I Spy on the Road: Dead man walking
Dead Man Walking
THERE is a well-known veteran truckie who has had the nickname of "Dead Man Walking" for almost four decades.
Some know why and many others don't, and it sure sparked the curiosity of Spy.
So when I ran into the gent at a roadhouse, I asked him for an explanation.
"I was driving a semi trailer near Bathurst 39 years ago and it rolled seven times," he said.
"Everybody reckoned I was lucky to survive so they called me that and it has stuck like glue."
Still driving happily at age 65, the thing other than memories he has to remind him of his dice with death is a scar on the side of his face.
Ironically he showed some other truckies a newspaper cutting from the time which reported his accident.
One of them reckoned it all sounds like the theme from the famous Phantom comics he used to buy many years ago.
"The Phantom was known as the Ghost Who Walks," he said with a broad smile.
NUMEROUS truckies who drive to remote parts of the Northern Territory have told Spy of the danger buffaloes pose.
It sounded like taking a trip back in time to the USA when buffalo roamed the plains.
Then news came to Spy from NT about a police vehicle being struck by a huge water buffalo near Yirrkala.
It was in late May and around 3.30am when the police van struck the buffalo which caused $12,000 damage.
A surprising statistic is that more people have been killed on the Gove Peninsula in the past 25 years by buffaloes than by crocodiles.
If any truckie notices a potentially troublesome buffalo near a town, they are urged to let police know.
EARLIER in 2014 two truckie mates who had worked together for years in South Australia met unexpectedly on Bruny Island in the deep south of Tasmania.
One lives in Queensland and the other in NSW and they hadn't seen each other for donkey's years.
They had a coffee together and pondered when their paths would again cross in the future.
Come mid-May that occurred on the north Queensland Aboriginal shire of Palm Island.
Both were amazed at the coincidence of meeting at two islands so far apart at opposite parts of this vast country.
Bruny Island is off the south-east coast of the Apple Isle and Palm Island is 48 nautical miles across the Coral Sea from the city of Townsville.
When you think about the nature of the road transport industry and the travelling involved, these things are bound to happen.
Although they both agreed with the old adage "it's a small world".
Driver of truck and taxi
YOU never know who is a truck driver, given that Australia relies on our road transport industry so much.
Spy had a few cold ales at a local pub and phoned a "left jab" or cab as many Aussies call them.
During the 10km trip, the taxi passed a late-model Kenworth and Spy got a major surprise with the following conversation.
"I have a heavy vehicle licence and will be driving such a Kenworth tomorrow for a mate delivering to a town 350km away," the cabbie said.
That is not the first time Spy has spoken to a person with a full-time job who supplements the income with some part-time truck driving.
DURING May, Spy was lucky enough to be at two career expo events where youths and indeed adults checked out many potential careers.
It was no surprise that many young high school-aged male and female youths were looking at jobs as truck drivers.
In demand were jobs in the mining industry, where the pay is usually lucrative.
But not far behind were inquiries about normal truckie jobs.
When asked, most youths said that while times were a-changing, there would always be the need for goods to be delivered.
Hence the saying, Trucks Keep Australia Going.
LIFE was fairly boring for a veteran Queensland truckie as he drove along the Bruce Hwy just near Mackay.
It had been raining and he noticed a motorbike in front of him which was behind a car.
"The car seemed to hit every puddle of water on the road and it was continually splashing all over the bike rider who was saturated. I felt a bit sorry for him," he told Spy.
Mind you, the truckie was far enough behind the others to miss any water.
WHY is a truckie happy to meet somebody he spent a long period next to in a hospital whilst they were both seriously ill?
The answer? They both survived.
That occurred recently when a longtime triple road train driver met a road transport identity 10 years after they were beside each other at a big hospital.
One did not remember his former "bed neighbour" but when the other fellow mentioned their stays, he soon did.
"It was 10 years ago and I haven't been back in hospital since then," he said.
The other admitted he had been back to hospital twice since but was now fairly well.
On a positive note, both now seem healthy enough for their ages with the other being aged 59.