Gerbil, Baller and I started on Thursday night in my garage by getting the two XC 500's set up for Baller and I to ride. Gerbil was a real task master that night and wouldn't give poor Baller a moments rest. On my to-do list was just the installation of the 4 inch riser which turned out to be really easy because the former owner had lengthened everything at some point in the past. Baller's to-do list was a lot more time consuming.
• Adjust skid for off-trail rideability according to DCUBA specs
• Replace stock skis with Rubi’s previously crashed Powder Hounds
• Duct tape seat
Baller got off to a slow start at 7 pm that night and had the skid done by around 10:00 or so. He would have had it done a lot sooner except he spent a good hour trying to dry the exposed foam on his seat with a plumbing torch. Then Rubi called about 10:15 for a progress report and got word that the Powder Hounds hadn’t been installed yet. Rubi went into a rage because he’s spent ‘hours’ taking them off so Baller could use them for the group ride. I think a bushing was missing for one of the skis, but after one second of examination we figured out that one of the stock bushings would work. When the skis were finally installed, I went to bed and Baller and Gerbil drank beers until 3 am. We were going to let Rubi stay pissed off until he saw the sled, but Baller spilled the beans early.
I got those drunks up around 7:30 the next morning and they were pretty red-eyed. Fortunately I was driving because they were still at .2 BAC. Baller quickly duct taped his seat, we loaded up and hit the road. Our plan was to meet Rubi and Wolfie in Superior around 11:00. We hung out at some truck stop on the East edge of Superior for about an hour waiting for Rubi. I guess he was fixing his makeup or something. We killed some time by checking out these old bridge things by the lake. We’re pretty certain they were either built by Indians or Teamsters. When they finally showed up, we convoyed our way out to Mass City without incident.
In Mass City on Friday night we picked up trail passes and some beer. Baller complained incessantly about the price of a trail pass for the entire time we were there but that didn’t deter our spirits. We headed for Rockland and the Peppermill Ranch where we met up with Got Mud. Mud was pretty much all set up by the time we arrived at about 5:30 or so. We hung out for a few minutes and then took a quick ride into Mass City for fuel or something, I don’t really remember. What I do remember is that my balls got yanked around like a yo-yo thanks to the horse-shit trail conditions that night (sorry Triple650Indy, Gerbil was right on that one). After we got back we went up to Henry’s for the fish buffet and gorged ourselves like hogs at the trough. Not much happened the rest of the night except a few beers got drank.
Saturday morning Mud, Rubi, Baller, Wolfie, Gerbil, fgsacts, NJD, Old Iron and I headed for Twin Lakes. The trail ride up was pretty uneventful because the trails had been groomed and were nice and smooth (sorry Gerbil, Triple650Indy was right on that one). Then we started looking for playgrounds and spent a good deal of the day in some place that fgsacts can probably describe for you. It had hills and lots of trees with little open areas here and there. Baller, who is a far superior rider to me, got stuck a lot and so did I. Mud did a ton of deforestation. The mountain sleds were able to go wherever they wanted, which was enviable from time to time. Rubi and Gerbil did whatever it is they do, but it is fun to watch. A couple notable incidents:
• Gerbil chrashed into fgsacts in the ditch. I think Gerbil took the only real damage which he can fill you in on later.
• We headed through the woods to find this one gravel pit, but ended up stuck as hell – I guess that happened both days.
• Rubi found a little pond with untouched snow and much carving was done. Baller is an excellent carver.
Once it got to be 4:30 we started back. Before we’d even made it back to the trail Gebil noticed something leaking from my sled. We figured it was chain case oil but couldn’t see where it was leaking from. We stopped to get some ATF and fill the case back up, but it ran through like shit through a goose. I suggested someone bring a trailer up to Twin Lakes while I drink beer at the local establishment, but Gerbil said I should just ride it back. About a mile from Mass City it started making a whining noise, so Gerbil headed back to Rockland and got the trailer. Once we got the sled back to Darrel’s shop, we popped the chain case and got a surprise. The nut that holds the bottom gear in place had spun off and lodged itself outside the chain near the front and bottom of the case. It must have hit hard when it first came off because the case was cracked as well.
Later on we went back to Peppermill and started drinking. I’m not going to be very good at telling this part of the story because I got really drunk once I started getting into the vodka. What I do remember is eating Mud’s balls, hearing fgsacts tell stories, learning a little about steam engines from Old Iron, getting choked by Baller after throwing tape at his head, NJD said I could ride his Yammy the next day (thanks again NJD), and not much else. I can’t hold my liquor. The good news is I passed out by 11:30 and felt pretty good the next day all things considered.
That’s all for now because I’ve got some jerk at work breathing down my neck to do some crap I’m pretty sure I already did and he lost.
Once we got the sled back to Darrel’s shop, we popped the chain case and got a surprise. The nut that holds the bottom gear in place had spun off and lodged itself outside the chain near the front and bottom of the case. It must have hit hard when it first came off because the case was cracked as well.
You mean bolt right? There's a little bolt on the bottom, and a big nut on the top.
Very common on the Edge's. You need to do two things:
1. Take a straightedge across the gears and make sure they're even. If not, shim accordingly.
2. Loctite the bolt in, let it dry overnight, then fill the chaincase with fluid.
__________________ You don't have to flinch for me to know that you're scared.
I did mean bolt. Not sure what I was talking about because it didn't spin out, it sheared off below the opening. So the bolt chunk and washer were wedged in the case. Not sure how to get the remaining bolt out of there yet.
Just got home. Need to vote and also to damn tired to post any write up and pics tonight. Will try to get some posted tomorrow. Great riding with you guys, and gal, again and meeting Mookie and Baller. Had a blast. Got back to the frat house last night and couldn't muster enough energy to come to Rockland and party. Hope we can do it again soon. Next year (or next trip) we should all try and stay in Mass City. Would have made the socializing easier.
Gave up sled life for salt life.
Wednesday night had me up late fixing on my car in order to make the trek to Duluth. Once finished with that, I ended up playing caretaker to my parent's (now late) dachshund. I got a couple hours sleep and started the next day at about 1pm rushing to find some useable boots and a balaclava. Cabelas had nothing. Walmart had nothing. Scheels finally had something, and I spent the next three hours getting my ass kicked by the little kids at Tae Kwon Do.
Promptly after the last session, my partner in crime gave a call, and we had a few beers to work out the sore spots... until 3am. It was awesome, until I realized that I had two hours to pack, and leave.
I packed, and left.
Things I forgot: Camera, spare balaclava, (something else I'm sure will find out later).
I made good time despite sucky roads, trees, and white knuckled soccer moms, and falling asleep a couple times, but was 8 minutes behind my estimated schedule thanks to driving past the correct address 4 times.
Really, I wasn't lost.
I had called Rubi for some directions, and unlike The Hog, who gives me nothing at all, Rubi went ahead and described every building in its place for three blocks around. I learned, that directions can perhaps be a little too detailed? Had I just stopped being stubborn and just called after the first driveby, or even as I was getting close to the destination (as I was told to do), I would've found it on the first try with the excellent guidance of said Rubi.
We fucked around with a sled cover...which took a lot longer than expected thanks to some fairly useless directions that had no pictures. I tried to get Rubi to put his handlebars through a hole in the cover just for the sake of pulling his leg, but failed. We then hit the road to meet up with the rest of the DCUBA members. Mookie is a lot taller than I expected. Baller was just as expected. I scarfed a gas station hotdog successfully as my first meal in damnnear over 24 hours. Well, I guess the beer counted for something...maybe?
Then we drove a bunch and made it to Mass City. Rubi took some radical lane changes. Even did some temporary offroading with the trailer. Rubi is some badass shit...
Alrighty – That above shit was written half drunk, I can't remember the badass shit that Rubi did or said that caused the start of that sentence. I was interrupted by the return of Rubi, Gerbil, Mookie and Baller from their maiden voyage to Mass City for trail stickers.
We bumped around, found the big house, and started unloading. I met Gotmud, who, at the time, was impressively huge, and prettymuch as I had pictured. The unloading continued, and I, having not quite the height or oomph to knock Rubi's endgate loose, stood on the rear bumper and trailer tongue to try get my Danger (big Dave/oldiron)-sized gearbag out of the back of the pickup. I succeeded only in having both feet slip out from under me, and got caught on and hung painfully by my poor boobs for a moment before falling the rest of the way to the not so far away ground.
The almighty Gerbil paid witness to this event, and after ensuring that I was fully intact, kindly assisted with the tailgate so that no further damage would be done to my boobs. Thank you Gerbil.
I carried stuff in and promptly cracked a beer to soothe my aching boobs while I explored the temporary housing situation. At the sound of braapers being unloaded and warmed up, I wandered back out to see what all was going on. Within about 10 minutes, the yard was satisfactorily tracked up to DCUBA standards. After not much was left, I was allowed a few hotlaps myself, and raged around in slow, not readily apparantly aggressive lines in good Wolfie fashion.
The almighty Gerbil then set forth a challenge to rage over a 3.5 foot snow plow pile. I pinched the throttle and promptly achieved the first stuck of the group ride. Right in the effing yard! I did see it coming, beings as I was only two feet from the base of said hill, and was on ice, with no studs. Try number two was just as unsuccessful. At that point, I realized that the damn almighty Gerbil had set me up to fail (well, sortof. I guess I still did get the first stuck award). Fucker.
At this point, it was decided that a maiden ride should be established with the goal of attaining trail stickers. At that point, we were one sled short, so I stuck around and enjoyed my frosty beverages and got half lit up before starting the ride report. Also discovered that there was no internet to be had.
The maiden voyagers returned, and we hit up Henry's bar for the fish buffet. Mookie bitched about rough trails the entire way over. I had to maintain a steady trot to keep up with the group of mainly 6' plus crowd. I'm not a fan of fish, but they prepare it damn well there! I was entirely non-stoked about the apple enchiladas. They sucked in all the wrong sorts of ways. Big titted older bartenderlady was there, and I was slightly intimidated by her friendliness, and tendencies to rub her big hooters on everything and everyone, myself slightly included.
Mookie ruined Gerbil's chaincase and tried to ruin NJDave's Yammi on a beaver hut
Gerbil rammed Fagsex cracking his hood and tearing his seat
Baller somehow escaped unscathed
Wolfie caused untold hidden damage to multiple loaner sleds
Mud bent his steering post and tore off his skidplate
1. Hit some rebar scratching new paint on suspension components and flattening exhaust deflector
2. Blew belt and damaged my recent bellypan repair.
3. Hit tree with sled and shoulder; bending trailing arm, tearing out windshield, twisting brand new Powderhowd ski, and hurting said shoulder and other human arm. After this accident, sometimes a nasty squeaking sound comes out of my sled, and I think also out of numerous joints in my body.
4. Hit stump and tore out previously damaged bellypan repair resulting in inoperable clutches from snow ingestion.
5. Blew tire on trailer and ruined wheel driving on the rim to the next Freeway exit.
1. Multiple people helped wrench rebar out of front suspension and I bent powder deflector back into shape. I'll have to live with all the scratched and chipped paint which looks like heck.
2. Borrowed belt from Mud and later replaced with spare belt that I was too stupid to carry along.
3. Went to Darrel's shop where Mud showed that he means business with a hammer and pipe wrench, and then watched Darrel masterfully bend metal to his will and weld that sucker up. Bent Powderhound may be sent in for warranty with previously broken Powderhound, and windshield was functionally reinstalled. Squeaking from sled and joints still remains, but shoulder still works, and other arm somehow miraculously healed.
4. Sled wouldn't move with snow packed in clutches, so snow was manually removed and hole in bellypan was patched with a layer of slush and snow which was flash frozen with a trailride which also effectively dried belt and clutches.
5. Cletus and Bubba showed up from the local repair shop with a new rim and tire which they sold and installed for $3 less than I was quoted in Montana last spring for an unmounted tire which wasn't in stock. Their unbelievable rates were possible because their service truck was an '89 Ford Aerostar (with rust,) and Cletus had the tire changed before Bubba could finish the last 3 drags on his Camel. We lucked out because it sounded like if we'd had Ski Doos on the trailer, Cletus would have spit his chaw on our boots and Bubba would have flicked his Camel butt on our sleds as he piloted that minivan back to the shop. Evidently Cletus and Bubba rock Polaris.....
As always, it was great riding with all of the Slednutz Groupride veterans, and it was good to meet new ones this year. Everyone should put this ride on their calendars right now, because it never fails to satisfy.
...Then the second day started quite abruptly with a bright and chipper “Hello Wolfie!” (or something similar to that). That scared me awake. I am far from used to being greeted at such an ungodly hour with such cheer. I said something to the extent of “Hi Baller” not exactly knowing that it actually wasn't Baller, and left to shower.
Shortly thereafter, I discovered that the place was on fire, with smoke rolling through the rooms. There was no real harm, except to everyone's sinuses, which was far less damage than what would've happened had I tried cooking eggs. Much discussion went on about the egg quality, but I was more inclined to eat them with sausages rather than bitch about them being too fluffy (or not fluffy enough).
Then the getting ready commenced. I had no idea how much gear to wear, so I put it all on, and then some more. Upon wandering outside, we found an uncomfortable situation of being one sled short. Instead of riding bitch, I magically snapped my fingers and used my ninja powers to appear at the gas station in Mass City with everyone else.
That was a fairly stupid idea, because I ended up having to hop on the back of Rubi's sled to braap over to the frathouse, where Fagsex had summoned up what would be a far more than worthy steed for the trip (THANK YOU ANDY!). I should've ninja-ed myself straight to the frathouse for the following reasons: Rubi has a backpack that is roughly the same size as I would be sitting on the back of his sled. Instead of the normal two-up awkward, I found myself clinging frantically to the backpack like a baby sloth.
Upon arrival, I let go, and fell rather retardedly off the back of the boonditcher pro, beings as I couldn't apply a more dignified manner of standing up.
I then met Danger/Oldiron/BigDave, and NJDave, and a ton of other guys all at once. BigDave immediately made me feel like a hobbit in the presence of a hugeass Ent (Treebeard in particular). After a quick review of controls, we filled up, and took off down the trail. I had no idea which way we were headed, beings as I was not familiar with the area at all, so I figured that I had better not separate from the rest of the crowd.
I discovered that with my weight, pinching the throttle on that thing sends me five minutes into the future. That helped a lot in making time lost in the corners, beings as I had a tough time steering. I had a difficult time trying to figure out what to call it, other than the “ski don't” and “the dammit,” the latter instead of the Summit, because I am pretty sure that I said that a lot in trying to manage the beastly thing.
I learned that time travel during snowy conditions has the tendency to leave one with a little frostbite on the nose and any other exposed skin. We hit up a small hill, which I wasn't sure about trying, so I sat back a little, and did some observational learning. We then wandered back into some woods to play in a little snow, and I achieved stuck number two whilst meandering among the trees. After thorough documentation by Andy (fagsex) NJD stopped up to help get me out. I promptly sank it again.
I have to hand it to these guys for being patient and cool enough to dig me out over and over...and over.
There were some more areas, and then we went up the hill that didn't turn out to be so bad. There was more playing, and Rubi found a lake and did some sweet carving whilst I sat like a bump on a log and rested my arms and throttle hand, and had a little water. After some more, we went back up a familiar trail, which Mud happened to slog a little. In good Mud style, he unstucked himself without dismounting. Andy made it up, but got a little tipped at the top where Mud had created a pretty good trench. Said trench wasn't looking too bad, so I raged on up. Where Andy had gotten a little tipped. I got friggan' launched off.
Somewhere in this area too, I got a small stuck in the middle of the trail, going backwards no less.
I scrambled for the brakes, got things under control, and gave it some go with the intent of making it the rest of the way up. No dice. I sank it. After some more dinking around, with Mud coming back down and helping to unstuck me, we took a back route to the same area. We headed back to the main trail system, only to have Mookie's (Gerbil's) ride punch a hole in the chaincase and jizz oil everywhere.
At the nearest gas station, we waited for Mookie to pick up some oil to hopefully limp the sled back. I ran in to use the ladies' room. Big and Little Daves were shortly behind me. I had to wait, which generally is a bad sign in a public restroom. The longer the wait, the more worried I got. Unfortunately, my worries came to fruition. The occupant emerged, and I was all but knocked over by the unbelievable stench that emerged with him. I choked out an amazed“holy shit” and prepared myself for a split second.
No fucking joke, this guy made Gerbil's ass smell like flowers.
My eyes burned so bad I was getting blurry vision. Nor could I stop gagging at the stench even though I was holding a lungful of unstenched air that I'd gasped in preparation. If there is a hell on earth, I was damn sure that I'd just visited it. How in the hell could someone survive having that sort of mutant strangeling matter inside them, and still live to shit it out!?! I raged out of there as fast as I could, and didn't stick around inside the gas station. Danger had it rumored that the entire place reeked 30 seconds after the door had opened.
While I recovered from the near death experience that was my little trip to the restroom, it was established that Gerbil and Mookie were to part ways, as that sled was leaking all kinds of oil jizz down it's leg.
If I recall, we hit the powerlines next, something that I enjoyed quite well, despite having my ass kicked by a hill or two. Baller stood out like a champ here, going all kinds of places where short tracked suspensionless 500s shouldn't. Whilst Rubi is technical, the Gerbil is fairly loose and fast, but still rides with a fair plan. Baller, well you have to see him ride to figure it out. I'm not sure even he knows what will happen after he pinches the throttle.
Mud was an animal too, and he did a fair amount of raging across things I wasn't stoked about trying with the gigantic machine I was astride. After quite some time, my arms were tired to the point where I didn't have much of any throttle control. Andy, the Daves, and I headed back to the frathouse where we had time for a beer, and peanut butter stuffed pretzels.
The rest of the crew rallied, and stopped to pick me up to head back to the Peppermill to find out the story on Mookie's borrowed steed. There was much beer to be had after that, and Mud's delicious balls. Oh man those things were good! The ball sauce was fairly messy, and one had to be careful so as not to have it smeared all over the face. Mookie had consumed plenty vodka and beer at that point, but I was fairly far gone too, so I only remember a few details.
Mookie proposed a desire to trade the almighty Gerbil for me (No, I never did figure out why), and he has a fetish for ninja chopping black duct tape.
Gerbil and The Baller wandered back off to the Gerbil's lovenest, and I had some more balls.