MAY 2004




          So, you guys are wondering why I would call a D6 9U Caterpillar dozer BISMARK? Itís name comes from the past history of being a winter freighting cat with Kip of Ilford, Mb. This poor cat has bounced off every rock on the Cat Train Trails of the Great White North,  so it is one tough cat. Plus all my cats are known as boys and sleighs are girls and the BISMARK battleship was known as a HE. This poor cat also suffered a very bad sinking and laid in the bottom of a muskeg swamp for over 2 years until it was recovered using some very big equipment. After working on this cat over the winter months of 2003-2004, I decided that I can not afford to lose this cat in the bottom of a lake. Then, Iíll be painting it with one of the best colours for finding anything in water, Tremclad Aluminum, because it reflects the light better than cat yellow. So it will almost look like battleship gray and this should be enough reasons to call this D6 9U cat the BISMARK.


         I first seen the BISMARK on a trip to Ilford, MB with Mr. Bigice in March of 2003. We travelled over the ice road to meet Kip, who at the age of 76, ski-dooed 76 miles from his lodge for our visit. The BISMARK sat Ĺ buried in snow by the shop, in very sad shape. When one looks the cat over, you could see the history of this cat and what it has to tell us yet. So in October of 2003 I travelled to Ilford, Mb with my equipment on the train to get the Thompson Collection ready for winter shipping. I went to move the BISMARK from the front of the shop but with not much success due to seized brake bands. So after lots of heating, I got him to roll and didnít stop until he was at the loading ramp that will be used this winter.


          January 2004, we get lucky with the fact that there is a D5M (very new style cat) in Ilford, Mb plus Chev Roc Trucking is available to haul the BISMARK back to Lynn Lake, Mb. So off we go in my buddy Markís TOYota truck and give it a hell of a licking over the winter road to Ilford, MB. Xena and I arrive in Ilford to see the D5M walking (cat term for driving) down main street Ilford, Mb to the loading ramp and the semi truck is already backing up to the loading ramp. Wow, there is a God, everything is going great. Something is definitely wrong here, it must be a dream. Jim the D5M Cat Skinner used to work for Kip and as the locals say, he has Tamed That Putty Cat. Jim hooks on to the BISMARK and drags it over to be in line with the loading ramp. In the meantime I tell the trucker to pull ahead and when Jim gets the BISMARK on the loading ramp, back up to the Bismark. But Jim has no time for this and pushes the BISMARK with the D5M up and on the trailer in a blink of the eye. Then he has the D5m on the semi trailer too and pushes the BISMARK to the front of the trailer with it being centred. WOW, this guy is good, I  have seen cat operators loaded semi trailers with everything landing on the ground beside the semi trailer.



          Now all we have to do is tie the load down and off we go. Remember when I said this is too picture perfect? The trucker forgot the chains to tie the load down with. But no problem, Kip has everything you never got for Christmas in his shop. We borrow some chains to tie the load down and off we go at 6:00 pm to bounce over the winter road with super trucker following right behind the little TOYota. When we arrive at Chev Roc Trucking yard in Thompson, Mb, Wes has some very important boxes of blood for the Lynn Lake Hospital that has to be there right away. He took on the contract knowing that he could get it to Thompson, Mb and we would take it the rest of the way. Since there is no regular trucking company going to Lynn Lake for another 4 days, he knew I would say Yes. It is not the first time or the last time Xena has been squished on her side of the truck with boxes or goodies from shopping. When we arrive at the Lynn lake Hospital at 2:00 AM in the morning, the night nurse wouldnít take the delivery because deliveries are during the week and at the back door. So after convincing her to get the other nurse that is on duty, they decided it would be their best interest to open the door and take the boxes. In the Great White North, things just happen and get done, that is the way of the north.


             The next morning Wes from the trucking outfit is calling saying that super trucker is leaving and in 4 hours he will be in your yard with the BISMARK. So we run around getting ready and Barry comes with his big 950 Cat loader to pull the BISMARK off the semi trailer. After our 6th cup of coffee, Iím phoning Wes to see where super trucker disappeared because there are no night clubs open on Sunday between Thompson, Mb and Lynn Lake, Mb. Wrong, super trucker stopped to see an old girlfriend in Leaf Rapids, MB. So while he is cuddling on the couch, we have equipment running at a $.89 per litre, it is getting very expensive, hope she was worth it. When super trucker finally arrives it is dark and we are not happy campers because of all the coffee we drank will keep us up all night for sure. Once the BISMARK is off the trailer, super trucker high tails off to Leaf Rapids, MB for more cuddling on the couch I guess.


          We move the BISMARK into the shop and crank up the wood stove to try and thaw him out. By morning, he is still a frozen popsicle, so more time and heat is need for the secrets of life of this winter freighting cat to be revealed. Once the BISMARK was thawed out, I started to see how much damage was suffered from being sunk for 2 years in the watery grave. More to come on the BISMARK.





BOX 22