Training Is In Session, For Sledding Season!

Hello from the Desert Southwest, where I’ve been going through intensive pre-snowmobiling training, driving a Kawasaki Teryx.

            Now you may think that Teryx driving has very little to do with snowmobiling, but my ride yesterday from Barstow, California to Las Vegas, Nevada, had a definite snowmobiling feeling.

            Let me count the ways:

1)      We were up before sunrise to check out of our hotel and spend the entire day riding.

2)      The air at sunrise was surprisingly cold and very windy – temps in the low 30s may seem warm to us when riding sleds, but with a strong wind threatening to tear the seams of my jacket, the windchill (if they counted such things out here) had to be in the single digits.

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3)      Our riding length also reminded me of sledding: 238 miles by the time we reached our destination – and 89 miles before lunch.

4)      The riding was a mix of long powerline trails and twisting, turning paths through the backcountry, with rolling hills and occasional mountains. Sound familiar? It should. That’s what I plan to be riding in a few weeks aboard a sled.

5)      The area we rode is unbelievably remote – I think we crossed three blacktop roads and a couple set of railroad tracks, and that was about it. Not a lot of human activity out there – It reminded me of a day on my snowtrain tour a couple years ago in a remote area of Ontario.

6)      Lunch? We mowed down some sandwiches quick and kept right on rolling.

7)      Trail conditions? Most were smooth, but there were sections with big rollers and g-bumps that were quite reminiscent of a snowmobile trail. The only problem was that, in a UTV, you had no way to stand and protect your back.

8)      We didn’t get in until after dark, and after we shut down the sleds, er, I mean UTVs, I was craving a beer – yep, just like snowmobiling!

9)      Our adventure ended in the high desert above Las Vegas, and, just like many sledding trips, we got lost within eye-sight of the town, backtracking a couple of times before we found our destination.

10)   And the way it most resembled sledding? I can’t wait to go riding again. Although next time, I’ll be propelled by a track pushing skis. Snow is on its way to some sections of the Upper Midwest. Heck, I’ll at least take the kids’ 120 for a spin in the backyard tomorrow! I’m writing right now from the Las Vegas Airport – hopefully my flight will be on time so I have time to go through the carburetor on the 120 tonight!

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