A Great Ride

     The past few days have been perfect for our annual snowmobile trip.  Every winter for the past 5 or 6 years we have packed our bags, tied them onto our snowmobiles and traveled the winter wonderland.  Last year we rode to Lake Vermillion, up to Atikokan and then back down to Sag circling the Quetico Park.  This year we decided to stay in the same place for two nights and I’m glad we did.

     The past two years we have started our trip from our friend’s house just outside of Grand Marais.  They cook us a great breakfast so our tummies are full for the ride.  From their house we snowmobiled on the State Trail for awhile and then over to the Ely area.  Mike’s sled(the newest of the bunch) wasn’t working quite right so when we stopped for lunch just outside of Ely he had to make other arrangements. 

     Lucky for us one of the people in our goup had a connection over there and we were able to get a truck, trailer and driver to haul Mike and his sled to the nearest Arctic Cat dealer.  The rest of us snowmobiled over to Lake Vermillion and arrived just before dark. 

     The first thing on Monday morning’s agenda was to find someone to work on Mike’s snowmobile.  Unfortunately the Arctic Cat dealer he chose to leave his sled at had way too much business.  He had a number of sleds to fix before Mike’s and he couldn’t even get to those because the phone was ringing too much.  I told Mike I would go answer phones for the guy so he could get to his snowmobile in a timely matter but that wasn’t needed.

     After an hour or so of calling around Mike found an Arctic Cat dealer in Babbit, I think it’s called the Cat Shack.  I tell you what, if you are ever in the market for a new sled then head on over to Babbit, those guys have a great shop with even better service.  Mike knows the place inside and out from spending the entire day there.

     Meanwhile the rest of us had a wonderful day of snowmobiling.  Through the woods, across the lakes and in and out of the Voyageur’s National Park we went.  Beautiful scenery with the pine trees covered in snow and the sunlight filtering through the trees.  160 miles later we were back at Vermillion with Mike whose sled was fixed and ready to go.

     Wednesday morning found Mike raring and ready to go while the rest of us were a tad less enthusied.  Riding that many miles takes a toll on the body if you aren’t used to it.  Legs cramping, shoulders as stiff as stone and hands that had no strength to grip the handlebars we climbed on our snowmobiles and headed home. 

     Yesterday the weather was absolutely gorgeous.  The sun shined brightly, the temperature was balmy and the trails were in mint condition.  Almost like a machine we rode, 7 sleds in perfect unison like the cars of a passenger train linked together.  Weaving in and out, taking turns stopping traffic and trading off who was in the lead we were in our own little world.  The sun started to drop, the temperature got cooler and then we were back to our trailers. 

     At one of the stops along the way the discussion turned to next year’s trip.  "I think Dave should plan the trip and lead next year," someone said and to this Dave replied, "Then we’ll need three or four days for when I get lost."   Three or four days of snowmobiling through Minnesota’s beautiful north country with great friends, that’s a great ride and it just doesn’t get any better than that.