Monday, July 20, 2009

To Chain or Not to Chain

"Nah. I'm not going to chain up. I'm only carrying 12,000 pounds." Famous. Last. Words! This week on Ice Road Truckers, Hugh quickly learned that what worked in Canada doesn't work on Alaska's Dalton Highway. Chains may not be a part of the daily grind across the smooth, frozen Arctic Ocean, but along the ups and downs and the 4-mile stretch known as Atigun Pass they become a necessity. As Hugh slipped his way up the stretch, he realized that his decision to skip the chaining up process was a mistake. You live and learn and then you chain up. There's only one problem, though; out there on the Dalton, one mistake can cost you your life. Hugh eventually made it up OK and continued on to Prudhoe Bay where he completed his 6th load of the season (one ahead of rival Alex, although, Alex was gaining ground as he headed out of Prudhoe with his 6th load while Hugh remained ground waiting for "Phil-Billy").

This week's episode marked the return of "The Dalton Ace" Jack Jessee. I missed Jack and his ridiculously large oversized loads. This week: a 100,000-pound storage tank and he had a buddy making the haul with him with his own storage tank. We finally got to meet the appropriately named Carey Hall. Like Jack, he's a heavy-hauler and it seems, the two have quite the tit-for-tat when it comes to haul-road pranks. First, Jack taped a message on Carey's side view mirror that read, "If you are looking here, you know ugley (sic)." Carey, not one to be out-pranked, got him back by attaching the largest pair of underware ever onto the back of Jack's truck. He made it quite a ways up the Dalton before Carey finally came clean. In between the joking, there was a tense moment when Carey almost plowed through Jack while they traveled through The Rollercoaster. Jack was unable to find the right gear, and Carey (unable to slow down his rig) was quickly approaching and bringing a whole new meaning to "Objects in the rear view may be closer than they appear." Jack found his gear and another almost-catastrophe was avoided.

This episode was a bit Lisa-Lite, but she had some interesting moments through Atigun Pass and then later through the Beaver Slide on her way back to Fairbanks. First, she found herself having to drive in the opposite lane as she descended through Atigun because the northbound trucks (which always have the right-of-way on the Dalton) were having a difficult time getting traction as they ascended in the northbound lane. She was inches away from the edge (there was a small guard rail separating her rig from thousands of feet straight down) and having a difficult time seeing, but she cleared the descent and allowed the northbound trucks to maintain traction in the southbound lanes. Later, she found herself facing a very slick Beaver Slide. Her wheels spun and she quickly geared down in time to help her truck make it up the incline. Earlier in the episode, she mentioned that there are two kinds of drivers on the Dalton, "The ones who have been in the ditch and the ones who are gonna go in the ditch." So many times on this show it seems that the latter are about to become the former. And this is why I can't take my eyes off of my TV screen.

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.

1 comment:

RichE said...

Come on! You're killing me!

I've been trying for a while to come up with an appropriately inappropriate comment to this for a while now. But I have failed :-(

Kathryn Morris UK

ps. The word verification for this post was "truckn" :-)