“If you aren’t in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?”
– T.S. Eliot
Last night (yes, on a school night!) I took my babygirl (13) and big boy (6) on a mini-adventure.
We had spent several hours digging our neighbors and selves out of the snowy armageddon that was Blizzard 2011. We also took the time to build a tunnel in a deep pile of blizzard. Because, we had to. We were prepared to park on the couch and sip some cocoa, compare aches and pains, but, what fun would that be? Instead, I warmed ‘the Jeep’, got a sleddin’ tube and started blowing it up. Anticipation was too much for my six year old. He isn’t big on the cold and the shoveling had pretty much did him in. But, seeing the excitement build in my daughter and I, he was in.
We had bought ‘the Jeep’ to pull behind our 30′ RV. This isn’t a Jeep commercial, but drive one sometime and you may be writing your own story! Never having been 4-Wheeling, I wasn’t sure if I was missing out on something or not. Trying it with no experience is like riding a bike again for the first time. Who says kids get to have all the fun?
Back to last night. Okay, so we had this blizzard come through and dump 20″, or so, of the pretty white stuff. We hopped in ‘the Jeep’ and looked for a parking lot paved with powder. I remembered a spot close to home and was hopeful that ‘the plow’ hadn’t yet arrived. It hadn’t. The parking lot was huge without concrete parking blocks (more on that later).
The innertube we had wasn’t taking kindly to the windchill factor. I tried using an air mattress blower with some success. When it was good enough, I tied a rope to it and connected the other end of the rope to the bike rack. Now, it was ready to be ridden. As I finished up a dark blue Tahoe entered the parking lot. I wasn’t sure if they were planning on parking there but that would have killed that spot for us. It continued toward us and stopped. The window came down. I noticed quickly there were police officers inside. The one driving looked and saw what we were about to do and said with a glint in his eye, “Nice.” And, as an afterthought remembering duty, “Be careful”. I was even more stoked now because we had been officially commissioned.
My son was bundled to the extent that he had the ‘penguin walk’ down. He had his burglar mask on and was ready to ride. My daughter always up for adventure (when I prod her enough) had three pairs of gloves on. Not sure, but that may have been breaking a snow law. Needless to say, they were both ready to ride. After they got situated on the tube, I slowly pulled ‘the Jeep’ forward, and, it was on. I would speed up on the staightaways we were making, slow into the turns and then speed out the turns. I envisioned that this tube about 12′ to my rear was chasing me. It was a blast watching the tube swing wide on turns.
When little dude and dudette had enough they would shout. At this point I would gently slow down until stopped, put in neutral, put emergency brake on, jump out, run back and yank little dude off of tube, shake some snow off and put him in ‘the Jeep’ to warm. Then, we would play the same game again and again. I don’t know who had more fun. Maybe I did, because I got to stay warm the whole time. It was sweet to see (save, for the police suv) our lone patterns in the lot. I gather that it will be hard to see a snow fall without having this sweet memory play back.
A few words of caution.
- It is best to have an extra person to keep watch. My wife had come with during the blizzard the night before (she pulled me on a snowboard!). She wasn’t up for it two nights in a row.
- ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY check the lot first for anything that may be sticking up. Even if you are familiar with the lot, check first.
- Give rope plenty of length so it will not be too close to pulling vehicle in case of a quick stop.
- It was freaking cold when we went (10 degrees or so). Bundle them chilluns good.
- Drive slowly. Remember, you are trying to make good memories. I kept it steady at 10 mph.
- Finally, don’t pee your pants from laughing so hard. It freezes.
Get out there and live it, and live it loud!
Remember, you are the only you, you have!