As with the previous morning it was eggs, bacon, toast and coffee hanging off the side of the trailer. It’s a pretty handy set up when you think about it. All the food is kept in eskys in the utes, except for snacks we keep in the cabin fridges, all the gas bottles and cookers are kept in the utes and all the bits needed to make meals are there too. However in a matter of minutes we can pick any or all of it up and move it wherever we like.
It was a bit of an early start for us, well the humans of us anyway, the trucks would turn their first crank until about twenty to eight when just before our eight AM curfew was lifted, but for us we were up at five AM so that we could eat, stretch, fart (again), and refuel the trucks. The actual refuelling doesn’t take us three hours to do, even the with each truck needing more than 500 litres of diesel, it doesn’t take us three hours. The reason it takes us three hours, less the time it takes to cook breakfast of course, is because the closest twenty four hour service station to our truck stop was more than twenty minutes drive from where we were parked.
It’s a strange set up, there is four service centres on the Grenstein by-pass, either side of the highway in two locations, seven kilometres apart. The highway is the main truck route between two states and none of the four servos is open twenty four hours a day. It’s one of the few places I’ve ever travelled in this country where the highway is not serviced by at least one service centre that is always open. But I guess that’s what you get when conglomerates own service centres and they happen to buy up all four in a single area.
If we could have waited until seven AM for any one of the service centres to open we probably would have done so. But it takes us about twenty five to thirty minutes to fill the truck tanks from the reserve tank in the back of the pilot ute and that just doesn’t allow is the time buffer we prefer to keep.
So all that meant that Jimmy and Angus were off early to the service centre thirty kilometres down the road to fill up the three thousand litre reserve tank on the back of the ute. In the big scheme of things missing out on a sale of a few thousand litres of diesel probably wasn’t going to break the service centres that chose not to support the highway that fed them, but who knows how much they missed out on every night given the large number of trucks that use the road.
While Jimmy and Angus were off getting the diesel the rest of us finished off our breakfast and cleaned up. Like usual we didn’t have that much to clean up after our overnight stay because while the rig and it’s massive load might leave a big foot print that footprint doesn’t hang around long after we leave.
When Jimmy and Angus returned just a shade after 6:30am and started pumping diesel into Corey’s rig the rest of us were doing our daily checks. Pete, Stan, Phil and Danny were checking over the load, the restraints making sure each and every strap and chain was tight. You might be surprised how much road vibrations can loosen the tie downs, even dog chains, and with more than thirty holding things down regular checking was paramount.
At the same time Corey and I were doing our daily engine and running gear checks of both tractors. We had Corey’s truck unhooked from the load, its bull bar and cabin where down as if it were bowing at the load and the two of us were leaning over the engine checking everything we could that would satisfy our minds that the truck was in working order. Once we’d given Corey’s truck the once over we’d re-hook it to the load and go and do the same to my truck.
By 7:35am both the tractors had been checked and nothing was found amiss, the load was checked, tightened and cleared for travel and Jimmy and Angus had the second pilot parked back behind Corey’s tractor ready to go. At 8:02am we were back on the road.
Our day was going to be a relatively easy one, compared to the day before because all our travelling was highway travelling. There would be no towns, no detours, no navigating parked cars and roundabouts, just open highway. The only thing that was going to slow us down for the whole day was the eighty kilometre stretch of highway between St. Arnuld and Kenwood.
You might remember a while back I was talking about winguts and morons, dumbarses and dickheads, well there is no better place to find such people than places like the road between St. Arnuld and Kenwood because the entire stretch is single lane highway. The road is not in bad condition for a country road, there is a few pot holes and soft edges but in general the road is pretty good. Width wise we fit on the bitumen, but we take up both the lanes available, but we can keep all that rubber on the hard stuff, that is unless there is other traffic also wanting to use the road.
Our permits gave us the authority to block the road, without a police escort, but unfortunately not every other road user believed that and on those tighter roads is usually where we found them. The one saving grace we did have along that long stretch of highway was that there was truck pull off bays every ten kilometres, we couldn’t pull into every one of them with our large load but we’d get into most of them to ease the traffic both in front and behind us.
It was good to know that we had an easy day ahead of us.
Previous Heavy Haulage story here.