Have you ever seen that bit from Return of the Jedi where Luke Skywalker is chasing storm troopers on speeder bikes through the forests of Endor? (If you haven’t, you really should!) Imagine that, but in the dark, with snow on the ground, and you should have some idea how much fun Rich and I had a few nights ago as we whipped through the woods on a rented snowmobile at 55 mph, hot on the heels of two other sleds. It was wicked!
We spent last weekend in northern Wisconsin, near the town of Eagle River, which calls itself the Snowmobile Capital of the World. Since we were there to spend three days snowmobiling, who are we to argue?
Unfortunately, Mother Nature was up to her old tricks again. With only a week to go before our trip, there was very little snow in Eagle River. Definitely not enough for the snowmobile trails to be open.
Still hoping for snow, Rich and Sue left their car at Hotel Hansen in Ferndale (the best hotel in Detroit) and rented something a little better-suited to the conditions we were hoping to have to deal with – a big, four-wheel drive pick-up!
That afternoon, as we headed north towards Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the snow finally began to fall. In fact, for the next two days we were very glad of our beefy pick-up, as blizzard after blizzard hammered the UP. Even so, as we travelled west between two of the Great Lakes (Michigan and Superior), there were times when we could barely see the road a car length ahead. It got pretty scary, I can tell you!
The upside of the bad weather we experienced on our way through Michigan was that, thankfully, we arrived in Eagle River to find the trails open. Woo Hoo!
It was great to get together with old friends and also meet some new ones. We (eight humans and four Ses) spent the next three fantastic days bombing around the woods on snowmobiles. Brilliant! It’s almost as good as flying, except much bumpier. Luckily there were loads of breaks, to rest our sore bottoms and warm ourselves up with hot chocolate. The breaks also gave Jeff S. and Jim a chance to catch up!
Rich got our sled up to 68 mph on one of the lakes we crossed. Not that fast for a top-level snowmobile, I know, but it was the best our rental could do and still pretty exciting.
But for me the highlight was definitely that night ride, racing after the tail lights of Jeff P. and Jeff S.’s snowmobiles, as we high-tailed it through the woods, between trees that flashed past only inches away. Just thinking about it still gives me goosebumps!