Through New Goggles-My First Ride

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Well, it’s the first week of October and the snowmobile chatter is starting to pick up!  I already have a few out of town rides scheduled with some friends and I hope you are doing the same.Well, it’s the first week of October and the snowmobile chatter is starting to pick up!  I already have a few out of town rides scheduled with some friends and I hope you are doing the same.
I want to pick up where I left off in my previous blog and it’s all about my first ride!  In order to appreciate the true value of what I called a “shit show” I will need to set the scenario a little bit.
In my transition to discovering snowmobiling I started from absolute scratch.  Other than having 2 family members that lived in Alaska I had no “snow cred” whatsoever.  In early December of 2012, on recommendation, I blindly attended a snowmobile club meeting and announced “My name is Jason Holmes and I’m 100% new to snowmobiling!”  The reception I received was very welcoming and at the same time you could see in their eyes that this was going to be interesting!!   The club meeting occurred on a Wednesday evening and I was told to show up on Saturday morning to have breakfast at the Last Resort in Ronald, WA because they were taking me on my first ride to Cooper Lake.  SWEET!
On that Friday I had my new truck, with my new trailer at the dealer to pick up my new sled.  So now it starts…I’ve never loaded a sled before!  What do I do?!?  Talk about anxiety!  I was so happy to see them load it on my trailer with the forklift.  Whew crisis averted.
Saturday morning.  It’s riding day!  I drive over to Ronald, WA.  Have breakfast with everyone and I’m getting all kinds of information from everyone on what to expect.  The day is perfect!  It’s snowing and everyone is eagerly anticipating their first ride of the season.
I follow the multiple vehicle caravan up Salmon La Sac road for a few miles and we end up parking right by the Cooper Lake Snow Park.  It’s starting to get real!
I get dressed up.  I’m rocking all my brand new KLIM gear.  Head to toe!  I looked like I should have been sponsored by KLIM.  A fellow rider approaches me, shakes my hand and asks me if I’m ready.  Are you kidding?  I can’t wait.  Annnnnnnnnd here it starts……………
Fellow rider, “you got a beacon?”  Me, “a what?!?” (I get educated) Fellow rider, “you got a probe?”  Me, “HEY!  That’s personal!!”  (I get educated) Fellow rider, “you got a shovel?”  Me, “pffft a shovel??? “ (I get educated) Fellow rider, “you got a radio?”  Me, “snowmobiles have radios?!?!?!” (I get educated)
Thankfully, this rider had all 4 items as backups for me to use.  I walk away thinking that I’m off to a great friggen start.
Now it’s time to get my sled off the trailer.  Wait a minute?!?  The first time riding my new sled is going to be in reverse off of my trailer?!? (I’ve been fortunate enough to hear the stories how people back up their sleds and it throws their momentum forward causing them to pin the throttle and fly across the snowpark backwards smashing into a trailer or truck………I’m not going on youtube!).  Luckily neither of those happened but my carbide grabbed on the aluminum frame of the trailer throwing me off balance and I eat the street, Grrrrreat……It doesn’t end there.  Since it had been snowing there was a pretty good snow bank on the side of the road from the snow plows and the trail that everyone was riding to get to our meeting point was on the other side.  Ok, I can do this!  I watch a few people pop over it, take a right turn and there they go. Riiiiiiiiiiight.  Well, I made it over the bank to the trail, but with my sled on top of me. I discovered that your windshield actually pops off under those circumstances!
Ok, windshield is re-attached. Those of you that know me will completely understand this… I sat there for a few minutes and have what I like to call “a motivational moment with myself.”  It means that I’m having a serious talk regarding that this has to stop and I need to get it together.
I make it to the gathering spot.  Everyone is ready to go.  I’m frustrated and nervous but ready to prove to myself that I can do this.  I get partnered with another rider and he gives me the best advice that I had received yet which was, “follow me and do what I do.”  Ok.
If he stood up.  I stood up.  He scratched his backside, I did the same.  I was his exact shadow all day long.  At the end of the day it was the best first ride ever!  Success!!
In keeping true to my blog, my point of this chapter is to reach out and talk to fellow riders.  I could have been better prepared but my ignorance got in the way.  I’m coming into my 4th year of riding and I still ask a lot of questions to my fellow riders as often as I can.
In closing there are many people to thank but that first day was a tremendous success in large part because of Bill, Sherri and Shane.  I can’t thank you enough.
See you on the snow!

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