How does Jack stay warm? Part 2

Another way Jack stays warm has to do with the generator in his truck that enables him to turn off the truck’s engine in the winter and not worry about the cab freezing or the engine not starting again.  In fact, this generator is supposed to run at all times that the truck isn’t and keep the cab at room temperature or close to it.  Unfortunately, reality is not quite that ideal.  The generator sometimes breaks down and at those times Jack is forced to run the truck all night at any temperature below about 40 or 50 degrees (since even though Jack has an inner furnace, even he has a hard time sleeping when it’s below 50 degrees).Generator in Big RIg

When I first learned that trucking companies run big trucks all the time during the winter, or at least used to before they got generators to keep the cab warm even when the truck was not running, I was shocked at the amount of fuel that must be needed on a daily basis throughout the winter.  This is unfortunate, and it’s impressive that Carlile is one of the first trucking companies in Alaska to start using the generators in order to cut down on fuel use.

This 4KW generator runs on diesel which it draws from the truck’s fuel tank.  It powers an electric heater under the bed in the cab and a fan blows heated air into the cab from there.  On top of that, the generator serves another purpose:  to circulate antifreeze through the truck’s engine in cold temperatures, preventing it from getting too cold to start.  It’s a great deal and all big rigs driven up here should have them to cut down on fuel usage.

Generator in a Big Rig

Generator in a Big Rig

How does Jack stay warm out there? Part 1

You know how some people just have an inner furnace that keeps them warm all the time?  That’s Jack.  At 40 or 50 below he’ll bundle up with Carhartt bibs, and a hat, or maybe a face mask.  But 20 below, that’s just normal to him.

A reader, John Webb, asked “I was just wondering when Jack is out on the Dalton swapping cogs how does he keep warm at night sleeping in his truck and why does’nt he ever wear a serious coat/jacket/parka, I feel cold just watching him get out when he’s hitchin up to his next load.”

Jack's Frostbit EarJack might have an inner furnace, but even he can misgauge temperatures when wind is a factor.  A few years ago at 20 above, Jack frostbit his ear.  This was a serious miscalculation on his part, and it shows what even a minor breeze can result in when it’s still above zero.  (You can see the blister on the outer part but if you notice, almost half of the ear is red and swollen.)

So this is serious stuff to miscalculate on and Jack paid the price this time.

He does wear a serious jacket at those colder temperatures but oftentimes if it’s just a quick jump outside to check the load before leaving, his long-sleeved shirt (over a T-shirt) is enough.  You balance the hassle of getting out your coat, which could be buried in the back under your cooler or lunch or logbook, with how much cold you can handle on your short trip out into it.

As for how he stays warm at night in the truck, stay tuned!