Western Australian owner-operator Wayne Cook, 56, was laying on the ground and doing repairs to his trailer in 34-degree heat, during a mammoth 5300 kilometre trip.
“I am doing some repairs to the suspension on the MTE trailer,” he said.
There was no rest for the weary as Cook was on his 24-hour fatigue break.
His company is Cookies Contracting Pty Ltd which is based at Baker’s Hill 75km from Perth in WA, and he was driving a 2010 Freightliner Columbia.
Cook’s wife Janette does the administration from home and is an integral part of the business.
This veteran truckie had driven 5300km from Perth to deliver an Epiroc Drill Rig to a mine near Bowen in far-away north Queensland.
Bowen is 200km south of Townsville and 190km north of Mackay just off the Bruce Highway.
Big Rigs saw him doing the repairs whilst parked up at the BP Cluden Roadhouse in Townsville.
“I don’t come up this way often and this is just my third trip here in as many years,” he said.
Enthusiastic Cook was ready to head off to the NT the following day to pick up equipment to deliver to the Gulf of Carpentaria area of far north Queensland.
He realised that in the not-too distant weeks, rain would ensure the roads to the Gulf region were closed.
Cook rates the worst road he gets along as the Peak Downs Highway.
“The roads in WA are much better overall than in Queensland,” he said.
An Australian Rules football fan, Cook barracks for the West Coast Eagles in the national AFL competition.
The Eagles missed the finals series in 2021 season finishing in ninth place and Cook hopes they can charge up the ladder next year.
I asked Cook what his hobby was, and he answered swiftly.
“Fixing trucks,” he said with a grin.
As for rest areas, Cook feels there is enough suitable for truckies in WA.
“But that is not so in Queensland which could do with a few more,” he said.
Covid-19 hasn’t affected Cook in a major way especially in WA but he did have to get border passes to travel into other states.
Rising fuel prices have hit the road transport industry especially smaller companies such as owner-drivers and small fleet operators, but Cook said he had learnt to live with the rises and had his own loyal and valued clients.
“I do all of my own work and adjust the rate in a fair way,” he said.