In which a baggy old kayak woman goes to a snowmobile race

I have not attended the Sault Ste. Siberia I-500 snowmobile race since I was in high school and I will probably not ever attend it again but I was in the right place at the right time this week and so the other day I hiked over to the race site and bought a few buttons. And so, today, Dogmomster and I went to the race.

I went to the first I-500 snowmobile race. I was a high school freshman and my main memory of that race is when my bad boyfriend (yes, that would be JR’s brother) abandoned me at the track. In the dark. I don’t have any memory at all of what the argument was. I just know that I wasn’t sure how the heck I was gonna get home. That was when we still lived down on Superior Street, which is probably a mile away from the track. The Squatter’s Paradise is a quick walk. Anyway, I was terrified as I slowly and forlornly made my way around the outside of the track toward the grandstand. How the heck would I get home? There were no cell phones in those days. As it turned out, I ran into none other than my parental units at the grandstand so the story had a happy ending. Well, at least it was a happy ending in terms of getting home that night. Not so happy in terms of boyfriend land. Going home with my parents? Sigh.

I wasn’t particularly interested in snowmobiles even then but The Engineer was and so the old coot rather reluctantly ended up buying one. I have one memory of driving it (and not really knowing how to control it). My main memory of having a snowmobile in the garage was the weekend during my senior year that I was *finally* scheduled to go to a solo and ensemble festival. We had a crappy band director throughout most of my high school years who was totally focused on buying new uniforms. Solo and ensemble festival? We don’t need no stinkin’ solo and ensemble festival. Well, the bus was scheduled to leave at 0-skunk-30 on Saturday morning. Problem. A foot of snow overnight. There was no way a car could get out into our alley. The Engineer faaaarrred up his snowmobile and drove me and my flute and music up to the school. So, how did I do at the solo and ensemble festival? Weellll… I didn’t get there. When we arrived at the school, the basketball team bus was *just* returning from the game the night before. My bus was canceled. So much for solo and ensemble.

I grew up and eventually moved to the Planet Ann Arbor and started hanging out with the GG. And the last time I was ever on a snowmobile, it was with him. Why? Well, we were at Houghton Lake and Grandpa Garth had a bunch of snowmobiles and the GG took me out on a snowmobile ride. Unfortunately for him, he decided he needed to show off a bit and so we were out on the ice and he hit a pressure crack or whatever and we kind of flew in the air and I’m sure that in the grand scheme of things it wasn’t a terribly dangerous thing to do but I DID NOT LIKE IT!!! NOT ONE LITTLE BIT!!! Fortunately (for him) we spent the rest of the weekend x-c skiing which is a sport I DO LIKE!

We had fun at the race today but I think we were there for maybe 45 minutes and that was enough. We were disappointed that they no longer let people walk all the way around the outside of the track. I suppose it is unsafe… We followed the I-500 up with a trip to Alberta House and lunch with Diane at Zorba’s. It is very warm here today. For the yooperland. That means it is in the 30s. I’m the track was a sea of mud by the end of it all.

I’ll say one thing. Or two, I guess. One: Those machines are faster nowadays. That first I-500 lasted until after midnight. This one? Over by 7:30 PM. Two: Those machines are not as noisy nowadays. They are still noisy but I bet you can’t hear them down on Superior Street like we could that first year.

P. S. If you are facebook friends with me, I posted a quick little video and shared one of dogmomster’s.

3 Responses to “In which a baggy old kayak woman goes to a snowmobile race”

  1. Margaret Says:

    I would be scared of a snowmobile. I prefer the slower pace of skiing. 🙂 Might be fun to watch though.

  2. jay Says:

    I will share one Winter Break memory of Jim and snowmobiles. That was blowing up a plastic SkiDoo model he had with firecrackers in your backyard. I don’t know if I ever rode on the one that your family had, or the Mullins (pretty sure they had one or two). I do remember being impressed that there seemed to be snowmobile routes around the Soo (in the city) to go along with the car routes.

  3. DogMomster Says:

    Jay, a lot of places in the UP have snowmobile routes, which is nice (if you are a snowmobiler). I tried it myself (under duress) for a couple of years until I got the SISU to stand up for myself and declare that I wasn’t doing it any more!! However, I do respect the folks who choose to do it, and (KW will attest to it) will stop to let snowmobilers cross the road. (Heck… I even “back-door” for semis and school buses and drivers of other vehicles who seem to be otherwise *stuck in traffic* in front of me).