Yellowknife ice trucking

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

  1. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2006
    Oddometer:
    4,223
    Location:
    Yellowknife, NWT
    :thumb



    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 :D. 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 :wink:. How about I leave you with that :evil.

    Thanks for posting!
  2. jonboy29

    jonboy29 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2010
    Oddometer:
    38
    Location:
    Home Sweet Home
    Hey Squonker,

    did you buy a mine up there?????? :rofl

    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....:1drink

    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!
  3. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2006
    Oddometer:
    4,223
    Location:
    Yellowknife, NWT
    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! :snore



    Well, that's one for the engineers to answer, but I don't see why not....
  4. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2006
    Oddometer:
    4,223
    Location:
    Yellowknife, NWT
    [​IMG]


    Feb 22nd 2011


    Left town at midnight with another Super-B load of cement for Diavik. Mmmm, Super-B :lol3!

    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.

    [​IMG]

    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 :raabia.

    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" :D.

    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!!

    [​IMG]

    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. :dunno 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.

    [​IMG]

    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>
  5. troidus

    troidus Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2010
    Oddometer:
    23,131
    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).
  6. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2006
    Oddometer:
    4,223
    Location:
    Yellowknife, NWT
    <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>
  7. Two Speed

    Two Speed Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2010
    Oddometer:
    75
    Location:
    a handbasket
    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.


    [​IMG]

    Alex.
  8. Drif10

    Drif10 Accredited Jackass

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2003
    Oddometer:
    48,296
    Location:
    Gates of Moscow
    UPS uses them alot here in Canada, as does Tim Hortons. :dunno
  9. troidus

    troidus Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2010
    Oddometer:
    23,131
    UPS uses them on the Kansas Turnpike, too, where they can run triples.

    [​IMG]
  10. barnyard

    barnyard Verbal tactician Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2007
    Oddometer:
    12,648
    Location:
    central Mn
    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.
  11. barnyard

    barnyard Verbal tactician Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2007
    Oddometer:
    12,648
    Location:
    central Mn
    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.
  12. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2006
    Oddometer:
    4,223
    Location:
    Yellowknife, NWT
    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.
  13. Two Speed

    Two Speed Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2010
    Oddometer:
    75
    Location:
    a handbasket
    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.
  14. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2006
    Oddometer:
    4,223
    Location:
    Yellowknife, NWT
    Some pics to be going on with...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And a couple taken in YK...

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
  15. ragtoplvr

    ragtoplvr Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    7,710
    Location:
    central USA
  16. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2006
    Oddometer:
    4,223
    Location:
    Yellowknife, NWT
  17. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2006
    Oddometer:
    4,223
    Location:
    Yellowknife, NWT
    [​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:

    [​IMG]


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

    troidus Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2010
    Oddometer:
    23,131
    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.
  19. CruisnGrrl

    CruisnGrrl Two wheels, woot!

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    Oddometer:
    260
    Location:
    Trenton, Ontario
    this looks stuck
    [​IMG]

    do you ever come back from the mines trailerless?
  20. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2006
    Oddometer:
    4,223
    Location:
    Yellowknife, NWT
    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.