Adventures in hands on learning.

 Wednesday’s  Great Adventure.

It was a fun time on a snowmobile today, I took out two guys in their 60s that have never been on a snowmobile. We are planning a trip into the high country, and this was a trial, and an opportunity to learn  what you do and don’t do.

One friend asked me about buying a snowmobile.  I told him I  thought  there was a good case for lightweight machines you can turn around yourself when they’re stuck, told him there were sleds that seem to be designed for groomed trails only.. big and heavy.  Told him about people stripping most of their clothes off in efforts to turn around or dig out big heavy machines,  that we needed a different kind of machine for the back country.

My friend had another friend who is an avid snowmobiler, an expert!  And guess what?  He had the perfect snowmobile for the job, just what  he needed!

So we go to unload this huge beast he bought, an old early 1990s Arctic Cat, I grabbed the front bumper, and thought I’d lift the sled, and pull the front end over slightly. Wrong!

Finally, we’re all on our machines and ready to depart.  I said we’ll ride through  the Ranches, and out the back gate.  I take off and after  700 feet or so, I realize they’re not  following! Yes, it was a little communications problem,  they decided I must have told them to ride thru the back gate of the horse coral where we unloaded.   That gate lead to a tight box  bermed high with snow, and their first lesson on what it’s like to turn around a snowmobile that must have been made of cast Iron.  I watched from the  comfort of my far lighter weight 500CC air-cooled. It seemed like a full ten minutes, and I thought it was  not the best idea to fill their snowmobile suits with sweat right off the bat, but the day wasn’t all that cold, so they’d survive it.

My machine hadn’t been run in a long while, and I ran it hard before it decided to idle correctly, and it’s a good thing I did, because there were times it took all three of us to lift the front end of that big heavy cat out of trouble.

There’s a lesson here.. It’s all too typical that people buy the wrong thing the first time, I can’t tell you how many people say..  ”Had I known, I would have bought far different.”  This goes for wind machines, solar PV, and a lot of other things.

We still managed to have a good day, and the snow was near perfect for beginners,  in most places we traveled, you could almost walk on top of the snow!  We made it into the higher country, but unfortunately, we were clouded in, and didn’t have the scenic views of the valley  below.

As I sit here writing, I remember the look on my friend’s face  as I laid out the case for selecting a far different machine for his needs, he had told me it was all about getting into the back country where his cabin is.  Yes.. it did come up in conversation that he had another friend who was an expert on snowmobiles, and I pretty much knew that was my cue to back off with the advice.

We all want to believe we have the ear of an expert.  I think it’s best we learn early that a person who has something for sale may pitch his own goods regardless of your needs.  I see it all the time, and watching these conversations when you can is great learning.

It’s why I’ve posted so much about Amonix, and watched all their YouTube video clips. How they use their Mantra message, “we are  leaders in efficiency”, and simply no one seems  thoughtful enough to ask the question, just what does panel efficiency provide over the standard fixed panel PV system? The answer is likely added cost, ten times the ongoing maintenance and complete dependency on a company that may be going out of business.

Someone got up with a mighty sore back this AM.. he likely dozed off last night with a new understanding of snowmobiles, and guess what? It was hands on learning that gave him his first appreciation of the snow and machine design.…… and as I always say, that’s where the real  learning starts. Fact is that’s when you can start asking relevant questions.

Certainly, I am no snowmobile expert, and I never will be,  but.. I do understand the merits of cast iron, where it’s helpful and where it’s not.  And just one more mention.. the smartest people I know normally say.. “we’ll leave that expert title for someone else to tout, we’re too busy learning  to know it all”.  I heard that from Bill Rogers a few years back, and another favorite saying of his.. “a man needs to understand his limitations.”

And.. as for my friends I write about here.. neither have access to the internet, so they won’t likely find today’s post 🙂

Perhaps I’ll write about my first back country experience on a snowmobile.. it was only good fortune I lived to tell the story, that’s hands on learning you’re not about to forget!




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