Yellowknife ice trucking

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

  1. squonker

    squonker Stupid is the new norm

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    <iframe src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/21847652" width="400" height="300" frameborder="0"></iframe><p><a href="http://vimeo.com/21847652">Drybones Lk. after storm</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/user3572985">Squonker</a> on <a href="http://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p>
  2. Two Speed

    Two Speed Adventurer

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    If this is what your describing? I haven't seen those in use for years, axle/load/length rules I think have pretty much killed off any useful commercial use.


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    Alex.
  3. Drif10

    Drif10 Accredited Jackass

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    UPS uses them alot here in Canada, as does Tim Hortons. :dunno
  4. troidus

    troidus Long timer

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    UPS uses them on the Kansas Turnpike, too, where they can run triples.

    [​IMG]
  5. barnyard

    barnyard Verbal tactician Super Moderator

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    Squonk,

    Nice vid on floating the gears. I think it is more interesting for those that have never driven, to watch the tach when floating.

    The trucks I drive have a 400 rpm difference in gears. So, if I shift at 1600 rpm, I will let the rpms drop to 1200, then complete the shift. Downshifting is the opposite, at 1100, pull the lever out of gear, press the go pedal, at 1500 rpm put lever into the next lower gear.

    When I first started driving, I had some problems shifting. My instructor pointed out the 400 rpm shift points and after that, piece of cake.

    We run a variety of manufacturers, it is amazing how some will float so easily, but others, the foot feed is so sensitive that controlling the Rs is tough. The newer Internationals loose RPMs almost instantly it seems, where older Macks fall fairly slow.

    Good reading.
  6. barnyard

    barnyard Verbal tactician Super Moderator

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    Those are conventional dollies in use every day by UPS, Fed Ex and many of the LTL companies here in the States. Pretty sure that photo is an auction photo of Consolidated Freightway's equipment before auction.
  7. squonker

    squonker Stupid is the new norm

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    Hey,

    Yeah, there were a few ways I was aware that I could have made that video better. Ideally you'd have been able to see the gear lever and the truck moving in relation to the ground as well as the tach, but you get what you pay for! At least anyone who has ever paid any attention to the way an engine sounds when it is under load as opposed to simply being revved up while idling will know that the truck was indeed moving!

    I'll write up the next trip this week. There are 5 videos to go with it so I have to get them all uploaded first...

    Cheers.
  8. Two Speed

    Two Speed Adventurer

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    I messed that one up.

    Guess what I saw the other day after not seeing them for years? A fed ex double on a dolly. Whats ironic? I drive past a small fed ex terminal nearly every day... :lol3



    Quite possible, image was courtesy of google image search.

    Alex.
  9. squonker

    squonker Stupid is the new norm

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    Some pics to be going on with...

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    And a couple taken in YK...

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    [​IMG]
  10. ragtoplvr

    ragtoplvr Long timer

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  11. squonker

    squonker Stupid is the new norm

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  12. squonker

    squonker Stupid is the new norm

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    [​IMG]


    Feb 25th 2011

    The trailer that dispatch told me to hook up to was loaded with wire mesh. It was parked in a different quarry from the one we regularly use, tight beside another tridem flat which was loaded with assorted bits and bobs. When I turned up to pin on and tie my load down , there was an old guy there tying down the load next door. I wasn't in the best mood because I wasn't happy about having lost my trains, and the fact that this straight trailer likely meant a lengthy delay at Diavik while I got a backhaul, which in turn would mean that I wouldn't get another trip in. If I'd been able to keep my trains and stay on the cement haul I'd have got two trips in for sure. Not now.

    [​IMG]


    This mesh was a pain to tie down. The sharp edges meant that I had to use hard corners under my straps, only I didn't have enough so I cut up an old strap and used lengths of that as protection for my tie down straps. What I mean is that the ends of the mesh would have rubbed through the straps that I used to tie the load down when the load naturally moved a little as I was under way. By putting another layer of strap or a 'hard corner' (a 90 degree piece of aluminium or plastic) under the tie down straps on the corners, they were protected. It was a bitch because each strap required two corners, and each corner meant climbing up onto the trailer at least once to make sure that the corners were positioned correctly under the straps. From memory, I think I used ten straps so that's at least twenty times I had to climb up onto the trailer. What made it even harder still was that it was windy that day, and when threw the straps over the load they'd move in the wind. I'd get them positioned, climb up and put one corner in place, and by the time I jumped down and climbed back up the other side to do the other corner, the strap had moved in the wind and needed placing back over the first corner. The trick was to sinch the tie down strap tight enough so that it couldn't move in the wind, but still leave enough slack for me to get a strap under each corner. It was delicate work!

    So while this was going on I was mumbling the odd word to the guy tying down his load next door (he was at least 100 years old, I think!), but I wasn't nearly as friendly as I usually would have been.

    [​IMG]


    Eventually Old man Time was about done and told me that he'd pull away to give me more room to work. I told him I'd check that his trailer wheels were turning for him, and that's when the fun started....

    ...Basically, they weren't. Well, I think there was one on the r/h side frozen, and all three on the left. I grabbed a sledge hammer and hit the relevant wheels (the wrong way to do it but I was too lazy to get under the trailer if I didn't have to), and most of them freed right up. There was one on the left that just wouldn't un-stick though. I ended up having to get under the trailer to tap the dust cover in the end, but even that didn't work. I got mad and hit it harder with the sledge hammer on the wheel itself. No go. Back on the ground underneath...still no go. He drove forward slowly while I whacked the wheel with the big hammer. Nothing. This must have gone on for a good 15 mins and I was pretty sure that we had a bigger problem on our hands. I was just about to tell the guy that there was nothing else I could do and that he'd have to call the mechanic on the radio when all six of his trailer wheels locked right up. At first I was sure that he'd accidentally dynamited his brakes but he assure me that he hadn't. Either way, there was bugger all I could do. I told him the mechanic's name and how to get hold of him, and got back to my load. When the mechanic did turn up five of his wheels mysteriously began turning again, but that one on the left wasn't budging, and they ended up just winding that brake all the way off.

    And the fun was only just beginning...look at this:

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    Got to go. More tomorrow, I hope.
  13. troidus

    troidus Long timer

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    I wouldn't have a good feeling about running with a disabled brake. What happens if the rest of them fail out on the ice? Good thing you guys only run 10 km/h.

    My dad used to tell a story about crossing Raton Pass one rainy night with a balky LF brake that kept trying to yank him out of his lane every time he hit the brakes. I can't imagine that was any fun.
  14. CruisnGrrl

    CruisnGrrl Two wheels, woot!

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    this looks stuck
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    do you ever come back from the mines trailerless?
  15. squonker

    squonker Stupid is the new norm

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    Well, remember most of the time we're running at a very reckless 25 km/h, not 10!

    There was no danger here running with one brake out for the count - we never use our brakes on the ice anyway and he still had 11 out of 12 working. Never using our brakes comes in to play later on in the story...


    Only once, in 2006. I had taken a load of dynamite to Snap Lake and when Snap dispatch had seen on the computer that it was on its way, they had realized that they had nowhere to store the stuff. When I arrived at the mine they told me that they had asked for my load not to be delivered, and I wondered whether they might make me wait a week or a month until they had room for it in the explosives storage area! They just told me to drop my trailer off in the end, and because they had no backhaul for me I bobtailed home.
  16. squonker

    squonker Stupid is the new norm

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    [​IMG]

    ^^I took this photo just to piss Boss off!!:D Boss doesn't have a very high opinion of Pa Pa Jo, so when I saw the opportunity to park beside him in the yard one day, I snapped this shot. Later I emailed it to Boss for him to blow up and frame on his wall :lol3.^^

    Ok, where were we? Oh yeah, buddy's brakes. The mechanic came out and was working on solving the problems with that trailer when I left to pull my truck into the shop for an hour or two and do a couple of things to it. When I went to dispatch it was night shift on duty, and I asked Kevin whether he'd do me a favour. I knew it was a long shot, but I had nothing to lose...I asked him whether he'd call Diavik for me. I was getting short on time to get a seventh load in and I wasn't going to be happy if the mine took 18 hrs to scrabble together a backhaul for me as they'd done to Mike earlier in the season. I asked Kevin to call them and say that there was a tridem flat on the way, and that if they wanted to load me with a backhaul they now had 16+ hrs notice. Kevin said no - fair enough, I suppose - but he did say that they'd give me a Snap Lake trip next so that I could fit one more in. :thumb As it turned out....:wink:

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    ^^ Broken springs that someone had lost on the road, and Security had picked up along the way. ^^

    I left Yellowknife on 04:00 on Feb 24th, I think, and had a bitch of a time staying awake by the time I hit Portage 10. I very nearly pulled over to crash on P.16 but struggled on and worked through my fatigue.

    I was leading two really nice guys (tanker yankers) called Selwyn and Ken. As we were approaching the north end of Gordon Lake I heard Security talking to a truck that had been broken down on P.21. I didn't get the whole conversation, but it was now fixed and Security were telling the driver to join the convoy that was just passing him right then. There was some mis-communication and the driver didn't join that group. He was now left sitting on the portage all by himself, but by this time I recognized the voice and it was Mike, Boss's other driver so I told him he could join us. In the end Selwyn and Ken stopped there on P.21 at the Sugar Shack to sleep for a few hours and Mike and I carried on together.

    [​IMG]


    To be continued....
  17. squonker

    squonker Stupid is the new norm

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    Mike, whom I'd picked up on P.21, had had a bit of a bummer morning. There's a trailer parked on that portage with a shitter in it (which is why we call it the Sugar Shack), and he'd pulled in to use the facilities. When he came out to his truck again, he couldn't open the door - it had locked itself! The poor guy - I don't think it was too too cold and anyway the sugar shack is heated, but he'd spent 90 mins trying to get into his truck without having to break a window. Eventually he ended up removing the small piece of glass that is down beside the foot well on the passenger side so that he could reach in and open that door. He used a sheet of plastic or something to replace the glass, and had to enter his truck through the passenger door for the rest of the trip.

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    We arrived at Lockhart at 12:35 and found Dave there having lunch. Dave is the old dude who'd been tying down his load next to me and had all those problems with his brakes. Turns out that even though the mechanic had backed off that one trailer brake for him, it was his quick release valve that was the reason all of his trailer brakes had locked up on him while I was helping him trying to free the one stuck one. Every time he touched his brake pedal his trailer brakes all came on...and stayed on for approximately ten minutes! He didn't find out until he was already on the Ingraham Trail so he was unable to use any brakes at all, and had to get the guys ahead of him to warn him of any downhills. He was pretty good about it though - I got the impression he'd seen a lot worse.

    I grabbed a half hour sleep at Lockhart and then lead Dave and one of Dickson's new drivers called Mike to the mine. That was quite the journey...Mackay Lake was much smoother for having been graded, but still rough in spots. Dave kept dropping back which always bugs me, but he seemed content so I just let it go. We had a long delay due to a breakdown on Mackay. I can't remember what had happened, but there was a stranded truck there which the driver, along with a friend of his and some help from Security, had Heath Robinsoned to get it off the lake. Security asked me to let these two trucks join my group, but their fix hadn't worked and we ended up being held up even more. By the time we finally got to P.49 at the north end of Mackay we had lost so much time that while Dave took a minute to sort out his straps, I let two groups behind us go on by. Then, having waited what was probably 20 mins while Dave fought with his straps in the very strong wind (I'd gone out to help him and see what I could/couldn't do for the broken truck, which had limped that far), Mike and I were becoming pretty frustrated. Mike had just said to me over the radio that ok, Dave was on the move when Dave himself came on the radio - he'd accidentally hit his brakes and now he was stuck! I'd pretty much had it by then but we had no choice but to wait until his trailer brakes decided to free themselves up again, then finally we were off.

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    We pulled in to the mine parking lot at 22:30 (it had taken us eight hours to get from Lockhart to Diavik, should have taken us six), and I was very glad to see that there were only three other trucks there. Ok, perhaps they'd have time to find me my backhaul and get me on my way again. They told me that I was indeed getting a backhaul, but the fact that there was a driver in the shack just leaving with one who'd only been there 3.5 hrs did encourage me.


    Feb 25th 2011

    In the end I had had nothing to worry about - I left again at 03:20 (so a five hour turn around) and hauled arse back to P.49. I arrived there at 04:40 having had just 30 mins sleep (at Lockhart on the way up) in the past 26 hours. I wrote in my notes that I had been going to make a video, but was too tired. No idea what it was going to be about.

    [​IMG]


    To be continued even more....
  18. squonker

    squonker Stupid is the new norm

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    I set my alarm for three hours, but ended up waking up after four. I set sail for Lockhart and was happy to find that they had opened a new lane on Mackay Lake. What happens is that when the northbound lane gets too rough (it services all the loaded trucks and so takes a beating), they plow a new lane on the lake. Northbound loadeds get to take the new lane, then the southbound empties can take the same hammer lanes, and the southbound loaded trucks - me, in this case - can have the old northbound lane and then we don't have to keep slowing down to 10 km/h every time we pass another truck. Everybody is happy.

    As I made my way south on Mackay, Mike (the Mike with the broken door lock) was heading north. What the hell - we had arrived at Lockhart together about 18 hrs ago, how come he was so far behind? It turns out that he had left Lockhart once and then been turned around and ordered to go back due to bad weather, so this was turning out to be a very slow trip indeed for him.

    By half way across Mackay the rumours were flying about the road being about to close for weather, but you hear this sort of thing all the time. However, when Security began to mention it too I knew that it was something I needed to take notice of. By the time I got to Lockhart at 14:07 the road to the north was closed. I went in and had something to eat and shot the shit with Gary, Sean F., Charlie and Carmen, but the weather was definitely getting worse so I needed to keep going while the road to the south was still open. I was still very (I underlined that in my notes!) tired, though.

    I jumped in my truck and called dispatch.
    "Lockhart Dispatch"
    "Go ahead for Lockhart"
    "705 leaving the yard heading south loaded"
    "705 southbound loaded"

    I was parked in the top lot where the straight trailers are allowed to as long as there is room. It takes..I dunno, about 90 seconds to drive down the hill to the ramp onto the ice, I would think. I was half way there when dispatch called me on the radio.

    "705 have you left yet?"
    "Just heading down the hill into the lower lot now"

    And about thirty seconds later,
    "705 do you copy?"
    "Go ahead for 705"
    "705 I have some bad news for you. I can't let you go alone with the weather as it is. You can leave with another loaded truck when one turns up, or we'll wait for a break in the weather and let you go then. Sorry!"

    I was literally about a truck and trailer length away from being on the ice. So close! So I backed up, went and parked back in my old spot and hit the bunk for a couple of hours, thinking that by that time I'd be cleared to go again.

    Or so I thought....
  19. squonker

    squonker Stupid is the new norm

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    Hello again. This trip is taking a while to write up, I realize, but I'm not posting it up bit by bit only to try and generate any sort of excitement (that ain't never gonna happen in this thread, I know!). There are a few reasons why it has taken so long, but the main one is that I have been on a course for the past three weeks in Vancouver, and have had homework every night. I'm not used to that! Anyway, I'm well chuffed because I have now finished, and as of this afternoon I am now a British Columbia certified driving instructor for Classes 7,5,4,3,2 and 1. For you Yanks, I think you know a class 1 licence as a CDL, and I have a full time job training truck drivers starting in May. I'm very much looking forward to it - as you may have gathered, I love trucks and love being around them but I couldn't think of a worse job than being a truck driver! This way I get the best of everything and I'm quite excited. Oh, and if you're on Vancouver Island and you see a tractor trailer with 'Student Driver' written on it and the face in the instructor's seat looks familiar from this thread, give us a WIDE berth!!

    Alright, on with the show (but tonight's episode will be a quickie too because I only got home a wee while ago and I need to go to bed).

    The storm. Oh yes, the storm.

    [​IMG]

    Having gone for what I thought would be a short nap to wait for the weather to improve, I woke up to find the wind worse than it had been before. Oops. I went into camp for supper and shot the shit with Charlie, Troy, George and Jason, and I asked dispatch whether they minded if I were to check in every couple of hours about being allowed to go again. They said to knock myself out, so long as I didn't do it on the radio so that everyone else could hear! :ear They also said that it was due to blow for a couple of days, and that wasn't what I wanted to hear at all. Shit. I began to think about what my deadline for time would be in order to get a last quick trip in to Snap Lake before I had to fly home in a few days, and figured I would have to leave Lockhart by Saturday morning. It was currently Friday evening and my flight was booked for Monday afternoon. People began to comment on my truck because I was the only straight trailer there and therefore the only truck allowed to park in the top lot, which is about half as far from camp as everyone else was. I could have rented out my sleeper!

    [​IMG]

    At 8pm I decided to try and stay up until midnight, and that I'd check in with dispatch then, but in reality it was obvious just looking outside that I wasn't going anywhere that night. I closed out my logbook and went to bed.


    Sat Feb 26th 2011

    I woke up in the morning to find this:

    [​IMG]


    After breakfast I made a video. The first of a few....

    <iframe src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/22059047" width="400" frameborder="0" height="300"></iframe>Storm at Lockhart 1 from Squonker on Vimeo.
  20. troidus

    troidus Long timer

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    Lots of familiar stuff there. Dad took me with him a few times, and I've actually driven a bit.

    I tried to get my license back in '84, but it didn't quite work out. Finding a two-seat tractor in which to take the driving test was a challenge, even with family in the Teamsters. (We had tried to arrange the test in Dad's tractor, but the examiner wouldn't sit on a temporary bench in lieu of a seat. Big surprise. I figured as much, but Dad was hopeful.) The rental companies wouldn't rent a tractor for a test, and most of the Union truck lines had single-seat tractors. After a bunch of phone calls, we found a two-seat tractor we could borrow at the American Freight terminal in Wichita. Dad had already arranged to borrow a 45' trailer from Signal (delivery subsidiary of Sears), so we went over to the American terminal in his tractor and hooked his trailer to the borrowed tractor. Off to take the test we went. Hey, this is a city tractor, so it's only a 5-speed, no split-range shifting to worry about. Woot! Anyway, we got there and the examiner wanted to see the cab card. Pulled it out and CRAP! The cab card had expired on June 6th, just a week prior. No test that day.

    We took the tractor back and told the terminal manager about the cab card problem. He had his guys inspect the rest of the tractors and discovered that they were all expired. He called Corporate and they told him they were in the process of switching insurance companies and were running on their grace period. That was a lie. Two weeks later they called him up and told him to send everyone home, that they were out of business. Meanwhile, no other tractors materialized and my regular license was set to expire, so I had to settle for a regular Operators license again. Sigh. I love the smell of diesel fuel.