THAT is not a truck! THIS, is a truck...
Depending on the weather, October and November are big 'harvest' months out here. Last year it was all over the shop, and some people didn't get their crops off until Christmas - if they were lucky. Many people's crops were entirely lost to wet weather. In a good year, there are a few weeks when the road becomes a traffic jam of road trains. Out here it's the wheat harvest primarily responsible for the traffic congestion, however in other areas of Australia it's the livestock movement that is responsible.
|This is at a station in the territory. These are the trucks that will be removing the cattle (over 2000 of them) for sale.|
|And this is the little dance that happens so that the operation runs smoothly. These photos were taken in 2001, but I would imagine that little has changed.|
They're amazing machines (is that what you would even call them??), and I am not even a truck person. In fact, I've lost enough perfectly good windscreens to those suckers, that I have every right to detest the local road trains. On one occasion, I had practically pulled over off the side of the road. I'd completely come to a standstill, and a MASSIVE road train tore past me in the opposite direction at 100 miles an hour, flicking up rocks the size of bowling balls in its wake. My windscreen bore the brunt, and for a time, I viewed the world through a spiderweb of glass every time I got in the car.
A fellow blogger (checkout 'A Farmer's Wife' - love her stuff - pay close attention to point #6 for the purpose of this blog - even though many of the other points are even funnier!) once spoke of the perils of a farmer's wife learning to drive a truck herself (or a tractor for that matter). It's true that whilst the driving of a truck can keep one gainfully employed in the country, a farmer's wife should carefully consider the impact of such a talent on her quality of life!
But never fear my city friends... you will never be subject to the dangers of driving beside one of these beasts on your flawless stretches of highway. Road trains are contained to only limited sections of road around the country depending on their size. So unless you take a trip out to visit some of your 'country cousins', you will never experience the JOY (sarcasm intended) of overtaking one of these road hogs on a straight stretch of road. You will never experience the few seconds where you actually feel your heart stop beating. The moment where you hold your breath and tense up until eventually you actually make it past all three carriages and can re-enter the safetly of your own lane of traffic again.
And yet as much as they can frighten me, I am truly in awe at the sheer magnitude of 'the roadtrain'. And like it or lump it, every harvest we can look forward to the constant passing of them from the humble comfort of our bus stop, a mere metres away from their ultimate destination at the Grain Silos.
|Our view from our bus stop during harvest.|