Over the course of the next few months I will be breaking up the theme of this newsletter, so it doesnít seem to be talking about the same boring topic. Also Iím waiting for the stories to come in so I can rewrite them in English and everyone can read. This months edition is a big thank you to the search party who came and rescued us and asked to be paid only in Linn Tractor hat from New York. Which is still coming, remember they are in the south and things move at a slower pace.
The story begins in Laurie River Mb, which is a hydro generating station that Sherritt Gordon Mines built to supply power to Lynn Lake Mb. Now you got to remember this is a mining company that used Linn Tractors to move a complete town north to the end of the world. Then built a hydro generating station 60 miles south of Lynn Lake, so they could go mining in beautiful remote northern Manitoba. When you think of this it is mind bending, its hard enough to go mining now days with the infrastructure already in place, but from scratch 50 years ago. Well we decided to go and haul logs in Laurie River Mb in December 2000, loaded the Linn, Black Cat, Caboose and log sleighs on the train. The train is the only access to Laurie River other then the weekly flight from Thompson for Hydro to change crews. We arrived in Laurie River and it was a very hot -43C at noon when the train dropped off the flat car with our equipment. Every thing we had to do with this big logging outfit, turned out to be a big screw up and anything that could go wrong did and it got worst, we never got paid. We hauled logs with the Linn Tractor, that went very well, but I lost the Black Cat for 9 days under the ice (I couldnít find it because it was black). After 3 months of work and nothing to show for it, we asked the logging company to order rail cars so we can get out of Laurie River and go haul freight. They said no, we would have to pay for the railcars, but the contract reads they pay the freight in and out. They are a big logging company and we are just a bunch of hillbillies from Lynn Lake so we didnít get railcars for our equipment.
Like I have always said my cup of coffee is always half full, and I decided to make the best of this opportunity. I decided we are going to relive the Linn Tractors travelling the hydro line from Laurier River to Lynn Lake. The Linn Tractors travelled this line doing maintenance and repair in the 50's and 60's and this should be no problem. Wrong we needed a work permit by Natural Resources and they are not giving me one until Manitoba Hydro sends a letter of OK. This only took a few weeks to get handled and off we headed down the hydro line to Lynn Lake, this trip should only take 2 days and we are home. Wrong again, 21 days, 2 broken sleigh bunks, a wack up side the head by a tree I donít remember, the hired man in love and gone in the middle of the night and storm stayed 16 miles from Lynn Lake for 4 days. Remember the cup is always half full and things are going to get better but not this year, I know looking back now. The other events of this trip I will save for other newsletters, so Iíll tell you all about the search party.
On March 19/01 we are about 27 miles from Lynn Lake on the hydro line and I ski-doo to town for the supplies. I see my buddy Barry Threinen and tell him we should be home in 2 days but I have been saying this since we left Laurie River 15 days ago. I arrive back at the Caboose and watch the satellite TV for the weather forecast and it was not good, we decided to make a run for it tonight. This way we could travel as far as we could before the storm hit. Good plan except the cat operator was the girl friend at the time and things got worse but the cup was half full. We should have made good time that night but the girl friend seemed to have forgot how to drive the Black Cat. If she didnít have it stuck in deep snow, she had it in reverse instead of forward and that is how the rad in the Linn Tractor got broken. By 5:00 AM the storm was here and we only travelled 10 miles in 12 hours but as Cyril says, as long as you are going forward, you are freighting. We pulled the broken Linn and the sleighs out to be in the clearing along side the hydro line which paid off in the end, at the time one should stay in the bush for wind protection.
After 4 long days the wind never let up, not even at night, we watch our satellite TV and followed the storm. On the afternoon of the 4th day of the storm we heard a plane, sure enough the plane was flying the hydro line. The plane was from LaRouge Aviation in Lynn Lake and they were searching for us but the plane is a twin engine built for speed, not for searching slowly. The plane was flying in near zero visibility and we had a hard time seeing the plane they were able to see us all because we were on the hydro line, not in the bush. Here it was Barry Threinen looking for us because we were 2 days late and it was too late in the day to send the search party by skidoo. The next morning we awoke to a beautiful calm day, I knew the search party would be on its way and I started to dig out the equipment that was half buried in snow. What a site to see on March 24/01 when you look down the bald hydro line and see 3 skidoo headlites bouncing along in the fresh blown snow. There was Lloyd Thompson, Ronald McDonald and Gary Wilford all ski-dooed out to help us out, they brought candy bars for Xena, smokes for the girl friend and gas for the rest of the way home. The search party was quite surprised to find that we watched TV and rented pay per view movies off the satellite dish, while we waited the storm out. We were quite comfortable in the Caboose for the whole time and we canít believe that the old freighters used to have six people in the Caboose for the freight haul, sometimes more.
We arrived in Lynn Lake 2 days later, made the trip in a record 21 days and the stories and experience that I gained was well worth all the ribbing from Cyril and the cafť table of truth. I would gladly do it again but no tree upside the head this time. I would like to thank every one who helped once again THANKS.
Another thanks to Helen for proof reading and to Lee the use of the magic mouse with the pictures.
KING OF OBSOLETE
Lynn Lake Mb
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