Posts Tagged ‘truck’


September 22, 2016

img_2707Just a quick pic I took several trips ago at Yarrie mine site. I was waiting at dawn at the main gate to the site and snapped a few picks like this one.

DJI Phantom 4

July 28, 2016

Well, it’s been a while ( a long long while ) but I dug out my login and decided to put up another post. The holiday with the rooftop tent on the Hilux is long over and I’ve been hard at work keeping the miners in the north-west of the state supplied with food, beer and toilet paper. In fact, I’m due to leave again tonight on another run with three trailers stuffed full of goodies.

Recently I picked up a quadcopter, or DJI Phantom 4 drone. Neat bit of gear and I’ve only really begun to scratch the surface when it comes to learning it capabilities and uses.


DJI Phantom 4

I started out taking a few aerial stills. Yeah, all very basic stuff – familiarising myself with the quad and camera. It really is easy to fly. I have two other quadcopters, one I built myself, and this thing is like the luxury car version of them.

Took some video too. This is pretty rough stuff but I’m just feeling it out.

When I bought it I had the idea that it would be great for taking aerial photos, or surveys, of properties or areas of interest. I didn’t realise at the time how easy this would be. I found several apps that will run on my iPhone and iPad ( the Phantom uses iOS or Android devices to control it during flight ) which automate the whole process of flying a grid and taking photos. At the moment I’m using Map Pilot for planning and flying the “missions” and Maps Made Easy for processing the images into something useable.

This photo is a series of 71 images stitched into one. I’m going to re-fly the grid and get a little more coverage on all of the boundaries – especially the bottom, top left and top right.


Here is a neat representation of the heights of objects on the ground.


This is the really cool part – this link will take you to an interactive page where you can zoom right down and see much finer detail than the two photos above. Do it! This page is what it’s all about.


Quick Clip – Homeward Bound

December 1, 2013

Just a quick clip I threw together after finishing unloading in the Gt Sandy Desert at Telfer gold mine and the Nifty copper mine. Trailers all hooked up and heading back to Perth, albeit a little covered in dirt.

Driver Training!!??

June 25, 2013

Well, here I sit in the passenger seat heading north out of Perth to Tom Price in the Pilbara. In the drivers’ seat is “the new boy”, otherwise known as Stewart. Tagging along behind us is two fridge trailers and a dry pan – loaded with a weeks work of supplies for Windawarrie, Brownfields (Jundunmunnah) and a dozen or so pallets for Pilbara Food Supplies.

It’s been a few years since I’ve sat in the passenger seat and this time it’s in a borrowed truck as well. My truck is in the workshop getting a bit of attention so I grabbed the boss’s truck (cleaned his crap out 😉 and set off last night.

Stewart is along for the trip to give him some experience with triples and so he can learn where the various runs go and generally get a feel of how we do things. As soon as he is up to speed on things and we have the new truck on the road he will be chucked into the thick of it on his own.

The new truck is expected to be handed over to us on Friday 28th – only four days from now. I’m going to be the lucky driver getting this one so I’m pretty keen for Friday to hurry up and arrive. We had a look at it yesterday and there’s still a lot that has to be done to it. Someone had better pull their finger out!

I have a 3500 watt 240 volt inverter on order for it – that will power a microwave oven/laptop charger and will even be big enough to power an ordinary kitchen kettle if I want. Expresso machine, maybe? 😉

The weather up ahead of us is pretty bad. Last reports I heard from Karratha are that over eight inches of rain has fallen in 24hrs. The highway between Roebourne and Port Hedland is closed, which won’t affect us but if that weather continues to the south-east we will be in for real trouble.
At present, just north of Paynes Find, it is completely overcast. Meekatharra has had some rainfall. I think Newman has had two inches and Tom Price has already had three inches of rain. This is more than enough to start water flowing over the highway at the floodways so things might get interesting later on today. Wish I’d brought my GoPro camera long.

Ok, I’ve got to get back to criticising someone’s driving skill, bloody hard work 🙂

Cheers, Mike.

Trouble In Paradise

March 4, 2013

The joys of transport, I didn’t know they existed. Sorry, in a bad mood. I’m sitting in an idling truck I don’t dare shut off. The problem is all the magic smoke leaked out of the starter motor and now it doesn’t work. Sounds silly but I saw it and it doesn’t work.

However you look at it – the starter motor fried and the only way to get the truck started was to tow start it. Right now I’m quite happy I’m not driving an automatic. As per Murphy’s Law I’m as far from home as possible this trip and its a public holiday and no one will answer their phones.

I do have the truck running after borrowing a prime mover from one person and a driver from another and tow starting mine. I need to keep it running for the next 48 hours. That should see me home and able to fit the new starter motor sitting in the shed waiting.

I can’t help but feel a bit “why me?” because it seems the last few weeks have been one drama after another. Yeah, yeah, things aren’t that bad but they aren’t that fantastic either. A string of flat tyres and blowouts, a sprained ankle, a cyclone, a fire, a stuffed alternator, a blown hub seal, a…well there’s more but you get the idea. All of this has put a dent in my savings plan for my new car and its kind of got me down a bit.

It’s not the end of the world and I’m sure this icy cold Little Creatures Pale Ale will help improve my short term outlook. Now…if I can get the top off…it’s…it’s not a twist top…and I don’t have a bottle opener….Nooooooooo!

Cheers, Mike.

Check, check.

March 1, 2013

Just a quick check in, still in the land of the living and until lately I have been quite busy. In the last two weeks we have been through fire and flood with tropical cyclone Rusty and fire on the outskirts of Perth.

Cyclone Rusty promised a lot and thankfully, for us down south of the state, didn’t really deliver. I had a few extra days off in Perth and then went out on a Carnarvon express run only to get mildy inconvenienced by a bush fire on the way home. Luckily I was coming back to Perth with only one trailer and was able to hit the back roads and dodge around the affected area.

Put the truck into the workshop today to get a leaking hub seal replaced and am scheduled to head out to Port Hedland tomorrow night with three trailers. After that I am hoping to get back into my usual routine of three trips in twelve days and every second weekend at home.

Prior to that I have been having a bad run with tyres. A string of punctures then several blowouts and even one wheel I couldn’t get loose from the hub (ended getting around it by jacking up the axle and chaining the axle up). I actually badly sprained my ankle when the wheel brace slipped from a wheel nut and I landed with all my weight on the side of my foot. Stung just a bit! I’m still limping about over two weeks later. That was when I decided to buy myself a rechargeable rattle gun (impact wrench). I had been trying to talk myself into laying out the cash for nearly two years now but good ones are pretty damned expensive. 

I ended up getting a Milwaukee 3/4 inch 18 volt rechargeable impact wrench with two 4 amp batteries and they threw in a bonus 1.5 amp battery along with a carry bag/cap/stubby holders.



I’ve used it twice now and it will undo fully torqued ten stud wheel nuts. I wasn’t  expecting that – I thought I would have to at least partially loosen the wheel nuts before the Milwaukee would turn them. Perhaps to prolong the life of this expensive bit of gear I might be better off using the wheel brace to do the initial hard work instead of hammering away for five to ten seconds before the wheel nut slowly begins to turn for the first half to full rotation.

All in all, I am suitably impressed with the Milwaukee so far and can foresee it being a very handy tool to have with me in the truck while I’m away on the road.

Cheers, Mike.

Video – The Telfer Road

October 13, 2012

Just finished editing some video I shot with my GoPro HeroHD2 camera on a recent run to Telfer up near Marble Bar in the Pilbara.

Here’s another quick clip I filmed on my iPhone 4S on the Nifty road, a few hours further east.

Go here to see the rest of my video’s on YouTube.

Cheers, Mike.

Not gone and not forgotten

June 7, 2012

Just a quick note to the effect that “I am very sorry for neglecting my blog”. There are various good reasons for my lapse but the main one is the boss’s view that “you shouldn’t let having a life get in the way of work”.

Well, we seemed to have worked out a roster that gives some predictability to my comings and goings and I may be able to resume my life to a limited degree. Of course, the only way to truly get my life back is to give up driving but because I’ve been doing this for over twenty years I’m afraid I wouldn’t know what to do with myself anyway.

I have allowed my self one small indulgence that my new freedom will allow me – a fish tank, with real fish (well, they’re alive as I write this). With the level of automation available for home aquariums today my frequent absences aren’t really a problem. A dog would be a bit harder to maintain, and frankly – if can’t have my dog actually with me then I wouldn’t do something as cruel as locking it up in the backyard all day/week. But with an automatic feeder to take care of dinner time a fish is pretty much in fish heaven. The feeder works independently of mains power so as long as I keep an eye on the batteries all should be ok. The fish are the low maintenance type and tank maintenance once a week or fortnightly is all that is required. And aquariums have fascinated me since I was old enough to stand up and press my nose against the glass.

Got to go – I swear I just saw two of them having a naughty off in the corner of the tank. That behaviour will not be tolerated in my aquarium.

Cheers, Mike.

A Letter To Main Roads Western Australia

October 31, 2011

Main Roads Western Australia

The following is a submission I made to Main Roads Western Australia (MRWA) via their website. As you can see, it started out as they probably expected but I couldn’t help myself the further I got in. I see a real problem developing on the roads I travel every day. Ok, I dont think MRWA have their head in the sand, but I think if they get some feedback from drivers like you and me they might be able to focus their efforts in areas that really count. If you read this and believe (legitmately) that MRWA might benefit from your observations then go to their website and let your views be known.

Submission as follows :

Potholes appearing on Gt Northern Hwy around SLK142, also at Bindi Bindi T intersection Gt Northern Hwy (unsure of SLK). My main concern is the lack of room at the Wubin roadtrain assembly area. I use the assembly area 2 to 4 times a week and am frequently frustrated by the lack of room despite the last upgrade.This is also a major problem at the Newman roadtrain assembly area-I have been unable to access this area on my last three trips to Newman and have utilised the Turf Club parking area as well as the first parking bay north of the Newman townsite (on the Gt Northern Hwy) for the purpose of splitting triple roadtrain trailers for the delivery of freight to the Newman townsite. I am aware that plans are in motion for upgrading the Newman roadtrain assembly area but are there plans to further extend the Wubin roadtrain assembly area? As I see it roadtrain traffic on the Gt Northern Hwy stands to increase by a significant amount before anyone could reasonably expect it to plateau and eventually decrease sometime in the far distant future when the iron ore mining boom finally loses it’s momentum. Until that time the road infrastructure must keep pace. That also includes the many inadequate parking areas dotted up and down the Gt Northern Hwy-inadequate because quite often only two or three trucks can fit in each of them. In fact, some of the parking areas are so restricted that if three trucks fit into them then they must leave in the precise order they arrived in – there is simply no room to get around the truck in front. Hopefully the first truck “in” doesn’t expect a sleep-in. This is an age when more and more responsibility is being forced upon the driver and as a driver I am being forced further and further into a corner. To get out of this corner I need the freedom to stop in a parking bay that has room for my truck when I need it, I need to have spacious roadtrain assembly areas (with night lighting-pretty please) to assemble and disassemble triple roadtrains, and I need to know that “those-who-must-be-obeyed” have some concept of the hurdles we face. Until then, catch phrases like “fatigue management” and “safe work practices” are just…well, they’re just bullshit.

Well, I hope that gives some context to my more recent tweets. If you want to follow me on Twitter there is a “Follow” link on the sidebar.

Cheers, Mike.

Customer Service Drama’s

August 10, 2011

Had a bit of trouble with the truck this run. A “Check Engine” light appeared briefly on my way back into Perth last trip and we put the little computer on her and checked out the error codes logged on the onboard computer and came up with a couple of turbo overspeed errors. There wasn’t a lot we could do at that stage so the descision was made to head out on the next run and monitor the engine and see what happened.
The run went alright, for the most part. The error came up again and the engine was derating but only enough to be a small inconvenience – fortunately for me. The problem really became apparent on hard climbs where the truck was really grunting. Arrangements where made, on the Monday, with Cummins in Perth for the truck to be looked at on Tuesday after I had got back. All the symptons were explained over the phone to Cummins in the hope they would have a bit of an idea what they would be dealing with and (maybe) be prepared with mechanics and parts to fix the problem.
Well, I got back a bit later than I had planned. I had been feeling pretty secondhand all day, not quite sick but definately not 100%, and I rocked in there late in the afternoon too find that no-one knew I was coming. Eventually I found someone who “remembered” someone else talking about it. For Christ’s sake – don’t people in the same organisation talk to to each other about their work, ie:services they are supplying to customers who are their bread and butter and without whom they wouldn’t have a job?! I didn’t take the truck into their workshop because I wanted THEM to work on it – I took it there because it had to have work done on it and it ended up being a warranty job anyway. They OWE me!

Wastegate similar to one I need

Ok, we get over that little hurdle, they promise to try and look at it that night. I tell them I will need it back by 4pm the next day at the latest, hoping that it will be ready and I can leave that night and do a run with it – you know, so I can feed myself and pay the bills.
This morning we discover that, yes, they know what the problem is and, no, they don’t have the parts and they will have to be flown in from Melbourne overnight and fitted tomorrow. Now it’s not as though I have some obscure type of turbo (actually, it’s the wastegate that is the problem) and I am asking the people that build and sell the motors to actually fix it so why haven’t they got sufficient spare parts warehoused in Perth? Why do they have get spares from the other side of the country for a motor that is as commonplace as duckshit around a pond?
While I am not going to knock back the opportunity for another night at home I am going to take a hit in the hip pocket because of lost wages, my boss is going to take a hit because the truck isn’t on the road and the company we subby to is going to have to find someone else to do the job I would normally do.
I ask you, would you be happy being screwed around like this because a major engine manufacturerer can’t (or wont) keep enough spares locally to be able to deliver a reliable and timely service to their customers? It’s not like I can just drive over to another Cummins branch and get the work done – this is Western Australia and the branch I’m at is the main one for the state.
So, I’m sitting at home looking out the window at a heap of leaves that I should put in the bin, cursing the cold weather and wishing I was up north somewhere where it was warmer. Oh well, I got another blog entry up.

At the doctors

Cheers, Mike.

PS : Just got off the phone 5mins after I posted this entry – Cummins have managed to “find” the parts somewhere and the truck will be ready shortly. Unfortunately it’s too late for me to organise a run tonight (it is 4:45pm) so the end result is the same. Cummins Fail!