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Old 05-02-2009, 01:50 AM   #856
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Anyone have an idea how they would retrieve something like that?
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Old 05-02-2009, 02:35 AM   #857
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Originally Posted by GSD4ME



Anyone have an idea how they would retrieve something like that?

"very carefully", as my old man used to say.. when he had no idea, i think ;)
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Old 05-02-2009, 11:45 PM   #858
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Originally Posted by GSD4ME
In that case you wouldn`t believe a three trailer road train could be reversed.........but it can.

The auxiliary device is called skill.
I've seen that vid...but that's a B-train, not a pintle hitch.

This is a pintle hitch. Notice how it greatly differs from a fifth wheel.

Now, back a set of triples connected like that. I dare ya.
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Old 05-03-2009, 01:42 AM   #859
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Originally Posted by Black Ice
I've seen that vid...but that's a B-train, not a pintle hitch.

This is a pintle hitch. Notice how it greatly differs from a fifth wheel.

Now, back a set of triples connected like that. I dare ya.
yeh, our trains are connected via ringfeeders and dollies.. ringfeeder looks simiar to pintle (see here if not familiar) as far as usage is concerned.. dolly is just a 5th wheel on a tandem or tri set of axles (nothing unusual there).. in any case a serious amount of skill involved!! (way more than i posses!)
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Old 05-03-2009, 03:19 AM   #860
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Black Ice
I've seen that vid...but that's a B-train, not a pintle hitch.
This is a pintle hitch. Notice how it greatly differs from a fifth wheel.
Now, back a set of triples connected like that. I dare ya.

I`m well aware of the difference between a fifth wheel and a pintle hook/ringfeder, and I stand by my earlier statement that Australian road train drivers CAN reverse a three trailer road train effectively.

A short anecdote about Australian truckies. Many years ago when the B model Mack, with the 5x4 quadruplex (quad box) transmission was introduced into this country, Mack sent some tech types over here to educate drivers on its features.

In the US, drivers had until that time been using one gear lever at a time to move through the transmission, while Australian drivers had developed the method of using two levers together (split shift) in the lower gears. From the story I heard, Mack was amazed at the ingenuity of Austrlian drivers.

I never drove a Mack with a quad box, but I have driven one
with the triplex (5x3) `box, and they are not really that difficult. Sadly, it is almost a lost art, and many new drivers these days get into difficulties with the roadranger `box.
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Old 05-03-2009, 12:43 PM   #861
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Trip #10

I drove an old something-or-other with a 5&4 for a few days a couple of years ago. Never even tried to shift both levers at once - I know how you do it by threading your left hand through the steering wheel (I guess that'd be the right hand in Oz!) but I figured I am unsafe enough behind the wheel as it is and that I should probably try and keep at least one hand on the wheel... I also used to drive an old '70s KW pulling a water tanker on a Highways job, and that had a 13&4 but I used to cheat. I just left the aux 'box in 2nd and then drove it like a 13 speed. We never had to do more than about 50 km/h so it was never a problem.

The drivers trailer at Diavik.




So we're at Sat Feb 21st now (doesn't time fly when you're having fun?!) I was up at 6am to fuel up and go to the office, and Tom gave me a pre-loaded set of Super-Bs with cement on them, bound for Diavik. I noted that it was old set of trailers, but whatever. I couldn't get a t-time until 4pm, though, so I went home and showered, made a packed lunch etc. A friend came over but as soon as I sat down I began to fade fast, so the moment my laundry was done I went back to the quarry to hook up to my trailers and sleep for an hour before I took off. Or at least that was the plan...

When I backed underneath the trailer and hooked everything up, I found that the trailer lights were not working. I had already checked the trailer out, because when you tell Tom you're ready to go and he gives you a t-time, that t-time might be immediately. So, "ready to go" means just that, not "...but I have to fuel up first", or, "...but I have a flat tire", or, "...I just need to run a few errands downtown, sleep for 8 hours and, oh yeah, I haven't tied my load down yet." "Ready to go" means ready to go. You would probably have time to scratch your balls, but I don't remember anyone ever telling Tom that they needed to do so!

So, although my trailer was already loaded when I was assigned it, and it was parked so that it didn't need to be moved, I hooked up and made sure that everything worked. We have to fill out a trailer inspection form at the beginning and end of every trip so I looked for damage. I checked the tires were ok, the air bags came up, and then shunted it back and forth a few times to make sure that no brakes were frozen. If I was feeling really energetic I'd even have taken it for a few laps of the yard to be really, really sure that it was all good. And part of the checks for the trailer inspection form would have been the lights.

So, I started to look at the obvious things. Connection between truck and trailer - ok. Jiggle it a bit - no difference. Unplug and reconnect - nope. Check fuses - no problem there. Ask it nicely to start working - nada. Tell it firmly that it needs to start working, and right now too before I lose my rag - not a thing. I got on well with one of Tli-Cho's two mechanics and he was in the quarry so I called him on the radio. He said he'd be right over when he was finished doing what he was doing, and when he arrived he began to push, prod, poke and pry the problem out of it. Only he had no luck either. In the end he traced it to the switch on the dash, so he smartened that up and said, "You should have no problems now", and that that precise moment the trailer lights went out again. By this time it was getting perilously close to my t-time and I was going to have to call Tom and cancel. I was putting it off to the last minute because I knew that when I radioed and said that I had a problem, even if he didn't say so, he'd be thinking, "but you told me you were ready to go." Eventually, with literally just a couple of minutes to go before I would have had to break the news to Tom, Levi got them going again, and they remained working the entire time. (One advantage of this job is that because we never switch the engines off, we never bother turning off any lights other than the headlights too, so as long as I wasn't using the switch things should remain ok.)





The Ingraham Trail was very busy that day (it being a weekend), and it was particularly slippery, too, it being only -13c. (Ice has far less traction at say -5c than it does at -35c). I was running with two tankers, and my new old friend Don. Remember a few trips ago there'd been an old guy who has been running this road since the '70s, and he said that he had to take the back of the convoy because he only had 330hp? This time he said he only had 220! "Ah, Don" I said, "last time you told me it was 330" and he looked sheepish and said, "Oh, did I?" He's a good shit, Don, and I enjoyed running with him whenever I did so.

I made a note in my journal that when my friend had come over to visit before this trip, she'd bought me a can of Red Bull. I've explained before how I use that as a last resort when I know for sure that I can't keep my eyes open until the next rest stop, and because one 4-pack will last me a season, that shit really works on me. But this season so far I had already used 8 cans! I tell ya, I was finding it hard work this year. I wasn't pushing myself as hard physically as I usually do, so I think the difference must have been in my head. But speaking to other drivers who have spent a few years up there, I was far from the only one struggling.

We got to Lockhart at 12.30am on Sunday Feb 22nd having had a surprisingly good journey (considering how tired I had been when I left town), other than catching up to the convoy in front. Lockhart was very busy and they even had a guy in a pick-up who would meet us down on the ice and marshall us to parking spots according to whether or not we were pulling trains, and how long we were planning on staying for. I wrote that I even felt as though I could have carried on, but I know that would have been unwise and we were packed in so tight that until the trucks infront of me moved, I was going nowhere.

Approaching Lockhart from the south


Left Lockhart again at 6.45 am and arrived at Diavik at 2pm for them to tell me that it would be "a while" before I unloaded.

I wrote that I was in a foul mood. Firstly, I had hoped to be unloaded and on my way again quickly to spend the night at home again, but more importantly I'd spoken to to a couple of Carl's other drivers on the way up, and they told me what had happened to Barry.

Remember last trip I mentioned that Barry had been caught in a hammer lane with a load on, claiming that it was ok because it was under 7500 kgs even though the limit is actually 7500 lbs? And, more to the point, he'd been alone. Having been in town for several hours before I had left on this trip I'd seen him in the yard, in the northbound lane, hooked up to a reefer. But the mechanic had been working on the reefer, and he hadn't moved for hours. I'd been told there was a hearing at which the big wigs would decide his fate, and I assumed that because he now obviosuly had another load, he'd been found innocent. Well, this isn't a court here - let's say he'd been 'cleared'. In turn, it appeared that if that were the case then it was also likely that the rumours about the two guys fired for throwing fag butts out of the window and running stop signs were also false. But, as I've already said, they did turn out to be true.

And much the same fate awaited Barry. They had finally got his reefer working and sent him on his merry way. When he had got to The Meadows his reefer packed in again so he called Tli-Cho and they told him to come back to town, where upon he was promptly fired. (Not because his reefer had quit, but because of his hammer lane incident. And it wouldn't have been Tli-Cho that made that decision, but rather the Joint Committee.) And then I heard another rumour, that a driver had been fired at either BHP or Snap Lake for putting an empty oil container in the wrong trash can. And there's more - this one not a rumour. Old Don whom I had run up to the mine with told me that on his previous trip he'd been pulled over by the RCMP heading back into town on the Ingraham Trail. We knew that the cops and the municipal wannabe cops as well as Highway Patrol were pulling people over and checking their log books to see if they were up to date, but when they stopped Don and found that his log book was indeed up to date they then called Lockhart camp in front of him to confirm that the times he'd written down for having arrived and left there were indeed correct. Talk about wanting to make trouble. I wrote, "Unbelievable, it just confirms my decision for me - I won't be back. The sooner we're done, the better." Why, oh why I have since then arranged a drive for next year is beyond me! Hope it doesn't come back to kick me in the arse...



I wasn't that long at Diavik after all, because I left at 17:50 and was back at Lockhart at 10pm. I made just a brief stop there was was ready to leave 40 mins later, only I didn't have anyone to run with. I got on the radio and asked whether there was anyone who was looking for a ride south and a tanker driver called Brian said that he was. "You lead", he said, and I pulled out onto the ice and into the southbound hammer lane which starts just about 300ft from the edge of the parking lot. I thought it was odd that I couldn't see his lights in my mirrors, and then he told me that he couldn't see me either. Wtf? I can't have been kicking up a cloud of snow dust that big, surely? Brian asked me to turn my back-up lights on, and I had six of the bastards so believe me if he didn't see them there was something seriously wrong. I flipped the switch and said, "Can you see me now?" The answer came back, "No!" What the hell? That stretch of road across Loackhart Lake is dead straight. And he was only half a kilometre behind me - I'd even told him when I passed the marker and he could pull out onto the ice - so where was he? I was thinking Bermuda Triangle type thoughts by now!

To cut a long story short, he'd pulled out of the parking lot and done the snaking left to right thing to see that his wheels were all turning, and inadvertently turned north instead of south! I tired to think along the lines of we all make mistakes and I'm not perfect, but that is quite an achievement and he should get a medal for that! Unbelieveable - I stopped on the first portage (number 43) and had to wait about 15 mins for him to catch up!!!

Another Barry - not the one who was fired - was in the convoy behind us with two other trucks, and the two other drivers wanted to stop and sleep. Barry wanted to keep going but wouldn't have been allowed to alone, so Brian and I pulled up at the top of Charlie's Hill so that Barry could catch up with us, and three of us ran back to YK together, leaving Barry's two running mates snug as a bug in their rugs at the top of Charlie's on portage 25. We made it home at 5.30 am and Kevin in dispatch said that I should wait in the quarry to be re-loaded. I did so and didn't even bother to strap the load down before hitting the sack myself. I woke up at 8am, put on the straps, unhooked and went to Carl's shop to thoroughly check the truck over, finaly going home to sleep like a baby.

Bags of cement at Divaik. This pic doesn't show it, but there are many thousands of bags here and this is only one unloading zone - there are other (smaller) cement hoards elsewhere.


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Old 05-03-2009, 04:02 PM   #862
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squonker
I drove an old something-or-other with a 5&4 for a few days a couple of years ago. Never even tried to shift both levers at once - I know how you do it by threading your left hand through the steering wheel (I guess that'd be the right hand in Oz!) but I figured I am unsafe enough behind the wheel as it is and that I should probably try and keep at least one hand on the wheel...

You`re right about the hand through the wheel; I never felt the need to do that and managed to get my right hand around it without a problem.

One trick was to heat the levers and bend them towards each other to make things easier, mine were like that. Some drivers also would fit long thin gear knobs from a Cat `dozer which would bring them up higher than wheel.
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Old 05-09-2009, 09:28 AM   #863
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Trip #11





When I woke up on Monday Feb 23rd, Kevin in dispatch told me that the road was closed for maintenance and that he couldn't book me out again until 1.20 the following afternoon - I was ecstatic, finally a chance to catch up on some sleep (I was burned out by this stage).

My notes are a bit vague here, but I eventually left town at 4pm on Feb 24th, in a convoy with my friend Peter (we'd been trying to do a run together for 2 years and never managed to get the same t-time), pulling a set of super-bs loaded with cement for Diavik. I did note, however, that two of Carls' drivers were in the yard and they were angry because other trucks that had come into town behind them were leaving ahead of them.

When I had asked Kevin why the road was closed for maintenance he'd said that we'd been too rough on it, going too fast and too close together, but the Nuna guy in dispatch said that actually it was due to a combination of a sudden drop in temps (-40c that morning) and a high concentration of traffic over the previous few days.

We arrived at Lockhart at 1am on 25th to find Simon waiting for someone to run south with. He'd been waiting for three hours - why he didn't just go to bed I don't know, but he obviously found a friend eventually because he was gone at 5am when I got up. The parking lot had been a mess. We'd decided on our way up that we were going to sleep on portage 43, but when we called Lockhart dispatch we'd been told that there were only 46 trucks in the yard and that we should come on into camp. When we got there it was a gong show and the only place that Peter and I could find to park (and still get out again early in the morning) was right at the front of the lot, on the ramp down to the ice. I told dispatch that there may only be less than 50 trucks there but she shouldn't let any more in because there just wasn't room. People don't think when they park - ideally two or three of you have decided on the way up that you'll leave at the same time in the morning and them you can all park one behind the other, but for some reason people always park beside eachother, so blocking the rows and trapping in the people that park behind them. More than once I've banged on a door to wake a driver up and get him to move his truck in the morning. Asshats!





Peter, myself and three tankers left Lockhart at 5am. It was still -40c, but the sun was shining bright and it was a glorious morning. Peter was having slight alternator problems, but nothing so serious that he had to do more than merely keep an eye on it for now.

We arrived at Diavik at noon and pulled into the parking lot. I was carrying T10 cement and Peter's was T30. Guess which they were set up for unloading? So I sat and waited while Peter was escorted off to be unloaded, and at 2.30pm I crawled into my bunk to sleep. I had told Peter that because we didn't know how long I'd be, he should just leave if he got the chance rather than wait for me. Shortly after hitting the bunk I heard marshall Ed calling me on the radio, giving me directions as if I was following him. I said, "Ed, this is 636 and I'm still sitting in the parking lot waiting." He replied, "636? Then who's following me?" Holy shit, turns out it was 663 and Ed was a little confused .

I noted that on every trip to Diavik this year, just as I entered the mine site my radio began to make the most god awful squawking noise, truly one of the least pleasant noises I've ever heard, but because it is about 5 times louder than the regular radio traffic you couldn't turn the radio down to where it was an acceptable level because you then couldn't hear the regular traffic and dispatch calling you. I thought it might have been just my radio, but I asked some other drivers and they said it happened to all of them too. It makes sleeping if you're waiting for a radio call pretty much out of the question.

When it happened it all happened fast and I was unloaded by 3.30pm, back at 4pm and leaving again 20 mins after that. I had trouble with my drivers door latch not closing properly and it was extremely cold with the draft. (-40c ish ambient temperature plus the windchill of my driving between 40 and 60 kmh. Yikes!) I arrived at Lockhart at 8.30pm and went in for a proper supper because it gave me the chance to warm up!





At Lockhart I saw my friend Don's coat on the hook and knew he'd be up for running back to Yellowknife with me, but it turns out he was loaded and so he'd be obeying a different set of speed limits. I figured I'd wait for a while, but not 3 hrs like Simon had the previous night.

I managed to doze for a while and catch a ride heading south at 11.45pm. I felt pretty good on the ice, but the moment I hit the Ingraham Trail I knew I was in trouble. I struggled hard to stay awake, and did not enjoy that drive back into town at all (quite aside from knowing how dangerous it was to drive on the highway that tired). Not something I wished to make a habit of.

I got into town at 5.30am and was told to wait for a re-load. I hit the bunk and woke up again at 7.45am to do just that. Topped off coolant, oil and fuel then headed to the yard for a t-time of 13:40. I guess I'd have to shower the next time I was home!



I was a bit too late with the shutter here, but this rig has a gargantuan hook on the back of it - it is a tow truck for the massive haul trucks that work the mine. Anyone need a tow?!
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Old 05-09-2009, 11:58 AM   #864
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Brrrrr.... that old cat looks cold. Do they just let that equipment sit around and run when it's that cold? If not how in the world would you ever get it started if you needed it?

The guy pumping water on the ice, I assume patching a pothole, man that sure looks easier than the way we have to fix potholes, don't look nearly as hot a job either.
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Old 05-12-2009, 03:13 AM   #865
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[quote=squonker]



[/quote)



Great shot for on the fly. I like the way you got the three images of the bus.
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Old 05-13-2009, 09:07 AM   #866
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Quote:
Originally Posted by galute
Brrrrr.... that old cat looks cold. Do they just let that equipment sit around and run when it's that cold? If not how in the world would you ever get it started if you needed it?

The guy pumping water on the ice, I assume patching a pothole, man that sure looks easier than the way we have to fix potholes, don't look nearly as hot a job either.
Hey galute. If it's already running then yeah, they'd just let it sit there and fuel it up once every now and then. That Cat wasn't running and I didn't see them start it, but I can tell you how they'd have done it (to the best of my knowledge). Wait until a warmer day (-15c, -20c) and put a tarp 'tent' over the engine. Stick a Herman Nelson heater in the tent, let it sit for a few hours (6 should be good) and then Bob's yer uncle.

Buddy on the ice is patching a pothole, yes, but I wouldn't want that job - standing around outside all day whatever the weather. No union up there to say "if it's below -whateverc you don't have to work"! Then again standing around in the blazing sun on a blacktop highway doing it wouldn't be much better, I suppose...!



Quote:
Originally Posted by GSD4ME
Great shot for on the fly. I like the way you got the three images of the bus.
Thanks man!
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Old 05-18-2009, 05:27 PM   #867
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Trip #12





Thurs Feb 26/09
I left town again at 1.40pm with Art (!), Jason and John, the latter two being drivers for the company I did my first season for. As we turned off the Ingraham Trail onto the ice a brand new Pete and a brand new KW from Paccar were heading south, having been here cold weather testing. We made Lockhart at 10.10pm and the plan was to go on to Diavik, unload and go back as far as portage 49 (the north end of Mackay Lake) to sleep. But I knew I couldn't make Mackay Lk on the way there, let alone anything else and John felt the same so the two of us agreed we'd sleep for 4 hrs and would leave again at 3.30am.

The cold was just brutal at this time, around -55c at Lockhart with the windchill and more like -75c at the mines. Did I write about all this in my last post? While you were moving the cold didn't make too much difference provided your truck was properly winterized, but park up for just an hour and when you pull away again you know something is up. You'd have to idle the engine up pretty high when you parked to keep the heat in it, but the problem was the wheels. The rigs would be so stiff when you went to pull away again that it felt as though several brakes were frozen even if they weren't. You'd do the snake thing and see that all your trailer wheels were turning, then check your tractor wheels or ask a friend to look at them while you drove past him. The trucks were working so hard just to move that they would overheat (in -55c!!) and shifting was an experience too. Start off in L, and when you go through neutral on the way to first the truck stops moving. Try again and rev it higher before you shift, make it into first and then it comes to a standstill again between 1st and 2nd. Up here, -40c is generally considered to be the point at which machinery becomes so vulnerable that it isn't worth using it unless you absolutely have to. The City won't grade roads at -40c because grader blades snap like plastic, and e.g. Carl's Dad won't send any of his equipment out in those temps because the cost of the damage done to it exceeds any profit he'll make. But Ice Road Truckers don't have that luxury and we keep on trucking...if we can - I wrote that there were lots of dead trucks stranded on the side of the road that morning, and every one was a new model Mack.

Not sure exactly what happened, but a Super-B set of tankers had literally broken up on portage 8 the day before when the bridge snapped in two (the bridge is the gap between the two trailers, where they connect). We passed what was left of the pup, with one axle still on the front of it. It had plowed 150ft into the bush.



BHP


Lots of fun and games going on at this time! We were told that the previous night a Diavik employee had gone nuts, taken a site pick-up and driven south on the winter road. He was pulling over truckers who, in the dark, thought he was Security and stopped. But he'd merely ask them for a ride back to town. Security and a few truckers managed to block the road and he took off into the bush on foot - in waist deep snow without the proper gear. Don't do drugs, boys and girls - just say no!

I left Lockhart just before 4am with John and just a third of the way to Diavik I was struggling to keep my eyes open. I wasn't particularly tired so I really didn't know what was going on. That's always a hard time to cross Mackay Lake even though you think you'd gradually feel better as the sun came up. But no, and I was struggling particularly hard at this time. In one 10 km/h zone as we crossed a pressure ridge I put the truck in neutral and jogged on the spot between the seats to keep from going crazy (I would happily have run off into the bush myself right then)!

Art and Jason had stopped at Lockhart for only the mandatory 20 mins the previous night and were hours ahead of us, but about an hour from the mine I began to hear snippets of Art talking to someone else on the radio. As he (and Jason) came close we found out that it had taken them over two hours to even leave the parking lot at the mine when they'd arrived, and then they had to wait another half an hour for an escort back again having been unloaded. We passed them just north of Lac de Gras camp - they'd lost a great deal of time.

It wasn't very busy at Diavik and the dispatchers seemed eerily efficient! Marshal Ed asked me what type of cement I was carrying this time and then told me that Site Services, who unload us, take lunch between 11 and 11.30am. I had arrived at 10.48am.





Having been unloaded, as I pulled back into the parking lot Simon was there and he asked me to wait for him to get unloaded as he was afraid of being stranded there. I'm still mad at myself for what happened next. I knew better to hang around at the mines having been unloaded, and Simon could have run back with anyone. But I said yes, and sat down to wait. Less than an hour later he was back, empty - no problem there - and as we walked into the dispatch trailer to get our paperwork and leave they told me I had a backhaul. Shit! I knew I should have gone when I could, even if it was just as far as Lac de Gras and I could have waited for him there. Now Simon gets to run back home at empty speeds and I'm doing 25 km/h all the way back and slowing to 10 km/h every time I pass a loaded truck - which is every truck that I pass, of course, because they are all heading north loaded. Motherfucker!!

The positives are that running alone I could stop whenever I wanted without having to find someone else to do so with me, and that timing would see me arrive back in town during the day the following day.

Only small tanks on my truck and pulling trains I have to dip them when I get back to Lockhart to make sure I have enough to get home (guage doesn't work). This time I'm cutting it a bit close - you can buy emergency fuel only at Lockhart and I took on 100L, enough to make sure I'd make it back the last few hours. Being loaded both ways I'd be sucking back more fuel than usual, of course.

Made it back to Yellowknife at 2pm on Feb 28th, and took the truck to Carl's shop to check more closely into an oil leak. Went home to shower and shave (Ice Road Truckers don't need to shit ) and was sent to the quarry to hook onto another set of super-bs and load them. Was all strapped down by 9pm and booked a t-time for 2.40am. Time to hit the bunk for a few hours!!



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Old 05-18-2009, 07:55 PM   #868
fatdr
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Hey Ben. I notice you have an XM or Sirius in your window. Do you actually get service up there?
When I run north, as in Fort McMurray or up into the YT or Alaska I lose service. Maybe I need a bigger donkey-cock antenna...
Great thread, gonna miss it if you don't go back next year....later
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Old 05-19-2009, 10:12 AM   #869
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The sad thing is I probably will be back next year - I just don't seem to learn! No guarantees, but I was over bs-ing with the guy I'll be driving for yesterday and I know I'll miss it if I don't do it. So sad!

I have Sirius (although it's all the same thing now) and yep, we get a signal all the way. Back when Sirius and XM were different companies the guys who had XM said their radios lost signal repeatedly and for long periods of time, but Sirius has never let me down. If I go back to Eureka this year (quite likely) then I'm going to take it up there and see if it works that far north.
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Old 05-19-2009, 10:29 AM   #870
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squonker
The sad thing is I probably will be back next year - I just don't seem to learn! No guarantees, but I was over bs-ing with the guy I'll be driving for yesterday and I know I'll miss it if I don't do it. So sad!

I have Sirius (although it's all the same thing now) and yep, we get a signal all the way. Back when Sirius and XM were different companies the guys who had XM said their radios lost signal repeatedly and for long periods of time, but Sirius has never let me down. If I go back to Eureka this year (quite likely) then I'm going to take it up there and see if it works that far north.
Pretty sure it won't, you're below the horizon. I could be wrong though.
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