We are sad beyond words to learn of the death of Joy Wiebe. She was a beautiful vibrant soul who brought cheer to the lives of many a trucker on the Dalton Highway. Jack considered her a good friend, not just a fellow trucker. Many an afternoon or evening was whiled away on the road in conversation about this or that, always a positive experience with Joy who improved the mood of each day and situation she was in. Full of energy, always wanting to be a better person, the world lost an asset the day she died.
I was able to meet Joy in Coldfoot about 2 months ago. I liked her immediately. Her smile and attitude were kind and open. She was a humble person, small of stature but strong and able and energetic. She touched my life for only a couple of minutes yet I find myself crying for a person I barely knew. Why Joy had to go and why her family has to now be overcome by grief and the question of how they can go on, we’ll never know. We can only feel deep sadness and pain at a world without her.
Jack and I send our deepest sympathies to the family of Joy Wiebe. We cannot imagine their grief. We want them to know that this trucker, as well as so many others, thought the world of Joy. She was a shining beam of light on a dark night, on the Haul Road. She was a Joy.
Here’s two 2-minute clips of a section of the road that is about 130+ miles from Fairbanks. At the beginning, Jack passes by Chucky’s Corner on the right. Chucky was a trucker who lost his life on that corner and it’s memorialized with the name, and the cross.
At some point every year white out conditions occur on the Dalton where you can see barely 20 feet in front of you. Here are some photos from last year. Someone went off the road and laid their truck over on its side. Click on the first one and scroll to the right.
Years ago Jack came across this load that fell off a truck north of Coldfoot. Click on the first one and scroll to the right. More info on the captions.
Jack is pretty sure this is an “explosion box”, a portable unit that’s probably used as a break room next to a rig most of the time, but it’s most crucial use is as an explosion shelter. If there’s a an explosion individuals can stay in it for protection. It’s actually upside down here and the damaged attached boxes are probably heaters or ventilation units.
The driver was looking to the left, drove off the road on the right, then turned the steering wheel abruptly to get back on the road, breaking the chains that held the box down and tossing it off the trailer.
Marks where the box first hit the ground.
This is most likely how the fallen load was tied down. This truck is carrying a similar unit.
There are four chains here. The fallen load was probably tied down correctly but the force was enough to break pieces of the trailer, probably not the chains themselves.
The drive line of this truck broke coming down 5 mile last summer. Just like putting it in neutral, the motor didn’t help slow him down. While trying to stop the truck going downhill the driver smoked his brakes, then coasted up 6 mile hill. His brakes wouldn’t hold him when he coasted to a stop, they were too hot. So then he rolled backwards into the ditch. There’s more than accidents that go on up on the road but most of it isn’t exciting enough to post. 🙂
Jack happened upon a motor home that got too close to the edge and got sucked into the soft shoulder on the Taylor Highway a few miles north of Chicken, Alaska. In these photos Jack drives up to the gathering of vehicles with people who are there to get this problem taken care of. The tow truck is there and they have already pulled the motor home so that it is perpendicular to the road so they can get it out. The sad couple stands nearby; even if their insurance is paid up there was undoubtedly a loss of valuables and a sad ending to the trip they’ve planned for months. Sadly, it’s not the first time it has happened and it won’t be the last. (Click on the first image and scroll to the right.)
This truck wrecked on the Parks Highway yesterday. The driver is fine but he was cited for negligent driving. The accident spilled about 2000 gallons of diesel into a ditch. Below is a link to a short article in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner about it.
Jack calls this kind of trailer a bulker. It carries dry powders like concrete, sand, or ammonium nitrate. This one probably carried concrete or sand. He says they use air to transfer the product from one place to another. Unloading a bulker is called “blowing it off” to the people who do it. In Prudhoe they store the product in silos.
Don’t forget you can increase the resolution on a YouTube video by clicking on the settings symbol in the lower right hand corner and choosing a higher number than what YouTube picked for you.