Wednesday, November 18, 2009

snow job.

brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. it is mighty cold today in houston (which isn't saying a lot) and it reminded me of all the fantastic times i've been sledding. growing up in kansas (REDNECK ALERT), we were heavy on snow and light on mountains, so a certain degree of creativity was required for sledding. in the early days, to get our sleds up to maximum speed, my dad would tie our sleds to the back of his pickup truck with varying lengths of rope (obviously, an extremely safe way to travel) and then he'd haul ass around in the fields behind the house. these were the old-school wooden sleds with metal runners, and it was always pretty fun until the sleds got tangled together after a sharp turn (almost always resulting in tears and/or someone stomping back to the house).
one year my father, ever the engineer, fixed the tangling problem when he acquired several 50-gallon drum barrels made of plastic. he cut the barrels in half lengthwise and strung them together with ropes, so the finished product was kind of like a train. scaredy cats rode in the front, and the badass of the crew would ride in the back (aka CABOOSE), because as you experienced sledders know, the back is the most difficult (aka DANGEROUS) place to ride. one of my brothers pointed out that the back sled is WOBBLY because there is no sled behind it to keep it taught and upright. additionally, the back sled is subject to the 'crack the whip' feature and it also gets all of the kicked up snow from the first five sleds. that's right, i said first five, meaning we had a total of six sleds in our barrel sled contraption. when you grow up with 5 brothers and sisters, you don't like to share ANYTHING, eeeeeeespecially your barrel sled. i'm pretty sure those barrel sleds still get a lot of action, since they can now be pulled behind the 4-wheelers. i couldn't locate any photos of their inaugural ride, but my cousin's wife took these last winter. at some point, the sleds must have been modified from the original configuration of 6 barrels to 4 (likely for speed purposes). you'll also notice that some members of the sledding team are wearing ski goggles for safety. SMART.
please note the caboose area on photo numero dos... that's an action shot of someone taking a spill, and from the looks of the third photo, that weenie got left behind. btw, i googled 'barrel sleds' and found NOTHING, so it's safe to say my dad is really missing out on the licensing opportunities and lucrative profits of barrel sleds.

also, i only remember it being around for one winter, but my uncle (the same uncle that threw snowballs with rocks inside of them) made a giant sled out of the hood of a car. i think it had a mattress thrown inside for comfort. naturally, the car hood was only used for sledding on ROADS, specifically back-country gravel roads, where most of the time, we never passed other vehicles. if the road didn't have enough snow on it, our uncle would throw the car hood into the ditch and we'd sled there until we came to a bridge. did i mention how safe it was? anyway, no one ever died. there were massive injuries from the rock-snowballs, but no sledding casualties.

so happy winter. practice safe sledding and try not to freeze your balls off.


Meredith said...

Wow. How could I read this and not think about that one time on snow day when we rode around the streets of Abilene behind someone's Tahoe in some Rubbermaid storage bins. FUN and safe.

kristina said...

when you are a college student in abilene, texas (a notoriously snow-free town), and a foot and a half of snow falls, it is your DUTY to tie some sort of sled behind a tahoe and drive through city parks. or people's yards. whichever. also, they canceled school for a week. what else were we going to do with all that free time?

Anonymous said...

The original "barrel sled" had 6 seats. However, the front 2 seats are detachable. That's why you only see 4 in your pictures. Obviously, Bill was thinking LT as he engineered this gem. I might also add the the ski googles are essential for visibility since the barrel sleds kick up TONS of snow. More like a barrel plow.

Former rider of the blue barrel sled

Anonymous said...

Hahahaha! Thats hilarious! Said Uncle who supposedly put rocks in snowballs surely wouldn't be my(Cody's) father; I can't imagine him doing something like that....