Young driver Ryan Philipson was one of the most popular people on idyllic Magnetic Island in north Queensland the day Big Rigs saw him.
Because the 33-year-old, who works for Magnetic Island Transport, had a load of beer and spirits on the 42-tonne capacity Kenworth T359 he was driving.
“I had seven pallets of alcohol. We supply all of the pubs and bars on the island. I also had 12 rollers as well,” he said.
Friendly Philipson has worked for the company for seven years and loves it.
And why wouldn’t he? Each weekday he gets to travel on a barge across the azure Coral Sea from the island suburb of ‘Maggie, as it is known, to Townsville.
“We carry general freight, groceries and building material and leave Townsville, where we also have a depot, on the 11am barge, deliver, and then return on the 4pm vessel and prepare for the next day,” he said.
It is generally a 90-minute trip across the briny of Cleveland Bay. Along the way Philipson has seen plenty of marine life. “I have seen whales and dolphins which follow the big ships in and feed on the scraps they leave,” he said.
The company also has three other Kenworths: a 404, 904 and a truck and dog 401.
With the total bitumen road network on Magnetic Island being just 10km long, you would expect driving a truck would be a breeze.
“But a lot of the road is winding and up a rise and driving a semi can be challenging,” he said.
There are also lots of roadworks going on which can hold up traffic.
Even though most of his work is around Townsville and the tropical island paradise, Phillipson has been as far away as Brisbane.
“I went down in the 904 to pick up dry groceries,” he said.
Philipson loves his food, especially a juicy chicken parmigiana.
“I like going to the Marlin Bar at Horseshoe Bay or the Picnic Bay Hotel on the other side of the island for a meal,” he said.
Whilst fishing is popular on the waters off the island, Philipson doesn’t wet a line much there. “I do some fishing in Townsville though,” he said.
One hobby he does like is photography and of course the trucks he drives often provide subject matter.
“I have a lot of pics of the trucks,” he said.
When Big Rigs snapped his pic he was delivering alcohol to the Arcadia Hotel which is patronised by many locals and tourists.
I could only come to one conclusion when referring to the great job Philipson has. “It’s a hard life but I guess somebody’s got to do it.”