“Fuck I’m tired!” I was thinking to myself as the call came over the radio telling everyone that we were about to get the wheels rolling again.
I know it might not seem like it to an outsider but it had been a long night. We’d barely travelled thirty kilometres in total, we’d had to deal with fuckwit drivers, dumbarse protesters, and more rules and regulations than many of you will come across in your entire life. Don’t get me wrong many of the rules and regulations, even some of the sillier ones, are required when you’re hauling a 155 tonne load on a rig that measures close to eighty metres long and eight metres wide, but that doesn’t mean the the job’s any easier to deal with.
We’d been on the road nearly eight hours and not only had we only travelled about twenty nine kilometres our average speed for the entire night was, according to the trip computer on the a dashboard of my truck, fourteen point six kilometres per hour. I know if you try to work the maths (yes it’s pluralised you heathen American’s bastardising the English language 😛 ) out on that little sum that it doesn’t work but you have to take into consideration that much of our time has been spent crawling at speeds not registering on the speedometer or actually stopped, and since the engines rarely get turned off when we are on the move the trip computers don’t always read exactly accurate.
If you really want to see something truly impressive you should see our trip computers when they are live reporting fuel usage. On newer cars that have live reports of fuel usage on the dashboard to give the driver something to look at while they are stuck in peak hour traffic many drivers start getting nervous or annoyed when the see their fuel figures go up past ten litres per hundred kilometres.
Well I can tell you that’s a figure such a large vehicle just can’t compete with, under ideal conditions without a load my trip computer reads about forty litres per hundred kilometres. Now imagine how those same people in their cars would feel looking at my dashboard as I’m crawling up a steep hill, being pushed and or pulled, and my dashboard is reading 195 litres per hundred kilometres. Fuel for thought or maybe just the thoughts of a madman.
Where was I? Oh yeah.
We had about nine kilometres to go until our day time resting spot, it was a relatively easy nine kilometres because it was three lane highway, expect for the few over passes we crossed. Because our side of the freeway was closed off completely for our use we’d have no troubles making the 5am deadline providing nothing went wrong.
Our first little hurdle, and it was only a little one was to cross over onto the left hand side of the highway. There is cross overs in the median strip of the freeway every few kilometres they are used for emergency vehicles and to give the coppers somewhere to sit and point their radar guns at on coming traffic but these cross overs weren’t any good for us. The cross overs were wide enough for our trailer but because they ran at ninety degrees to the road it meant two savage turns that would not only take us a lot longer but could also result in damage.
For us our cross over had to happen about nine hundred metres from where we’d stopped at the top of the ramp. It was a large bitumen area used during the construction of the highway many years ago and never removed, just barriered to stop the traffic from using it to turn around and change direction.
Over the years things had been made a bit easier for us because the roads corporation in all their wisdom had replaced the heavy Armco barriers with steel cable supposedly installed to reduce impact and slow vehicles down if they collide with it. Whatever their reason it’s a shit load easier to remove temporarily than Armco barriers ever are. What it means for us is we can drive diagonally across the cross over and straight onto the left hand side of the road leaving the roads corp crew to put the cables back up in our wake.
We approached the cross over slowly, it was an easy cross but we still had the walkers out, watching for anything that could upset the load. Like I said the cross over is a relatively easy run but there is a spoon drain that runs straight down the guts of it. At its deepest point the spoon drain is only about fifty millimetres deep but it is wider than a single tyre and because we were crossing it on an angle it meant each axle would dip twice before it crossed over the drain. The suspension of the trailer had enough travel in it to accommodate that dip but we still needed to be careful not to twist the load as the tyres rolled into the dip so we took it slowly with the walkers doing their job of keeping an eye on things.
Within a few minutes we were safely on the left side of the road, which is the right side of the road not the wrong side of the road. The spoon drain had posed not threats to us and the wide trailer had ridden the bumps well. Between Corey and I we stopped the rigs long enough for the walkers to get back to their vehicles and then we were on our way again.
On the freeway we were able to get up to a cruising speed of sixty kilometres an hour, it was like were were flying compared to the speeds we’d been at since leaving. We were permitted to travel at a speed of up to eighty on the freeway but there was little point travelling much over the speed we were doing. Partly because we were required to slow down to forty on the over passes but mainly because we needed that reserve speed for when we were going down hills because if we did get caught breaking our allotted speed limits we got fined and not just fined like most drivers get, we got fined about four times what other road users got fined and the company got fined as well.
Want to again tell me about how truck drivers get things easier and that truck drivers don’t pay their fair share of road fees given the size of their vehicles and how often they travel? No I didn’t think so…Ok I’ll get on with the story!
Previous Heavy Haulage story here.