Call it snowmobilitis. Or maybe we should just admit that we’re sledderfiles. But this thing that we all do, this activity that we all enjoy, this ultimate pastime that bonds snowmobilers together, can be a darned addictive activity we think about year-round.
Does that make us snowmoholics?
My own withdrawal symptoms were in full effect this summer during a family vacation to Door County in Wisconsin.
For the uninitiated, Door County is a peninsula that juts up into Lake Michigan on Wisconsin’s eastern border. During the summer and fall, it’s known for its cherry and apple orchards, antique shops, sport fishing, golf courses, dense forests and rocky coast lines.
I had heard of Door County but never planned a trip – until I promised my son that if he did well in school I would take him salmon fishing in Lake Michigan. Soon my wife and daughter became curious about the county, then my wife’s sister Debbie and her husband (and my snowmobiling buddy) Steve decided to join us. Our father-and-son trip became a four-day, six-person adventure.
Debbie and Steve beat us to the resort in Egg Harbor, and when we arrived, the first thing Steve said to me was, “Did you take a close look at the parking lot? Did you see the carbide marks?”
I had missed the telltale scrapes of snowmobile runners turning in the driveway, but did take notice of how often there were snowmobile crossing signs on the roads north out of Green Bay.
“Think they have good riding around here in the winter?” Steve wondered aloud.
“I can’t imagine they wouldn’t – as long as the water doesn’t keep it too warm around here,” I said. We pondered that for awhile before our families pulled us off into different activities.
The next morning, the sickness returned. At my daughter’s suggestion, we rented bicycles at Peninsula State Park and followed the 9.7 mile Sunset Trail through the woods and past vistas of Green Bay (not the city – the actual bay on Lake Michigan). The trails were spectacular, as we weaved through dense forests with a green canopy above our heads. Soon, Lake Michigan came into sight, with rocky shorelines and one wonderfully sandy beach.
The whole family loved the scenery, but I was alone in conjuring up winter images in my head. The trail we followed had many assurance markers – you know, those diamond-shaped, orange triangles that tell you you’re still on a snowmobile trail. Yep, this was a snowmobile trail in the winter, and I could picture the brown and green groundcover beneath the tall trees being covered in an endless blanket of fresh snow. If it was winter, I thought, I’d be going between these trees at a quicker rate than I was on the rented bicycle, but I’d still be soaking in all of the wonderful views – with less green, and a whole lot more white.
Our brushes with snowmobiling continued throughout the weekend. The bartender at a local watering hole chatting about sledding while we watched Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals; the captain and first mate on our boating charter wanted to talk snowmobiles while we waited for the evening salmon bite; our lunch spot had an Association of Wisconsin Snowmobile Clubs sticker in the window; the person at the front desk told us the resort’s winter rates with a broad smile on her face.
Steve and I will return to Door County this winter with some snowmobiling buddies – you can bank on it!
Yes, snowmobiling is addicting, and that’s why every August we publish our premier issue of Snow Goer. Snowmobiling season is still four or five months away, but we know there are thousands of addicts like us who have an itch that needs to be scratched.