Hey Ben how are you doing? I thought since I not been able to get many truck photos at the moment I would send you a little trip I did a few years ago.
The office called me up asking me if I wanted a few weeks work as things were a little quiet. They focused on two jobs one involved been in my own truck for Trans Am and the other would then be jumping into an EST truck for another two weeks with a different artist. I’ll focus on the Trans Am one as I have more photos of that job.
The job involved taking one of our little trailers to Heathrow where I would load Backline for Metallica that was coming in by airfreight. I then had to take a leisurely drive over to Berlin to a Tv studios. Since I was in no big rush it was the day boat from Harwich to The hoek and then across to Hengelo and into Germany via Bad Bentheim. This would see me go past Osnabruck- Hanover- Magdeburg and then up into Berlin. Working out my timings I realised I could do this during the day as we usually work night times which then ment I could go to Marienborn services just on the A2 there and look around the museum.
This was the old customs checkpoint from east to west Germany and it looks like they just closed the doors one day and walked out. Now you can park in the services and wander around the old huts. It’s all very interesting and worth stopping. After been educated it was time to crack on to Berlin where I then realised the Christmas markets were on. I parked for the night in the Avus autohof and didn’t venture to far. The next day saw me Drive to the the Tv studios which just happened to be beside Berlin Templehof airport which was famous for the Berlin airdrop we tipped the truck in good time and I took myself off to meet a friend and a walk around the airfield before visiting a Christmas market then back the venue and discuss plans then it was time for bed as I had a double drive to Paris for another tv show the next night. We wrapped up the Berlin show and the People in Paris got into contact with me with regards to parking they needed to have me park off site as the place was only small which in itself wasn’t an issue but sounded a bit of a ballache to find.
Part 2. Berlin to Paris. Once on the road to Paris we retraced our steps to a certain point. This time it was Hanover-köln-Aachen into Belgium liege to Mons then down to Paris. On arrival to Paris the bus caught up with us and we went together into the Tv studios. The representative of the studio came out to show us where to unload ETC looked at the truck and asked me where the rest of it was. Turns out they didn’t realise we had a small trailer on and the bus and truck could fit in the garage where we unloaded and happily stayed all day. Once we tipped it was straight to bed and exactly 9hrs on the button the band had finished and it was time to pack up as quick as we could and head to London For a radio show. My little holiday at the start of the trip was well and truely over… (No photos of this section as it was all go go go)
Part 3 Paris to London. Leaving Paris behind it was time to head to calais. In the middle of the night in 2015 calais at night time wasn’t the best craic but since I was in a rush it was straight into the train and ship across. Next destinationThe iconic Maida Vale studios in London for the bbc rock show. Iv been here a few times before and the lads are decent enough at security and it’s literally a case of abandon the truck on the street and leave it there so that was that. Once I was tipped it was time to to fire off a few emails as the next gig was a secret show we were doing at House of vans . This is a skatepark under Waterloo train station which doubles up as a small concert venue so had to get various different permissions to park there. Once the Maida Vale sessions were over it was quite late which ment a nice easy drive around to Waterloo and park up. On arrival my heart dropped when I saw graffiti absolutely everywhere and thought the truck was gonna get done over. I went out and spoke to the lads doing it and they assured me the truck would be ok as it’s one of the only legal graffiti places in London and they don’t dare do anything stupid to ruin that. A bit of a sleepless night and I woke up to our sister company EST truck beside me who brought in extra Audio etc for the show. We tipped everything out and I went off to swap trucks and then reload for the same kind of agenda. All in all was a great little trip. Hope you enjoyed it and here’s photos of London.
Another weekend and I’m back at Londra Camp or perhaps even the Hotel National in Belgrade. Loads of the best retro trucks in the UK and a growing number from Europa and all the kings of the road you could ever hope to meet and listen to stories from. The shows this year have become more and more social but combine this with trucks from my childhood and once again an awesome weekend was had by all. For me meeting these Kings of the road is what it’s all about, the stories they can tell, the places they have been and the trucks they have driven, my generation can only dream. To name a just a few people I stood and chatted/listened to this weekend;
Baz (if you know you know!)
and of course one of my true hero’s still out and about on the road………
These men all need dictaphones and books written about them or by them, Mr Coghill you need to get on with it! As I said in my Truckstar blog, sadly I wasn’t able to enjoy the golden era but chatting to these knights of the road you can get a real idea of the adventure, hardship, bad times and of course good times they endured. For any young drivers of the current modern generation, can you imagine being told to go to Pakistan from London?? No? just to add to the adventure there was no sat-nav, no road maps or readable signposts once past Turkey, for that matter not many “roads” either. One of the best quotes of the weekend from a certain Charles Russell went something like this;
“When I was a young owner driver with just one truck, my pal Ralph had his own truck too. I met him on his way back from his first trip to the continent and do you know what he said?? That continental work isn’t for me.”
– The Ralph in question was of course a certain Mr Davies. Just brilliant but unless you take the time to talk to these men then you never get to hear such awesome tales.
The show itself was once again a triumph. Lee Herbert and his team put on what was the best retro show I’ve been too, that said next year is the 10th anniversary so I can’t wait for that already. Get the date in your diary, next years Retro Truck Show is from September 11th to 13th 2020. There seemed to be more restored/retro trucks than ever before. The quality of these trucks gets better and better and there is definitely more types of truck, not just Volvo and Scania. Renaults, ERF, Iveco eight wheels MAN’s and even a Fiat all being restored back to their former glory. As it goes there was only one Transcon that was at the start of its new life and very much need a good polish! I’m sure there are more Transcons about that could come along next year but after one of Roland Simeys stories I’m not so sure….
If you are a truck enthusiast then the retro show is for you. It’s run by truck people for truck people. Evident that the man who runs the show is a gas engineer but grew up with trucks and loves trucks. All who attend are truck mad and as there are no prizes to be won it just shows that all trucks are there as their owners are proud to show them and just do it for the trucks and love of diesel! Not a lot of feed back from those I spoke to other than more trucks the merrier. Perhaps the one thing I did hear from a few people was, there were a lot of new trucks there again. Don’t get me wrong I love seeing them and being able to compare the same make 30 or 49 years apart is a pretty cool concept. I am guessing there is an element of a few new trucks make up the numbers but then again what do you class as a retro truck?? I fine line for the organisers to think about but for me personally I don’t think it is far off perfect at all.
It’s been ages since we did a classic Wilson Wednesday, so I thought we’d have a little teaser to see the response. As an ex Wilson, what they get upto still fascinated me, even having helped moved everything from steel rolls, to boats, to plastic planes and everything else in my time in the traffic office. These days things are still much the same. 60% of the work is to and from Europe and as I’m sure is the way with most sectors of international haulage, imports are big and exports and few and far between. Even so some regular jobs are still ongoing. Above is Jon Pryke, seemingly an HC Wilson lifer! Loaded from Germany and heading to Ireland. In my time at Wilson’s I spent lots of time trying to get Jon to start taking photos and then trying to get him to take photos where you could actually see the truck. Now I have to say Jon takes some of the best photos on the fleet.
Next up with GT, Geoffrey Tarbun. Who doesn’t like Geoff? Who wouldn’t want a Geoff on their fleet?? Never moans, always smiles, nothing is to much of a problem. Then again if we all spent as much time on holiday as Geoff then we’d probably all have the same attitude to work! A nice easy load for the new DAF above, a load of JCB’s from the yard to Port. HC Wilson have a long history with JCB and at one point we’re doing more loads out the factory than Brit European. Legend has it someone wasn’t happy with red trucks delivering yellow machines…..but who knows.
Number 1 subbie, Mr Tasker. Not quite a lifer but defiantly a fully qualified Wilson. Now back to having just his own truck on the HC Wilson fleet, the heady heights of his fleet got to a total of four trucks at one time. By my calculations I think the current steed is number 8 or 9, but I’m sure MWT will tell us other wise. Loaded with a good size tree in Belgium and heading for Oxfordshire.
Finally in our teaser is the 2nd new DAF, driven by Ian “Slim” Godfrey. Once again another driver who has been at Wilson’s for 15+ years. It must say something about the job or the company when you have so many long service employees on one fleet. I have to say I didn’t get any load details on this one but I’m happy to publish such a great looking load! loaded from NL to Bristol. Apparently an airport sprayer. With the two new DAF’s having only been on the fleet for a few months there has been lots of talk about the new diagonal stripe from the back of the cab to the top corner of the window. Any thoughts???
Up at 0530 for a wash and hit the road before 0600. My toll box give me a red X when I tested i,so I stop at a garage and get it reactivated while I grab coffee and a French hot dog. Nothing much to report on today fairly boring. I arrive at Port 2000 truck stop near Swiebodzin at 1730 and get the truck washed a top job and only £18 a thousand times better than the dirty water washes in the UK!
Then into the restaurant for the Polish special … pork and potatoes! Then off to bed ready for an early start before loading in the morning.
Day 12 – Wednesday 13th of March
I think this will be where I finish the diary as I predicted the best is behind me now sadly. 😢
I’m up at 0400 for shower and breakfast and out the door at 0540 my first port of call is the AS24 at Słubice to top off on the cheaper diesel. I arrived at my pick up in Luckau for 0755 just as they’re opening up to load a section of a crane for Sheffield. Another truck arrives to collect another section for the same destination and to my surprise it’s a Cypriot in an ex Waberers unit pulling a Dutch trailer! Makes a nice change from it being a Bulgarian unit stealing the western work I suppose!
I’m booked on the Thursday night boat from the Hook of Holland to Killingholme, so have plenty of time to get there. I call it a day at 1330 at BS-OST autohof on the A2 near Brunswick where I can enjoy a leisurely afternoon with a beer and a truckerpfanne for my tea.
Thank you to everyone who had read he diary hopefully you’ve enjoyed it and thank you to Ben for choosing it to feature ontruckblog.co.ukfor the past couple of weeks.
TB – Awesome Long Distance Diary Luke. Loved every day, especially the snowy bit! Badge earned.
My alarm goes off at 0630 and there are some aching joints after yesterday’s action in the cold! I get dressed and do a quick walk around check and head to security to get checked in to tip the load. I pull up where I’m tipping and get everything unstrapped and ready. The forklift driver takes the front two crates off with a small tele-handler and I then wonder how he’s getting the main machine of seeing as it weighs 16 ton. An enormous forklift arrives to take the last piece off, the paperwork is signed and I’m free to go, job done!! Before leaving I get my airline out to pump up the tyres that I deflated yesterday to get out of the snow and then I’m ready to rock.
I receive a picture from my driver Steve who is delivering to a cruise ship in Cadiz, Spain. We are separated by 3149 miles and 30 degrees celsius with Steve being the lucky one enjoying a nice 26 in his shorts!
I decided to head back the route my sat nav originally wanted me to take yesterday to see if it’s any better. I’ve still got the chains on from yesterday just in case but after a few kms the surface seem better than it was yesterday and the noise is driving me mad so I stop and remove them and set back off again. Within 2 minutes I’m driving into a blizzard of snow and wishing I’d kept the chains on! The road isn’t any better than the one I took yesterday and got stuck on so don’t know why the sat nav chose it especially with it being 100 kms longer.
I’ve been getting a lot of flashes and a wave or a thumbs up from a lot of the Finnish trucks which I wonder if it’s because of the truck. There aren’t a lot of DAF’s here and any you do see are white beaten up eastern block motors. Maybe it’s because they’re spotting the GB plates which I’d assume is a very rare site up hear too, especially in the north. (There’s the possibility they follow Truckblog and it’s like seeing a celebrity! But if that was the case I doubt I’d be getting a thumbs up more likely a p*** off! 😂) – ((of course they follow TB!! – TB))
I eventually make it back onto the main drag and can get a bit of a move on. I’m reloading in Luckau, Germany on Wednesday morning so will be heading back to Helsinki to catch the ferry to Tallinn. I arrive in Helsinki at 1730 and get checked in for the 2030 sailing. I’m starving so go to the hotel just outside the port that I’ve stayed in whilst working on a conference here a few years ago. I know they serve reindeer steaks, so I go stuff myself before the boat arrives. I get off the boat in Tallinn at 2300 and park up in the port where I will take my 24 hours off and set of again early on Monday morning.
Tip right next to the Corinth Canal on Tuesday. Another full strip out but hopefully not another new phone required! Young Matt did say that although it was only 15’c he was still breaking a sweat so just imagine the full Middle East heat that the haulage elders had to put up with! Unloading went without a hitch and it was straight back to the boat to Italy as now the pressure is on to get home before the weekend.
Back on the boat once empty and head up to Modena to load the dreaded tiles. As it is Matt does have a pressing engagement that he has to get home for. On and off the boat on Wednesday, back into Ancona and up the road a little to Rimini for Wednesday night supper. A true retro job like this wouldn’t be complete without a little bribery and corruption. This came in the form of an over confident parking attendant at Rimini Nord trying to charge Matt €10 for the pleasure of free parking. To save any injuries or hospital visits Matt settled on €5 to get a quiet night!
So into Modena on Thursday morning for what turned out to be a quick load up of tiles for three drops in the south east of England. The rates on times have always been horrendous whether they are from Italy or Spain but as with most backloads they serve a purpose and get you home with diesel paid for. In this case as tilts of a certain age aren’t necessarily the driest then a load of tiles was a safe bet and there are plenty of loads available. Once again open up both sides of the tilt, this is a lot easier as tile pallets are low so you only need to pull the TIR cord, open either up half way up and then drop the sides. I’d still give most of us a quick workout and a moist brow but simple enough for an experienced hand.
I have no doubt that once load MJC was off and into a foot down Friday although it’s still early Thursday. The old DAF would have been puffing a bit up through the mountains but once down and into France it’s a straight run back to the UK.
Yet another good trip for the man from Delmonte Essex. For those wanting to run your own truck then there is a huge element of making your own luck. Put the hard work in and with the right contacts it can be a very enjoyable way of life. With a supportive and understanding family behind you, the only restriction is how long you are happy to be away for and those who know, this too is in the hands of the rates and your customers.
Hopefully a new long distance diary to come next week as I have a new volunteer. I say volunteer as I didn’t pester for it like I do with Matt and Marshy!
Once again I’m not going to say to much about Part 2 of the lads holiday journey to Greece as Matts words will be fine and to be fair there’s only one or two ways of saying some things and diary details aren’t very easy to fluff up!
“Steady run down from Calais. I Took the national road from Tournus down past Jayat. Then back on motorway briefly at Bourg-en-Bresse. I came back off at Point de Ain to run the national again down past the resistance memorial.”
“Back on motorway at Nantes and called it a night just through the other side of Mont Blanc at Courmayeur.”
“Set of late as I got up late got all day to do just 400KM. I called in at Carisio for a shower and lunch and I also bumped into Leroy from Fly By Nite.”
“I was away after a couple of hours off and steady on down to the ristorante at Modena sud.”
“I head down to Ancona and park up. I am due to ship on the Sunday ferry as it’s cheaper and not tipping in Greece till Tuesday. I’m not a fan of Ancona port but as there is no Sunday running I had to get there for Saturday to get parked and ready for the boat.”