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Heavy Haulage: Full Steam Ahead

Pete’s call came across the radio loud and clear.

“Whoa fellas! Back it down. Pull it up.”

Of course we all took Pete seriously, as I might have mentioned before I trust the guys I work with and I knew Pete wouldn’t be calling us to a halt if it wasn’t immediately needed, so I did as he asked.

My front wheels were rolling down the driveway crossover towards the road, I applied the brakes slowly and brought the big Volvo to a halt before the rear wheels of the tractor passed the gate post. When stopping a load like we were moving stopping it on the most level surface possible was always preferable and thanks to our slow speeds I was able to do exactly that leaving the trailer still in the yard when we came to a stop.

“What’s up Pete?”I spoke into the CB microphone.

“Some dickhead has parked his fucking Pantech on the side of the road up here.”

While we did try to keep swearing down to a minimum on the radios sometimes, especially where dickheads are involved, swearing does happen.

“What’s he doing there?” I asked.

“No idea, there is no one in it.”

”Can we get around it?” I asked as Danny and Trey jogged down to where Pete had stopped on the side of the road.

Because our yard was in an industrial estate the roads surrounding us were wide but with a Pantech that was probably about two and a half metres wide parked to one side it would make thing difficult, if not impossible. The problem was that even with our permits that have all the I’s dotted and t crossed we weren’t allowed to close the roads off before the allotted times. Sure if someone had been keeping an eye on the road before our 8PM leaving time they might have been able to ask the Pantech’s driver to not park where he had, however because we had no authority to direct traffic the request could always have been ignored.

Basically it was a come as you are system, even after 8PM we weren’t allowed to direct traffic, however the police and road corps could have, but without the driver in the cabin the options we had for moving it were slim. What it comes down to was, even if we had a spotter down the road when the Pantech arrived we could still have found ourselves in the situation we were in. It sucks, but that’s the way it is.

A few moments later, enough time for Trey and Danny to reach the truck, Pete’s voice again broke the airwaves.

“Truck’s running. Trey and Danny are looking for the driver. Looks like it’s a delivery truck, bread or something. Presumably the driver is in the Frankies.” Frankies, we all knew was the local five buck chuck take away food shop down the road. “Give us a minute fellas.”

“Roger that Pete,” I replied, there was no need for any more of a response.

There was a few minutes of radio silence, again no need for any of us to make any sort of conversation, before Pete’s voice again came back on the radio.

“They’ve found him. Sure enough he’s delivering to Frankies, he’ll only be a few minutes. Trey and Danny are helping him cart his shit in to try and get things moving quicker.”

Looking at the bigger picture if a few minutes waiting for another truck driver to do his job was going to be our biggest hold up over the next eight hours we would be extremely lucky. Truth was a problem like a delivery truck that was going to move in only a few minutes was very low on my give a fuck meter and I wasn’t stressed by the hold up at all.

It was actually six minutes, I was counting, by the time the twelve tonne Pantech drove past the front of the yard. The polite driver gave me a flash of his lights and a little blast on his horn as he went past.

“Ok Matt, the road’s clear, bring her out!” Pete said across our air waves.

It took us nearly three full minutes from wheels rolling until Corey’s rear wheels where on the road. It was slow but it’s what’s needed with such a large trailer that we don’t want to bend in the middle. For the entire time the trailer was exiting the yard our walkers kept an eye on every axle group as the hydraulics took over lowering each group as needed to keep the trailer as level as could be coming down the small sloped driveway.

Heading towards the intersection we’d slowly crept our speed up to a blistering twenty kilometres per hour. Our walkers were still on their feet and following us despite our blistering speed which they knew would change when we reached the intersection ahead. At the intersection we would nearly come to a complete stop as we navigated the left hand turn around all the lights without knocking them down and without riding the kerbs too much.

I could see the lights of the intersection ahead of us. The street lights flooded an orangy glow over the whole site. Underneath those lights I could see the red and blue flashing lights of the police vehicles, there was two of them, and the purple lights of the Roads Corp cars, I could also see the flashing lights of Pete’s truck. But it wasn’t until I got within a hundred metres of the intersection that I could see the flashing lights of the cherry pickers.

Why did we need cherry pickers? Well we didn’t, the power company did. Because of the height of our load and because power lines were different heights in different areas there was places where we needed power lines lifted and places where we need the power lines dropped completely and the power company was of course the only people who could do such job. The intersection ahead was thankfully one where they only had to be lifted, the next major intersection we would cross however needed the lines dropped.

You might remember I said earlier that this industry is proof that money makes the world go round, well as you can see money definitely makes our world move because there is no way all this comes cheap. Of course it’s included in our fees but someone has to pay for the Police, the Roads Corp, the power company and anyone else we need to keep us moving, and of course they charge double time for the hours we were working.

I rolled the big rig up to the intersection and prepared us for the next big step, the turn onto the Williams St.

Previous Heavy Haulage story here.


  1. Cheeky, mentioning the bread truck, Love it!

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