Sunday, 27 November 2011

28 Days Later

All in all, not too bad. Finished off the last shift without a hitch. Packed up when I got back to the hotel. Had a quick powernap and then took a seat in the buffet downstairs. My flight has been delayed a couple hours, I guess the weather in Terrace is the problem. Right this moment I am on a school bus riding the ferry over to Digby Island where the Prince Rupert airport is located. It's kind of strange but after being here for a month it feels like I'm leaving home to go home. I'm a little sore, a lot tired, and excited to get home and chill out for a bit. I'm hoping to come back up here an get some work in before the Christmas/new years site shutdown... I won't know if I can until I get back and wait a few days before calling the Arctic Construction office. When it comes down to it though, I'll go wherever the work is. To be honest I've had a good time doing this; met some good people (and some not so good) and learned a whole bunch...

Friday, 25 November 2011

So Close I can Almost Taste It

Freedom is right around the corner. Tonight marks the 27th shift. It's been somewhat boring the last couple nights. Last night was so quiet on the radio I thought it wasn't working for a little while. Everyone knows exactly what to do; where to load and where to dump. The new haul road is getting pretty rough now; if you wear your seatbelt it almost cuts you in half when the front end starts bouncing, and if you don't, you end up flying all over the cab... With the heavy loads of rock we are hauling the tires only make the bouncing worse. The only solution is to slow right down which is hard because you want to keep production up and haul lots of loads. Today has been a lazy day for me, but tomorrow I will have plenty to do to get ready for my flight out of here on Sunday afternoon...

Sunday, 20 November 2011

21 In A Row

What do you get when you combine 5" of snow and a dozen rock trucks? Ice. That is all you get and you get it everywhere... Makes for a fun night for myself and a few others, but you could hear the stress levels rising for some of the drivers. There were a few arguments on the radio, and a handful of slip ups behind the wheel (all from the same people). I'm not saying I'm perfect by any means; I got stuck on one of the hills early in the shift but got out of there in a few minutes. It seems that with any driving job the snow separates everyone into 2 groups, the ones who will try and the ones who will fail... On another note 3 of the drivers (nicknamed the Alberta Connection) and 1 of the excavator operators are leaving in the morning (our morning not in the am). It's gonna feel strange without them since they've been here since I started... One more week for me... I'm sure it's gonna feel like the longest week ever. Prince Rupert is starting to feel a bit like home now. I've been going out exploring by foot the past few days. Went down by the water and checked out the train yard, not much there as its mainly used to cue trains while they wait to go to Prince Rupert Grain. It's a strange mix of worlds here, brand new buildings and businesses right next to derelict docks and abandoned shops. The waterfront is not pretty like a sandy beach but it's still awesome to look at, especially with snow on the hills all around town... Now there is snow everywhere but when I was there it was still a few hundred meters above town... Off to bed for me, gotta get up early and gorge myself at the Sunday brunch buffet downstairs.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Halfway home

Well, tonight's shift marks the halfway point unless I can convince them to let me stay an extra week or two. The entire company breaks for Christmas and new years which, if I follow the schedule I'm on, brings me back for a week and a half before the break... Not really worth it. One of the big bushings that hold the bottom half of the main hitch on my truck let go the other night. I felt a strange vibration in the cab and hopped out to take a look and knew I would be parking it. The road is really hard on the trucks and it's common to have 3 or 4 trucks go down in a night. Last night my truck was still broken so instead of driving I was working as a mechanics helper... Mostly just helped tighten loose bolts on tailgates and rear suspension, but also got to switch out a driveshaft on one of the 30 tonners. It was a dirty and wet night but it felt good to be able to stay useful... Feeling a bit stir crazy now. Being on nights , the majority of my social time is at work... Thankfully we have a pretty good crew full of weirdos lol. I like the town. Price Rupert is small and run down but it feels like it has heart. Like most smaller towns, everyone is friendly and chatty. It's hard to beat the view too; the tankers all anchor right in town while they wait to be filled with either coal or grain over at Ridley Island (that's where our job is). The weather is very similar to the west coast of Vancouver Island... Rain, wind, sun all at the same time. You can see some snow up in the hills but I'm told it rarely snows in town and doesn't stay long when it does.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Day 11

Well things were going pretty good up here until now... I managed to get myself stuck really fuckin' good, and by good I mean bad. Box down in a big hole, awkward angle, and in the way. Not that I can blame anyone else but it would have been nice if the excavator operator could have said something before I went off. To make things worse the cable sling we need to get me outta here is at the dump site... All the way at the other end of the job site. Now I've got nothing to do but kill time until it gets here. At least nobody seems to be mad about it, I guess the guy that rolled his truck over on dayshift is taking some heat off of me lol at least I haven't flopped 'er over yet...

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Muddy Nights

Easily the smoothest part of the haul road
I'm really starting to get into the swing of things here. I have a daily routine of watching tv shows on my laptop during the day, making lunch, having a bite, getting ready for work, going to the Timmies up the street to fill my thermos and then getting on the crew bus. Everyone is generally in good spirits before during and after work so the bus ride is pretty entertaining. We travel about 15 minutes up the road and enter the coal and grain terminal. Shortly after that we get to the entrance to the project. At the 2km mark we have the dump site where all the mud and trees we are pulling out of the job-site go, it's also where we start the day with a general safety meeting. Once the trucks are pre-tripped we head into the job-site (another 3 or 4 km) on one of the roughest roads I have ever been on. Some of the spots we load in are pretty hard to back into at night in the rain so thankfully the hoe operators guide us in most of the time. It seems as though the day-shift takes the easy, fast spots and leaves us to do the harder ones for which they get made fun of on a regular basis. The last couple nights we have had to drive into a "lake" to get loaded up... It's deep enough that the radiator fans spew water up into the air as we drive in and the headlights go under water for a bit. Keep in mind that the front bumper comes up to my chest and the headlights are above my shoulders... Then we have to drive about half a km through it to get back to the road. It's so deep you cant actually tell where you should go so we just guess lol. I found a really good classic rock radio station but it only comes in briefly at the top of the hill near where we load and then again at the dump. I think I'm going to have to buy an fm modulator so I can listen to my iPod... I think my favorite thing about these trucks is the foot actuated, adjustable jake brake; it works awesome on the hills and makes a hell of a racket lol.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Rainy Daze

Holy Shit!!! When it rains here you know it! Worked all night in my own truck last night, still rough but much better driving than sitting in the jump seat in the back. Started the shift by falling in the mud, thankfully not face first but it was deep so I was covered pretty good. The truck I was using is a 40 ton and had some issues; needed to put in new water separators before I could start hauling, has a nasty sounding turbo whistle and is lacking power on the hills. It also has a rough ride and the road is getting worse all the time. Had to put it in 6wd a few times (which is fun), it's kind of like spending every night out wheeling... Feeling a little beat up today. Hopefully there will be a truck for me tonight as 4 or 5 have broken down already this week. 2 were being driven by a girl from Edmonton so her new nickname is one-a-day. I think I'm doing an alright job so far, hopefully tonight goes well...