Truckie Profiles

Tablelands truckie enjoying job with Exodas

It was a sleepy Saturday afternoon when Joel Abdiel pulled up in the Scania 620hp truck he drives for Exodas, out of his base at Mareeba on the Atherton Tablelands.

Joel looks a lot younger than his age of 46 and is super fit.

“I am taking produce from Mareeba down to the Brisbane markets,” he said.

Joel has been behind the wheel for more than 25 years.

When asked the worst road he has travelled on, Joel paused for a short period and said he had to nominate two.

“Parts of the Belyando out to Emerald and also the one between Gin Gin and Apple Tree Creek,” he said.

Regarding rest areas with facilities for drivers, Joel said he doesn’t stop at many.

However, he does like having a well earned break at the BP Cluden Roadhouse.

“It has clean facilities, plenty of parking, nice staff and the food is good,” he said.

Having said that, Joel added that when he is away on trips, his favourite food is homemade and prepared by his wife.

“It is shepherd’s pie, which I love. I take it with me in the truck,” he said.

Mareeba is deep in the territory of Cowboys supporters when it comes to NRL football and one of their star forwards is Jordan McLean who hails from the town.

But Joel barracks for the Sydney Roosters which would be playing the Cowboys the following day after I met him.

“My favourite player is Roosters fullback James Tadesco,” he said.

Although Joel has not entirely abandoned Queensland sides.

“I barrack for the Queensland Maroons in the State of Origin,” he said.

Whilst spending time with family outside work is his main passion, Joel does have a hobby.

“I do timber work and have built my own bar at home which is popular with mates,” he said.

Some other drivers I have spoken to with similar home bars often tell me they drink home brew, however that wasn’t the case for Joel. He said while he didn’t make his own, some of his friends crafted their own home brews.

Mareeba is located 50km from Cairns up the Kennedy Highway with access also from Innisfail and Gordonvale along the Palmerston and Gillies.

It is the gateway to the north, south and west including to Cape York Peninsula.

The Atherton Tablelands is one of the most scenic regions in the country.

“I love living there and also love my job,” he said.

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