Our North Bay driver and dispatcher, Shawn Tooley, has just returned from three months in the Northwest Territories, driving loads up the ice roads to mines located 300+ km north of Yellowknife.
We’ve been following him and his adventures, here, mostly via photos he’s taken and updates by email or telephone.
Now that Shawn’s returned to the “south,” we’ve collected several of the photos into one album, documenting his time in the North.
You can view the album here.
The Highway, AB – April 2, 2013
Quick update from our Iceman this morning … Shawn called in to report that he’s anticipating a flight home come this weekend. And it can’t come soon enough – after nearly three months away from his family, he’s admitting to missing them more than little bit!
Shawn’s last trip on the ice road saw him as one of just five final drivers wrapping up the season (you may remember he was one of just two to begin it!). The road is now closed and the drivers who are still in Yellowknife are occupied with bringing loads of trailers – the ones used to haul all the freight up to the mines – back down to Edmonton.
Shawn is en route to Edmonton today with such a load and will return once more to Yellowknife to pick up a final load of trailers. Each trip is approximately 18-20 hours so there’s still lots of driving and after going no faster than 60 km/h for two months, Shawn says he’s finding the highway speeds seem really fast! We know he’ll be ok with the adjustment though. Shawn was one of a select few to earn a Safety Bonus after their season on the Ice Road. Congratulations, Shawn! We’re very proud of you.
Some more photos and an update with regard to his homecoming will follow later this week.
Shawn expects to be wrapping up his ice road adventure in about a week’s time, after one last trip to Edmonton. This may be one of the final updates.
March 24, 2013 – THE ICE ROAD
One of the portages washes away every spring so the government granted permission to the maintenance company to build up the existing road. Twelve trucks, including myself, are hauling sand and gravel (blast rock from an old gold mine) to this portage. We will build a kilometre-long stretch, four feet high and 30 feet wide. The work is ahead of schedule and we will be done in approximately three days.
Now I can say that I have not just driven the Ice Road, but also helped build it!
The weather just started to warm up today [editor's note - warm is -4 degrees in case you were wondering] and it is supposed to stay warm. I can see the portages already melting, and this melt makes them really slippery to drive on. The lake ice itself is holding up strong and there is no water on it yet.
By now, the season is pretty much completed, save for a few more loads going up to the mines. About 12 a day and 20 overnight.
While we work on the road, we are living in Dome Lake camp which is a road maintenance facility. All the amenities of home plus cooks around the clock with terrific food.
Yesterday I had some bolts and studs break off one of my trailer tires so while I was waiting for parts to come up from Yellowknife, the mechanic and I went fishing for trout. We used some shrimp from the camp kitchen for bait but I guess that was too rich for the fish, because we caught nothing. It was fun trying and a great way to pass the time.
Once we are finished with the road repair, I am pretty sure I will be taking a load to Edmonton and then flying home. Hopefully in a week or less.
Hope all is well with you and everyone else.
See you soon,
Shawn (the Ice Man) Tooley
Local Scouts and Cubs members will be handing out collection bags from 5-8 PM Friday, March 22nd and 9 AM – 3 PM Saturday, March 23rd at the following locations:
FoodBasics – Frontenac Mall (Bath Rd. & Centennial Dr.)
FoodBasics – Princess Street (west of Sir John. A. MacDonald Blvd., next to the Best Western)
Metro – Gardiners Town Centre (Gardiners Rd. & Bath Rd.)
Metro – Bayridge & Taylor Kidd
Metro – Princess St. at Barrie St.
When you’re picking up groceries this weekend, please fill up a bag and help feed hungry people in our Kingston community.
Spotted a U Can at a Kingston Metro or Food Basics? That means there’s a food drive happening!! Stop in and donate!