Entry #1 - The 1st Trip

Well, we drove down to Hay River and we loaded. That went off without a hitch. As for Ingraham Trailthe rest of our adventure, that’s another story altogether. When we got back yesterday I was showing a computer code on my truck. We got a tee time, which means the time that we run up the ice. Our tee off time was scheduled at 4 AM, which means we have to be up and already down at NUNA Dispatch by 3:30 AM. So I set my alarm for 2:30 AM. Having an issue with the truck prior to a tee time isn’t what I wanted to be doing. We arrived back at the camp around 5:15 PM, so as I’m arranging to get my truck looked at by a mechanic I’m watching the time tick away. First I do what I can do, set up a manual burn and try and clear the code on my own. While the truck is doing its burn, I grab a quick meal and start seeking out a mechanic as a backup. When I returned to the truck it’s still showing the same code which reads: exhaust inlet pressure. Insert expletive.

   By 6:30 PM we still hadn’t gotten anything sorted out, and had to wait for a service call from another company because we are having issues with our computer. This is the new face of trucking, these machines are very dependent on sensors and internal computers. You have to have a laptop with the right programming to diagnose all the new gadgets we’ve got on these big rigs. Not unlike cars, the days of the backyard mechanic are gone. Mix in temperatures that are as low as -35 or -40 and these damn computers do all sorts of weird stuff. That’s why many drivers find it preferable to bring an older truck with a good engine up here. The older rigs don’t have nearly the problems as the new ones with all the bells and whistles. What did Scotty say from Star Trek—the more stuff you put on, the easier it is to stuff up the plumbing. Oh Scotty, where are you when we need you?

Lockhart Lake   I’m going to go on a little bit of a rant here because one of the biggest problems that we have is a diesel exhaust fluid system (DEF for short) which is supposed to be and I say this tongue in cheek “be good for the environment”. The fact of the matter is that the DEF system they put on these newer trucks causes them to burn more fuel and, in my opinion, creates more of a carbon footprint than trucks that do not have a DEF system. Never mind the myriad of mechanical issues in creates.  Perhaps I am just a simple man, but when you burn up to 2 miles more per gallon of fuel with a DEF system than without, I’m trying to see the benefit to the environment. I have driven a couple of million miles in my day, probably over a million miles since the DEF system was introduced. I am just one among millions of truck drivers who are burning that extra fuel that has to be extracted from the ground. Never mind the carbon footprint from creating this diesel exhaust fluid that is also being burned and released into the atmosphere. And of course there are the millions of jugs made from plastic that eventually end up in landfills. The general consensus is that somebody or a bunch of somebodies are out there getting very rich at the expense of the trucking industry and anybody that is running a diesel vehicle. The losers in this are the environmentalists, who are being hoodwinked by this ridiculous technology, and the average trucker whose burning in excess of 2 miles per gallon more.

   Okay, enough of my bitching.

   After spending the better part of the night trying to get the truck sorted out, clearing the codes out of the computer, and getting absolutely zero sleep, I made a conscious decision at 12 AM to scrub our run. I notified Brad and we rescheduled for 4 PM today. This morning I took my truck out on a run for about 75 km, and it presented no problem. Fingers crossed. When I got back, my partner Brad had sprung a coolant leak.

  Murphy’s Law, baby.

  He is now down getting fixed and we have approximately four hours until tee time. With that in mind I thought I’d do a quick entry and shoot a bit of video inside the sleeper as I clean up my truck.  It is my intention to try and grab a couple hours of sleep before we take another run at this. There’s a lot of anxiety in the yard, we’ve all been sitting here too damn long and we’re all chomping at the bit to get moving. It’s going to happen, trucks are already rolling up the ice, we just gotta get to it.

The Joy of zero sleep and Mechanical Issues

   It is my intention this afternoon to shoot a bit of video as we had up the Ingraham Trail. We should have about 45 minutes of daylight left. The Ingram Trail is mentioned in my book Acadia and made notorious by the chapter Race with the Devil So I’m hoping to give you a Birdseye view of that. Or as Big Garney Wilson from Acadia says, “Riding the snake”. That’s it for now. I hope my next entry will be coming to you voice to text as I cross the frozen tundra.

   Wish us luck.

MjP No60th 2/10/2016 – 11:31 AM

Lockhart Lake

We departed after breakfast into morning sky of bubble gum pink edging the horizon and fading upward into powder blue. The sun came out not long after, beating into my passenger-side window. From my vantage point it looked like a colossal ball of yellow-white levitating at what the band Kansas called: The Point of No Return.

Be Sure to watch this video right through. The Sun coming off Portage 44 is Magnificent

  McKay Lake After being away from here for two years, I’m still in all of the beauty in this part of the country. It’s wide open, but they skies are just whimsical. We came in last night under a curtain in Northern lights. I could not stop the photograph them, but I will give up an hour or two somewhere in the future. It was an unquestionably beautiful morning and I took a couple of photographs of the ice fog floating over the trees. I hoped these shots will turn out so I can add them to the blog. For that first trip, we really were a ragtag crew of newbies on our way to the Gaucho Kwue Mine. Our collective experience is Brad’s one trip up last year. We had one brand-new driver behind us, and another company driver who I believe has been up on the ice last year for a season. Should make for some interesting driving.

   My thanks to Jake Anfinson for the quick turn around on this blog.

   So, I will sign off for now and give you a recap.

   MjP No60th 2/11/2016 – 09:23 AM

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Tibbitt to Conwoyto Ice Road

M.J. Preston is also an Author

Check out his Novel!

Marty Croft has it all. A beautiful wife and a successful career as a commercial artist. However, he has a secret and it has come back to haunt him. 

  Enter Gordon Shamus. Gordon is a psychopath with a short fuse who won’t take "no" for an answer. Forced back into a world he thought he had left behind Marty heads to the ice roads of Canada to do one last heist. 

  In a twist of fate, that becomes least of his worries. At the Acadia Diamond Mine they have made a major discovery. 

  Something buried in the ice, not of this world and it is about to be unleashed.