My trailer needed a couple of things attending to under warranty so once I was back in QLD I dropped it off and started the long drive to Darwin. Yes that’s right, straight back to the Territory to finish some unfinished business, and start some as many companies said no when I first approached them, but after seeing some of the work, were eager to get onboard.
The Outback Hospitality truck I photographed in Barcaldine at the State School is one of my favourites. Then I met my new surrogate family from Mount Isa- Trish and Owen Ringrose from Ringrose Transport. An amazing sunset over the lake just outside of town before dinner at a restaurant and an early night to do the rest of the photo shoot as they loaded up to head north the next day.
Unbeknown to me I had passed RTA drivers Duncan Elliott and Stumpy parked up just outside Mount Isa. Duncan called me up just before I got to Camowheel and he was only 10km behind me. I didn’t want to stop as I had people waiting for me but I figured by a quick calculation that I would meet them somewhere between Three Ways and Daly Waters once I finished at Tennant Creek.
Making good time I buzzed across the familiar territory of the Barkly Highway to Tenant Creek where I met an Aboriginal crew with concrete mixer trucks. I was done and dusted in about two hours and headed north for Darwin.
About half an hour north of Three Ways I snuck up on the first RTA truck. Not knowing if it was Duncan I didn’t call him up on the two way as I wanted to surprise him. I overtook him and trundled on in front. The radio was silent. It wasn’t Duncan.
About 20 minutes up the road was the next RTA road train. I knew this one was Duncan. I passed him and it didn’t even get to the window of the truck before he was on the radio saying gidday.
I dropped my speed to 90 and sat in front of him for a while and chatted. But I was on a mission and keen to make it to Katherine. I called up the boss of the RTA yard at Katherine and booked myself into the motel there……a bed in the room next door to the communal kitchen for the truck drivers! About an hour after I rolled in and was fast asleep, Duncan and Stumpy snuck down the back of the yard with their loaded road trains.
The next morning I was fortunate to get a shot of Billy Mack, a trucking legend, before cutting a track to Darwin.
In the small patches of reception on the way north I managed to get directions of where to go to photograph the Kleen Heat trucks, Bridgestone, NT Link with some transportable homes and the Darwin Plant Wholesalers trucks.
Everything was going to plan perfectly. But then a massive dampener was put on me. The company I had engaged with to be the company who travels East West across the top end for me and who was going to backload me back to Brisbane to achieve our photo shoot, pulled the pin on me.
It wasn’t the end of the world. I had a perfectly good car and I could drive home. It just meant that I would not achieve anything on the way home and worst of all I would not connect the east with the west in the north like I did in the south.
A few phone calls to truck drivers I knew and I was mustering my best enthusiasm to make calls to companies to see if I could get a ride back at the last minute.
Planning the conversation in my head it didn’t sound good at all, the odds were against me. I was a woman asking for a ride in a truck doing a book which sounded too good to be true and I wanted to go NOW!
Pretty down in the dumps I kept driving to Darwin and put on my best face for the photo shoots and kept ticking the boxes to get the jobs done.
I had been given the number for someone by the name of Reg from Reinke’s Transport near Gatton. No one told me Reg was a woman. So I have made this call to them, got a lady on the phone and asked to speak to the owner. To which I didn’t realise I was speaking to!
I was half tuned out and preparing myself for another NO and didn’t hear her say her name. Long story short, I explained my situation and she said it was ok with her but she would have to make sure it was ok with the driver.
I got a call from the driver, Darren, about an hour later who proceeded to tell me his kids and another driver’s kids from the company had been telling their them to ask their boss (Reg) to be in the book. But they had never pursued it. After checking with his girlfriend to make sure she was ok, Darren was only too happy to help. Relief.