Daily Prompt, driving, events, humor, serial fiction, truck, writing

Heavy Haulage: Roundabouts, The HH Way

“Are we there yet? Are we there yet?”

“No! And if you kids don’t shut up I’ll stop this truck and you can get out and walk!”

Ahhh the days of old when you could actually threaten your kids without being told you’re a wanker for thinking you can still do it!

However such a threat can still work in some scenarios, after all I was the one sitting in the driver’s seat and I had four guys walking beside my vehicle.

If you remember correctly I was driving a truck with a 155 tonne power sub station on the back to a remote outback town and I was driving through Riverbend.

If you remember incorrectly I was piloting a 500,000 tonne Supertanker across the Atlantic Ocean in a category five cyclone, but that is an entirely different story so I’ll go with the first one.

When we approached the large roundabout in Riverbend we weren’t even doing ten kilometres an hour so we didn’t have to slow down much to negotiate the traffic hazard. Because the very centre of the roundabout was a garden and commemorative cenotaph for war veterans we obviously didn’t want to get that close to the middle of it. That meant I needed to steer the load to the left and keep the majority of the trailer on the bitumen, but of course there was a limit to how far I could go.

As I mentioned back at the start of the journey I was towing a 7×8 steerable widening trailer behind the four axle dolly. The dolly was the width of a standard trailer and was there for better weight handling more than anything else so it didn’t cause any issues but with seven axles each with eight sets of dual wheels on it as you can imagine the trailer is a little wider.

The track of the eight wheels is not as wide and the overall width of the trailer at 4.8 metres which of course meant that the load itself would go closer to the cenotaph than the trailer did but it still meant that one set of wheels from each axle, the driver’s side obviously, had to ride the semi mountable roundabout and one tyre of the second from set of wheels would ride the edge of the roundabout leaving one tyre running on nothing because while we could lift axles independently we couldn’t lift single wheels of the dualie.

So from all that I think it’s fair to say that we weren’t overly worried about the cenotaph and the load coming together, providing I got the load far enough to the left that wouldn’t happen. What we were concerned about was making sure those two sets of dualies that were affected by the rise of the roundabout didn’t upset the load and tilt it sideways.

“All about stop.” Called Angus over the radio as the trailer edged up to the roundabout.

Both Corey and I had been expecting the call so neither of us were surprised we simply brought the rig to a stop and all piled out to inspect the trailer. What followed next was a twenty minute discussion about how things would proceed until we were over the roundabout. Although every roundabout and kerb we mounted where different the process was essentially the same but that didn’t mean we didn’t take the precaution of talking about it and making sure everyone was on the same page.

The method of the Riverbend roundabout was relatively simple but still needed to be enacted carefully. As Corey and I shifted the load ahead slowly we’d have one walker on the left, there was very little on that side we could hit, but again safety first, and the other five who weren’t in the pilots would be watching the load and the axles on the right hand side. Despite our slow speed no one was allowed under the moving load and therefore if any problems were noticed they had to call the load to a halt with their radio.

Trey had the trailer remote and walked in front of the load about level with my cabin so that I could see him and he could see signals from the walkers. As each axle that needed to be raised edged up the roundabout they boys watching the trailer would call out for the axle to be raised. From their position they would also be able to see if the second set of wheels on that axle would need lifting and make the appropriate call to Trey. The process would be repeated when the axles needed to be lowered back onto the road surface and with luck while the ride would be slow it would flow without our need to stop.

Don’t worry we know what it looks like to see a massive load come through your town slowly and almost grind the town to a stop closing off the main road only to have that load stop and everyone pile out. To some despite the fact that they can see a lot of day-glo shirts walking around and looking at the load it still appears to them that we’d stopped for an afternoon cuppa and smoko. I swear some people would be less surprised if we actually got some deck chairs out and lazed back for a nap! But I assure you we rarely stop to enjoy the scenery or the sunshine we stop because we needed too, we stop to because the load is not our only concern, so is the road we leave behind and all the trees, power poles, light and building, we leave standing when were are gone. What is that old saying about “time spent in reconnaissance is seldom wasted.”

So what looked like half a dozen blokes crouched around a big box and pointing at things was exactly that, but we did have a purpose and once that purpose was fulfilled we got back in our trucks and buggered off.

“Ready to roll fellas?” I asked into the radio and once affirmative responses came back from all radios I put the load into gear.

Previous Heavy Haulage story here.

16 Comments

  1. Deanna

    This chapter was fun to read.
    Nice reminder to chill for those doing difficult jobs. I read in the local paper where two road construction people were killled when a driver didn’t obey the signage. Dangerous. I’m glad you’re not out there anymore. : )

    • Bitching about construction zones seems to be sport in this country. People think there is only danger while workmen are on site and at all other times high speed is fine. I miss the truck sometimes and love to be out on the open road but it’s not good for my own sanity.

      How was Chrissie?

  2. My Christmas Day was unusually quiet, but “the family things” really starts tomorrow and will last for a week. It will be fun. Yours? You didn’t chop down any trees did you? Fruit smoothies are good for you. Healthier you is a good gift! : )

    • A week? OMG I’m flat out lasting a day I could have done with coming home before dinner last night but it’s not the ‘done thing’.

      Until mid afternoon things were good. The kids had fun, wasn’t too hot, blowflies were a bit too friendly but we were glad to get home. Back to normal today, cutting grass, warm, need to water garden, kids fighting over presents.

      Not sure how healthy I’ll be, so far the only drink I’ve made that tasted really good the kids demolished 🙂

      • Sounds like a wonderful life! Savor it all, including the fruitees!

        • I’ll send you my family then 😛

          I’ll also send you the recipes for the drinks I’ve been making, then we’ll see who’s laughing 😛

          I’ve also got a bird teasing me by sitting under the veranda and tweeting continuously. I go out and scare it off and it;s back within minutes. I’m going to make birdie smoothie if I catch him !!!

          • Sounds like a wonderful life …. oops I already said that … you’re funny! Check for a nest. I don’t think if it has bird in it that it can be considered a smoothie. *under her breath… no wonder his smoothies are yucky.*

            • I’m sending you my parents and my brother’s family!

              I’ve been taking nests down for three months, I think that’s why he’s angry with me 🙂

              I haven’t caught the bird yet to mix it, so far it’s only been things like pineapple, mango, banana, kiwi fruits, strawberries and blue berries. I’ve got a few others to try but the ratios are the thing that’s getting me.

  3. You don’t have to be a math genius, it’s fruit. How hard can it be?
    Your mother and brother will love me, but you’re still my favorite, bestest mate. : )

    • I just made kiwi, pineapple and mango and all I could taste was kiwi. Yesterday it was banana, mango and strawberry and all I could taste was banana. I’ve always been good at maths but I still can’t figure out the ratios on this stuff.

      Love is not the problem, it’s putting up with them that is 😛 and of course I should be the favourite 😛

      • I figured you would like that part!
        Sounds yummy, maybe I’ll make one for breakfast tomorrow. You will work it out. Give yourself a little grace.
        Yawning … goodnight mate. Enjoy the day…. it is barely going to get above freezing for me tomorrow… Have fun with the toys and stop fussing over them.

        • Our trouble is we don’t generally buy enough fruits etc for such things. We buy what we know gets eaten so remembering to buy extra is as much a part of it as actually making things.

          Well it’s going to be somewhere between 90 and 100F for us so enjoy your cold weather 😛

          I’m going to start fighting with the kids over the toys, it will be fun!!

          Enjoy your toy too, I hope you got enough batteries…hmm did that sound rude? I hope so 🙂

          Merry Christmas and don’t forget I need likes while your busy christmassing 🙂

  4. hi! Happy new year!!

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