DODGE IN THE SKY: Have you seen the old Dodge on a pole?
DODGE IN THE SKY: Have you seen the old Dodge on a pole? SPY

'They did stupid things that didn't save any time'

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Licence loss hurts

THE leeway (if any) given to drivers who get caught by police just over speed limits around the country is often a hot topic of conversation.

Spy was contacted by a veteran Victorian truckie who has lost his licence for three months after he claimed to be travelling at 1km an hour over the limit along the Murray Valley Highway in July.

The gent, aged in his 60s, said he was caught by police driving his ute.

"I was 1km per hour over 110km/h and this led to me being hit with three demerit points taking my total for the period over by one. So now I have another two months to wait to get my licence back. If the cop had given me leeway and booked me for being over the 100km/h speed I would still have my licence,” he said.

He reflected on how he drives more than 300,000km a year in his Kenworth with a good safety record.

"I get in my ute and drive up the road and get nabbed,” he said.

But he is taking it on the chin after being given a lecture by police about a rising road toll and is keeping busy working on the family farm.

Spy asked a well known Victorian road transport identity about whether cops generally give any leeway.

"To my knowledge you get 3km/h leeway but of course it depends on the cop holding the speed gun,” he said.

Spy has spoken to truckies from most States and they generally saw police may give up to 2km/h leeway.

Tasmanian roadworks

SEVERAL Tassie truckies are happy that a lot of the roadworks along the Midlands Highway connecting Hobart and Launceston are complete or soon will be.

The 95km route is also known as the Heritage Highway and roadworks have been ongoing for years.

"A lot of the work south of Epping Forest Roadhouse has been done or is nearing completion but there are still lots ongoing north of there including on an overpass,” one Hobart driver said.

This notorious highway has been listed among the 10 most dangerous in Australia.

Once the work is all done it will certainly make the famous highway safer.

Dodge city

ALONG the Cunningham Highway on the outskirts of Goondiwindi there is an old 1950s Dodge truck which is a genuine tourist attraction.

The English built Dodge truck with a straight six engine is elevated into the air on a post and forms part of two roadside sculptures. A former NSW truckie who loves snapping pics of trucks while travelling as a grey nomad sent Spy this pic.

In the past he has taken pics of old trucks at far off places like Coober Pedy in NSW and Alice Springs.

Sadness from ill driver

YOU never realise how much a career means to you until it is taken away.

That is the case of a NSW owner operator who suffered from an illness and is undergoing rehabilitation.

"I have been a truck driver 46 years and can't do it at the moment. Hopefully in the future I can again,” he told Spy.

This true gentleman had been a quality football player in his heyday and life was going along well for him.

Until last year he collapsed at work and hasn't driven a truck since.

Spy Sally

SPY has enlisted the services of a sub agent named Sally who travels the highways and byways of Western Australia, South Australia and Victoria.

Sally, which is her real Christian name, regularly turns up at roadhouses and rest area in those states.

She is soon to venture across Bass Strait for some work in Tasmania and will also be on the lookout for inside info on the road transport industry.

"I feel like Agent 99 from the television series Get Smart,” she said.

So if you are a truckie at an eatery and come across a lass named Sally - beware - you could end up in this column.

No fixed address

MORE truckies these days have "no fixed address” and opt to live in the sleeper box of their vehicle.

In previous years Spy would come across an average of five drivers who because of circumstances do that.

This year Spy has already yarned to a dozen drivers with no fixed address and everyone was a single male of various age.

It may be because of a relationship break-up, tough financial times, or just a lifestyle that suits them at a stage of their lives.

They operate their businesses from a laptop computer and mobile phone.

One pointed out that he doesn't have costs such as a mortgage or rent at what was his home town.

These nomads either purchase meals at roadhouses or pubs during their travels around Oz keeping Australia supplied.

Or cook a meal on a gas burner along the way.

Some roadhouses have small coin operated laundries where they can do washing and most have showers.

Often you will see a towel or clothes hanging over the front of a truck to dry.

File shots of mine of the Roy Bell Tent Boxing Troupe which operated around Queensland, WA and NT
File shots of mine of the Roy Bell Tent Boxing Troupe which operated around Queensland, WA and NT SPY

Boxing tent bout

SEVERAL younger off duty truckies had bouts at the famous Mount Isa Rodeo under the Fred Brophy Boxing Troupe big tent from August 8-11.

They challenged boxers from the travelling show which is still very popular at certain big events in Queensland.

Legendary Brophy is believed to be one of the world's last boxing tent showmen and lives in Cracow, Central Queensland where he owns the popular hotel.

Brophy was awarded the the Medal of the Order of Australia in 2011 for his role in raising money for charity and for services to the entertainment industry.

There has been other famous travelling boxing troupes in the past, including the Jimmy Sharman and Roy Bell ones.

Spy heard some truckies talking about the boxing troupes at a roadhouse parking area in mid-August.

When the lads speak about alleged bouts they had under these tents, you get the impression they add some melodrama.

Cover-up expensive

SEVERAL truckies who were parked up were yarning about personal "cover-ups which ended up being quite expensive”.

Curiosity got the better of old Spy as his mind thought about what type of scandal they were talking about.

One suggested that Spy take a close look at the impressive tattoos they both had on arms and leg and I was assured there were others out of sight.

Anyway the two super friendly lads told of how they have tattoos which included the name of a previous partner.

"I was told by my partner that it made her jealous when she saw that so I had to have it covered up. Which I did at the tattoo and it was very expensive,” he said.

A truck travels along Tasmania's Midlands Highway during roadworks.
A truck travels along Tasmania's Midlands Highway during roadworks. SPY

Practical jokers

THERE is a retired truckie who drinks at a popular hotel where he and a duty manager like to play practical jokes on each other.

One afternoon the veteran ordered a beer and left it on the bar while he went to the nearby toilet.

While he was gone for those few minutes, the duty manager hid his drink which it took a while to find.

Anyway our ex-truckie got sweet revenge when the worker sat near him at the public bar after ordering a "free management” meal of crumbed fish, chips and vegies.

However the duty a manager got called to the nearby office to take a phone call and the truckie grabbed his meal.

He took it to a table where some tradies were sitting, offering them chips off the plate.

There were laughs all round when the manager returned to find most of his chips missing.

Spy thinks the old fella won that round of practical jokes.

Dangerous acts don't save time

IT WAS just after 6pm when a truckie walked into a packed roadhouse eatery to wait for his meal.

Spy was also there and counted another 15 truckies sitting at various tables in the compact eatery and talking about the road transport industry.

The gent told all of them how during the 20km of his drive along the busy highway he counted 10 cars which had overtaken him.

"Five of them did that in a dangerous manner and could easily have had head-on collisions,” he said.

The punch line to his comments were that most of the cars were in a two lane queue that he was in at traffic lights near the roadhouse.

"The stupid things they did saved them no time,” he said.

Several of the others munching on their meals remarked that was a common occurrence on our roads.

A gut feeling

ON the odd occasion you will come across a truckie who perhaps could have become a dietician or had a career in health.

That is the thought of several of his mates after the lad has been trying to improve his "gut health” and passing on advice to others.

But they have been completely stumped with some of his words including "Mucoid Plaque”.

Like them, Spy had never heard of it before son did some checking.

Apparently Mucoid Plague builds up in the body and blocks the absorbing of nutrients that help get rid of toxins.

Famous after article

A South Australian driver who appeared in a recent Big Rigs article with his picture also included was super impressed with the amount of attention it attracted.

A Big Rigs correspondent saw him interstate and randomly asked to include him in our paper.

"Since the article was in Big Rigs heaps of people have seen it and many of them have asked for my autograph,” he said.

Colleagues have even cut the Big Rigs page he was on and stuck it on the company notice board.

"Some of them have taken the Mickey out of me in a joking way,” he said.

What really impressed him however was hearing that several lonely women from around Oz who has seen his pic tracked down the article writer's phone number wanting to meet him.

They described him as handsome and wanted to know if he is married.

One said she found his handbar moustache very impressive.

Spy will keep readers posted on any romantic developments.

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