FIGJAM

Last week, after escaping the Queensland floods by the skin of my teeth I finished the week with a couple of runs to Sydney and then down to Melbourne to grab a load. By the time I got home it was Saturday afternoon and I had spent seven days on the road for 5000 km. An overnighter at home and the next afternoon I was back in the saddle and heading for Brisbane again.

The mess around Rocklea and Darra is quite incredible and I probably only saw the very tip of it. It was enough to cause me to have a long day unloading and loading again. That which wasn’t flood affected was busy due to the backlog of loads waiting to get out. Three hours wait for one load and two for another. By the time I got out of there I’d had enough.

I was on a schedule so I cracked on through the night and had to pull up on three occasions to grab half an hours sleep so I could keep going. Finally I kicked everything off and headed for home.

A new set of trailers and a new load and I was off again for a quick drive down to the southern highlands with a load of fence posts. A fairly easy load and I’m running empty containers back up so it’s fairly creamy. Good, I need the break.

Alas it wasn’t to be. Half an hour from my stop for the night and as I climb out of the ‘Dipper’ on the Hume the warning lights all start flashing, the engine’s cooking and it’s shutting down no matter what.

I throw the hazards on and make the call on the two-way, “Big one broken down in lane one, south bound in the dipper”. Bugger!

Upon inspection she’s definitely hot but doesn’t look like she’s dumped the water so I’m none the wiser. I eased the radiator cap ever so slowly and wait till the gurgling stops. I always carry a spare 5 litres so in she goes and give her another try. She fires up and off I chug. The temperature climbs straight away and the computer shuts her down again. I’ve made it of the road though so that’s a start. I need more water but there’s none in the trailer tank, one of the hazards of swapping trailers all the time.

I made another call on the two-way asking for water and a good Samaritan come back at me that he’s pulling in behind with at least 20 litres on-board. Things are starting to look up.

After filling the radiator to the top the engine fires up and there’s no visible leak so I give it another try. The temperature rises rapidly and I ease over again but this time I’m well of the road and under street lights. My saviour asks if I want him to stop. Thanks but I’ll have to throw the cab and figure out what’s going on. Keep going and thank you for your help… no point two of us being pulled up beside the road.

Once the cab is tipped it doesn’t take long to realise the fan belt is missing. There’s always a spare in the toolbox so I go about fitting it. I need a three quarter inch socket drive to back the tensioner off and all I have is a stubby handled one. I ended up hacksawing the end off my chain dog pipe to give me enough torque but it does the trick with a length of rope working as an extra hand to hold it in position while I put the belt on.

Hooray, it all pops into place and we’re back in business and it only took two hours to get going again.

Road Nil, Mat One; I win again and from now on I’ll carry the 3/4 inch set along with everything else.