Veteran driver Pat Allery, 68, was waiting near his Kenworth T909 at a rest area off the Bruce Highway at Kuttabul, north of Mackay, as it was being repaired.
So Big Rigs pulled up for a chat. Allery works for Tenkate Transport based at Caloundra.
He explained, “Something was wrong with the alarm system so a fellow is fixing it.”
Allery has been a driver for more than 40 years and was transporting a huge tractor, heading north.
“It is going to a cattle station near Ingham,” he said.
Ingham is around 110 kilometres north of Townsville, on the way to Cairns.
A loyal worker, Allery has been employed by Tenkate for 30 years and loves the job, although he said some roads could use work.
“The section of the Bruce Highway south of Mackay is bad in places,” he said.
It is not often I come across a driver who has worked for the same company for three decades.
Not surprisingly, Allery possesses a wealth of knowledge about the road transport industry and has seen many changes over the years.
This long-time driver likes stopping at the BP Mackay Roadhouse and feels more rest areas for truckies would be good. “In between the places where they are now,” he said.
Kuttabul, where Allery was stopped, is a small Queensland rural town about 30km north of Mackay.
It was very hot when we caught up, but the only redeeming factor was that there were some shady trees at the busy rest area.
I asked Allery the strangest load he had hauled during his long career.
“It would have to be a helicopter for the RSL,” he said.
Still super fit, Allery maintains a great enthusiasm for his job, despite the odd setback like today’s breakdown.
I asked Allery about whether or not he had any plans to retire. “When the time does come I want to retire gracefully,” he said.
Allery was glowing in his praise of Tenkate which operates a diverse fleet of modern on highway trucks, providing flexibility in meeting the challenges and difficulties frequently encountered in the transport of over-dimensional loads.
I hope that Allery will continue his already long innings as a truck driver for many more years to come.