2010 – a new year, a new decade. I vowed to kick it off in a new manner because I love to do, well … new stuff! So this year, my sweetheart, Pete, and I accepted an invitation to join his siblings and their families in Northern Wisconsin for the New Year’s weekend. Since my first inclination when packing a bag is to grab a bathing suit and head somewhere warm, this would be different. And was it! When we landed in Minneapolis/St. Paul, the temp was 3 degrees and diving. Bundled in layers, we headed north to a lovely cabin on Yellow Lake. Greeted by hugs and kisses from the whole family, we were off to a great start. Here’s a pic of Pete and his sisters, Jody, Amy, Kathy and Tracy.
The next day, the temp was no higher – single digits but sunny. “Perfect for ice fishing!” the hardy Northerners said. Ice fishing? Are you kidding me? They don’t sell fish in the grocery store here? lright, alright, I’ll give it a go. Always slightly concerned about what I’ll wear, I learned fashion takes on a whole new meaning when it comes to ice fishing. Function is way more important than style. Because if you’re not warm, it’s not fun. As you can see from the bundled crew (Tracy, Gary, Amy and Steve) – warmth is everything. Once garbed appropriately, it’s fun to get out on the ice, stand around, drink beer (which I don’t do but I am good at watching others do that) and cut holes in the ice with an auger.
In case you wondered what happens once you get the auger through the ice, I can tell you. The auger quickly pulls you down to the open water below! I think that’s why the handle of the auger of wider than the hole. Thank heavens for that. Of course, once the hole is cut, you can catch fish! Here’s Cory with a whopper!
It’s silly, I’m a middle-aged woman (geesh, did I just write ‘middle-aged?) and still excited about walking and DRIVING on a frozen lake. Ok, we didn’t drive our rental car on the lake but I did have my first snow mobile ride. What a blast! We did more of the same the next day but this time Pete took me for a ride on the snow mobile on one of Wisconsin’s lovely trails (they are meticuliously groomed). It was very romantic and made us feel like we were 16 again – well kinda – we had layers of clothes on and helmets that hinder any kind of communication so there’s no murmuring of sweet nothings to each other.
But still, it’s romantic. I think Pete felt the same way (the being 16 again part) because he peeled off the trail onto a virgin pond and sped across the white surface topping out at 75 mph. Once I saw that uncharted territory I knew he wouldn’t be able to resist. And then when he spun around to go back to the trail, I saw there were two options – one a smooth, roundabout path to the trail and another – a steep short climb up to the trail. I knew we were headed for the steep climb so I held on then let go at just the right time when he rolled the snow mobile. Neither one of us hurt, a couple of rolled eyes and a heavily-gloved jab to his abdomen, we righted the snow mobile. And then engine cut off. He confessed that “he never really watched how his brother-in-law Gary Johnson started the thing. Oh cripe. It’s 20 below and we’re 8 miles from the house. So we gave it the old college try and after 7 or 8 attempts it started to purr. Off we sped. And sped. And sped. Until, a nice gentleman on a black snowmobile with blue and red blinking lights pulled up alongside us. I spotted the star on his jacket and could read ‘Sheriff’ even while moving 50 miles an hour. Since Pete’s helmet limited his visibility, he just waved at him. And then waved again. Finally, (after what seemed like an eternity) he slowed down and stopped.
Well, turns out you need a current registration sticker posted on the snow mobile. We didn’t know anything about the sticker, the registration, the rule. We gasped, “We’re from Texas.” Like that would give us a pass or something. But the sheriff was persistent. Asked Pete for identification (which he had, thank heavens) and started to write a ticket. Midstream, the sheriff paused and said, “Maybe it’s in a compartment.” We searched every nook and cranny. Found a baggie with LOTS of registrations. The sheriff handed each one back, “No not 2006, no not 2007, no not 2008.”
Ugh! Had Gary changed his ways – legal for years then just disregarded all requirements? How much are those things anyway? Can we buy one right now from you, Mr Sheriff? Geesh, could you hurry up? It’s freezing out here! And then finally, a piece of paper printed on Dec. 30, 2009 and good for 14 days until the stickers are mailed! It was our get-out-of-jail- free card! Yippee! We were free to go. We got a harsh warning about looking behind us (really, I don’t know how you do that in all those clothes and a 10 lb. helmet while motoring along at 50 mph.), posting the registration sticker and obeying all traffic laws. We took him seriously though, after all, he’s just doing his job and obviously loving it. He gets paid to ride the trails! Those Wisconsinites – hardy people of good stock! There are the kind of people you want with you in a fox hole.