Nick Hanson and Dee Hanson, a young married couple from Stapylton, Queensland, have been driving multi-combinations two-up for six months and are loving it.
Working for SEQ Transport and Pallets for the past three months, the couple switch driving duties on their weekly 9000km round trip between Brisbane and Perth.
“We drive the 2023 Volvo FH16 Globetrotter, XXL Cab 700hp,” said Nick. “It doesn’t get any better than this. It has been a dream truck for years and I’m finally driving it. It is smooth, quiet, power and torque for days, flattens out every hill. Being 6 feet 3 inches and fitting in the sleeper with room to spare is a game changer for me.”
The couple recently did a Perth run in a four-year-old Kenworth cabover auto and can certainly feel the difference in the level of comfort they are enjoying in their new Volvo FH16 Globetrotter. “Our Volvo is smooth, has decent power runs up hills with a triple with ease, and has a decent size bed,” Dee said. The only trouble for her is the size of the fridge, which is sufficiently big for an average driver’s needs but with Dee’s ongoing health issues she tends to pack her own food for the road and the fridge is not big enough for that purpose, she admits.
The couple met nine years ago and were married two years later. Originally a graphic designer by profession, Nick was trying to change his career to become an industrial designer when he first met Dee. “I loved driving since a young age but never considered making it a career. I got into driving by accident to earn extra money on the weekends, but after meeting my wife, who grew up around the industry, she convinced me to consider merging my love of driving and trucking to earn good money doing something I love. I took her advice and have never looked back. Honestly, I don’t see myself doing any- thing else now,” he says.
“When I first started in trucking, I did some tipper work for landscape yards, and then I worked for Queensland Transport for 2.5 years doing driver testing for cars and trucks, before moving into truck and dogs for a family-run transport business. Once the civil work dried up, I moved into local/regional heavy combination (HC) and multi combination (MC) grocery work for Woolworths and Coles. I also did MC grocery work and cotton pickups for SCT when WA train lines were closed from Moree/Mungindi/Dalby. It’s then that I fell in love with the outback and moved into driving road trains for SEQ.”
Dee had to take a two-and-a-half-year break from work while dealing with a number of struggles on the personal front. It was then that Nick came across an article about another husband-wife duo driving two-up for SEQ. “Nick got in touch with the couple and they painted the company as the perfect place to work for and they were not wrong. We’ve only been with SEQ for a few months, but we are loving it and have no intentions of going anywhere anytime soon,” she said.
Nick, 37, and Dee, 29, are enjoying their current work arrangement and feel their marriage works better driving together in a truck six days a week. “We love it. We play off each other’s strengths and know what the other struggles with. It has made us a lot more in-tune to what and how the other is coping and feeling,” said Dee.
Nick agrees. “Not only are we husband and wife, but we are also best friends. We love having long chats that run off in all sorts of tangents and always manage to have a good laugh, keeping our spirits and the fun factor very high.”
Their long-term plan is to continue their driving jobs for another five years, before starting a family. “We’ll see what happens after that,” added Nick.
Dee, who grew up in a family of plumbers and truck drivers, has always enjoyed driving. “It’s my Zen,” she said. “I got my HR in 2017 and a year later I did a two-day course to upgrade to my open MC licence. I love trucks, the big steering wheel in my hands, that truck smell, looking in a mirror and seeing three trailers behind me, knowing that I’m the one who’s in control of that. What other job is there where you get to earn decent money while traveling across Australia with your husband and best friend? We see parts of the Australian outback that a lot of people don’t ever get the chance to see. Doing it two-up makes it even better. It’s a win-win,” she said.
However, there are some things the couple miss about their regular home life like mowing the lawn and gardening. With Dee dealing with Crohn’s disease, when she is at home, she ends up spending a lot of time on meal prep for the next week. A doting husband, Nick enjoys Dee’s home-cooked meals over roadhouse eating.
They both have their favourite parts of the outback. Dee has two – southern NSW when the canola farms are in bloom, and the Eyre Highway “before the WA border where you can see the coast line from the road. I grew up camping down Jervis Bay and the water is my second home”.
For Nick, it is the rolling green hills of South Australia. “It is so beautiful to look at and the imagination runs wild with retirement plans for a house on a hill watch- ing the sunset each night or watching the storms roll in during the warmer months,” he said.
“The sunrise/sunsets in the outback and the stars on a clear night. There’s nothing like listening to your favourite music, dropping back a gear and pulling hard up a hill, with a quick glance in the mirror to see all the trailers following you in perfect unison. Sounds poetic but it puts a smile on my face every time.
“It doesn’t get any more cliche, but people always say to find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life. Trucking is that for me. You could give me 50 million tomorrow and I’d still be out driving road trains across the country – maybe just not every week though!”