25th April 2023 ANZAC Day on the road.

Goodaye all, well better late than never and why will be revealed next week. But last week, three capitals and heading for a different fourth this week. Melbourne, out to Condoblin to unload (and just heard from a mate who have some electrifying fun out that way around the same time) back into Dubbo, some freight off for Moree and reload and into Brissie. After an interesting loading game, go here to load your DG, then go there to load other stuff, no there is no DG here, I was told by your bloke to come here, no, there is no DG here for you, they have now all gone home and you will not be getting it!

Make a phone call, get customer involved, I was there on time, did as I was told and now, no. Then ah well yes, it was the supervisor and yes the paperwork is here for your DG, but the product is back where you came from and you will have to go back there to get it after we load here, OK thanks. Then we start to load and another order is wrong, my paperwork is right, but someone transcribed it wrong and it is then wrongly picked, then I have brought the right paperwork, it is your mess up, I have a long way to go and a customer who is expecting this freight and an hour later we have sorted that and back we go for the DG balance.

So instead of a lovely nights sleep at the door to deliver early, I don’t make it there, have to stop on the way to find their own truck still loading and then another gazumps me to unload, as I have waited outside and to unload a b-double without completely blocking the yard, we have to come in the out gate. So another delay, that means I get back into Dubbo with just enough time to split trailers and go and load a single for Sydney for a change.

That’s fine, but then Sydney says when I ring to see what I am bringing home, “ We didn’t know you were coming and who did you upset?” Beats me, but will see what happens re load home. They rang back and said would I do a load for Melbourne, which would have meant getting there and Saturday and then being stuck there till Monday and I said, “Not my first choice, but I will if I have to” so then went home to get a few things to do while stuck in Melbourne using reverse psychology, if I get this and take it with me, I won’t end up going and that part worked.

Into Sydney, found a park, a reasonable night sleep, up and unload, but can’t reload till 11, so back to the yard for a cuppa and stuff. Pruned (read broke off out of the way) some tree branches at the gate, over to load, no you can’t come in, the first truck hasn’t arrived and we need it first. That’s OK, I will have lunch and have a job to do on the trailer. Get all my gear out, phone rings, come on down the back and we will make a start and that dear readers is where this story must end till next week.

I will be able to tell you then where I am now. Hope you did your bit for ANZAC Day, I was on the road all day till earlier. Till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.


15th April 2023

Goodaye all, well to those who say b-doubles are only for linehaul and that we shouldn’t have to split after my last post, I reckon I did pretty well, 8 splits in three hours. And we all know not every place is set up for them, but I recall years ago ringing a place and asking, “I am in a b-double, will I be able to deliver there?” “Yes we have them here all the time” only to get there, have a struggle to even get in the gate with the cars parked in the road and then be told, “You won’t get that round the back”, ah the joys of trucking. “Yes we had trucks here with two trailers (19m double it seems) but yours is much longer” “Really!” I doubt if I had said a 26m b-double would have changed anything.

Yes it has happened since, then on the other side I have been told no, said I will have a look and got in all but once and that was for a car opposite and the likelihood of damage as I screwed round and down through the gutter. Some were impressed, others don’t care, they just want their freight picked up, taken away and their money made.

A short week on the road, early on arranged for new drive tyres and to fit the rest of the Atlas balance rims to the drive, having fitted to the steer previously. The tyre fitter made Simon’s (from Atlas) day when he said, “You will be surprised how much more milage you will get with them fitted”, “Why have you seen many around here (Dubbo) with them fitted?” “Not a lot, but one group got over 300,000 on the drive after fitting a set.”

I of course rang Simon to pass on and he was impressed as all too often, people don’t know what so many others who use them, have gained from the fitting of Atlas balance rings. Even one of our mechanics wanted to know how they worked and what was in them. I should have painted them though and that would have made them stand out more and added a different look.

Also found my other Durabrights, seems when the truck was painted and they put the rims back on, they did not know the difference and I had wondered why they were not all the same shine until I looked at the markings, but it was a big job to pull them all off for fun if they weren’t on there anyway. That would have meant a couple of calls to find out why,  but I will email the man there and ask him to be more aware. It has of course marked the inner circle, but the outside having been covered in so much crap, shines better than the others now cleaned up. When I left the tyre shop, at least two there and then some of our blokes at work said, did you put the rims back on wrong?

The 509 we have has super singles on the steer and had after a wheel alignment and everything else checked, still not got a lot in mileage and I had told Ben Pilon of my fitting a set to truck 55 and suggested he try a set and he ordered two and had one set fitted to the 509 the same day. Then before I left for Brisbane, got my new rego plates, so another little thing many won’t notice, but mean something to me.

I had been told on the way back to Dubbo, “We have a bit of a plan for you” “Should I be scared?”, “We’ll sort it when you get here.” So a train to Adelaide then Alice, nearly like my Christmas break. But not till Thursday, so OK make my plans, then yes, no, yes, no, yes but later then no not going after all my plans made to suit. Truck was in for service as well, a little over, but did A,B and C all in one, so good time use there. With having to now load Friday instead of simply hooking up Saturday, had to forego the eye test, but got the back of the b trailer all sign written (and I have been trying to get that done since November) finally got my scales hooked up, another long term project and a few other little jobs and after all that, then loaded 3 pickups of wool for Melbourne Monday, so off tomorrow.

So some jobs at home, Swift grow the lawn as soon will be too late and it will stop growing, wait for some 3M tape to finish the sides of the trailers and we will see what the back of the b trailer will bring. There has finally after only 30 years, been much talk and discussion and awareness of mental health issues in road transport. Transhelp and TRUST were two groups who, in different ways and levels, helped drivers and their families with stuff after the often tragic events we see or can be involved in on the road, or simply when there was no one else to turn to. How many companies really care and what would or could they do, if you had such issues?

So the attached photo shows the back of the trailer. Those of you who remember my old trailer set will recall the TRUCKIES TOP TEN Tips (and I will fit a different one each month) but in conjunction with GME, the new back suggests “The road can be a lonely place, if you want to chat, Call Rod on UHF 24”.

I did do a counselling course when I became an Ambassador for Health in Gear and thank them for providing that, but no, I don’t have all the answers, but how many people could you honestly count on to offer you good advice or to really listen to your problems? Again, I can’t fix them, but I may be able to offer a friendly listen or someone else to help. We will see how it goes.

I know and have spoken to drivers who have been the first on site, or who have been involved in a fatal or even a vehicular suicide and again, I have not been in that situation, but bottling things up often leads to worse outcomes. Can I help, maybe, will I listen, yes, will that help, that is up to you.

But yes I get calls from many, some have an issue, some don’t know who else to ask, some want job advice etc, the list is long and varied and I have never refused to try and help, but of course, cannot always solve the problem or fix it. Yes, there have been some who have been critical, some who have become nearly pests, but also some who have become really good friends and supporters and who now ring road authorities and report stuff that I don’t see or know personally and that may never have happened without that initial call.

I have had some, often through Facebook as well, who say, “I know you are busy but” and again, my number has never been hidden, is on every Owner Driver column and elsewhere and whilst my Facebook page is under my name, it is my main contact site and where some have said, “Sorry to bother you on your personal page” I have only had two who have taken my initial response to a friend request wrongly. In the interest of seeing if someone is genuine and in road transport, my initial reply is nearly always the same, “Re friend request, I usually ask where you know me from and for some background info please, cheers Rod.” The couple who replied suggesting I thought I was someone special or too good, missed the point. I don’t know anyone who is asking to friend me more than anyone else does, many have been hacked or scammed and I am sure you will be shocked, but there are some out there who don’t have anything in mind except to hassle people. What do you think, is my reply fair?

So some more things to tidy, shopping to do for the road and have to be in early for the que at Packtainers. Till next time, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.


9th April 2023 Happy Easter

Goodaye all, hope you get time with those you love and or miss over Easter. To all who sat in the traffic trying to get out of Melbourne while the electrical work was done off the road but with one northbound lane closed and the traffic queued all the way from Kalkallo back to Cooper Street, I hope you rang and complained. Yes the work must be done, but why that day? Anyone with half a  brain and any understanding of traffic patterns (it is not like the ringroad was only opened yesterday) would know the traffic volume heading out of any capital will increase substantially before a long week-end, so why not piss them all off because we can?

Then in the longer term, with “Australia’s largest planned city” being now built along with more houses and expansion than is likely even in Sydney or Brisbane, why is not the work already started on more lanes northbound out of Melbourne? Where are the 30,000 plus people who will live here going to work, there is no manufacturing there, so they will be going into Melbourne and back out each day when the roads can’t cope now. So let’s build more homes without the infrastructure to support them!

And then of course we will all be held up more and for longer to deliver and carry all the goods they want and or make to sell to others. On another note I see in our local paper that the Inland Rail cost has doubled to over $30 billion, it won’t be finished for years yet and the longer it takes, the more that cost will rise. Lucky we have trucks to deliver all the stuff till then, but wait, then I read another piece about the push for autonomous trucks is going gangbusters with more millions spent, yet the car effort seems to have slowed because they are really still a long way from making it happen.

So my question is and has been for some time. If governments are pushed and agree to spend more millions on making roads suitable for autonomous trucks, why are our lives not worth that investment now? If you can answer this, please do. So some time with the family, home Friday afternoon and off to Brissie with a drop at Moree tomorrow evening, but then a later afternoon timeslot Tuesday, means some time with the kids, though now all grown up. Will see all bar one in Tassie, love you Banon. Take over the week-end, be safe and talk soon. Cheers Rod.


2nd April 2023 No April Fool.

Goodaye all, as I have time and it is too warm here in Mackay to yet walk up to Woolies, I will tell you a tale of how one thing can impact your week severely. There were like always, more than one thing that affected the week overall, but the hose leak caused all the stress, at least to me.

 The plan was to load flour in Dubbo and go to Melbourne, simple enough. Had a loading time, rang to say I was coming, yes all good, one loading and should be done by the time you get here, Ok Thanks. Got there and the other one took over an hour, so I could have got the tyre and light fixed, but anyway.

So yes, I understand the need to maximise loading, but my load sheet showed I had 25kg, not 250, not a tonne, but 25kg leeway to be perfect and at gross on every group. And yes, if you keep the same trailers, (my normal back trailer was in for brakes and bushes) and the load is pallets all the same weight, maybe, but with two drops, weights varying from 500kg to nearly 1300kg and 34 pallets for a 34 pallet space, a bit of juggling, mental arithmetic and some luck was needed.

First time I was over on the link, but was able to swap two pallets from the front of that trailer to the back and was then within 100 each end. So off to the yard to get the tyre and light done. When I had seen my A trailer parked, I mentioned to the workshop foreman, the airbags had gone flat. I had been so impressed after getting two airbags, one on each trailer and the front trailer brakes done and the bags stayed up and I could near pull away without spending time and fuel to pump them all up on the trailers, I thought what has changed?

But away we go and whilst I often stop at the Tiger Moth Café in Temora for tea, (I ring ahead and they have my chicken schnitzel, chips and gravy and lemon ready for me) but I had some food from home though needed milk and stuff, so pulled up near opposite Woolies there. In the rain, back from shopping and link airbags flat.  Start the truck and see if I could get enough air to get them up, no, but can hear a leak. Overalls on, under to find the line rubbed through, so now wet, rang the workshop manager, who said he would be back to me. Rang he did, is it at the end of a line, no, so then till tomorrow you must wait and we will get someone out. MMMMM

I was parked in front of the Ford dealer and the ambulance, but was not blocking any driveways, so dried myself as best I could, read and went to bed. Texted before 8, is your man coming, text back, no, but have another. Man came after I went walking looking to go to the loo. There is one at the supermarket and I had used it before, but now it is locked, perhaps for center staff,  but no help to me.

Man looked, tried a joiner, but hose had been rubbing for a while and was flat and the joiner would not seal, so even if I had one, might still have had a problem. Then he did not have the right size hose, so had to go and get some. Back hose fixed, had scoffed brekkie but no loo yet underway and on the phone. “What time do you close?” to the first drop, Melbourne markets, we close at 2, “I don’t think I will make it by then, but will give it a shot and call you closer”.

Hooked in, some roadworks and idiots, but maybe? Called at Beveridge at 1.55PM saying I will be there in 15 minutes, will there be someone there? The forkie is going, but if you can drive a fork, you can unload yourself, OK thanks, see you soon. I had been talking with our Melbourne depot, messaged when I broke down, etc and she and the customer we had promised delivery for Wednesday morning were not impressed. But after I unloaded and had been told the other drop closed at 4, rang again and was told, they really want what you have on, I will ring you back. Yes, if you come and split trailers and hurry, they will unload you now.

By this time I was starting to get hungry and keen for that loo, but ok, will hook in some more. Yard, split trailers to deliver the rear one, so a double split, then over and unload, ring again, on my way back. Do you want to load and go tonight? MMMMMMMMMMMMM, I suppose. Back to the yard, double split to hook up the b-double fuel and back in to load and bugger it, starving and loo visiting next. Load the full b-double and head off, made it to Henty and to bed. A fairly long day.

Up and into Parkes for the first of two drops there, “We did not expect you till tomorrow, but good you are here, but we will have to unload on the street” yes no worries, thought they might have told you I was coming, but yes the breakdown with the airline stuffed things up a bit. Round to the next drop and I had texted Dubbo asking where to next, hoping to still get my four legs in for the week? Unload, got a call to ask something re work, and said was unloading in Parkes. One fellow was away and another doing it all, Oh, how much room do you have, can you reload there? Yes what and details, yes can do.

By the way, can I then go to Newcastle and load for Mackay? No, that was in the message I left earlier, have a doctors appointment Sunday night (yes you wonder, but the surgeon who did my shoulders comes to Dubbo by plane Sunday, does consultations that night, then does surgery Monday before flying back to Sydney, top bloke DR Cass) and have made plans for tyres and graphics for rear trailer, ok will find someone else, thanks.

Back to Dubbo, unload and is Mackay load still there? No was cancelled and new plan to load for Sydney next afternoon, so off home in a rush, take two grandsons out to get tea and back just in time for NRFA board meeting. Then had some letters and a presidents report to write for the newsletter and finally to bed. Out to the yard Thursday and wanted the other airlines on the A trailer checked, secured and tidied/zippy tied so no further air leaks etc. Then ring Sydney depot to confirm load home, no you are loading for Mackay, no that load was cancelled and in the end, no it wasn’t, must ado and ifs and buts, but can you go?

Had now hooked up my B trailer from repairs, found some more stuff, got that fixed I thought, off to Parkes to load, but a dragging brake, yes will watch and get back to yard, had them checked, one slack adjuster had gone feral, so readjust and away to the Castle. Load there Friday and here I am in Mackay for another 36 hour break till I unload tomorrow. So I had time to tell you a tale. This is not a whinge, it is not a pity me, but to those who have said my stories only confirm why they left the road, all I can say, is I used to love it, but I am getting closer to not.

I will go to 70 plus, if I can get the license bullshit of a test and medical every year once 70 to keep my MC, NSW the only state that does this as far as I know. The major crashes, the load on family and the time of which there is too often not enough, have drained me a bit, but I just need a good week and a good win and I will be good for a while longer. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.