On the road again—Porkchop, that is.
This week, as fans tuned in to catch the latest episode of their favorite History Channel reality television show, Ice Road Truckers, many were expecting rookie driver Porkchop to get, well, the chop. But, what they found is that there just may be some truth to this Southern boy’s words: “You can’t stop the Chop.”
But, boy, you can sure knock him down the line a few notches.
Reduced to driving a box truck of dog food into downtown Fairbanks, Porkchop was back on the road making money, but he was not at all happy with his new, um, challenge.
“Seriously?” he asked the dispatcher.
His humiliation was made complete, it seemed, when the dispatcher told him he would be driving a “bunny truck,” i.e. a box truck.
“I’m a long-haul driver, and they want me to deliver dog food? Seriously?”
“I don’t know if this is a joke or a punishment,” he said, discouraged, as the kibble was loaded onto the bunny truck. “I guess they ain’t got much faith in me,” he said, assessing his situation as he pulled out of the Carlisle parking lot.
But, he still had a job.
Supplying Yukon Quest Not So Bad
The ice road drivers, of course, put a lot of their bragging rights, egos and pride into not just the number of loads they haul, but just what those loads consisted of going down the icy roads. Heavy hauls are considered more prestigious than a load of pipe, for instance, and one has to assume that there is not a lot of prestige in delivering dog food in a bunny truck to Fairbanks. The dispatcher did try to cushion the blow a bit, telling Porkchop that the load was “time-sensitive; it’s gotta get to the start of the Yukon Quest before the race starts,” (although, honestly, the dispatcher, Mark Bertelson, did appear to be holding back a laugh as he spoke with the Chop). And, of course, the Yukon Quest is not the famed Iditarod, but Alaskans take their dogs and their dog racing pretty seriously, regardless—the recipients certainly would not perceive their load as a lesser haul for the Chop. From the Yukon Quest website:
At the top of the world in the Yukon and Alaska wilderness of northwestern North America, an epic winter sports event takes place every February: the Yukon Quest 1,000 Mile International Sled Dog Race. Covering 1,000 miles (1,600 km) between Whitehorse, Yukon and Fairbanks, Alaska during the depths of winter, the Yukon Quest is known for excellence in canine care and fostering the traditions of northern travel by dog sled.
But, nevertheless, in the world of trucking, it was a definite smack on the wrist, to be sent down to driving a truck one can rent to move their furniture over the weekend.
Porkchop’s fate at Carlisle isn’t looking good, but Lane does seem determined to give him every opportunity to prove himself. He did seem to find a bit of inspiration in Fairbanks, walking among the dogs and talking to the sledders. “She’s [the sledder Porkchop met] out here for 11 days … no heat, sleeping out here with her dogs; it’s kinda motivational,” he said. “If this is what I’ve gotta do to get back on track with Lane, so be it. Whether it’s an 80,000-pound load or a 5,000-pound load, I’m here to do a job, and that’s what I’m gonna do.”
Will Porkchop indeed take advantage of the chance Lane has given him, or will he find himself without a job in the end?
Ice Road Truckers airs on the History Channel on Sundays at 9/8c.
Image: Wikimedia Commons