Digger Man

Digger Man Blog

by Nick Drew  |  Tue 03 Dec 2019

Doug Hamiltonís Machine Memories (Part Fourteen)

Continuing our series focusing on the memories of retired plant man Doug Hamilton in his own words and featuring archive photos from his own private collection.

Doug Hamiltonís Machine Memories (Part Fourteen)

As Doug mentioned in his previous post (Part Thirteen) the road from Grande Cache up to Grand Prairie needed a lot of care, but in the winter months it could be treacherous!

Doug recalls the tale of taking a wheeled loader along the icy incline, “I found the best way to do this was too fill the bucket best I could before heading off, with everything being so frozen, if I started to slide, I would shake the bucket so that some of the material would drop under my wheels to give me just enough traction to keep going”

“I can’t begin to tell you how treacherous it was to drive up there in the winter months, even seasoned Canadian drivers from the city of Edmonton wouldn’t make it through the first day up there.  And it wasn’t just wheeled vehicles that struggled, even dozers would slide up there with their track grousers becoming like ice skates, we did find that welding on “ice lugs” would help, but they wore off very quickly”. 

It was hair raising stuff but all in a day’s work for us boys. One day going to the yard I arrived to see that Al was there, early for him I thought, but then what did I see, a brand-new Hough 90 wheeled loader and a Cat D8 parked up, apparently he just wanted to see my face!”

“The photos contained in this post are from my first job with the new Hough 90 which was digging out for basements. Al Sprecher had been away developing a small subdivision South of Red Deer and an apartment building. Sometime later we moved down there to manage the apartment, and that’s where we stayed and worked until 1987. Catherine working at the local hospital and me working through the operating engineers. It was also good to be on the flat away from the mountains for a change”.

Lookout for more of Doug’s Machine Memories in the coming weeks as this series enters its final phase.

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