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Old 10-03-2007, 11:37 AM   #76
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Keep it coming! I'm enjoying all your stories and pictures!

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Old 10-03-2007, 12:19 PM   #77
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cool

great stuff, keep it coming!!!
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Old 10-03-2007, 09:27 PM   #78
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Inside Lockhart

Thanks BlueLightning and Bubblehead - all feedback appreciated!

So I did dig up those pics of the other wide and abnormal loads, but I also found some from inside Lockhart. They ain't much, but they're the bestest I can do in that department. Thought I'd post them while I was talking about Lockhart anyway.

They begin here, in the foyer.

Coats and boots off, best smiles on. I've no idea what time of day this was, but it sure is quiet...

This is the lounge, with the dining room at the back. Not very often anyone uses the lounge. A couple of guys having a conversation every now and then, occasionally a chap doing his paper work. The TV room is off to the left of the shot, but I've never been in there 'cos (a) I can make more money driving than I can watching TV, and (b) I don't smoke. Everyone else in there does. I used to smoke, though. Damn, I hate ex-smokers - we're so snobbish about it!


Dinner's on me!

The grub is free, and it is good even by camp standards. Cooks and helpers all friendly, and although technically the kitchen is closed between something like 2am and 5am, there's always a few plates of something left out on the warm plate, plus fruit and snacks. At the right time of day this place is packed, but I've never heard of anyone not being able to find a seat. Different people treat Lockhart differently - folks from out of town use it as home, because we can do laundry and shower there, as well as eat. But for folks like me, obviously I want to spend my rest time in Yellowknife, sleeping in my own bed (as opposed to the truck). For me, Lockhart is a free meal and a bit of a social gathering. We have to stop in heading north compulsorily, on the way back south they sometimes let you "turn and burn" (i.e. turn the corner and keep going), but the rules change from year to year. My first season you had to book a dispatch time to head south, and you had to go in a convoy. In '06 you just went whenever you felt like it (having let dispatch know you were leaving, of course), and it didn't matter whether you had anyone with you or not. Often times you'd call in and say "Number ---- leaving Lockhart heading south" and someone else would say, "Hey, can I tag along?"
I remember in '05 when, towards the end of the season and with the ice beginning to get a little dodgy south of Lockhart during the sunshine, they closed the road between Lockhart and town between 7am and 7pm (or something like that). Everyone up at the mines at night would rush to get unloaded and back to Lockhart so that we could head back to town rather than being stuck there for 12 hours. Sometimes we'd get there with 30 mins to go, so we'd grab a handful of something to eat, and then set the alarm for 15 mins! Let me tell you, when you're that tired you can feel the difference those 15 mins make. Sometimes there'd be so many trucks leaving Lockhart heading south that they'd all end up in one massive convoy. Usually as leader you call "three trucks south on 28" or "4 trucks south on 19". As you hear all the other convoys behind you call in and figure out that there's basically no gap between your convoy and the one behind you, or you catch up with the convoy ahead, you just call for "a whole bunch". Then as you close the distance between yourself and home you become drunk on zero sleep and get silly. "At least a zillion trucks south on 10" etc.

Here's the dispatch window at Lockhart. Check out the picture hanging above the window - I have a picture of that picture, and it's very cool. Must remember to dig that out, too.

That's one job you couldn't pay me enough to do. At times you'd be so busy you just wouldn't know whether you're coming or going.

And some road shots to end this post.






I remember one day loading with prill in Yellowknife, and a very nice driver from another company giving me a hand with the 700+ straps (well, ok, maybe about 30) required to keep the load on the trailer over the wobbly bits. Can't remember this guy's name (let's call him Jon), but he was pissed because he'd been hired by this company as an equipment operator, but as soon as they found out he had his Class 1 they put him on the ice road. As he wasn't afraid to tell you, he "fucking hates trucks!" We may have ran together, but at any rate we were at BHP together and were deciding whether to stay there for the night, knowing that we'd be stuck at Lockhart until 7pm the next night, or push on through non stop. Then my buddy Pat turned up, and he persuaded us to head back to Lockhart for a quick brekky before going to town. (Pat's a maniac, but I can't say too much else 'cos I'm about to send him a link to this site!) Pat was hauling fuel so it only took 45 mins to unload, then we all went south. Jon was super tired and saying he wasn't sure whether he could make it to Lockhart. Being the helpful chap I am, I asked him whether he'd heard that Mackay Lake (Jon might 'fucking hate' trucks, but I 'fucking hate' Mackay lake - more about that later...) was having work done on it, and all the hammer lanes were closed. It would take us two extra hours to get back to Lockhart. I think Jon nearly parked his truck right there and then on the lake and quit, so eventually I gave in and told him I was only kidding. We kept him awake by talking to him on the radio (about bikes, actually, as I remember), and when he got to Lockhart he was out for the count. No way he was going anywhere, so Pat and I took off and became part of a convoy of over 3000 trucks heading south. (That's a slight exaggeration, there may have been a dozen of us). I don't think I saw Jon again. All I remember is "I fucking hate trucks!" Mackay Lake - ha, that could be an entire post in itself.
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Old 10-04-2007, 09:01 PM   #79
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Wide/abnormal loads

Just a quick one tonight as I'm supposed to be studying for a final exam tomorrow...




I'd love to have a play in a tandem tridem like this rig. Too cool.









Here's those fuel tanks parked at Lockhart from a distance. I'm heading north into the parking lot. You can just make out where the southbound lane joins from the left.


A tandem/tandem





I know this winch truck isn't even carrying a load, but it looks like it could carry a heavy one, right?


I have some cool shots coming up in the next couple of days of trucks that ran off the road, and one of a tractor unit being craned out of the water. I didn't take any shots of when I fell asleep on Mackay Lake and ended up on the snow bank - I want to be able to deny it if I chose!
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Old 10-07-2007, 07:04 PM   #80
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Amazing

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Old 10-07-2007, 07:26 PM   #81
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Oops!

Hey GS4ME - nice avatar, dude! Thanks for joining.




Here's some caribou. See how they're out of focus? That's not the picture that's fuzzy, it's the caribou themselves. Yes, there are Canada's famous Out-Of-Focus Caribou. Biologists think that they evolved this way so as to be harder to focus on through a rifle sight.


And here's a couple of pics of a truck, the diver of which fell asleep.




You might notice that this really isn't a very big load at all -12 bags of cement. At the beginning of the year the road isn't neccessarily open to full capacity in terms of weight. Yes, you could fit a fair bit more product on this trailer, but the weight limits were not up to 100% yet. Depending on the season, it may take a few weeks.


So I guess, having posted pics of someone else's truck in the snowbank, I should at least tell the story of when I ended up there. I am relieved that there are no pics of my episode, though!

At the beginnning of the '05 season I was running with a chap called Bruce. We had been in the same convoy since our first trip of the season, and we were pulling trailers for the same company. Our dispatcher kept us running together for about three weeks, I'm guessing, but it was increasingly frustrating because it is completely unneccessary to keep two trucks together. You just book a dispatch time for when you're ready, and when you turn up at Nuna dispatch you find out who is going to be in the convoy with you. Our dispatcher would only book Bruce and I in together, so he'd say to me, "When do you want to go?" I'd say "11 o clock", and he'd then say, "well, let's wait and see when Bruce will be ready." So here was I sitting around in town, fully loaded and ready to go, waiting for someone who wasn't ready. It's not Bruce's fault at all - he and I are friends -but I don't get paid to sit around town and wait, I get paid to drive. Having spoken to my dispatcher about it and got nowhere, I got my boss involved because he too is earning nothing if the truck isn't moving. Ron (my boss) wasn't able to do anything to change the situation either, and he suggested that we be careful because the last person you want to piss off is your dispatcher. Ron suggested that I do a runner on Bruce at Lockhart - i.e. if we'd got there and gone to sleep and agreed to leave in say 4 hours time, that I leave in 2 hours time without telling him (I'd just join another convoy), and that way I could prove to our dispatcher that Bruce was holding me up. Not a great idea, really, because if I'd arrived home two hours before Bruce the dispatcher would still have held me back until we were both ready to go again, and anyway Bruce is my friend and I wasn't about to pull one over on him.

So we'd come back from a trip and I could feel that I was coming down with something. I remember crawling in to bed at 3am, chatting to the girlfriend for the 2.4 seconds it took me to fall asleep, and I'd set the alarm for 6am so that I could head straight back out. As I said, we're not paid to do anything but drive. So three hours later when I woke up I felt officially shitty, but not so bad that I couldn't work. Met up with Bruce and we headed to Lockhart, a 7 hour drive from Yellowknife. We agreed that we'd spend three hours there, so having eaten I settled in to get two more hours sleep. When my alarm went off a short time later, I felt hideous and immediately wanted to throw up. There was no way I was driving anywhere so I asked Lockhart dispatch to let Bruce know when he got up that I was sick and staying there - I'd catch up to him another time. I went back to sleep for another 2 or 3 hours, and when I woke up this time I was able to make it into the building to eat something small, and managing to keep that down I booked a time out to head north asap.

I joined a convoy of two other trucks, neither of which I knew, and took up position at the back. About an hour, maybe an hour and a half out of Lockhart you hit Mackay Lake. It's 90 km long and the speed limit is 30 kmh, so I'm sure that even a fellow ADV Rider can work out that it takes 3 hours to cross Mackay Lake! It's the only part of the road I don't like, because it's so damn boring. What are you supposed to do for three hours, pootling along at 30 kmh with no portages to negotiate? It was early afternoon by now, and a beautiful, warm, sunny day. It soon warmed up in my cab, and being tired and sick I soon did what came naturally. I woke up as the truck started to climb up something. I knew I was on a flat ice road and that this wasn't right, and I also knew that my cruise control was on and it needed to be off, stat! I was carrying a load of culverts, physically big but weighing very little, so inertia didn't push me too far into the snow bank, but...whereas snow might be soft, the snow bank on the side of a plowed road is anything but, and my first thought was to check the oil pressure gauge in case I'd put a hole in the sump. Thankfully that wasn't the case and I didn't have to shut her off, so I climbed out to see what the damage was. Mechanically, nothing, but I had ripped up the hood a fair bit. The truck would still drive, but I was going to need a pull out of the bank, and I also had to let the two trucks I was running with know what had happened. I couldn't find them on the radio (friends and groups often go off onto pre-agreed channels to chat so that we don't tie up the business channel), and I didn't know where they were. I tried calling security but got no answer, and I wasn't sure there was even a convoy behind me (there'd be one somewhere, but I didn't know how far back), so all I could do was sit there at this very uncomfortable angle, feeling like an idiot, and keep trying security on the radio.

Of slight concern was the fact that I was sitting on the weakest ice on the road. Snow is an insulator, and ice under the snow bank has been most insulated of all, so it is weaker. One way to get yourself in security's bad books is to get caught driving on the edge of the road, they're not afraid to berate you over the radio for driving on the weak ice, and here I was sitting on it. Ok I hadn't driven there deliberately, and I wasn't too concerned because I was above the tree line and it's plenty cold there, I was sure the ice was quite safe, and as I already mentioned, my load was light.

And that's about it. I did eventually get hold of security, and when the next convoy came up behind me - after about an hour, if I remember correctly - one of their trucks pulled me out of the snow. I joined them and went to Diavik with my load and called my boss from there to let him know what had happened and when I expected to be back in town. I didn't really expect him to be happy about it, but he had at least 18 hours to calm down again before I saw him! And that is why, my friends, in all those pics of the Freightliner the front bumper is askew, and you can see scratch marks around the right hand headlight. Funny thing is, I can't remember whether all this resulted in Bruce and I splitting up or not!



Now here's a cool photo. I did take this shot, but it's a photo of a photo, and I didn't take the original one. (The original is the one hanging above the dispatch window at Lockhart, as seen in a recent post). Not sure when this was taken, but what I think is cool is that the crane is just sitting there on the ice as it lifts this tractor out of the water! Think how much pressure is on the four 'feet' at the end of the stabilizer legs! Just goes to show how strong that ice is (but then if it's so strong, why did this truck go through in the first place?!)


And someone else having had an accident...


Lastly for today, another shot of the road.


Happy Thanksgiving to any fellow Canuks out there!
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Old 10-07-2007, 08:13 PM   #82
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Great stuff. I lift my hat to you! I'm transplanted from Africa and the snow and ice is not for me!

Travelled to Deadhorse this summer and could easily imagine that winters there must be hell!

Looking forward to more!
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Old 10-07-2007, 08:13 PM   #83
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Great thread:cla p
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Old 10-08-2007, 08:14 AM   #84
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I only just came across this. What an awesome thread thanks for sharing Squonker. I did the ice road up to Tuk a couple of years back in my Land Rover and have been jonesing for a go up this road as well. Added a wee picture of myself and the rest of the Rover nutjobs out on the Frobisher Sea

When I got in touch with Nuna Logistics the answer as far as me going the entire length of the road was pretty much no way

I also heard that they were going to extend the road out to Bathurst Inlet so I wanted to get at least that far.
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Old 10-08-2007, 12:17 PM   #85
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Hi Jacpod, Bikepilot and Icewalker - thanks for your support!

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!

Icewalker (appropriate user name, btw!), you've found yourself a fellow Landrover fanatic here, my friend. My very first vehicle was a 1973 Series III short wheel base truck cab, petrol (I lived in England back then so it was indeed petrol, and not gas!) My third vehicle was a 1973 Series III long wheel base truck cab diesel that the PO had put a sun roof in! Aged 19, I had these two Landies and an Austin Mini all at the same time. Last time I was back over visiting my parents I looked at importing a LHD ex MOD 90 here to Canada, but by the time it was all said and done it'd have cost me $20,000. Considering that in the UK they're a dime a dozen and worth about 3000 pounds, it was hard to get my head around, but one day....every so often in these parts I see an expedition equipped 110 with plates from the UK, mainland Europe or Australia. I saw one this summer, but I can't remember whether it was here or in Yellowknife. Too cool.

But as for driving this road, I dunno. There are plenty of hunters in their private vehicles on the southern part of the road, and they don't need any special permission. I have seen a "4 wheeler" as far north as Mackay Lake, but I also know a guy who drove all the way to Lupin to pick up a buddy when he came off shift. No doubt he'd have had to get permission to drive onto Lupin property beforehand, but I can't see security having the right to kick you off the road, and I can't see anyone from Nuna even stopping you. Don't take my word for it, though!

Yeah, there's talk of a road down from Bathurst Inlet which would effectively extend it that far north. I guess they think it's cheaper to barge freight up there and truck it down to the mines, but I for one hope it doesn't happen for three reasons. It's a huge waste of money (because it's unneccessary), it'll be an environmental disaster (because the Territorial Government can't see past the jobs and dollar signs), and lastly it'll put me out of a job!

There's also talk of extending the Ingraham Trail an extra 100 kms north and making it a permanent road so that a warm winter won't affect the road so much. I'm dead set against that too, purely from an environmental point of view.

Hey, that reminds me of a story. One of the mines, and I won't say which one, put a notice up at Lockhart Dispatch saying that drivers had been observed throwing the dregs from their coffee cups onto the ground at the mine, and that this was an environmental concern (because it attracts wildlife), so could we please stop? I wrote in my journal: "----- mine. It's ok to build an open pit mine in this otherwise pristine evironment. It's ok to house almost 1000 people here year round, and to dispose of their garbage and sewage on site. It's ok to have millions of dollars worth of heavy equipment dripping oil, fuel and grease all over the ground. It's ok to change the water chemistry in Lac de Gras as a result of your activity. It's ok to kill any wildlife that come on site despite the fact that it has more right to be there than you do. It's ok to build a mine with a 25 year life expectancy here, and when you're done leave the landscape scarred for the rest of time. But, if you empty your coffee cup on the ground, now we have an environmental concern.

Rant over. Thanks again for enjoying the thread!
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Old 10-08-2007, 07:56 PM   #86
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5 stars - too cool!

Wowzers, I just noticed that this thread has a five star rating, that's awesome. Way too cool.

What did I upload in the way of pictures this evening?
A shot of the road to begin with, it seems.


Oh look, here's Mackay Lake Lodge. This is about 30 km from the south end of the lake, and it's pretty much the only landmark on the entire three hour crossing. So handy for the owners to have the road running right past their camp for a couple of months in winter - essentially a free trip up if they want to come and do any work on the place. Otherwise you and I, as paying guests, would be paying for a charter flight on a float plane.


Another one of me being unloaded at Diavik. I have so many photos of the trip with this load of tires on, it must have been the first time I bought a camera with me or something.

Also, I remember my dispatcher telling me that this load was a little over the weight limit for the ice at that time. Don't tell anyone!

Another shot of the road. This one is taken between Mackay Lake and Diavik, so around portage 52 or so.


And here's another one of the flooding crews at work in their magic bus. Any Who fans out there?!



And two more road shots to finish off.


I love this shot. Don't what it is about it, but it really stands out to me. This is just coming up on Lac de gras camp, IIRC.
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Old 10-09-2007, 11:07 AM   #87
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Originally Posted by squonker
Hi Jacpod, Bikepilot and Icewalker - thanks for your support!

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!

Icewalker (appropriate user name, btw!), you've found yourself a fellow Landrover fanatic here, my friend. My very first vehicle was a 1973 Series III short wheel base truck cab, petrol (I lived in England back then so it was indeed petrol, and not gas!) My third vehicle was a 1973 Series III long wheel base truck cab diesel that the PO had put a sun roof in! Aged 19, I had these two Landies and an Austin Mini all at the same time. Last time I was back over visiting my parents I looked at importing a LHD ex MOD 90 here to Canada, but by the time it was all said and done it'd have cost me $20,000. Considering that in the UK they're a dime a dozen and worth about 3000 pounds, it was hard to get my head around, but one day....every so often in these parts I see an expedition equipped 110 with plates from the UK, mainland Europe or Australia. I saw one this summer, but I can't remember whether it was here or in Yellowknife. Too cool.

But as for driving this road, I dunno. There are plenty of hunters in their private vehicles on the southern part of the road, and they don't need any special permission. I have seen a "4 wheeler" as far north as Mackay Lake, but I also know a guy who drove all the way to Lupin to pick up a buddy when he came off shift. No doubt he'd have had to get permission to drive onto Lupin property beforehand, but I can't see security having the right to kick you off the road, and I can't see anyone from Nuna even stopping you. Don't take my word for it, though!

Yeah, there's talk of a road down from Bathurst Inlet which would effectively extend it that far north. I guess they think it's cheaper to barge freight up there and truck it down to the mines, but I for one hope it doesn't happen for three reasons. It's a huge waste of money (because it's unneccessary), it'll be an environmental disaster (because the Territorial Government can't see past the jobs and dollar signs), and lastly it'll put me out of a job!

There's also talk of extending the Ingraham Trail an extra 100 kms north and making it a permanent road so that a warm winter won't affect the road so much. I'm dead set against that too, purely from an environmental point of view.

Hey, that reminds me of a story. One of the mines, and I won't say which one, put a notice up at Lockhart Dispatch saying that drivers had been observed throwing the dregs from their coffee cups onto the ground at the mine, and that this was an environmental concern (because it attracts wildlife), so could we please stop? I wrote in my journal: "----- mine. It's ok to build an open pit mine in this otherwise pristine evironment. It's ok to house almost 1000 people here year round, and to dispose of their garbage and sewage on site. It's ok to have millions of dollars worth of heavy equipment dripping oil, fuel and grease all over the ground. It's ok to change the water chemistry in Lac de Gras as a result of your activity. It's ok to kill any wildlife that come on site despite the fact that it has more right to be there than you do. It's ok to build a mine with a 25 year life expectancy here, and when you're done leave the landscape scarred for the rest of time. But, if you empty your coffee cup on the ground, now we have an environmental concern.

Rant over. Thanks again for enjoying the thread!
Way cool Squonker. This thread is great. Good to know you're a fellow LR addict BTW if you want to get a Defender you have alot better chance in Canada than here. Can't remember the name of the British base up that way but they are always auctioning off MOD D90's and D110's for really short money as well.

I had thought of doing the turn up and see route for the Yellowknife Ice roads - maybe that's the route I'll go.

BTW How do you stop the door seals from freezing? Last time I was using a vegtable oil - but it wasn't that succesful - we had a couple of nights when it got down to -46 and the rear door on my Disco froze solid. Took an hours driving before I could get into the back
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Old 10-09-2007, 06:57 PM   #88
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Can't remember the name of the British base up that way but they are always auctioning off MOD D90's and D110's for really short money as well.
BATUS - British Army Training Unit Suffield at Suffield, AB, about 45 km east of Medicine Hat.
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Old 10-09-2007, 09:30 PM   #89
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Eureka!

Icewalker - now you've done it, I'm going to have to find myself an ex-MOD Defender 90! I'd never heard of them being sold off in Alberta and was just about to email you back offering you whatever it took to get you to tell me where I could pick one up, and CHG chimed in with the info. Thanks to both of you - fantastic stuff. My research begins now, at the expense of tonight's post! Ok, ok, I'll find one photo to throw up here tonight to partially make up for your having to wait another 24 hrs for a 'proper' post!

Thanks again fellas - I can feel that 'Landrover' smile forming even now...

Tonight's pic...the arse end of three trucks! See you tomorrow...
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Old 10-10-2007, 08:29 AM   #90
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This is a great thread squonker! I can really relate to it for several reasons.

First, I lived in Yellowknife for three years, so I am intimately aware of the winters there. I have driven part of the ice road, but in my personal vehicle. We didn't go too far as it was just a "Sunday drive" with the wife and kids.

I have also driven trucks on a lot of other ice roads in northern Alberta and BC, and southern NWT and Yukon. Mostly this was while working in the oil patch, but I have hauled bulk liquids (fuel, etc.) to heavy equipment and virtually everything in between.

I actually just started a trucking business out of Calgary and that is one of the runs I am hoping to get a truck onto. Perhaps deeper discussions via PM would be in order.
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