Monday, August 09, 2010

Blood 'Road'

The promo for this week's episode of Ice Road Truckers promised that there "will be blood." And while the circumstances surrounding that story were as crazy and convoluted as the movie by that title, thankfully, it didn't leave me with the same underwhelmed, disturbed feeling as the film.  But let's face it, that bloody encounter on the side of the Dalton was just weird.  Alex wasn't the only driver having a strange week, though.  Greg was fighting to keep his job, Lisa was afraid that a scary accident was going to derail her career after coming off of such a huge accomplishment last week, and Ray was just hoping to live to truck another day.  It was just another bizarre and dangerous day on the Dalton.

Alex had barely made it 25 miles outside of Fairbanks with a load of timber when he came across a frightening sight.  He saw at least two men bloody and shaken wandering around the road.  Their pick-up truck was on its side down in a snowy ditch.  They were disoriented and one of the gentleman had a deep gash on his cheek plus gashes to his hands.  The scene seemed bad enough, but then the men informed him that there was a third man involved in the accident.  The good samaritans at the scene searched for another victim, but found nothing but some tracks leading off into the freezing (as in, -15 degrees) woods and a solitary boot.  One of the witnesses claimed that the men had been drinking.  She said that she could smell it on their breath (and since smell-o-vision has yet to be invented, we'll have to take her word for it).  Alex stayed with the men until the ambulance and police got there.  He hung around to convince the more injured man to allow the paramedics to place the neck brace on him and load him onto the stretcher.  Then, he gave his statement and was on his way north once again.  From the comfort of my couch, it was hard to tell if the men were drunk or just in shock (after all, they had suffered a bad accident and were bleeding and were out in the -15 degree temps).  If the witness smelled alcohol and the one man fled while the others seemed very reluctant to talk to the cops and go to the hospital, then it seems reasonable to assume this was more than shock.  There are a lot of things that don't mix well with the Dalton, but I'm pretty sure that alcohol is about the worst one.

Speaking of things that don't mix well with the Dalton, Ray was driving through the night to meet a deadline and doing everything he could to stay awake.  He had suffered a 6-hour delay in Fairbanks after learning the hard way that turning off your truck in subzero temps makes it freeze up and not start the next morning.  So, his rig spent the morning in the shop under the heaters.  On the other side of Atigun, he started getting very sleepy.  He was fighting exhaustion and his shuttering eye lids with everything he had, but the dangerous situation grew too scary for him so he pulled over to get a 20-minute power nap.  Unfortunately, he made the decision to catch his Zs by leaning his head and arms forward on his steering wheel. When he woke up, his right arm was asleep.  He couldn't get the tingling to stop the rest of the drive to Prudhoe.  When he arrived, he had the Carlile dispatcher drive him to the closest medical facility because he was worried that he was having a stroke or heart attack.  Thankfully, it was only a pinched nerve.  So, he had to take his doctor-prescribed muscle relaxer and a 10-hour break in Prudhoe.

Meanwhile, Greg was sidelined in Fairbanks with mechanical issues.  But, that suddenly became the least of his troubles when he got called into the boss's office.  Apparently, each truck is equipped with a computer "tattle tale" system that records data and lets the Carlile folks know if a driver is violating any rules.  Greg's computer showed a top speed of 69 mph, but drivers aren't supposed to go over 50 mph.  This, combined with last season's accident, caused him to have a target on his back and he sweated out the boss's decision until he got a phone call telling him to take another truck and haul a load north.

Lisa was worried about her own future up in Prudhoe.  She had forgotten to fuel up before heading to Fairbanks.  She turned around and headed back, but miscalculated how slick the road had gotten.  She tried to make the turn off to Prudhoe, but slid into a ditch instead.  There was no damage and the plow truck she narrowly avoided helped pull her out.  After learning that it was a "non-recordable incident" (always better to come clean to management like she did, though), she was relieved.  But her ego took a beating once again.  And the pressure of being a woman on the ice road and always trying to do everything perfectly seemed to get to her this week as she took it out a bit on the camera crew.  The always smiling and easy-going Lisa covered the camera a couple of times throughout the ditch ordeal.  I have to hand it to her, though -- she's in a tough position and she always rises to the challenge.  Whenever she makes a mistake, she doesn't give up.  She becomes more determined to conquer it.  I admire that and I hope she doesn't let this latest mishap dampen her spirit.  As we all know, things can change drastically from one second to the next on the Dalton.

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

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