You know that feeling you get when you give without expecting to receive? The warm fuzzy feeling you get right to your core?
That was us yesterday. The 9th annual i98fm Camp Quality Convoy.
We had a 3.30am alarm set to get up and ready to roll out to door. Destination - Cleary Bros yard at Albion Park.
On arrival at Cleary Bros depot, the convoy adrenalin started to kick in. Our first sight was all of the truck lined up in front of the sheds, two across. They all had headlights on, and were dimly lit by the workshop lights. The excitement and the joy in the voices could be heard from truck to truck, and the stirring started over the radios. Despite the wet weather we had had the night before, spirits were higher than high.
Names started being called over the radio, from the man on the ground, and trucks started moving towards the front gate in single file. This would be our travelling order for the day. While we waited for the last few truck to take their place at the end of the line, we jumped out and were in awe of how long the line was.
We were wished a great convoy and then we were on our way. This was at about 4.30am. Watching the night turn to day and travelling from Albion Park to the Appin Scout Camp gave some fantastic photo opportunities. This is one of the best parts of convoy. Travelling with a great group, who chatted on the radios, stereo pumping with i98fms trucking songs, and realising that the day had arrived and we were doing this once again. Doing it for all of those sick kids.
We lined up at the top and the waiting game started for the official 'Start your engines' call. Once that came over the radio, we were on our way. This is where the rain started to fall again. Knowing that it was so wet, we wondered how many people would actually come out and brave the rain. You could image our shock to find people everywhere. In cars, under tents, with ponchos, under umbrellas and just in t-shirts in the rain. Every possible place to park a car or stand and watch was taken on the route. The visibility at Bulli Tops wasn't great but improved as we got further down the mountain.
As we were positioned about half way in the pack, I used the 'big dipper' as the perfect spot to get a couple of fleet photos.
Coming down Mount Ousley and seeing that overpass with that many people on it in this crappy weather was where we knew we would be in for a great trip on the rest of the way to Croome Road.
We had to get a selfie in the truck while stopped at a set of lights. We were so lucky to have Lily with us as she was struck down with a bug the day before. Lily had never travelled in a truck for convoy, but had been a spectator for all of those years. We wanted to experience convoy with someone else, someone besides the two of us, through the eyes of someone new. I think Lil had a ball.
On the final stretch to the finish at Croome Road, and due to the rain we made the call not to go in. At the final roundabout we did a full 360 and headed back to the yard. A fair few of the truck with us did the same. It gave us the chance to drive against the convoy and experience for a brief moment what it would be like doing it back the whole way.
All in all we had a great day. We had one of those selfless days. One of those days where a wave or a smile makes the biggest different to a total stranger. Where as a community we all come together as one. Where we know that every cent raised stays in our own community, helping our own families. A day where we are proud to be part of something so much bigger than just us.
Bring on the 10th anniversary in 2014.