The following morning I woke to the beautiful streaming sunlight and swore like a trooper. When I pulled the blinds around the cabin, the ones the block out the sun to make it easier to sleep, I had left a gap in them and the bloody sun was streaming through it making the cabin a lot brighter than it needed to be. Such a bloody rookie mistake, such a newbie screw up and there was no way I was going to admit it to anyone because I’d cop shit for days.
The one thing I had going for me in the shit slinging stakes was that it was only 5:15am, we were in that stupid time around daylight saving where the sun rose really early until we changed the clocks forward and set the sun at a more reasonable 6am-ish. The early hour, still two hours before we were due to leave, meant that the only other guys likely to see my stuff up with the blinds were the two guys on sentry keeping an eye on the load. I couldn’t remember which two were on security but I figured unless one or both of them were wandering around stretching their legs I probably wouldn’t be caught out and become the butt of their jokes.
There was no point shutting off the sun light and going back to sleep at such an hour so I slid out from under my doona, sat upright, got dressed, then stepped into the cabin and opened the blinds all the way.
I could have been all proactive and done something strange like going for a run, but seriously who gets up at sparrows fart in the morning just to try and kill themselves? Nope I had no intention of risking my life by getting early morning exercise, my only intention was to get something for breakfast.
Although it wasn’t long before the others would be getting up to prepare for the day I figured that thanks to the sun I’d be the first up. What the meant for me was that I would be the one preparing the cooker and stuff for breakfast. As I think I have told you before, we don’t have a set cooking roster we simply work together. Some morning the guys watching the load may even start breakfast but it’s not something we do regularly given that the last sentry is usually a long one, from around 2am, and we’ve all decided at times, especially those times when we did it ourselves, that cooking after the last shift has knobs on it.
When I climbed out of the truck it was a little warmer than I expected, it wasn’t that surprising, we were getting closer to the outback with every day’s travel, I just hadn’t heard the weather for the day and as I might have mentioned it was early! We only had another two days travelling to get to the mine site, if everything went to plan A, so we wouldn’t need to get too used to the warmer weather but with nights sitting in the 20’s and daytime temps hovering well north of 40 degrees I shouldn’t have been surprised by the temperature when I got out of the truck.
Speaking of getting closer to the outback one really good thing about being so far from anywhere is the lack of towns we needed to drive through. For our last two days of travel we’d not only be on open road with plenty of room for other cars to go around us, if they didn’t mind using the red dirt shoulder, we wouldn’t actually have to stop or slow down for any town.
We would pass a small town every few hours but they were all off the highway with plenty of room at the local roadhouses to park a load, even one as big as ours. The towns we’d be passing were quiet little outback towns, the sort of small towns with populations that ranged between fifty and maybe as high as a thousand people, supported by crop farming and surviving on little to no rain all year round.
Where was I? Oh yeah warm weather and getting breakfast.
Enjoying the warm early morning sunshine I turned away from the sun and stretched my body, the bed in the truck was comfortable but it was still good to stand up and stretch each morning. Danny, who’d been on last watch and was sitting in the front pilot must have spotted me getting out of the truck and almost immediately he was standing beside me greeting me. Before getting out of the truck he must have radioed Angus and told him I was up because with thirty seconds all three of us were standing in the warming sun enjoying every bit of it.
We must have stood there quietly chatting for about five minutes before I decided my hunger was definitely getting the better of me and I invited them both to help me start cooking breakfast.
By 7am all ten of us had risen, eaten, caffeined up and were ready to officially start our day. As with most days our permits didn’t allow us on the road before 8am and despite being out in the middle of nowhere with little to no other traffic we still adhered to those permit rules. Still the hour wasn’t wasted because we were able to spend our time doing a thorough and relaxed check of everything. It was good not to be rushed by anything and I have to admit that as much as I missed my family the further we got away from the city and the yard the more relaxed things became.
It was flat out being a second past 8am when the wheels began to roll.
Previous Heavy Haulage story here.