“All right everyone on three we are going to lift!” We all had a corner of the trailer and were about to lift the the big load up so Pete could get under and change a flat tyre. “One, two, three, heave!”

Ok, so that’s not quite how it happens, obviously nine of us can’t lift 155 tonnes of power sub station and trailer just to change a flat tyre. No of course not, we only lifted the corner closest to the flat tyre.

“One, two, three, heave!”

Are you buying this yet?

No?

Are you sure?

Well if you’re not believing it how do you think it happened?

C’mon, what’s your answer?

Have you got one?

Do you think we just pop the jack out of the boot and someone starts working the handle up and down to lift the trailer?

Yes?

Well the joke is on you!! And of course I am being silly.

Sometimes the silliness and humour helps us get through the day and it’s outrageously funny humour like that which helps….oh who am I trying to kid? I am just waffling for the sake of waffling, some people call it talking shit, but honestly I know you’d never think like that of me, your favourite truck driver!

Ok I’ll stop talking shit now!

We were sitting at the truck stop cum service centre just outside of the township of Cabbettry and Jimmy had noticed a flat tyre on the on the second dualie of the third axle. It was something we could probably have left until after we’d eaten lunch but honestly it’s one of those catch 22 situations. Leave it and there could be other damage but the bigger issue was that after we’d eaten and had a little relaxing time changing a tyre wasn’t overly appealing, well at least not when we could do it while we were still in ‘road’ mode before eating.

So how were we to lift 155 tonnes of box plus the trailer so we could change the flat tyre? Well if you’ve been paying attention and actually reading our accounts so far you already know the answer as to how we do it. So have you been paying attention?

Of course you’ve been paying attention, what else do you have to do other than read my wonderful words and take in everything I write?

It is kind of easy what we needed to do and we did it as we were trying to negotiate the roundabout with the war memorial in the centre of it in Riverbend. That’s right we just lift the dualie with the flat tyre until it’s off the ground, take the tyre off and replace it with a good one. Although when I say it’s easy it’s still a prick of a job. Have you ever lifted a truck tyre?

On average they are probably around the fifty kilogram mark and no matter how you change a tyre at some point they have to be lifted off the ground, even only a small amount, and put onto the hub. For us that had to be done from either a squatting position in between the axles on sitting on our butt. Strong or not that’s a prick of a job, but it’s a job we all have to do at some stage in this career.

I guess you can see now why no one really volunteers for such a job. We are all professionals and all mates so it’s not something we fight over, although we do shit stir each other a bit, but it’s just another job we all get to do from time to time.

Our team effort consisted of Trey and Danny getting a spare tyre from the dolly in front of the load. There was eight spares up there, strapped down in four stacks of two with a couple of nine hundred kilogram tie down straps holding them down and the reason it took two of them to do it was because as I just stated they are about fifty kilos each. At the same time Millie and Phil started organising all the tools, things like the rattle gun for undoing the wheel nuts, the air hose for the rattle gun, the wheel nut socket and those sorts of things from the storage boxes on the back of my truck. While good ol’ Angus went and retrieved the remote for the trailer, the rest of us stood around complimenting the boys on being such a well organised machine.

While no one really volunteers that doesn’t mean someone doesn’t just step in and within a few minutes Millie was under the trailer with the rattle gun loosening the wheel nuts while Danny was standing next to him ready to take the flat tyre and replace it with a good one. A few minutes after that, with a few grunts and groans thrown in for good measure, Millie was tightening up all the wheel nuts with the rattle gun.

With tyres costing us a couple of hundred bucks each there is one other important thing we need to do with the flat tyre, providing it hasn’t started to shred itself. If the tyre only has a hole in it there is a good chance that it can be plugged, patched or used as a retread so for that reason we have to remove the good tyre from the dolly and place the flat tyre on the bottom of the stack. Why? Because if it’s on the top the tie down strap, which has to be tight for obvious reasons, can deform the tyre casing making it useless for any further use. Whereas if we stack it on the bottom the two rims stack together and the top tyre which is full of air doesn’t deform under the pressure of the strap.

So with all that done and successful it was time for something to eat, something to drink and a bit of a sit down, which given the job we do might be the last thing you’d think we would want but honestly it beats standing up to eat.

Previous Heavy Haulage story here.