Yellowknife ice trucking

Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by squonker, Sep 18, 2007.

  1. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

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    A few more just for the hell of it...
    art shot.JPG
    This is me trying to be arty. Ha! Nice shot, though, isn't it? It's underground mining equipment.
    #21
  2. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

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    We were weathered in at Diavik for 40 hours. Road closed due to snow drifting in so hard that the plows couldn't keep up with it. One of them went to refuel but his fuel cap was frozen on and wouldn't come off.
    Diavik parked3.JPG
    All those trucks running all the time. ATGATT? How about ERATT (engine running all the time?)
    #22
  3. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

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    Always important to leave Yellowknife with tanks topped up to the brim, 'cos you never know when this will happen. If you get low in a situation like this, the mine will sell you fuel to keep you alive, but it ain't cheap!
    Diavik parked4.JPG
    It's a good opportunity to catch up on sleep, but of course I'd rather the road closed when I was at home. Can't complain, though - as we were here with food, water, and washrooms, four trucks were stuck on a portage a few KMs down the road. Someone in front of them spun out, and by the time that truck had got moving again, the road and visibility were bad enough that the four of them couldn't even attempt to carry on. Forty hours with only what you've got in the truck for company...yikes. I always grab a goody bag of sandwhiches, cookies and juice whenever I stop just for this reason.
    #23
  4. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

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    The Ingraham Trail is a horrible, horrible piece of road. It runs NE out of Yellowknife and is the most unpleasant part of the journey. The first 30km are paved, but there are some nasty, sweeping, negative cambered corners and the only way to get around them is to grit your teeth, suck your gut in, and clench you butt cheeks as tight as you can.

    The second half is unpaved, narrower, even more windy, and generally thoroughly unpleasant. 80 kmh on this would require intense concentration even with nothing coming the other way. We talk to eachother on the UHF so you know when you're about to meet a convoy coming at you, but Murphy's law dictates that you'll always do so at the worst possible moment. Here's a pic.
    roadview35.JPG
    #24
  5. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

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    The Trail ends at Tibbett Lake, and that's where you first turn onto the ice. This is the sign that greets you.
    :1drink
    ice road danger sign.JPG
    #25
  6. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

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    A lot of trucks come to grief on the Ingraham Trail. Most victims of the trail just lose concentration or drive too fast. But there's a driving school in Yellowknife that puts its trucks on the ice road every year... heading back to Yellowknife one time, one of the drivers fell asleep and went straight off into the snow bank about 30ft. I so wish I'd taken a shot of a truck with '---- ----Driver Training' written all over it half way through the snow bank!

    Get it badly wrong, and this is what happens.
    rolled Pete.JPG
    New underpants, please! Buddy wasn't badly hurt. This is what happens when you get it wrong on one of those negative camber bends. Damn, this has to be scary. I wouldn't wish this on anybody. He probably just didn't clench his butt cheeks hard enough...
    #26
  7. Fat Toney

    Fat Toney Up Yours PoopSicle

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    You are clearly the man :clap My girlfriend gives me all kinds of shit about watching Ice Road Truckers on TV...

    You should start a thread in Jomomma...you would get way way more replies...:nod
    #27
  8. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

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    About half an hour north of Lockhart Camp there's always a friend hoping for a bite to eat. The fact that he's got balls this big suggests that he sometimes doesn't have to wait long. Smart birds, ravens.
    raven3.JPG
    I remember asking other guys whether it had actually landed on their trucks, because perhaps colour makes a difference. Can't remember what their answers were.
    #28
  9. kodiakfrank

    kodiakfrank Gloria's Cheerleader

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    Now why would you want to subject Squonker to the people that live under the stairs?:lol3
    #29
  10. kootenay kid

    kootenay kid Lets Ride

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    Great pictures, I love this stuff. When you park for any amount of time you must have the brakes off? What do you do if they all froze. I drug a trailer a 1/4 mile once in Calgary after getting pissed off beating the drums with a sledge hammer to no avail. Which make is the truck of choice up there? I'm guessing Kenworth with a cat engine?
    #30
  11. HappyGoLucky

    HappyGoLucky Goeie Grys Giftige Gert!

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    awesome thread dude, it smacks of adventure every day - sounds cool.:thumb
    #31
  12. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

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    Hi Kootenay,

    Brakes can be a problem. Generally speaking you never set your trailer brakes at all, it's just asking for trouble. They're naturally warm from the motion of the wheels, and if there's any ice or snow on them then they're going to freeze as soon as you dynamite them. As you found out in Calgary, they are much more reluctant to break free again! The trick is to make sure your lockers are all engaged when you pull up. If the truck insists on rolling, set the tractor brakes but only for as long as it takes to jump out and chock a wheel. Immediately release the brakes and you should be ok, but just in case, you're all locked up and as long as you pull away slowly you shouldn't do any harm even if a tractor wheel is stuck.
    As for trailer brakes, they can freeze up just by virtue of being parked for a long period in high wind. It happened to me once at BHP and I'd only been there for 4 or 5 hours. Even if only one freezes you can usually feel it, but just in case some folks put wheel tabs like these on their trailers.
    wheel tabs.JPG
    It's easy to see in your mirror then that they're all turning. When you first pull away, just snake left to right until you can confirm that everything that should be is turning! Some people do the cheaper, easier and just as effective option of simply spray painting half of each trailer tire flourescent orange.

    If a trailer brake freezes, for some reason they seem to be much more receptive to the idea of breaking free in reverse. A good habit to get in to is just to back up a foot or two every time before you pull away. If you do have to resort to the sledgehammer thing, rather than beating the snot out of the rim, just climb underneath and tap the dust cover of the offending brake. Usually a couple of taps and she'll free up. Not nearly as much fun as wailing away with a sledgehammer, but much more effective!

    When you're going to drop a trailer, the nice thing to do is wait half an hour before you dynamite the brakes, and that gives them time to cool down. It's a bit of a pain, but not nearly as much as picking up a trailer that someone else didn't let cool, and finding a whole bunch of brakes frozen right up. Good chance to do some paperwork!
    #32
  13. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

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    As for preffered make of truck, I think it's all down to personal choice. If it were up to me, I'd throw a sleeper on an old hayes logging truck! There's everything up there, plenty plain jane highway trucks too, and everybody likes or dislikes this or that. I used a Freighshaker FLD 120
    me and truck lupin road.JPG
    #33
  14. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

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    a Western Star (unsure what model this is, but the cab was so narrow I had to take the passenger seat out to fit all my crap in there!)
    me at Ekati.JPG
    #34
  15. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

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    and a KW T800
    KW.JPG

    I guess the KW was the nicest all round truck (Cat 435E), but the Freightliner had a big lump (550 Cat). For some reason, though, I liked the Western Star best of all. It had a 435/470 Detroit Series 60 and was just tough as nails. Not sure if I'd want to do a whole season in it 'cos there really wasn't much room in the cab and it only has a small sleeper, but of the three it stands out the most.
    The Freightliner was a disaster in strong winds 'cos it just howled right into the cab. I threw a banana onto the floor, and 24 hrs later when I went to eat it, it was frozen solid! Cold feet, man! I just wish the T800 had been a W900B, 'cos that's a beautiful rig.
    #35
  16. kootenay kid

    kootenay kid Lets Ride

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    I always wondered what the heck those things on the rims were for or what the white or orange stripe was all about. I always disliked the western star because the side windows were so low and I had to crouch down to look out the window. I like the Kenworth myself. Good stuff and would love to try it one day,
    #36
  17. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil

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    Here in Alaska, we used to pull the dust covers off so it was easier to get in there and tap the brake shoes sideways when they froze. Of course, as you say, if they are allowed to cool first there isn't generally a problem - unless you've been running through deep, loose snow, or it drifts into a wheel and freezes between the shoe and the drum before the drum cools.

    While driving in the South 48 I found some discs that were stamped into a fan pattern that mounted onto the hub under the drums. These were made to blow rain water off the shoes to make the brakes effective more quickly after running in heavy rain for 100 miles or so. I found they also worked to keep snow out of the drums, as I only had one frozen brake (on a trailer - after running through an hour or so of fresh snow) after installing them on a truck in Alaska.

    I always liked the "spokes" painted on the tires to see with the wheel check lights, as they caused truckers from the South 48 to scratch their heads and wonder if we weren't just a little strange. :lol3
    #37
  18. Vagabond

    Vagabond Mr. Sparkle

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    Dust covers. What are those? Up here in the oil patch, it doesn't matter if'n you set the brakes or not, Something is going to freeze up for sure, especially during a blow. I clean my windows with "heat", keep all my arctic gear on even with my primary heater and Cat heater roaring full blast. oh yeah, and I've had coffee freeze in my thermos(sitting on the floor) in less than one shift (12 Hrs). Have you ever had to turn your weed burner on its 20lb propane bottle just to heat it up enough for the propane to gasify? I love my work, really, I do!

    Truck of choice: one with a decent heater!

    Right now I drive an '06 off-road T800 with a C15 (475hp), 8LL trans, planetary drivers w/full lockers. Now if the cab was just a bit larger for my 6'5" frame. New KW dash is nice though.

    To build N. Slope ice roads, we use 325bbl tankers, haul ice chips with 30yd cap. maxi-hauls, and of course, the 16G is out there doing the big moving.
    IIRC, we used more than 45 million gallons of water to build the 9 mile ice road and pipeline R.O.W from DS 3H (Kuparuk unit)to Oooguruk island. We get to do it again this year and next and next............. No R.O.W. needed anymore since the pipeline is in and waiting for oil to flow from our lil island.



    Didn't mean to hi-jack your thread. I find your pics and stories of Far North Canadian trucking to be very interesting! Keep it up.:clap



    edit: here's the official PNR project pictures http://picasaweb.google.com/pnrproject
    #38
  19. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

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    Alcan,

    Discs designed to blow snow and water off the drums sounds like a great idea to me, especially having driven through a flooding zone. I like it!
    I think that "What is the orange paint on the tires for?" is one of the most common questions asked about this job.

    Keep on truckin'! (Can't believe I just said that...)



    Vagabond - that's nuts, man! It must be well below zero inside the cab if, with two heaters on, hot coffee will freeze in less than 12 hours. Here in these milder climes, I can drive wearing trainers (as long as I'm not in that damn Freightliner!), and I only need to dress up when I get out having stopped (or when the heater self destructs in the Kenworth!). How cold would it have to be outside for it to be that cold inside?
    Also, what would it take for a skinny white boy with no green card to get a job in your neck of the woods? That sounds like fun, man.

    Keep on truckin' (Shit, did it again...)
    #39
  20. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

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    Here's one of the flooding crews. These guys work out in the elements the whole season long - much respect. They drill a hole through the ice and just pump the water up onto the road. It freezes, they grade it, and Bob's yer uncle - road patched/ice thickened/whatever you were trying to do. Driving through this stuff is what worries me, the thought of all that water splashing up onto your brakes. They usually slow us down to 10 kmh in flooding zones, but not always.
    flooding9.JPG
    #40