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Old 06-01-2009, 06:28 PM   #901
hardwaregrrl
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squonker
s?

Vamartha - season 3, is that the one they just filmed on the Haul Road to Prudhoe Bay? I haven't even seen season 2 yet, can't see myself bothering to buy it, to be honest.

Cheers.

Hey Ben, don't bother with season 2. You already know about Alex, and unless you like to watch Hugh dick around with fixing a pumper truck everyday, then buy it. it would be cheaper and more effective to watch paint dry. haven't read the last post, but i'm sure its a hoot!!!!
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Old 06-01-2009, 07:29 PM   #902
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Yes season 3 is on the Haul Road.

You don't have to buy it. Season 2 is available online at both history.com and hulu.
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Old 06-02-2009, 04:36 AM   #903
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vamartha
Yes season 3 is on the Haul Road.

You don't have to buy it. Season 2 is available online at both history.com and hulu.
watched the first ep of S3, road is looking interesting, but too much of the usual special effects..
i'll stick with the squonker version
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Old 06-02-2009, 07:29 AM   #904
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Right on! No computer generated graphics or commercial breaks here!
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Old 06-02-2009, 05:22 PM   #905
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Originally Posted by squonker
Right on! No computer generated graphics or commercial breaks here!
just frozen brakes!
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Old 06-02-2009, 10:17 PM   #906
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Yea...season 2 was a bit of a let down. However season 3 looks good. Heck, its about trucking so I'd watch it anyway.

Squonkers version is pretty good too
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Old 06-03-2009, 06:37 PM   #907
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mercenary
Yea...season 2 was a bit of a let down. However season 3 looks good. Heck, its about trucking so I'd watch it anyway.

Squonkers version is pretty good too


I think the tv series smacks of manufactured drama and making mountains out of mole hills. I'll take squonker's version over anyday.
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Old 06-04-2009, 07:17 PM   #908
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrPete
just frozen brakes!
and fingers! Don't forget frozen fingers and toes....


Quote:
Originally Posted by CruisnGrrl
I think the tv series smacks of manufactured drama and making mountains out of mole hills. I'll take squonker's version over anyday.
careful now, or my head won't fit in the door...
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Old 06-06-2009, 07:53 AM   #909
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It will be another hot sweaty weekend in Missouri or Misery as I often call it. I love your story and hope you have for another installment.

Your "people" await oh master of the ice story.

Thanks

Rod
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Old 06-06-2009, 12:39 PM   #910
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ragtoplvr
It will be another hot sweaty weekend in Missouri or Misery as I often call it. I love your story and hope you have for another installment.

Rod
Hey Rod,
Well, it's the weekend so you can be pretty sure there's another installment on the way. But now is a good time to let you know that I'm moving this month and I'm about to spend the next two or three weeks on the road (4 wheels, unfortunately, but my bike is waiting for me at the far end of the journey ). So my point is that although I'll no doubt have internet access on the road I may not take the time to write up another trip while I'm traveling (it takes an hour or two to do each story). So bear with me and I'll get this all finished up over the next month or two.


Before I get to the next installment...




This is the ice profiling truck. The gizmo it is pulling reads the ice below - thickness, cracks, weak spots etc, and prints out a record of it in the pick-up. On one trip this year these guy must have been doing some experiments because they were giving me specific instructions about where to drive on this particular lake, and then they came up along side me a few times taking readings. I should have asked them for a copy of the print out...
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Old 06-06-2009, 01:54 PM   #911
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Trip #15

I've just noticed, too, that I have far too many pics left so I'll start to add a few more with each post and I can always throw up what's left when I've written up all the trips.



This is the truck powered ice auger that they had to play with this year. Can't remember whether I've posted pics of it already or not.




And here's a bunch of southbound trucks sleeping on Portage 49 (the north end of Mackay Lake). everyone wants to get the hell out of the mine as soon as they're unloaded. If we know we can't make it all the way to Lockhart we can always stop here for an hour or two. No facilities, though.


Thurs March 5th 2009
By the time I'd made it back to YK with my truck I had no drive at all unless the power divider was engaged, which Carl's dad said meant that it was an axle. First job - take 'em out and have a look. The truck had been sitting outside all night and you can see how cold it was by the frost that formed on the shafts as soon as they were exposed to the warmth of the shop.


But in the end it turned out to be the rear end (a much bigger job), and that meant I was going to be down for a couple of days. Carl set about making a start on that with the help of one of his Dad's guys, Peter. Carl had employed a mechanic for the season but he hadn't shown up since the last pay day 7 days ago!

The big shock was to see Andy's truck parked in the yard with a very sheepish looking Andy explaining to Carl how he'd jack-knifed it on portage 28. There's a sharp (90 degree) l/h turn at the end of the lake onto p.28 and it's a sunny spot so it is often super-slick. If you don't slow down for it then for sure you'll not make it. Then this happens:




Also in the shop were Paul, Chris and Simon (all Carl's drivers) as well as Peter who was now working on my truck, and we were all bemoaning the fact that the cement contract had just been cancelled by Diavik, which meant that the season was effectively over. While we were chatting, the guy I'd driven for in my first season called Carl and said that he had just received a call himself, from Tli-Cho. He'd been told that two of his trucks were done for the season. Things not looking good. Five minutes later Carl received the same call himself. I made a joke that we should set up a bunch of folding chairs and get a flat of beer to commiserate with, and Carl promptly produced a 12 pack that just happened to be lying around in the snow .

Andy wasn't the only guy who had jack-knifed this season. This Valley Transport truck is just three months old...(and the damage is more severe).




So Carl had to decide which two trucks to lay off. He didn't want to send Chris or Paul home because they'd come all the way from Nova Scotia and only had 11 or 12 trips in. On the other hand, they were driving trucks that Carl had rented from DJ and obviously he'd rather lay off someone else's trucks than his own. But also, if there were only a couple of loads left each and those loads were a few days apart, then perhaps there wasn't much point in them hanging around.

Eventually he decided he'd let go of Simon (even though he was driving one of Carl's own trucks, because he had a full time job to go back to with Carl's dad), and Art (becuase he was Art). Art was driving a DJs truck. By this time Simon had left on another trip, so it would be his last. Art was due back into town any time now.

I went home to sleep because I was coming down with something and it seemed a perfect time to rest, what with my truck down.

Fri March 6th 2009
I had a lousy night, during which I developed a fever. I slept all morning and went to the shop in the afternoon. Carl said my truck would be ready by that night, but that I should rest up for the day and come back in the morning.

My truck being worked on


Carl had arranged with Tom at dispatch that when I went again I'd be picking up Simon's load from Portage 20 and taking it to Diavik. Simon had left on his trip while I'd been in the shop the previous day so I asked what his load was doing sitting on p.20.
"Oh, he blew a diff too"
Holy shit!

Sat Mar 7th 2009
I definitely felt better for having rested the day before, and had gone to bed at 7.30 that night which no doubt helped.

By midday we had the truck ready. Diff done, a new rear chassis light, and Simon had even discovered where my coolant was leaking from. I did need a tire replaced, though, so having stopped at Reddimart to grab $16 worth of junk food I went to Westtown Tire.

While I was still at the shop, Art had come in a little flustered having just returned from his trip, and no doubt Tom at dispatch had told him that he was done for the year. He (Art) said that Tom had told him that if I wasn't ready in an hour then he (Art) would be collecting that load of Simon's from p.20. Art obviously saw this as an opportunity to do another trip and that was fair enough. I was more like 3 hrs so Art went out on one more jaunt. Even though he was supposed to be done, Carl thought that as long as his trucks could keep getting loads he should make the most of it.

It was beginning to get windy that afternoon and there was a storm/extreme wind chill warning for that night. I wondered whether they'd end up closing the road anyway because of the storm.

Not a storm. I'm pretty glad that the marshall (that's a marshall's pick up that I'm following) decided to give this tonka toy right of way!


I was assigned a trailer and Tom told me to go and get it loaded with cement. It was pretty messed up at this this time with the cement contract having been cancelled but loads of cement still being sent out. I didn't say anything because it was another load for me, but it sure looked like complete and utter incompetence on the part of Tli-Cho. I have learned since, though, that it wasn't. When the contract was cancelled there were lots of emergency meetings at which Tli-Cho tried to persude Diavik that they should indeed take the rest of the cement. Diavik said no. Tli-Cho said well, where all the cement is stored in the quarry right now - that area has to be blasted this summer so we're going to have to move that cement anyway, and you'll be paying. Diavik said that they'd happily pay to move the cement from one area of the quarry to another, but that they didn't want it on site. Not much Tli-Cho could do about that, but they did in the end persuade Diavik to take another 40 or 50 loads.

A load of cement on my trailer.


Frikking hundreds of loads of cement at Diavik


Having got my trailers loaded I was back in the yard at 16:20 and Tom asked me when I wanted to leave again. No point in hanging around, so I got a t-time for 17:20. I wrote that I really couldn't believe the road was still even open, though, because the wind was exceptionally strong. I left my radio on 'scan' in case there was an announcement.

Once I was off again the wind did actually begin to die down, that is until we reached portage 36 when it began to pick up again. I was running with Wayne and Brad, two drivers from the Red Army and I'd ran with them before, got along well with both of them. Slightly more cerebral conversation than your typical truckers' conversation if you know what I mean (although I seem to remember Brad frequently bringing the topic around to actresses!!) That's ok though 'cos he only mentioned hot ones...

Once on portage 43 Lockhart dispatch advised us that the parking lot was full and we should sleep on the portage, which we did. The wind was just brutal again by now and I closed the winter front on my truck up tight and ran the rpms up to 1200 (at 1050 I had been able to watch the temperature gauge drop), and shut off the lights. I set my alarm to let me sleep for 6 hours because I still wasn't 100% better yet. There was a slight concern that because of the wind the road wouldn't be open when I woke up. Wayne was genuinely concerned about his truck's ability to keep running because it was a new Mack with EGR and those Mack engines just can not keep running in the cold. He was worried it would shut itself down while he was asleep - as it had done once before, apparently. Not funny.

In the morning it was extremely cold - I could feel it immediately when I jumped out of the cab to take a leak. It turned out that with the wind chill it was -66c!! I might have put my jacket and gloves on before I hopped out had I known that...

Sun Mar 8/09
The truck was extremely stiff when I tried to pull away to go into Lockhart for breakfast. I checked twice that there were no wheels frozen but no, it was just really, really stiff. Stiffer than had I been carrying a load of viagra.

Even with the winter front closed up fully, while parked at Lockhart over breakfast the truck only just managed to maintain the 180f opertaing temperature. The parking lot was quiet by now (the road was still open) and I waited for a ride north. Wayne and Brad had slept in but were up by now so perhaps I'd end up leaving with them again.

I wouldn't want to get my toes caught in this...




In the end I left with a convoy 20 mins ahead of Wayne and Brad, but I could hear Wayne on the radio having truck problems all the way because of the cold.

The group I ran with were all from Tli-Cho, only I'd never met a single one of them. We were a convoy of six and we had a hoot, a grand old time. All the way across Mackay Lake we were making fun of ourselves and Ice Road Truckers in general because of the show, and we wrote the script for an IRT hollywood movie! One of us, Danny, lost his sense of humour for a while when he suddenly lost all his air too, but after a few minutes whatever had gone wrong fixed itself and he caught up with us. Then another truck in the group spun out on the hill approaching portage 53 and blocked the road, but luckily I was ahead of him. We arrived at Diavik at 17:30 and I was absolutely shattered.

I left again at 20:45 with two of the same crew I'd come up with, and we arrived back at Lockhart just before 1am, definitely needing to sleep. But before I went to bed I bought some fuel because I didn't think I'd make it home on what I had (the extreme cold always increases fuel consumption) and from the last time I'd done so I seemed to remember that I hadn't been able to buy fuel between 5 and 7am, which is when I planned to leave again. Another very cold night. Ambient temperature was 40c below, and it was -51c with the wind chill.

On my second trip of the season, when I went into the camp at Lockhart a girl who works there had said casually, "Oh, hi Ben". This had rather surprised me as I didn't know her name, didn't recognise her and had no idea where I knew her from! She had a Newfie accent, but who didn't around there? Feeling embarassed, I'd never asked her name and of course soon it was too late. She was working on dispatch there that night and it freaked me out that she would chat casually with me as if she'd known me for a long time, but yet never said anything that allowed me to pinpoint where I knew her from. Shit, I sill didn't even know her name!

Mon Mar 9/09
Ambient temperature -46c at Lockart this morning! I left Lockhart at 7.15am and soon passed one dead Mack on the side of the road. Towards town I listened on the radio as the driver of another fought a losing battle with his, which seized right up.

Eventually arrived back in Yellowknife at 12:40pm and was told to relaod with...yep, you guessed it. Cement!



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squonker screwed with this post 06-06-2009 at 05:44 PM
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Old 06-06-2009, 02:06 PM   #912
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lol...crazy pic, a tandem/tandem winch tractor. looks like it was a picker or bed truck converted to a tractor...kooky.

hey Ben, where are you headed on your road trip? if you're passing the Mile Zero on the Mackenzie hwy, let me know.....if you have time, I'll buy you dinner/supper/beers in Grimshaw....

the least I can do on behalf of the members of ADVRider for the entertainment provided by you in this thread, of course.
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Old 06-06-2009, 02:28 PM   #913
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Uhoh. I feel the withdrawal symptoms already!

(Have a good trip Ben!)
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Old 06-06-2009, 02:34 PM   #914
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inverted
lol...crazy pic, a tandem/tandem winch tractor. looks like it was a picker or bed truck converted to a tractor...kooky.

hey Ben, where are you headed on your road trip? if you're passing the Mile Zero on the Mackenzie hwy, let me know.....if you have time, I'll buy you dinner/supper/beers in Grimshaw....

the least I can do on behalf of the members of ADVRider for the entertainment provided by you in this thread, of course.
PM sent.

More pix of tandem tandem to come....
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Old 06-06-2009, 02:35 PM   #915
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vamartha
Uhoh. I feel the withdrawal symptoms already!

(Have a good trip Ben!)
Hey, I used to be a doctor - you'll be fine. I only hope it's worth the wait fo you...
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