Truckie Profiles

Increasing costs hitting truckies hard

When I saw an old International Eagle dubbed “West Coast Eagle” parked up at a roadhouse deep in the tropics I thought for sure and certain the driver was from WA.

That was the first question I asked owner-operator Darren Hebenko when we had a yarn at the BP Cluden in Townsville.

Named after one of two WA AFL teams, Hebenko said he purchased the truck in Perth.

“That name was on the 2006 International when I got it 18 months ago and so were the other words ‘Every Dog Has Its Day’ so I can’t tell you why,” he said.

Hebenko, 52, was hauling concrete tanks from Brisbane to Mackay, Bowen and Townsville and was waiting to pick up a backload of scrap for south.

“I have been a truckie for 30 years and it is hard these days for owner drivers with the fuel having gone up in price sharply in the past few months,” he said.

Hebenko doesn’t eat much from roadhouses when away but has an enormous appetite when he gets home. “My favourite food at home is steak and veggies,” he said.

This veteran truckie likes stopping at the Emerald Roadhouse and said there was not enough good rest areas.

His biggest dislike travelling the highways and byways are other motorists, especially van drivers and some of their bad habits. “Many don’t know when to merge and that can be dangerous,” he said.

It has been a long time between drinks for Hebenko regarding an appearance in his favourite paper Big Rigs. “I was in Big Rigs about 14 years ago,” he said.

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