The Roundup -

It All Started with a Toboggan


February 13, 2019 | View PDF

Last winter, I dreamed about sledding down our steep driveway (Lois Lane), and continuing down Cornucopia Road with its horseshoe curve followed by a precipitous straightaway. This combination of roadways promised a lot of entertainment for someone riding on a gliding device. So, at the end of the winter season last year, I bought a toboggan. Naturally all the snow had disappeared before its arrival, so I stored it in our shed and waited for the following three seasons to come and go before I could try it out.

Snow arrived this year in time for Christmas, coinciding with the arrival of our summer neighbors who try to spend a week here during the winter holiday season. Jim and Teri, our dear neighbors, arrived a day or two after Christmas. I announced that I intended to try out the toboggan the following day, and I invited them to join me in my adventure. I saw the sparkle in Teri’s eyes and the ‘yes’ was out of her mouth before I had completed the question. These neighbors, incidentally, voiced strenuous objections last year when I mentioned that I planned to purchase some sort of sled and take advantage of two perfectly usable slopes. They equated a sled with broken bones and a mangled little old lady lying face down in a snowbank.

I had the toboggan and they had a plastic sled and two flat sledding contraptions in their shop that they decided to add to the mix.

We only had an hour or two that first day to test our various means of sliding down the hills, so we started with the toboggan. It did not slide. Even with Teri pushing me, that cursed expensive piece of wood would not glide at all. In disgust, we tossed it to the side of the driveway and turned our attention to our other means of transportation.

Lois Lane features a curve then a sharp straightaway down to Cornucopia Road. About 50 feet from the intersection, Lois Lane runs nearly parallel with Cornucopia, so in order to barrel down Lois Lane and continue on down Cornucopia without stopping to turn the sled, a person needs to make a nearly 180 degree turn at the junction of the two roads.

Teri took off down Lois Lane on the plastic sled. She came roaring down the driveway, stuck out her leg and made that 180 degree turn like a true pro, and continued sailing down Cornucopia. I immediately figured we would become the next gold medal Olympic bobsled champions. With visions of fleeting fame and a gold medal around my neck, I immediately crashed into a snowbank. So much for Olympic fame.

After a few practice runs we got the hang of it. My husband ferried us back up the hill after each run as he announced he wanted no part of sitting on a cheap piece of plastic rocketing down a treacherous road.

We managed to wreck the plastic sled in our enthusiasm, but we certainly had a good time doing so. But no worries, the neighbors had planned a trip to Bozeman the following day and they promised to purchase a few more cheap sleds so we could continue our excursions down the hills.

True to their word, they returned the following day with three shiny new plastic coasters. I was thrilled, promptly claimed the purple sled as my own, and away we went. At one point, Jim challenged me to a race down the hill. I immediately accepted his challenge as I knew my purple flyer could beat his wimpy red glider any day.

I would have won, except Jim, whom I love dearly and would never accuse of cheating, cheats. We started down the slope, and as my trusty conveyance gained speed and edged past Jim, he reached out and shoved my sled. Outraged, I grabbed his vehicle and we seesawed back and forth trying to gain the advantage. I finally lost my grip and sailed grandly into the snow berm on the side of the road.

For the rest of the day, I steered clear of him and his sled. There’s no trusting some people, even valued neighbors that we cherish.

Fate got him, however, as he cracked his sled into three separate pieces going over a rough patch of snow.

On our third and last sledding day, we decided to start our playing in the snow around one, sled for a few hours, then get together for a meal. My husband decided the rest of us had too much fun so he would join us in the sledding activities. Jim, with a smirk on his face, handed me my purple sled. I leaped on the glider and headed down the hill, figuring he had mayhem on his mind. I reached the bottom of Cornucopia, and watched as Jim came speeding in beside me. He inquired about my ride, I told him it was fine and then I discovered that he had carefully taped a whole string of small rocks and pebbles to the bottom of my sled. Hah, the joke was on him as he used cellophane tape which not only smoothed out the edges of the rocks but also allowed the plastic contraption to speed along with no difficulties. Never let this guy race with you if he is on an opposing team. I also suspect this action would likely disqualify us from our gold medal Olympic run.

Maybe every so often there is actually justice in the world. Jim, Teri, and I started down Lois Lane for one of our last runs of the day. I let Jim and Teri have a head start, as previous actions on Jim’s part for some odd reason made me distrust his motives. The two were about halfway down Lois Lane when I shoved off to follow them.

Jim made a wide turn at the intersection so he lost speed and ended up near the far side of the road. I, on the other hand, experienced my personal best effort in completing the sharpest, absolutely astonishing best ever 180 degree turn. This kept up my speed and landed me beside Jim before he even knew I was there. I hurtled past him, reached out and stiff armed the front of his sled as I whizzed past him. His little beauty of a sled turned sharply and plowed right into a snowbank, taking Jim with it.

Jim said he heard me laughing the entire way down the hill.

Our good friends and neighbors have returned to Nevada. We look forward to sledding again with them next winter. Friends here found me two more plastic sleds, my husband ordered a flexible flyer sled, I intend to find some sort of ski wax that might encourage the toboggan to slide, and we will have plenty of good times to come. And it all started with a toboggan that people discouraged me from purchasing.


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