Nolloth Newz part 2

Since my first post on TB I changed jobs as mentioned and what a great decision that has proved to be. 
I joined Temuka Transport in June of last year after getting back from my holiday in the UK and Vietnam. I had been to see the boss before I went away who I knew beforehand through my partner and expressed my interest in joining the team to which he sounded keen. I knew that both companies had a good working relationship but without stepping on each other’s toes so I had to approach the matter with professionalism. I was completely honest with all involved and explained my reasons for wanting to change. 
I still loved the job at Pye Group but I felt the ever changing shift pattern didn’t suit my lifestyle anymore with my partner mostly starting around 5am whereas I could sometimes be starting at 11am. This meant we didn’t always get to spend a lot of time together especially in the evenings where I could be working until midnight if the job required. 
For me joining Temuka Transport meant earlier starts and in turn earlier finishes which was similar to my partners but also the chance to see more of this beautiful country whilst being paid to do so. 
Most of the time spent working for Pye Group was around the local area as is the case for most agricultural contractors. This was a great way for me to find my feet and gain some experience on Kiwi roads but I was ready to spread my wings. I had already experienced working for Temuka as whenever work was quiet at Pye Group they would sub me out, driver only so I had an idea of what it would be like.
Temuka runs a fleet of mostly Volvo’s with the odd exception having been acquired in business deals or takeovers. It is also the largest privately owned Volvo fleet in the Southern Hemisphere as stated by Volvo themselves in a recent magazine article. Within the company there are multiple divisions that include curtainsiders, containers, bulk, stock, bulk liquids (tanks) as well as a rural division that handles fert spreading and agricultural contracting. I have included a photo of each division which highlights the diversity of the company and trucks.

I initially signed up to do bulk liquids, moving fresh milk all around the South Island but before the season fully kicked off I was asked by the boss if I would take on a truck and call it my own in the bulk division. For me this was a no brainer as it meant stepping straight into a V4 FH 540 with a five axle trailer, getting consistently good hours throughout the season and a settled shift pattern. I was very lucky to be offered this truck as notoriously you have to work your way into a newer truck after proving yourself, the condition of how your gear is kept or length of service. I believe the boss already knew how I looked after my gear which played a part in me being given this truck. The truck I was given is also special within the company as it has the racing car artwork on the side of the cab as seen in the photos. This comes from the link between the family that own the transport company being good friends with the family of the son who became a professional racing driver and has won numerous titles in Australasia.  

Since getting the truck I have slowly been trying to restore it back to its former glory. It was starting to show signs of age with the odd bit of damage as well as a few missing bits here and there. I’ve also added my personal touch to it. Such additions include a custom made light board from the UK, front flaps under the bumper, marker lights in the mirrors, Union Jack sticker on the visor and I’m still waiting for my TB sticker (I’m getting more printed as the others haven’t arrived – TB) to arrive in the post. I’ve spent considerable time de-tarring the wheels and cab before getting around to polishing them with my efforts finally starting to show. I feel it’s really starting to take shape now with the Christchurch truck show in March being the next target. I’ve still got matching Volvo mudflaps and an air horn to add before the show. This show claims to be NZ’s biggest truck show and I will be attending with my camera ready to report back with some photos.
My usual working week consists of 6.30am starts Monday to Friday and a roster for Saturday work. I have also found myself covering Saturday shifts for some of my colleagues who are happy with just Monday to Friday. 
A large percentage of my work is spent taking coal straight from the mine to the nearby dairy factory. This work is repetitive where you can usually achieve five loads a day before making the two hour journey home again. This run is quite hard on the gear with rough roads and a steep gradient on entering the mine, never mind the state of my truck at the end of the day. I would include more photos of the mine but strict company policy insists on no photography whilst on their site. I did manage to get permission to take a photo of my truck whilst tipping off a load of ash whilst my trailer is jackknifed beside me, something I never thought I would be capable of doing. 
If I’m not moving coal then it could be fertiliser, grain or palm kernel. When moving these products it tends to take me north of base with the rare trip southbound. My favourite trips would be over to the west coast where the scenery is breath taking and so different to what I’m used to on the east coast. Numerous steep climbs through gorges and over mountain ranges, past picturesque lakes and along the coast line with the waves metres away from the road. Since arriving in NZ I’ve been adding pin drops to my google maps for when I revisit a location or share it with someone who hasn’t been and as you can see I have already been lucky enough to see a considerable chunk of the island. 

By Ed Nolloth.

The American Road Trip – Part 9

Eventually all good things come to an end and the adventure is over and we arrive in Portland, Oregon for the last race, but not before dinner at Hooters and a walk around town to see what’s going on. As it turns out it has more homeless drug addicts than I’ve never seen before.

So the journey ends here and it’s been a brilliant and eye opening experience as I mentioned earlier the team was badly managed but having spoken to others in motor sport since who have told me it’s better at other places but not by much so I’ve concluded that Motorsport definitely isn’t for me.

I’d like to say thank you to Dave Nickalls who I shared a truck with and who I have known for a few years now. We had a chance meeting 4 years ago in a German autohof, when he worked for Red Bull Racing. Dave has become a friend and worked for me driving my trucks a few times. Dave was also the one who invited me out to America and gave me the opportunity to take part in this trip.

The American Road Trip – Part 8

Once the race is over and the trucks loaded it’s the last drive the big one! 2050 miles in two and a half days. I haven’t written much about the actual driving yet so here it goes, how I see it. 

Most of the roads are straight flat and there isn’t much to look at so it’s necessary for the trucks to be able to do the same speed as cars as 56mph would be torture. The drawback is that it’s a lot more tiring as your always on it, trying to pass some or being held up by someone albeit not much as the car drivers in America get a move on as well unlike home! You’re not likely to encounter many people dawdling along in the middle lane at 50mph and if you do there doesn’t seem to be any rule against just undertaking them. In most places you can just use lane 3 in a truck anyway. As a result after 11 hours (which you can do every day of the week!) driving you do feel properly f**ked you can see why some drivers here feel to use amphetamines to stay awake when driving. As for the speed it work’s for the reasons mentioned and because of how the trucks are designed with the double drive bogies and axles on the back end of the trailers, they are surprisingly stable when tanking along at 75mph or even 92mph which I reached (accidentally honest) at one point. 

The cabs are brilliant to be honest. I think what we had was technically a fleet spec motor but still better than anything we have in Europe, the space is awesome and so comfortable it’s like driving around in a studio flat. The Freightliner itself is a nice truck, we never found out the horsepower of the trucks as it’s not written on the side of the motor or on the engines. The Detroit engine pulled well still doing 50mph loaded at 36 ton up some big hills easily as steep as Bourge-en-Bresse and as I said before they have the Merc gearbox working better than Mercedes do!

The last 4 hours of the drive are the best by far. We travel on the I84 which runs along the Columbia river and runs side by side a train track the views are stunning. It is up there with the best roads I’ve ever driven. The freight trains you run alongside are incredible we counted one to be 90 carriages long at least 1.5 miles but more likely 2 miles long!!

The American Road Trip – Part 7

The next day at the track we get our duties over with a lot quicker than we’d like, then go for a walk to see the sights. As you can imagine with the size of an Indy Car event, there are loads and loads of different trucks and vehicles. Race teams the world over use high spec, top quality trucks and Indy Car is of course no different, some may even say these are better than the rest! Big trucks, big paint jobs but still a few oddments. Just when you think you have seen an amazing cross section of US trucks, you come across a Ford Cargo!

The day cabbed Ford Cargo may be a rarity but not unique. What I am sure is unique in North America is a fully liveried in Liverpool Football Club colors, Volvo VN. Soccerball is not my sport, but some of your are football crazy, so if you move to the United States and want to personalize your truck…….well, paint it red and add some famous Scouse names and phrases and Robert is your mothers brother!

The American Road Trip – Part 5

Eventually once the torture is over, the race is cancelled 30 laps before the finish due to the weather, so it is time to pack away ready to head off for the next race. The next drive is 877 miles which is do-able on a double drive but not necessary so we are stopping in Indiana where most of the other teams are based. We are taken out for the night by Geoff, a former truckie for Carlin Motorsport who now works at a different team based in Indiana. Geoff takes us to a place called the 1911 grill which is a really cool sports bar and includes a ski ball alley, a shuffle board table and a go kart track… yes that’s right a go kart track!! Believe it or not, the best meal of the whole trip, a steak to die for!

The American Road Trip – Part 4

The next morning (05/09/19) we set off at 0800hrs to finish the last bit of the drive to the track. We spend the next few days setting up and working at the track which if I’m honest wasn’t very interesting. The time management at the team isn’t very good, so there’s a lot of time standing around with nothing to do and by a lot I mean around 9 hours a day, so there’s plenty of time to wander about and see what else is going on between duties.