17th April 2022 Carting Rhinos and Stone the Crows!!

Goodaye all, you may call me the Rhino whisperer, but details to follow. Our southbound passenger took a bit of quieting before he would go into the cage and delayed our departure from Dubbo till 9.30 AM and it is about 13 hours driving to Monarto Park near Murray Bridge, but a few quick checks along the way showed he was travelling well. My human passenger has been at the Dubbo Zoo for 20 years and was required to accompany me to keep tabs and look after our male white Rhino who was off to visit some new lady friends.

We arrived around 11.30 PM, having of course needed to comply with logbook regs and were put up in the park, but then there was the “Nightshift” to chat on and I did beg off a bit early to get some sleep. The quarantine enclosure was off in a tight spot and took some manoeuvring to get in and I did put a small mark on the bottom of the bullbar on a rock I did and could not see, but don’t tell the driver, or he will be pissed even more then he was then.

I had to screw round inside a holding yard, miss some tree stumps and line up, to unload and then reload. Got some photos of the delivery before we left and hit the road again, but did some tree clearing with the trailer, to get out, but not a mark on it and they had wanted them removed for some time they said.

Another fairly quiet and simple trip and back into Dubbo late Tuesday and had arranged to sleep in the truck at the zoo, far too late to go home and had to be out again the next day. Got to bed after midnight and about 3AM, the truck was rocking that hard, I thought I would fall out of bed. No one else about of course and I thought, I will either find a problem and have to start ringing zoo people, talk to the Rhino and make it worse, or maybe, calm him down.

He was rockin and swayin, but seemed in one piece and we had a quick chat. I told him I was there and it was all good and he should go to sleep for now, till we let him out in the morning and I went back to bed and woke with the alarm after 6AM, so it seemed to work. Then it was to work and off to load enroute to a timeslot at Barnawartha for Thursday morning (any of you who deliver to Woolies DCs will know about the new Sine App needed) and it was my first time and did not go perfectly, but did get sorted.

I backed into the finger dock as a b-double, having passed their test some years ago, but that was an issue with Pilons based in Dubbo, but did get sorted after a few calls and some common sense prevailed. I had a problem with a gate, it would not go in the hole and slipped and put all the weight on my left arm, which was already sore from a fight with a trailer curtain last week.

But off to Melbourne, unload, back to the yard when Wayne had waited to loads me, Rick helped and cooked my tea while he was waiting for his new engine install to be finished. I had to get my Owner Driver column in, another story and then be in Wagga for the “Stone the Crows” Festival. It is one of the few venues where both caravanners and motorhomers attend together. You can stay for the four days of Easter or 7 and they have entertainment from comedy, music, poetry and many other activities.

So column and story done in to the shower and pop, it seems I have just done my left bicep. MMM, we will see how that goes and works out later. Then a call, Rick’s truck is ready, so I dropped him off to Cummins on the way out.

I was invited to the “Stone the Crows” some years ago by one of the organisers who used to be part of “Rig Radio” a national trucking radio show run out of the Wagga Community radio station and have attended (Covid stopped it for the last two years like so many other events) each Easter and done presentations of sharing the road with trucks and have many friends and supporters there. I ask, Pilons help with suitable loads and we had to push and squeeze a bit this year, but got there very early Friday morning. Yes I give up two days of my time, but I do feel it is worth it.

I did a one and half hour presentation, including the “Sharing Truck Rest Areas” and “Caravans and Roadtrains” videos done with Stephen from WhitelineTV at 3PM. At 11AM Saturday, I showed some photos and discussed my Churchill Fellowship trip, rest areas, Channel 18 and many other issues and on both days, had good questions, feedback and after my talks, invited people to have a look inside the cab. I must say the fold out steps on the K200 are a terrific help for this. Many RVers are getting on and whilst I am still happy to climb up and down, it is much safer for them with the steps and allows some who would not normally consider looking, a chance to do so safely.

At the 2017 Stone the Crows, a b-double amongst 400 plus caravans and motorhomes.

Numbers were down a bit on previous shows, but many attend this event each year and so I have already spoken and preached to many of those there, but still got questions, visits and comments, outside of my presentations. The truck was not perfectly clean and I only had one good looking trailer, still waiting for the b trailer of the 50 year Pilon set to be completed, but all were keen to chat and look and listen.

You cannot make people attend such things, but those who do, do so with at least an open mind and many have come to me after and said they had learned or at least, better understood some of our issues etc. I cannot get to them all, I can only get to those who want to listen and if I can educate some, perhaps they will carry that message to others, some even tell me it has happened from past presentations, let’s hope. Till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

By truckright

An Australian truckie aiming to improve both how the road transport industry is seen and understood by the public and to improve road safety for all.

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