Monday, August 23, 2010

'Ice Road' Ditch

What is it they always say?  Oh, right... pay back's a b*tch!  Of course, they also say that there are two kind of drivers on the Dalton: those who have been in a ditch and those heading into one.  Both of these little pearls of wisdom apply to Ray's unfortunate incident during this week's episode of Ice Road Truckers.    Thankfully, no one was injured and considering the amount of people who die every year on the Dalton for taking their eyes off the road for a split second, that's saying a lot.  Ray wasn't the only driver having a bad trip, though.  Two others found themselves struggling with their loads and one wound up in a bit of hot water upon his return to Fairbanks.  But, Ray's trip into the ditch was the night's scariest mishap.

Everybody loves a nice serving of irony served with a side of humble pie -- everyone except Ray, I'm sure.  After he spent the first part of his haul from Prudhoe to Fairbanks making fun of Alex's "dumb laugh," he found himself in a situation where Alex (and his "dumb laugh") was quite the lifesaver.  Ray was ahead of Alex and had scored a coveted backhaul.  He radioed ahead to announce his approach into Ice Cut, but had some trouble putting the CB radio (or "microphone") onto its hook.  He tried a couple of times before he took his eyes off the road to place the radio where it belonged.  That short break in focus was just long enough for him to lose control of his rig and wind up deep in a snow-packed ditch.  A few Carlile drivers stopped and tried to tow him out, but the chain snapped like a twig as they were attempting to pull him out. Finally, Alex came along and he and Ray and a few others shoveled the snow around, under, and in (as in, in the engine) the truck for 4 hours.  It worked.  After the back-breaking (and heart attack-inducing) shoveling, the truck was finally able to break free from the ditch and get back onto the haul road.  Ray seemed genuinely grateful to Alex for his help and even declared that he'd be willing to wipe the slate clean and start over.  See, teamwork does bring people together!  Since there was no damage and no one was injured, Ray got off with a drug test and a brief meeting with the boss.

Meanwhile, Hugh was having some trouble of his own.  He had orders to haul a load of heaters to Prudhoe.  After referring to the job as "easy money," he made it to Deadhorse in record time.  BUT, he delivered damaged merchandise -- a MAJOR no-no in the trucking industry.  The thing is, Hugh knew that the two heaters were rubbing up against each other.  Even our favorite trainer Phil (a.k.a Phil Billy) stopped him along the Dalton and helped him check the load.  Hugh kept insisting that the fact that the two heaters were so close together wasn't his fault since he wasn't the one who loaded the trailer.  The folks at Carlile were none too pleased.  They suspected that he had failed to take his "check the load" breaks every two hours as required by the company.  When confronted about the damage, Hugh still refused to take responsibility.  This made the Carlile bosses even more unhappy.  In the end, Hugh was placed on a form of probation, so the bosses will be watching him carefully going forward.

And then there was Lisa's struggle with her oversized bear cage.  The size and shape of the load made strapping it down tricky.  A little ways outside of Coldfoot, she noticed that one of the straps was flapping.  Since she's cautious and determined to do the right thing, she stopped to check it.  Good thing she did because the strap had actually been sliced by the edge of the cage.  She replaced the strap and tried to create a cushion between the strap and the sharp edge of the cage.  Back on the road, she noticed that the strap was once again flapping.  She pulled over again and was able to use a bungee cord to tied her over until the pit stop at Coldfoot.  Once again, her determination and can-do attitude got her through the obstacle and safely to the pit stop.

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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