2 days done, 256 km covered, averaging roughly 13 km/hour
The routine for our little crew of five is becoming clear.
the mechanics David and Alex start the Challengers at around 0745, and
disconnect the umbilical power cords that supply power to the engine heaters
that keep them from freezing overnight, and straight away we get in our machine
and just drive in low gear around our stop for fifteen minutes or so to warm up
At 0800 we each pull up in front of the loads we will tow and with each others'
help back onto the towing pin and get hitched up. Then, with the Pisten Bully
out in front trying to smooth the bumps we drive, all three trains roped one to
the one behind so we even out the power, for five hours. Michele and I take
turns to drive the longest train, the one at the back. We stop for an hour for
lunch at 1330 and then get back behind the wheel for another six hours driving.
It takes a lot of concentration to follow the twists and turns and steep dips
in the road. I had the feeling today as my tractor's nose pitched steeply up
and down and swayed to either side through the tight turns that I was making
the same steering actions as I do at the wheel of a sailing boat.
At 2030 we stop, with a bit of careful co-ordination, and unhitch from our
loads and leave them standing where they are on the track. We steer the
Challengers round and to the back of the train to face the generator car where
umbilical power lines are led out to heaters inside each engine. Then we get
out and, leaving the motors running, Alex and David do some daily maintenance
work, while Michele fuels the vehicles, I get dinner on and Anthony fills the
snow melter so we have water. We eat at 2200, and crash out shortly after.
We think that we'll be in DDU in more six days, if everything continues to go