It had been raining heavily just before I came across Shane Hurley in Townsville on October 26, but the driver’s comfort level had improved after a recent heat wave.
Hurley, 54, works for Tareve of Brisbane and was driving a Kenworth C509 with a Cummins 480hp motor, carrying refrigerated goods for Townsville and Cairns.
Hurley was parked up at the Port Access Road checking his load and was delighted to have a yarn. “I have a gas cooker with me and love spaghetti bolognese,” he said.
Hurley nominated the worst road as the section of the Newell between Goondiwindi and Narrabri.
A truckie since 1990, Hurley is a friendly driver who enjoys the job and possesses a witty sense of humour.
In fact he didn’t mind me in the least describing him as a road transport “comedian”.
“I don’t take life too seriously and enjoy it,” he said.
That was evident when I asked Hurley why he loved the life. “Like any bad habit you always seem to go back to it,” he said.
I asked Hurley how Covid had affected his life over the past few years. “I haven’t been able to go on so many overseas holidays and my mates will know what I am talking about,” he said.
As for football, Hurley said he didn’t have time to watch television so didn’t have any football teams to follow.
“I go against what everybody else does, for example if I am in NSW when the State of Origin is on I barrack for Queensland,” he said.
Based at Brisbane, Hurley said there was a general shortage of rest areas for truckies but did nominate one he rates as excellent.
“It is the Cape River rest area along the Belyando between Charters Towers and Clermont. It has toilets and tables and seats with shade,” he said.
His hobbies include chasing feral pigs around the Condamine and St George regions.
If he does have an annoyance, it is the antics of some grey nomads in caravans.
“I never have any worries with them because they can see how big I am,” he said.
His favourite roadhouse is the BP Cluden, which at the time I saw him a few kilometres away at the Port Access Road, had many trucks parked there.
The first truck Hurley drove was a 1989 N-11 Volvo for Crosses Transport at the Central Queensland mining town of Moura.
Originally from the north island of New Zealand, Hurley came to Australia in 1982 and it is now his permanent home.
If you run into Hurley on your travels, I am sure he will have a joke to tell you. What a refreshing character he is.