My friend Benny had a birthday recently, to mark the occasion a small group of us went to his favorite sled hill. That’s a place where you go to ride a snowmobile to anyone not educated in redneckeese. Well, being the fifth-wheel single friend, I was fated to ride behind Benny’s sled on a large black inertube. A resounding WOW is all I have to say about that most entertaining experience. From the start I was smashed, mangled, and thrown every-which-way all in the name of fun. By the end of the day I was bruised and tired but pleased. 
    The ride up to our jump off point at Peterson meadow was on a clear warm day that should have been on a post card. We pulled Benny’s GMC diesel pickup and the trailer with our snowmobiles into the trailhead a little before noon, and there was no one else but us. To start off this little adventure our friend Matt decided to ride his sled around the parking area in nothing but his boxer-drawers, (yes that’s underwear) and Benny decided to film it. With that bit of silliness behind us we could get down to some crazy shit meaning me riding an inertube tied to the back of a snowmobile going anywhere between ten and seventy miles an hour, yaaaaaaay. 
    After decking my self out in fleece-lined jeans, my jean Carhart, a set of goggles, and a cloth facemask I tied the tube to the sled and prepared for take off lying on my stomach. Starting out I saw one of the many things that would eventually cause me pain, the spots in the beginning of the trail without snow. As we made our way to onto the trail Benny took his machine over a high burm at low speed making me face plant onto the trail. As we picked up speed I became painfully aware of the washboards in the trail as they pounded my giggle-stick through the hole in the center of the tube. I learned very quickly that if while laying on my stomach I tried to lift my southern soldiers out of harms way I would put my self in a position to smash my face off of the solid humps in the trail.
    A few miles later Benny stopped on the edge of a densely wooded area and told me to grab the rope and pull in close to the sled. I had not thought of that, while I was being pulled around at the whim of slightly sane Benny. In the hopes that Benny had done this before I grabbed the rope in my thickly gloved right hand and pulled in close. That minor attempt at making an insanely dangerous activity safe taught me the joys of extreme inner-tubing. I discovered that by shortening the lead between the sled and my tube and manipulating the rope with both hands I had a rudimentary steering system. The wooded area opened onto a snow-covered meadow that sloped upward to a small cabin built for area snowmobilers.
    After spending a few hours at the cabin enjoying Benny’s "birthday festivities" and warming up by the fire in the wood stove we loaded up the sleds and took off. With memory of the Willie whacking ride up still fresh in my mind I decided to lay on my back and pull in about four feet from the back of Benny’s sled. I used my newly discovered steering system to its funnest advantage spinning my self around and swinging from side to side wildly. Whenever I started to pass the sled I would play out some rope and be sent flying back behind the sled to do it again, it was a blast. I was thoroughly enjoying my self when the bare spots at the start of the trail reminded my why what I was doing was dangerous. I steered out of the way of the first one but went into the second one headfirst. Knowing that as soon as the tube hit the dirt it would stop and I wouldn’t, I let go of the rope and assumed superman position one arm forward both legs strait back. I flew from the tube and skipped across the trail on my head before coming to rest face down a few yards away. Feeling the sudden loss of weight behind his sled, Benny stopped and came over to see if I was alright. After getting on my feet and assuring Benny of my continuing health I hopped back on the tube and rode down the trail to the truck.
    All in all it was a most enjoyable foray into the forests of western Montana. Even if I couldn’t move the next day I look forward to the next time we go sledin’. I don’t trust my self to drive one of those crazy machines, but I have no problem flyin’ around behind one going fast. To close it all off I will leave you with this one piece of wisdom: when you go extreme tubing clear your schedule for the next day because you will not be able to move.

John_Drydin   John_Drydin wrote
on 5/11/2010 9:19:43 PM
thank you

Elton4562   Elton4562 wrote
on 5/11/2010 10:56:44 AM
Good morning, John: I enjoyed your descriptive piece very much. You made me feel I was "there." We have almost no snow here in North Alabama, so I knew nothing of such an activity. The best people around here can do is ride "four-wheelers" through the woods. That's scary enough--a number of youngsters are killed or ruined for life by it each year! To me, some risks aren't worth taking, but others view it differently. You showed us how exciting it can be. Elton

writing John_Drydin
"History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it" ~Winston Churchhill~
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a description of my trip behind a snow mobile