I have bought and read one of my favorite books ever and thought I would share a little here. And it is unfortunately not available in English.
And I'm not good at writing so I try my best and everything is true and has happened.
This is the story of Alta transport, a former Norwegian transport company in the far north of Norway in Alta north of the Arctic Circle and in the Arctic. Things could be wild in Norway in the 1950s and 1960s and 1970s, but this takes things to a whole new level. At that time there were almost no roads in the north and many places like Alta were almost isolated in winter.
I share here the first trip from Alta to Gol Norway via Oslo before Christmas 1960. This trip was over 2000 km one way and the cargo was reindeer meat and the truck was his father in-law's 4x2 US Ford F6 flatbed so no freezing unit.
The trip down went well, but the trip north, heavily loaded with machine parts, was a challenge. The last 67 km from where the road stopped in Finland to the first village in Norway there were no roads, so he had agreed to drive with a 4x4 Volvo Viking with a driver who was known in the area, but he never came. So he had to drive alone, so in the dark he headed out onto the ice on an lake in the direction of Norway.
After a good while on the ice, he saw a light in the distance which was a small house which luckily had a telephone line to the policeman in the village on the Norwegian side. After a conversation with him, he was given directions and told that they would look for him with a tracked vehicle if he didn't show up.
After a while on frozen lakes and rivers, he had to drive into the snow and the birch forest, which went well for a while until the truck got stuck in a hole and that's when the challenges started. While he was trying to jack up the truck, the jack went through the frozen part of the ground and underneath there was marsh, which led to several hours before he got the jack free. And this was at night with temperatures below minus 45, completely alone, far from people. After struggling for hours, he saw a light in the distance and it was the policeman in the tracked vehicle, after a while they got the Ford free and started the journey to the village where the last part the feet were so frozen that the pedals had to be operated with the hands. The last part of the trip went over the mountain on a sledge towed by a bulldozer.
After a while, he bought himself a bigger and more suitable truck, a 1959 Volvo Titan, and there were roads and the company expanded and he bought more trucks and hired drivers, but the wild conditions continued.
Can mention, engine overhaul at night in minus 25, Wolf Attacks, driving with a rifle behind the seat during reindeer transport, common practice with temperatures close to minus 50 was to cover the bonnet with moose skin to keep the engine warm, and for a long time the only bridge on the river between Sweden and Finland was an active train bridge where it was important to keep track of the train schedule, but in winter there was an ice road over the river instead. And all the roads were bad gravel roads. And much more.
From the start to the end, they drove from Alta to Oslo weekly (over 4000km round trip) and at the start 2 men had 320 travel days in a Volvo Titan without a sleeper cab where one slept on the seats and the other on the floor between the levers. After a while he was able to buy a used sleeper cab for the Titan which was luxury.
He owned the company until 1986. And Morris Thomasen is still alive and will be 86 this year and still owns his trusty Volvo Titan which now has over 2.5 million kilometers on it.
Should be the same Volvo Titan in all pictures.
Morris and the Titan in the present.
And almost forgot, It was difficult to get premises in Alta, so for a long time he had offices an ran the company on the 2nd floor in the barn of his dad above the pig enclosure and only available with a ladder.