26 November 2005

Livin' on Tundra Time

Here's the view out the windshield on the way to Mrs. Octane's bank on Friday. You'll notice we don't live in Corpus Christi.

Wednesday night we had out hearts ripped out by the Oil. Thursay we ate food with family, and prepared food for strangers. Friday, the Wild got back on track, and then went out to the western edge of the metropolis to visit friends, eat, drink, and be merry, etc. Today, much slower.

Sure, lots of stuff we got going on around here, but it's not really heavy lifting. Here's some heavy lifting from the Twin Ports:
Before you complain about the weight of that turkey you're hefting into the oven today, consider the lifting that's been going on at Clure Marine Terminal this week. On Wednesday morning, the crew at Lake Superior Warehousing Co. gingerly unloaded the heaviest single piece of equipment the Port of Duluth has ever received: a 1.5 million pound "hydro cracker."

It arrived to Duluth aboard the Stellaprima, a Dutch-flagged heavy-lift vessel that sailed the world to gather specially manufactured equipment that separates oil from sand. It will be used in Opti Canada's oil sands project in Long Lake, Alberta.

The massive steel reactor, which has 4-inch-thick walls, was lowered onto a tension skid custom built by BendTec Inc. of Duluth. Together, the skids, loading bars and reactor weigh 805 tons. They will be carried northwest by the largest railroad car in the world: the 36-axle Schnabel car.

The reactor and tension skid will be lifted and suspended in the beak-like jaws of the $3.5 million Schnabel car. The Schnabel car allows the equipment to navigate some tricky spots. Its sophisticated hydraulics allow cargo to be raised and lowered up to 3 feet and shifted from side to side by as much as 2 feet. Good thing. At an underpass near Crookston, Minn., Clarke has encountered clearances of as little as 3/4 of an inch . . .

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