I know that Ice Road Truckers veterans all love Hugh and Alex because they were in previous seasons when the show took place in Canada, but I can't help it -- Lisa is my favorite. She's hilarious, surprisingly strong for her small stature and she can lug chains, tighten straps and haul the big loads right along with the boys. What's not to like?? I was so glued to her story tonight. I find myself rooting for her to do well with these oversized load tests so that she can become one of the Dalton elite: A heavy-haul driver. This time, the load was long (as opposed to the extra-wide one she hauled last time), so it wasn't as intense along the Dalton as the last one where oncoming trucks became dangerous obstacles. But, things got a bit more intense on the sea ice. This week's haul of 80-foot pipe wasn't bound for Deadhorse. No, it had a one-way ticket for the oil rigs out in the Arctic Ocean, which means harrowing miles across the frozen ocean over sea ice. A trek so dangerous, drivers have to maintain the 10 mph speed limit in order to keep themselves from compromising the ice, and ultimately, falling through into the ice-cold waters below. Instantly, Lisa noticed the wave-like feeling as she edged out onto the frozen ocean. But have no fear, the narrator (executive producer Thom Beers) informed us, "The wave-like motion is the weight of the truck making the ice sag and stretch." Sag and stretch??!! Do you guys see how crazy/scary this job is?
Just in case you're not convinced that sudden death is right around the corner at any given moment, Tim showed us all how one can effectively tempt fate. First, he went to retrieve his broken-down truck and discovered that someone had stolen his chains. He had to drive back to Fairbanks "barefoot." See, this sounds innocent enough until you learn that this barefoot refers to driving on snow and ice down steep hills without chains to help you gain traction. Then after starting his next load, he had a few scares when his truck lost traction with the ice and his steering became almost impossible. I was sure he was going off the road, but luckily, he was able to regain control and steer his truck safely away from the snowy banks and steep edges. And after all of that, he and veteran George got stuck in Coldfoot when a bad snow storm closed Atigun Pass. Looks like they'll be sitting tight for several hours.
Meanwhile, Hugh and Alex have taken their good-natured rivalry from Canada to the States while also getting some ribbing from their American counterparts for attempting the Dalton. Alex did have some tense moments when he and his veteran leader decided to push on despite a stripped tire. He had no traction on the tire, which forced more pressure on the good tire next to it increasing the chance of that tire failing as well. Luckily, he made it safely to Deadhorse. At the end of the day, Jack (who was not featured this week) leads the pack with 8 loads, but my girl Lisa is in second with 7 and as a bonus, she got to cross "driving across the frozen Arctic Ocean" off of her "bucket list." She excitedly exclaimed, "Put a big ol' fat red check mark next to it." Yup, I love me some IRT!!
Ice Road Truckers airs Sunday nights on History Channel. To catch up on this season, click on over to HistoryChannel.com where you'll also get more information, driver bios, and an IRT app for your iPhone.