Kinnearing [sorta] and not snowmobiling on Houghton Lake

Ah yes. That feels good! Drove the entire way from Houghton Lake to The Planet Ann Arbor this afternoon (180 miles or thereabouts) wishing I had packed some Vaseline this weekend. Came home, washed my face, and applied Vaseline to all the chapped parts. I’m taking Kleenex to work tomorrow and I have Vaseline in my cube. Sick of KW’s incessant litany of her latest common cold symptoms? All roight!

I have been on a snowmobile a few times in my life. I don’t remember them being around up there in the Great White North in my early childhood but, when I became a teenager, all of a sudden they were everywhere! Everybody was talking about them. Ski Doo and Polaris and I fergit what else. Was Arctic Cat around back then? Anyway, The Engineer reeeaaallllly wanted one. Grandroobly was not all that crazy about that idea. In retrospect, I’m not sure why. The old man liked to navigate in silent ways, walking, skiing, paddling. But he also loved engines. Cars and planes? Yes. Why not snowmobiles? To this day, I don’t exactly know. The Engineer did eventually get him to buy a snowmobile. I think The Engineer was in 8th grade. Yes. It was a Snowhawk. Ever hear of that brand? I thought not. But it doesn’t matter. I don’t ever remember Grandroobly driving that thing.

In January 1969, my hometown, Sault Ste. Siberia, hosted its first I-500 snowmobile race. The race lasted for about a billion hours and from my house down on Superior Street, I could hear the snowmobiles running as I was going to sleep that night. I think I remember that the grokkery stores ran out of bread that weekend because of the number of people that came to town to see the race. And snowmos could drive on all the streets in town.

I went to the second I-500 with my boyfriend, whose family was really excited about snowmobiles. We walked around the track about a billion times. And then, he abandoned me. I forget what the argument was about but I will always remember him leaving me to walk around the track alone in the dark. I was wondering how I would get home and I didn’t want to walk home by myself. This was when my family lived down on the south side on Superior Street. Not really all that far but to me, that night, it seemed like miles.

Time goes on and life changes. This guy was a good person but he was not a good boyfriend and it was not cool that he left me to walk around on my own. Although I was never unsafe (only unhappy) and I did end up running into my parents at the end of it all. I had no idea they were even there! And, to his credit, he called me the next day and told me that he had tried to follow me. I think he probably did, although he probably didn’t want to. We were only freshmen sixteen. Sigh. Thinking back to that day and knowing what I do now, I would have loved to be walking along that track alone. I would have looked up at the stars and been happy enjoying life. Nevertheless, I hope the old boyfriend is doing well…

3 Responses to “Kinnearing [sorta] and not snowmobiling on Houghton Lake”

  1. Margaret Says:

    I hate the drying up that a cold does. My lips always feel like the desert!! Boyfriends at 16-I never had one, but in college my boyfriend kept “forgetting” his wallet so I had to pay when HE invited me out. I should have known earlier that he was a user. However, he’s now a rich businessman living in a $700,000 house in a fancy city up north. I don’t regret dumping him though! 😉

  2. Tonya Watkins Says:

    John and I snowmobiled for several years and made trips to Montana, West Yellowstone, Idaho, and British Columbia. It was a lot of fun, but snowmobiling is different around these parts because you have to go to the mountains. There are trails that wind and climb, and it’s utterly gorgeous surrounded by trees and stunning views. But John got a lot more “hot-doggy” at it than I was willing to. Exiting the trails into the woods and navigating (and getting stuck a lot) in the middle of nowhere and traversing REALLY steep slopes and really having to stand up most of the time in order to steer the thing was not my idea of having a fun time. THEN there were two incidences when I crashed and burned and had concussions, one pretty scary. Then John developed some issues with his shoulder and he couldn’t do his hot-doggy stuff anymore so we sold our snowmobiles a couple of years ago. When I saw the picture of the lake and the tracks and the flatness, I got all wistful (because going FAST is FUN!) but that kind of an environment around this area is pretty rare. It’s all hills and slopes and never knowing what’s around the corner through all the trees. (Polaris for us — John had a souped-up one with custom suspension).

  3. kayak woman Says:

    I’m thinking about what Tonya wrote and wondering if snowmobiles, like so many other things, are designed with male physical characteristics in mind. Not that there aren’t women who do enjoy driving them and can handle them well, but…