WILLY BRANT’S DIARY
Some neighbours were out with their snowmobiles, and saw me out shovelling out the snowbank at the end of my driveway. It’s amazing how that grader can collect all the snow off a quarter-mile of road and stuff it all right up your driveway. Anyway, after some chatter they suggested I take a little ride on one of their machines to see how much better the new machines are now.
I had a machine years ago, when I had a family, and we used to take the kids out ice fishing and so on, and in the evening go out snowmobiling with a wineskin full of wine (LCBO 410). Canadian Tire even sold what purported to be goatskins made for that purpose, actually they were plastic inside and probably the alcohol leached all kinds of horrible stuff out of the plastic, maybe that’s why I am such a misfit now. The new machines go so fast you better not be impaired or you could end up dead, but it was a different world then. The old machines burned a lot of gas, and made an awful stink, in fact you kind of went around in a blue fog. Noisy, too, and vibrated, with that one-lunger popping away between your knees. And tipped over and got stuck a lot too. Between that blue fog destroying my lungs, piles if I sat spraddle-legged on that cold seat or sore knees if I knelt up like we used to do, and hurting my back and getting a hernia pushing it out of the slush, not to mention the effects of that plastic-laced wine I was kind of happy when the kids grew up (and I grew up and lost the taste for 410) and I didn’t have to do it any more. The day I gave the machine to a younger fellow was one of my better ones.
So anyway I crawled onto that new machine, pressed the throttle and was immediately up to 60 on the speedometer. That thing sure flew along nicely and I felt quite safe at 60 klicks, went a half mile down the road and back in the ditch. Mentioned how easily it got to 60 klicks, and they looked at each other and fessed up it was an American machine and actually I was going 60 miles per hour. That shook me, if I am going to go flying along at 60 mph I would like to be wearing a parachute.
Anyway I have to admit I was pretty impressed with the new machines. Nice and quiet, no smoky exhaust, no vibration, a real smooth ride, and lots of power. And just to gild the lily, heated handlebars. And reliable – these guys go to Red Lake for coffee, and are back home for lunch, and don’t even think about breakdowns. We used to carry a whole toolbox, and parts, and only go in groups on a trip of any length, and usually ended up towing somebody home.
The suits are pretty fancy too, you can’t go out in any old clothes, but have to have a suit to match the machine. The helmet even has a divider in it so your breath won’t fog up the visor. I was telling my neighbour Joe about it, and he said ‘that’s nothing, the good ones even have a heated visor on them’. Joe has a deadpan sense of humour, and I couldn’t tell if he was pulling my leg, so I didn’t answer. Now I wonder if they really do make heated visors.
Maybe I will have to rethink this subject. Maybe one would be nice to go fishing with or whatever. Or maybe not.