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Old 10-10-2007, 10:55 PM   #91
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Icewalker - I forgot to answer your question about door seals yesterday. You know, I never once had a problem with that, and I never heard of anyone else doing so either, but I can suggest one reason why (the only one I can think of). If the temp is, say, -25c or colder, my car door seals are quite likely to stick, but then my car is parked, engine shut off and the temp inside the vehicle isn't that much different from that outside - it's just sheltered from the wind, that's all. On the ice the temps can be far lower than -25c, but the engine is running 24/7 and so is the cab heater. I can only guess that that is what makes all the difference. The heat from inside the cab must be enough that the rubber seals can 'feel' it. That's the best I can come up with - if anyone else has any theories I'm sure they'll chime in!

CGH - sounds like you're fully qualified! I saw in another thread about that rig you just bought back from the U.S. What did you say you'd saved - 50%? Crazy. Nice truck, too! Anyway, for sure PM me and I'll pass on my wisdom (do you have 15 secs to read the reply?!). Maybe we can do a trip or two together up there in '09. Icewalker can escort us in his Disco! Glad to help. Thanks for the kind words about this thread, too.

It's been a long day and I didn't put any thought into a story for tonight. I'll post a pic or two and see what I can come up with...

More of those big-ass fuel tanks on their way to Diavik.

These shots are beginning to seem a little repetative to me, hope that's not the case.

Speaking of repetition - those tires again!


And here's that pooper-scooper. You know, there's a story behind that trip now that I come to think of it. I'll have to check the details in my notes and maybe over the weekend I'll post 'er up.


So a short one for tonight. You've likely gathered by now that I spent a lot of time driving that white Freightliner that's in so many pics. This is the '05 season that 99% of these shots are from, and that was 'my truck' for the season. 550 Cat, 18 spd, 46 rears if anyone is interested. Anyway, I have mentioned a few frustrations that my boss I had with my dispatcher, and to be fair some of them were beyond his control, but the bottom line was that the truck and I were spending too much time sitting around in town waiting when we could've been out doing our thing on the white stuff, and earning money. My boss started to make noises about moving me to another outfit, there being three companies in YK that hire trucks in to pull their trailers for them during ice road season. I was working for the one that paid the most, and earning a % of what the truck made, but obviously I wasn't earning my full potential sitting on my arse in Yellowknife (Yellowknife being the 'YK' I referred to earlier, btw). Ron (boss) said that he'd let me do one more trip with this same outfit, but that when I next came back he'd send me and my truck over the road to work for someone else. Slighly less money per trip, but I'd be doing more trips so that was fine with me.

When I arrived back from the trip that was to be my last one with the current outfit, my dispatcher said that he had a load to go to Lupin, and that it was ready to go right now if I wanted, no waiting around. Not my call, but Ron said "Sure, take it" and I'm really glad he did because I got to go to Lupin Mine which was bit of a personal triumph for me (another story, perhaps, that) and quite apart from that, the trip is significantly longer than the others (an extra 24 hrs-ish I should think), and of course the money is great. I got a back haul too, so I really made out ok on that run.

Anyway, getting home from Lupin Ron had made arrangements for me to start work for this other outfit. I went and had a drug test, met the dispatchers there (this is a significantly bigger company), and he said, "You don't mind driving the Western Star do you?" I said no, but asked what was going on with James, whose truck that was. If he was just going to swap us trucks I'd have resisted seeing as we'd be working for the same company, but he said James had quit that day or the day before. This is big news, because there is an unwritten rule among the local Yellowknife companies - the small ones anyway - that once you start the season you don't quit. That time of year there are no capable truck drivers in Western Canada that aren't working somewhere, so if you quit your truck is sitting for the rest of the season and your boss isn't making $$ off it, and understandably he's none too happy about that. But James, who as far as I knew was a very reasonable and respectful chap, had quit. I asked Ron why and he said that someone on the road had told James that Ron was messing around with James' wife while James was out in the truck! Now, I don't know whether this is true or not, (but I know that if I were Ron I'd have gone for the girlfriend I had at the time before James! ), but James certainly believed it, and he came right back and jumped out of the truck, said something unpleasant and went home to...well, to keep an eye on his missus, I suppose. Ron seemed faintly amused by the whole thing even though he was a driver down, and I stayed out of the whole affair, other than to tell Ron to make sure he stayed the hell away from my girlfriend!

So for the remaining two or three weeks of the season, everywhere I went people would be passing me coming the other way and calling me on the radio, "Blue Western Star belonging to ____, what happened to James?" Apparently he was extremely upset when he was told the story and a few people were genuinely concerned for him. As I said, I have no idea whether it was true or not, and I don't suppose I'll ever know. So that is how come I got to spend a couple of weeks hauling prill to BHP in that Western Star that I've posted a few pics of. NIce truck, really tough lump of iron, but not room to swing a cat in the cab (and I should know, I bought my kitten along one trip. Blood and brains all over the bunk. Terrible. ) Am I going straight to hell for that joke?

More pics: this looks like it is just a couple of portages south of Lockhart - perhaps #40 or #41.


Ooh dear - check out that bumper! Wonder how that happened....


Charlie and Jeff at Lockhart


In the time it took me to write this post I've made a list of 4 or 5 more stories I can tell. Yep, lots more to come.
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Old 10-11-2007, 07:50 AM   #92
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Woohoo, thanks for sharing a few more great stories!
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Old 10-13-2007, 12:42 PM   #93
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Thanks BlueLightning, glad to see you're still around. I wonder who else is here stilll - Kootenaykid, Klay, galute, Statdawg, kodiakfrank, Surlyguy, Fat Tony, Liveintheoutdoors, you guys still around? How about Boxergrrlie, have you run out of popcorn yet? Woodgrain and Peter Denmark, did you manage to land yourself jobs? CGH, feel free to PM me if you think I can help.

Today's story is one I should tell now so that when I tell the story of my trip to Lupin, you can appreciate why it was a big deal for me. Cast your minds back boys and girls, if you will, to 1989. That's the summer I graduated from High School, and I spent the next year working on a farm. I lived in England then and in the U.K. you have to be 21 before you can even begin to think about driving a truck, but aged 18, on the way home from work one afternoon I stopped in to fill up with petrol. There on the magazine rack in the gas station were a couple of magazines about trucking, and I'd never read one before so I picked them both up. I'd always been interested in big machinery, and had expressed an interest to my parents about being a truck driver one day. They were not amused, because they spent thousands of pounds sending me off to boarding school when I was 8, and for the next ten years I had an edumacation that they thought entitled me to something better than the driver's seat of a truck. I don't remember what one of those magazines was, but the other one had such an effect on me that I still subscribe to it today.

It had a story in it about 'The Most Dangerous Truck Driving Job In The World' which featured a road made of ice which went from Yellowknife in Canada's Northwest Territories to the Lupin Gold Mine several hundred kilometers away. It told me all about how dangerous it was, how cold it was, how it took a special breed of man (and truck) to be able to do this, and I was basically hooked. That's the stuff my dreams were made of (well, that and Julia Roberts), and I never forgot that story. Ever since that day I had a hankering to go to the Canadian arctic, although I never in a million years thought I'd get to do that very job.

I really didn't do any of this intentionally, but looking back I do wonder if somewhere inside my head I didn't have a plan. Believe me, there's plenty of spare room inside there for a plan to have hidden away! It was a few years later that I finished college and decided to go travelling, and a love of the outdoors made me choose British Columbia as a destination. I had obtained a Class 1 licence by then though, and had spent a few months as a truck driver there on the other side of the pond. I arranged a work permit (easy to do as a student) and I'd only been in Canada a short time when I relaized that I was far better off in Canada than I ever would be in England, so when my work permit ran out I decided to try and emigrate. Didn't really fancy my chances, and was resigned to the fact that if they said no, that would be that. But they said yes, so I spent several years in B.C. as a snow maker, heavy equipment operator, farmer, cab driver, student, radio DJ (that gig included a few short months in Alberta,too), freelance writer and whatever anyone was prepared to pay me to do.

Nine years later I was ready for a change, still had a hankering to go to the far north, and began to hear that there were jobs growing on trees in Yellowknife. So off I went, and arriving in the late fall it wasn't long at all before I began to hear about the ice road, the way the city is chock full of trucks during the season, and stories about people who claim to have gone through the ice on the road. (I have since come to the conclusion that 99.99% of them are complete crap. For one thing, all the guys who told me their stories about having gone through didn't even drive the ice road, as it turns out). I took another Class 1 test (my British one wasn't valid here) so that I'd be ready when the time came, then I got a job with the City and sat back to see what happened when the season started. I picked up bits of info about the job and who would be good to work for and who wouldn't. The following winter I was still working for the City, but I tried to get a ride on a trip to the mines, and that's where I began to hear about the no passengers rule. I think I spent the following season still working in town too, but by then I knew who to approach about a job, and having quit my job with the City and spent the summer driving a gravel truck for this chap to prove that I could at least drive, was hired on to drive the 2005 season, 16 years after I first heard about it. In those intervening 16 years they'd discovered diamonds up here and Lupin had closed and been re-opened several times as the price of gold fluctuated, so the diamond mines are where the majority of the loads go. That winter Lupin was being closed down, so the trip I did I hauled in Jet-B for the planes, and hauled out a load of empty barrels. I'll tell you all about that in my next story. Right now I'm outa here to go camping for the night, and I want to listen to the new Mark Knopfler CD before I go.

Here's a self portrait I took on the road somewhere. (I promise you I'm much better looking than this in real life.)
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Old 10-14-2007, 06:19 PM   #94
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Squonker, in answer to your question,not yet, (although I have received acknowledgement that they have received my app and resume'). I may see you before the '08 season is done. Just an observation-you seem to be lacking the requsite facial hair of "The Ice Road Truckers".

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Old 10-14-2007, 07:50 PM   #95
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Lupin

What is it with this Ice Road TV show? It's the #1 show in the States, it was on in the UK last week where my parents were able to watch it, yet a phone call to The History Channel said that I wouldn't get my copy until Christmas! Shouldn't I get first dibs or something?!....

So, I was pretty excited when my dispatcher said he had a load to go to Lupin, and dead chuffed when Ron said it was alright to take it - I was going to go to the mine that I'd read about all those years ago. As it turns out, I had the chance the following year too only I didn't take it because it would have meant swapping trucks with another driver for one trip. That'd be really annoying for us both so I let it be. The reason I couldn't take my truck - this Kenworth...

is because it didn't have fuel tanks big enough to make it all the way to Lupin and back again. Even a trip to BHP was cutting it close with this rig. Tanks were only about 600L. Anyway...

So off we went, two of us carrying 45 gallon drums of Jet-B, and the trip is really pretty standard until we got to Lac de Gras maintenance camp. Diavik is only about an hour, maybe an hour and a half from there - add yet another 90 mins for BHP - so because it is a small camp, you're only allowed to stop there if you're heading to Lupin or Tahera (a diamond mine 30 kms past Lupin). Hey, here's a map...

I hope that you can see that as clearly as I can.

So Jeff and I called in at Lac De Gras with the intent of staying for 4 or 5 hours, if I remember correctly. When we got there we met a chap called Ian who had been waiting 16 hours for another truck to join up with to go that way, your not being allowed to travel alone. So Ian was very happy to see us and to get moving again. He had quite the story to tell...a story within a story....

He had flown from Newfoundland to Yellowknife at the start of the season, having been promised work with 'The Red Army', the largest (by far) trucking company in YK. Before he left, he'd asked about working conditions etc, and the trucks he'd be driving, and was told that none of the trucks would be more than 5 years old. Ok, this was in 2005. When he got to Yellowknife he was given a 1984 Western Star to drive. The gap between the cab and the sleeper was so big that he had to sleep with a snowmobile suit on, and snow would blow in and settle on his bunk. The exhaust also leaked into the cab to the extent that he threw up on one trip. He had kept his mouth shut and driven for some time - 5 or 6 weeks I think - but when he threw up that time because of the gases, he had had enough. He got back to YK, went into the dispatch office and stated his case, how he'd good naturedly put up with this POS truck which was now making him sick, and was there another one he could drive? The response he was given, and I quote Ian's words directly, was, "Why don't you quit your whining and get back to work?" Yes indeedy. Well, Ian walked out of the office and up the road to another company where he went to see the manager and told them his Red Army story which they found highly amusing (everyone loves to hate The Red Army), and they then asked him which truck he wanted to drive. There are three rentals in the yard, they told him, take your pick. The day that Jeff and I met him, he was driving a brand spanking new International with a truely gargantuan sleeper, and 600hp Cummins. His smile was broad!

We set off, the three of us, after an early breakfast, with Jeff leading because he was the only one of us that had been that route before. It soon became clear that no-one else was on this road, we had it all to ourselves. Jeff said that he'd asked someone at Lac de Gras what the speed limit was up there, and had been told that the ice was so thick that there wasn't one. But, Jeff is also one of the biggest asshats I've ever met, and hearing him say it was one thing - believing him was another. There wasn't really much to worry about, though, because with no one around who was going to find out if we sped. A little. Or a lot ? There was some concern that Lac de Gras dispatch knew what time we'd left there, and Lupin dispatch would know what time we arrived, but we decided to throw caution to the wind and wind 'er up a bit. If I remember correctly, we did 70 or 80 kmh on the way out there. It was a pretty uneventful trip, although we had hoped to see some wildlife like perhaps a muskox or something. Here's a view out of my side window.


Ian was actually going to Tahera, so he carried on alone when Jeff and I turned off at Lupin. Lupin is an old school gold mine, and looks like this when you get there



and like this from a distance...


I should probably have put those two pics in reverse order. Oh well.

Everything was pretty laid back there. It was lunch time when we turned up so were told to eat and that they'd bring the loader over to unload us after lunch. The guys who unloaded us actually told us to sleep and that they'd wake us when they were finished, but although I have done that before I'd rather not if I can possibly stay awake. I feel like a jerk sleeping while someone else is out in the cold unloading my truck. (Speaking of cold, actually, it wasn't! It had warmed up the closer we got to the mine and was only about -20c while we were there. It had been colder down south).

Ian had turned up having already unloaded at Tahera and come to join us again as we were his only hope of a ride back down to Lac de Gras, and just as we were about to sign off in dispatch, the guy asked Jeff and I if we wanted a backhaul. Now there's a can of worms. For so many reasons, everyone hates backhauls. Technically, you can't really refuse them (unless you own your own truck, I suppose, but in that case you'd get back to Yellowknife and the company you're hauling for would likely tell you that you were no longer needed, and were free to go home again to find another job). Why do we hate backhauls? Well, if you're carrying a load back south you have to travel as a loaded truck (duh!), which means that you can't use the hammer lanes, and you're doing 25 or 30 kmh all the way back to Yellowknife so your return trip takes half as long again, but backhauls are only worth a few hundred bucks - they simply don't pay. The very worst thing is that when ever two loaded trucks meet, you both have to slow down to 10 kmh as you pass eachother. Think about it -you're already pissed because you're travelling home at 30 kmh instead of 60. You're also in the loaded trucks lane, so every single truck that you meet coming the other way is loaded, and therefore you have to slow down to 10 kmh every single time a truck passes you...probably 15 times each hour if the road is busy. It drives you absolutely mad, I can tell you, it's simply infuriating. And to top it all off, loaded trucks aren't allowed to travel alone so if you're at BHP, say, and they give you a backhaul, you have to wait for another truck to be given one so that you can run home with him, and that may take hours. (You're not going to get any empty trucks to go with you because of the difference in speed limits).

There is one exception to the rule, though, and that is that if your backhaul weighs less than 7500 lbs you can run as 'empty'. Now you're on to a winner because you can run back at max speed, but you're earning a few extra bucks on that trip, too. There are many tricks used to get out of taking backhauls, and many illegal stunts pulled to bend the rules if you do get landed with one, but I won't enlighten you as to what they are!

Well, Jeff and I were thinking that no freaking way did we want backhauls, even though we'd both be assured of a running partner, and what about Ian? He'd be stuck at Lupin waiting for another empty truck to head back with - remember how he'd been waiting 16 hours at Lac de Gras for a loaded one to run north with? To put him in that situation was a shitty thing to do. The first piece of good news was that this wasn't a compulsory backhaul. Although our dispatcher back in YK wouldn't have been impressed that we'd said 'no', he couldn't fire us over it, so we didn't have that weight on our shoulders. One of us then asked what the backhauls were, and we were told, "empty 45 gallon drums". Now lighbulbs started clicking on all over the place. "How much do they weigh?" I asked, and the dispatcher said he didn't know. We looked on the paperwork and the 'Gross Weight' line was blank. I very delicately suggested that perhaps the three of us could agree right now that a truck load of empty drums weighed, say, 7000 lbs? Even Jeff could work out what was going on so he agreed, and the dispatcher clearly didn't give a rat's arse, so it was settled. Jeff and I had underweight backhauls and would earn extra cash while running back at the empty truck speed limit. Lupin were happy because they had just got rid of a few hundred empty barrels, and Ian had a convoy to join!

He (Ian) was quite content to wait for another hour or two while they loaded the other two trucks, and he went to sleep. Jeff and I went to work, but by the time we got back to where Ian was, he was decidedly unhappy. His engine had quit and couldn't be persuaded to run again. With a brand new electronic this, that and everything engine none of us knew what to do, and Ian had to find a Cummins mechanic with the appropriate laptop for diagnostics in...well, scroll back up and look at that map again! Poor guy, he was going to be there for quite some time. They did at least give him a room to stay in while his truck wasn't running.

Well, Jeff and I drove home, I stayed out of the snow bank on Mackay Lake, and we all lived happily ever after. Except Ian, perhaps. I did see him again, but I can't remember how long he'd had to wait.

Here are a few more shots from Lupin before I tell you the next part of the story.
You'll recognise this truck by now






I think I took this one hoping that it would show how the view was of..well, nothing! In a way that I didn't mean it to, it works!








This flew in while we were there


Here's the canteen


and the lounge


There are two other reasons why I was so keen to go to Lupin. One, it's in Nunavut and I had never been there before. Two it's (just) inside the Arctic Circle. Or so I thought. Here's the thing - check out this pic:


As you can see, my finger is at the 65th parallel, which is where the Arctic Circle begins. The yellow pin on Contwoyto Lake is Lupin, the top of the map is the 66th parallel, there are 60 nautical miles between each degree, and so according to this I had just driven approximately 45 nautical miles into the Arctic Circle on a road of ice. Boy was I chuffed with myself! I found a phone in the lounge that said it offered free calls within Nunavut and the Northwest Territories so I called everyone I could think of and said, "Hello from within the Arctic Circle!" Then I tried a long distance number and lo and behold that worked too, so I called everyone in Canada who's numbers I could remember and said the same thing. Then, having made sure that they wouldn't be asleep, I got out my calling card and called my parents in England to say it again, just for good measure. I was high!

But, that was a couple of years ago and you know what they say - as you get older you get wiser. Well, this applies even to me too, because just last week I found out that the Arctic Circle actually begins at 66 degrees and 30 minutes north, which means I was a full 45 or so nautical miles from the damn thing, and my bubble is completely burst. (But...I did get to go to well within the Arctic Circle in a Herc transport plane a year or so later - and we landed on the ice...unreal, let me tell you. And yes, I have pics of that too...)

Quickly, a couple of shots of the road to Lupin




Wow, what a long post. A fitting end is:
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Old 10-14-2007, 07:53 PM   #96
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodgrain
Squonker, in answer to your question,not yet, (although I have received acknowledgement that they have received my app and resume'). I may see you before the '08 season is done. Just an observation-you seem to be lacking the requsite facial hair of "The Ice Road Truckers".

Woodgrain

Damn, that's funny! I was thinking when I posted that pic that it actually looks as though I'd shaved just that morning! Well, rest assured that today I am sporting a 'bush man's beard', and I'll keep it until I am back up there on the ice in the '09 season!
Good luck!
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Old 10-14-2007, 10:13 PM   #97
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Very cool thread!
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Old 10-15-2007, 06:41 PM   #98
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Originally Posted by squonker
Jacpod - I worked in South Africa in 1990 and I loved every minute of it...but I often wonder wether I'd physically be able to handle the heat these days. I'd rather be too cold than too hot, I know that - but I can't wait to go back and explore more of your absolutely stunningly beautiful continent. I'll just do it in (your) winter!
Squonker, keep this up. Great report! Winter in Cape Town averages around 15C with nights dipping as low as 5-10C. Now I'm in West Michigan and we get TONS of lake effect snow. Way too much cold and white stuff for a Boer. Don't tell others, but I do pray for global warming! Jacpod
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Old 10-15-2007, 08:06 PM   #99
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This is a really cool thread. You should link it somewhere else so it doesn't get missed by the inmates that don't frequent GWN...
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Old 10-16-2007, 08:24 PM   #100
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[/quote]
Quote:
Originally Posted by LATJ
This is a really cool thread. You should link it somewhere else so it doesn't get missed by the inmates that don't frequent GWN...
Thanks LATJ. I might just have to ask the mods if I can indeed link it up somewhere else soon. I notice that this thread gets a whole lot of visits.


Quote:
Squonker, keep this up. Great report! Winter in Cape Town averages around 15C with nights dipping as low as 5-10C. Now I'm in West Michigan and we get TONS of lake effect snow. Way too much cold and white stuff for a Boer. Don't tell others, but I do pray for global warming! Jacpod
Jacpod, I never went to Capetown - I was half way between Durban and Jo'burg, based in Vrheid but working in Lowesberg (sp?) and Utrecht. I hear that the cape is the most beautiful part of the country. Glad that you're still enjoying this thread. (And your secret is safe with me!)


[/quote]Very cool thread! helikron[/quote]
Thank you muchly!


I just uploaded a few pics of nothing in particular for today, but in the next few days I'll tell the story of unloading the pooper scooper that's in a bunch of these pics. You know, this thing:


And there's a story about unloading a grader I took up there, too. I'll work on that one also.

Another random shot of the road


And another


My truck


The sun on the Lupin road


And my truck on the Lupin road


This be Charlie and Jeff at Lockhart


This is a shot taken in the Volker quarry. There are three quarries in YK, and they're used as staging areas for all the hundreds of trailers that are heading in and out of town in both directions all day and all night. They can be extremely busy (athough this one is practically deserted in this photo by comparison), especially when the road is closed and there are a couple of hundred trucks stranded in town. Yellowknife is not a truck friendly town. There are very places where you can park and be close enough to amenities and walk - in fact there's really only one, and that's in the Co-Op parking lot, but the manager calls the bylaw cops who come and tell you to move or you get a ticket. Pretty lame because there is ample room there, the drivers buy food from his store, and it just seems very petty minded. Occasionally you see the odd tractor downtown, but most guys like to stay with their trailers because unattended loads do get snapped up, aided by ignorant yarders in the quarries (it happened to me - I had strapped down my load and left the trailer there. Dispatch knew that trailer was mine, and it had been entered in the 'log' that the day time yard boss had with him. The night guy, though, either 'cos he couldn't read or because he's an ignorant jerk gave the trailer to someone else, who had just thrown my straps down on the ground and left them. When I asked him about it - everyone knew that if you had strapped your load down that meant that it was 'taken' - he just said that any trailer in the yard was fair game for him to give away). Where was I? I don't remember - here's the picture!
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Old 10-16-2007, 08:44 PM   #101
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Some cooler pics....

Thought I'd throw these up quickly while I was here anyway....

This young fella was in the Volker quarry one morning


This is just pretty, but I don't recognise where I took it. Obviously between Lockhart and YK, though, because there are trees.


Just a photo. Oh, check out the hoar frost on the mirror frame.


This is at Lockhart. Not sure why they were here - I mean, there are hundreds of trucks heading south from and north to Lockhart every single day...surely that has to be cheaper than chartering a plane - or three?


A convoy heading south out of Lockhart. On the l/h side of the pic you can see a van parked in the upper lot. All these trains pulling out would have been parked in the lower one. You can see that the trucks at the front are spaced out, too. Proper spacing is 500m between each truck on the ice. The last two trucks are still in the parking lot (albeit on the very edge) so they don't have to worry about spacing. The one in front of them is waiting for the truck in front of him to get the right distance away before he pulls out onto the ice. In fact it looks as if he might just be pulling away now.


Methinks I took this at Diavik


Two Way's quarry in Yellowknife
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squonker screwed with this post 10-16-2007 at 08:50 PM
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Old 10-17-2007, 09:38 AM   #102
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The North is still probably my favorite place in the world. Thanks for posting the pictures and tales Squonker.
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Old 10-18-2007, 11:14 PM   #103
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Hey squonker, I'm still here. Great thread and pics. I'm loving it, keep it up.

One question tho, what is a portage? Is that the little sections of land road between the lakes?
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Old 10-19-2007, 11:31 AM   #104
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Very interesting thread
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Old 10-19-2007, 07:20 PM   #105
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Portages

Thanks for the feedback Icewalker, galute, Night_Wolf.

galute, yep you're right on - a portage is the land between any two lakes. Here's a pic of what things look like from the air


You can see some of the winter road in this pic (a different road, the one to Discovery Mine), and the road over the portage is quite clear. I'm going to hijack my own thread for a post soon and put up some pics of when we landed on the ice in a Hercules transport plane. Driving on the ice doesn't worry me, but that was a whole different ball game!

Proper post coming up over the weekend.....
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