Seems like a long time since we left the yard doesn’t it? Well it’s been less than twelve hours since we rolled the big load out the front gates of the yard and in that time we’d travelled a total distance of thirty eight point seven kilometres.
I could give you a run down on the amount of fuel we used, I could even give you the economy figures we managed for the thirty eight kilometre journey but honestly the figures would shock you. At very least they’d make you extremely grateful that you aren’t paying our fuel bills. Suffice to say we used a lot of fuel and that the three thousand litre tank, which was on the rear of the second pilot ute, would be on it’s way to be refilled before our heads hit the pillow.
You might also be wondering why I wouldn’t be seeing Sam and Zakk given the proximity to our yard. Well it’s true we hadn’t travelled that far and my home was only about twenty two kilometres from where the truck was parked but there was multiple reasons none of us went home. Firstly unhooking the tractors was not something we wanted to do because the roads corp really do frown upon such large loads being left anywhere near the roads without the means for them to be moved. Secondly between the ten of us we all lived in different suburbs so taking each one of us home was a logistical pain in the arse.
Sam of course could have come and picked me up and taken me back home for a sleep in my own bed for the day, as could any of the team’s family. But after years of doing these sorts of trips it was just easier for me to stay with the load, sleep in the bunk where I’d be spending the rest of the week and not risk unforeseen issues stopping me from returning by 2pm.
It was just after 5:30am when we finished topping off the diesel tanks of Corey’s tractor and it was the last job that Corey and myself would be doing before laying our heads down. Millie, Angus and Jimmy would remain awake in shifts for the next seven hours keeping an eye on the trucks as well as refilling the reserve diesel tank at the road side service centre up the road. The other guys would also sleep.
It was a requirement of the road corporation that we have security on the load whilst we were asleep or stopped for long periods. They didn’t care that we have a few million dollars of precious cargo on that trailer they just dictated to us that someone be watching the load to keep unauthorised people away from it. It’s a valid reason but the way they write it on paper does make them sound a bit like prats.
Because the same sleeping and log book rules didn’t apply to the guys in the utes Millie, Angus and Jimmy staying awake to keep an eye on the load would not be a road legal issue. The idea was that one slept while the other two remained awake, they could sit in the utes, read, use the radios, their phones, whatever they wanted as long as they were awake and no one came near the load. Of course that’s good in principal but it doesn’t always happen that way and thankfully it is one of the rules the road corp insist upon but don’t often enforce because they have caught us a few times with all of us asleep.
Well the good news is that I had a good sleep. After such a long night driving sleeping wasn’t really an issue and to be honest most truck drivers easily fall into a ‘sleep as needed’ situation where they can nod off at any time they need to for as long as they need to. Upon waking I stretched, farted and rolled over in my bunk before sitting upright and putting my work boots on.
Several minutes later I was out in the afternoon sunshine and there was more good news, everything was in one peace so either Millie, Angus and Jimmy managed to stay awake or no one came to visit. Ok so that was probably a little over the top, or OTT as the hipsters would say, but a truckies life isn’t all seriousness and blue singlets sometimes we can have a bit of fun too!
With nothing changing from our early morning run out of the suburbs there wasn’t much we had to do before getting back on the road. Some times during the run out we might find the odd thing that needs changing, the way the load is travelling, the location of strobbing beacons, it could be anything that might have been noticed during the first run and could be improved. With nothing like that being noticed before pulling up for a sleep the only things that needed to happen before we hit the road again was a check of all the tie downs, the lights, the safety flags and the most important thing, coffee!
Because we can’t just pull into any truck stop with a load this big on our back we do plan quite a lot of things ahead. It’s not just the route, the times and the stops but things like meal stops and toilet breaks have to be planned fairly well. Because whilst the load was moving we required a pilot front and back we couldn’t even send one of the utes ahead to pick up meals and snacks whilst we travelled. What it meant was that we needed to pull over, then when stopped send on of the utes on a food run for everyone. It gave us a good chance to check the loads and have a break but sometimes it was a pain in the arse. It was for that reason that a food run was done before we took off. Driving while eating, especially on a relatively flat and open highway like we were going to be on was easy, stopping wasn’t
By the time we were road legal and permitted to roll at 2pm the engines were idling, we still had the final checks of lights, tyres and hydraulics to complete but we those sort of checks only taking a few minutes none of us were too worried about the time.
It was 2:12pm when the wheels began turning and 2:13pm when the tyres hit the bitumen and our evening journey started.
Previous Heavy Haulage story here.