Food for the long haul

Find­ing a decent feed on the road is a hard task nowa­days, and it’s of­ten eas­ier, cost ef­fec­tive and more nu­tri­tious for those do­ing long-haul trips to cook on the run. Rod Han­nifey writes

Owner Driver - - OWNER // DRIVER -

I AM not a real steak fan for meals on the road, and last night my el­dest son, who is into body build­ing and a big fan of ‘Arnie’, spoke of see­ing a video claim­ing all an­i­mal food prod­ucts to be against our nor­mal body needs.

Since ev­ery­thing we eat is now no good for us and we can’t even drink wa­ter from the tap for the chem­i­cals, it seems we are all doomed to die from poi­son­ing or starv­ing.

Most things I read about food spruik of all things in mod­er­a­tion, or choos­ing food from cer­tain groups. Now that is fine when you can go to a su­per­mar­ket and get what you want, or if you are lucky enough to have com­plete con­trol of your meals, with your wife or part­ner mak­ing some for you, you do­ing it yourself be­fore you hit the road, or sim­ply be­ing able to cook on the road.

How many of you do that? One of the things I hope to have on the Truck­Right In­dus­try Ve­hi­cle at some stage is a small kitchen. I will of­fer up a choice of a Truck­ies At­las or Au­dio Book prize for the best setout truck or trailer kitchen. Send us in a photo with a short de­scrip­tion, and even if you don’t want to en­ter, I would like to know how many of you cook on the road.

Those do­ing Perth or Dar­win may well have ei­ther the time or sim­ply the need, with the gaps in fa­cil­i­ties, to feed them­selves. With the num­ber of truckie-friendly road­houses di­min­ish­ing each year, it is an is­sue for the fu­ture – how we will get good meals on the road.

There is a Face­book page, ‘Where is the good food at’, and I have made a few con­tri­bu­tions. One of my favourite meals on the road is ris­soles with tomato and onion gravy, salad and chips, bread and but­ter with a cof­fee for $13 from Fisher Park Truck Stop at the top of Cun­ning­hams Gap.

I do be­lieve those sites which look af­ter us de­serve recog­ni­tion, but also those who treat us badly need to pull their socks up – as long as you don’t go too far. Telling oth­ers can and will en­sure that other driv­ers don’t waste their time and money on bad food and ser­vice.

CRIT­I­CAL BACK­LASH

I had a mate who, years ago, went so far as to ac­cuse a truck stop of giv­ing him food poi­son­ing. It nearly got him taken to court and lost him a job as a mag­a­zine cor­re­spon­dent. Of course the truck stop did not take it kindly and pur­sued him.

Like all things now, you can take a stand, but you must be care­ful that you do not go so far as to win the bat­tle but lose the war. I wish that some­one, whether the Aus­tralian Truck­ing As­so­ci­a­tion, the Trans­port Work­ers Union, NatRoad or sim­ply some driver with time and money to burn would solve all our prob­lems.

He or she could sim­ply tell the gov­ern­ment, the Na­tional Trans­port Com­mis­sion ( NTC) and the Na­tional Heavy Ve­hi­cle Reg­u­la­tor what the prob­lems are, give them the so­lu­tions and then sim­ply bad­ger the hell out of them in per­son and in the press and get it all fixed.

If you had a year where you did not need to earn in­come, you could de­vote that time to the job.

How many of us have the time, the ded­i­ca­tion and the ca­pa­bil­ity to achieve that? How many of us re­ally care that much that we would even con­sider such a role, let alone make the ef­fort. And who could af­ford no in­come for a year? Few, I doubt.

I do recog­nise and of­ten say in dis­cus­sions, like re­cently with the NTC re­gard­ing the new draft for the Load Restraint Guide (and please look and com­ment, or we will get what those who do not have to do the job will give us), that driv­ers are very cyn­i­cal of those who make the rules. Many have tried to con­trib­ute over the years, while many more have sat back and waited for some­one else to fix the prob­lems.

TELE­VI­SION AWARE­NESS

I was in­vited to do film­ing for the ABC show Cat­a­lyst on sleep. They are do­ing a num­ber of shows on the hu­man body and what and how it is af­fected. We filmed at the Rod Pilon de­pot in Mel­bourne and then did a lap around the block. I have in­vited the presenter for a longer trip and he seems keen for the fu­ture. I am told it will air on Au­gust 28.

Last week­end, with Stephen McCarthy from White­line Tele­vi­sion, we filmed at two rest ar­eas south of Dubbo. The aim is to put some­thing out there that will ex­plain our is­sues to car­a­van­ners. We sim­ply still do not have enough rest ar­eas, and with the grow­ing num­ber of van­ners I fear this will get worse be­fore it gets bet­ter.

Lance, a re­tired truckie, drove all the way from Vic­to­ria to take part; two lo­cal Dubbo ladies brought their retro van along; and I in­vited a van­ner who did the right thing by help­ing me get past on the way to the film­ing. They also took part.

It will even­tu­ally form part of an episode of a pro­posed web- based truck­ing TV show Stephen is work­ing on, though we will also aim to put it up on so­cial me­dia.

In that theme of get­ting the mes­sage out, I have started a blog – truck­right.blog – which was in­tended to al­low peo­ple to fol­low me dur­ing my Churchill Fel­low­ship trip.

I have de­ferred this un­til next year, hav­ing not got the replies from over­seas that I need to make the best ef­fort dur­ing the trip.

Hence, I will have some more time to get it right.

Good tucker at the Fisher Park Truck Stop, Cun­ning­hams Gap.

ROD HAN­NIFEY

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