MAY 2004






          Now for the very interesting part of this 180 mile Cat Train trip, the recovery of the TD-6 with the broken final drive. After placing the tank shed at the Laurie Lake outpost camp, we headed out with the Famous Black Cat pulling the stone boat on a mission to retrieve the TD-6 after 6 long years in the bush. The TD-6 Iím told is on a trail and should not be hard to get at, but the Blue Bombardier has gone a head scouting the trail and came back with bad news. We will have to push a trail to the TD-6 thru 300 feet of bush, snow and sand. Sleighs hate sand it stops them dead in their tracks. So I follow the Blue Bombardier across the lake to where we will have to push a trail to the TD-6. In the tracks of the Blue Bombardier is a foot of water between the snow and ice. This is not a good thing. The water makes it very hard to plow the snow off the ice so the stone boat doesnít get hung up. But worst yet is it sticks to the vee plow and packs very hard on the blade making it useless. But oh well, we are having fun and lots of it.



            Now the fun begins with the Famous Black Cat pushing a trail thru the dense brush with no armament like a regular cat would have. The Famous Black Cat has been design as a snow freighting cat so it is light as possible with no armament because of the added weight. When we are winter sleigh freighting all we are doing is plowing snow and travelling on excising trails with no trees to push down. So for the Famous Black Cat to push 300 feet thru the bush was going to be fun and I had to operate it with silk gloves. If I break the cat it might end up staying there until next year when I could get it repaired or removed with another cat. So now the fun will begin and it did, only 75 feet of plowed trail and I broke the Famous Black Cat. This is not good breaking the left side hydraulic cylinder mounting bracket clear off the machine when I got wedge between two really big trees. Oh well, couldnít do anything except tie the cylinder on the fuel tank and keep going, the nearest welder is only 80 miles across country. Like I always say my cup of coffee is always Ĺ full and we will get the job done.


          So now Iím running the Famous Black Cat with a broken lift cylinder so I must keep a careful eye on the other cylinder because it is doing all the work. If I break this cylinder off it will be a very long trip back to Lynn Lake, Mb dragging the vee plow behind the cat. Plus the talk at the cafť Table of Truth will be embarrassing from all those fellows that sit at the table everyday. Most of them have winter freighted over thousands of miles but have never sat on a cat so I must not break anything else.


          After bouncing around for about 2 hours, I finally wacked enough trees down to see the TD-6 for the very first time. What a site to see, a very small toy like cat alone in the Great White North waiting to be rescued. The funny thing about this poor TD-6 is the fact that the bears ate all the hoses off the machine, even the hydraulic ones with the steel wire inside. It did not take long to jack up the TD-6 and slide the stone boat under it. Then off thru the bush trail I had just made to the lake where the fun actually began.


          So what happens when you drive a cat out on to the ice that has a foot of water on it., while dragging a stone boat with a TD-6 that is on a sand beach??? Not much is right. Boy did we have fun and get wet trying to get the stone boat off the beach and into the water. Learned a lot on this experience that will last a life time. And looking back on it now, we handled it very well without having a cat with a winch on it. So new rule when going to the bush to get a dead cat. Take a bigger cat then the one your getting and make sure you have a bull winch on it. We played around for a couple of hour and I was very determined to get that TD-6 home because I didnít come all this way to fail.  Once the stone boat hit the water we were off and I never stopped in fear of getting stuck. So Jim2 and Xena got to pick up the tools and catch up to us because Jim was riding on the TD-6. When it started to move he jumped on to get a ride thru the water, but I never stopped until I got back to Laurie Lake cabin. Jim2 and Xena beat us back to the cabin and supper was almost ready for us when we arrived.

         So the next issue of the CAT TRAIN NEWSLETTER will be the trip south of Laurie Lake outpost camps to deliver the second tank shed. Thanks and you can see the lodges that each Jim owns.



BOX 372