But I'm back now, baby!
After a ....um...relaxing vacation spent in the White Mountains of New Hampshire the Blogger Block was broken, I now have plenty to say.
It all started when we decided to go away for February break. Now for those of you not familiar with the concept of February break, this is a week off from school a mere six weeks after returning from Winter Break and just six weeks to go til April Break. It is a time designed to tax even the most careful-vacation-day-saving working parent. It is a time created to ensure that kids never do really get back into the swing of school. It is a break for the sole purpose of letting people ski.
For the record I had never been on a snowmobile before. I had only once been on a motorcycle. I am what you would call a complete novice. So with the brave naivete of someone sure that nothing bad can happen to you on a commercial snowmobile tour, I signed up, suited up, and hopped on. I figured it couldn't be too hard because after all the only instruction I received prior to being turned loose with this expensive toy was "throttle on the right, brake on the left, don't push them both at the same time or you'll stall the engine."
Well heck, even I can keep that straight.
So off we went: guide in the lead followed by my husband and daughter on a double sled, followed by me, with 4 others trailing behind. The first problem occurred about 1 minute into our adventure. We had to cross the road. It would have been helpful for someone to mention that snowmobiles don't really have good steering when they're not on snow. In fact if your snowmobile isn't already pointed in the direction you want to go, there's little you're going to be able to do to rectify that situation once you're on the road. Yep, that would have been real helpful information. Lacking that information, I was more concerned about the oncoming traffic than I was about lining up my 'mobile with the trail on the other side. So, once again with the bravado that only true ignorance can create, I gave it some gas and shot out onto the road where I proceeded to slide precariously sideways as I desperately tried to steer my snowmobile toward the path. No dice. I ended up ramming the 3 feet of dirty snow plowed up on the side of the road. My snowmobile slid back down into the road. The traffic is coming closer. I give it some gas. I try again. Same result. The traffic is right on me now. I am stuck. I am terrified. I am embarrassed. A passing motorist yells "give it some gas!" So I do. I squeeze that throttle as hard as I can and I fly and I do mean FLY over the embankment. I am completely out of control, I am shrieking in terror, and I am leaning heavily to the left. I wildly overcorrect, slam the snowmobile down on the right side, overshoot the path, and end up on the wrong side of the path, panting, crying, and still terrified.
That's when I began to get a bad feeling about this adventure.
Luckily the guide, followed by my husband, were completely disinterested in my health and safety and had already moved on. This was the pattern for the entire 2 HOUR tour. I try to keep up with the others so I don't get lost in the woods and get eaten by bears. The others go faster than I feel comfortable going so I am out of control through every turn, bump, and over every bridge. I am hanging on to the handle bars for dear life as I see the sheer drop off the mountain on my right side. I am crying as I near-miss every tree in every turn. We finally stop in a clearing. The woman on the snowmobile behind me loudly complains about me to my husband and shoots me nasty looks as she passes me. My hands are cramping from squeezing the throttle. My nose is running inside my helmet. I have fogged up the inside of my helmet with my hyperventilating. I am terrified to keep going and terrified to stop.
When the tour was finally over I was half-deaf from the roar of the engine, half blind from my teary-stuck-together-eyelashes, half grateful to be alive, miserable, and shaking. I hadn't seen nor appreciated one speck of the natural beauty of the mountain. I felt badly for disturbing any hibernating animals, and I was all-out-of-proportion mad at my husband for not sharing any of my bad feelings.
Ahhh, vacation. A perfect time to relax.