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Travels of a Trucker Onwards to Gibraltar Mines

December 3, 2011

The Load 

I don’t know about you, but when I hear the word Mine in the summer I think of Pothole and Gravel roads. I think of rough roads and how much shaking I am going to get in the cab. My teeth gritted and prepared for the worst. I have actually been to many of these kinds of job sites and Gibraltar Mines is not one of them 🙂 Thankfully Gibraltar Mines situated about 48 Km North West of Williams Lake, BC and just East of Mcleese Lake. It is 17 Km to the mine, but the thing that makes this mine unique is that it is situated on the top of a mountain and the climb is massive with 8% grade at least half the way. It is a climb that puts me in the lower portion of my gears. So much so that with a triaxle I climb the hill in 3rd gear travelling just over 20 Km per hour. With a loaded B Train I am climbing at about 10 Km per hour in a BoLo 1 gear.

I had to load at a company called Synergy. It was preloaded and the load was already on the Deck of a rented Double Drop expanded Lowbed that was expanded. It was 31′ long, 12′ high and 15’10” wide. So wide in fact that I required three pilot cars and I could only travel between 12 am and 5am on Highways 1 and 5 to Kamloops and on the junction of Highway 1 and 97N I could only travel between 2 am and 5 am. Therefore time was of the essence. A snowstorm or a chain up condition could drastically change everything.

It was 8 pm by the time I arrived at the load. I had a routine I followed. First I hooked on the trailer. Next I put my wide load signs on front and back. I put my wide load mirror extensions on. Next I place 2 amber portable magnet lights on the front of the load and 2 red portable magnet lights on the rear of the load for night driving. Next I pulled out my chains and calculated I would need 4 chains and 4 cinches. I was placing 1 chain on each corner of this massive load.

I finished around 11pm and waited for the 3 pilot cars to show up. It was raining and my glasses were fogging up consistently while tying down the load. By the time I was done, my clothing was wet. My glasses fogged up and I was feeling pretty miserable. I waited in the warmth of the cab and the pilots began showing up at 11:30 pm. They erected their Wide Load pilot signs and turned on their lights. I did a final check to make sure I had missed nothing and turned on my Beacon lights as my final item and then finished my log book and made a new one for the beginning day. By 12 am we were rolling. Our route was Highway 7, Highway 11, up and over 3 road overpass and then onward to highway 5 and onward to Kamloops. We would continue on until 5 am and see where we got to. We actually made it to the other side of Kamloops to the Kamloops Lake Rest Area which was 20 Kilometers West of Kamloops headed back to Highway 97 on old Highway 1. I stayed at the rest area for the night since I was bagged. My pilots decided to go rent a motel in Kamloops for the night which was 20 minutes back down the highway we had just traveled. I would not be seeing them until 12 am. During the night we had traversed up and down 2 mountains. One of which was snowing. The other had been okay. It wasn’t a heavy snowfall so we were doing well without having to chain up.

I awoke at 11:30 am that morning after a 6 hour sleep and I awoke to a beautiful morning that was quite chilly with a wind.

The load from the front

The load from the rear

My view when I woke up

Where I spent the night

Yeah, like I’d go looking for them!! If you can;t see it clearly, it’s a Rattlesnake warning sign!

This is what I love about trucking…beautiful views and “watch out for Rattlesnake” signs!

I was thinkin of takin a leak in the outhouse and saw the opening at the bottom…leary of snakes and holes, I decided to just go on the grass!

That day I went back to Kamloops and used the WiFi at the Kamloops Petro Pass. By the way if you are ever there, I have the WiFi Password 🙂

Evening approaches and my logbook is good. I get some fuel and head on over to the load which I left sitting at the Pullout. No one was going to take this load. They wouldn’t get very far trying to haul that massive bugger down the road. Every cop or D.O.T. would be on their ass in a heartbeat. I had to remount my wide load mirrors and remount my over width sign back on the truck. By 10:45 pm my pilots were back with  me and we were underway. We rolled on and passed Cache Creek. It was going to be a fast heavy haul as time was against us. It was 11:30 pm when we got into Cache Creek and we still had to travel over 250 Kilometers in less than 3 hours. Did I say we were on the road…yeah we cheated. We actually sat and waited in Cache Creek until 2 am, but we needed that extra 50 Kilometers to save an extra day of sitting around.

By 5 am we were on the mine road. Safe from D.O.T. since we were now on a Private road. Travelling up we were a little worried that we might have to chain up, but the road was surprisingly good. It was actually clean with lots of sand laid down and little slush since it was so cold. No chains required! By 5:30 am we were at the mine site and I signed off my pilots who took off. I went to bed and was awoken at 9:30 am. I was so tired! But, the wind had picked up and was gusting with a high enough velocity it was blowing me. It was gusting well over 70 km and it was bitter cold.

Massive Big Boy Toys!

The Crane they were using. The wind was so heavy they used 2 cranes to just lift it off the deck and we would drive out from under it. 1 crane would not be enough, the wind would have swayed it too much.

Damn it was cold, I was wearing a full mask. 2 shirts and 2 coats. One of them a 3 in 1 and I was still chilled. My gloves were lined and my fingers still hurt!

Well, load complete. I left that Mine site at 12 pm and I was back home in the comfort of my own bed by 8 pm! I went back empty and I was relieved.

Thanks for reading and if you enjoy my stories, I look forward to seeing you sign up by email. Or follow with Google connect.

If you are a sponsor I am always looking for new goodies to test out like GPS, VHF Radios, warm winter jackets, gloves or anything else winter, summer or truck related. Please send test things to:

Roger Simmons

2130 8th ave

New Westminster, BC V3M2T8

Canada

I will give you my input as to the performance of your products and you will have the choice of whether or not you wish me to promote your product on my blog. As always, stay safe, have fun and keep em sunny side up.

Trucker

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