Ice Road Trucking e-book preview 7

This entry is part 7 of 13 in the series Ice Road Trucking e-book previews

Ice Road Trucking e-book preview 7 takes a look at what it’s like to drive onto the ice road for the first time.

Finally hitting the ice

It’s strange how you develop comfort levels for things in your life from past experiences. I’d heard the stories of the ice cracking beneath you, trucks falling through the ice, potholes in the ice taking out rims, tires, and suspension parts. Even with the stories, I had no hesitation to drive over the ice. It was just another road to me. I was as comfortable driving on the ice as the fish were swimming below it.

I had a history of being on the ice and figured this at least had something to do with it. My uncles fished on the ice and took me in their trucks with them when I was a kid. I started skating on an ice rink in my backyard in Montreal soon after starting to walk. I played hockey growing up as a kid laying my blades everywhere from Maple Leaf Gardens to Johnstown, PA. (The rink where they made the original Slapshot movie with Paul Newman.) I remember playing pond hockey and staring down at the cracks wondering how far they went.

I don’t play hockey anymore, instead I make myself a rye and coke in a tall glass with about 8 to 12 pieces of ice. (And yes, I am one of those people that chew every piece.) I’m considered an Ice-aholic, so I guess I’ve always had a passion for ice.

Ice road Trucking e-book preview 7. The view seen from Ingraham Trail turning off onto the start of the ice road.

Ice road Trucking e-book preview 7. The view seen from Ingraham Trail turning off onto the start of the ice road.

When I rolled onto the ice for the first time, it was pretty much like a downhill driveway onto another street. There was no thrill, strange noises, or feeling like I might fall through at any time. Almost all my focus was actually on my speed. The speed limit driving on and off portages was a crawl at 10 km/hr. We also had to tighten the gap a little as the spacing between trucks changed from 1 km required on Ingraham Trail to 500 meters (1/2 km) on the ice.

I felt a bit paranoid like if I screwed up just once, I was gone. This was the way it was the whole season. You could easily find yourself packing if you didn’t follow the strict rules, so I’m sure I wasn’t the only one that felt a little paranoid. It wasn’t about not wanting to follow the rules as much as it was knowing you’re human. What if you missed a sign or didn’t realize you were 3 or 4 over the limit?  This wasn’t the local police with a tolerance, as I found out for traveling 3 km over myself.

For some drivers, following the rules exactly every step of the way would end up creating dangerous situations which we’ll get into shortly. Sometimes you just have to bend the rules a little bit. This is one of the areas where they could have improved the safety orientation.

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