to get the truck and trailers washed with some time spare, but nothing available then, so checked out (read put some more up) previously marked but now with some missing, green reflector bays on the Golden Highway. Absolutely bucketed down on the way home, glad I didn’t waste the time getting it washed, back home, service booked for the morning, then load etc.

Covid has affected staff everywhere and we were a few mechanics down etc, so asked them to ring me when done. I rang checking, yes part done, come and load, so grabbed some shopping and out. Load was two drops, but the number of pallets did not fit the easy delivery plan and some was overwidth, so a bit more space wasted, load in the sun and getting thirsty, back to the yard to top up and with different trailers again, get some more tyres done.

By the time was ready to go, late and headed off to find the highway blocked at Marsden, so go the long way round through Cowra. Now I had still been working on the “pick up the new TIV plan” as I went along, trying to co-ordinate a load that would get me up there, time to get it home and a plan to then get back to the truck.

Double split to do drops, into Melbourne to load, out and up the Hume to blow the first tyre I have done in a while. When I managed to limp up to Albury, missed the truckwash again, then they could get no one to do a call out to change it, thought bugger it, will go to bed. But then thinking, its cooler and if I go to bed here, this will mean the end of the plan, so ran a bit further up the road, still round the long way, got the tyre done in the morning and into Dubbo.

Then some more changes, add another extra trailer will you, hooked it all up, but then it won’t turn! Unhook, re hook with some help, down for more tyres and a fire extinguisher and out late to find the Moree man said, no you can’t just drop that here! Out, missed tea, got to Moree and bless his soul, he came out with his young bloke and unloaded me, but of course had to triple split to get in, unload, drop odd trailer and then hook the other two back up and made it south of Millmerran and went to bed.

Got into Charlton, finally managed a shower and then with the help of the lovely Melissa, an NRFA member and friend, with some pure luck earlier in the week having the signwriting mostly done and getting the truck back to the Brisbane depot, went and picked it up and headed off to Dubbo getting in 1AM this morning.

Had my daughter put up a request for a lift back to the loaded one Saturday for Sunday, but no takers and our only driver heading anywhere near that way was not answering the phone, so eldest son offered to take a long drive and has just dropped me back at Charlton. The family has paid and paid for what I do and yet, here they are helping again. It has been a full-on week, trying to co-ordinate others interests, works needs and customers, suppliers and those magnificent people who support the TIV and me at the end.

But it is in Dubbo, a few more jobs and even one driver who was looking at in in the yard before I left toady, said, “Now you can start putting all your other stuff on it, that will keep you busy for a bit” and truer words were never spoken, it will not be truly “finished” for months etc, but it looks good and now to trailers which I know you will be shocked to hear, are giving me some grief, but more about that next week. Till then, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.


9th January 2022, Podcasts, trucks and penalties.

Goodaye all, back at work for a full week, though started Tuesday, down to Melbourne and back, then a roadtrain to Brisbane, back to Dubbo Saturday morning and due out to Melbourne again tomorrow. Sometimes quiet on the road, a few calls from drivers with issues to follow up and due back on the Nightshift next week.

Those of you who are into audiobooks and follow my Facebook page “Audiobooks for the road” will not find a post for this week. I was talking to a mate last week about the new TIV and some other industry issues and he told me he had done a podcast and spoke of associations etc and I should have a listen. So I looked it up and downloaded the 27 episodes so far to a thumb drive and for this week, have been listening and am into number 11 I think.

I have known a few of those interviewed so far, known of a couple of others and whilst it is about industry generally, it does have a focus on those from the past and or who do up old trucks. There has certainly been some talk of quick trucks (those that “cracked”), what it was like in the old days compared to now and what rules got broken then.

I have found it mostly interesting with one episode a bit hard to hear properly in the truck and will pass that on to them. It has not opened my eyes as such, as I have had similar conversations and heard much of the history, though I am sure you would agree there is very little of it in print. If you have a recommendation for a good history book on the Australian road transport industry, please let me know.

I would recommend “They Came like Waves” by Jeffrey Ffrost as a good place to start and will chase the names of Ray Gillehard’s (please excuse my spelling if wrong for now) book, the one from the fellow who started in Tassie, went to the states and now lives in Bundy and of course, Ted Steven’s book on the blockades, which of course has had both participants from that time and others commenting on it, in some podcasts.

It has been good for a change and I will finish some more after some more audio books for a break, but if you are interested in the old days, fast trucks, transport history and restoring old trucks, have a look at “Copy Southbound”.

The two issue that have got much attention and comment that are issues of mine, have been of course, rest areas and the current fines and penalties. I aim to continue my efforts, but would ask you as readers (or listeners if you listen to the podcast of the blog), what specific fines and penalties do you see as excessive and what would you recommend in their place.

I aim to make up a list and with NRFA support and approval, submit it to the NTC. We have already flagged to them our absolute aim and intent to be a part of the penalties review and have sought a guarantee that their will be further industry participation and involvement. So any comments or suggestions? Till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.