Tales From the Trails

 

Check back for "Tales from the trails".  

We will be sharing short stories about our many adventures riding vintage machines.
Coming Soon! 

OK folks.....bear with me, Im not a "Computer guy", Im more of a carb and plug guy, and after a few days of clickin and mousin, I can add print to this section !

 

This will be "Tales From the Trails" section, where, once I figure out how to add pictures, will be some nice stories from our adventures out on snow.

The main focus will be on time spent out along the trails, and the stuff we see and do along the way.

 

You will see a reoccuring batch of familiar characters, and dont be surprised to see a few sleds over and over.  I will try and offer a variety of stuff.  Some of it will be oddball things from outta the way places as I cruise along some real rural far flung areas.

 

I dont wanna limit this to just my junk, so............since I have somhow managed to get this section going, if any of you have stories or pictures in jpeg format you wanna see get in this TFTT section , just email them to me at..........

 

lonerider66@mail.com

 

 

 

Here's a pic from the latest Casey Loop season kickoff ride in December 2013.

Note the Yammy SS is dragin pine tree branches in the leaf springs.  This is even before the start of the ride !  Seems its owner Gary has his hands full trying to keep up with his sons little Enticer 300 !

They both race one lunger vintage sleds in the Long Lake race series......no trees or brush involved there !

The little 300 really "Gave It" on the backside of the Casey.  I was leading on Goldie the Excel III, and mashin the flipper pretty hard for a few solid miles, givin it the ol Wild Bill spurt.  When we came to a stop at halfway around the loop, the Enticer 300 had a little smoke comin out the hood vents !

Seems dad  (Gary) torqued the plugs good during install in the middle of the night............well, at least as good as you can with no wrench and only using your thumb and forefinger !!!!!

Amazing it didnt shoot the plugs right out the top of the hood with a nice chunk of aluminum outta the heads !

Yet another mind blowing Viking from the "Viking Guy".  Sweet Kohler one lunger in this one.  Allways dig a matching suit !

 

Stunning "Z" !!

 

Now havin owned a '75 El Tigre 440 out in Montana, and not being able to make a 50 mile loop on a tankful at a poker ride years ago..........I wondered how a high strung Z would do on the Casey ?

Well, not as big a range as my tigger had apparently.  Ran dry and had to juice up to finish.

 

Once again Keith risked a night amongst the Jack Pines and gambled with a mid 70's TNT.  Somehow, he cheated mustard bucket syndrom again !

Speaking of Mustard colors..........heres a nice little group of Doo's.

 

Note the Johnson "Refrigerator " behind them !

I am VERY familiar with the explosive percussion of the OMC opposed twin !  Because the year before at the Casey, I logged about 70 miles on its Evinrude cousin that day..........even with ear plugs, I wasnt the same for about 3 days !!

Just ride a '65 thru '72 OMC twin with no earplugs, say, 40 or more miles in a single day, and your ears will know what its like to be a stage hand for Ted Nugent !

 

 

Walk around any bar these days and watch the "Kids" bitchin about how 13 inches of suspension is barely enough .

 

Now check out Cats state of the art IFS from 1980.........makes ya wonder how those old timers ever rode more than 3 miles on bogie wheels !

 

 

Now this Doo is a bit of a sleeper.  You first notice the authority of a STRONG single sound,......then you see the Sachs single with the Donaldson power tuned muffler tucked in if you look close from behind.

 

 

 

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So ya say your engine is runnin mighty hot lately ?

Maybe your carb is a little plugged up and its runnin kind lean?

Could be you timeing is way to far advanced.

Possibly you have a big air leak due to your dad putting your plugs in finger tight.

 

Well.........................dont overlook the fact you store your sled in a abandoned barn full of mice !!!!!!!!!!!!

 

This beautiful nest was under the cooling tin of my neighbors Cheetah the other week.

I have found a dozen fan coolers over the years just like this.  Im allways amazed at how mice are attracted to stinky, oily, nasty, spots to build nests !

 

Lord knows how many fanners have burnt down due to Mickey and Minney shackin up and gettin busy under a cooling tin mouse shanty !

 

 

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The 2014 Spooner Jack Frost sled show and ride went well this year.  I typically ride my smallest and oldest sled there from my house.

This year it was my 292 Yamajohnson one lunger special.  Its about a 70 mile day for me if I go on the ride, and I have to bring oil so I can make some premix along the route to make it all the way back home.

Now I had done this a few years back on a '65 Ski-Doo olympic one lunger at like 15 MPH the whole way in 8 inches of fresh powder........that was a LOOOOOOONG day !

It flew right by at 35 MPH on the Yamajohnson by comparison.  I of course had to stop for a photo op in the deep pow next to the dwarf bullet train north of spooner.

 

Theres a sort of weird, spaced out vibe you get if you daydream on the Wild River trail when you cruise past the miles of parked trains near Spooner.

I think of Johnny Cash songs and lonely highways as I cruise a easy pace past hundreds of parked rail cars.

 

The parked vintage trains add a unique sideshow to a otherwise not so enchanting urban rail corridor section.

The massive plow is quite impressive !  I can imagine this thing drift bustin some way out there rail line east of Fargo back in its day !

 

 

There were alot of real nice and unique sleds at this years show.

 

At first, I assumed this Sno Pak was the fully restored one that came to a show last year.  WRONG !

Its the finest survivor example of a original Sno Pak I have ever seen !

 

 

 

This early Scorpion was a superb restoration........prolly straighter than when it came from the factory !

 

 

 

Very seldom do you see a Jac Trac.  This was a immaculate example.  Check out the side running lights....not a reflector, a lit up marker light !

And, Imagine how hard it would be to find a NOS embossed seat cover for one of these !

 

 

 

I have a real interest for Merc sleds.  They seem to have a unusual way of trying some uncommon engineering at any given era with their sleds.

Here is a true oddball.  I have owned a  Merc 250 ER which was AWESOME, but had to give her up due to not being able to find a track that was good enough to be a serious rider sled.

This is its older cousin, the super rare 200.

 

 

Heres a pair on the finest OMC's I have seen from this era.  The workmanship on these was beyond compare !

Gotta say, I dont think I have ever seen anybody take a pair from the "Refrigerator" years to a quality level this high.

 

 

Heres a great example of a Chap Thunderbird.

 

 

 

Remember what I was saying about Merc doin things a little different in the engineering department ?

Well, heres what they offered in a 440 trail sled for '74.

 

Note the way cool tailight section.......they commonly were damaged real quickly if anything hit them, and Im betting Merc sold their entire stock of replacements within a few years of this sleds release.

Nowadays, if you were to have to bid on a NOS lens on Evilbay, Im guessin you would have to pay a price equal to a decent '72 Doo Oly rider sled !!

The thing I find weird about this sled is all this elaborate styling, yet I dont see a speedo or tach.  Not even a odometer.  No gauges at all ?

 

The thing I found cool was, they had some form of front antisway bar.

Interesting when you think it took till the 80's with indepent non leaf spring front ends for the idea of limiting body roll on the front end of a sled to really be common.

Merc was allready thinking how to control body roll even back in the leafer days !

 

I allways thought early Daddlers from the "Silver Surfer" era were kinda simplistic.

This one is no exception.  It even had a RUNNING engine..............thats something to be proud of with those feeble JLO's !

Remember the old saying ?............JLO ,  Just -Limping -Onward !

 

Note the golden plastic toolbox.  Amazing its still there and intact.  Im bettin most of those were worn out from being opened and closed within the first 20 days of rideing a Daddler !!

I guess they were gold to represent the most valueable asset the sled had...................TOOLS  !!

 

 

 

Hows this for giving meaning to the term "Trailer Queen" ?

A true survivor of a Bubble Nose Doo.  The whole bannana, period correct clothes, accesories, and even a factory original trailer !

Ya really gotta wonder if there are any complete packages out there in some far flung dry barn, you know.......Edgar bought the whole thing back in 1968....rode it casually for 2 years........had bad back injurys then, parked it in the back of the barn on its trailer, threw a big heavy tarp over it all, and now the grandkids are sellin everything at the estate auction after the oldtimers have passed away ?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here we have the ever so occasional running Harley Davidson.

They are highly collectable, yet if you ride em, be prepared for the long walk of shame.  This owner knows the story, and has a good attitude about it !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The show was fortunate enough to have a true racing legend show up !  Herb Howe.

The 1966 winner of the I 500.  The tales he can tell you of the infancy years of true cross country racing are beyond belief !!!

Make our nowadays one lunger outlaw terrain races seem like a little walk in the park !!

His sled is amazingly stock, and you cant really wrap your head around jumping on somthing this small and simple and giving it your all over such a distance.

Remember, no grooming, and very little to mark the route, if anything.

He told me in some cases it was simply, you start in one town and the finish is some town way off in the horizon.........no particular route or trail......each racer simply went where ever they though would be the fastest way to get to that town.  Basically blaze your own trail, or follow a guys tracks if you wanted to and hope he knew a good route !!

 

 

 

 

All in all it was a real nice show.

After the awards, and grand total of 3 of us went on the aftershow trail ride to Shell Lake.

Gotta say, all you guys missed a very nice  back route way from Spewner to Shell Lake !  Lotsa great hills and twists, with not hardly a single other sled on a Saturday !

 

 

It was gettin a bit late in the day, and my Yamajohnson has REAL, I mean REEEEEAL weak lights, so I gassed up and hauled the mail back up the Wild River trail corridor till I got to "Rodeo Mountain".

There I split off and  hillclimbed powder to the summit and took a break overlooking the big fiberglass Cowboy across the highway.

The sun came out, and I had a sweet solo cruise all the way back to home at Gull Lake.  I think I logged somwhere around 75 miles ........just about right on that kinda sled.

 

Whoops, heres the Harley pics I didnt add above !   DOH  !!!

 

 

 

 

 

A couple of us also belong to a small vintage club up in Delta Wisconsin called Frostys Vintage Riders.

 

They have a few rides during the season.  This was this years first one back in late Decenber this year.

 

Of course, Chip and Mary HAAAAAD to bring some amazing sleds.........and , yes, Mary was on the nicest Venture GT I had ever seen, which of course led me to spending a small fortune to buy the damn thing, knowing all well I would never stumble upon a GT that nice ever again !!!

Its at the front in this pic.

 

 

Heres the lineup of leafers on the ride parked in front of the Delta Diner.  The other classic sleds are off to the side.

 

 

 

The Relic Riders have thursday lunch rides.  Heres one from a few weeks back.  I led this one from Gull Lake, up to Minong and back.  We went around 60 miles that day.

 

Can you see the shit eatin grin on Keiths face ?  This is his first day on his newly aquired Venture GT.  Quite a step up from his pair of  "Bombardierbombs".

Here we are at the  STONY  brook warming hut......not to be confused with the STONEY brook trail !!!!!!!  ( note to self.....do spellcheck before using the router on a elaborate carved sign !)

 

Wouldnt ya know it, the only sled with a issue that day was THE TOW SLED !

It developed a case of the "Frantic Fuji Farts".

No worrys, all I need is a few B9 plugs and a wrench..........

 

 

 

..............Well, that and a beer of course !

 

Allways a relief when you think ya got a CDI box goin bad way out in rural land, and you throw a pair of fresh plugs in and it runs fine the rest of the way !

 

 

 

 

 

I was back out in the Stoney Brook area last week doing some testing with the Polaris Wedge 500 Classic, and I came up on the bridge crossing area.

There was a fresh layer of snow on the trail and a very obvious set of canine tracks had wandered around over the bridge.  Either a very large coyote or a medium size wolf.  My bet is a lone wolf from the Minong pack.

I rode some back roads around the Totogatic river.  About 3 foot deep, loose powder.  I now know I need 7 inch wide powder ski's for that sled if I dont wanna be a fluffy, white frozen, popsickle on a single digit temp day !!

 

I shoulda figured when I stopped at the river crossing bridge and the Toto was entirely froze over with no open water, to stay on the groomed trail.

Well, those of you who know me........you can take the boy outta the Montana powder, ....but ya cant take the powder outta the boy !

 

 

 

 

Maybe Keith should hold off a bit before he sends his seat to the upolstery shop ?

This might just fit on the tunnel .

 

Its listed as a "Davenboggon".   Only 60 bucks on Craigslist !

(note to Keith........fix the Evinrude......would be a great combo with a Davenboggan)

 

 

 

 

The club ride on January 27th was quite a adventure !  Started out as a blizzard, with cars in the ditch, cops, ambulances, deep snow on unplowed roads in a minivan pullin a trailer at 30 MPH.  Took a full hour to make it to the start only 30 miles from my house !

As we rounded the corner of trees, I could see Flouro Keith standing amongst a group of sledders out in a open field a half mile away !  Yep, Captain Hi-Vis can be seen a half mile in a full on blizzard !!

I counted around 16 riders on the ride.

I was last to the starting area, and everybody was itchin to go, so we hit the trail right then.

 

Was a real bumpy ditch and swamp ride for the first mile or so, but quickly evolved into a ungroomed powder ride on quite smooth trails.  The 5 or so inches of fresh powder gave a real smooth and loose feel to the little 340 leaf springer.

 

We then hit the first of several lake areas.  Good thing for the lake stakes, you couldnt have seen where to go otherwise in the storm.

 

 

Heres the first trail break of the day.

 

 

 

Now those of you who have ever known or driven a trail groomer know how those long hours vibrateing along at a crawl can make a guy do weird things when he is off the clock.........well.............

 

 

Further along we swung into one of the clubs sponsors, Seasonal Power Toys.  Real nice place, wish we coulda hung out longer.  Looked like a real nice selection of used sleds out front...sadly they were covered in snow and we were on a mission to get back on the Tuscobia trail.  Gotta get back there some day soon.

 

Well, further along we make it to Birchwood, and gas and food.

After all was taken care of, I led the group down for a one an run at the Gill.

 

On the way outta town we stopped for a photo op by the big plastic bluegill.

 

 

 

The sun was out, and we turned north on trail 25.  This is a super technical and complex route..........fun, fun, fun on a sharp handleing 340 leafer !

You had to be careful to stay on the trail, cuz if you went off, it was dang near like Montanny pow !  Easy to get stuck without a agressive track and wide ski's

 

The road crossings were a extra challenge, as, the plow trucks had made abrupt berms that were a bad step up to get to the trail.  Basically a 2 ta 3 foot wall of powder head on !

I crossed at what I thought looked like was the trail on the far side of the road at one spot............WRONG !

I had actually gone over a buried and closed steel bar gate over some driveway or somthin !  After clearing the 3 foot high bar without a nick, I proceeded to BURY the little Enticer up to the windshield trying to swing over to the trail 20 feet to the right !

 

After a few hopeless attempts at gunning it and pushing with all my might, it was obvious I wasnt gonna make the next 18 feet to the trail.

 

Soooooo, out came the strap of shame !

Am I the only one who finds the color of most tow straps to be a convenient match to the color of most old Ski-Doo's ?

 

It was a 2 minute job to get to the trail and everything all wrapped up.  Meanwhile, somebody rolled a big modern sled try to angle up the ditch embankment by us when we were towing the Enticer out ?

Kinda a slow motion roll over, like the guy on the tricycle on Rowan & Martins "Laugh In".   Looked comical from my angle, couldnt get camera out fast enough though.

Everything went smooth from that point on and we finished as the sun was setting.

A excellent ride that went from blizzard to bluebird, all in a day.  Around 50 miles or so.

Thanks Jim and Elaine for a great route !

 

 

 

 

I knew due to this years extreme cold and my feeble garage heat, I wasnt in any mood to restud and set up my Yamajohnson race sled for this years Brainerd 100,  so, I went to this years Kay Johnson ride instead.

Some nice sleds were on the ride this year.

 

There were 2 Centurions.  A '80 with less than 1000 miles, and another '80 with '79 hood and suspension mods.

 

 

 

Then there is this group of guys who have built these sort of RXL custom clone sleds.

 

The craziest thing is they REALLY ride these things !!!!  I mean, REALLY ride them.......like on trail tours that are hundreds of miles long.

I will keep the info on them secret, but lets just say they are running very reliable Polaris liquid trail sled power.  The fabrication work in these sleds is beyond compare, and they mentioned that it took many, MANY hundreds of fabrication hours to create them.

Could you imagine being on a casual ride somewhere in northern wisconsins public trails, and seeing what looks to be 3 or so RXL sno-pros out for a tour ??? !!!

 

 

 

 

There was this amazing TX 500 triple.  I think its a '71.  A true half litre muscle sled !  Ya gotta hand it to Polaris for believeing in the triple cylinder engine theory.  A hot triple allways sound so sweet when spun up, and on the pipes !!

 

 

 

 

Jim brought a "New" 45 rotary.  When is the last time you saw a sled with less than 20 original miles showup to RIDE at a vintage event ?

Ride em.....dont hide em !

 

 

 

 

 

So, ya say you wish you had more storage ?  Kinda tired of sittin way down on the top of the tunnel with your knees up by your ears ?

It might not be like the new "Rider Forward" position of modern sleds, but it certainly is "Rider Upward" !

 

 

 

 

Very clean Doo.

 

 

 

 

A nice example of a early Spitfire.  Someday I need to ride one of these on a tight trail.  I hear the direct drive and the peppy 340 Kohler are quite lively.

 

 

 

 

Good example of a late model Enticer 250 single.

 

 

 

 

 

A Yama-sno-kaw !

The final years of Snojet were owned by Kawasaki, yet they were wise enough to stick with proven Yamaha power.

 

 

 

 

 

Once again, Gary rides his trusty Phazer LE.  Its kinda funny how when you have 150 vintage sleds to choose from, and its gonna be a longer, quicker ride on big flowages, ya end up rideing a nice 1st generation Phazer !

 

 

 

 

At the other end of the comfort scale stands the neanderthal Diablo Rouge.  On a bigger ride like this, in cold powdery conditions, you will likely be a replica of Frosty The Snow Man by the first bar stop.  

I really give the guy credit, as, there isnt enough beer at the bars to lure me into a 4 hour wrestling match with one of those monsters !

 

 

 

 

 

Extra nice pair of Trail Twisters.  Its a shame Merc couldnt have continued on a few more years.  They really were starting to get things right when these came out.

 

 

Ya gotta admit, the visual designers at Polaris in the early years were not keen on "Sexy" sleds.  Evidence abounds in this nice survivor '71 Charger.

 

 

 

 

 

I dont know the story behind this Indy, but, if I had to guess, its some sort of very limited edition anniversary model or somthing ?

It appears to be original with alot of gold trim. Shock springs, tunnel and such.  Its also a "Classic" version.  Im guessing somewhere around a '90 ?

Anybody who knows please email me, I have never seen one like it.

 

 

 

 

 

And, lastly we have a great little 250 colt.  Looks all original, unrestored with superb patina, but no damage anywhere.

A perfect example of a used vintage sled with a very authentic amount of weathering, but taken care of and not abused or neglected.

It even had a registration sticker from back in '78 still......but not from the midwest !

I have never seen a Pennsylvania sticker before, much less one from the 70's !

 

 

 

 

 

 

Went out on a nice long day tour the other day.  On my way up the Wild River trail, I spotted this.......

 

Yep, I believe the saying goes.......

"Welcome to Douglas county, we love our guns, and hate street signs"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From the W.T.F. files..........

It kinda looks to be based off a Citroen or Renault ?

 

 

 

 

 

Out in Washburn county, they have sign eating tree's !   I wonder how long it took for this tree to swallow the orange trail blaze ?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 2014 version of the Big Boyz Toyz ride in Winter WI was quite a hoot !

About a dozen club members from the NW Relic Riders rode in the event.......I was the only one who "rode" the route in heated comfort !  (hint, hint, warm heated cab / cold beer).

 

First up was the vintage Sno-Cross race.  I declined, due to my wussy attitude towards the 8 foot high jumps, and left it up to the REAL men !  Was very impressive as allways !

 

 

There's allways interesting sleds at the Toyz ride.  Here's a wild Hybrid commercial V twin 4 stroke / Exciter / Sno-Crosser !

 

 

 

 

The trail ride got underway shortly after the races.   I was about 20 back and feelin a need to clean the engine out, so I pulled into the passing lane and proceeded to leapfrog 19 guys for a few miles.

As the snowdust cleared I could see the leaders ahead, and just kept the 292 pinned in the long rail corridor powder.  Everything went along like normal at 45 MPH.

We stopped at a road crossing and waited for a few to catch up partially, then off at 40 for another mile or so.

All of a sudden I gained a thousand RPM for no apparent reason......then 2 thousand.

Something aint right !  As I let off for a second, it wouldnt backshift, and knew I was stuck in top gear.  Primary clutch was stuck in full shifted mode.

I waited till a road crossing and coasted to a stop, stuck in top gear, and pulled the teather, as it died with a cough.

Well, at least it was nice and sunny, as I sat there in the silence waiting for the crowd to parade on by !  Got to see the whole parade go by, drank a beer and waited for the "Vintage Coroner" to provide my ride for the rest of the day.

 

I was soon joined by the sole Columbia on the ride......they had aluminum welded sparkplugs !  And , as I woulda predicted, a dead John Deere got towed past us.

I felt stupidly proud to claim 1st place on the Coroner's trailer within a few miles of the start, on a glass smooth straight railway corridor........yet, the case of cold beer in the back cab of the truck seemed to make everything all bright, and happy !

 

 

As we cruised along and got to the next trail crossing, it was apparent "The South Didnt Rise Again ".  The Dixie Deere was dead as a doornail and the confererate had fled for the southland.

 

 

 

Then, the IMPOSSIBLE occured !

First a dead Yam Exciter.....followed by the race winning SRX !

This is the first time IN HISTORY 3 yamaha's have died within a 5 mile stretch on a flat trail ride !

This pic will no doubt be historic in the realm of todays vintage sled world......I guess Im kinda proud to be part of it !

 

 

Hows this for a old school, over the top Polaris free air hot rod ?

 

 

 

Wide assortment of nice trail sleds.

 

 

 

 

Ya gotta love the worn and authentic ones......especially the klunky ones guy's are man enough to ride.

Ya gotta be willing to ache and smell like a gas pump to wrestle a real iron horse !

 

 

 

Here's the cause of my clutch explosion.  The lead sled, a survivor Super Sonic.

If you have ever ridden one, they are quite the rocket, and handle amazing in twistys.

 

 

When it comes to mid 70's paint, Scorpion really went the distance with their fantastic metalflakes......that and metalflake seat vinyl too !

 

 

 

Relax Keith.....quit drooling on your keyboard....nothing to see here !

 

 

 

Cant say I have seen a Cat backrest like this before ?

 

 

 

 

 

The guy was rideing the beans outta this Sno Pony !

Looks like maybe some sort of Yamaha fanner single stuffed in it ?

 

 

 

 

The Coroners trailer was gettin full, so, a second dead sled trailer was started.

(this was even cosidering there were maybe 4 -6 other dead sleds to ashamed to ride with our corpses on the trailers)

 

Here we have by far the best full on display of rider and machine to join the trailers of shame !

 

Remember the old poster ?

( Im just jokin........I can think of a dozen that would make you walk sooner !)

 

 

 

So, now there were two trailers of dead sleds, and we hadnt started the return route hardly yet !

 

As we went to leave, a guy rode in and said he saw a ski laying on the side of the trail ?

A minute later, In limps a '72 TNT all lopsided, and skids to a tilted stop on its bellypan.

 

He refused the offer to load on the Coroners trailer.

Knowing what I know about that era Doo's.  He was following Doo Doo rule # 4 .......

 

Never stop rideing a mustard bucket that will still go forward under its own power..............every mile counts on those !

 

 

 

So now we were loaded (in several different aspects) and on our way back.

 

On the way back we checked road crossings.  Nothing much, but both the Harleys were dead, and doing a self rescue.  Yes, AMF shoulda stuck with bowling balls !

 

 

A few last tavern stops on the return route led to the great photo op of "Tampax Pearl".  A rare '75 Suzy Fury 440 race sled !

 

There are so many unique features its hard to absorb all them with a simple glance.

The overall patina is just amazing, and the level of deterioration is superb.

It has the rare TnT pipes. (track and trail)  You either run em down to the muffler, or out the side into the custom can for extra effect !

All it takes is 4 beers and a good welder to switch modes, as long as you leave both systems intact at the same time !

There has been a ongoing process of lowering the seat height for better cornering geometry.

It involves a family of field mice and a hungry pine squirrel !

 

It also provides added grip on the running boards when combined with the right amount of pine needles !

Now, most good old school racers keep a handwritten notebook with all your adjustments and settings, for future reference when doin set ups for different conditions......................

and nothing sucks worse than a broken pencil tip at 3 below zero........so.............

A little known trick when racing ice ovals is to angle your ski runners just right.

 

Here we see them set for about a 17 foot wide continuous left turn !

Now, I love to rib the mustard bucket guys quite a bit, but having been a '65 Oly owner, and being charmed by the little singles, I gotta admit................I would be giggly as a schoolgirl if I stumbled upon a nice survivor like this.

I think its a '66.  Talk about a clean original !  Maybe a redone seat bottom a long time back, but otherwise AMAZING condition and originality.  Wish it was mine !

 

 

 

 

The '61 Tin Cab showed up again this year !  Its a super rare sight to bring a wood ski tin cab out and actually RIDE in a event !!  Big kudo's to the owner !

The huge wood skis and relative light weight of the machine, along with a rubber track had to be a HUGE improvement in getting around in loose deep snow compared to the competitions huge clunky iron monsters back in the day.

Ski-Doo was the pioneer of a snow machine intended for recreation instead of utility.

The idea was light weight, floatation on top of the snow, and effecient simple engineering.

Both Rotax 2 stroke singles and Kohler 4 stroke singles were offered early on.

This one is Kohler.  Note the bicycle style generator for the lights thats friction driven off the primary clutch face !

Also note where the "Tail light" is.  I allways wondered about the choice of Doo for its location ?  Maybe the theory was to keep it clear and dry, and up high enough for followers to see ?

I can tell you this.......original '65 Oly tail lights quickly get covered in snow when riding, and are rendered useless quickly.  Maybe this was a better idea, but Im guessing you saw red all night long with it pointed at your left arm when riding !

Even the tool pouch is simple and light !

 

 

 

 

This little 250 Enticer won a award.  Easy to see why, so clean !

 

 

 

One of the Tradewinds Tiger's showed up again.  The JLO single still runs !

 

 

 

 

 

If by chance you were on the ride, and noticed a real crackly Cat, that looked like it lost its lights........you may have been around one of the rarest sights you will ever see actually RIDING in a vintage trail ride.

A '71 Hirth tripple King Kat !

 

Story was, the new owner got them from up near the factory, from some Cat employees, who after all these years, decided to sell them.

They are worth quite a fortune, and Im very impressed that the new owner brings them out and RIDES them !!  Big Kudo's for not just hiding them in a collection, or just displaying them at shows. 

In my opinion, If you dont even run a engine in a vintage sled gathering..........may as well stay home and polish chrome instead !

 

 

Even more impressive was the big Hirth I-500 Panther !  As you can see, it has twin fuel tanks back to back, welded together for the big cross country races.

It still sports its Tic-Tach rev counter , and the wesline head temp gauges. 

I think the genuine patina with its normal wear and tear makes it so much more valuable than a restored one !   I think its one of the top survivors I have ever seen in the big hirth tripple catagory !

It was by far the most impressive Cat muscle I have seen on a trail ride event in a long time.

Congrats to the owner who wasnt afraid to run them and made the appearance so we could both see AND watch them run !!  The sound of them was astounding !

 

 

 

 

 

All in all, it was a very good outing.

Later at the awards, Barb scored a trophy for her "experienced rider".

I trophyed for somthing a little different...........

Seems in my old age, Im gettin soft, and wasnt willing to beat the crap outta myself and risk breaking my sled in half on the super big Sno-cross jumps........so.........

Yep, thats me allrighty, the BIGGEST WHINER  !

 

 

 

 

 

Im gonna start to call the weekly club ride the " Thursday Blizzard Club " .

I REALLY hate trailering in blizzard conditions, and this one was quite a bitch to get up the bigger hills with the trailer in tow gettin to the start in Couderay.

I would get a run at the hill about 45 MPH and be down to near 30 with the Blizzaks spinnin most the way up the hill to the crest.  At least the flat was a steady 40 with no stress.

 

We started with 14 sleds, but lost 2 due to engine trouble within the first few miles.

The other dozen carried on through a steady snowfall to the Winter Dam area.  We took a break at the Wannigan.

 

The Chippewa river was wide open. One of the very few area waterways with allmost no ice at this time.

 

I just love old faded and weathered beer signs at taverns.  It bespeaks of a fadeing past, when things were far simpler and less frantic paced.  They take me back many decades when good, tasty beer was on tap for 25 - 50 cents for 8oz tappers !

 

Ahhhhh, to have the early 70's formulas back instead of todays cheap chemical taste domestic brews.   I remember Grain Belts taste from the late 70's all too well !

We all enjoyed the break from the snowstorm, but, unfortunately it turned to freezing drizzle instead while we were inside !

Well, onward anyways.

Flouro Keith was busy with a serious rope jerkin session to no avail.  Time for some "Explosion in a can" to help the Bomby get poppin off.

Trail Boss Bob came over in a real authorative lookin spiffy Ski-Doo jacket to point out that the inside of Keiths hood was not up to par with show standards.

 

Even the bartender had to come out and join in the fun !

Nothin draws a circle of friends like a dead sled.......kinda like barn flies on a pile of cowshit in July !

 

 Note Barb in the left of the following picture.............see the look on her face ?

She is allways quick to speak her mind.........I belive I heard her mumble somthing to the effect of,  "I dont know why you guys screw around with that old JUNK !"

Thata way Barb !   Tell it like it is !

 

 

Well, it did light, so off we went into the freezing drizzle !  Man, was that miserable.  Couldnt hardly see the trail in the flat, grey light and the layer of ice on my goggles.

I dont really know how others didnt biff the embankments on the sides of the very twisty trails.

Eventually, we made it to Big Musky and took a break there.  We lucked out, as, Jason, Jeremy, Jared, Justin and a half dozen other 20 somthings were coming out in all their latest 2 thousand dollar sled gear, and were climbing aboard their 162" paddle track mountain sleds to decend the extreme drop  ( of 14 feet ) onto the wide open flats of the flowage !  What men !     LOL  !!!!

 

As we sat in the bar, "Bear" was tellin me how his Kitty's recoil was all good and fixed............. This was the scene 20 minutes later .........

 

Yup, sure enough !  Broken recoil.  The strap wrap on the primary clutch gave a serious jerk off session to the crew........all to no avail .

Bear had to abandon ship and climb aboard the tow sled seat of shame.  Nothin like havin to ride "Bitch" all the way across the Chip back to Couderay !

It all ended smoothly as it was gettin near dusk.  And just by luck the groomer was coming through the parking area !  This was greatly appreciated , as Andy, tried to 4 wheel his truck and trailer through 3 feet of sugar snow at the start..........stuck it like a hog in a Iowa muck farm.

The groomer pulled him right out !  Way easier than any other method in snow that deep and loose .   Well, here's to the sunny bluebird days to come and make up for these tough ones !

 

 

 

 

 

 

I decided to swing out to Webster and go to their show and obstacle course challenge.

There was a good variety of nice sleds along with some serious race stuff.

The '67 Montgomery Wards showed up.  Hadnt seen it in a few years.

I find it interesting they chose Sachs for engine power over the real common JLO that so many oddball and cheapee sleds used back then.

 

I see its made in Sweden ?  Maybe Ockbelo or something ?

 

 

 

There were 3 Bolens, and......THEY ALL RAN !  Amazing !  I think the guy said he has 5 of them........now thats alot of fixin if your gonna try and run them .

Bolens never fails to dissapoint if your a fan of kooky engineering.  Its as if Mr Kiekaufer took the stuff that was allmost to weird for Mercury, and sold it to Bolens !

 

 

Not only is the carb angled to catch rain, snow, and ice perfectly, it also doubles as a shot glass once the ice ball freezes the butterfly shut !

 

Note the convienent directions for adjusting the carb are placed so they can be read when your standing on your head trying to adjust the bass turd .

Wonder how many guys lost their eyebrows when it backfired out the stack ?

 

Well at least it didnt stab you in the nuts when you impaled a culvert pipe !

 

 

 

 

 

 

These folks claimed to have not been drinkin..............their hats say otherwise !

 

 

 

On certain sleds, years of age result in track shrinkage.  Somtimes to the point of having to relocate the rear idlers...........guess this Scorp had a extreme case of shrinkage !

Hey at least there will never be a issue of gettin hit from behind and jamming the track........especially with the gigantic rear bumper cage !  If the sled had reverse, imagine how many cows you could push with that behemoth !

 

 

 

 

There were several cool flake helmets there.  Both classy period factory models, and new retro style "Customs".  I think Bell's new ones are not bad, but not up to the level of old school graphics and airbrushing.

 

 

 

 

You dont often see a Rupp cutter.  I dont think very many were made.

 

 

 

 

 

Towards the end of the show, the crackle of tuner pipes approached.  Soon, one of the finest batches of Polaris free air muscle rides up !  Yep, no dolly's or trailer turds.

Running in on snow , the way it should be !

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was a trailer full of very interesting liquid cat stuff.

They also had this crazy one off opposed quad drag sled.  I cant remember the exact numbers, but I think it ran 129 MPH in 500 feet at one point about 20 years ago.

The cranckcase is a custom machined piece that excepts two pairs of 340 Sno-Pro cylinders, in a opposed 4 configuration.

 

 

 

 

Here's the whole Pantera package.  Sled, deluxe helmet and correct factory outfit suit.

 

 

 

Here's a Challenger single.......a RUNNING Challenger single.  

 

 

 

 

 

There was a retired sherrifs sled there.  A '71 Polaris Voyager.

Now I dont know about you, but, If I was, say,  doin somthin unlawful on a '72 hot rod sled back in the day, and saw this tank fall in behind me out in the countrside with its lights flashing..............well, lets just say that snow cop is in for quite a fun challenge !

 

 

 

 

 

 

They held a real cool obstacle course race for whoever wanted to try.  No classes, winner takes all.

It starts out with a big snowpile at the corner of the course.  You stand on the far side of the snowpile waiting for the starting gun.  They start the timer, and  You then climb and scramble over the top of the pile, and slide or jump down to the track where your sled sits waiting but not running.

 

You then have to start your sled, and proceed to ride a lap around the course........BUT, theres a catch...........you have a empty blue barrel you have to push around the course also !  You cant let it tip over, and if it does, you have to get off your sled and stand it up before you continue !

 

 

Once you complete your lap, you jump off your sled and climb over the snowpile again to butt skid your way across the finish line !

You had the option of running a lap around the snowpile instead of climbing over it.......it was faster in most cases to go over it, but the crash risk coming off it was real high !

 

 

 

 

Although a hot EXT usually can give alot of sleds a run for the money, everybody is on equal grounds for the most part.  The only real advantages would be a flat front bumper, and tall ski loops to guide the barrel.

 

 

 

 

The cutter class had only one entrant, good thing, as it was one of those cats you need to lift the hood to get at the starter rope !

 

 

 

 

 

In the end, it was a Yamajohnson special that won the overall !

I did pay a price though,.........as I slid into home base at the finish line I did scratch the back of my airbrush / metalflake helmet just a tad.

Well, at least it wasnt another $50 clutch cover this week !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You may have stumbled upon some unusual air sled if you get around enough..............but I cant say I have seen one of these.......a air LEAD sled !

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next event for me was "Uncle Mikes " vintage ride in Trego.

We got NAILED with a huge storm the day before and it took me 7 hours of snowblowing and shoveling to even get halfway cleared out.

I opted for the 488 fanner power of my Venture GT, and the fact I run wide Polaris IQ ski's was a real lifesaver in the deep, deep powder.  I crossed a few areas on the way to Trego that surely had 5 foot deep windblown sections.

You had to sit back and gun it as the powder blasted over the top of your windshield !  Crazy stuff for the midwest.  To top it all off, there was no......I mean NO grooming anywhere all day !

Trail markers were buried under 4 feet of snow at road crossings.  And speaking of road crossings, in some spots where the plow had gone through, it was a 5 foot drop straight down to the roadbed !  Of course a super steep 5 foot wall to blast through on the other side to make sure you were pissed awaited you on the far side !

 

 

 

I think about a dozen folks total went on the ride.  It was quite a challenge.

I cant believe this guy rides this amazing SS in those conditions !  Im very impressed.  Its sweet music if you follow behind it........the song those twin tuner pipes make as he spins it up outta the corners is so cool !

 

 

This has gotta be one of the very few pre '73 GP 292's that hasnt been hacked up as a one lung racer or left to rot till its like swiss cheese chassis outside !

 

 

Midway through the ride, the leaders went straight at a spot on the trail that bends a hard right.   They went like 70 yards into the field till most were stuck in deep powder.  They all looked OK, and I knew it was a short run to the next tavern.

I went there and did a fast one and run.  Came back and the last of em was gettin back on the trail.  They looked kinda fried.

I had to get back home and shovel a roof before dark so I went off the other way to home.   Lotsa windswept open fields, glad I had wide skis and power to skim over it !

Made it to within 100 yards of my garage door only to drop a ski off the packed trail in the open field.........POOF !  Augered the nose in hard and got tossed off into shoulder deep powder !  Took 1 1/2 hours with a coal shovel to get unstuck and in the garage !    CRAZY !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Hello, 911,  Yeah, im out on the lake and theres this idiot out here in a pickup truck.

He just hit Frosty.

He's flat on his back, his eyeballs are popped outta his head and theres no pulse in his branches ! "

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I dont know about the rest of you, but I have been dreaming of spring days like this for over two months now !

The club had a nice little ride on March 6th.  First ride of the season where it hit 30 and had sun !!!!!

 

All was goin well till about 20 miles in Bear remembered he forgot to give his "Kitty" hairball medicine .......again !

She coughed and spit at 10 MPH out in the frozen wasteland miles out into the big flowage.  Ultimately, paws up !

The Coroner doubled back with the tow sled while we sat on the Flowage drinkin beer in the awesome spring sun.

A beer or two went by, and Keith went to find out what the plan was, the women were gettin antsy for indoor plumbing.  Upon return, we all agreed to boogy to the next tavern as bruce roped up the Kitty once again for a ride on the rope of shame !

 

Here they are Trailmaster Bruce, with regular passenger "Bear Da Be-otch" riding bitch once again !  Its possible Bear will log the most miles ridden this year in the "passenger" catagory if he dosnt get his fancy Polaris out on the snow !!!

 

 

 

This is gettin to be Deja Vue all over again.  Flouro Keith, TnT hood up, sparkplugs in hand.............cept this time the bartender wasnt interested in helping.

Keith now carrys MULTIPLE cans of starting fluid..........I wonder if Big Lots sells Bang In a Can by the case ??

 

 

Jack dug deep into the belt dust bowels to find the root cause of all Keiths starting troubles......hmmm, could be one of a dozen things.

 

I personally think his Butterscotch level was gettin to low !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, things are gettin good now !

Man, I sure do love weekdays in March !

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little Red Riding Hood better keep the cabin door locked solid !

Those tracks were around quite a bit out in one remote section.

Thats a size 10 Sorel winter boot for size comparison.  Either one MASSIVE Coyote or I know where a nice wolf pack is roaming !

 

 

 

 

 

Ahh yes, mid March,  full sun, little wind, 57 degrees,  just a sweater and bibs, bare handed, sunburnt neck, and not a single person for 115 miles.  This is as good as it gets in the midwest.