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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.

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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.