It was raining on the morning Big Rigs saw Western Australian owner operator Tyrone Ryba far away from home in Townsville.
The 37-year-old is based at Coolbellup, a suburb in Perth. His company is Ryba General Transport which operates a regular general freight service connecting Perth and WA directly with Mt Isa, as well as north, west and central Queensland and return.
Some of the towns include Cloncurry, Charters Towers, Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, Moranbah, Gladstone and Rockhampton.
“I have travelled about 5800km coming the top way and have brought up general. I do one return trip a fortnight from Perth up through Katherine in the NT and then to Mount Isa and onto here,” he said.
Ryba had an engine as a backload and said he also has a little rig in WA.
He was checking his trailers on the breakdown pad which is a pull off area besides the Townsville Port Access Road.
After some extremely hot days in past weeks, the temperature was sitting on a comfortable 35 degrees and the drizzling rain was good.
The first truck he ever drove was a Titan. I asked Ryba how he decided to get into the road transport industry and like many other drivers, he said it was because of a family member.
“My dad Ian is now retired but was a truckie for 55 years and is now living at Inverell,” Ryba said.
Considering all the kilometres Ryba gets along, he is well qualified to nominate the worst road.
“It is the Flinders Highway between Hughenden and Julia Creek, which is terrible in places,” he said.
When I told Ryba that I had seen a government press release advising a considerable amount would be spent on upgrading it, he didn’t seem convinced.
Not surprising with all the promises that were being made before the federal election.
As for roadhouses, Ryba likes stopping at the Julia Creek Puma and another at Roebuck near Broome in WA.
“Both serve good food and have plenty of parking and clean facilities,” he said.
An owner-operator for the past five years, Ryba reckons there are enough rest areas along the routes he travels.
A super-fit lad, Ryba follows both the AFL which is the dominant football code in WA, and the NRL which leads the way in popularity in Queensland.
“I barrack for the Freemantle Dockers in the AFL and the North Queensland Cowboys in the rugby league. They are both going okay this season,” he said.