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Old 09-19-2007, 07:11 AM   #18
squonker OP
Eat my shorts
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Joined: Dec 2006
Location: Yellowknife, NWT
Oddometer: 4,050
Motorbikes on ice

Holy moly Statdawg, that dude on the motorbike sure knows the meaning of adventure riding! What would possess you to do something like that?! I think I remember hearing about his plans to do the trip, but then I forgot all about it. It’s not the same road actually, but for all the difference it makes it might as well be.

The year before I started, a friend told me how he’d been up on the ice and his heater had quit, how he was slowly freezing as he was driving along. I wondered at the time what I’d do if that ever happened to me, whether I was tough enough to deal with it. I was to find out before too long…

Heading to BHP with a load of I don’t know what, we stopped at the top of Charlie’s Hill and I could feel that it wasn’t as warm in my cab as it should have been. Not uncomfortable by any means, but I could notice the difference. I hadn’t adjusted the heat ‘cos the thing was a little temperamental anyway. It only worked on highest heat with the fan on high too, but that’s the best place for it to be stuck, I guess, if it has to be stuck. I think it was the wee hours of the morning, and I also figured that it would likely warm up when the sun came up anyway. We got to Lockhart camp and I went in for something to eat and when I climbed back in the truck, it was colder still. I knew something was wrong now, and a quick recce showed that neither the cab nor the bunk heat was working. Yikes. I had a look around and couldn’t find what was wrong, so I called my boss in Yellowknife, left him a message telling what parts to have waiting when I got back. I still wasn’t too worried – it was slightly uncomfortable now, but nothing too terribly bad. The only thing that bothered me was that within a couple of kilometers of Lockhart you break through out of the tree line, and it would be colder outside because of the wind. Also, north of Lockhart there aren’t any hills, so the engine wouldn’t be working as hard, and right now that was the only heat I had.

By the time I got to the mine it was officially downright cold. I wasn’t a happy chappy, and all I wanted to do was get back to town asap to get the damn thing fixed. I got unloaded and headed straight back to Lockhart. By that time it was officially brass monkeys in the cab and when I thought about how far I had to go still, I wanted to cry. I had on my long underwear, my snowmobile pants, warm jacket, boots rated for -100c, gloves and a touque, and I wasn’t anywhere close to being warm. Of course, having been driving for about 20 hours wouldn’t have helped. I also had to have the window open a crack ‘cos otherwise your breath condenses and freezes on the windows and windshield. I always like to be able to see out of at least one window when I’m driving! At Lockhart I ate and had about 16 gallons of tea. I wanted to call my boss and bitch, but it wouldn’t have changed anything so I saw a friend who worked for security and moaned to him until I felt slightly better. It was close to midnight by this time and I was too tired to drive any more, but it was too cold in the truck to sleep. There wasn’t anywhere to lie down at Lockhart that I wouldn’t have been frequently woken up, but I decided that to try and drive would be a recipe for disaster, so I lay down on the bunk with all that gear on, and I did manage to sleep for an hour or two. Of course, when I came to again I felt worse than ever, so it was back inside for 16 more gallons of tea (if you’ve ever watched Coronation Street you’ll know how medicinal tea is to us Brits) and to summon up the gumption to continue.

Now there was nothing else for it. No excuse not to make a run for it back to town, so I left at what I’m guessing was about 2am, and I don’t remember the rest of the journey so I guess I either made it alright, or I was asleep the whole time! It was awful having to stop at the quarry and drop my trailer off then go to dispatch and do paperwork before I could go and warm up. I parked the truck in the yard and didn’t even look for my boss, just jumped in my car and went home for The Best Shower Of My Life. Well, alone, anyway. I called Boss Man when I woke up, and he had the thing fixed again, so I was able to book a ‘tee time’ for that evening, and head back out again in glorious comfort.

But on a motorbike? No thanks!
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This isn't as a result of the heater having broken, this is as a result of driving a Freightliner!

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

squonker screwed with this post 09-21-2007 at 05:29 PM
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