THE weekend of the Tarcutta Truck Drivers Memorial coincided with the F1 bike race at Phillip Island.
Consequently, on the Friday as we headed to Tarcutta, the 450km of roads we traversed were chock-a-block with bikes of every description, in addition to the usual trucks, cars and caravans.
In all that way, to the point of being almost unbelievable, we saw manners and courtesy to other road users, the likes of which I don't think I've ever seen before.
The bikes, whether singly or in convoy, were all cruising rather than tearing up the tarmac.
They passed where it was safe to do so, they didn't tailgate and they didn't try to clip the bonnet as they cut back in front of us.
The grey nomads out this day also seemed to have discovered a newfound respect for those travelling at a greater speed than they.
Time and time again they moved to the left when able, to allow the traffic behind to pass.
The truckies too, seemed to be having a good time of it.
A friendly wave of thanks when we flashed them to warn of radar traps ahead and appreciative flicks of indicators when we moved over to allow the odd one with a power chip to pass.
Maybe it was the weather conditions on this perfect spring day.
Possibly we were out on the one day of the year when everybody had given themselves plenty of time to reach their destination.
Whatever the reason, it made our trip that much more enjoyable.
There were two events though, that highlighted the worst and the best of the trucking industry.
The road from Yarra Glen to Yea is about 40km. Much of it is hilly and winding but it includes a number of stretches where there are overtaking lanes.
Coming out of Yarra Glen a tipper with quad dog tore past us with a blind corner coming up.
The driver of the oncoming car must have wet his pants as the tipper only narrowly avoided him.
Around the corner was a hill, and of course we caught up to the truck.
Over the ensuing miles we watched this driver perform acts of absolute stupidity on at least five occasions, presumably to arrive at his destination more quickly.
By the time we arrived in Yea, you know how far ahead of us he was? Eight seconds.
Forty kilometres of putting his own and others lives at risk for eight measly seconds.
Do us a favour pal.
The other end of the spectrum occurred in Tarcutta at the memorial service.
I was standing at the back of the crowd, near the road while the Last Post was being played.
As that haunting sound washed over those present, a B double crawled past, heeding the memorial notice placed at the town entrance. The driver had his window down and could obviously hear the music.
As he passed he removed the cap from his head in respect.
I had held myself together pretty well throughout the service but that moment was when I lost it.
That driver displayed everything that is good and caring about this industry. Good on you, mate.
Take care of you,
Kermie: firstname.lastname@example.org, 0418 139 415