Colin Arblaster is usually a happy-go-lucky and friendly truckie, but he was very annoyed when stopped at the Queensland border because of Covid.
“It was at Goondiwindi in Queensland and I had to drive 125km to Moree, NSW, for a Covid-19 test. I then had to wait 24 hours to get a text advising I was negative. So it was a 250km round trip and I lost almost two working days,” he said.
He had not been vaccinated for Covid at the time of the interview but said he would do so soon.
The 59-year-old truckie works for Begg’s Transport which is based at Nyah, Victoria.
Arblaster drives a Kenworth 909 and was stopped at the Townsville Port Access Road on August 6.
“I am on a forced 24-hour break and have carried fertiliser from Brisbane to Townsville,” he said.
He had to pick up a backload of spuds at Woodstock, 40km from Townsville along the Flinders Highway, for deliver down Mexico way to Sydney.
A truckie for the past 15 years, Arblaster said he doesn’t eat at many roadhouses and carries most of his food, prepared by his wife, who was with him on the truck.
“I am about to cook a porterhouse steak on my gas burner and that will be nice,” he said.
Because of the long distances he travels, which includes many interstate trips, Arblaster is well qualified to comment on what he considers the worst roads.
“It would have to be a toss-up between some Wimmera roads in Victoria and the Goondiwindi to Condamine stretch in Queensland. They are both rough,” he said.
An avid sports fan, Warracknabeal-born Arblaster is a passionate supporter of the Geelong Cats which are one of the top four teams in the AFL and are guaranteed to be part of the coming finals series.
“They have a good team and I hope they can win it this year because some of their players are getting up in age,” he said.
I asked Arblaster what annoyed him about the bad habits of motorists including caravan drivers. But with a wry smile, the diplomatic truckie had this off the cuff classic quote. “You need to have the patience of a saint to put up with what truckies have to from others,” he said.
When Arblaster does manage to get time off work he enjoys spending time with family and friends and a visit to his favourite watering hole at the Nyah Hotel, for an icy cold glass or two of the amber fluid he likes best – VB. “They are very friendly people at the Nyah Hotel,” he said.