Whistling Jack Overnight Ride
Riders: Lee Koger, Mark Berg, Bob Seeley, Bob's friend Chuch, Kenny VanAssche, Mario Vaughn, Mike Thompson, Mike Collins, Chris Schroeder, Darrell McLean, Mike & Sheri Hyytinen.
Left on the same route as Lee’s check out ride last week with Leaders the ‘Trail Master’ Lee & the ‘Adventurous’ Mark Berg and our very own Solid Gold Dancer Bob Seeley as sweep. We had 12 riders total & Sheri was the only girl with all her big brothers (meaning taller). Also, new members Chris & Jill were at the Safeway ready to roll but Jill had been on the training wheels the week before & been having problems w/ her back so she opted to drive all the way over to Whistling Jack’s to spend the night. Chris joined us & turns out he is an excellent strong rider. Very sweet young couple, glad to have them aboard. Jill plans on going on more rides in the future if we are willing to help her learn more which I promptly explained that everyone is very caring & helpful.
The first few miles we had one or two sleds overheating due to the ice at the beginning but not too bad. On the second stop at the 33 to 3330 Mike ‘Superman’ Collins’ pull rope gave out. Bob ‘Sparky’ Seeley was in the back doing the sweep so he was able to help Mike start his Ski-doo up then & several times afterwards. When we got to the ‘Funny Rocks’ CDS was there to help out another group who had a gal go over the bank approx. 100’. They had gotten the sled near the top but our strong helpful guys, Chris in the forefront, jumped out to help out the rest of the way.
Coming out at the bottom of the Bald Mountain area Bob Seeley earned his nickname ‘Sparky’ when Darrell who didn’t know his own strength pulled on Bob’s right ski around the hair pin turn & caused the steering to freeze up. I guess we can call Darrell ‘He-man’ Mclean now. Bob said it had happened before but not sure what was causing it. With a little help he tried laying the sled on the snow sideways on either side then he thought about turning it upside down. As soon as the sled was upside down we all heard a clunk & out rolled a really old spark plug…ergo the name ‘Sparky’…
Mike C. had to try & keep his engine going as much as possible so he didn’t have to take apart his sled to turn the engine every time so at one point when the ‘Leaders’ were discussing a path down out of a dead end Mike found a trail to the road by dirt jumping…YEAH!
When the first part of the crew got to Whistling Jack’s they were apparently met by the Sheriff who happened to be in the parking lot & ended up checking the licenses of Lee, Mark, Mike & Mario our little angels passed with flying colors.
The last 6 miles were patches of snow & dirt but not as bad as we had thought it would be. No overheating YEAH!
We had a wonderful dinner at Whistling Jack’s and then a fantabulous night dancing. There were three local gals having a birthday party & several other groups so the place was packed. Mike Thompson, the gentleman that he is, decided to talk with the birthday girls husbands & check out their plans. Come to find out they were just there to have some fun & were ok w/ dancing w/ anyone. So several of our boys had a pretty good work out dancing up a storm. They were the life of the party with class of course & for the most part put their best ‘foot’ forward so to speak. The live music was compliments of singer/songwriter Don Forgey that has been playing there since 1976. He has a way of including everyone in the audience & get everyone up & having a good time.
The road home began w/ 11 of us as Chris & Jill left together to do some riding together.
The roads were better because it had snowed at least 1”-2” in but they were still icy and a bit deceiving…so deceiving that Sheri went around a corner a little too fast & ended up sliding into a fairly large rock in the road…Mike said, “ The only BIG rock in the middle of the road”…not quite understanding how she ended up running into it. Anyway, as she rode up to the other sledders they noticed that her left ski was a bit off…not to mention not steering very well. Apparently, the rock broke the ball joint on the upper A-arm but not to be discouraged all the boys chipped in to using Bob’s friend Enchilada “Chuck’s” nylon rope to jury rig it back together. Sheri tried to go on w/ the tied up ski & her sled was working just fine w/ a bit of elbow grease, however, she took a corner a bit wide & a little too fast & tried to turn the ski left which caused the sled to tip over rather than turn the ski which tossed Sheri off & caused the sled to go about 20’ over a very slight incline…but into a fairly strong trunk of a tree…which in turn cracked the bumper…AARGH! With the help of her strong helpful buddies Mike Collins, Bob Seeley, Mario & Mark Berg they were able to pull the sled up & back onto the road. Bob’s very wise suggestion was to have Mike Hyytinen ride it the rest of the way. So every stop we checked the nylon & tightened it up every so often & Sheri’s very strong capable husband had no further incidents….until were almost home & the leaders asked Mike if he would rather go the shortest distance or the longest less bumpy way. Mike said he didn’t care so we ended up on a mountain goat trail w/ unexpected boulders to sled across. The leaders were very apologetic as, of course, no one could know how bad the conditions could be around the corner but we were very glad to be out onto the main road once we got there.
Forgot to mention that Mike Collin's found a much better cord to use to start his engine for our ride back, however, at one point the boys had a good chuckle when he went to clean out a portion of his engine & pulled out a chunk of grassy material that resembled a little nest of sorts...which produced some funny stories on how his engine was run...etc., heehee, etc.
Upon returning we had our usual gathering at the Caboose for dinner before heading back to our prospective homes. All in all a very successful fun & adventurous ride although it would have been much better w/ a bit more snow…praying for more snow for the Convention! Love to y'all, Sheri Hyytinen:)
(Pictures to come as soon as I get a new computer...)