MAY 2004




          Greetings, Iím glad you folks are enjoying the CAT TRAIN NEWSLETTERS, now that I have been putting them out on a regular bases. I still very amazed at how popular the newsletters have become. Maybe Iíll take a visit back down on the prairies and see my old English teacher who decided in her wisdom that I should spend several years in her class. Like I tell everybody, I have twelve years of schooling it doesnít mean I have grade twelve. But I have graduated from the school of hard knocks many times with honours.


         The Eager Dam project is where I got my start on the ice roads back in 1998 when Xena was still in her diapers. This project has great memories for Xena and I. Where else can a six year old show people where she threw her soother out the loader window for good. Also I learned all about air holes that are a part of nature in a frozen lake which come big enough to fit the Monster Truck in. Then I got to learn all about salvaging Monster Truck that was in an air hole in the middle of the lake with 2 feet of water on top of the ice that is around the hole. Oh the things we do for fun in the great white north, maybe I should have stayed in school, as least it is warm.


         Eager dam was built by Sherritt Gordon Mines to control water on the Laurie River water system as part of the generator station at Laurie River hydro dam. Of course everything to build the dam was Cat Trained in during the winter of 1950-1951according to the Mines Branch Reports. I hope to at least find people or relatives that worked there and have pictures of the construction because we must tell the story before it is forgotten about forever.


          In August 1998 I had a fellow from Lynn Lake, Mb give me a boat ride to Eager Dam to look at the D7 Cat and the Northwest Dragline. But this fellow is the local speed demon of town and he drives even faster on the water in a boat without brakes. Which is a very big problem for me, Iím AFRAID of water unless it is frozen. So lets just say I didnít see much of Eager Lake from the bottom of the boat as I hung on in fear. After we arrived at Eager Dam in less time then any other trips before, I crawled out of the boat and waited for my legs to catch up to me. I was totally amazed at the 2 pieces of equipment that Sherritt Gordon Mines had left behind and the condition they were in. The D7 Cat was complete and the glass was still in the gauges which is very rare due to bad ass kids. The Northwest Dragline was in very good shape and it was well worth the near death experience in the hands of captain death. I took lots of pictures that never turned out, oh well. We travelled back across Eager Lake in less time it took the first time but I knew I could make it because of a little Crown Royal waiting for me at home, will take away the pain.


         Now all we have to do is let the lake freeze over real good and build an ice road to haul the collectibles home. Yeah right, I have never done this before let alone seen it done. But I did read a book called Sigfusson Roads and talked to some old time freighters, so Iím ready. Of course we have an unlimited budget for this project which consists of my empty beer bottles and good will of others at the bulk fuel station. The general rule for paying for your fuel is 30 days but when you deal with the KING OF OBSOLETE, it is when the money tree blossoms and that varies by the season. In January, 1999, I took a new style chevy 4x4 truck with a front mounted vee plow and start plowing Eager Lake. It was the last new style piece of equipment I have owned because it was junk in capital letters. This truck was a money pit just like my last girlfriend, very high maintance for the little mileage one gets. The truck did get the ice road opened without falling apart which was a good thing because there was no money in the budget to repair it.


          I decide to use my old 922 Cat loader to move the D7 Cat but I must first drive it 35 miles to Eager Lake then the 10 miles across the ice road I opened. So this is no big problem saves on trucking the little loader because we have no budget, remember. I drove the loader in road gear down the highway and made good time bouncing along while the girlfriend followed in the 4x4truck. She could never drive a standard, so she would leave the transmission in 3rd gear and drive it like an automatic transmission, maybe that is why the truck was always broken. For the last 5 miles through the bush to Eager Lake I put the loader in a lower range and bounced on through the bush making good time until the steering linkage broken. It is amazing how many trees the loader can wack down in a very short time, plus it was very hard to fix the steering in amongst all the trees too. As usual my cup of coffee is always Ĺ full, it could have broke on the highway at a greater speed, then the loader would be 3 times as far in the bush.


          Once I got the loader fixed and out of the bush, we made it to Eager Dam but a little later than planned. So we started pushing the D7 Cat with the little loader across Eager Lake which was no big problem. Until we came to the part of the lake where the Laurie River crosses through, which means current and this means thin or bad ice. When the loader and the D7 Cat crossed on that part of the ice, boy did it crack and lots of cracks. So I knew not to stop because I have to keep the weight moving and it was very hard to drive the loader from the outside the cab. Than the ice got better with less cracks and we made it to the other side of Eager Lake with no problems.

          With the ice road I built on top of the Laurie River current, I could not risk bringing the 45 ton Northwest Dragline across Eager Lake. It would be another 3 years until the Gods would give me the right conditions for an ice road on Eager Lake. Plus it also gave us time to build up a budget of empty beer bottles to fund this venture again. Thanks



BOX 372