I’ll be completely honest with you. Sometimes, it gets hard to think up new ideas to write about each week. This time of year is even more challenging because many of the hunting seasons have lapsed and the spring endeavors are far from happening. So what are we left with, when thinking about the outdoors?
My new favorite outdoor activity is inspired by the just-ended Winter Olympics. It is, of course, bobsledding. Ever since I was a child, the bobsled has been my favorite event. Why? Because the course those sleds run on are amazing. They are death defying. They are fast and the sound of the sleds running 80-mph down them create a roar that can only be made by finely tuned steel cutting across ice.
My version of the bobsled is more fun though because it involves your car. Who needs a fancy sled crafted by BMW? Many of you know where I live and will truly appreciate this because you have taken summer runs down my soon-to-be-named course. For those of you who don’t know where I reside, I will try to describe it.
I live amongst the strip mines. My house is nearly ¼ mile from the road through hills, little valleys and around corners. My driveway is narrow with giant cottonwood trees lining either side. The perils of actually traversing my drive can be many in good weather. This winter has turned my driveway into something that is not for the faint hearted.
It is now a solid mass of ice from the street clear to my front door. The tires in the past snow have forged tracks, leaving the center still high with the white stuff. That nice little rain, excuse me, deluge, we had the other week turned that snow into a crusty, solid bobsled course.
I am able to hit the accelerator and carefully watch the speedometer needle creep somewhere between 0 and 5 mph. Just like the bobsled, right? Once I leave my garage, the wheels of my SUV lock into the ruts, and I make adjustments with my steering wheel, fruitless attempts at controlling fate. I very much feel like a little kid in those carnival rides at the Fireman’s Festival, thinking that my driving is actually doing some good. It’s not.
Just as you courageously attack it and make it to the top, you finally realize that you were holding your breath. There is only a split second though before you tense up and realize it is time to go down the other side of the beast. Not bad, right? There is a turn to the left right at the bottom. Don’t panic though, worst-case scenario, you don’t make the turn and you get a new hood ornament in the form of a two-man ladder stand stuck to your grill. Win-win.
It is, at this point that you think those white knuckles on your hands would really come in handy at night to light up the interior. As you maintain your painfully, slow, pace, you have the slightest thought that you might actually make it out alive. Then comes your next life-altering decision. How do I get onto the actual road?
You see, you have to time it just right. The last 50 feet elevate uphill just ever-so-slightly. If you go too slowly your wheels will just spin helplessly as your entire vehicle slides backwards and into another tree. If you use too much speed you might rip up the ice too quickly and shoot into oncoming traffic, which is also problematic.
If you’re in the area, and you feel brave, give my driveway a shot. It might be the closest thing you get to running the course at Sochi.
Did I mention my oldest just got his permit?