Holidays and Frozen Machinery

It's been a chaotic few weeks here at Pole. We've had cold weather, warm weather, good times, bad times, and plenty of weird things in between. To get the weird out of the way, well...... We went ice fishing to celebrate thanksgiving. The picture says more than I can. 

Moving on.

Thanksgiving was last weekend. Major holidays like thanksgiving and christmas require lots of celebration here, and so we are given the gift of a two-day weekend. That's right, we get Saturday and Sunday off. Saturday night, the galley was rearranged into long banquet tables and the endlessly-looping scroll on the overhead screens was replaced by a video of logs burning in a fireplace. And the food, oh the food. We generally dine extremely well here at Pole, but the cooks really went all out for thanksgiving dinner. We had three types of turkey, vegetarian stuffing, mashed potatoes, yams, a huge variety of baked goods, and the list goes on. We ate, we partied, and we got to sleep in the next day. It was a wonderful experience. I didn't take any pictures, but the station was transformed into a homey, warm food palace. Even though all of us were away from family, we had each other as a big Polie family and it was truly lovely. Unfortunately, the end of the holiday weekend was dulled by tragedy, but I try not to dwell on that much.

In lighter news, we somehow managed to cram a crane into the underground garage that is the vehicle maintenance facility where I work. But I wasn't involved in the crane much, I was busy tooling around in the best work truck ever.

This is a LMC 1800. It'll go anywhere and pull anything with a top speed of 8mph. It's a load of fun. This particular one was last registered in Idaho in 1992.... as a snowmobile.

The controls are fun, and despite their looks incredibly simple. There's one lever for throttle, and the two levers in the middle control each track. It's just like the little R/C cars you can often find at the toy store. The only problem is that the controls are right in between your legs, and very easy to bump when getting in and out of the vehicle. In other words, if you aren't careful getting out, the thing might try to run you over. But it's so much fun to drive you can forgive it for that pretty easily. 

Most of what I end up doing with the LMC is towing one of these things around. This is a NGH heater, and it is the savior of all mechanics at Pole. It's a diesel-powered electric furnace on wheels. You tow it to a piece of machinery that's too cold to start, point the hose at the engine, leave it a while, and it'll start right up later. Or if you find something completely encased in snow, you drape a parachute over it and run the hose out of the heater under the parachute. It makes a little microclimate bubble that can completely melt out a dozer/ice cube in a matter of a day.

For instance, if you put the hose under the hood of a snowmobile that's been sitting untouched in a berm all winter, it'll be ready to run in 15 minutes. Amazing.

And then there's heatertrain. For when moving one heater isn't enough. Backing up to the heater without a spotter is hard, and backing up a heater to another heater was an accomplishment I was extremely proud of. Sometimes you can end up with a heatertrain towing a snowmobiletrain. Those LMCs are all torque. 

People do look at you funny when you're towing a line of equipment a few times the length of your vehicle though.

I don't care. I'm at the south freaking pole. Judge away.

Jeremy Bloyd-Peshkin

Machinist, Welder, Driver, Adventurer, Mechanic, Always smells like something flammable.