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Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by squonker, Sep 18, 2007.
It may have something to do with the location, but I suspect it's more to do with the nature of the ticket. (I don't have much experience with this - someone who has experience being ticketed can confirm or deny it for me)!
A ticket for, say, a log book infraction or having a headlight out isn't going to affect your insurance. But a ticket for DUI or dangerous driving...whole 'nuvver thing.
I would figure the tickets for doing a few km over the limit would be the ones that you would want to fight... at least here in ontario where a 5 over ticket is the same to your insurance as a 45 over. or is the ice road special?
Oh crap, before I do anything else I should get another video uploading. Hold on...
Ok, I'm back. Video about clutch-less shifting on the way....
Feb 20th 2011
I was much happier with my new trailers. I seem to remember that when I'd filled out an inspection report on the previous set before I'd even moved them anywhere, the list of problems to write down was so long that I needed to get creative about where I would fit it all in. These ones were sweet.
Left town at 06:40 having had a full five hours sleep. So spoiled! I was hungry though - I'd had no supper the night before, and it was too early for Gastown to be open. The way things were shaping up, it was beginning to look as though I might get eight trips in, which in two weeks is phenomenal. And to aid that goal, this trip was to Snap Lake, which is quite a bit closer to home than Diavik and BHP. On the negative side, though, Snap Lake is even more unorganized than Diavik. The problem with the latter is that the disorganization seems to be built into the system. At Snap Lake, they simply hire stupid people for the dispatch office.
I remember going there a few years ago...I've mentioned before how Tli-Cho were getting serious about people dragging wheels and creating flat spots on tires, it was costing the company mega $$. They began to put in a system whereby it would be harder for someone to do that and hide the fact, not tell anyone and get away with it. When we return from a trip and go to dispatch to hand on our trip tickets, we have to sign a line on the ticket that says that you've checked your tires and they're ok. Now, when the next guy comes and hooks up to the trailer you just dropped off, if he finds a hooped tire it is kinda hard for you to deny that it was you, having just signed off on their being ok when you dropped the trailer.
Anyway, the rest of the trip ticket is for dispatch at the mines to fill out. There are various reference numbers for your load, and lots of times to fill in. When you arrived at the mine, when you were ready to be unloaded, unload start time etc... Getting back to my story, this one time I was at Snap collecting my paperwork to leave and the dispatcher told me to sign that line about having checked my tires. Of course, if I'd said what I was thinking I'd have been in trouble, so I merely said, "We don't sign that until we are home". But no, she wasn't having any of it and wanted my john henry on the line before she'd sign off on my paperwork. I wonder whether she'd even read what she was asking me to sign.
Anyway, I digress! A disorganized mine and dumb-ass dispatchers can create problems. It wouldn't be unheard of if I had to wait there for 12 hours before being told merely to drop my trailer where I was sitting and hook up the one beside me...but let's try and think positive!
As I'd been getting loaded the night before (my trailer, not in the bar!), Charlie and I had discussed what time we were going to leave in the morning. I was keener to get out of town than he was, and he suggested that Merv might be looking for a partner. I didn't have a clue who Merv was, but it turns out that he and Charlie are neighbours back home. Acquaintances. I pretty much ignored this, but in the morning at Nuna dispatch, it turned out that I was indeed running with Merv.
Merv...well, where do I begin? He's a nice enough guy actually, but he's a little too keen on his GPS. I was leading, and at the Meadows he asked me whether I wanted him to let me know what speed I was doing. Are you fucking serious? I have a great big gauge in the middle of my dash for just that purpose ! But all was revealed when he next opened his mouth. "I usually like to run one or two over." Oh, so that's it. Well Merv buddy, I don't really give a shit how you like to run, and why should I? You were happy for me to lead, so shut up and sit 0.5 km behind me. Blimey...and there's more to come.
On the way north we heard from lots of guys who had been given tickets for not monitoring LADD 1. This is always of particular interest to me, because some of you will know that the only ticket I've ever got up there was for that exact same thing. I'm not very social anyway so I often just sit on LADD 1 and let everyone else yap elsewhere, but of course if I'm running with or passing friends I'll shoot the shit with them happily. Some guys seem to have a problem keeping their mouths shut, and as soon as they're on a lake more than 3 feet long they want you to go over to another channel and tell them your life story. Gimme a break! (Sheesh, I'm a crotchety old bastard aren't I! )
So...arrived at Lockhart at 15:10. Malcolm and Johnny Mack were there and they came north with us. Those two went ahead and Merv and I tucked in behind because we'd be turning off for Snap Lake, and as Malcolm pulled out of the parking lot onto the ice, John and I were sat there looking at each other. I got on the radio and said, "You'd better go first, John....age before beauty and all that " and Malcolm said something like , "Oh, it's going to be one of those trips!" Malcolm's a good guy, too, and we did have some chuckles.
Oh, and I see in my notes that we had had a 15 min wait at Lockhart before dispatch would let us go north. I checked my straps, cleaned my dash, adjusted a mirror and finally got my drivers side window to close all the way. I'll never open it again! (All last year and so far this year that window would only close to about 0.5 in. shy of where it should have done. It got cold in that cab sometimes!)
All my fears about the operation at Snap Lake were unfounded, and I was unloaded in half an hour, which might be my fastest ever time at that particular mine. Merv and I agreed to head straight back to Lockhart, but I think I heard something about trucks not being allowed to sleep at Snap Lake this year, so perhaps we'd have had no choice anyway. As we were heading out toward the main road, Charlie was in an in-bound group that we passed.
As we were about half way back to the main road a truck spun out coming up Snap 1 and we had to sit and wait. We (Merv and I) stopped on P.2, it being safer to hang out there than on the ice when we weren't sure how long we'd be held up. Merv started his shit again at this point, saying that we should go onto P.1. We couldn't do that because then we'd have met the inbound trucks on that portage once they were all moving again, and there isn't room to pull over on Snap 1. I had to tell him three times that were staying there, on Snap 2, and that once the in-bounds were moving again we'd make our way slowly towards them, and all pass each other on the ice. He didn't like it, but that wasn't my problem. While we were waiting, Charlie came up behind us having also made a quick exit from the mine.
When it became evident that the trucks on P.1. were almost ready to go again, Merv started to pester me about how we should be on the move. Well, that's pretty pointless. If we'd just taken off toward Snap 1 we'd have ended up sitting on the ice just this side of the portage until everyone else was off it. No harm in that, but we were already sitting waiting so why did it matter whether we did so where we were or elsewhere? My main thought was that there were other incoming trucks waiting at the bottom of Snap 1 too, and there wasn't any point on our moving until we knew for sure that everyone was up the hill. Merv, pipe down! If nothing else, I had already arranged with Security that we weren't going to move until he (Security) told us to. I was also wondering why Merv couldn't see that we'd look pretty stupid if we all suddenly appeared at P.1 when Security thought we were waiting patiently on Snap 2. Anyway....
When we did finally get going again, it turned out that a fourth truck had joined us and was sitting behind Charlie. This was news to me - it hadn't called any of the portages coming out of the mine, hadn't let me know it was there and I couldn't see it because it was a good ways back, around the corner. When Charlie told me it was there I asked the driver for his number so that I could call us all in at Lockhart, but also as leader I'm supposed to know the numbers of all the trucks in my group. But there was no answer. I tired a few times and never got a word out of him. Was his radio broken?
As we passed, Security, who had heard me trying to call him, called himself and the dude answered. I wrote this down because it turned out to be significant - his number was...666 . Well, ok then that's a silly joke :huh. It was 1371.
Feb 21st 2011
We were the last group allowed to park at Lockhart before they declared themselves full (we arrived at 01:00), and just a minute or so after I had called our numbers in, dispatch asked me to confirm the last number - 1371. I checked my piece of paper and yep, that's what I'd written down. Dispatch said that 1371 wasn't a valid number, that there was no 1371 on the road this season, but I didn't think I'd misheard it. I said if dispatch was really concerned he could get hold of the Snap Security guy who had got the number out of him in the first place.
Of course, before going to all this trouble I'd have just called him on the radio, "Hey, 1371, last truck in the group just pulling into Lockhart southbound, can you confirm your number?" but Charlie told me that he'd dropped out on P.44. Well, wtf - he never told me! This was strange - did the guy have some allergy to speaking on the radio? And why would you give security a false number? Spooky!
Before hitting the sack I went to speak to Charlie for a few minutes and he mentioned Merv. I said, "Yeah, that Merv is kinda annoying!" Charlie smiled and agreed. He said that a few years ago they'd been running together and after a few trips Charlie had had to find someone else to run with, he hadn't been able to stand it any longer .
We got a decent sleep at Lockhart and left at 07:15. When I went in for breakfast I asked dispatch whether they'd managed to solve the problem of the ghost truck - they have to know who is where because it's their job to know the location of every truck at all times. That way if there's an accident or a white out they can make sure everyone is safe. They had managed to find out what the truck's real number was, but wouldn't tell me anything about what he'd been up to. . It's definitely one of the stranger things I've encountered up there - I mean, we all try to cheat the system whenever we can (hey, we're truck drivers!!) but giving a fake number to Security....not quite sure how you'd ever get away with that.
So Charlie and Merv wanted to sleep in in the morning. I left with another guy who's name I can't remember, and he's one of the ones that wants to chat off channel all the time. Leave me alone! It was an uneventful trip back south until we got to just about Prosperous Lake on the alternative route. When taking that road we have to call in to dispatch at Blue Fin mine and they told us to wait on P.71. Soon trucks started to pile up behind us...
Next to turn up were Charlie and Merv, actually...so get this - I've said before how slow and steady always wins the day. Take this trip as an example. Before leaving town, Charlie had taken extra sleep, but then caught up with me while I was delayed two hours for the spin out on Snap 1 to be cleared. At Lockhart that morning he'd again opted for extra sleep, and now I was delayed another 90 mins for a tanker that managed to get itself sideways on P.70, again he caught up to me. All that hustling and bustling on my part, and I'm only about 500 metres ahead! Actually it was a clusterfuck while we were waiting for this second incident to be cleared, so many people were chatting on LADD 1 that Security and Blue Fin dispatch, who were trying to coordinate the rescue mission, couldn't communicate with each other.
Finally made it back to town at 15:00 and once I'd been reloaded with another load of cement for Diavik, I unhooked and went to pick up some Subway. A very dear friend lives close by so I called while I had the opportunity, and walked over there for a cup of tea.
Bloody hell, that's a long write-up!
<iframe src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/21534592" width="400" frameborder="0" height="300"></iframe>Clutchless shifting from Squonker on Vimeo.
Oh yeah, I see the confusion. The DOT has no jurisdiction on the ice road. The tickets we get from Security on the ice never result in anything more than a suspension, and of course the more heinous the crime the longer the holiday. Those tickets are in no way related to driving licences, driver abstracts or insurance. Private road, private security company.
The DOT tickets are government issued, of course, but they don't have radar guns so they can't know if we're speeding on the Ingraham Trail, which is the only place we drive they they have any jurisdiction. They make a stop-check and pull us over to check log books and look over the truck etc. Those tickets (and those are the ones I was referring to in my previous answer) still don't reflect on your licence, insurance or abstract, but they can result in a fine. You asked earlier whether we could challenge the fine, and my answer still stands.
Interesting video, clutchless shifting is really the only way to do it with that box. I`ve tried using the clutch and stuffed it up most times, although I sometimes gave it a stab just to break contact when changing down.
Not sure how I`d go these days, after using an automated box for so long. Maybe a case of " lucky the gears are in a box and not a paper bag".
We had 15 tonne 6 wheelers until recently which had the 9 speed Eaton syncro box, so at least I could keep the shift pattern in my muscle memory
Now, we have new 27.5 tonne Scania 8 wheelers with the in house Opticruise 12 speed. This box is almost as disastrous as Eaton`s effort to automate their Roadranger.
great video, merv sounds like he has ants in his pants.
that makes more sense now
Since the DOT has no juristiction then you do not have to keep a log book and comply with hours of service then. Is that correct. Do they ever mandate a minimum hours of sleep rest or do they leave that totally up to you.
Obviously at various places you get in some sleep. so how cold does it get in the sleeper. diesels do not make much heat when not working, and as far as I know there is not a lot of insulation in a cab. Do you have extra heat sources or just use cold weather sleeping bag.
Hi David, yeah I also sometimes use a stab of clutch to help it out of gear when changing down too. I think the video would have been better if I could have shown the shift lever and the ground outside too, but it was the best I could do on the fly!
Last week, for the first time ever I drove a tractor with an auto box. A Mack, but I had no trailer on and it was just a quick couple of times around the block thing to see what it was like. I can imagine it being sweet if you were in the city all day long, but otherwise (and to be honest, even then!) give a proper 'box any day!
Rod, I'll answer the first part of your question when I have more time .
At a high idle the trucks keep their heat alright - depending on the outside temp and the wind direction, I find anywhere from 900 rpm and up is enough, and 90% of the time I'm idling between 900 and 1100 rpm while I'm sleeping. You get to know your truck, too, what it does and doesn't like/when it will or won''t keep its heat. We do have bunk heaters but I find that they generally make the place too hot, so I just let the cab heat make its way back to me and I'm usually pretty comfortable. I just use a regular sleeping bag (good for 0c) and a blanket. Although the cabs may be leaky and cold, the sleepers are usually pretty good. No doors or windows to leak and let the wind in.
<iframe src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/21556354" width="400" height="300" frameborder="0"></iframe><p><a href="http://vimeo.com/21556354">Flood bus</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/user3572985">Squonker</a> on <a href="http://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p>
Rod, the Rules Of The Road stipulate that you must be 'properly rested and fit to drive' or some such - I just recycled my copy of this years rules so I can't double check the wording. So no, they don't stipulate how much rest we should get, but I remember one year someone managed to fall asleep and hit the snow bank between the end of the Ingraham Trail and The Meadows. Falling asleep before you even start the journey would considered bad , and Security made him sleep at The Meadows for 6 or 8 hours!
Log books. Well, I used to skirt around this question, but I care less these days. Officially, we are required to keep a legal logbook. Security will never ask to see one, but D.O.T will, and we are to hand in our completed pages to dispatch at the end of every trip.
But...dispatch don't look at them, they just file them away. Having said that, though, if I'm keeping a log book because the D.O.T. or RCMP might want to look at it, then it had better be legal. So mine always is.
In my own personal, and not at all humble opinion, there is no legal requirement for us to keep log books on that job, and my guess is that if someone were to challenge the requirement to produce one in court, they'd win. But I'm no lawyer.
In the NWT you are allowed to drive within 100 kms of your home base and not keep a log book. Because the only legal highway we drive - the Ingraham Trail - is only 68 kms long, we fall within that 100 km radius. And once we're off the Trail we're onto the ice, so...private road and again no legal requirement.
I have no problem handing in a legal log book page at the end of every trip to my dispatcher because as I already mentioned nothing comes of it. But with the D.O.T etc it gets tricky. I'm not going to be the one to tell them that I'm not legally obliged to keep one, so I guess the simple answer is that yes, we are required to keep one.
Incidentally, throughout most of North America, you are allowed to drive 13 hrs a day and must have 10 hrs rest. In the NWT you are allowed to drive for 15, and must have 8 hrs rest.
<iframe src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/21558132" width="400" height="300" frameborder="0"></iframe><p><a href="http://vimeo.com/21558132">South on 9 and 8</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/user3572985">Squonker</a> on <a href="http://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p>
As always, a great read.
Is there anywhere to divert to between P1 where you picked him up and P44 where he 'disappeared'? Wildcat trucker on the iceroads? Security being sneaky by running a truck into a group to see if they are sticking to the rules? Will we have the real answer in an upcoming installment?
If the Mack had the Eaton auto, once you got a trailer behind and did a bit of work, you would see how horrible it is. But, just released here in Oz is the new `in house` Mack Mdrive 12 speed auto box, which is really a re-programmed version on the Volvo Ishift. I`d love to try one of those, Volvo have them worked out very well.
Even though they can be hard work, the Eaton manual box, (with the light clutch option for me) would be the way to go.
I`m a fan of very high torque engines; something like a C16 with a 9 speed would do me for highway use. For what you have been doing, a few more gears are needed.
In the USA you also have the no more than 70 hours in eight days or some kind of rule. do you have that in Canada?
what gear are you in crossing the ice? Are you idling or are you under power? I guess what I'm asking..... what RPM?
when you said you have a bunk heater, did you mean an espar type unit or the factory heater from engine coolant?
I have run some old trucks across the flat lands years ago and damn near froze to death, frosty guages and an ice scraper for the inside windows
as always, another great season, thanks for draggin us along.
P.S. are you still working in the weather station?
Alex, where we leave the Snap Lake road after Snap 1 we rejoin the main Tibbett To Contwoyto road just north of P. 46. Forty six is big enough to park on if you really feel the need, but it isn't somewhere you'd usually stop and I think Security would want to know why if you did so. On this occasion, though, because of the spin out on P.1. the northbound Snap trucks were parked waiting on P.46 so he couldn't have stopped there even if he'd wanted to. Forty five doesn't have a pull out on it, and Charlie says he saw 1371 pull over behind him on P.44 so we know that's where he was. There's room for about 6 trucks there, kinda an overflow for southbound trucks when Lockhart is full.
Security sneaking in a spy? Nah, Security is, for the most part, pretty cool. Last year was the first year for a new company, which had won the contract. They hired many of the old people back, most of whom are ex-RCMP and they are all good guys. Not only do they respect us and what we do, but they will tell you that their first responsibility is to help us. I'm friends with a few of them socially and keep in touch with one or two throughout the year, meeting in person if we're in eachothers' towns. Every so often they hire someone new and sometimes these guys aren't so cool, but I can't conceive them running 'plain clothes trucks'.
Rod, there is something along those lines, yes. Not sure of the exact numbers though because I've hardly done any long distance trucking.
What gear am I in? Usually jeans and a t-shirt . 25 km/h is 5th in the 'Pete, at about 1300rpm. 10 km/h is second at about 1500 rpm or 3rd at about 1100 - up to you which you use I guess, but you're not really under load, no, so I usually go with the higher gear/lower rpms. But remember that you're not on completely flat ice - the truck always sits in a depression created by its own weight, so you're always climbing uphill slightly...just very slightly. Can't remember what the gears are for all the speeds, but at 60 km/h in the hammer lanes I'm in 11th.
Bunk heater is the factory one, run off the engine coolant.
It doesn't look as though I'll be going back to Eureka (the wx stn) because I'm in the process of training to be something else right now, which will keep me busy full time. And it's related to this thread so half way through April I'll let you know what it is. I still have company email for the folks I go to Eureka for and still know what's going on on a daily basis. They took some great pics of the wolves right in camp the other day - very cool. I miss that place and would love to go back again one day but I think it's unlikely. Shame, but I got to go twice...it would be fantastic to go there in summer once, though (average summer temp is +4c).
But...having just told you that I'll be busy full time at one job come April, I did just get a call from Boss about an hour ago and there is a chance I'll go back to the ice roads next year. It might be advantageous to the company I'm about to start work for if I did . How about I leave you with that .
Thanks for posting!
did you buy a mine up there??????
I have a logistical question..... all the product you drivers haul on the ice is sitting in town. Sooooo, is it brought to town in a 'just in time' delivery, or is the product delivered there weeks or months in advance, and sits waiting for you to haul it?
I would think with winter and bad weather, it would be a son of a gun getting it up there all at once. On the other side of the coin, it would cost a ton of money to stock pile all the mines needs for months at a time.
Please enlighten me so I can get some sleep....
Would it be possible ice/weight wise, to run something like an Australian roadtrain not just a super B?????
I need to get a life!
Not at all, John. And I can add that the amount of time off for a 'reset' is 72 hrs.
Over several months then stored in various quarries and laydowns around the YK area.
Yeah I bet it ain't cheap to store all that stuff, but the mines ain't exactly hurtin'!
Now go to bed!
Well, that's one for the engineers to answer, but I don't see why not....
Feb 22nd 2011
Left town at midnight with another Super-B load of cement for Diavik. Mmmm, Super-B !
It was a hard run to Lockhart, and for the last couple of hours it was all I could do to stay awake. We arrived there at 08:13 and I'd love to have pressed on, but common sense said to grab some shut eye first...Mackay Lake was only 2 hrs away! I hit the bunk for two hours and immediately felt like a different person. Nice.
Many of the cracks in Mackay Lake had been filled in by snow which did make things a little better, but I still managed to find a couple of doozies! The weather began to close in the further north I went, so already I was making plans to get all the way back to Lockhart having been unloaded. If by any chance I had managed to make it to the mine without snoozing at Lockhart, I most certainly wouldn't have been able to make it back any further than P.49 so I was doubly glad for the chance I'd taken to dream some more about Lena Heady .
I arrived at Diavik at 18:20, greeted by a bitter wind (I even underlined 'bitter' in my notes!) and the usual clusterfuck. Actually there'd been a crew change that day and the new crew wasn't bad, but the woman marshaling me to the unload zone did manage to pull a classic...
..At the mines, every vehicle has both 4-ways and rotating beacons on as long as the vehicle is being used, 24/7, and that would include the time the marshal's pick-up is sat outside the dispatch office, for instance. We are told at orientation that we are to have either 4-ways or beacons. Some highway trucks only have a $20 magnetic beacon slapped on the roof and those guys might use both. Other trucks, like mine, have what are known as 'fancy beacons' 'cos they're...well, fancy!
So as I'm heading down the hill out of the parking lot following the marshal, with my fancy beacons on (as per the rules) which believe me you'd have to be completely blind to miss (and it's dark by now too), the marshal comes on the radio and says, "755, can you turn your 4-ways on?". I nearly choked. I wanted to say, "Have you looked at my fucking roof?" but thought it might just go down a teeny bit better if I simply did what she'd asked.
Here is how ridiculous this is. If a truck is coming towards you in the dark with low beam headlights on, and its 4-ways, the 4-ways are so much dimmer than the low beams that you have to be literally about 23.256 ft from that truck before you can even tell that it has its 4-ways on. The fancy beacons on my roof you can see from over a kilometer away, and she is worried about my fucking 4-ways? I shared a laugh about it with many people over the next few days and the most common reaction was, "Yep, they're different at Diavik" .
I should also add that when I first drove this truck last year Boss pointed out the fancy beacons and told me that other truckers would even comment on them, and they do. Can I turn my 4-ways on? Gimme a break! Look - big fucking fancy beacons!!
Anyway, now that I've calmed down....!
I shot this video (on a different trip) while being escorted around the mine. It's cool!
<iframe src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/21732716" width="400" height="300" frameborder="0"></iframe><p><a href="http://vimeo.com/21732716">Haul trucks</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/user3572985">Squonker</a> on <a href="http://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p>
I left at 21:15 with Mark from Valley, who was driving a newer version of my truck. Nice. (But not as nice!) The wind was worse down south and Lockhart was full so we pulled over on P.44. We'd already discussed our plans and I was only planning on being there a while, Mark for longer. I parked making sure I could get out again, Mark found a spot on the inside somewhere.
Feb 23rd 2011
Up at 06:15 to head to Lockhart, alone. Well, maybe not. Literally 30 seconds before me, another truck that had been parked there pulled out. Cool. Until he went down the hammer lane at 40 km/h. Made a note not to be behind him when I left Lockhart....
I saw Paul at Lockhart. Paul had driven for Carl with me in '09 and I hadn't seen him since then - likely because he hadn't been back since then. There is a photo of him somewhere back in this thread. Hooked up with Dale and Jim to head south, leaving at 07:50 having satisfied my growling stomach.
Got back to Yellowknife at 13:45 and was told to drop my trains. Oh, that isn't good news. Trains pay better, and don't get backhauls (much). They tell me that they have something pre-loaded, but if it's on a straight trailer I likely will get a backhaul...that means a long wait at the mine, and that in turn means I likely won't get a 7th trip in. Hmmm. So the backhaul, if I get one, will actually end up costing me big $$. But, I must stress here that dispatch was only trying to help me out and I appreciate that. Their thinking is that a pre-loaded trailer saves time over one that has to be loaded, and that makes sense, just not in this case! If it had been night time and Kevin was in dispatch I'd have asked him for a re-load on my trains, but I don't know Steve on days well enough to ask him. Oh well, it's another trip, at least, might as well go and find out what it is....
<iframe src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/21734236" width="400" height="300" frameborder="0"></iframe><p><a href="http://vimeo.com/21734236">Down Charlie's Hill</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/user3572985">Squonker</a> on <a href="http://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p>
Neither of those look right to me. Around here there will be tandems on the lead trailer, tandems on what my dad called the converter (the middle fifthwheel), then tandems on the following trailer, for a total of six axles, plus three axles (steering, drive, and tag or steering and two drive) on the tractor. Triples are different, since the trailers are shorter, so each trailer will have one axle, each converter has one, and the tractor will have two or three, for a total of 7 or 8 axles. Pulling two short trailers, there would be one axle on each trailer, one on the converter, and most likely only one non-steering axle on the tractor, for five total. Other weirdness is stuff like P.I.E. equipment that had pseudo three axle tractors where the third axle carried a separate fifthwheel and the whole unit could detach to permit pulling doubles without having to hunt around for a converter ('cause you brought your own with you).