It’s quite common for a really heavy load to have one or more push trucks behind it to push when going up inclines. Push trucks are commonly used on the Dalton Highway as well as the Parks and Richardson when the loads are outrageously heavy, otherwise it would take a very long time and so much fuel for the truck with the load to get up a mountain, and it would also impede traffic for long periods of time. The push trucks just follow the load when not going up hills.
Taken 11 years ago, these photos really show how close Jack’s push truck gets to the load he’s pushing (a crane). You can see the pad that the push bar pushes against, how the trucks make contact.
We are so sad for Steve’s wife Christy who he left behind when he died of cancer recently. It is a huge fear for all of us and Steve had to face it. He undoubtedly had other stresses when he was sick and we are sorry for that too.
Jack says Steve was a good driver and a good guy. We would like to extend our sympathies to his wife and family. Christy, hold on to your memories and know that you made his life worth living.
Flying into Fairbanks one day in 2008 the airplane took an unusual route. Instead of coming in from the southwest it came in from the southeast, flying over Harding Lake and Salcha and circling over Farmers Loop across north of town into the airport. Maybe this direction of landing is normal, I don’t know, I have never experienced it before, but this day happened to be beautifully clear and I captured some great photos of the Tanana River and various Fairbanks landmarks.
Click on the first one and then scroll to the right for an overhead, raven’s eye, tour of Fairbanks.
This is Hardling Lake with the Richardson Highway at the top of the photo (looking south).
Harding Lake with the Tanana River and Richardson Highway running in between.
This is the Salcha River flowing into the Tanana River, surrounded by the community of Salcha with the Richardson Highway running through it.
The Tanana River
The Tanana River
Now we are looking northwest toward Fairbanks with the Tanana River flowing westward.
A closer view of Fairbanks with Fairbanks International Airport in the upper left, above the Tanana River. The Parks Highway runs next to the airport from the northwest then turns east (Mitchell Expressway). You can see almost all of Fairbanks here including the hillside residential areas to the north and west. The bodies of water in between Fairbanks and the Tanana RIver are the gravel pits around Lakeview Terrace and farther away, the South Cushman ponds.
The intersection of the Richardson Highway and Badger Road is on the right. The road that parallels the Richardson on the left is called Saddle Avenue; we think this is the dike that protects Fairbanks from Tanana River flooding. Fort Wainwright is on the right.
The middle rectangle spans south Fairbanks from the airport to Fort Wainwright. The University of Alaska is in the upper right hand corner and below it is part of downtown.
Now we are on the other side of Fort Wainwright looking southwest. Bottom right is Birch Hill Recreation Area and downhill ski runs and Jack says the circular cleared area is the Fort Wainwright landfill. On the right side middle you can see Johansen Expressway with the big box stores along it, though it’s more developed now with large commercial buildings on both sides of the road instead of just one. The Chena River winds westward from Fort Wainwright.
We’re flying north of town now looking south toward Fairbanks with the intersection of Farmers Loop and the Steese Highway in the upper left corner and McGrath and Farmers Loop closer to the middle.
Someone’s personal junkyard, one of many in Fairbanks. Normally you can just see an edge but here you can see one in all its glory!
This interestingly shaped pond is either an oxbow lake, which is formed where a river or slough used to run, or a thawed area of permafrost.
This is north Fairbanks where the industrial area of Aurora Drive and the residential areas north of it meet. Carlile Transportation is kind of in the upper middle, just on this side of the Johansen Expressway. Danby intersects Johansen in the upper left corner and on the other side of the expressway is the railroad industrial area. There have been a lot of changes since these were taken 6-7 years ago.
We are farther west, looking southeast, with Johansen Expressway running horizontally. The large buildings in the upper left (not near the middle of the photo, that’s the Aurora Drive industrial area) are Randy Smith Middle School and the car dealerships of Danby Road. Next to the red roof in the foreground is the partially constructed foundation of the Carlile shop that now services Jack’s truck.
Here we see the Chena River meandering through Fairbanks and the intersection of Johansen and Peger Road on the left. The Carlson Center is the large green building in the upper left. One of the newest and most expensive neighborhoods of Fairbanks is Doyon Estates which is on the right, inside one of the the loops of the Chena River.
The intersection of Peger Road and Phillips Field Road is near the middle and here is where the railroad industrial area and the residential neighborhoods meet.
This is Riverview Drive running between the neighborhood pond and the Chena River, with an active gravel pit on the right bank of the Chena. This residential neighborhood is called Taku or Westgate. You can see the new intersection of Airport Way and Washington Drive in the upper right corner. The large building at the corner of that intersection has been shuttered since K-Mart closed, and next to it is Sears.
And finally, we land at the Fairbanks International Airport with the float ponds next to the runway.
I snapped these on Friday when this truck was fueling up to head north.
Jack says they are used for crude oil and that they lay on their sides, not upright like on the truck. You can see the actual metal portion of the pipe that is colored green with anti-corrosion paint. The black is thinner metal and in between the two is foam insulation.
This load is obviously going to Deadhorse or Prudhoe Bay. (FYI: Deadhorse refers to the “town” where companies have their operations, and Prudhoe Bay refers to the actual oil fields and is a much larger area.)
Jack and I are so sorry to hear about Steve Hollibone’s cancer diagnosis. He is a trucker that Jack knows and respects. Sounds like he is in rough shape and daily life is a struggle. You may remember a while back we posted about his wife Christy’s artwork. You can see and purchase her artwork at Moments in Time Art.
If you are in Fairbanks please consider going to a fundraiser February 6th, here is the info:
Art For the Heart and Soul!
Opening Reception First Friday, February 6th, 5-8 pm
Phillips Studio & Bishop’s Jewelry Gallery
1222 Well St
Gallery open 11-8 pm on First Friday
More snow in the engine, but this time it’s from someone going in the ditch! It seems to happen to everyone eventually and it’s better to land in the cushy snow instead of just about anywhere else. After it got pulled out they cleaned the snow off and drove it away!
(Identifying marks have been removed for privacy.)
Jack snapped these shots after going through numerous snow drifts before he got into Prudhoe Bay. The engine is operating fine and he didn’t need to do anything, but it’s interesting to see how the snow gets into all the available spaces. The keypad looking thing is actually the air intake for the cab and the vent above it is the intake for the motor. Even though the engine is 200 degrees plus it’s still not enough to melt the snow at these temperatures, about 20 or 30 below.