Nerves of steel
EVEN the most experienced truckie needs nerves of steel leaving Wollongong NSW at peak hour in the morning to head off to Sydney.
They at first have to travel along the Picton Road which links up with the Hume Hwy about 20km away.
Spy was on the road at such a time recently January and found that even veteran truckies considered it hectic.
Trucks are allowed to use the inside two lanes of three just after leaving the Gong.
Car drivers play Russian Roulette zig zagging between lanes and often give the lads in the bigger vehicles a serve even though they probably can't be heard.
Truck drivers Spy spoke to are certain that consolidated revenue would be boosted if the boys in blue were around the area more during peak hour.
THERE is a sleepy hamlet in country NSW about 50km from the Victorian border named Woomargama which numerous truckies visit while on the road.
It has a population of about 150 and the centre of social life there is the local pub and the town is totally reliant on deliveries by trucks.
Spy stopped off there and spoke to the delightful lass behind the counter.
"Yes we get a lot of truckies who stop here for a short break. It is just off the main highway and 50km from Albury but is so peaceful and there is no hustle and bustle," she said.
When I was there a bush fire alert was on for many parts of the region.
"We have a rural fire brigade truck here and have been told if there is any looming danger we must all gather at the tennis court," she said.
Thank God for the bush fire brigades around Oz.
Rest stops galore
YOU will often hear truckies complain about the lack of rest areas beside many highways around our vast country.
On a trip along the Hume Hwy in NSW during late December, Spy found there were ample rest areas.
Of course these are also used by general motorists and vans which can annoy truckies.
It is a different story along the Pacific Hwy where there is a shortage of same and in many parts of Queensland, Tasmania, SA and WA.
A free bath
ST HELEN'S in Tasmania is a beautiful seaside town on the east coast and one Hobart truckie got a free spray while delivering there.
He was parked near a driver who was washing his car and van with a high powered spray which had lots of soap suds as well.
The bloke was distracted and suddenly turned around giving the truckie a free bath and leaving him feeling like a duck.
When the truckie asked the fellow to wash the soap off his rig he was told to "f off".
Spy was told the truckie gave him an "almighty spray with words" in return.
WHEN you talk to residents of remote communities you well and truly get the drift about how vital trucks are.
Spy yarned to an old mate Robert Sands Jnr from the isolated centre of Kowanyama in mid February.
Kowanyama is on the Gulf of Carpentaria side of Cape York Peninsula with a population of around 1500.
"After recent rain the roads to Kowanyama are closed and we have to rely on goods by plane," he said.
Before each wet season such communities have as many goods as they can trucked in.
Spy had driven the 450km mostly dirt road between Chillagoe and Kowanyama many times and it can be daunting.
The roads are expected to open again in late April or early May depending on the weather.
Rob did say that Kowanyama was hosting a big fishing contest in June and invited everybody to compete.
The Mitchell River there is the home to many species of fish including the prized barramundi.
SNAKES are a reptile that we all try and stay clear of especially in their breeding season when they become highly aggressive.
So it was with some degree of immediate concern for a South Australian truckie when he stopped off at a rest area 30km from Canberra in the ACT.
He looked down at the ground and saw a sign painted in yellow warning about the dangers of "Joe Blakes" in the area.
Spy was nearby and saw the incident and the truckie admitted he had a snake phobia and was concerned for a few seconds.
After checking there indeed were no slithery reptiles around he got into his truck and drove off.
NOT far out of the capital city of Canberra numerous truckies were on the alert for large kangaroos.
Along the highway they had seen dead roos which can make a big mess of a truck if they collide.
Much to their surprise they spotted a dead emu and it was indeed a big one.
Each had seen many dead animals over the years which made good road kill for various species of birds.
One had seen a dead cassowary up north Queensland but none had previously seen an emu.
OVER the festive season Spy received calls from truckies operating in different regions about such things as road conditions and the weather.
A Darwin lad said it was "raining cats and dogs" and he wished it would stop even though drought affected much of Oz.
One veteran driver from South Australia said the heat was so severe that some public events had to be cancelled.
He had planned to go to the horse races on a day off but the meeting was cancelled.
Down Tasmania way a truckie reported to Spy a crash involving a rig carrying potatoes near Ulverstone.
It occurred on the Bass Hwy on the eastern bound lanes near the Castra Road overpass.
No-one was injured as a result of the incident which was great news.
A Victorian truckie who is a regular caller was concerned about reports that a cyclone was hovering around the Coral Sea up Queensland way.
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