The Outsider: Sledding on the Tundra? I'll walk
|By Will Jones - The Outsider | March 21, 2019|
Here’s one for you. How can riding five miles through the bush make you ache more than walking five miles?
Easy, do it on a Tundra.
For those not in the know, and there are not many of you here in rural Haliburton County, the Tundra is a model of snowmobile made by Skidoo. You can buy them new, probably for the price of a small car; or, you can still get great little relics from the 1980s, which are so much fun to ride. Or so I was told.
My ride, a perky little yellow number with long black vinyl seat and matching gas tank, and a windshield that made it about as aerodynamic as a brick, standing upon its end, chugged into life first yank of the pull start.
“Oh, you’re gonna’ have a blast,” said my buddy with a grin. “She’s tippy, mind, so hang on to ‘er.” And with that he blasted off on his 2018 model something or other that had a windshield that made it about as aerodynamic as a Ferrari.
Now, to get things straight, I did not mind my machine’s lack of potential in the speed stakes at all. I am a complete novice on snow machines and we were riding into a hunt camp down one gnarly, winding, rutted swine of a track, so I figured slow and steady wins the race.
And, I was good around the initial few bends at least. It was when I came around a left hand turn and got the little machine stuck half in the outside rut and half on top of the lump in the middle of the track that things went sideways, or rather I went sideways, as the snowmobile realized I was not leaning left enough and toppled ever so slowly gently on to its side, dumping me in the snow.
“Bugger. He said it was tippy but, come on.” Thankfully, my little snowmobile was exactly that, little, and with a heave I righted it just as my so-called friend wandered back up the track with a big grin on his face.
“Yep, tippy ... and we ain’t got to the proper trail yet.” He was right. Soon we were off private property and onto Crown Land, where the trail was well used by all kinds of riders, all of whom have winter machines whose skis, tracks or whatever are a little bit wider than those of my tundra. I bumped and bounced, slid and crawled. And sometimes I rode the tundra, too.
I trundled along, trying to stay out of the worst holes, sticking feet out and leaning far over to stay upright and almost an hour later I reached the camp. My shoulders and arms ached, my back was wet with sweat, my knees and ankles throbbed and my ego was well and truly bruised.
“Boy that was fun, eh?” That big grin again. I looked at my buddy and at the cute little snowmobile that I had just vacated, this time without ending up lying in the snow, and scowled. “I’ll walk back. Someone else can have the ‘fun’ of riding that thing back.”
And I did. I walked the five miles. And they did. They rode it and had fun. They being a mere child, who bobbed and weaved, revved and sped, not falling off once. And my ego, it took another round of bruising but at least this time it was the only part of me that came off kind of sore.
WILL JONES - is The Outsider