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Big year of rigs, road and yarns

LIGHT IT UP: Witte’s Christmas lights.
LIGHT IT UP: Witte’s Christmas lights. Graham Harsant

HERE we are with Christmas less than a week away. Where did the year go? It is one of the mysteries of life, that as we get older, the years get a damn site shorter.

Oh, how I wish I was six-something instead of sixty-something.

I was thinking that not a lot has happened this year, in my little world at least. Then I flicked back through my stories and columns for 2014 and realised that actually we have been quite busy in between the humdrum of normal life.

The year began with a first-time trip to the Koroit truck show, where Shirl McCosker and co made us very welcome. It was a great opportunity to look around some of Victoria's best coastline.

We also found a hidden gem in Koroit at Alex's Pizza and Wok - an unlikely name for the world's best eatery.

January also saw us heading to Sydney for a mate's 60th birthday and the Territory breaking down halfway there which resulted in a great night at Woomargama. Merry Christmas, Jeff, Jackie and Brendan.

It was a hot summer, so hot that I resorted to drinking some of Witte's XXXX - and discovered why they call it XXXX! Still, everyone to their own taste.

February brought on the Lancefield Truck Show, a must-see event in any truckie's calendar.

The obstreperous organiser of a bikie run to the same grounds made some threatening overtures until the mild-mannered Robbie Green pointed out that just one rig could make a hell of a mess of 300 motorbikes. End of conversation. As always, it was a great weekend.

In March we packed up our caravan and after a week at our timeshare in Yarrawonga, we headed to Kingscliff on the Queensland border for some well-deserved R&R.

It was there that I learnt a valuable lesson about rolled-out caravan awnings and storms coming in off the ocean.

My good mate Murphy jumped ship and followed our friends, Bob and Sandy home from Kingscliff, introducing them to a leak in their caravan, caravan brakes failing and a kangaroo who obligingly jumped in front of their car.

There have been a rash of heart attacks this year with next-door neighbour Neville and friend Jimmy both having bypasses.

I worried greatly about these things coming in threes until another close friend, Warren, obligingly had one, thereby letting me off the hook. His wife, Annie, rushed to his hospital bedside to find him playing with his phone.

"You've just had a heart attack Waz! What the hell are you doing?"

"Just letting Kermie know that I won't be able to play Words With Friends for a bit." Now that's a true mate.

April had us heading from Melbourne to Albury in the biannual (from Melbourne) Crawlin' the Hume - possibly the best weekend a truck lover can have with his pants on.

Rita and I had decided that we would go away in the caravan once a month by hook or by crook. Then winter came and the thought of setting up and spending a weekend stuck inside the van with the wind howling and the rain belting down put a dampener on our plans. Instead we pulled the covers over and put her into hibernation.

July saw another 12,000 people flock to Alexandra for their truck show - I'm guessing one of the few that is put on in the main street of a town.

In August I got the gig of going to the Alice Springs National Transport Hall of Fame inductions (I think Ed. Carly was on a promise that weekend).

More great stories there, some of which I still have to write up. (Merry Christmas, Lizard and the Leech boys, and of course to you, Liz Martin.)

There I met JJ Hurley, one of trucking's gentlemen who has given as much to the industry as it has to him. I look forward to seeing your collection next March, JJ.

By September it was time to take the covers off Giddy Up and to tow her up to the ATHS meet at Echuca.

The trucks rolled in, the sun shone and I got well and truly plastered with a like-minded 70-year-old at the local caravan park.

October was busy with kids' birthdays and then November rolled around with the HCVCA event moving to Yarra Glen and putting on possibly the best event I've yet attended.

Later that month we moved on to the Castlemaine Truck Show - always a goodie.

Now Christmas is upon us and I get a wee break before it all starts again in 2015.

As we enjoy our Yuletide with our family and friends, may you also. I hope Santa brings you lots of lights and chrome, and maybe a few other pressies as well.

From Rita and I and our family, to you and yours, may you laugh, love and enjoy each other's company over this festive season.

I leave you with a photo of Paul and Brenda Witte's fence line. Paul has finally got the wording right after three years. If you're on the Shepparton-Katamatite Rd. give them a toot.

Take Care of you and yours. Merry Christmas!

Kermie and Rita,

kermie52@bigpond.net.au

Big Rigs

Topics:  graham harsant, life with kermie


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