Veteran small fleet owner Dennis Dent says he’s “cranky and just wants to get home” after being stuck in Far North Queensland by flood waters in the wake of Cyclone Jasper.
The 76-year-old truckie spoke to Big Rigs by phone at 1.30pm today (December 20) and said he and three of his drivers were stranded on one side of the Laura River on the Cape York Peninsula.
It is part of the dreaded Peninsula Developmental Road which is the only road that extends towards the north of the peninsula, terminating at Weipa.
“I am here with four of my trucks and three other drivers Jason, Alan and Scruffy and we can’t wait to get home especially with Christmas so near,” he said.
Based at Mareeba on the Artherton Tablelands, Dent left for Weipa on December 13 heading for Weipa, 600km away, carrying cement and other supplies for communities.
They stopped at Lockhart River Aboriginal community and took off for Weipa in two Kenworths and two Western Stars, arriving there two days later.
Another driver who saw Dent and his men near Lockhart River alerted Big Rigs about his location, concerned they would be stranded for weeks as they were striving to help communities.
Dent and his crew loaded machinery onto the trucks and headed back from Weipa towards home and were stranded by waters at the Hann River Roadhouse.
“I can’t speak highly enough of the Hann River people. They looked after us even when they were closed and cooked meals and gave us cold drinks. They were great,” Dent said.
The four were near Hann River Roadhouse for five days but then were again forced to stop on the northern side of the Laura River.
“There has been so much rain up here and is mud everywhere from it and the road has to be cleared. A lot of the PDR is still dirt and we can’t wait to get back to Mareeba,” he said.
Dent said they would travel through Lakelands Downs on the trip home and then continue onto Mareeba which would be a welcome site.
Home sweet home never sounded so good.
“I hope to be able to get home in the next day. Just waiting for the road to clear. I am real cranky at the moment,” he told Bigs Rigs.
Dent has appeared on Australian Truckers television program and is regarded as a legend in the area.