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Let’s get the day rolling with a Screencaps reader’s winter adventure with his buddies

I’ve been holding onto Vince R.’s email since Friday because it was a busy weekend with the Super Bowl going on. I didn’t want it to get lost in the mix because it’s about snowmobiling and it’s a topic that’s been on my mind the last few years. I want to get into the snowmobiling game, but not as an owner.

After reading Vince’s email, I’m 100% certain I’ll be a renter for life. That said, what an adventure from Vince. Just think back to some of the great stories you tell around the campfire with your buddies. Someone always has a story about overcoming adversity, ‘Doing Hard Things,’ that kills while slamming back a few drinks with the fellas.

So it’s Vince’s time to have the floor on this quiet post-Super Bowl Tuesday morning.

Vince R. in Pittsburgh writes:

I am avid daily reader of Screencaps and absolutely love the variety of content.  I look forward to it to see what other “regular guys” are doing.  You’re the Rodney Dangerfield (in Easy Money) of sports journalism appealing to all of us “regular guys”.

I want to tell you of an adventure my friends and I had last week.  6 of us went to upstate NY for a snowmobiling trip.  We are fairly new to the sport having only gotten into it within the past 5 years with the exception of one guy in our group.  He kind of turned us on to this.  We are all 50-ish former rugby players looking for our next adrenaline-rush fixes.

It’s a great way to enjoy winter although it requires a lot of coordination, logistics planning and money.  You can go on the cheap but it is not nearly as fun.  In places where snowmobiling is big, it really is a lifestyle and upstate NY is definitely one of those places.  We saw whole families on the trails and restaurants and bars in the small towns regularly have multiple snowmobiles parked outside of them.  25-30 minutes through the woods on trails and frozen lakes and you come up on a town and stop in for a beer or a sandwich.  Speed, exercise, beer, and food. What could be better?

This is our second trip together for this group and from our experiences, we really tried to be prepared.  We had extra drive belts, tow straps, ratchet straps, spark plugs, tools, propane heaters, shovels, and other items.  We even brought an extra sled in case one breaks down which is bound to happen on such a trip. 

So we roll up on a Wednesday evening and right before the big storm rolls in.  The Thursday ride starts out with a fine rain mist but we are soon rewarded when it turns to snow and it snows for the next two days straight.  Day one riding was great except when one sled just quits working.  We are 50 miles from home base in the middle of the woods when this happens.  So we end up towing the dead sled those 50 miles, at night, in a raging snowstorm, through mostly wooded trails.  Not ideal.

Day 2 starts off wonderful with about a foot of new snow.  We hit the trails early to enjoy the fresh snow especially happy that we brought the extra sled.  20 minutes in, the sled I am riding breaks a shock.  It’s rideable but only enough to return to base camp.  So me and the guy whose sled broke the night before loading them into the trailer to find a Polaris shop hoping to find parts or get one fixed. 

The rest of the crew continued riding and we headed to a town about 30 miles away.  As we are driving we start hearing a noise.  We pull over and sure enough, the trailer has blown a tire and we are riding on the rim.  Even worse, we can’t get the spare off as we can’t get a wrench on the bolts because the bolt is too long and we don’t have a deep enough socket. 

So we drive until we find a car repair shop.  We pull in and the guy working is nice enough to give us some tools.  Keep in mind, it is 12 degrees out.  We remove the spare tire and find out that it is dry rotted and completely useless. 

So now we have to find some trailer tires.  We find out we have to drive another 25 miles to another town.  Fortunately, the guy lets us leave the trailer in his parking lot.  We drive to the store and the tires they have do not fit the trailer.  Of course!  But the clerk directs us to another store.  Here we find tires that fit the hub but are about 2 inches smaller in diameter.  Figuring we’ve been on enough of a goose chase, we buy the tires and proceed back to the shop.  The shop owner is again gracious enough to let us use his jack and air-powered impact gun so we change both tires in about 10 minutes keeping the old larger tire as a spare. 

But we still haven’t accomplished our primary mission which was to see if we can get the two sleds fixed.  We have burned about 3 hours fixing the trailer so we travel back 25 miles to visit the Polaris dealer.  Of course, they have no parts and they are booked 2 weeks out  in the service department.  But they refer us to another shop.  We hit that shop and they have no parts but they try to check multiple places online trying to find parts, all to no avail.  They then refer us to even another shop and we try there but strike out again.  Finally, we make our way back to home base having blown the whole day driving and lamenting the fact that one guy will have to sit out riding tomorrow as we now only have 5 operating snowmobiles for 6 guys.

When we get back to home base, the rest of the crew is there and we find out that the owner of the place we are staying knows a guy that can fix snowmobiles.  The plan is to take the shocks off the dead sled and put them on the one with the broken shock.  We take the sleds to this guy’s shop and he says he will be there first thing in the morning to work on them.  So there is happiness among the guys.

Day 3 starts out with brilliant sun and good news from our repair guy.  This will be a quick job and he changes out the shocks and we have another operating snowmobile.  We are thrilled that we are able to have all 6 guys riding and we head out with gusto.  The trails are in great shape as they are groomed, wide open and we are ripping through them.  Even though it is 2 degrees (Fahrenheit) out we feel nothing as we are wrestling these 500lb machines going anywhere from 35-60 mph.  We have lunch and continue on and then disaster strikes.  ANOTHER sled breaks and this time it is the shock and the control arm.  It is inoperable. 

So we drag the sled to the nearest road and find out we are close to a lodge with a restaurant and bar.  So we leave our buddy at the lodge and we ride 35 miles back to home base.  We grab the trailer and head back out to the lodge.  There we find our buddy and he is the hit of the bar.  He has befriended 3 people, all of whom have offered to drive him wherever he wants to go.  One guy is especially friendly and keeps calling our friend Billy, even though he is named Joe.  With such a jovial group, we stay and have a few beers and we then leave with all of our new friends giving us a nice sendoff.

Day 4, our final day, starts off with 2 of our crew heading home as our one friend wanted to visit his daughter in college in Rochester, NY.  They take the two dead sleds in the trailer with the two new wheels on it.  The rest of us head out and again for what we think is a half-day of riding and it is magnificent.  The sun is out, trails are groomed and wide, allowing for maximum speed and confidence.  Everything is great but you know what is coming next. 

ANOTHER sled just stops running.  We get it running again and ride it but it keeps cutting out.  So we tow it to a parking area about 5 miles away and two of our buddies tandem ride 30 miles back to home base on a sled designed for one rider.  Again, not ideal.

So we shower, pack our stuff, load the 4 sleds into the other trailer and proceed to retrieve the dead sled.  We begin our journey back to Pittsburgh.  We call our other two buddies and the bad juju just continues.  They blew out one of the new tires and had to put on the old spare which was 2 inches larger.  They ended up having to drive the whole way home at 65 mph max with two different sized tires. 

I apologize for the long email but it was one thing after another and I figured you’d appreciate it.  7 sleds were brought up and only 4 brought back in working condition with one being repaired on the trip.  But you know what?  This was probably one of our most memorable trips.  So many stories and we are already laughing about it.  We came up with a new nickname for one of our buddies and the banter the whole trip was hilarious.  Even with all the bad luck, I don’t know if we have ever laughed more.  And to top it all off, was the people that we met.  All regular, hard-working people that bent over backwards to try to help us.  Hopefully they are reading Screencaps along with me and if you happen to mention this one of these days, they can know how thankful we are to have met them. 

Keep up the good work!

• Rams fan Michael J. writes:

I know you use the term recency bias when describing Collinsworth. I prefer to use the term “Ball-Washer”. As that’s all he does.  Somebody makes a good play and five seconds later Collinsworth is gushing over the guy likes he’s the greatest. Like he’s hoping the player will hear him.  It’s pathetic and happens ten times a game at least.  And if Brady is involved……my goodness. So I recommend using this term instead going forward. 

• Yes, I heard from resident football referee Michael F. after the Super Bowl. As usual, he wasn’t about to rip the refs. He’s #TeamRef. I get it.

I know the Bengals fans in the Screencaps crowd are going to have a lot to say about the last 4 minutes of the game – especially the three straight plays with penalties. What I can say tonight is that I thought the officiating crew did an outstanding job – worthy of their assignment and then some. I’ll probably do some breakdown of plays tomorrow and shoot you a note regarding any plays in question that your readers talk about in Screencaps tomorrow.

Until then, hope the beer is still good!

• Jose R. in Marana, AZ sent this before the Super Bowl:

Firing off this email a few hours before kickoff. You often wonder how/why screencaps became so popular? I think the answer is rather simple, you speak to the people, not at us. You give us the space to share thoughts that those who call themselves journalists can never understand.

Screencaps, is our canvas, and you allow your readers the ability to paint that canvas daily. Readers share their stories, their lives, and become connected in our own unique way. So, thank you for giving us space to share a little slice of our piece of heaven with readers throughout this great country of ours.

I included a picture of my wife, Siliva’s latest cake, in hopes you are able to enjoy a few cold ones watching the Super Bowl. Cheers to you and all of screencaps nation.


Enough about me, Jose, your wife is the one here with a clear talent. Now, ask her how hard it would be to do a deer mount with Busch Light cans as antlers. Let’s really give her a challenge!

• I’ll give credit to my buddy Diesel for allowing me to tweet out this photo of his bourbon collection so the Twitter followers could rate it, destroy it, improve it. Do you have a collection you’d like rated by some of the most ruthless analysts in the bourbon game?

Send in a photo of your collection, anonymity guaranteed:

• Mike T. & Cindy T. let me simmer down before they sent their latest Mexican winter vacation dispatch:

Greetings from beautiful Mazatlan Mexico. We’ve been visiting Mazatlan for over 27 years so we have our favorite places to visit and always try a few new places. One of our first stops is always El Bigotes, (The mustache in Spanish).

This is great place, started many, many years ago by a guy cooking whole pigs at his home for family and friends. It became so popular, he opened the first restaurant.

It’s a simple concept. They serve all pork, cooked in a central location, and then it’s delivered to the locations in town. You can order, white, dark, or organ meat. Us, we go 50/ 50/ white dark, no organ!

Fantastic pork served with corn tortillas and grilled jalapeño, marinated onions, and limes. But one of the stars is the salsa, fire-roasted and full of flavor, hot, but not too hot.

Unbelievably delicious, 1/2 kilo (1.1 lbs), 201 pesos ($10 US) that will feed four hungry folks. Grab your beer at the Oxxo across the street $1 a pop. El Bigote Carnitas is one of our favorites.

Rooted like crazy for those Bengals. Kept yelling at Matt Stafford to remember who he is. Sorry, we tried.

Also, a picture of a sunset in Mazatlan Super Bowl night:

• I have to apologize to Tony C. in Louisville who wrote last week only to have the email get lost in the shuffle. He’s a loyal TNML member who deserves better out of me so let’s make this right.

Tony C. writes:

It being Super Bowl week, I’m curious to know if other screencaps community members have any crazy stories about going to or being at the game itself?  Mine goes a little something like this:

Following more than a decade of mediocrity and fading memories of John Elway helicoptering into the endzone, with Peyton Manning at the helm and the defense (minus the injured Von Miller) terrorizing opposing backfields, my Broncos looked like a real Super Bowl team.  Notwithstanding the silly “controversy” over a playing in a cold-weather stadium at the Meadowlands, it was exciting to think the game would be played just a few hundred miles away (I lived just outside DC at the time). 

The team came together and discarded Phillip Rivers and Tom Brady to get to the big one.  At this point, I can’t decide whether I want to spend the whole day praying at church or go party with my “Sunday Family” at our Broncos bar in DC…and then the weather reports start rolling in.  “There’s going to be a blizzard”…”they may have to reschedule”…”ticket prices are cratering below $3,000″…and I get the crazy idea that I just might be able to afford a ticket somehow…

Two nights before the game, I call a couple of fellow Orange Crush diehards and say “if I can find tickets, are we doing this?”  They of course laugh at me and say there’s no way I can find tickets, but sure.  Challenge accepted.  Ticketmaster and Stubhub are no-go’s, so I brave the stranger-danger-zone that is Craigslist.  After a number of phone calls and sniffing out a few scams, I find myself talking to a very pleasant middle-aged woman who says she has upper level, front row, 40-yard line seats, and wants to meet at a shopping mall halfway between DC and Baltimore – CASH only. 

I explain that I’ll want to see the tickets and make sure they are real before going to an ATM, but she still agrees to it.  Turns out, her husband is one of the medical advisors for the Ravens and is away on a Doctors Without Borders trip; she’s not excited about the halftime show or going to New Jersey in the predicted storm so she wants to sell them without her husband’s knowledge.  Tickets are real and within reach – but the mall food-court ATM is busted!!  I agree to follow this strange woman to the bank around the corner, pull out the money, and complete one of the most ridiculous transactions of my life, and BOOM, the tickets are mine with less than 24 hours until game time!

I hustle home to advise my co-conspirators and we realize, of course, that at this point, there’s no way we’re getting a hotel room anywhere nearby…screw it, we’ll drive up and back.  Sleep is for the weak.  We load some chains in the bed, hop into my truck, and hit the road, only to be met by pre-storm traffic all the way up I-95.  We call an audible and decide to park in a galaxy far far away and take the train into the stadium – it’ll pay off later when we are trying to get out, right?  We get there, all bundled up and wait outside in the stadium entry lines for what must have been a couple of hours, surrounded by dozens of people in line who clearly know NOTHING about football and are just there because it’s the Super Bowl. 

At long last, we get in, find beers, find our seats, and sure enough, we are completely surrounded by Seahawks fans throughout the section.  No harm, no foul, though – great pregame with an incredible Apache and Chinook helicopter flyover – and then the Broncos’ opening snap goes flying into the endzone for a safety…Screencaps readers (other than Seahawks fans) will remember it was all downhill from there – the brutal 43-8 beatdown and endless taunts by the Sea-chickens all around us remains seared in my head…BUT…so do the memories of a ridiculous story, a whimsical spur-of-the-moment trip, and a delicious stop at a late-night diner in the middle of a snowstorm on the way home from our first Super Bowl with friends I’ll never forget.

I’m guessing some other screencaps loyalists have similar fun tales to tell!

Keep up the great stuff, my friend – do holler if you ever find yourself here in the ‘Ville!


What an absolutely ridiculous story from Tony in a great way. I cannot emphasize enough how great it is to hear how some of us end up in ridiculous situations and how we just figure it out. Granted, in this case, it was pure disaster on the scoreboard, but I’d be telling this story around the campfire until they put me in the ground.

I tell a story about going to the 2015 Oregon-Ohio State game without tickets and getting into the booze with a buddy of mine only to find it dark and nearing kickoff when we decided it would be fine to buy tickets on a street corner — in the dark. We walk up to the first guy who has a crowd of people around him, ask how much, he says something like $225 in the second row of the club level. Of course the booze was talking and we say “sounds good.”

All I kept thinking is that he’d ripped us off only to walk up to the gate and into Jerry’s World for an Ohio State victory in amazing seats.

Guys, never stop the adventures. This is what makes Screencaps so great. We get to hear about adventures that sound like dumb moves at the time, but they actually pay off into campfire stories we’ll never stop telling.

Have a great Tuesday across this great country.


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Written by Joe Kinsey

Joe Kinsey is the Senior Director of Content of OutKick and the editor of the Morning Screencaps column that examines a variety of stories taking place in real America.

Kinsey is also the founder of OutKick’s Thursday Night Mowing League, America’s largest virtual mowing league.

Kinsey graduated from University of Toledo.


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