Travels can go awry

Welcome back to the channel (as Itchy Boots would say) although this is an evening post. It has been a long time since I have written anything for the page, mostly because it’s all been short and easier just to plug it in on FB and call it good. This is a little different – read on to see why.

My favorite motorsport has always been snowmobiling. I enjoy every aspect of it. I have worked in the business, ridden all over the place, and had epic adventures and miserable failures. I did repairs and modifications. The off-season is just as good as riding sometimes to read what other people in the sport and industry are doing. Most people I know love autumn – as I do. It signals the beginning of riding season. There used to be grass drags all over the place. One thing about snowmobiles is they have been raced on every surface there is. Snowcross, ice ovals, asphalt drags, watercross (yes, they can stay on top of the water at speed), hill climbs, stunts and I am probably forgetting a couple. The Sno Barons out in the midwest have been the organizers of the largest snowmobiling event in the world for decades. I haven’t made it there yet, but it’s on my list. It’s called HayDays and takes up acres of farmland. The main attraction is drag races, but everything else even remotely connected to snowmobiles is there. Lately, the vintage segment has picked up steam and is quite popular. If you live anywhere near the Rocky Mountains sleds are the go-to modern segment. Huge horsepower and long tracks make it possible to do some incredible riding. I have never ridden in Canada, but my friends who have say it’s like riding on interstates just for sleds. I should mention that in the lower 48, a snowmobile is referred to as a sled, while the rest of the world calls them snowmachines.

An example of a trail in Canada, although we have some like this in New York as well.

So why on earth am I in Little Falls, NY you may ask? Well, in our darling state, the trail system isn’t as good as others. (NYS Snowmobile Association) The trail systems are broken up into different clubs to manage. They take an unbelievable amount of work to maintain, repair, and keep open. Fallen trees need to be removed, extra vegetation kept to a minimum, bridges need to be built or rebuilt and most of all, discussion with landowners. Some people ride off of the marked trails and with loud pipes in the middle of the night. This causes landowners to become extremely ticked off – and I don’t blame them. They are not compensated for the use of the trails, so often they revoke the permission to use their land. This sometimes causes a total rerouting of a system.

To keep what trails we have rideable in the short season we have, the trails need to be groomed with a special machine and drag that clubs purchase on their own. Operated correctly they can lay down some beautiful ribbon to ride on after taking away the bumps. They also notify clubs of closures due to a variety of concerns such as high water, trees down, missing signage, and the like. Most grooming occurs at night as this gives the “base” time to crystalize and become much firmer. the more base, the better the riding.

A classic groomer with from blade and drag.

Now the purpose of me to come to the southern Adirondacks is that once a year a club presents the material for individuals to learn how to properly operate a groomer. This year it happens to be On January 7th at the Salisbury RidgeRunners. I registered for it a couple of months ago. When I called the guy to register I asked if he could recommend accommodations close by. He spoke of a little motel in Little Falls – a place I had never been. When I looked at the photographs of the place, all I could think of was the Gates Motel, or perhaps one of the motels in “No Country for Old Men“. Either way, I didn’t get the warm and fuzzies about the joint, and at $50 for the night, I was even more concerned about my health and well-being in a joint like that. So I started looking around the area for an Air BnB. I have had really good success in the past with them. For the next couple of nights, I looked and compared the distances to where I had to go Saturday morning.

This place looked pretty decent, the price was marginally affordable and so I booked it for one night and had to arrive after 15:00 hours. I secured the time off from work and the week prior I was sick as a dog, and had a doctor’s appointment to be sure I was good to go back to work and travelling was not an issue even though it wasn’t that far away.

I started Friday with a couple of last-minute things like packing and getting some snacks. I knew the next day was going to be a club’s facilities so I wasn’t worried about that. So I started down one of the most boring roads in the United States (look it up, it’s listed!) the NYS Thruway. So glamorous. Every single mile looks like the one you just passed. This afternoon there were speed traps although most traffic was cooking along at 80mph. I forgot to get gas, so I stopped at the first one on the 90 and bent over the barrel of oil, and took it like a man out of my savings account. I was quickly out of radio range and had bought a 2.5mm adapter so I could listen to a podcast on the Jeep’s speakers. I have no idea why the radio will connect for phone calls but not podcasts, but it was a cheap and easy workaround.

My good friend Jessie turned me onto TimeSuck with Dan Cummins. They are typically about three hours long and so I picked one and started listening. It happened to be episode 326 – Herb Baumeister: Serial Killing Leads to a Haunting? Well, as Dan is a great storyteller with plenty of details his team researches and your mind starts painting a darn good picture of what the story looks like.

While this is going vividly through my mind I pulled into the building I was going to stay at. I also forgot that I needed something to eat and I had forgotten melatonin so I turned around and take a short trip into the business district.

It is raining and in the ’40s, obviously, it’s dark. The town appears to be in a valley with some mining and industry around it was some large brick buildings. I decided instead of doing some looky-loo around town, I’d get back to my place to stay.

I parked and wasn’t too sure where to go. The front door seemed like the best place to start as I didn’t get any other instructions. while I was waiting for someone to answer I began to notice the actual condition of the large home. Typical arbs in front with a very old “new” paint job including A woman who answered the door as did a bellowing cumulous-like cloud of weed. I was led through the dark front yard to the side of the house where she opened a patio door and said enjoy your night. I used the flashlight to walk in and find a light switch. Glass cases housing gems and stones immediately greet you. As I found lights I can describe the interior as that of Judge Smails. The bed has two walls that are just windows – thank goodness they have curtains. I sat down to eat my dinner and noticed how eerily quiet it is. There is no phone, nor TV in the place. The bed looks like it was most recently covered with linens from the 80s. The bathroom, however, is totally remodeled. No trash can anywhere, only a couple of books, a tiny fridge, and a fireplace with a massive stack of chopped firewood in case I needed more heat. Not sure. Normally I like to stay up a little late, however, tonight I cannot wait to get to sleep and I will certainly be early to the class by a long shot.

It was not a good idea to listen to that episode, and I sure need to figure out a better way to pick BnBs. This is a good life lesson to learn in a different way, and it sure beats some of the places I have heard friends of mine stay when they are dual sport riding across more imposing terrain. I guess I can count my lucky stars, unless I can’t in the morning.