Natural Born Leaner

Snowmobiling! It’s the most exciting way to see the snow-flocked, pristine back country Up North.
So they say – I’ve never seen anything except the trail right in front of my sled. I’m too scared to look around. I did one time and swore I saw red on the trees beside the trail. Maybe it was trail markers but I can’t be sure.

As part of our Welcome to Michigan Package (put together by my husband), our family procured two beautiful snowmobiles. I won’t tell you the brand because, evidently, it’s quite the point of contention for serious sledders. The equivalent of “Dodge or Ford?” in the pickup truck world. Next thing you know, someone will slap one of those cartoon dudes peeing on my brand on my sled.  Let’s just say they are new, shiny and most importantly, I have a new matching jacket.

Please don’t think I’m some kind of wuss, here. I drive a pretty fierce go-cart, knocked the new off a Gator at the ranch and tend to drive a car with speedy precision. (Oh hush. Those accidents were all while I was in reverse. Those don’t count.)  Put all that sassy-ness behind the handlebars of a mere snowmobile? Puh-leeese. Bring it on.

Bring on the thermals! Bring on the turtleneck! Bring on some more layers! Bring on the astronaut pants! Bring on the jacket! And the socks! And the boots! And the gloves! And the balaca-whatever-it’s-called! And the titanium reinforced, air-flow ventilated, holy-crap-this-is-claustrophobic, $350 helmet! I am soooo ready to…….. oh hell, I gotta pee.

Okay. Now I’m ready. Really, honey….

I climb on the back of our luxurious two-man rig. Ooooh! Hand warmers! Neato! And off we go! Off to see what mere mortals will never gaze upon. We are sledders – here us roar! (no really – they’re really loud…)

The first thing you need to know is that, basically, you can’t move because of all the gear. And you’re head weighs about 17 pounds because of the Death Reduction Helmet. So every time you hit a bump and your head bobbles (and by “bobbles”, I mean slams into the back of my husband.), you are compressing god-knows what and virtually insuring the eventual purchase of a Beemer by your chiropractor. So be it! God’s Country! Pristine nature! uh huh…

At this point, I have to make a confession. I have wrecked every bicycle, dirt bike and Vespa I (and a few of my friends) have ever owned. I have the battle scars. The bikes are boogered up with road rash. I am like an episode of Jackass without the tattoos.
The fact is – I’m not a natural born Leaner. I don’t know whether to lean with the turn or against it. It’s not like I mind throwing my weight around, I’m just missing a gyroscope somewhere. Because of this deficit, I have a fear of being on the back of moving things I am not driving. In the South, we call it being “pumped”.  Guys call it “riding bitch”. My therapist  calls it “control issues”. Whatever. 

The next time we went out, I demanded to drive my own sled. It was a different color and I didn’t have a matching costume, which put me out a little, but anything was better than letting someone else kill me. If I die, it will be by my own throttle, thank you very much.

This is not me….

The trickiest part of maneuvering a speeding bullet on skis is navigating the turns. …..By leaning. Since, in case you forgot, this whole thing is in the snow/ice/frozen whiteness, I should remind you the word “turn” is really just slang for “controlled slide”.  At, like, 40 mph. In the woods. Far, far away from civilization much less a nice field for Care Flight to land. I didn’t know that I was in less danger of dying in a dismembering snowmobile accident as I was dying by the handlebar-heated, gloved-up hands of all the people forced to poke along behind me as I slowed to a near crawl at every curve.

Not me either – boring outfit.
In the end, I barely saw any of Mother Nature’s bounty. I never took my eyes off the trail two feet in front of the snowmobile. There were all kinds of dips and bumps and turns and sticks and, you know – scary stuff! But, you know, I was warm. I only peed a little on the really big bumps. And I got to creatively edit my adventure enough to impress my wholly un-impressible teen aged son.

Yes, I will go again. I mean, I have the costume – I mean, gear. I’m sure I’ll get better. Just like I did with the Vespas, right? Hey – where’s the reverse on this thing?
Yours truly,
Anita Ceetaminephin

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