Controlling a 700 pound machine is not an easy feat. After a full day of riding, I feel as though I've worked out every muscle in my body. When I got home from church this morning, Chandra was waiting for me in the driveway-snow machine in tow. My neighbor was out with her checkin' out our new machine. He and his friend mentioned riding over to Kwethluk, a village about 15 miles upriver, to deliver some supplies to the friends wife who is a teacher there. After much begging and pleading on my part, he finally agreed to let us tag along on our new ride!
He said they were leaving in a couple hours which gave us enough time to have lunch and go gas the snowmachine up for the ride. After lunch, Chandra and I drove over to her place so that she could get all of her winter gear on before we headed over to the gas station. On the way there, I finally managed to dump us off the machine. I hit the edge of the trail wrong and we tipped right over on our side, right in a mud puddle. The machine landed on my foot, but, thankfully, neither of us was hurt. We were going really slow when it happened. Chandra was not too pleased about getting back on the machine with me, but she did and I managed to keep the machine upright for the rest of the day. Hey, I'm learning...besides, Chandra's NEVER going to let me hear the end of it. To see what I mean...click here.
Here's Avery on our new machine. We are out on the river at the beginning of our ride. You can see Bethel in the background. I let him drive it for a few hundred yards and he did a great job. Remember, you can click on the pics for a better look!
Here's a view of the wide open trail on the river heading upriver toward Kwethluk. This is the way we took...up and around the bend to the left.
There were 8 of us that went for this ride. Me and Avery on our machine, Chandra on the back of my neighbors friends machine, my neighbor and his friend on his machine, and another of my neighbors friends and a girl that was getting a ride to Kwethluk on his machine. Notice...Chandra decided not to ride with me!
A few times on the way there and back, we rode through some trails that went through the trees pretty tightly. It was really neat lookin. This pic is from when we stopped so a rider going the other direction could pull to the side to let us through. These trails were super bumpy and we learned that our new snowmachine needs some suspension work.
There's Chandra on the back of the snowmachine behind us...just look for the pink helmet.
We spent most of the ride on the open river. I'm thankful that our neighbor let us ride with him because I cant tell any of the scenery apart...yet! On one stretch of open river, we got the snowmachines up to about 65mph. Let me tell you, riding that fast is a major rush. If you hit a bump, you bounce way up. Avery LOVED it. Every once and awhile, I'd purposely hit a bump and catch some air for Avery. Have you ever heard the expression "stuck in a rut"? Well, I know how that feels now. Sometimes there are major ruts dug into the pack snow from previous snowmachines and if you get stuck in one it is really hard to get out. I learned alot about riding today.
In this pic, you can see the snowmachine trail on the river. We followed some very heavily used trails much of the time. Today was a beautiful day for riding. Sunny and about 13 degrees. I was hot with all my gear on. The snowmachine that we bought has hand warmers and they do a really great job.
Here is our entourage stopped for a break. We would stop every 10 minutes or so to make sure everyone was together. Those guys have new, fast machines and would speed way ahead. Sometimes, it made me nervous that I would loose them and get lost. We had just come from the groove in the trees where the tracks lead to. I had a real great time today riding. We were out for about 4 hours and put about 45 miles on the snowmachine. It ran really well and seems like it's going to be a great machine for first time riders like Chandra and I.
My whole body aches all ready. I cant imagine what it'll feel like tomorrow. I'll be sore from head to toe. Or should I say from my thumbs to my toes?
I have so much to write about and a very busy schedule coming up. I am chaperoning the band kids to Kotzebue this week/weekend for the regional band competition. I will be gone from Wednesday until Sunday. There's so much to do to get ready to leave, though, that I dont know if I'll be blogging for the next couple days. I think I will have internet access and be able to post while I am there. I am so looking forward to getting away for a few days, seeing a different place in Alaska, getting a change of scenery, being above the arctic circle, hopefully seeing the Northern Lights, and just getting out of Bethel for awhile. One of the other first year teachers is coming over to stay with Avery while I am gone. I think it will be a nice little break for him, too. We spend SOOOOO much time together!
Because I have so much to share on the blog, I have resorted to making a list. I'm a list maker, I cant help it. Here are some upcoming blog posts to look forward to...
Kuskokwim Ice Classic
Avery sleeps with his eyes open
More Cama-i festival
My First Kaspeq
The Village of Kwethluk
Kotzebue-Above the Arctic Circle
Spring Parent/Teacher Conference
Aurora Borealis (hopefully)
Wes Wild: A Birth Story
3 weeks ago