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.

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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