Darn near died last night!!
It all started with a bad decision. You see I had gone out for a snowmobile ride yesterday, starting out at 6 Am and had logged 250 miles of riding when I got into Newport. Now in Newport the trail normally crosses Newport Lake, but this year the ice is thin. That left me with 3 potential choices:
I could take my chances by crossing the lake with thin ice (potential death)
I could drive through the city streets of Newport (potential ticket)
I could drive up the working railroad tracks to reach the trail (potential ticket)
So faced with these three choices, I decided to take my chances with death by crossing the thin ice. Now as some of you know a snowmobile can float on water. If you hit the water fast enough, the skis skipping across the water, and the fast rotation of the track, makes the snowmobile "skim" over open water. The key is to hit the water fast.
So that is what I did. I hit the lake, punch the throttle and rocket across the lake. Just as I neared the other side, there was a big lump of snow. Now I was going a mile a minute and so was my thoughts. For a split second I thought it was a small fir tree or something all covered with snow,then I realize I'm on a lake and there are no trees on lakes. So then I conclude its a pressure ridge. Anyway at the last second I steer, but its too late. I hit whatever it was and get thrown from my sled, bouncing down the ice in a heap.
Now the last speed I saw was 65 mph, so I'm guessing I was doing about that when I went bouncing down the lake. When I come to I see my sled is only 50 feet away. My first reaction is to get off the ice. So I run to my sled, which seems to be in perfect shape and still running. So I jump on it and get off the ice and park it on land. As I do I look back and see what I hit.
They had let more water out of the dam this year which dropped the level of the lake. I had hit a 4 foot rock that was now exposed. Because the rock was slanted, by right ski had hit the rock, went to full extension then pitched me off. Because my sled is a 4 stroke, it did two things. Since its so heavy, the sled re-righted itself, and since the engine has some engine braking, (unlike a two stroke) it stopped itself after being without a rider in only 50 feet. If I had been on a 2 stroke, it would have kept going until it hit the trees on shore.
Luckily two guys inside a lake side home saw what happened and came running over. They could not believe how hard I hit that rock and how fast, and yet did no damage to me or my sled. Well maybe just my sled. This morning I hurt from my toes to the bald spot on my head. I feel like someone threw me out of a car at 65 mph, because in essence I did.
I was only 45 miles from home, but I was so shook up, it took me 1½ hours to get there. Man was I lucky. If I had hit that rock head on.....
I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"