For truck fan Glen Lewis, his epic 60th birthday celebrations were made even better, thanks to a story published by Big Rigs.
In late June, Lewis set off on a six-week adventure right around the country with his 1993 model Kenworth T950 and a shipping container he’s converted into a mobile home. He was on the road for 41 days, arriving home as planned on Saturday August 5, at about 12.45pm, after completing 15,558km without a single hitch.
Of that there were 30 days of driving, averaging 518km on each driving day. Over the course of the trip, Lewis used 6244 litres of fuel – at a cost of over $12,000.
But before his journey was over, Lewis made one very special stop.
After Big Rigs shared his story online, PACCAR Australia got in touch to offer Lewis an exclusive tour of the factory, located in Baywater, Victoria – which he was more than happy to take up.
When Lewis mapped out his trip, a stop at the home of Kenworth and DAF in Australia was already on the cards. The plan was to get a photo of his truck parked outside the factory. But PACCAR Australia took it one step further, by offering him an invitation to tour the facility and see what goes into the making of each Kenworth truck.
Ryan Hooper, marketing manager at PACCAR Australia, personally extended the invitation to Lewis. “It turns out he was already planning to stop here in Bayswater to have a look over the fence, so we were definitely able to give him a better experience!” he said.
On Wednesday August 2, Hooper took Lewis on a personal tour behind the scenes.
“My plan was to stop in front of the factory to take a photo – I was hoping there’d be room to pull up out at the front,” revealed Lewis. “But to actually go through and see how they make these trucks is amazing. The attention to detail is incredible, you can see why Kenworth is still number one.
“Watching the way the cabs are put together was incredible, it’s still very hands on. I was surprised by just how many people are involved in the process. And the majority of it is done by people, because every single truck is different – unless you order identical trucks for your fleet. The focus their people have to have is incredible, because every truck is so unique.”
Over the years, Lewis has owned four different trucks but the T950 is his first ever Kenworth, which he purchased in 2014. When he’s not exploring the country with it, the T950 is now a show truck, visiting numerous events as well as being used when Lewis volunteers to take part in hay runs.
In one word, Lewis described the trip as brilliant. “I completed it without any mechanical or electrical issues, not even a flat tyre. It’s a testament to Kenworth. They’re a great product. A 30-year-old truck, it’s just done this without any issues at all, it’s been perfect. And the container provided terrific accommodation too – I’m really happy and proud of that.
“The whole trip exceeded my expectations. I always dreamt it would be fantastic, but it was even better – especially to get home all in one piece without any issues.”
Along with the PACCAR factory tour being a major highlight, so too was travelling WA’s coastline and the Nullarbor. “I hadn’t been along the west coast before, it was just magnificent,” Lewis said.
He rates WA’s roads as being the best he travelled but says some roads on the east coast were way behind.
Lewis also added, “There’s also been such a great response from people who have read the article, it’s amazing how wide it’s gone. I’ve had so many people call me up on the radio or come up to me at roadhouses too.”
As his 60th birthday celebrations come to a close, Lewis already has his sights set on his next trip. “I’ve got a bit of a bug now. The map has a bit in the middle that needs scratching – up through Broken Hill then up through Alice. It won’t be as big a trip as this one but hopefully in 2024.”
The original plan had included a trip through Alice Springs to visit the National Road Transport Museum, but that component of the journey had to be scrapped due to heavy rain and local flooding.