Well, we have been here a few days and tried to make the best of things, or least I have by taking the waiting in the stride. There is an angst in the air, everybody wants to get moving, but the fact remains that the ice is not quite ready. The word is we could be waiting until 10 February, oh wait, somebody just said the eighth. Who knows? There is no point in getting upset, or succumbing to camp rumors. I expect that when we get our envelope to run to Hay River and begin the grind we will be relishing these moments of relaxation.
Taking into account that we’re sitting around a lot, Brad and I ventured down into Yellowknife for the day and bumbled around and had some fun. We gave you a not so accurate geographic depiction of the world-famous Ragged Ass Road, but we had fun all the while. Yellowknife’s got a be one of the coolest northern cities around, it’s right up there with Dawson city in the Yukon or even Whitehorse. Although I must admit I’ve not been to either of those cities, which is why I am writing this. THe last thing I need is to incite some sort of a northern city Internet flame war.
A GEOGRAPHICALLY IMPAIRED HISTORY LESSON ON RAGGED ASS ROAD.
Up here, people embrace the
cold, it’s a way of life you’ll actually hear them say that they’re looking
forward to it getting colder. Everywhere you look people are dressed for the
weather. Sporting Canada Goose parkas and a good set of mukluks. I found most
of the people here to be extremely friendly and that is why I don’t have a big
problem coming back here time and again. Winter in Yellowknife is like summer
in Lake Tahoe. There is a huge winter festival and they build an Ice Castle, which
will be surrounded by beautiful ice sculptures come the end of the season. We
had a bit of a video mishap, in which I actually interviewed one of the workers
who was building the Ice Castle. For whatever reason, that video did not come
out, but I do have some small clips where you can actually look inside and see
people working hard to get it ready. I will post them at a later time.
I’ve also included a couple of clips of drivers who come here year after year and that I’ve come to know as friends. Among them, Ian MacNearney, who is pretty candid about ice road trucking. Ian comes out every year from Nova Scotia to run the ice, put a few bucks in his pocket to supplement his income back home. Ian is among great many drivers who travel from their home every year to do this job. The economy on the East Coast has never been the greatest, the Maritimes do not get the same consideration as the rest of the country. A great many East Coasters come west and even north for better pay and to help maintain their life back home. I count myself among those people, who have been coined economic refugees, just looking for a way to take care of their families and pay their bills. I spent the better part of three years flying back and forth and spending a great deal of time away from home and family. Back in 2012 when I chose to do this, I found a second family of drivers, who supported each other through the times that we were away. You won’t find this breed of drivers on the Toronto-bound 401 or running the Trans Canada to Vancouver. There, everybody is in a hurry, it’s dog eat dog and there is very little if any, comradery. Here, a driver will pick up a meal. Venture out into brutal temperatures and climb under your truck with you to help with a mechanical issue. These are the real Ice Road Truckers, not the cowboys who come sniffing for some ridiculous scripted reality circus. We don't dash for the cash, we run the the roads and live by the code: "No one here gets left behind."
Another interesting fellow I ran across here and somebody I’ve known for a few years is James Savoie. James is from Northeastern Ontario up around the Ottawa area, or as we kindly refer to it: Sucking Central. James’s been running these roads for a number of years as well, and has tangled with the Buffalo on the highway north of Big River. Most interesting, James found a completely intact frozen wolf that was undamaged, along the highway to Yellowknife. As you can see in the picture above. Check out the video below for a bit of rough interaction with the boys.
Chatting it up with the drivers as we wait to go north.
So as I write this, we have gone from rumor to dispatch and as I understand it now we will be heading down the road tomorrow into Hay River to get the ice road underway. With that in mind, I suppose I should stop pecking away at these keys and get my blog uploaded. This is the last blog I will be doing solo without the editorial input of my Jake Anfinson.
Did you hear that, Jake? Time to get out your red pen.
The next time we chat, I hope to have some interesting photos and video to show you.
Let the adventure begin