Yellowknife ice trucking

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

  1. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

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    This is Diavik mine
    diavik3.JPG
    #41
  2. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

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    and this is BHP
    Ekati.JPG

    People disagree on which is the best camp, but IMHO it's BHP, hands down. At diavik they have an atco trailer for the drivers where there are pastries, coffee and a TV, but that's as far as you'll get. If you get snowed in there, to go to the main camp for a proper meal you have to sign forms at dispatch, get a ride with security to the camp, sign in, then do the same in reverse when you're done. But at BHP you can pull up right outside the front doors and just walk in. The food's better there, too!
    #42
  3. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

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    This is me being unloaded at Diavik. I think that 988 could pick me up and throw the whole rig over its shoulder, no problem!
    diavik unload 3.JPG

    Can someone tell me how to use photobucket to bring up my pics? I'm still only allowed one attachment at a time, but if I try a 'direct link' to photobucket, it just gives the url address and doesn't show the photo in the post. Am I being extremely dumb? Thanks!
    #43
  4. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

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    A few facts about the road:
    <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    First year of operation was 1982
    600km long, 87% of it over water
    There are 65 portages, 20% of which are sanded or graveled
    Three maintenance camps – Dome, Lockhart and Lac de Gras
    Average number of operational days per year: 67
    <o:p></o:p>
    In 2005 the road opened Jan 26<SUP>th</SUP> and closed April 4<SUP>th.</SUP> Over the season it was closed for a total of 107 hours (4.5 days), and 7607 loads were taken up it. After the disastrous 2006 season, hundreds (at least) of loads were left stranded all over <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:City><st1:place>Yellowknife</st1:place></st1:City> and the surrounding area when the road closed early. In the 2007 season, all these were moved along with the loads that had already been planned for the year. In all, something like 10,000 loads were hauled this past season.
    cracks in road 1.JPG
    #44
  5. kootenay kid

    kootenay kid Lets Ride

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    Amazing!
    #45
  6. Arch

    Arch Incurable Gearhead

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    #46
  7. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

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    Thank you Arch - much appreciated. Here goes with a test...
    [​IMG]

    Well, would you look at that! This is an inukshuk/snowmoman cross breed. There's probably a biological term for this, but it's beyond me. The bikini is starting to wash away - I took too long before snapping this pic.



    I do know the biological name for this, though - it be a fox. Clever, aren't I?

    [​IMG]
    There was a group of perhaps 5 or 6 wolves snacking on a caribou carcass one evening. I stopped beside them, but they were camera shy. That would've been a National Geographic shot. Well, if taken by a pro...


    More flooding.

    [​IMG]

    And another one taken while we were stuck at Diavik. Me trying to get fancy with the camera again.
    [​IMG]

    Arch - thanks a million, man. This so much easier!:clap
    #47
  8. safetywire

    safetywire Been here awhile

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    WOW! Great thread! Thanks for posting this. :clap
    #48
  9. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

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    Right on - thanks Granitesun, Boxergrrlie, Fat Tony - anyone I haven't acknowledged yet. Glad you're enjoying it!

    I just found these pics in a completely different folder than my other ice road pics. Go figure. I have to state, for the record, that I DID NOT TAKE THESE THREE PICS. Ok, so we're clear, right?

    These were taken on the Mackenzie River crossing in Fort Providence. Although it's 310 kms south of Yellowknife, it's an integral part of the road 'cos if you can't cross the river, you can't get to YK. Any truck coming from down south has to make this crossing, and that includes any tankers loading in Hay River - which is a significant portion of the trucks on the ice road. There are clear signs stating weight limits, and this is what happens if you think you know better.
    [​IMG]

    The main ice road can't open until this crossing does, and at the end of the season, when the main road closes all the hundreds of rigs from out of town make a run for it back across the river, rather than being stuck on the wrong side of it for a month. (See Commuterboy's post earlier in this thread - thanks Commuterboy).
    [​IMG]

    So now you know why we stick so rigidly to the speed limits, like the sign in the first post of the thread. One more shot that I DID NOT TAKE.
    [​IMG]

    So this guy made it out just fine, but not everyone does. In 2000 one of the crew building the main road went through. He made it out of the water, but his heart couldn't take the shock, and gave out. On Dec 23rd 2005 a 23 yr old Yellowknife man, while building the Prosperous Lake road 15 km outside Yellowknife, went through in his plow truck. The ice just gave way beneath him, apparently. No warning, nothing anyone could do. He never even made it out of the water. (The Prosperous Lk rd is the one I was on in my Honda when I rose up on the wave - see earlier thread.)
    #49
  10. Sikorsky

    Sikorsky The Man.

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    Fantastic thread, a great read .... thanks much.
    #50
  11. kootenay kid

    kootenay kid Lets Ride

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    I cant see the pictures. Any one else? All I have is the little white box with the x in it. When I right click and select open picture I get nothin. Come on, I dont want to miss this. What am I doing wrong?
    #51
  12. CGH

    CGH Polluting the ether

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    Same here.
    #52
  13. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

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    Ok, maybe it's me screwing up. I'll give myself a check up from the neck up and re-do those pics - I think I know what I did wrong. I'll get the hang of this one day...probably....:1drink
    #53
  14. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

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    That better?
    Just in case, here are those three pics again....(oh, and I DID NOT TAKE THESE!)
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #54
  15. kootenay kid

    kootenay kid Lets Ride

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    Thats better. That guy must have shit himself.
    #55
  16. woodgrain

    woodgrain In-Dented Savant

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    Squonker, I applied at RTL Robinson and am waiting for a reply, Tli Cho won't talk to me until October, apparently they hire locals first then southerners such as myself. In the meantime I'll send you my e-mail addy so I may ask you a few questions about the "THE JOB" if that's OK. Thanks in advance.

    Woodgrain:deal
    #56
  17. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

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    KootenayK - yeah, I bet he shat himself! Man, that has to be scary...yikes!

    Woodgrain - I'll reply to your PM in a day or so. Glad to be of service!

    Here's another shot of the road:
    [​IMG]

    Charlie's Hill is the steepest on what is generally a pretty straightforward road, and it's a good idea to be prepared...so they give you a warning!
    [​IMG]
    The approach may be in a 25 kmh speed limit, but no one (not even security) is going to have a problem with your picking it up to 40 or even 50 kmh if you think you need to.

    [​IMG]
    It isn't a terribly steep hill, but there's a false top, and you'd want to make sure no-one was coming the other way before you head up. Two trucks can pass on it, but it's not commonly done. It's not always sanded as well as you'd like, and generally speaking if you're going to spin out somewhere, this'll be the place...
    [​IMG]
    ...like this truck belonging to The Red Army did. He'd hardly even began to climb the hill, and refused to back down to take another run at it, so we had to wait for something like 2 hours for him to put his chains on and get going. Can't remember whether he needed a tow or not, too. He said that the truck had been in the shop all day, that he'd been late leaving town because they were still working on it. When he finally got going, the gas pedal was sticking or something - it wouldn't spring back far enough to let the rpms drop, and so it was difficult to shift. That's what happened here, a failed shift. I have a pic of the hole his tires dug somewhere - I'll go look.
    [​IMG]
    Hmm...that shot isn't going to win me any awards!

    Here's one of the lower parking lot at Lockhart at night.
    [​IMG]
    I think the doofus with his headlights on is...well...me. Oops! That Western Star wouldn't let you turn the main lights off unless the brakes were set, and as I've already discussed, that ain't gonna happen. I seem to remember there was a bypass switch we'd rigged up so that you could overcome this problem. Apparently I wasn't in the habit of using it. (Like I said - doofus!)

    [​IMG]
    Me trying to be clever again.

    Ravens scavenging a caribou carcass left by some hunters.
    [​IMG]

    And lastly, Lac de Gras maintenance camp. Only trucks on their way to or from the far end of the road (Lupin and Tahera mines) are allowed to stop here, although every truck passing it, no matter where you're going to or from, must radio in to dispatch there. It's a cosy camp, always very quiet too. Nice place.
    [​IMG]
    #57
  18. alaskaOE

    alaskaOE Been here awhile

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    Great stuff, thanks for sharing.
    #58
  19. BlueLghtning

    BlueLghtning Riding is my passion

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    Awesome, thanks for sharing these pictures and stories.

    I had heard about the show on TV, but never really caught it till the very end, then I spent an entire Saturday or Sunday watching the entire season as they dad a big encore run of the season. I was hooked and couldn't step away from the TV.

    I kind of felt like they embellished some of the stuff on TV, although I'm sure it's still not an easy task and the conditions down right suck most of the time.
    #59
  20. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

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    Hi BlueLightning,

    I haven't seen the show yet (still waiting for my DVD to arrive), but I expect it is embellished because that would make better TV. It's not a hard job other than the weather and the sleep deprivation, really. Although going through the ice is a possibility, I don't think it's a very strong one. So yeah, I'm sure it's not as hard as they make out in the show, but don't tell anyone else who reads this thread that!

    What's this in the distance?
    [​IMG]

    WTF?
    [​IMG]

    It wouldn't be my idea of fun to haul one of these things up there. South of Lockhart the portages can be pretty 'tippy', and with a load that has a centre of gravity this high...
    [​IMG]

    ...your nerves would be all shot to hell by the time you got there. I'm guessing these things (fuel tanks bound for Diavik) don't weigh much, otherwise they wouldn't need the added traction of the bags of cement.
    [​IMG]

    Here they are parked at Lockhart
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And at the Meadows, a small dispatch/staging area just a couple of clicks after you turn off the Ingraham trail on to the ice at Tibbett Lake. The ice freezes right down to the ground here so there's no concerns with stopping and parking on the ice.
    [​IMG]
    Don't know what happened to the quality of that pic. I have more shots of other abnormal loads somewhere, being hauled on tandem tridems etc. Later...
    #60