It was just after 7am on a freezing morning when I saw Kerry Byard unloading alcohol from his Kenworth T909 to a hotel in the main street of remote Strahan in southwest Tasmania.
There were no thoughts of this driver whom I had never met being a “cool truckie”. Perhaps “cold driver” would be a more apt description.
I pulled up across from Byard and asked would he mind if I snapped his pic and have a yarn to him about his work.
This friendly 52-year-old was delighted to have a chat and said he is a small fleet operator who runs three trucks from his Burnie base.
“I do this weekly and it is called the booze run to Strahan,. I have 12 kegs of beer and two pellets of other alcohol,” he said.
Considering it was just two degrees and very chilly I asked Byard how people in Strahan would want so much cold alcohol at pubs.
“It goes down well especially when you sit near the heater or fire,” he said.
Tourist town Strahan is located in Tasmania’s southwest and Byard’s company is West Coast Freight Line.
He showed me a map on his phone which displayed all of the places around Tasmania he had delivered to in recent times.
His trucks have transported freight and livestock all around the state. Byard also goes across Bass Strait to transport livestock from Melbourne under a contract from a Victorian company.
His Kenworth T909 is powered by a 550hp motor and has an 18-speed road range gearbox.
“It is fairly new and has just 66,000km on the clock,” he said.
The Tasmanian roadhouses he likes stopping at include Sassafras, Detention River and Rocky Cape along the Bass Highway.
“We carry potatoes out of Smithton towards the end of the Bass Highway,” he said.
Byard said most Tasmanian highways were good even though some roadworks along the way held drivers up.
As for the cold, Byard doesn’t mind it and was well rugged up the day I saw him.
This happy truckie then went about helping hotel staff at Strahan to take possession of the alcohol.
It had been wonderful to talk to Byard who I found to be a true gentleman but it was also good to get back into my vehicle with the heater on.