Monday, July 27, 2009

Everything But the Taillights

It's amazing how something as small and seemingly insignificant can waylay an entire trip up Alaska's Dalton Highway, and yet, that's exactly what happened when taillights decided to go amuck in this week's episode. Lisa was able to fix hers with a little bungee cord and luck (and advice from "Dalton Ace" Jack Jessee), but Tim was not so fortunate. His malfunctioning tail lights cost him a run up the Dalton and about $1300 in missed income. He discovered the issue just outside of Fairbanks and had to turn around and head back to the Carlile yard to spend more time in the garage (a common theme for Tim's rookie season). But, Tim was not the only driver experiencing problems this week. Hugh returned to Fairbanks ahead of rival Alex, but he was stopped by the Alaskan authorities at the Fox Weigh Station for not keeping proper log books. In Alaska, a driver must rest 10 hours for every 16 on the road. Hugh hadn't crossed the 10-hour threshold according to his logs. His safety instructor (good old "Phil-Billy") retrieved the missing data from the Carlile headquarters, but Hugh was still cited and forced to pay more than $200 in fines, received 3 points on his license and was not permitted to drive in the meantime. And then there was the tanker driver who caught the unplowed snow and wound up in a ditch (not a driver featured on the show).

Despite the sorta "bad day" theme running through the episode, this was a super-awesome outing for me because my two faves -- Lisa and Jack -- were hauling together. Through the convoy, Lisa was able to pick up a few lessons from "The Dalton Ace." One lesson, about shifting on a downhill, led to some harrowing moments as her truck slipped into neutral and wasn't finding the gear that she needed in order to slow her it down before it slid out of control. Jack counseled her over the radio telling her to be patient and not to panic (easy for him to say!) and to give it time. Sure enough, the gear clicked into place and her truck slowed down just in time. Lisa declared the new method a success and decided that she would have to keep practicing. A lighter moment along the Dalton occurred in Coldfoot when Lisa woke up, showered, did her hair and then had to wait for Jack to get ready. First, she had to wake him up with a little honk of her horn. It took him 2 hours to her 1.5 to get ready to leave. Yes, Jack just got beaten in the getting ready contest by a girl. Love it! And then later, the two encountered a couple of adorable Dove Sheep running along the Dalton. Just more examples of how this show can be the most intense hour on TV at one moment and one of the most fun the next.

Ice Road Truckers airs Sunday nights on History Channel. To catch up on this season, click on over to where you'll also get show info, driver bios, and an IRT app for your iPhone.

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