It’s an unexplained devotion,
That makes you climb behind the wheel.
And guide 40 tons of missile,
From the coast to Camooweal.
It certainly is some kind of devotion that makes us do this, but it’s a tad more than forty tons that we are doing it with, about four times that much actually. In this country forty ton is about the weight of a standard truck and single articulated trailer. That’s a load on a three axle prime mover with a single tri-axle trailer, the kind of truck you see around most cities. What we were towing had a few more wheels and a few extra ton on it. But you know all that already.
On the same note, get it, note, song, singing…oh dear it’s going to be one of those days! However while we kind of came from the coast, given that all the major cities of this country are close to the coast we aren’t heading for Camooweal either. Although Camooweal is a small town of less than 200 people on the border of Northern Territory and Queensland so when it comes to remoteness and a lack of people we are kind of heading towards something that resembles Camooweal. Back to the singing!
It’s the feel of turbo muscle,
That gets into your bones.
It’s the romance of the long haul,
Bein’ out there on your own.
Yeah, okay! You got me. I’m not ‘out here on my own’ either and I haven’t been alone in my job for a long, long time, it’s in the contract!. Once upon a time I used to do long haul, single driver runs, five thousand kilometres, three days east to west, then an immediate turn around with a return load along the same route. But honestly it’s no life for anyone, let alone a family man like myself. Still there is definitely a romance to it that is extremely hard to explain, especially to someone who hasn’t ever felt it before. You don’t do it to be away from those you love but you can get to a point where being on the road is easier than not being on the road. The trick is being able to see when that starts happening and changing before it takes over.
I suppose instead of singing Travis Sinclair songs and educating some of you on what decent Australian country music is, which would be a public service, I should get back to things at hand. Where were we? I don’t know I’m just a steering wheel attendant.
Only kidding, I guess I really should remember the answer to such a question given that I am steering this thing. Hang on I’ll look out the window and see if I can see anything that gives me a hint of our location. A tree, a dirt hill, a farm house, any little scenic landmark would do, although a street sign would be so much better.
Ok sorry about that, I guess I woke up a little weird this morning. I’ll try again.
We were about an hour from our overnight rest stop at Grenstein and things were cruising along nicely, so nicely that I was singing loudly to songs playing quietly on the stereo system. I wouldn’t normally have the stereo going with such a large load but sometimes one just needs a bit of music to break things up and as long as the music wasn’t too loud I’d always hear the CB should a call come across it that needed my attention.
As I might have told you previously our day was going to be a relatively good one except for the eighty kilometre stretch of single lane highway between St. Arnuld and Kenwood where some drivers just had to convince the world around them that they didn’t deserve to share the same air. I guess that was a big reason why I was so up beat and happy to have a bit of a sing along in the cabin, start on a high and hopefully things don’t bite as hard by the end of the day.
“Pulling off to the left now.” Pete called over the CB radio as we approached the service centre at Cabbettry.
Cabbettry was little more than a service centre almost connected to a small town but it’s biggest redeeming feature for us was that we could pull in there with the load, get a relatively decent feed and park far enough away from everything that we were out of everyone’s way.
“Following.” I relayed back across the airwaves.
Pete then placed a general call across the airwaves, which was partly in code but a code other truckies and those that run the service centre would understand, telling them we were pulling the large load off the highway and parking it off the road behind the service centre. It was a call done purely as a polite gesture to other roads users and not required by any laws.
Remember that good day we were having? Well someone up there must like kicking me in the nuts while my eyes are closed because I’d barely laid both feet on the dry sandy surface of the truck parking area when thoughts of lunch suddenly got blown up.
It wasn’t part of our official inspection, that was scheduled for before we took off, not before we actually had something to eat, but looking at the load whenever we stopped is just one of those things we all begin to do after a day or so. The ‘thanks for ruining my lunch” award for the day went to Jimmy this time because he was the one that noticed the flat tyre on the second dualie of the third axle. Sure noticing the flat was a good thing and should be rewarded, even if it was part of the job, but sheesh not before my bloody lunch!!
Okay I am of course only joking, it was a good find and one that couldn’t be ignored. Now if you’ve ever felt sorry for someone parked on the side of the road with their vehicle jacked up changing a tyre, and I’m sure you have you sensitive souls, imagine how we felt at that moment knowing we had 155 tonne sitting on a flat tyre.
Well thanks for your concern it’s good to know someone feels for us.
Previous Heavy Haulage story here.