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Old 04-14-2009, 09:51 PM   #781
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Ah, come on!!

I am very disappointed - I purposely put an outrageous lie in my last write-up, and no one has even questioned it yet! Am I that good a liar? (I do pride myself...) Maybe it wasn't all that outrageous after all. Will do better next time.

Today I sorted out my drive for next year - if I am back at all. I'm not going to be driving for Carl next year - nothing at all against him and I'd happily work for him again in the future, I just decided to take up one of the other offers I had for something different. Details to follow some other time, but I'll either be driving another T800 (a newer one, a winch truck) or an older Pete. Doesn't make much difference to me.

For those of you that follow this kind of thing, all winter roads in the Territory are now closed for the season. The ice bridge over the Mackenzie closed to light traffic at 3pm this afternoon, and will remain open to heavy traffic (it's a ground clearance issue, not a weight one) until the weekend, at which point Yellowknife will be unaccessible by road for 3 to 4 weeks. Thank heavens for beer!
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Old 04-14-2009, 11:19 PM   #782
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Originally Posted by squonker
I am very disappointed - I purposely put an outrageous lie in my last write-up, and no one has even questioned it yet! Am I that good a liar? (I do pride myself...) Maybe it wasn't all that outrageous after all. Will do better next time.

Huh? I didn't catch it.
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Old 04-14-2009, 11:39 PM   #783
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I was one of those kids that pumped my arm everytime I saw a train or a semi, and I always got a honk. Man, those were the days. I still respect drivers, especially living in Atlanta, seeing some of the shit they are able to do in this packed city is remarkable!!
Oh, that reminds me of the time... Driving down in the states, had just crossed the Ohio River into Kentucky, a springtime Saturday morning and there was some sort of community event going on, with crowds on the sidewalks, crossing the streets at every crosswalk, etc. And there in the crowd is some little kid pumping his arm at me. Not even thinking of all the other people and how it might affect them, I instantly grabbed the cord and let loose a couple of loud toots. Right then, it was just me and that kid - the heck with the rest of them.
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Old 04-15-2009, 09:48 AM   #784
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Hey Ben...I think you should do a "Girls of Ice" thing, kinda like Sander and I did the "Girls of Dawson"...
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Old 04-15-2009, 12:14 PM   #785
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Originally Posted by Klay
Huh? I didn't catch it.
It was the 'Gentleman's Club' at the mine site, but perhaps it's not as ridiculous as I thought. I'll do better in my next write up...!
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Old 04-15-2009, 12:24 PM   #786
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Originally Posted by Spicy McHaggis
Hey Ben...I think you should do a "Girls of Ice" thing, kinda like Sander and I did the "Girls of Dawson"...
Oh, way to go putting the blame on the foreign kid! I think it was your name on that thread, Andy!

Believe me, you would not appreciate an 'Ice Girls' thread...actually, come to think of it if I could include dispatchers and office girls too it wouldn't be so bad. Why don't you and Northern Rob start a 'Ural Courier Service' for small loads next year, and we can do it together? Think of the selling points when you put in your proposal: Speedy delivery for rush loads (speed limit for pick-ups is 80 km/h so I'd assume you could do the same); you'd take up less space in the parking lot at Lockhart when it's busy; you'd do less damage to the ice; heck, they could make a TV series about you!!!!
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Old 04-15-2009, 01:38 PM   #787
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Originally Posted by squonker
It was the 'Gentleman's Club' at the mine site, but perhaps it's not as ridiculous as I thought. I'll do better in my next write up...!
That did raise my eyebrow, but I didn't speak up.
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Old 04-16-2009, 11:39 AM   #788
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Originally Posted by Alcan Rider
Oh, that reminds me of the time... Driving down in the states, had just crossed the Ohio River into Kentucky, a springtime Saturday morning and there was some sort of community event going on, with crowds on the sidewalks, crossing the streets at every crosswalk, etc. And there in the crowd is some little kid pumping his arm at me. Not even thinking of all the other people and how it might affect them, I instantly grabbed the cord and let loose a couple of loud toots. Right then, it was just me and that kid - the heck with the rest of them.
That's a neat story. I got in trouble recently for not doing that...

I was parked in Tli-Cho's yard in the northbound lane next to my buddy Peter. Peter's wife drove into the yard and the two of them chatted, then Peter pulled out and as he did so he gave a toot on his air horn. His wife then waved for me to go ahead infront of her and I did so, but no air horn from me - she's not my wife!!.

A couple of days later Peter said that when he got home after that trip, his two yr old son had come to him at the door, and the first thing he'd said - even before "hello" - was "Tell Ben to blow his horn! Why didn't Ben blow his horn?" It had never occured to me that he would have been in the car with his mum, and apparently he was pumping his arm at me hoping I'd do what his dad had done. Peter just shrugged and said, "Well you know, that's just the kind of guy Ben is" and still gives me a hard time about it whenever his son is with us.
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Old 04-17-2009, 12:05 AM   #789
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squonker
That's a neat story. I got in trouble recently for not doing that...

I was parked in Tli-Cho's yard in the northbound lane next to my buddy Peter. Peter's wife drove into the yard and the two of them chatted, then Peter pulled out and as he did so he gave a toot on his air horn. His wife then waved for me to go ahead infront of her and I did so, but no air horn from me - she's not my wife!!.

A couple of days later Peter said that when he got home after that trip, his two yr old son had come to him at the door, and the first thing he'd said - even before "hello" - was "Tell Ben to blow his horn! Why didn't Ben blow his horn?" It had never occured to me that he would have been in the car with his mum, and apparently he was pumping his arm at me hoping I'd do what his dad had done. Peter just shrugged and said, "Well you know, that's just the kind of guy Ben is" and still gives me a hard time about it whenever his son is with us.
Way to go, jackass!!!
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Old 04-17-2009, 10:39 AM   #790
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Way to go, jackass!!!
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Old 04-19-2009, 10:29 AM   #791
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Trip #8

Tues Feb 17th 2009

In the morning at dispatch Tom told me I was number 20 on the list. I had had 3.5 hrs sleep just prior to my going in to see him and I didn't feel too bad; also figured that if I was that far down the list I'd likely be able to get a little more sleep before I went out again.

In Carl's shop his mechanic found another radiator leak and while he was sorting that out Carl did some welding on my catwalk area.


I did a little shopping and when I called Tom to check how the list was moving late morning I was at number 2 already. So, straight to the quarry to get a load of cement for Diavik.

A competent loader operator can load a tridem step with 2000 lb bags of cement in about 10, maybe 15 minutes, and a competent driver can strap those bags down in about twice as long. This was only my second load of cement this season so I was taking a little longer than that to strap down my load, and I'd push myself because the sooner I can get out, the better. But, it involves reefing on the ratchet straps to sinch them tight, and I'm only about 160 lbs and wielding a short 'snipe bar' - the bar we use to turn the ratchets, so it is hard work for a guy my size and you're always already dog tired when you start.

This time the loader operator was also new and he was taking time to load the bags - which actually worked really well for me because I could keep up with him with the straps. You don't have to keep up with the loader guy, usually you throw as many straps on as you can while he's loading you, and when he's finished there is no problem with moving the truck out of the way and finishing the strapping elsewhere. You could probably haul a load of those bags with no straps on at all and they wouldn't move.

But after about 20 minutes when the trailer was perhaps half loaded, and I had five straps done up, someone came along and told the guy on the loader that he was loading the wrong cement. You can guess what happens next - I have to undo every strap and he has to unload me and we start all over again. . I was pretty choked, not really at Steve on the loader 'cos it's hardly his fault, but it was typical Tli-Cho disorganization that had resulted in the situation. I was pleased with myself for not throwing a tantrum - I had considered it for a few seconds! And on the plus side the trailer had been good to go the moment I had hooked up to it (no frozen brakes for once), so that had saved me some time.



I left town at 3.40 pm with Lee and Barry from the night before, and a nice guy called Brad whom I hadn't met before.

By the time we were underway we were all starting to feel tired. Lee and Barry weren't even sure they could make it to Lockhart and once we were on the ice I began to wonder whether I would, too. Then we had to pull over on portage 10 because of a spin out blocking the road up ahead on portage 11. A truck had pulled over to let a wide load go by and couldn't get going again, so having to sit and wait for half an hour didn't help our energy levels. Then, within 15 minutes of our getting underway again Brad called and told me that his load had shifted. He was the truck behind me so I waited for him on portage 13 and had a look myself. He had lifts of lumber on, and a top lift had moved 1 foot or more so he couldn't really go on safely. One choice would have been to use a chain and...shit, I can never remember what those things are called that you use to tighten chains with...EDIT: they're called 'boomers'....anyway, he could have used one of them to drag it back over, but he was uncertain and wanted to wait for a loader to come and push it back into place for him. That meant that Lee, Barry and I could leave him to wait and head on our way, and Brad would join another convoy once he was ready again.

We finally arrived at Lockhart at 12.30am on Wed Feb 17th, and I wrote that I felt surprisingly good, but that I went straight to bed anyway! Lockhart dispatch told us that the parking lot was very full and recommended that if we were pulling super-Bs we should park on portage 43 for the night. Because I only had a single trailer on I went ahead and found a spot in the back of the parking lot. Barry and Lee had trains and slept on 43 as advised.





I was up at 04.30am and heading north after a bowl of cereal. Made Diavik at 1pm and was escorted to where I was to be unloaded. The loader operator was waiting patiently, but there were no helpers around this time - usually there is a Site Services crew of 2 guys who will help you undo your straps, and then help the loader operator unload you while you roll up your straps and put them away.

So, two choices. No excuse for being lazy so having undone my straps I jumped up onto the trailer and held the hooks on the first bag up for the loader guy to come and pick it up. He drove over and said that I had to get down - if any safety guys saw me on the trailer they'd have a fit (this despite my being dressed in full PPE), and that there was a crew coming. He actually seemed a little scared that they'd see me; so I had to wait after all and let the Site Services crew do it when they arrived. Talk about OTT when it comes to safety!!

I managed to get away from the mine without a backhaul again, but I did have to wait a couple of hours for another truck to run south with. While I was waiting, Brad turned up - the guy who's load had shifted the night before. Turns out he had had to wait four hours for another convoy to join! Poor guy - I'd thought there were other groups pretty close and if I'd known he would have been waiting that long I'd never have left him.



I ended up running back to Lockhart with three tankers, led by a guy called Jim whom I got along very well with. They were 'turning and burning' at Lockhart - just making the right hand turn and carrying on to YK rather than stopping for anything - and they asked me to come with them. I was tempted, actually I'd have liked to keep chatting, but they were going so stupidly fast that it just wasn't worth the risk of being busted. I stopped at camp for supper and ended up eating with Jay from the first series.

We hadn't had a chance to say more than a few words this season up to that point and hadn't seen each other since '06 when we had been in that group of 4 or 5 trucks that spent a week or so hauling shacks from Misery to Snap Lake - I think that is one of the first stories I told in this thread. Jay had a new truck this year, a tri-drive KW winch truck and I'd been wondering why he had spent the extra on a tri-drive when he wouldn't have been paid any more for driving it. He said that it was actually the cheapest truck in the lot when he went shopping because no one else wanted the extra axle, and that's the only reason he picked it up. It still wouldn't have been cheap, though - only a year or two old, a Kenworth costs a pretty penny. Drift10, you might be interested to hear that it has a 460 Cat with SGR in it and Jay says it is absolutely gutless. He says that trucks with 425 mechanical Cats are pushing him on the Ingraham Trail.

I left Lockhart and arrived back in Yellowknife at 2am, at which point Kevin in dispatch gave me a set of Super-Bs. I didn't write down what the load was, but it was ready and waiting so I chained it down right there and then, eventually hitting the sack at 5am.



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Old 04-19-2009, 11:15 AM   #792
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Drift10, you might be interested to hear that it has a 460 Cat with SGR in it and Jay says it is absolutely gutless. He says that trucks with 425 mechanical Cats are pushing him on the Ingraham Trail.
Tried one of them new ones last week, not a fan. Got a Sterling with a Detroit right now, hate that thing. Noisy as all fuck, and a bitch to shift because the ECM hangs up when you lift to flip a gear, which means it won't go, and you lose momentum waiting for it to get its shit together.

Dunno about in the real cold, but down here gimme a Volvo with a Merc in it. Buddy of mine has one, what a sweet ride. Play basketball in the sleeper, so smooth and quiet, too.
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Old 04-19-2009, 11:34 AM   #793
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Hey Ben, why was Jay not back for the second season. I really thought he seemed like a "real"person. I enjoyed his perspective, but not as much as I enjoy your stories!!!! Keep 'em comin'
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Old 04-19-2009, 02:52 PM   #794
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Tried one of them new ones last week, not a fan. Got a Sterling with a Detroit right now, hate that thing. Noisy as all fuck, and a bitch to shift because the ECM hangs up when you lift to flip a gear, which means it won't go, and you lose momentum waiting for it to get its shit together.

Dunno about in the real cold, but down here gimme a Volvo with a Merc in it. Buddy of mine has one, what a sweet ride. Play basketball in the sleeper, so smooth and quiet, too.
Was driving a pretty pathetic 1 yr old Sterling myself a coupla weeks ago. Very unimpressed - and automatic too! My first time in an automatic truck. Nice for driving around town, I admit, but I'd never be caught dead in one on the hwy.
Haven't driven a Volvo or a Merc since I lived in the UK - too long ago to comment. Remember liking the Merc V8, but that's all. Cheers.



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Hey Ben, why was Jay not back for the second season. I really thought he seemed like a "real"person. I enjoyed his perspective
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Old 04-19-2009, 10:00 PM   #795
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I'm real sorry to here that you guys are unimpressed with the Sterling truck. I used to build them until they closed our plant a few weeks back and shipped our jobs to Mexico. Alot of pride went into those trucks, it's a shame that profits come before people these days. The last truck that rolled off our line, on the frame rail, was written "Built with pride till the bitter end" The workers didn't quit on the company, they quit on us. Sorry to vent here but the trucks on the road are our legacy, if they're crap, what else do we have?
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