For caravanners heading to FNQ

Submitted: Saturday, Apr 12, 2008 at 14:46
ThreadID: 56561 Views:2752 Replies:9 FollowUps:12
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Hi all,

We've recently returned from the Far North (well the Atherton Tablelands at least), towing our 'van via the Kennedy Hwy and the Gregory Developmental Road through Ravenshoe, Mt Garnet and The Lynd Junction to Charters Towers. We haven't been on this road for about four years and I'd forgotten how much of it is still single-width bitumen.

A new complication is that this road is now heavily used by Road Trains - triple trailer ore carriers. Soon after Mt Garnet we started seeing these small black-on-white signs at many of the creek crossings, saying "CALL POINT". After passing the first few Road Trains we asked a driver about the signs. They are points where the Road Train and other heavy vehicles drivers call on UHF 40 to let drivers from the other direction know what's approaching, e.g. "Road Train, northbound at Clarke River", etc.

At the suggestion of the truckie, we started announcing our presence at each call point, "Caravan, southbound, Gray Creek" for example. On at least one occasion this helped us and an oncoming Road Train driver avoid meeting on a blind crest.

Regardless of this system, we ALWAYS get right of the bitumen to allow Road Trains to pass if there's time and space. Call them on UHF 40 as soon as you see them and say something like "Truck northbound, we'll get right off the road and let you have the tar". If space is limited (like a guide post coming up) we stop completely but usually we just trickle along in first until the truck has passed and we can climb back up the (usually very rough) shoulder onto the bitumen again.

We've never had a bad response doing this. Very occasionally we get no response but usually we get a courteous reply, thanks and even sometimes a compliment!

It's far better for your vehicle, your shiny caravan or camper trailer and your safety for you to get right off the tar rather than try to assert your "rights" and make the Road Train drop their left wheels onto the dirt. If you insist on keeping onto "your" side of the bitumen, at the very best you'll get showered in dust and stones and at worst you might get the side taken off your 'van by a swinging last trailer!

This stopping and restarting might add 15 or 20 minutes to a six hour drive but you and your rig will arrive in better condition and it will be appreciated by these guys/girls who are working hard out there while you're on holidays.

Ian
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Reply By: Member - Doug T (FNQ) - Saturday, Apr 12, 2008 at 16:15

Saturday, Apr 12, 2008 at 16:15
Ian
Very good post and I hope it goes a long way in helping other tourist when mixing it with Trucks , I have always been over my time as a Truckie a believer in this saying " Trucks can work with Trucks but Cars can't" unles they use some intelligence as you did ,
You mihjt get some interest in this repoet I done for this other website.

HEAVY VEHICLE ROAD COURTESY

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Follow Up By: DIO - Saturday, Apr 12, 2008 at 22:10

Saturday, Apr 12, 2008 at 22:10
Ah yes, BUT, it's all about sharing the road. No one vehicle has a greater right to the road than another although some idiots believe that ' might is right'. Perhaps we'll see whose right if/when they wipe someone out. Sure a little bit of commonsense goes a long way to safe motoring but that is not reserved for drivers of vehicles other that trucks etc. Courtesy begets courtesy.
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Follow Up By: Steve from Top End Explorer Tours - Saturday, Apr 12, 2008 at 22:22

Saturday, Apr 12, 2008 at 22:22
DIO you fair din cum live in a bubble!!

It is more than evident that you have never driven on those roads in FNQ, the reason being is, it is in your best interest to slow down and move of the road, because the last thing you want is to have 32 wheels on the dirt throwing up rocks and dust.

After your comments I don't even think you have seen a road train, other than pictures.

Steve.
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Follow Up By: Steve from Top End Explorer Tours - Saturday, Apr 12, 2008 at 22:29

Saturday, Apr 12, 2008 at 22:29
Scroll to the adds at the bottom.

Driving with road trains.

Steve.
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Follow Up By: Member - Doug T (FNQ) - Saturday, Apr 12, 2008 at 22:33

Saturday, Apr 12, 2008 at 22:33
Steve
Hiya mate
I'll just let that one ride over the top, It;s quite obvious the clown has no F****** idea and is not worth the time and effort wearing out my keybourd to even direct my rare but severe barrage at him.

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Follow Up By: Member - Doug T (FNQ) - Saturday, Apr 12, 2008 at 22:35

Saturday, Apr 12, 2008 at 22:35
Steve
The pr ick can't read.

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Follow Up By: Gone Bush (WA) - Saturday, Apr 12, 2008 at 22:36

Saturday, Apr 12, 2008 at 22:36
Rare ???

Doug, you are sooo modest.

I'm glad I ain't too scared to be lazy
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Follow Up By: Member - Doug T (FNQ) - Saturday, Apr 12, 2008 at 22:46

Saturday, Apr 12, 2008 at 22:46
Gone Bush
Careful ol mate I don't get stuck into you ya mongrel, go and read you MM ...LOL
You still haven't sent me a decent sized photo of the plate, all I got is that pi ssy little thing you sent months ago .
Go on ..trawl through my post for errors .

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Follow Up By: Ian from Thermoguard Instruments - Sunday, Apr 13, 2008 at 09:46

Sunday, Apr 13, 2008 at 09:46
Hi Doug,

Thanks for your kind words. Just read your article and it's great. We have long tried to practice your suggested behavior when being overtaken by trucks.

We've based this on the excellent advice of Rod Hannifey who writes in Owner/Driver and (used to?) Caravan World magazine. (We don't buy CW since they gave Technical Writer Tom Olthoff the flick because he wouldn't kowtow to their advertisers.)

As for the doubters who've replied to this post, like most other groups/professions, the vast majority of truckies are good hard-working people who will give slower vehicle a fair go if they are given one too. I suspect most perceived "cowboy" behavior from some truckies results from frustration after being delayed for miles on end by slow vehicle drivers who insist on asserting THEIR "rights".

For the record, I've never been a truckie or driven anything bigger than a Land Rover + 18' caravan on the road. (But I did take a few 85T Euclids for a spin (literally!) behind the workshops at Weipa (Andoom) a few decades ago...)

Ian (frustrated Truckie wannabe?)
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Follow Up By: Member - David.M.C - Sunday, Apr 13, 2008 at 10:11

Sunday, Apr 13, 2008 at 10:11
Doug, What a ripper article.
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Reply By: MEMBER - Darian (SA) - Saturday, Apr 12, 2008 at 16:27

Saturday, Apr 12, 2008 at 16:27
Yep - we struck a lot of single bitumen across QLD last year - I think it pays to remember that those locals are earning a living on the same road that we are touring on - and there is value in getting right off the single lane bitumen for 'any traffic' going the other way - doing the "one wheel on the bitumen each" routine, doesn't allow for the complete bas@#$%^&*ds that will not slow down - we got showered with stones - it cost us a headlamp - learned the hard way and made some perspex guards for the next expedition.
AnswerID: 298119

Reply By: dedabato (SA) - Saturday, Apr 12, 2008 at 16:43

Saturday, Apr 12, 2008 at 16:43
Good thread mate. Definitely it pays to give them the strip of bitumen if you don't want to end your holiday in disaster.... Hope every body do the same. Thanks and safe travels
AnswerID: 298122

Reply By: Member - barry F (NSW) - Saturday, Apr 12, 2008 at 18:01

Saturday, Apr 12, 2008 at 18:01
Thanks Ian, that was well worth the read. Thanks also Doug, I have not yet read all of the link, but have printed it out so I can do so a little later.
You know it's like most things in life hey, a little courtesy goes a long way whether on the road or anywhere else for that matter.
Cheers.
AnswerID: 298130

Reply By: ZukscooterX90 - Saturday, Apr 12, 2008 at 18:38

Saturday, Apr 12, 2008 at 18:38
Ian i too came across this in that area last xmas new year & was following one of larger trucks & when approaching the said creek the driver would call on the uhf that he was coming from the said direction & that a little one (motor home) was following,this was much appreciated as it let the oncoming driver know that i was also there.Having said that i did not think it was necessary to call when i was alone as you would always hear them coming with plenty of time to get off the road.
Bob.
AnswerID: 298137

Follow Up By: Gone Bush (WA) - Saturday, Apr 12, 2008 at 22:41

Saturday, Apr 12, 2008 at 22:41
Zukscooter...

I shudder to think what that photograph is...

I'm too scared to enlarge it.

I'm glad I ain't too scared to be lazy
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Follow Up By: ZukscooterX90 - Sunday, Apr 13, 2008 at 18:52

Sunday, Apr 13, 2008 at 18:52
G Bushie,go on you know you want too!:)
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Reply By: Steve - Sunday, Apr 13, 2008 at 08:42

Sunday, Apr 13, 2008 at 08:42
whilst agreeing 100%, not least for self-preservation, that we vanners should get off the road, I had to smile at the "if the truck gets bogged in the soft shoulder nothing will get it out whereas the truck can pull you out if you get bogged". Erm....yep..... I'll take their word for that then.
AnswerID: 298220

Reply By: deserter - Sunday, Apr 13, 2008 at 10:25

Sunday, Apr 13, 2008 at 10:25
We struck those signs when we were towing the van north of Greenvale last year. The ability to let those trucks know where we were was invaluable for peace of mind. If I never use the UHF again - its cost has been justified.
AnswerID: 298230

Reply By: Member - Crazy Dog (QLD) - Sunday, Apr 13, 2008 at 13:36

Sunday, Apr 13, 2008 at 13:36
Oi!!
What happened to DIO?

Must be off reading all about road courtesy with road trains - I Have done the Cairns to Karumba trip MANY MANY times and the boys and girls driving the triples are really great. A little courtesy from all the casual road users to the ones who are doing a JOB is just so easy.

I use this terminology when talking to the big fella's.

Mr. Many wheels gotta copy?

Reply - Gotcha.

I'll move over and slow and you stay on the black stuff ok!! (or words similar to this like one I used just the other week on my 10,400k trip - He was behind me...

Me - South bound truck behind the cruiser and camper trailer copy?

Reply - yep!

Me: I'll slow and move over and then ya can have ya way with me...

(I thought the bloke was gunna crack up he laughed so much and said he now probably needed to give the game away. Remember these people are also our Aussie work mates just doing a job and most of us who come across them are out for a slow - take it easy holiday so do not impede those who are going about their daily business.)


Reply Thanx mate - have a safe trip....

My reply ..Avva good day..

The bottom line is having a safe trip. For both drivers...

Just because the trucks are big dos not mean that they are easy to handle.

It is not uncommon to see the dog (last trailer) swingin' in the breeze after they have had to go on the dirt because some gherkinhead with a brand new caravan will not get off the bitumen and let the truck have an easy run.... If ya van gets buggered then that is ya own fault.

Coz you are a serious idiot if you don't show courtesy..

Here endeth the lesson.

Was that ok Doug??

Grrr!!!
AnswerID: 298258

Follow Up By: Member - Doug T (FNQ) - Sunday, Apr 13, 2008 at 14:26

Sunday, Apr 13, 2008 at 14:26
C/D
Purfeckt Minth Eeter....bloody Purfeckt..
Made me feel like I woz behind the weel agin,

Copy..North bound

Yeh gotcha mate.

What's it like behind ya,

Yeh .....Flash for Cash on south side of Coffs '

OK thanks. ...good run back to Grafton.

Have a goodun...catchya on the rebound


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Reply By: Brian (Montrose, Vic.) - Sunday, Apr 13, 2008 at 21:38

Sunday, Apr 13, 2008 at 21:38
Evening all,
We've had a similar situation just outside Melbourne for yrs now. On the Maroondah Hwy going up and down the Black Spur you will here the call "down at gate 14" or "up at St Rownans well" etc.
Its a fairly decent size/surfaced road there but it would no doubt be very hairy if towing a van round one of the hairpins and hey presto nice big logging B-double coming up your side of the curve without warning.
I notice that it seems only to be the loggers that anounce on that road, guess they know what can go wrong if caught out I suppose.
Needless to say it makes life a lot easier if you are listening out for them coming down the mountain at you, but I'm stuffed if I can find half of the gates/check points they mention, even after 20 odd yrs driving up and down thru there.
Brian T
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