A few minutes at Coldfoot

Another video, this one spending a few minutes at the parking lot in Coldfoot before he heads down the road.

How fast is Jack going?

Recently someone asked how fast Jack is driving in these videos.  The answer is, the fastest Jack drives on the Dalton is 55 miles an hour.  His truck is governed at 55, meaning it is programmed to be unable to go faster than that.  The speed limit of the Dalton Highway is 50 miles an hour, so he is given that extra 5 miles an hour in order to let him gain a little speed before going up the steep grades of the hills and mountains.

Of course he drives a variety of speeds.  Things he slows down for are curves, rough patches, frost heaves, and animals.  And when you see him meeting other trucks as a general rule he slows down to about 35.  That is for safety primarily, but also etiquette.

So here’s another video, this one of a night drive, which is what the Haul Road experience consists of most of the time in the winter.  (Don’t forget, the volume is loud.)

The road is cleared!

Recently the Dalton was drifted shut near Slope Mountain.  This video starts right after 2 blades (graters) clear the road and one parks in front of Jack.  If it weren’t for the plowed path, you can’t really tell where the road is unless you watch the delineaters, those reflective markers on each edge.

Typical day in Jack’s life, but to music

This is an amalgamation of video clips from the Dalton Highway between the Brooks Range and Prudhoe Bay.  You’ll see the Trans-Alaska pipeline and a glimpse of Pump 2.  It’s not in perfect order, as road aficionados and time clock watchers will notice.  I’m new to video editing and sometimes you just have to accept a less than perfect product, to Jack’s chagrin.

Driving into Fairbanks at night

Here’s a new video of Jack driving into Fairbanks the other night, sped up so it’s not too tedious.  It’s pretty late so not much is going on.  Some trucks cleaning up the Steese Highway, that’s about it.  It’s in HD so don’t let YouTube show you a poor quality video, if you have decent internet.  And it does have some music on it so you may want to reduce the volume if you are sensitive to that.  When you add music through YouTube, you can’t determine the volume, so it’s loud.

Heavy haul load with 2 push trucks

For some reason, years ago, Jack documented this heavy haul load quite thoroughly so why not share it with you guys.  This is a 2006 heavy haul load with 2 push trucks going up Atigun Pass on the Dalton Highway, and coming down the other side.  The load might be some kind of heater, maybe to heat the oil going down the pipeline, but Jack’s not totally sure.  It’s an outside unit so didn’t need to be covered.  Click on the first one and scroll to the right.

White out & truck off the road

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.

Two truckers caught in an avalanche

Two truckers were caught in an avalanche Monday night on the Dalton.  Jack was not involved and neither of the drivers were seriously hurt.  The road is now closed and the State is working on trying to trigger avalanches before they reopen.  We’ve had tons of snow, seems like a record breaking year for snow actually, but for some reason no one made the decision to deal with this before it got to this point.

There is a short dash cam video on the Alaska DOT Facebook page.  And from the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner:

Two tankers in an avalanche - The Jack Jessee Blog

Photo credit: Jonothan James Kasak via the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner website

“One of the trucks that was stuck was a tanker carrying methanol; the other one carried glycol. When the highway reopens, the state Department of Environmental Conservation will evaluate whether there were any spills. The other two trucks were able to proceed with minimal assistance from a Department of Transportation crew, Bailey said.

Atigun Pass is one of a handful of mountain passes where work crews frequently fire Howitzer artillery at snowcovered slopes to trigger avalanches in order to prevent unplanned slides. Avalanche gates were installed on the south side of the pass three years ago to stop vehicles headed into avalanche danger. This was the first time the gate has been used.”

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Snow Drifts on the Dalton

There’s been plenty of wind and snow on the Dalton lately.  Here are snow drifts at Ice Cut that have been plowed away by a loader, creating one lane which is better than nothing!  Video by fellow trucker, John Slater.  Hope everyone is having a great 2017 so far.