So! What are you doing with your old Model T Ford? It is too dangerous to drive on the Northway at 20 mph where trucks rush past on their way to Quebec. You can leave the Ford, with black frame and yellow spoke wheels, standing on the front lawn but, as everyone knows, grass doesn’t grow under a Model T. What to do! What to do! A suggestion. You can turn the car into a snowmobile. That’s correct, a snowmobile. In the early 20th century, Model T’s, equipped with tracks in the back and skis in the front, were early versions of snowmobiles and were used to deliver mail.
Over the years the snowmobile progressed from a Model T to the present models that can zip across virgin areas at 100 miles per hour with a sound approximating BRAAP, BRAAP. (A noise hard to replicate on paper). One of the most interesting stages in the development of the snowmobile was the creation of the Ski Doo by Joseph Armour Bombardier, an appropriate name for the creator of a vehicle that shot over trails. The idea behind the Ski Doo emanated from a priest living in an isolated rural community. He wanted a vehicle that would help him serve his parishioners as he led his flock from earth to heaven!
Whatever the history, today over $25 billion is spent in the United States and Canada for snowmobiling––from clothes to Yamahas. After a fresh snowfall, I often awaken to the sound of a snowmobile racing along Brant Lake, with noise and pollution as byproducts. Bundled in a shiny orange one piece insulated suit, black boots, a yellow helmet, thick gloves, a snowmobiler huddles behind a transparent plastic windshield, narrowly missing an ice fishing hut and vigilantly watching for a deer or even a moose (the latter a rarity). Occasionally a snowmobile breaks through the ice at a point where the frozen surface has expanded and opened.
When I venture on to the fresh snow, I notice only a single snowmobile track running the length of the lake from Crooks Island, where once Teddy Roosevelt went fishing, past Point O’ Pines camp. The snowmobile progresses in a straight line to a clearly defined destination. However, this clear path will not endure. Soon a fleet of snowmobiles will enter the lake from off Palisades Road. Yamahas, Polaris, Arctic Cats. They will not follow the original direct line but instead zig and zag, cross over one another’s tracks and soon Brant Lake will become a maze extending in every direction.
Ah well! That’s life! We may hope to travel in a straight line leading towards carefully planned goals but, soon, our landscape becomes a maze of twists and turns.
Who can be sure that where we begin is where we will end!