Winter in Toronto. Still wicked cold and take your breath away morning air. Old buddy, Kent, showed up in a brand new Dodge truck with a hemi. It was red. And, it had an ipod, xradio and leather. Sweet.
As I climbed in I thought of the ’82 three-quarter ton, standard cab, long box that I had torn apart in the shop at home. The old 318 with a torque-flite would suffice, but the hemi was, well, a hemi.
East, down the 401 then north and into Minden. Blue sky, bright sun, but still cold. Reached for my prescription sun-glasses and just when I needed them most, busted right at the bridge. Squint and bear it became my motto. It was worth it. The scenery was spectacular and the colder air held the landscape as a winter wonderland.
Try these on. Boots, gloves, helmet and insulated suit felt pretty good. The embroidery said, “SUPERTRAX” and the colors said “wow!” What’s better than yellow and red and black? Everything felt professional and competent. I was, like, on the team and belonged. If only my name had been done in script over my chest.
Outside, brother Mark, was fueling and documenting the inventory. “ Need a piece on that one and the widget broke on the new red sled. You ride those. I ‘ll ride this. Let’s do it!” Over the drift, down the path and onto the lake. Pristine, bright, frozen, fabulous.
I looked down and saw gauges and switches and rockers and handlebars. Heated bars? Alright! Moments later in the middle of the frozen lake I was looking for the heat adjustment on the bars but discovered how hard it is to figure it out when you’re running eighty.
But eighty it was and as I looked left and right there were the Lesters in the Sunday afternoon sun with powdered snow blowing off their sleds and not a care in the world. Eighty felt so good I squeezed to push the needle to eighty-five. Wow, eighty-five on a snowmobile! Ninetys got to be close. But, eighty-nine was as close as I could get. Still, one mph below ninety on a sled is movin’! At least for me.
Several lakes later we pulled in for a burger. Unzip, unsnap, undo, undress. Inside the lodge we found a table by the window and the SUPERTRAX gear was strewn over the chairs and empty table top. We ate, laughed, reminisced, joked and talked about old times. Paid the bill, pulled on our gear and headed back outside.
There was a young girl, maybe eight, and her Dad standing by the sleds. “You guys testing today?” took me by surprise. “Huh?” was the best I could do. “Saw you in the restaurant and I told my daughter it was the Lester brothers from SUPERTRAX. See it is them. It is the Lester brothers” It then dawned on me. It was the Lester brothers! My old buddies from childhood were now celebs. Very cool!
“SUPERTRAX is the best snowmobile magazine out there” he continued, “never miss an issue. We drove up for the long week-end but never dreamed we’d see Kent and Mark Lester.” I kind of wondered if the paparazzi were close by.
Next morning after a ride through the trees and trails, I mentioned to Kent that one day I’d love to see 100 mph on a snowmobile.
Big smile and a twinkle in his eye told me something was up. Behind the lift up door was yellow and black magic begging to be ridden hard. “One hundred and fifty horsepower, dude! No problem doing 100. Take it out!” Didn’t know it was a prototype but when I squeezed the throttle, the front end came off the ground and my heart jumped into my throat.
Everything was a blur and when I looked down I saw one- sixty on the speedo. Doing the math conversion from kilos to miles per hour at speed caused my eights and fives to jumble together but I thought I was close.
And, close I was. In fact when my helmet came off , all that was left was a grin. Oh, yeah! Adrenalin, testosterone, gas, oil and nervous sweat all mixed together in one glorious elixir . Oh my. Addiction never felt so good!
After my connecting flight in Chicago, I looked into the black of the night sky and thought back. What an incredible experience.
One hundred miles an hour on a snowmobile, good life-long friends who are now celebrities, the wonder in a little girl’s face, post-card scenery, hundreds of miles of trails and lakes to ride and the really cool, yellow, red and black SUPERTRAX gear. Now, if I could just get my name embroidered on the chest.
Brush Prairie, Washington