Uniquely Alaskan towing expedition.

I don’t like to be overly critical of people I don’t know. Don’t judge someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. But multiple encounters with a failed towing operation has led me to conclude these people were largely unprepared, and should have more thoroughly thought out their chosen expedition.

En route to school last week I happened upon an interesting scene. An older-model Chevy dump truck was towing a trailer of some sort down Farmers Loop, a mostly two-lane road connecting east and west Fairbanks. According to the trooper the dump-truck’s engine blew. There are multiple violations I can determine: lack of appropriate flagging, reflectors, license plates or safety triangles. Though they did have bright-orange milk crates.

© Robin Wood

An Alaska State Trooper arrives on the scene of a dead vehicle to direct traffic.

Directing traffic on Farmers Loop Rd. in west Fairbanks.

I left right as a tow truck arrived on the scene, expecting never to see the uniquely Alaskan towing operating again. Wrong. Returning home late that night I found the truck and trailer sitting on the side of the road, having moved only a few-hundred yards.

Yellow streetlights and the moon illuminate a broken-down vehicle in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Finally, a full day after first encountering the operation, the truck was gone. Thinking never to see it again I was pleasantly surprised when five miles away I came upon a very slow-moving truck with hazard lights flashing. In front was the dump-truck and trailer combination, being pulled incredibly slowly by a John Deere loader.

Towing broken-down vehicles along Farmers Loop.

It’s anyone’s guess why this was being relocated in the first place. Maybe it’s a habitable trailer and someone needs it to live in. From a photography standpoint, any one of the situations – troopers directing traffic, night time or towing – would have made an interesting picture. But all three together tell a more complete story and provide a lovely sense of time passing.

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