Jack Jessee has been on 3 seasons of Ice Road Truckers. He drives the Dalton Highway year round. Rain or shine, snow or sun, or all 4 at once. This blog is about the various loads he hauls, the things he sees, and anything else that might be interesting. Written by Jack Jessee’s wife, Judy.
Here are some photos of Jack, Judy & other people you might recognize. Click on the first one and scroll to the right to see the captions.
Jack fishing at Donna Lake
A successful hunt
On a wintertime 4-wheeler ride
Jack and Judy enjoying a brisk ride
Greg, Jack, Lisa, Ray, Hugh & Alex in Prudhoe Bay
Jack and Georgie at a chance meeting (!) in St. Louis
Jack and Judy stop by the Arctic Circle on their first date (yes, a trip to Prudhoe was their first date).
Jack teaches Judy to drive (not really)
On a mountain at the top of a Chena Hot Springs trail, with Sport & Tigger
Hoping to spot a moose
In the middle of nowhere, just how Jack likes it
Jack visiting his alma matar, Wytheville Community College
Wes, I couldn’t agree with you more. IRT just hasn’t been the same since they left AK. In fact, listening and watching the other drivers, taught me a thing or two. Sure do miss IRT, AK, and all the guys at Carlile. Stay Safe my Friends
well how ’bout that !! First time on this blog,pretty darn neat. Unfortunate that I found it re the terrible accident that took a life. We have been darn lucky on that road considering the hazards up there. I ran that road from 1975 thru ’83 for Copper Freight and 4 Star and managed to escape unscathed. My “handle” was Johnnie Straight Arrow or just Straight Arrow. Still have a few friends around from that time although they are getting fewer and far between. I apparently still have the “bug”,my wife Lynn and I run out of Tacoma for Lynden to Alaska, second time around. We retired about 3 years ago but couldn’t stand the boredom and bought another truck so here we are!!! keep up the good work Jack. Pete
Jack says it’s nice to hear a bit of Haul Road history and that there are still a few of those guys running the road. Sounds like you just can’t give it up. Jack wonders if he will be like that when he retires but we won’t know for quite a few years…glad you found the blog!
Darrell ward or jack jessee?? Id pick jack every time
Ste Ravo, I’d pick Jack too. When ever Carlile was in a pinch, they’d call Jack (sort of like the Cavalry, and Jack would save the day, every single time. One of the things I enjoyed, was that after every episode, I’d always come away with learning something new. So wish IRT went back up to AK, ’cause the one they air of just Canadian roads, SUCK Big time, And I’m a Canadian. It’s NO longer a reality show. The editor needs to be sacked. eg In one frame Lisa has all kinds of clips in her hair, next frame she doesn’t, frame after that she does. Make up my frick’ mind. God Love ya Jack, and say a BIG “HI” to everyone over at Carlile. Stay Safe My Friend
Thanks Susan. I read your reply to Jack and he laughed and said thanks.
Judy I swear to God, whenever I see a photo of Jack, I can hear him saying (the ONLY way Jack can) something(?) about his aunts “Pecan Pie”, with his accent. LOL Thant’s why I always say, ‘he’s sorta like the Calvary”. Judy I honestly don’t remember what season that was from. lol
Funny! No idea what season that was from either but I remember what you’re talking about. 🙂
Just want to say that IRT isn’t the same in Canada and without Mr. Jessee. He has his values, uses them like when he and Darrell Ward were going for the load crown and Mr. Jessee loaded Mr. Wards’ trailer so he could just hook up and get out of there before the ice melted. Didn’t have to do that, but he did. Stay safe and please accept a big handshake from Pennsylvania.
I will pass that on to Jack and I’m sure he will be touched, thank you.
It is a pleasure to meet you.
You too! You have a great blog, Jack would love it if he had time to look at it.
When are we going to see Jack on IRT again?
Who knows! Maybe someday.
Melvyn If we (fans) had it our way, Jack would always be on IRT. However, History needs to bring IRT back up to Alaska. And if Mr Jack Jessee, has it his way, I don’t really think he enjoyed having the camera in his face (so to speak), So I doubt Jack could be swayed. If Fans of IRT, we first have to get IRT, back up to Beautiful AK, then we’ll work on getting Jack on the show. How’s this Judy?? lol
good plan Susan lol
I totally agree! Alaska was much more beautiful and entertaining!
Ok Judy, but us folk in the old country of Britain have sure taken to Jack as a gentleman of the road !
Do hope we see you at least one more time Jack and take care the both of you. Melvyn
thanks Melvyn, he will love to hear that
What months is Ice Road Truckers filmed? Thought it was dark in winters of Alaska and noticed alot of daylight on IRT. Love u and show!!!
Hi Lynn, that’s a really good question. They film in the late winter and early spring, the months of Feb thru April (at least they did when Jack was on the show). So that means that light is increasing and in April we actually have more light then dark. After March 21st, there is more light than dark so you will see light late into the evening in April. And in April it’s still pretty chilly and there is still snow. Jack says they like to film in the daylight anyway, so you’ll see more of that no matter what.
Mornin’ Jack, Judy. I think what Lynn is talking about, is when IRT was being filmed in AK. There were times when the show was filmed at night, but there was a lot of daytime footage. We fans thought AK didn’t get a lot of sun during the winter months. I believe that’s what Lynn meant. Come to think of it, I never gave it much thought. Just learning how to drive on ice. I learned so much when IRT was in AK. Couldn’t be bothered to watch it now. Stay Safe out there Jack, you too Judy.
I watched the last series of IRT set in Manitoba. Frankly I was sickened by the dirty tricks played to gain another load. Very unjack like ( to coin a new word ).
I wish the IRT producers would remember the Alaskan runs with gentleman Jack winning the load count honestly and helping other drivers in the bargain !
Very best to both you Judy and Jack.
Yes Melvyn, it’s like a night time soap opera. I did watch it only because Lisa Kelly & Alex Debogorski were on. But IRT Canada, is just trash TV. I can find better ways to spend an hour, then be sickened but that. It’s NOT entertaining at all. But most of all, they like to call it a reality series, when it’s not. It’s staged, & scripted. Thankfully, I only watched the 1st season. I too miss Gentleman Jack, Phil, Tony, ah hell, everyone at Carlile. What they do, is lay their lives on the line, while driving the Ice Roads. Stay Safe Jack, you too Judy.
We appreciate that Susan, I’ll tell Jack you said so.
That’s a great new word and concept! lol
Great px; I love px taken through windshields. There is a viewpoint from the driver’s seat that does not exist anywhere else.
I agree, and it creates a context that everyone can relate to.
Judy, don’t you worry about Jack driving on some of the toughest roads when rivers and seas frozen over ?
Sometimes I do worry but I have total confidence in his driving abilities and he knows the road like the back of his hand (or probably better). Of course there are unknown variables that we cannot plan for, and that does worry me somewhat, but they are quite rare even though some TV shows would have you think otherwise lol. 🙂
Just found this blog. Jack was by far my favorite on IRT. Also, as a fellow Virginian, I like his style too. Miss the show.
How nice, thank you and glad you found us!
Would you tell us about the truck that Jack drives? If I recall accurately, it was a W900 Kenworth. I was a part time driver for Kenworth dealer in VA. and am interested in trucks.
Yes, it’s a 2013 W900 with a 600 HP Cummings and an 18 speed Eaton. It has 46K 4:10 ratio lockers in both axles, a Neway suspension, a 300 inch WB, 24.5 rubber and it can carry 375 gallons of fuel. Thanks for asking. 🙂
Sounds like a good one.
Also, does Jack’s truck have an auxiliary power unit (APU)?
Yes it does, it’s a 6KW. We posted about the one in Jack’s old truck a year or so ago. That was a 4KW.
Judy, what street do you and Jack live on in Fairbanks ? I’ve got a world atlas app and just like to get a feel of the town. Is Carlile trucking co. Close to you ?
We live in Ester, quite a ways from the Carlile shop and yard. Carlile is at 900 Aurora Drive and Jack loads at Flint Hills Refinery in North Pole.
Thank you Judy for being so frank. I’ve still got that desire to visit one day.
Jack was cool as a cucumber driving. It was a please watching him drive.Unless he needed pancakes then we waited. Have a great summer Mike
Jack and Judy,
I pray that you will have a blessed Memorial Day.
Sorry to ask Judy but coming from UK,what is Memorial Day ? and keep safe both of you.
Please pass along my thanks to Jack for the photos of the road damage and repairs. We went to Deadhorse several years ago. It was the trip of a lifetime for us. Good to see the road passable again.
Jack is happy to hear that Jesse, glad you were able to experience the road.
Judy,are you both experiencing climate change up there ? How does it affect the Highway ?
Weather has been unusual the past few years, much warmer than it used to be. We have no idea if the Sag River altering course is related to climate change though and Jack has noticed nothing on the road that he would blame on climate change. The melting of permafrost (permanently frozen soil) is happening at an increased rate in Alaska but it hasn’t much affected the Dalton, except where the Sag River is concerned. Melting permafrost causes roads with big dips and sags but that has been happening since development began in Alaska, since disturbing the ground above or making even small changes can alter how much heat the ground receives. One way to make ground settle before you build on it is to simply clear it and leave it for a couple of years. But anyway Melvin, that’s a no to climate change on the road but a yes possibly in general in regards to weather patterns.
He relly know how to drive. tell him to drive safe.
IRT have made the biggest mistake not having Jack on their show cos he was our favourite driver. hope IRT will swallow their pride and go back to carlie
Sure do miss Jack on IRT. I thought sure History Channel would have offered Jack his own show. He surely carry it on his own. Wishing you both well.
Your right Melinda well said. It would be very interesting.Melvyn Emmett
Hi Melinda, & you too Melvyn, Us Canadians Sure miss Jack too. The IRT that History has on now isn’t reality, it’s a night time soap opera, and I feel it’s just a waste of time. As for Jack, he did say he hated the cameras in his face 24/7. Not unless History Channel offered him 1 million, and even then I don’t know if Gentleman Jack would take it.
Ok Judy,just a thought. Anyway, What do you get up to when Jack is somewhere in the wilderness ? lol Melvyn
If it’s summer then hopefully I’d be out in the wilderness with him, camping, but if it’s winter and he’s on the road I just stay holed up in our cozy little house. My family lives here in Fairbanks and between that and work I stay pretty busy. 🙂 Oh and by the way, this is the official notice that Jack WOULD do a show for a million dollars LOL…
Really ? For a million bucks . Just think, you and Jack could build a big extension for your folk. Now doesn’t this seem e great idea ! Melvyn
That does sound ideal, plus you could have a couple more 4 legged family members. Ohh the possibilities !! lol
How is everything going in Fairbanks ? Melvyn Emmett
======================================== Message Received: Aug 05 2015, 06:54 AM
Hi Melvin, we’re doing great! Had a big snow storm recently, so Jack has plenty of plowing to do. Hope things are going well for you! – Judy & Jack
Been out of touch for a whille, whats happpening in Fairbanks ?
LOL Oh Judy, I guess you ran that one passed Jack, eh?? Boy I do miss seeing Jack, & everyone (drivers) at Carlile. Hope everyone is healthy & happy. Miss the Kind of the Load, eats too!!! lol
Hi to both of you, I’ve been watching the show for years now and me and the Mrs both think your ace … By far one of the best drivers we’ve seen on there .. I’m from the u.k 22 yrs old been driving just under two years class 1 hgv doing a few various types of loads and love it 🙂 I idolise jack for his calm manor and proffesionalism when driving strange to think you have taught someone 4000 miles away a few things from TV lol keep it up jack come to the u.k to a truck show one year !!
Hi Andy – He would love to come for a truck show! Who knows, it might happen! We would love to see the countryside. Jack is definitely a class act when it comes to keeping his calm. Have a great holiday from us both. 🙂
Judy, I Pray that you and Jack will have a great Thanksgiving.
Thank you Jesse, we did, and we hope you are having a great holiday weekend.
Had the joy of meeting Jack at the Canadian Border. I said Do I know you I recognize that voice and face and then he mentioned IRT. I enjoyed him on that show. He had a lot of class and professionalism. I came up here June 22 of this year and am still exploring Alaska so maybe he might be able to show me some good fishing spots sometime. I’m sure I’ll see him again at the border.
Hi Terrance – Jack says he may have some fishing tips for you next time he sees you! (Mostly where NOT to go lol.) Thanks for stopping by 🙂
Hi Judy, I had a hip replacemnt in August but pain free now. My wife and I are planning an Alaskan
holiday and Fairbanks on the list.Melvyn
Hi Jack & Judy, just thought I’d stop by and wish you both a Merry Christmas. I know, that most truckers don’t get a chance to celebrate the holidays at home. So, Have a Wonderful & Safe Christmas & New Year. Stay True Jack, aka The Cavalry or The Gentleman Trucker, either way, You’re still 1 of the Classiest Trucker I know. Say “Hi” to everyone (the drivers) at Carlile . Same wishes to you Judy!!
Merry Christmas to you too Susan!
Merry Christmas Jack and Judy. I pray that you will have a blessed day and 2016.
Jack and Judy: Merry Christmas to you both. Hope the season is joyus for you both and 2016 should be a healthy + happy year. Jack is a true gentleman of the highway, he is the consumate professional. I am curious, are you still with Carlisle and what are you driving these days ? Do you keep in touch with any of the others like Lisa, Hugh, Alex or Ray or Austin ? .
My thoughts as well. The very best to you both for 2016. Melvyn
Hi Alexander. We’ve had a great year. Jack is driving a Freightliner Coranado and is still working for Carlile, yes. He sees Lisa every so often but not so much the other guys. Most of them don’t live here. A healthy + happy year to you too! 🙂
Best wishes to Jesse and Melvyn too.
Why the Freightliner? Hard to beat a W9.
Well, my bosses asked me if I wanted to try it out and I know a lot of owner operators have them up here and like them, so I did. Turns out the engine is great (DD16), there’s lots of room in the cab, and I don’t feel exhausted at the end of several trips in a row, maybe because of the comfortable seat. The truck rides better. I don’t care what brand it is as long as it’s comfortable and reliable. – Jack
Sounds great. Must have made improvements. I agree comfort and reliability are top requirements. I always liked the W9. Didn’t drive many Freightliners. Mostly FLDs and a few COEs.
Been a driver since 1965, ran the haul road from Jan ’75 thru the pipeline construction and several years after along with the rest of Ak roads. Spent a lot of time in W9’s with Cat power, 1693 and 3408s. Great trucks, tons of power etc but I got to the point where my back was killing me.Then I spent 8 yrs moving new trucks out of Portland Frtlr all over U.S. and Canada. The best ride for me was the Frtlnr. I have since owned an FLD and a Coronado that I ran the Alaska hwy out of Seattle. I retired , got bored (maybe stupid)and picked up a 07 Western Star which the wife and I run the AK hwy again. All my trucks have been series 60 Detroits, plenty of power and very comfortable. I did put a Pittsburg Power in the Coronado and put 500 on the ground with 6+mpg. All the new stuff now is much more driver friendly but my experience has been the Frtlnr was the best ride for me and with the right running gear a very good truck,. Keep ’em between the ditches!!
If you drove the road back in those days then you must definitely know what you’re talking about since it probably killed your back every day. There is something about the Freightliner that makes a better ride. It takes bumps better. Glad you concur about it being a good truck. You might really like the DD16. Keep the dirty side down! – Jack
Thanks for the reply Jack
. keep the shiny side up and the dirty side down If you happen to see a turquoise Western Star with a small LTI sign on the door that will be Lynn and I doing a l.t.l. load out of Tacoma. Happy and prosperous New Year
Jack said he’ll watch for ya 🙂
Judy, would you ask Jack…what is the average life of a truck at Carlisle? How many miles before they are too unreliable.
We made the trip to Prudhoe Bay in 2001 in a Ford van. Ruined 3 out of 4 tires and knocked a break line loose when a tread came off, but it was worth it. What a beautiful and unusual trip.
Hope y’all have a blessed 2016.
Jack says it’s complicated but usually around 500,000 to 800,000 miles. Condition of the truck, lots of factors. It’s a tough road alright.
Judy, hope all is well with y’all. Would you ask Jack what they do to keep the DEF from freezing in the low temperatures and if their trucks have any other special options? Take care.
He says the DEF tank and lines are heated, but below a certain temperature (0 degrees?) the truck doesn’t use any.
hi im totally addicted to IRT i live in England and i watched it as a one off and totally hooked now to the stage i will sit and watch repeats over n over i do love jack what a top guy
Glad you found us! 🙂
I agree with Lisa,I’m als watching original series. Jack, why didn’t Lisa Kelly sign up with Carlile Transport? Excellent driver and rather winsome.
Hi, I have to agree, I miss watching IRT, when they filmed it in AK. What they have on now, is just a waste of time, a night time soap opera. Give me Gentleman Jack, & the AK wilderness. That was not only reality, but just listening to the other drivers, they had respect for their jobs, & fellow drivers ( not only Carlile ). Their drivers also knew the English. NOT like what they have on now. I watched 1 episode, and turned off the TV. I know Jack didn’t like the camera in his face 24/7, but if IRT came back to AK, I’d be watching it. Thanks Judy, you * Jack, Stay Safe
it was fun to watch , NOT anymore . my hat off to you jack . i have been driving over 30 years , and i don’t think i can run on those roads lol . if i ever get up there would love to take a trip with you . lol
Judy.how about posting a recent picture of you and Jack. Haven’t seen one since you were standing on the Arctic circle
I’ve been thinking about that Melvyn and will do it soon.
Hello how are yall doing
Judy, how is Jack’s new truck doing?
Great pics of the moose.
Didn’t know that Jack went to Wythville C.C. I took the truck driving course at N.C State in 1960.
Hope y’all are well.
Great pics of the dam. Also, like your camper. We had a Lance camper that we made our 3 trips to Alaska. Hope you and Jack are well.
Judy, have you seen the foreign documentary done in a foreign language that has Jack in it and they’ve dubbed him speaking that language? The link is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0_U-jPczDU. The part with Jack in it starts at about 29 mins and goes to 42 minutes. It’s so funny! Gotta go…strong thunder storm coming through. Have a great weekend!
No I don’t think we’ve seen it. We’re heading out camping for a few days but we’ll look at it as soon as we get back. Thanks!!
I’ve just checked the times on the video and it keeps changing for some reason. But Jack is in the last 1/3 of the video. Dalton is listed as #3 most dangerous in this documentary. Hope you have a great camping trip!
That was great, thanks Judy. Jack watched the whole thing. He’s pretty sure that wasn’t IRT footage. He thinks it was a British crew that he did that interview with.