You’ve heard the jokes about how many men it takes to change a light bulb, and how many elephants can you fit in the glove box of a VW (WHY it is a VW I don’t know; would a station wagon work better???). Well, here is a new one for ya; how many grown men can fit inside Trail Boss Bob’s little Nissan truck? It does have one of those modest bench seats…you know the kind. You might be able to stick a 5 year old kid and a 25 pound bag of sunflower seed on that seat, or you might get your fishing gear, your lunch box and a 12 pack on that seat. But ya don’t get 4 grown men IN Bob’s truck…even for a short ride.
Ya see, yesterday, two TASA groomers and 4 groomer operators were going to try to make it ALL the way to the Falls parking lot. Groomer Dan had a trainee with him and so did Groomer Stan. If you read the trail report yesterday, you read that prayers were being said and fingers were being crossed in hopes that NO ONE got stuck in that swamp on the way to the Falls. Snowmobilers have been coming through that area so that does help pack it down but they weigh a LOT less than a heavy piece of equipment. TASA DID get stuck in that swamp one time and it cost about $7000 and 4 or 5 days worth of time to “get ‘er out”!
Groomer Dan and Trainee Jeff was bringing up the rear. Jeff was driving the groomer. All of a sudden there was a BIG BANG! Of course the question that popped out of their mouths was “What in the HELL was THAT??!!” Jeff thought he’d hit a big limb and Dan told him that he had been watching for limbs so that wasn’t it. Dan looked out the window and saw that one of the BIG tires on the tractor had BA-LOWN!! Dan limped the groomer to an area close to Skyline where they could at least get out of the way and where it would be easier to work on getting that tire changed. They radio’ed Bob (and let Stan and the other trainee know what was going on). Pretty soon Bob and Mechanic Buzz arrived to rescue Dan and Jeff. All 4 tried to fit in Bob’s little Nissan…and it worked for about 2 miles. Jeff is a big guy so he couldn’t set in the back on the bench seat so that left Buzz and Dan trying to fit in back there. Since Dan has had both knees replaced, he is very limited on how far he can bend his knees….I’m surprised he was even able to get BACK there. Dan finally told Bob he was gonna have to stop and let Dan out so he could ride in the back of the truck in the pick up bed! Not only was he totally like a sardine with rigormortis he was sweating profusely.
Dan had the opportunity to cool off by riding about 12 miles in the back of Bob’s truck. I’m surprised that a hoist wasn’t required to help get him OUT of that position once they arrived back in town. And I’m thankful that Law Dog wasn’t out patrolling, although I feel knowing Law Dog (and other LEO’s from our area) if they had stopped Bob and the situation had been explained, everyone would have had a laugh over it and possibly Dan could have gotten a warm ride back to the shop.
With all of that said, Bob and Dan both took this flat tire as an OMEN…good thing that TASA did NOT try to groom to the Falls. Can you imagine if this would have happened in that swamp??!!! Groomer Stan and his trainee did only go as far as CR 500. Mechanic Buzz made a mad dash to Escanaba (ya really can’t make mad dashes to Escanaba…it is too far away) to get a tire. Buzz returned about 5:30 last night, picked up Dan and Jeff at the TASA barn and they went up to change the tire on the groomer. Groomer Dan and Trainee Jeff made the return trip on the trail without further incident. And as far as I know Trainee Jeff will be going out on his own tonight! I will no longer be calling him Trainee Jeff!
THE PHOTO OF THE 3 MEN IN FRONT OF THE GROOMERS; TRAINEE DOUG, GROOMER STAN AND TRAINEE JEFF. PHOTOS TAKEN BY GROOMER DAN.