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Old 08-06-2010, 09:10 PM   #1351
Krashdragon
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Just spend the better part of 2 days reading this...WAY cool!
Can't wait to see what happens in the next episode! aka 2011!

Thanks!
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Nice to know that my opinions about the tv show are correct....
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Old 08-08-2010, 06:15 AM   #1352
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2011

I haven't mentioned 2011 yet on purpose, just because the jury is still out on that one. I still have a couple of months before I'll have to commit, so I'm in no hurry to do so. Procrastination rules!!

Glad you're enjoying the thread, Krashdragon.
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Old 08-10-2010, 09:25 PM   #1353
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Trip #20

Can't believe you fuckers let this thread slip to Page 2 again. Thanks a bunch!

Yay, trip #20 - I get my bonus! And, little did I know, but I was about to get much more than that.....

Hmm, just checked over the pics I've loaded for this write up and they are so not the ones they should be. Oh well.


March 20th 2010

I got up at 07:30 very, very tired. Trudged across the yard to the office, where they told me to come back again between 13:00 and 14:00. A 20th trip? Right on! And the time off was just fine with me 'cos I knew what I wanted more than anything else. . Oh no! Hang on, I meant this: ! That's better (phew)! So I climbed back into my bunk right there in the yard, and not fifteen fucking minutes later Kevin from dispatch calls me and tells me that I have a load. That's awesome, because it was either this day or the day before that the main road closed. There were only a handful of trucks still on by this stage, and the longer I was kept on...well, the better the season I suppose!



Bill and I were to head to Colomac together with what we were pretty sure would be the last two loads TCL had left for the season. We left town at noon.

Neither Bill nor I had been to Colomac before, so it was pretty much the blind leading the blind. We had actually been very close when we turned off to go to Diamonti, but our n00b-ness was to cause some excitement later on... or should that be 'excrement?' No, excitement it was.

Our first problem was that once we were on the Colomac Road itself, we soon caught up with two trucks belonging to a small local company (so nothing to do with TCL). The speed limit on the road was a little complicated, but not so much. Basically, the first...I think it was 24...lakes the limit was 15 km/h, but among those first 24 lakes there were two big ones, and these two we were allowed to cross at 25 km/h. The limit on the portages was the regular 25 km/h, and once we were across P.24 all the lakes were, too. But, like all lakes on the main road we were to slow down to 10 km/h entering and leaving them. To that effect, there were signs on trees at the end of most portages saying "10 km/h". The two dumbasses in front of us saw these signs and drove every lake at 10 km/h! Arrrggghh! At first it was mildly annoying, then it became stupid. Then it turned into really not funny, and soon I'm sitting in my seat just fuming. The road is too narrow to pass anyone, and I had forgotten to bring my hand held rocket launcher . I was talking to Bill on another channel and of course he's just as upset. These idiots are barely doing 20 km/h on land, and on some lakes I swear they weren't even doing 10. I did tell them on the radio that those signs only refered to going onto and off lakes, but they didn't respond. Bill and I were about to go insane so we decided to pull over on P.15 - the first one with a pull out - and let the clowns go on ahead; we'd sleep for a few hours. And of course, the lake between P.14 and P.15 is a long one! Arrgghh!





March 21st 2010
Oh my, what a day! We pulled in to Colomac at 01.15 and told Security there (there was no dispatch as such) that we were entering the site. Oh wait, before that, even! Bill had spun out on P.46, the last one before the camp, but once again my bucket of gravel saved the day! Stupidly, even though I had had trouble spinning on that portage myself and knew that Bill's truck wasn't as good with traction as mine, I hadn't slowed down at the top of the hill, and I was about a kilometer ahead of him when Bill told me was stopped. So I had to walk to his truck carrying a heavy bucket of gravel in the dark...and then I remembered how about 2 summers ago two workers at Colomac were mauled by a grizzly and for a while it looked as if both my bite it (if you'll excuse the pun)...it looked as if neither would survive. And even though no bear in its right mind would be out and about in the middle of winter, I did feel rather exposed. The northern lights were out, and I watched them to keep my mind off what I'd do if I felt a fuck off big set of teeth closing in on my head.

Bill was pretty stuck and for a whle I wasn't sure that my gravel would be enough and he might have had to chain up. I'd throw gravel down under his drives and he'd manage to move perhaps 40ft ahead before coming to a stop again. I'd be hanging on his front porch and jump off to throw more gravel down, then I'd jump back on again and eventually we made it.

But that was only the beginning.

Sign at the Colomac property


Ok, so we pull onto the site and I call Security. He says, "Ok, just come straight in to the camp". Straight - ok. We go straight and, having told him that neither of us had been here before, once in a while I'd tell him what I was seeing (Colomac is a very small camp and we saw no lights or anything). "We went straight, under the conveyor" I said. "Ok, that's good" came the reply. Well, I'm sure you can guess what happened. Three times - and I was mad about this because three times - I told him where we were and three times the response came back in the affirmative. But the road became narrower and narrower and I was pretty certain we'd come the wrong way. I told Security as such and he said, "None of the other drivers had any trouble finding the camp". Oooh I had to struggle to bite my tongue. "Dood, everyone else has been here before. Neither of us have, it's dark and we're following your directions!!" Well yeah, we were well and truly lost. The road was only really suitable for a pick up now so despite the Security guy telling us that we should "Just come straight in on to camp" Bill and I told him that no, we were going to back up and look for a place to turn around. So, in the dark we had to back up along a road the width of a pick-up, down hill and around a corner...which is where I put one set of drives into the snow bank and because I was on a hill I couldn't pull forward to straighten out again. I was stuck. Anyone would think I was a tanker driver!! (Hi Mercenary!) I jumped out to see about chaining up but there was so much snow that would have needed shoveling first that I said 'fuck it' I was pissed at the dumbass who'd been telling me where to go, at myself for not realizing we'd gone wrong and stopping earlier, and at myself for not knowing how to drive! Security sent someone out to see us (whom I now realize would have been fast asleep - no night shift at Colomac) and he turned up at 0400. He was really cool when he arrived. He said that they'd send the loader out for me in the morning, and when I bitched about Security he said, "Yeah, that guy is brain dead". Whoo hoo - (some!) vindication! But on a less funny note, when I got back to town and told Boss about the episode he knew who the Security guy I'd been talking to was and he really does have brain damage. Oops. Sorry, goD.

Bill at Colomac


The loader turned up at about 09:30 and it didn't take more than 20 mins to get me out of the snow and turned around. Now, in daylight, I could see where I should have gone the night before! I'd know for next time (believe me, lesson learned!!)

And more good news - they unloaded us right away, then reloaded us too. Backhaul $$! My return load looked like a bunch of scrap metal, but was apparently to go to Giant Mine. We were worried, though, because the two slow coaches were being re-loaded at the same time as us and we really didn't want to be stuck behind them again. Thankfully, Bill and I were ready to go first and managed to get out ahead.

Inside camp


It's an old school camp at Colomac. Very cool. I liked it. It's in a very pretty spot too, right on a lake in the hills. Nice. And there was cute chick working there...story involving her later!!

We left the mine at 13:15 and the road was very slippery on the way out. We met a group of 5 Tli-Cho trucks on their way in which surprised me, and the two slow drivers who had left camp after us...well they caught right up to us so something was going on there. Bill spun out on P.13 and once again the bucket of gravel (which would now need refilling when I got home!) saved the day. Just after that I heard two of the Tli-Cho drivers spin out somewhere behind us but they were too far away to hear my radio so I don't know the details. Then one of the slow coaches - now right behind us - went right into the ditch and was badly stuck. A road crew p/u had just passed us going in his direction so we left them to sort it out. No way I was going to trust those two when it came to chains and towing and having to know how to drive. (Pretty obvious that the reason they'd gone so slowly on the way in was that they simply didn't know the rules for that road, and from the little I'd seen of their driving I'd say they didn't know much about that, either. Hang on, didn't I just spend the night in the ditch myself?!)

As we were approaching Marian Lake I'd stopped on a lake to let a group of three tankers come off the portage they were on. I recognized the company name on one of them from when I'd ran a bush camp in the Northwest Territories for Parks Canada a couple of summers beforehand. TDC was the company I used to get to deliver my chopper fuel and this was their fancy truck so I knew that only either the owner or his eldest son would be driving it. Sure enough it was the latter and we caught up for a few minutes. Cool.

We reached the highway at 10pm very tired and decided that, because there was no night dispatch at Tli-Cho and therefore no need to get home, we'd sleep there. Bill was even good enough to put his kettle on for me again!

March 22nd 2010
Back at YK at 09:30 and we were told to take our loads to the quarry, but not to untie them as they were for Giant Mine, which is about 1 km from the quarry. 15 minutes later dispatch decided that it might take the government 2 days to do the paperwork so we should just untie them after all and come back to the yard. ...where we were told to wait because there might be another load...and I got some good news.

Every year each of the big three mines awards a large safety bonus at the end of the season. After every trip you complete without incident, your name goes into a hat. But if I were to say, get a speeding ticket on my 11th trip, then they'd take all ten of my names out of the hat and I'd start over again, thus reducing my chances of winning. Well, to be honest I never really believed that these bonuses existed. They are a significant amount of money, and I had never heard of anyone winning one, but as I was standing at the dispatch desk the Ops Manager from Tli-Cho calls my cell phone (from his desk which was literally 10 ft away but his door was closed and he hadn't known I was there!) to tell me I'd won one! WTF? Are you kidding? No, he wasn't. Wow.

I went back to the shop to see Boss, who had been on the main road last trip, told him about my bonus (I had actually won two bonuses for that trip because of his for it being my 20th too), had lunch, greased my truck and waited to find out whether my season was over, or whether I'd get another load.

Some pics from Colomac




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Old 08-11-2010, 07:58 AM   #1354
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squonker
Can't believe you fuckers let this thread slip to Page 2 again. Thanks a bunch!
Sorry, didn't know it was down there- most of us just have it subscribed!

Thanks for the write-ups
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Old 08-11-2010, 12:24 PM   #1355
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I'm still following every post.
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Old 08-11-2010, 08:15 PM   #1356
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I'm still following every post.

Me too.
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Old 08-11-2010, 09:39 PM   #1357
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No sweat guys, just yankin' yer chain! Thanks for the support
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Old 08-13-2010, 09:07 PM   #1358
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Just back from a 7000Km ride, and they`ve changed the place. Now to catch up on this thread, the rest can wait.

Question: Those containers that are strapped/chained onto the trailer look like they are resting steel on steel; would it not be better to have them on dunnage (timbers) before securing them?
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Old 08-14-2010, 02:55 PM   #1359
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squonker
Hey fishbulb, why on earth are you heading to Inuvik in Feb?!
to have a beer in the cold....

a few of us went to a town several days ride away just to drink beer in a town with 'boob' in the name. (it was actually part of a bigger ride, but a better story when said like that)..

mans gotta have a hobby.

cheers fish
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Old 08-17-2010, 08:10 PM   #1360
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GSD4ME
Just back from a 7000Km ride
Nice!! I'm very jealous....really hoping that I'll be able to get out on my bike for another week before the weather makes camping no fun.


Quote:
Originally Posted by GSD4ME
Question: Those containers that are strapped/chained onto the trailer look like they are resting steel on steel; would it not be better to have them on dunnage (timbers) before securing them?
I'm feeling lazy...think I know what you mean, but could you let me know which pic you're referring to? Cheers mate.


Quote:
Originally Posted by fishbulb
mans gotta have a hobby.
.
Fuckin' eh! Good on you!


I guess the build-up to 2011 has officially begun. Boss called me last night, and I sent off an email to Tli-Cho this evening which could have major consequences for my season next year.....
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Old 08-17-2010, 08:55 PM   #1361
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Trip #21

And on and on we go...

My back haul from trip #20 to Colomac. Lots of fun trying to figure out how best to tie this shit down....


Oh, by the way:



March 23rd 2010
It looked at this stage like we were most likely all but done. I heard the fat lady doing some warm-up exercises. Figured I'd get one, maybe two more loads in if I was very lucky. Boss, Jay, and I were the only trucks left on by now and in the office they were being very cagey about how many more loads there were. One almost got the impression that if you were prepared to wait around for a few days you might get a load, but a load every few days doesn't pay.

I booked a flight home.

And refilled my bucket of gravel!


March 24th 2010
Today was a Thursday. Flight is booked for Monday.

Went to the office with Boss in the morning. He'd seen Johnny Mack's truck driving around town, and Darcy's in the yard and he wasn't very impressed. Those two are waaaay down the seniority ladder from us, but at the office they reassured us that those two are both done, and what's more we can both leave with another load for Colomac this afternoon. Cool! But wait, there's more....there might even be another load after that one. Awesome - two more trips before I go home!

Boss' truck


Boss and I went straight to the quarry from the office to see what was there and what we might be hauling. The quarry is literally a 5 min drive from the office, and 2/3 of the way there Boss' phone rang and it was Kevin from dispatch. We are now not leaving until Saturday (2 days away!) and will be doing so with Jay when we do. Boss gives Kevin a bit of a hard time about the fact that that is quite a major change of plan to have happened in three minutes.

Three hours later and we're back to leaving today. :) Now it is just the two of us, we're leaving tonight but once again there may be one more after this. Better just play it minute by minute for now....

We ended up leaving town at 19:00. On my way to the quarry for the final time I'd stopped at Subway to pick up a sandwich for Boss and I. Johnny Mack's truck was parked outside the liquor store (talk about subtle - that's the sort of thing Tli-Cho would not be at all impressed by, and it was visible right from the main road through town). He must have walked out and seen my truck outside Subway (they also wouldn't have liked that, but at least it's harmless) because he came in to see me. I asked him what he was doing parking his truck outside the liquor store. "Oh, I wasn't in the liquor store" he said. "I was in the bar next door".

My load was heavy equipment parts, and judging by the road grime on the trailer and all over the load, it must have been dragged here from Siberia....




The load was already tied down, but I threw a couple more chains/straps on a couple of pieces I didn't like the look of just to be safe, and we were off.


March 25th 2010

I didn't feel too bad, think I could have driven through the night, but Boss was sleepy so we pulled over on P.15 at 01:30 for four hours shut-eye.
Arrived at the mine at 10:15 and only had to wait 30 mins for an unload. The heaviest piece of my load had been placed right at the back of my trailer (seemed to happen to me a lot this year) which made for a shitty ride in, and that piece needed two loaders to unload it. But they were done quickly. Had lunch in camp, during which one of the Security guys told us that they were expecting 12 more loads this year. If I could get a straight answer from Tli-Cho it might even be worth changing my plane ticket, but are they TCL's loads, or someone else's?.

After lunch I snoozed while Boss was taken care of. He had bought an empty reefer in (can't remember what he picked up), and I was worried that they'd have him loaded in no time and I wouldn't get a proper sleep. I told him to make sure that Barry on the loader dropped something so that it'd take longer...

Pics on the wall in camp




We left again at 14:45 and had a pretty good run back until we were within 2 hrs of the highway. First, a pick-up spun into the ditch in front of Boss and we had to pull him out. Then, literally not 5 mins later the two slow coaches from the previous trip passed us heading north. As I've said before, the Colomac road is narrow and the first guy squeezed slowly past me without a problem ( I had stopped - no way you can be accused of running someone off the road if you are parked up). It was obvious that the second guy was going too fast, and sure enough he caught a front tire in the ditch and it sucked him right in. He was in there pretty good - I tried to pull him out backwards but I wasn't loaded and had no traction. His buddy in front of him was in a winch truck and said that he'd back up to pull him out forwards. Boss and I got the hell out of there...can't say too much but these guys were nothing whatsoever to do with TCL, and there was good reason not be involved in anything that had to do with them.




March 26th 2010

Arrived back in YK at 00:15, and was home by 01:30. Woke up at 09:00 exhausted and went to the office, where they were now telling us that there were 9 more loads in total. Cool. Boss, Jay and I were to head out again that afternoon to go back to Colomac. Probably a good place to stop!



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Old 08-17-2010, 09:33 PM   #1362
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squonker
I'm feeling lazy...think I know what you mean, but could you let me know which pic you're referring to?
Trip#20. The two red Hyundai containers that are chained front and rear with straps over the top as well. A real belt and braces effort.
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Old 08-18-2010, 09:34 PM   #1363
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Trip#20. The two red Hyundai containers that are chained front and rear with straps over the top as well. A real belt and braces effort.
Oh yeah, the seacans. Wondered whether you might have meant the empty totes that I bought back from BHP. Well, afaik when you see those things on the highway they're on dedicated trailers which have pins in each corner, and the containers are held in place by them (but I'm not a real truck driver, remember).

For us, they're not really steel on steel (which would definitely be a bad thing, yes) because the trailer deck is wood. Sure, the frame is steel and the load does touch that, but 95% of the contact area is the steel of the container on the wooden deck. And you'd be surprised how tight you can get those chains to sinch(sp) down. Even though there is only at each end, that load won't go anywhere. The straps are to keep Highway Patrol happy, and a safeguard in case a chain broke - I figure the straps would hold the load in place long enough for me to pull over (at highway speeds) and sort out the problem. I guess they make me feel better about the possibility of the whole container rolling off the trailer when I corner too fast, too!

I can't see any reason why they shouldn't be resting on dunnage, however, unless there is a height issue. Could be that a standard container on a standard high-boy is exactly the maximum legal height, I dunno.

Hope that helps!
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Old 08-19-2010, 07:41 AM   #1364
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squonker
Oh yeah, the seacans. Wondered whether you might have meant the empty totes that I bought back from BHP. Well, afaik when you see those things on the highway they're on dedicated trailers which have pins in each corner, and the containers are held in place by them (but I'm not a real truck driver, remember).

For us, they're not really steel on steel (which would definitely be a bad thing, yes) because the trailer deck is wood. Sure, the frame is steel and the load does touch that, but 95% of the contact area is the steel of the container on the wooden deck. And you'd be surprised how tight you can get those chains to sinch(sp) down. Even though there is only at each end, that load won't go anywhere. The straps are to keep Highway Patrol happy, and a safeguard in case a chain broke - I figure the straps would hold the load in place long enough for me to pull over (at highway speeds) and sort out the problem. I guess they make me feel better about the possibility of the whole container rolling off the trailer when I corner too fast, too!

I can't see any reason why they shouldn't be resting on dunnage, however, unless there is a height issue. Could be that a standard container on a standard high-boy is exactly the maximum legal height, I dunno.

Hope that helps!

You see trailers (flatbeds) loaded like that here in Ontario going down the 401, sometimes there is some warp to the trailer making the seacans not quite level the entire way through.
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Old 08-20-2010, 01:20 AM   #1365
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Originally Posted by John Fry
CruisnGrrl;
How/which way are the trailers twisted? Humped in the middle when looking at them from the side?
if so, they could well have been empties on the back..
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