Snow Way

Some weekends, I’ve come to realize, I’d be better off staying home in bed. Some adventures fail.

Perhaps it was karma, perhaps it was a sign this wasn’t for me, or perhaps it’s just a signal for persistence and to try once again.

This weekend I decided to try my hand at snowmobiling, and it didn’t go too well.

It all started ordinarily enough, with Friday off and a beautiful drive to the Wisconsin Northwoods. Our intention was to go snowmobiling. Something I haven’t done since the late 1980s and then only once, round and round on a frozen lake.

We arrived at my brother’s cabin and immediately noticed a big, brand-new Chevy Crew Cab buried pretty far into the ditch, across the road from my brother’s driveway. It looked abandoned and we laughed and cracked jokes about how Chevys weren’t as good as our Fords. We pulled in the driveway and began to unload the truck.

The temperature in the house was 23 degrees! My son and husband said that’s pretty typical, and only one room in the basement, where all of the utilities are, is kept above freezing. After 45 minutes or so, we went outside to get more wood for the now-roaring furnace, and I noticed cars and an ambulance on the side of the road. I walked to the end of the driveway to investigate.

Shortly thereafter, two squad cars showed up, along with a rescue squad and fire engine. It turns out the Chevy in the ditch wasn’t abandoned after all. Oh no! We watched as the fire department tried to remove the occupant through the back seat. Why the back? Did his seat break? Did he get tossed in the back? We said a prayer that he would be okay.

We guiltily watched as they got the guy out, carrying him on a back board through deep snow. We should have checked the vehicle when we first saw it, but we were so excited to have finally arrived, so we didn’t.  Instead we had laughed. A long time had elapsed since we first saw the Chevy in the ditch. It didn’t look like the guy was moving as they loaded him up in the ambulance.

I overheard the ambulance driver say: “Patient is 17 years old, parents gave verbal permission to treat.” I burst into tears. You see, my youngest son who came with us, is 17. It hit home, hard. The ambulance sped off.

Freezing, with temps in the single digits, I went inside to warm up. My husband approached one of the deputies on the scene and found out that the kid hit a patch of ice on the road and got sucked into the ditch. In the process he hit his head on the side window. He was alright but he was going to have a bad headache. Phew! It still didn’t ease my conscience any, but I was so relived that he was going to be okay.

Afterwards, my husband and son prepped their sleds and went to fuel them up at the local gas station. We have three snowmobiles, but my husband wanted to rent me a “good one” so as to make it a good experience for me, so that I’d be more likely to go again. We would pick mine up in the morning.

After a restless sleep in a cold house, we went to pick up my sled. I got excited when I saw it, because it was a two-seater.  This gave us the option for my husband and I to ride together. After trailering it back to the cabin, we opted to ride together rather than all individually, to go get breakfast 7 miles away.

My youngest took the lead, and off we went. My husband drove the sled while I enjoyed the scenery as we drove through woods and farm fields. It was beautiful but terribly cold. After an uneventful breakfast, we opted to continue onwards riding together, rather than going back to get my husband’s sled. Perhaps this was our mistake.

Four miles after we left the restaurant, we were trying to catch up to my son who was far ahead, but waiting for us at a stop sign. Then it happened. Much like the kid in the Chevy, we hit a patch of ice, got sucked into a ditch and CRASH! We had hit one of those nautical wood piling decorations that people put at the end of their driveways. We both went flying, but we were all right.

The front end of my rental sled got toasted. It was still quite drivable, but it was crunched. There went our 1K security deposit. This incident left me shaken and angry. “That’s enough! Take me home!” I barked. I wanted no part in snowmobiling anymore.

We rode back, it seemed faster than before and I was hyper-sensitive now to every bump, curve and turn along the way. I was never so glad to get back to the cabin. I kicked my husband and son out to go riding on their own sleds, while I contacted the rental company to see what our next steps were.

They returned after a few hours and I had cooled off and relaxed enough to take the sled out locally on my own for a bit, wanting to at least get some time riding it by myself. After I had had enough, we took it back before it was due, and headed home quite early.

I’ll find out how much this little excursion cost us sometime on Monday, after they have a chance to review the damage.

I find myself wondering if it’s really worth it to try new things. This really scared me. But you know what? Giving up scares me more. I’m going to try it again. I’m stubborn and I won’t let this experience own me.

I know I’m not alone in sometimes letting fear control my life. What past experiences control how you live your life? Are you missing out because of that fear? Escape the ordinary, join with me and try again.

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