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Travels of a Trucker to Mt.Milligan Copper/Gold Mine

December 7, 2011

Now I don’t know about any of you, but when I hear the word Gold my ears perk up and I get rather excited. however, getting excited isn’t a part of this trip at this time of the year. Having talked to a buddy of mine he said conditions were crap and he had to chain up at the mine site. Those are other big things I absolutely dislike. Chaining up and Tarping. Now since I knew I was going to be adding jewellery to the tires, I asked the boss’s right hand man to provide me with sets of single tire chains. I had a set of triples but if anyone knows chains like I do, triples are too damn heavy to be putting on. So anyways, the morning started out rough for me. I had just gotten back from my previous load up to Gibraltar Mines and was lacking sleep. I went home and slept like a log getting up at 10am and called the boss. He needed me to be there by noon.

By 11am I was on the road to my truck. My dispatcher (who is not my boss) was calling me asking me when I would be there as the customer was waiting. So I told her by 12:00 and she said ok so you’ll be at the customers by 12:30. I asked where the customer was and she said Langley at 272st. My company is in Langley at 200st so I thought okay no big deal. I arrive at my truck, fresh coffee in hand and warm her up. Headed to the yard, I am not too stressed out about the load as I have no info yet. Arriving at the yard I see the dispatcher and she says “oh yeah it’s a tarp load”…and my face just dropped. I absolutely hate tarping. It makes me dirty and it’s heavy labor to move tarps and fold them back up. My previous belts were also on another load so I have to go and retrieve them also. I can’t find a regular trailer in the yard. A lot of the trailers need repairs or they need Inspection decals or they have been spoken for. I am left with a 48′ flat deck expando.

I am pissed. I have to get tarps. I have to unwrap my belts and I still need to drive to the customers. It’s already 12:30 and they were expecting me there. So off I head to the customer. I was expecting 4 crates. I arrive at the customer and pull into the shipping area at the back.

The Load

The Load is insulated panels. It is fairly light and they are 38 feet long. So I am proud I brought the right trailer. According to the dispatcher I had 4 of them and I see 4 of them. The only problem is, they actually had 8 of them. They had 4 38 footers and 4 14 foots. So now I have to expand the trailer. I begin to look at the trailer and I can see only one nipple quick connect which I undo and hook onto the release mechanism. I jump back into the truck and give the trailer a yank and I can hear it now. The sickening sound of the air escaping. I had ripped the quick connect nozzles off the airlines and the electrical plug wires out of the trailer socket. I was embarrassed and angry.

I get out and look and sure as shit I hadn’t seen the connections hiding under the trailer, but there they were now hanging down. It wasn’t too bad really. I ripped the quick connects off and they can be replaced and the electrical just had to be screwed back in. So a couple of hours later, I am loaded and my trailer has been repaired. It is dark now and I decide I’m going home. The load isn’t due until Tuesday and it is only a 14 hour drive to the mine. I decide i’ll tarp it on Saturday afternoon and leave a bit earlier since the weather was cooperating all across BC.

Saturday afternoon comes. I’m not very anxious to tarp the load but it has to be done. So my words to myself all day were stop being a pussy and git er done! 4 hours later and I am tarped and ready to roll having laid out 3 tarps and using almost 100 bungee cords on this load.

I head out on the highway and lo and behold I have now traveled about 50km to the fueling station and it seems rather dark. As in no headlamps. well I pull into the fuel station get my fuel and check my lamps. The wiring is so corroded! So I phone the boss. No answer. I phone the right hand man and of course on a Saturday night he isn’t fit to drive. The mechanic of course is out of the Province. So I head over to Trimac right back where I came from. 200 st! 😦 By this time it is now 7pm when I arrive at Trimac. I pull in and talk to the mechanic and he gets me in right away. They start on it and look at the wiring and it is one complete mess. Wires everywhere igored in to each other like something out of a Frankenstein movie. All corroded. Green from road salt and there are shorts everywhere. No sooner do they fix one problem then it shorts at another junction where it has been tied into. On and on this continues like a game of cat and mouse. Finally the mechanic has it all ready to go and he begins to weave the loom on the wiring and it goes back out. It’s really sad actually but comical. The hours roll by and finally at midnight, 5 hours later, I am ready to go after the mechanic cut, spliced and reconnected about 14 wires. It was god awful but I was happy to be back on the road.

I drove that night until I reached Spuzzum, BC which is just past Yale, BC in the Fraser Canyon. it was 2am by the time I reached there and my eyes were heavy so I pulled over in a pullout and went to bed.

The New Day

The next day I awake at 8am all refreshed and ready to go. It’s sunny outside and I know it’s going to be a good drive all the way to at least Prince George. I have a long day of driving ahead of me and I set out. The hours roll by and finally by 6:30 at night I have arrived at my destination. It is Fort St. James. But I am still not done. I have to drive another 55km up a logging road and then a further 26km on another logging service road to the mine. I am in the heart of the mountains most likely riding at the crests of them which I don;t really notice as I am surrounded by hills and trees. The road is completely whited out as it is a logging road and they can never clean it totally off. It is covered with Ice and Glare Ice and lots of sand. I drive cautiously only doing 60km on the logging road. I have been around long enough to know that speed kills and this was one road I did not frequent often. Better to err on the side of caution that wind up having to call a tow truck to pull me out. By 7:30pm I am at the mine site. I go into the security office and I am advised they would not do it tonight to go to my truck and let my log book catch up. So off I go back to the truck and sleep that night on the mine site. It’s a 24 hour operation as I can hear them working all night long on my VHF Radio.

The Next Morning

I awaken and go back to Security and they make the calls for me. I have an escort coming down, but first as per mine policy I must put chains on. So down I go installing my set of singles. First I lay the chain over my drive tire with the key lock facing out. Then I get a bungee cord and place it between the drives hooking one end onto the chain. I pull it through and hook it into place. Next I lock the chain on tight using the locking lever and then as a final finishing touch I use Bungees to make them even more tighter. I have no problem that morning climbing any hills and leaving the mining site I leave them on which was probably wise to do. The road was glare ice now that I can see in the light and probably very slippery in some of the corners. It had been scraped clean leaving nothing but ice. So I reach the main road and off the chains come. I start my journey back to Prince George to get a load of lumber coming home. By nightfall, I am close to 100 Mile house and I have some pretty awesome sun setting photos taken when I was on my way back.

This one was Vanderhoof on the way to the mine

Another view close to Vanderhoof

I love nights like this. Snow free and nothing to worry about!

I could almost make a painting of these photos, but they are rather spectacular when viewing them in real life. Nothing like the setting sun with beautiful colors and the eerie glistening white of the snow on the trees.

Anyways. Another trip completed and thanks for reading Travels of a trucker. For my latest Blog Posts be sure to follow me on Google connect or sign up by email. If you like you can also follow me on my Facebook page here:


If you are a sponsor or a company looking for product promotion send samples or test versions to:

Roger Simmons

2130 8th ave

New Westminster, BC V3M2T8





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