ADVrider

Go Back   ADVrider > Fluff > Shiny things
User Name
Password
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rating: Thread Rating: 150 votes, 4.92 average. Display Modes
Old 02-04-2009, 07:28 PM   #601
squonker OP
Eat my shorts
 
squonker's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2006
Location: Bee Cee
Oddometer: 3,933
Back from trip #1

Thanks for all your messages, folks! Nice to know I have 'company' while I'm out there...too many messages for me to be able to reply to them all individually I'm afraid....except that I have to clarify about the eye patch (galute!). No, not a memento of the date (although that did make me laugh!), but it is related, because she works at the eye clinic and that is where I met her. She gave me a regular eye test a few weeks ago, but I took advantage of the fact that I had to go back. Twice. . We saw eachother five nights in a row last week - wtf?!



Enough! Trip #1...I have time for a full report tonight.

I left YK at 8am on Tues morning with those 6 bags of cement. I ran with Art and Simon, the two rookies, and a guy called Barry who had done it before but I've no idea how much 'cos he hardly ever said a word. I asked him to bring up the rear 'cos it's good to have experienced folks at either end. So far, so good (oh, I forgot to tell you - already I have stories...!)

Art was pretty nervous so I stuck him behind me and at first he had big problems keeping up with me on the ice. As I think I've mentioned before, my pet peeve is not taking advantage of every KM of speed we're allowed to do. I was doing 5km/h under the limit and he still wasn't closing the gap. I ended up stopping on portage 10 and reading him the supportive, constructive version of the riot act. It seemed to work, but I'd notice that whenever I pulled out onto a lake and looked behind me to see how far back he was he'd come screaming to the end of the portage, see me, slam on his brakes (really quite violently), then patiently sit there until I was far enough ahead for him to pull out. Simon, who was behind him, said he was going like a bat out of hell through the portages.

Kind of an overcast day so not particularly beautiful, but for a little while a raven would fly along right beside me at window level and whenever I turned my head to look at it it'd have its head turned looking at me! Tried to snap a shot but I pressed the trigger just as it was pulling away and it never came back.


When we got to lockhart we saw that Art had one pallet of cement half hanging off the arse end of his trailer. Strap not done up tight enough. He asked me what he should do because I apparently had the experience, but I became a bit upset at that. Art claims to have been driving full time for over a decade. I told him I drive a truck for two months of the year - and I haven't even done that for three years - so he was the one with enough experince to know what to do (and what he should have done in the first place). I felt a bit like a parent - he was the one that loaded his truck and tied it down, so it's his responsibility and the buck ultimately stops with him. I think our votes were split pretty much evenly between, "You're fucked" and "Ah fuck it, just go!" He chose the latter. I told him it was his truck and his call, that if it came off it wouldn't be me that anyone blamed. He said ok.

The kitchen wasn't open at Lockhart (too early in the season for it to be 24/7) so I had a cup of tea with some friends from Security that I hadn't seen since '06 while the others familiarized themselves with the place, and we pushed on. I've mentioned before what I think of the first few portages into Snap Lake, but actually they were sanded this time which made all the difference. It sure was rough up on top of the first portage, though.
Art: "Is it bumpy up there?"
Me: "It's the roughest piece of road we've driven on yet." (It was.)
Art: "Fuck!"

But his pallet stayed on and we pulled in safe and sound. They were uncharacteristically unorganized at Snap Lake, but still very good. They unloaded Simon and Barry first, who said they'd head right back out again and we agreed to meet them at Lockhart.



The best laid plans...Art and I left the mine at dead on 10pm for the two hour drive back to Lockhart. But about 20 mins later Snap Lake dispatch is calling me on the radio to tell me that due to high winds the road had been closed. Not only that, it'd been closed an hour ago but somehow the message never got to us, so we were to pull over right away and wait for instructions as to whether we could carry on to Lockhart or we'd have to turn around. Shit. I'm not surprised, though, because it was blowing very hard - as hard as I've ever seen it up there - and we were going 10 km/h below the speed limit because visibility was so bad. Two hours later dispatch calls back. "Security requests that you don't drive any further tonight because conditions are too dangerous. But we've just sent a pick-up out to check the road between us and you and we have determined that it is also too dangerous for you to turn around." Oh, here we go. "So if you don't mind spending the night where you are, perhaps you could check back in with us at 6am and we'll see what the latest is." Great, a night on portage 3 on the Snap Lake road. The winds are brutal, it is bitterly cold, and we have no facilities. All we have to eat is whatever we'd picked up with us at the mine - a sandwich for me, but Art had other food with him.

So I climb into Art's cab and tell him ok, this is what we do. We don't know how long we're going to be here - could be for days - and neither of our fuel guages work, so we'll dip our tanks, chock our wheels, run the trucks up (leave at high idle) and we're good for the night, at least. Art says, "but truck wheels don't freeze. Trailer wheels yes, but not truck wheels." Well that's not true 'cos I've seen it happen, and indeed on my truck I only have to think about applying the maxis (parking brakes) in this weather and they will instantly freeze enough that they'll take 20 seconds to release. But Art says no, truck brakes do not freeze. "Well, just chock 'em anyway" I say, "It's better to be safe than sorry". "No need" he says - truck brakes do not freeze". I can see I'm fighting a losing battle here. Alright then, dip your tanks at least, and I'll see you in the morning. "Oh, I know I have enough fuel...." and I lost my temper on him. "Art, I'm trying to give you good, helpful advice here. I'm not fucking you over or asking to run outside naked in the cold for an hour - you could do it all in literally 3 mins". He keeps resisting. "Art, if you won't listen to people who have done this before, who is going to want to run with you again? I sure don't if you won't listen to good advice, and no-one else will either. You'll fuck up and which-ever poor saps are running with you will be held up while they help you fix your fuck up." Art is not happy, but agrees to chock his wheels "for you". Idiot. :)

My alarm goes off at 6am and I am surprised to see that the wind has died right down. And even more surprised to see that a plow has obviously opened the road. I radio Snap Lake dispatch asking whether this is good news and they say that while their road is now open, the main road is still closed. We can drive to the junction if we like, but no further. Well, not much point in that so I fill my water bottle with snow so as at least to have something to drink (eventually!) and lie back with a book. Only about 20 mins later the news comes through that the main road is now open - and we're off.

Art actually apologized before we were rolling again, saying that he'd thought about it and realized that he should have done what I'd said and I thought it was good of him to say so. He bought himself a second (but last!) chance there...

A pretty uneventful ride back to Yellowknife, arriving at 4pm. The majority of the road had not been plowed at all, though, which surprised me as they've never let us out like that before. What is usually a flat, clear piece of glass looked like this:




Upon arriving in YK we were immediately reloaded with more of the same (and 2 extra pallets as the weights have already gone up on the ice), but were unable to book back out because the road was already closed again! Our instructions were to reload, drop our trailers, then go to dispatch to get the paperwork sorted out for (a) the trip we'd just returned from, and (b) to be ready to go again as soon as they opened the road. I was loaded first so I tied down and left Art loading while I went to the office. That done, I fuelled up and went back to Carl's yard to park the rig. While finishing off some paperwork disptach is calling on the radio looking for Art - he's been over an hour now and they can't reach him. Just then Carl comes past and says Art has called him with a problem so he's heading out to the quarry to see what's up. I tell him a little about the problems I had with Art (nicely, though, 'cos Art is a nice guy despite everything) and Carl says that right from the word go he's wondered how much experience Art actually has. He says that even from watching him move trucks around in the shop he was concerned, so he was going to ask him exactly what he had done before.

And that's all I have for you. Tomorrow morning at 6am I'm to be back at dispatch, and Tom says that if the road is open again (likely, I'd imagine) it won't take him long to get rid of me again, so I hope I won't be in town much longer than that. Not sure who I'll be booked out with, but I won't have a tantrum if it's not Art. I hope I haven't been too hard on him here - I know I'm not perfect, but at least I have some common sense. Sometimes! We'll see what transpires....
__________________


Ride Report: Canada North to South 2008 here
Drive Report: Ice Road Trucking 2005-2014 here


squonker screwed with this post 02-04-2009 at 07:36 PM
squonker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2009, 07:34 PM   #602
Commuter Boy
Beastly Adventurer
 
Joined: Dec 2003
Location: Burnaby, BC
Oddometer: 2,711
Nice report. I just turned down a 2-3 week job in scenic Hay River this morning.
Commuter Boy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2009, 10:56 PM   #603
gsd4me
90% bluff
 
gsd4me's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2005
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Oddometer: 6,977
This is so much better than any contrived and scripted "reality show."
__________________
David Hunn:
R100GS Ray Peake special.

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showt...uild+australia
gsd4me is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2009, 11:14 PM   #604
Klay
dreaming adventurer
 
Klay's Avatar
 
Joined: Nov 2005
Location: right here on my thermarest
Oddometer: 98,065
Klay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2009, 11:29 PM   #605
AUS CRUZER
Lets Cruz
 
AUS CRUZER's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2008
Location: Geelong
Oddometer: 2,409
Mate thanks for the look into your very extreme job.I watched a doco on TV about the ice roads and was amazed what you guys deal with every day.Keep safe out there and thanks for the report.We are getting temps of 45 Deg C at the moment so this thread is refreshing
AUS CRUZER is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-05-2009, 06:54 AM   #606
squonker OP
Eat my shorts
 
squonker's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2006
Location: Bee Cee
Oddometer: 3,933
Quote:
Originally Posted by Commuter Boy
Nice report. I just turned down a 2-3 week job in scenic Hay River this morning.
'Scenic' Hay River? Must be a different one!! If you do ever make it up here, though, lemme know. One word. Beer.


Quote:
Originally Posted by GSD4ME
This is so much better than any contrived and scripted "reality show."
Thanks David! Good to have you aboard still.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Klay



Quote:
Originally Posted by Aus Cruzer
Mate thanks for the look into your very extreme job.I watched a doco on TV about the ice roads and was amazed what you guys deal with every day.Keep safe out there and thanks for the report.We are getting temps of 45 Deg C at the moment so this thread is refreshing
Thank you to you too, but I reckon +45c is just as extreme as -45. Anything over +23c and I'm beginning to get uncomfortable so I'd be kinda screwed if I were where you are! Glad you're enjoying.


Well, I picked Simon up this morning (his car is at the shop) and we went to dispatch. The road is still closed so they said they'd call us when that changed, but I have their number too and plan on calling in a couple of hours to see if there is any news. Apparently there are 70 trucks at Lockhart waiting to go north and I suspect that the reason they won't let us go is because if the road north of Lockhart (9 times out of 10 that's where it is closed) doesn't open they'll end up with close to 100 trucks up there and it's too busy for everyone, drivers included.

From the dispatch office we drove out to Carl's to check on our trucks (because mine just had that engine rebuild I want to keep a closer-than-usual eye on it and of course they're running 24/7). While we were there we grabbed a snipe bar from my truck and then took my car out to the quarry to put the final touches to tying down our loads. That only took 5 mins and then we went for a coffee and I dropped Simon back off at home. We arranged that if by midday we still haven't beeen given 'the off' that we'd grab our trucks, hook up to our trailers and park them back at Carl's. That way, when we do get the all clear we can save 20 mins or so.

At Carl's I noticed that Art's truck wasn't there, and at the quarry his trailer had moved from where I last saw him with it, too. Not sure what that's all about - his tuck may have been inside the shop I suppose, but the lights were off in there so I couldn't tell by looking through the window. Simon says that Carl asked him what he had thought was Art's story, too, so I guess there's concern all around. I know he has the potential to come good, hope he does so for his own sake.
__________________


Ride Report: Canada North to South 2008 here
Drive Report: Ice Road Trucking 2005-2014 here

squonker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-05-2009, 07:37 PM   #607
Commuter Boy
Beastly Adventurer
 
Joined: Dec 2003
Location: Burnaby, BC
Oddometer: 2,711
Quote:
Originally Posted by squonker
'Scenic' Hay River? Must be a different one!! If you do ever make it up here, though, lemme know. One word. Beer.
Naw, same one. The partner trying to convince me to go up forgot I had been there before

"It's a nice little town, some decent hotels and a few restaurants, not like those fly-in communities you know." He's right, it's worse.

I'll take you up on the beer, but I suspect my trips up north will be fewer and far between, I charge way to much now for most of the NWT and Nunavut government clients. There has to be a serious fuck-up somewhere for me to make an appearance now. Last time was a couple million in diamonds missing out of one of the YK polishing factories.
Commuter Boy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-06-2009, 04:55 PM   #608
squonker OP
Eat my shorts
 
squonker's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2006
Location: Bee Cee
Oddometer: 3,933
Just got back from trip #2. Lots more good stories, but no chance to write them just now. Must sleep!
__________________


Ride Report: Canada North to South 2008 here
Drive Report: Ice Road Trucking 2005-2014 here

squonker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-06-2009, 07:42 PM   #609
Mercenary
Mindless Savage
 
Mercenary's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2004
Location: Ft St John, BC Canada
Oddometer: 964
Bah! Sleep is for wimps. Give us the goods
Mercenary is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-06-2009, 08:01 PM   #610
V8R
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Joined: Dec 2008
Location: Central West NSW, .au
Oddometer: 305
for those feeling a bit 'chilled out' with the temps squonker is dealing with, here (link to album) is the other end of the scale.. a nice +42c day here :)

V8R is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-07-2009, 12:37 AM   #611
gsd4me
90% bluff
 
gsd4me's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2005
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Oddometer: 6,977
Quote:
Originally Posted by V8R
for those feeling a bit 'chilled out' with the temps squonker is dealing with, here (link to album) is the other end of the scale.. a nice +42c day here :)


Bogie, tri. Bogie, tri. Bogie, tri. Where was the pic taken, V8R?
__________________
David Hunn:
R100GS Ray Peake special.

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showt...uild+australia
gsd4me is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-07-2009, 03:47 AM   #612
V8R
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Joined: Dec 2008
Location: Central West NSW, .au
Oddometer: 305
Quote:
Originally Posted by GSD4ME
Bogie, tri. Bogie, tri. Bogie, tri. Where was the pic taken, V8R?
just a typical triple roadtrain.. that pic was taken at Bradshaws bridge, NT.. one of many my old man has in his collection for 7yrs driving them :)
V8R is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-07-2009, 04:49 AM   #613
squonker OP
Eat my shorts
 
squonker's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2006
Location: Bee Cee
Oddometer: 3,933
I'm off again in a few minutes, but I can tell you that on my last trip Art got into trouble with the authorities, and my truck got into an accident. But where was I at the time?.......
__________________


Ride Report: Canada North to South 2008 here
Drive Report: Ice Road Trucking 2005-2014 here

squonker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-07-2009, 04:53 AM   #614
oneguyinmaine
Noob
 
oneguyinmaine's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2007
Location: In the shadow of Paul Bunyan in ME
Oddometer: 135
[quote=squonker]I'm off again in a few minutes, but I can tell you that on my last trip Art got into trouble with the authorities, and my truck got into an accident. But where was I at the time?.......[/quote

Tease!! You are Killing us!!

Drive safe!
oneguyinmaine is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-07-2009, 01:46 PM   #615
gsd4me
90% bluff
 
gsd4me's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2005
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Oddometer: 6,977
Quote:
Originally Posted by V8R
just a typical triple roadtrain.. that pic was taken at Bradshaws bridge, NT.. one of many my old man has in his collection for 7yrs driving them :)

I`ve seen the odd road train, I lived in the NT for eighteen years; the buggers are getting bigger too. On my last trip up there I spotted an AB double; that`s a double road train, with a B double tacked on the back (for the uninitiated). It had tri-axle drive and tri-axles on every group all the way through. A tire fitters nightmare.
I really do need to learn how to post pics.
__________________
David Hunn:
R100GS Ray Peake special.

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showt...uild+australia
gsd4me is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Share

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


Times are GMT -7.   It's 03:47 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2014