15th March 2020. Mr Positive.

Goodaye all. I hope many of you saw the link/video “Mr Positive” that I shared on Facebook and Twitter. You can find it at http://www.truckingnation.com.au Chris Harmer is Mr Positive and he was interviewed by Stephen and the intro was done by Sarah, both from Whiteline Television. I have known Chris for many years, back when he and I lived in Brisbane and worked for Finemores.

I worked in the container park for 13 years after starting as a courier driver, then moved into tankers, moving to Goondiwindi to carry Ampol fuel from Brisbane to Dubbo. Chris was in car carriers, then moved into the office and then on the road for tankers. I have an old photo of the two of us at Avenal Roadhouse in two Finemores Volvos, both coming out of Melbourne.

We passed on the road and sort of kept in touch as I moved to Dubbo and then Chris left Finemores and started working for local companies in Wagga Wagga and we would chat on the phone at night when he was on the road. Chris is a very well liked and popular driver with those he knows, sometimes you have to que up to talk to him on the phone.

I think our longest conversation on the phone was well over three hours, each discussing our problems and listening to the other with his. Chris was a fan and supporter of my efforts and often told me not to give up if I had a bad week or could not achieve what I wanted to. When you have a friend that you can discuss your dreams and your problems with, it can help lessen the burden, provide another view and simply, make the night and the drive, much shorter.

Depending on where he was going and when, we might speak three times one week and then not for the next. Very occasionally, we would pass on the road, a couple of times we met up in Melbourne, but mostly we talked on the phone at night when on the road.

I am missing his voice and contact, as his license was revoked after what they initially thought was a stroke, but was then diagnosed as serious brain cancer, after two operations to remove tumours, he was told he may only have 12 to 18 months to live. Chris lives for his family, wife and children, though two of his kids have a serious affliction which means they will require life long care.

He loves trucks and whilst it has helped him look after his family, it has not always gone easily. As with all jobs, but more with interstate truck driving, you are on the road and you’re often a long way from the family at home. This has made it hard on his wife, particularly with the children, but Chris has said often, that Burkinshaws were the best employer and the owner has not only helped when needed, he has really tried to do his best to help Chris when family situations needed him home.

I am hoping to attend the benefit day, Chris has invited me and I hope you might watch the video, consider giving something to the go fund me page which Melanie Burkinshaw set up, as without a truck license, Chris and his family now have no fulltime job and he is facing a short time left to live.

Chris says some have defeated his condition, he has done chemo and is still positive as per the video and I truly hope he can beat this, but if he can’t, he and his family will need some help. None of us know when our time is up, life is but a game and we can only play till it is over and do the best we can. I wish I could do more myself, but if I can get someone who is in a better position to help, then I will have done something small to help Chris and his family. Share the video, help if you can and recognise that Chris did like anyone else would, feel angry at first, but I applaud his acceptance, recognise his belief in his God and church and wish him all the best. I thank him for all his time, his listening and support and keeping me keen and enthused.

Chris I hope you beat this, but either way, am glad I have had you as a friend. Good friends are hard to find and friends like Chris are rare indeed. All the best mate. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

8th March 2020

Goodaye all. A short week-end last week and a big week on the road this week. A spot on ABC Overnights Wednesday morning with Trevor Chappell about road rules went well with many callers and I have suggested a spot on rest areas for the future.

Calls back from TMR and RMS re the alignment of roadside signs that blind us with our own lights because they are incorrectly placed. Both will be doing some fixing, thanks, but many others wrongly aligned and need to be fixed.

A call back from Vicroads on two issues and I have just emailed a detailed outline of the issues and hope to get a reply soon.

I did contact both TMR and RMS re green reflector marking of informal bays, nothing from TMR yet and RMS have issued new guidelines which speak of a state wide rollout. This would be a major improvement and would immediately help fill some gaps for us. We still need many more rest areas and spaces, but this could be a good step forward.

Comments from drivers, others ringing with issues and seeking help still coming from “Nightshift” listeners is all good and emails from others who read my column in Owner Driver keep me busy. I can’t always help, but will do my best to do so where and when I can.
How do we get other drivers involved? Only one call to anyone might get a response, but 5 callers will do more and 20 will see action, more often than not. Yet many drivers want things fixed, changed or improved, but won’t make one call or send one email. Our HVNL review, the Senate Inquiry and all the previous industry calls for contributions and comment, went largely unnoticed with few responses. So, when those asking see that, it is more likely they will then simply say, no one cares, we will just do whatever we think best. Unfortunately, more often than not, it is their view that gets used to change things, we get shafted and then everyone complains about the change or lack thereof.

I would like to think the associations were there more for the drivers, yes I could say without drivers, there would be no transport business, but in many ways that applies to each of the myriad other roles, that come together in transport. We just happen to be the most at risk, responsible for all on the road, accountable to everyone else and yet, still mostly unrepresented in most industry forums and groups. We tried the drivers club and many had said they would join, some did, but that was all they did and it of course failed. I will keep trying, but it is hard and lonely doing it mostly on your own. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

29th February 2020 Happy Leap Year.

Goodaye all, I will have to speak with Hermione and get hold of her time spinner so I can either catch up, or have more time. We finished filming Monday, home Tuesday, back to work Wednesday after staying up for Nightshift. Home Saturday morning, try to sort and catch up with some things, not enough hours in Sunday, load and back on the road.

Chasing a few truck issues, still working on them, was asked to speak at a Churchill Information evening Wednesday evening, back in to load Thursday and just home today. A special week-end with all my children home for a visit. This will be short as tea is coming. Tomorrow a special day, but back on the road in the afternoon.

Very sad to hear of the driver attacked at Boggabilla, what is the world coming to? So many affects and impacts affecting us all, so many big things, but we can’t simply fix it all or give up on the little things as well.

Our local mayor was at the Churchill evening and I spoke with him about a toilet block for drivers in Dubbo and he said to chase him up, so that is the next on the list. Family first, so I will catch up next week, but hope to have a submission in for some road safety projects, need that spinner again. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

15th February 2020 @ Glendambo

Goodaye all, just arrived in Glendambo, South Australia, home of 225,000 sheep 2,000,000 plus flies and 30 people (now 35) according to the sticker you can buy in the Caltex servo. We will be on the road early tomorrow morning to catch up with a triple roadtrain on the way to Darwin to do more of our next road safety video, Caravans and Roadtrains.

This was the only week-end available to all and required a Saturday shoot, to not delay the truck anymore than necessary or than they could afford, to still have the express into Darwin Monday.

But it means I will miss the National Road Freighters Assoc (NRFA) Conference and AGM held in Dubbo this Saturday. I did some of the set-up work getting quotes for venues, arranging speakers, doing some media etc and have spoken with a number of local businesses seeking some items for the auction and thanks to both Inland Truck Centre the local Kenworth dealer and Trackserv the local Isuzu truck dealer, for contributing.

I have been involved and on the board of NRFA for many years now and whilst I would like to do more, there is simply not much time left spare with my other efforts. But they have helped support me with a logo on the TIV trailer curtains, certainly given me a voice with other like minded drivers and I hope I have, as one of the few company drivers amongst mostly passionate owner drivers, provided another view and or perspective to some of the issues.
The NHVR will have people attending and pollies have been invited and with members discussing and looking for answers to some of the industry’s problems, I had hoped to contribute with it being in my home town. But we can only do what we can.

We stopped on the way out north from Adelaide at a couple of rest areas (plenty of informal sites could do with green reflectors to help drivers find safe spots in the dark) and it was interesting that a number of large and open sites, one of nearly half an acre with open entry/exit and parking for 40 trucks, were marked no trucks. I will be following this up on my return next week. I doubt it would ever be policed, it is not as if they were all chock a block full, but if you don’t run the road regularly and are tired looking for somewhere to stop and follow the signs, it could be a long way between truck stops.

With the usual help from all at Rod Pilon Transport, Katie in Melbourne, John in Dubbo and Nick in Brisbane, I managed to get four legs in, deliver a load they wanted done and rush home in time for a shower and to pack and then catch the plane to Adelaide yesterday. I do thank them individually when they help me achieve one of my efforts to get something done on top of my usual work and I have thanked Rod Pilon Transport (RPT) which of course starts with Rod himself, his son Ben and all the others who do give me enormous scope and time and understanding, to do these extra activities.

I have said there are few companies that would let a driver design the trailer curtains, about to be for the third time when I get the next set done (and RPT are now getting my old original TIV curtains on another set of trailers) let alone give me the flexibility they do, to try and achieve other efforts. Yes much of it is in my time above work, but some is done within, where and when it does not adversely affect RPT. Thank you to each and every one of you at RPT who have helped me in any way to do that bit more.

Back at Glendambo, a good days filming drone footage of a triple overtaking another triple and the noticeable difference in attitude of many drivers on far more populated highways. No drama, no snarkiness, just help one another to get the job done. Thanks to ABC Transport, their driver Kelvin, our intrepid caravanners, Keith and Rachael, friends of Stephen and Sarah from Whiteline TV, our drone pilot, Jess the producer and I did my bit, only fluffing a few lines. Off to bed now, more filming in the morning, then back to Adelaide, more filming Monday then back to work maybe Wednesday. Safe Travelling to all, Rod Hannifey.

27th January 2020 Happy belated Australia Day to all.

Goodaye all, it has been an interesting week. Happy belated Australia Day to all. I hope you did something truly Aussie. I must say I enjoyed the new extended version of “We are Australian” from the Melbourne benefit concert, it nearly brought a tear to my eye. Well done to Bruce Woodley and all who took part.

Completed one trip Dubbo to Melbourne, flour down and chemical back. Back in Dubbo Wednesday, replaced a couple of Air Tabs on one trailer curtain, wrote a list of mostly minor repairs to be done along with a major “C” service for the prime mover, due every 100,000 kilometres, so twice a year.

Intercooler out for cleaning, check all oils, do bearings and other items on the list, all on top of a normal oil change and service, along with doing services on both trailers as well, while the truck is being done. So little things like a light torn off by a roo a week ago, another out that we had to order a replacement for, but not safety critical, included to be done at the same time.

With such a job, well over a days full work for two blokes and subject to what they find and may then include other things, good time to go off filming.
Thursday I did manage to get to the dentist for a little filling, sent a heap of emails for those supporting (or at least those I am asking to) the next TRUCKRIGHT Industry Vehicle, before flying out early Friday morning. My flight was on time out of Dubbo, but the next was a late plane into and then out of Sydney and that led to an on tarmac quick hop into the next one in Alice Springs. That turned out not to work so well, as my luggage and the tripod for the film camera didn’t make the transition. We got to Uluru and I had nothing but my camera bag.

We asked and followed up the lost luggage, but with no real clothes shopping available there, I had to wait and whilst we did film off the shoulder Friday, if you ever have to carry a true film camera, you will know they are not light nor easy to carry, let alone hold for an hour or so filming etc. After arrival at the resort, we went out to the Rangers Station and did an interview to confirm filming, what we could and couldn’t do, as any commercial filming must be approved and permits issued before you even go there.

Stephen stepped up and filmed off the shoulder Friday afternoon, we waited for the right light and got some good footage. I went out very early to watch the sunrise Saturday, as many others did and I do recommend you do if you ever get to visit the rock, too good an opportunity to miss whilst there, as I don’t think I will be there again at this stage, then back for a bit more sleep. Out to the airport to our late lost luggage, get some clothes and a tripod and now we were fully kitted. Then we headed off, again meeting with the ranger to confirm filming angles and specific issues to avoid, got set up and filmed and moved to different sites, again finishing after sunset Saturday.

A big well done to all the small but passionate Whiteline Television team, Stephen and his wife Sarah, producer Jessica and my on camera partner, Amelia.

We were well received and often helped by many of the true tourists, giving us some quiet when we needed it, some space and even turning off their cars, so we could film and it was warm and the flies were very friendly, so thanks to any we inconvenienced, even if only for a little while.

Some of course asked what filming here had to do with roadtrains, but of course those who spend their time on the road holidaying and seeing this marvellous country we live in, are those we are hoping to help be safer on the road and they will be at and visit, such places. But to get there, they will be on the road, sharing it with us as we deliver the goods. Even the tourist brochure for the resort, mentions the roadtrains that deliver all the goods, food, fuel and equipment for those who stay there.

Now Qantas had been apologetic about the luggage when we found it missing, (you would think they would count the number to transfer, but maybe there was another issue) and we did get it the next day, it just meant no clean undies etc, till then. It could have been worse, without the camera we would have been there for nothing!

But then they cancelled the flight Sunday and that threw a whole new heap of angst into the mix. Others beyond ourselves, had commitments and connecting flights and whilst we were never told early of a problem, I must say the young lady from Qantas in Uluru took it all in her stride. A couple of people were getting stroppy as you might expect, but she asked us all to give her some time as she played musical flights and needs and she took each in turn and sorted it out. Someone said they would not have wanted her job for quids, but she got it all sorted and I wish I had her name to give her a well done.

Some were moved onto direct early Jetstar flights, but I and a few others, due to the much later departure of the Jetstar flights, simply would not make the connecting flights all ready booked to get home, so were put up in Sydney for the night. I would have rather been home and when I spoke with my son telling him of the delay and not to pick me up, he said it was pretty lame. I remarked, I would rather them cancel the flight if they thought they had a problem, than have it fall out of the sky later.

It is all about how you look at it. My son had given me a book when I said, I need something to read while waiting at the airport in Sydney and that book was “The Alchemist” 25th Anniversary edition. I had never read it and finished it on the plane to Alice Springs, but it certainly has a message. It says it is the book translated into more languages than any other and I enjoyed it. Back to work tomorrow if the service etc is all finished. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

19 January 2020 Goodaye again.

Goodaye all, did you miss me? Big couple of weeks and ended up in Mackay yet again late last Saturday night, for a Monday morning delivery. Had to get there before midnight to get my 24 hour break in for the week. Must say I had a terrific feed at the BP at Clermont, nearly couldn’t finish my fourth rissole and perhaps then didn’t need the bread and butter. The salad was good, including potato salad as well, good value for the size and went down well.

Back into the “Nighshift” show each Wednesday at 1AM, they had two weeks off over Christmas and even got back up after getting into Brisbane Tuesday night early from Rockhampton. Had a wheel seal fail, could smell the diff oil when I pulled up in Mackay and had to get it fixed at Brown and Hurley Rocky, job well done and they replaced the bearings as well. While I was there was asked if I was looking at a new truck and told them I was, but speaking with Kenworth and hoping they would support the next TIV. I was asked what the “Airtabs” do and was told the curtains stood out and looked good.

Visited young George at Glenmore Homestead in Rocky, a bit tight through the gate, but had tea and a beer with him along with doing a phone hook-up for our National Road Freighters Association meeting. Thanks for the hospitality George and Tony the next morning. Now have somewhere to park if needed. We will be having the next conference in Dubbo at the Macquarie Inn on the 15th February. I am seeking people to supply items for the auction on the night, will be doing some media and have to email and get approval from the council to park outside for the event.

Down to Moree for a delivery, on the radio, then to bed unloading in the morning and then to Dubbo for a load that took a bit of sorting. 37 pallets, but many overwidth made for a challenge, but got done and ringing with sweat, back to Brisbane. The next day after a pick-up, the wheel seal on the other side went out in sympathy, just starting to weep, but again picked up by the smell. It has cost me a chance to go straight through to Melbourne today as must be fixed before leaving Dubbo Monday.

Loading for Melbourne tomorrow and hope to be back in Dubbo for Wednesday, sort out some local stuff, then fly to Alice Springs Friday morning for filming for our next safety video, Caravans and Roadtrains. Truck and trailers will go in for C service and some minor repairs while I am away.

I will be entering the Truckies Top Ten Tips (for sharing the road with trucks) along with the Green Reflector Marking of Informal Truck Bays into the National Road Safety awards this week. If nothing else, I just hope it helps each get some further promotion and recognition towards improving road safety for all.

Both have been now over 20 year projects and while I must say, I wish they were wider used and spread, each has made a mark and is recognised by some. I will keep on trying to have each a national program. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

5th Jan 2020 Have a Truckin’ Good 2020

Goodaye and a Happy New Year to you all. I have had a few days off, but done a trip to Melbourne each week, going down Boxing day and then again on New Years Day. So still doing my part to keep the wheels of industry turning. No real dramas on the road, mostly quieter than normal traffic, till on my way home this morning, with one imbecile deciding to overtake on a blind corner with a car coming the other way, which then went off the edge, lucky there was a wide enough bitumen one, or it could have been much worse.

It is one thing to go to overtake when you can see in a truck and run out of room because the fellow you have followed for some time, then speeds up, either because they are an idiot or simply because they do not want you to get in front. If that’s the case, then if you do the limit, only those who are speeding will want to pass you and why if someone waits till it is safe to overtake, would you be so ignorant to then speed up?

I had caught up to a caravan with two cars behind. The cars had ample opportunity to pass the van, but did not, so I had a go, did one car at a time with plenty of room, as I was right up on my weight and the next upcoming overtaking lane was uphill, so buckley’s chance to get past there, another little issue. To the credit of the van driver, though I could not even see his mirrors from behind him (technically illegal) he did pull over in the next town, indicated and gave me good notice what he was doing (seemingly had no UHF radio, I called on both 18 and 40) so I overtook and the now little train of cars behind did too. The vanner had sped up when I started on the second car and foiled me there, but did help further on.

The other issue only half an hour before, was a van. Yes, a little truck, but not a truckie, at least I don’t think so, as no truckie would do what he did. Again with him travelling about 85 to 90 in a reasonably new vehicle so well capable of doing the speedlimit, we were approaching an uphill overtaking lane.
I had stayed back a bit to get a run up, was on him at the start of the extra lane, got nearly past him before I started to lose speed, uphill at 67 tonne will do that, and he just sat there beside my back trailer all the way to the end of the overtaking lane and had to push in behind me. Now again, if you want to travel below the speedlimit, within reason, that is your right, but like anything, we would all then expect some recognition of the fact, that others might like to get somewhere.

If he wants to go slow, then why not let the other vehicles safely past as well in an overtaking lane. Why be a prick and sit beside the truck (and once past I never saw him again, so it was not me holding up the rest of the traffic) instead of letting them pass you in the safest place available, an overtaking lane. Is it just an “I’m alright stuff you attitude”?

It has been a terrible Christmas with fires and for those who have lost family on the road. What is your solution to the road safety problem? We could of course ban all cars off the road, we could all do 60 kph everywhere, but then all our food and exports would cost more and we would have truckies falling asleep everywhere, because we simply don’t have enough rest areas now, imagine how many we would need then? What do you suggest? All the best for a TRUCKING Good 2020. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

22nd December 2019 Merry Christmas.

Goodaye all. A big week on the road, Dubbo to Melbourne to Dubbo to Newcastle to Emerald, Brisbane and back home today. Got the aircon fixed, a new idler pulley, repair to a curtain roller, some tyres changed and a bit of loading and unloading along the way.

An animal week, hit three roos, no major damage, just some nut covers (bugger) missed two wombats, saw a fawn, an eagle, a dingo, missed a big water bird and a few others. Plenty of bumps hit and recorded with a couple that I plan to follow up on ASAP.
Spoke with RMS re signage on the new overtaking lanes near Dubbo, explained green reflector bays to a couple of drivers and wished a few mates Merry Christmas on the phone. To all the drivers and people who will not be with their families for Christmas, thanks for the jobs you do and I hope you get time with them over the holidays.

I was to have some time off, the first time since being at RPT, but one customer still needed to get the freight out so I put my hand up and we found some freight in Melbourne, for the return, so I will be loading tomorrow and leaving Boxing Day, unload and reload Friday and home Saturday.

Some years ago we did the U2 tour which went from Melbourne to Brisbane, to Sydney and then finished in Perth. I was the last truck to leave and I loaded and left there, drove for three days to Melbourne where I must admit I had to cheat a bit of time to get unloaded and reloaded, then left Christmas eve and got home 9AM Christmas Day, the only time Santa beat me home.

It was my first and only show trip and at one stage I asked one of the tour people could I do a story. He said no, they had previously had people do stories and were not happy with the outcome. I offered to allow them to vet anything before printing, but he said, definitely not. So I asked someone else and was standing outside the tour managers door when the first fellow walked past and asked me what I was doing. I said I have an interview with the tour manager and he shook his head and walked off.

I wrote a story for Owner Driver, which I had to keep down in words and was then approached by a mate and had to extend it and it is one of four stories I contributed to “Great Australian Trucking Stories” by Jim Haynes. I have had a number of drivers comment on the story and if you are looking for a late Chrissy present for a truckie, consider it and you can also get it as an audio book, read by Jim himself and I have a copy. It was strange that when I was approached about my Audiobooks for the road Facebook page by Big Rigs, I was reading the trucking one.

I do believe we have too few books on trucking in Australia and little history of those involved. The Road Transport Hall of Fame do sell some, but it is not where all can attend as easily as others. If you know of a good trucking history book, please let me know. I do have copies of “They Came like Waves” by Jeffrey Ffrost and this was an excellent story about how trucking got going after the war, then there was another book about the Hughes and Vale case which got road tax removed. I highly recommend both.

I also have a copy of “Where the Big Rigs Fly” which I had to buy as an old library book form the USA. It turned out to be signed by the authors, so quite a bonus. I had started to try and build my own road transport library, but ran out of time to read and chase them all, but one day?

I also still have a number of unbuilt truck model kits from years ago, I built them when I was a kid and whilst they have travelled in boxes as we have moved, I am not sure how much is still intact. All these things to do when I have time.

May I wish you all A Merry Christmas and a Trucking Good New Year, hope you continue to enjoy my writings and I will keep on trying for trucking in 2020. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

15th December 2019 The week that was.

Goodaye all. How do we explain our job to others, yet not make them concerned with all on the road? I had a big week, a few incidents and some time constraints that I managed to meet, yet could have had big impacts, had I not.
I was following a learner driver, they were doing about 85 and I was catching up in an overtaking lane. I gave a flash getting towards the end as I got close, to really ask both the learner and the teacher, would they let me pass? As I got to the back of the car at the very end of the overtaking lane, the learner still in the left hand lane and not yet moved over or indicating, at the very last second possible, they indicated and moved over into my lane.

As they had to cross a broken line, they should have given way to me and I would hope the teacher would have thought it wise to teach the learner the rules correctly and to teach common sense. Would you agree it would be better to slow early and let a truck go past on a major highway, than pull out with less than a car distance in front of a loaded b-double and then travel down the road at 80 kph for the next hundred k. Not this teacher it seems.

So being fully loaded, I could not get past till they actually turned off the road, not that far along, but again, surely better to have let me past and on my way than stuck behind when they were turning off soon anyway. How do we ever guarantee that parents teach the rules and good common sense on the road, specifically if they may know nothing about trucks themselves.
Then on my way into Melbourne at night on the Hume, me in the left lane with cars catching me in the right hand lane, a car was behind me and merging from the left. This car flashed me virtually asking why I did not just slow, but stop and let them in? Which part of the law about giving way to the traffic you are merging with, did this goose not understand? They were not the only ones with this idea this month.

The next was a truck passing me going up the Toowoomba range, me loaded, him a light semi only and as he passed, he pulled over far too early and had I not swerved to the left, would have hit me. I waited for an apology, none forthcoming, but I did not abuse him, though did consider it, to be honest.
There were other minor incidents, none dangerous or really stupid, just the usual things where car drivers expect me to let them in etc when I am at 65 tonne, just because they think I should, let alone they were meant to give way to me.

Then there were the time issues. Up on hours the night before, in a spot I am not fully aware of all rest areas and after a couple of unsuitable tries, found and used a suitable informal site for a 7 hour break, but would not suit green reflectors, as would be a problem in the wet. Leaving the next morning I was nearly at a customer and as I only had an address on my paperwork initially and not keen relying on just that, so got a phone number from the web, rang them to be told they were away, didn’t know I was coming and not only could I unload myself, but did I have the new address? When they mentioned the address, I had passed it a few k back, so then not only had to find somewhere to turn a fully loaded b-double round safely, but had to go back. That time and the longer unloading time, though all went OK there, meant I was now looking at a tight run to get loaded that afternoon.

Got there in time, lovely loading site, hot breeze lifting the curtains, blowing my corflute about and had to of course, for my safety, have long sleeves etc to make nearly certain, I could suffer complete heat stroke. Out of there, first break for the day, but instructed to take a different route. Made that just, early the next morning then off again. We had tried to get in contact with the customer to arrange a Saturday delivery, in case of delays on the road. No one replied and so I rang Friday morning to confirm a time late Friday or Saturday. Not keen on Saturday, what time can I be there this afternoon? I suggested 5.15 to 5.30 and considering I was still in Brisbane and had to detour via Toowoomba to get further south, I thought I did well ringing at 4 to confirm arrival at about 5.15. the boss had agreed to stay back for me.

Details to get in from across the street, as you would have difficulty getting a b-double in the gate off the address road and then, thank goodness, another way out as it looked like a dead end once inside. Down the road, tried three places for food, one no, next two closed, but got something and a bit left from the frig, then down the road further and to bed early. Home Saturday, to then go and get some tyres fitted for another driver, thanks Rod.

There are drivers who have done more k’s. harder loads and tighter timeslots, this is not to say it is hard, but the majority of the issues I dealt with like most other weeks but perhaps, not so invasive, were both from others and mostly outside of my control, yet I have to make it work. Had I not got unloaded Friday afternoon, I may have been expected to stay away till I could unload Monday, not bloody likely.

All we ask for is good roads, suitable and sufficient rest areas and that those we share the road with, be taught to share it with us. Not completely unreasonable, yet it seems, very difficult to achieve and believe me, harder on your own with little support. What can or will you do, to help me achieve these goals? Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

8th December 2019 Bourke, here I went.

Goodaye all. Trying to get too much done, not enough time to keep up, so out of Dubbo late last Sunday afternoon, into Brisbane early Monday. Me rained on while looking where to park and where I had to be to then get backed in, to either be able to split and or, get in as a double to unload. Backed under a tree, cost, one branch and me wet more, checking all was OK. Hard to see above and behind you in the dark and the rain.

Wait for customer (thanks to daylight saving for getting in my break and it didn’t even fade the paint on the truck) where I had been told I would have to split to unload, not so and another b-double reversing challenge accepted and done in two goes, no rain thank goodness to unload. Another copy of Owner Driver to a customer, interested in the TRUCKRIGHT Industry Vehicle and its curtains etc.

I had sought a day off if not needed and luckily that worked, so with thanks to Nick and Dave from Rod Pilon Tpt Brisbane, I was able to attend the HVNL Compliance and Enforcement meeting last Monday. Thanks to young mate and driver Nick for also making the effort. His first at of one of these sort of events and he had a go, contributed where he could and is keen to make a difference and see things improve. He admitted to being a little overloaded with detail and much to think and reflect on after the event, but like all these things unfortunately, there were from my point of view, not enough drivers with the only ones being him and I.

True the regulators and others must have a say, but who gets the most “in your face” compliance and enforcement issues? Drivers need to have more and better access to such events. The other side of course is the vast majority of those attending would be being paid whilst attending, or at least not be losing wages etc as drivers would and do.

I networked, offered a trip to a couple of prominent players, had one offer me a camera and am still to follow up on others. This one of four such meetings, aiming to solidify some of the input to the HVNL review papers and to gauge feelings on issues. Workshopping multiple themes, able to float and contribute between groups as needed or stay and watch and learn. Using an app to allow all to then vote on the outcomes from each group, seemed a good use of technology and a fair and open way to gain the feelings of the group attending.

Once back in the yard, load and away and back up the Gap, finally open since Friday and looking forward to the best feed of rissoles and salad on the road at Fisher Park, but they like many others lucky not to get burned out but with the road closed for a lengthy period, business seriously affected so had to have sausages, but still a terrific feed.

A couple of pick ups in Warwick, then a few drops and into Dubbo for the night, still in room K200 and up at 1AM for the Triple M Nightshift spot. Unloaded and reloaded while an axle problem addressed, off to Wagga for the night and catch up on diary and paperwork. Unload Wagga, unload Griffith and pick up Griffith, more reversing practice, more times here to get in and tighter too, letting cars through was my excuse and then into Melbourne, unload reload and off again.

A night at The Rock and planning for home Friday night till I got a phonecall, would I like to do a trip to Bourke tonight? Working out hours and stuff, details suggested a possible problem, but roadtrained out with a snack at Nyngan, Saturday long process unloading and swinglifting, but home in Dubbo at 4.45 so I can go to Melbourne following my regulation 24 hour break.

I did manage to find some green reflector bays, putting the industry needs first, as none out that way. Still a couple more to do one day and plenty of other roads as well.

Sunday and been to the library for some new audiobooks and music, done shopping for the week and cleaned the frig and half packed the truck. Still got lots to do and may defer audiobooks review for this week till next as have to fix a mudflap if I get time. Till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.