This past Tuesday our gang of regulars made VERY last minute plans for a day’s ride in southeast Minnesota, where snow depth reports suggested there was just enough white stuff for decent riding.
112 miles, one buried 850 and two disgusting roller-dogs later, I’m here to confirm the reports were correct.
The gang included (L-to-R): Tom Rowland from Thomas Sno Sports and Randy Holland from Roll-O-Flex (CLICK HERE to see Randy’s Roll-O-Flex); Kale Wainer from Arctic Cat; Pat Bourgeois from OSM Magazine (BTW, after reading about Pat’s bowling ball ride a week ago, several people asked me how to pronounce his last name. It’s pronounced “jack-wad”); and me, the documentarian of the bunch.
Everything I write or say is 100% factual.
There was some curiosity in the group because Pat had brought along one of the new Ski-Doo 850s. Heard lots of chatter about this sled on MySpace as well as Snowmobile, Snow Week and Race & Rally magazines, so we were all eager to see how Pat would rally the new machine.
Our plan was to drive southeast of the Twin Cities until we saw evidence of trail grooming, at which point we’d unload and see what kind of mischief we could uncover. It happened about 20 minutes SE of Rochester, just outside of Chatfield.
We grabbed a quick group shot and then hit the trail with only a vague plan.
One mile down the trail, Pat had buried the new 850, flipping over the hood in the process. Interestingly, it was along a section of trail running in a road ditch that everyone else in the group rode without incident. Also interestingly, Pat is an experienced snowmobiler who can get down to the business of snowmobiling like only a true professional.
He was an original member of the Ralph Plaisted Expedition, and he used to perform delivery runs with Wild Bill Cooper.
Next week he’s leading a New Rider’s clinic at ERX. He drives a big truck and he once won a celebrity race at a Canterbury Park snocross while wearing his jeans and high-top shoes.
I’m just sayin’.
After Pat gave us some fodder for good-natured teasing, we enjoyed the beautiful geography that this part of Minnesota offers. Lots of bluffs, rivers and woods intermixed with farm fields.
Several trails in the area were groomed, while others were not. The groomed stuff was great. The ungroomed stuff was ok. Of course, anytime you’re snowmobiling is great, and it’s a bonus to be riding before New Years.
At one of the trailside stops Pat pulled out a recent issue of OSM Magazine, read it for a few minutes, then said, “Does anyone actually believe the crap in this rag? Zero credibility!”
Stunned, the rest of us just shrugged.
After 90 miles or so it was time to refuel our sleds and us. It was there, at the Kwick Trip gas station in Chatfield, that a true travesty to humanity occurred, the likes of which some in our group will probably never recover from.
Eyeing the two remaining roller dogs that had been spinning in uncovered grease for 72 hours, that had been handled and coughed upon by four teenagers, two toddlers and the guy who delivers diesel, and that had been used to unplug the men’s toilet earlier that day, Pat and Kale decided to eat these slabs of mystery meat. Even reading the ingredients (which, in addition to a very small amount of pork, also included finger nails, ear wax and small amounts of spleen) wouldn’t sway them.
Yep, the big dogs wolfed that crap down their gullets and pretended everything was fine.
The rest of the day was mostly uneventful, despite some very painful indigestion for two of the crew.
Rowland instantly hit it off with his new friend, probably because of its color.
I’m a bit biased, but I’d say the two RS Edition ZR 6000s and the Cross Country XF 6000 were the best looking machines. Randy’s Roll-O-Flex would have been a contender had it been on the ride.
With the sun setting, we took inventory of the good times we’d had and decided it was time to roll back home. Pat and Kale were in no mood to consider another roller dog.
The odometer on my sled read 112.4 miles. Add to that another 150 or so from two other ride days, and I’m pleased as can be with my start to the winter of 2016-2017.
Mother Nature might throw us a few more curve balls…it’s what she does. But the best part of winter is yet to come; yet I’m fortunate to already have enjoyed great riding and even greater experiences with my friends.
And my hope for anyone reading this is that these kinds of experiences will happen soon. Just beware the roller dogs.
Thanks for reading.