The World’s Toughest Trucker

In Australia’s tropics, warm beer won’t win you any friends. The world’s toughest trucker, Garry White, sets out on Cape York’s torture tracks on a mission to fuel the fridge.

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  1. Hidden under the rainforest canopy at the top of Australia’s Cape York Peninsula, Pajinka Wilderness Lodge is a tropical retreat for wildlife lovers, bird watchers and fishermen. The lodge lies at the northernmost point in Australia, at the tip of a slender green finger that stretches up from the wide brown continent. Australians call this spot simply The Top.

    After a day in the sun deep-sea fishing with Pajinka’s then-manager, Alan Geary, a few guests cooled off at the lodge’s outdoor bar. Someone brought over a round of XXXX (Queensland’s home-brewed beer, pronounced “Four-X”) and asked Alan a question of essential interest:

    In a place where the temperature rarely dips below 85 degrees, a place far too remote for electrical lines, how is it that the beer at Pajinka is always cold?

    Alan answered with a tropical syllogism. For good conversation, he said, you need cold beer. To get cold beer, you need electricity. To get electricity, you need fuel for the generator. To get fuel to The Top…you need Garry White.

    Three times a year, Alan told us, “this bloke Garry” pulls his full-size tractor-trailer rig out of Cairns and heads up the peninsula to the fuel depot at Weipa. There, he fills the tanker with diesel for the cattle stations and aboriginal settlements in the distant north, and for Pajinka. The 2,400 km round trip—very little of it on paved roads—takes him through the continent’s most inaccessible wilderness. He has to plow through jungle rivers, chain-saw through dow...