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Thread: Completely O.T.--Racing the Train

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    Barrie, Ontario, Canada
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    9,634

    Default Completely O.T.--Racing the Train

    I don't have any real work today, and I don't have any play-work going on either. It's been a long while since I wrote a story, but here is a new one. Absolutely true, and a good read.
    Racing the Train---
    Back about 1970 or so, I was off work for about six months. I didn’t own a house of my own yet, so I left the city and moved back to my mom and dad’s place in Bancroft for the winter. Mom and dad were away in one of the cities for the winter, so I had the place all to myself.--------------------I had an old Sno-Jet snowmobile with a 15 HP Hirth engine on it, and that was my primary means of getting around that winter.--------------A friend of mine lived down the old Turriff road (He had a shed full of parts for every year of Model A Ford that was ever made) and a taste for Black and White scotch whiskey.---------------Rather than drive down the side of the highway to get to his place, I used to go cross-country to Detlor, then pick up the CNR train tracks and drive down the center of the tracks to the Turriff siding, then get off and go to Charlies place.---------------One night in February it was about -20F, and I didn’t want to hang around the house by myself, so I fired up the snowmobile, put a bottle of Scotch wrapped in a burlap sack to keep it from breaking in the “travel compartment” and motored down to Charley and Mary-Annes for a visit.---------One thing you have to know, to make this story worth telling, is that there is a three mile swamp between Turriff and Detlor, and rather than build the train track through the swamp, the tracks ran around the swamp in a big arc.—The second thing you have to know is that almost everywhere up North, the snowmobiles use the center of the railroad tracks for trails because there are no trees or hills to speak of. This makes for great, smooth snowmobile trails, but the snow gets beaten down so badly that once you get down between the rails, you can’t get out again without either stopping and lifting the front of the snowmobile over the rail or else coming to a point where the train tracks cross a sideroad and the top of the rails are level with the road surface.----------------Charley and I punished about half the bottle of scotch, talking about life in general and Model A Fords in particular, and about 11:00 PM I decided to head for home. The snowmobile fired up on the second or third pull, and I could still walk without staggering too much, so I rode up to where the train tracks crossed the Turriff road. I got on the smooth area between the rails and started home. It was a bitterly cold night, and enough overcast that you couldn’t see very much outside the cone of light ahead of the single snowmobile headlight.--------------As I was following the tracks around the edge of the swamp, I started getting some strange lights and shadows sweeping the trees between the track and the edge of the track where the forest started. My first thought was “Oh Hell—my headlight is burning out.)----------------Something made me look back over my shoulder, and there at the edge of the swamp, coming up behind me was a great big headlight. The train was coming up behind me!!! The most speed I could get out of that old Hirth engine was about 43 miles an hour. I couldn’t stop and lift the cab and skiis out from between the rails because I didn’t have time.-----------I knew that if I could stay ahead of the train until I got to the Bronson siding on the far side of the swamp I would be able to swing out from between the rails onto the old Bronson road. I layed right down on my seat to lower any wind resistance and gave that Hirth engine every ounce of throttle that I could. I was going as fast as I could, and the train was gaining on me. I doubt that the engineer driving that train even seen me.------------I don’t know how close that train engine was to the back of my snowmobile, but believe me---It was damned close. I hit the Bronson cross-road full-out, and with a mighty heave got out from between the tracks, just as the train went past me with a roar and a whoosh. I was going far too fast to make a nice right angle turn onto the road. I hit the snowbank on the far side of the road and went airborne for about sixty feet before landing in a great spray of soft, deep snow. It took me about half an hour to wrestle the snowmobile around and get out of the extremely deep soft snow I had landed in. (For those of you who have never ran a smowmobile, they are heavy things and they don’t do well in soft deep snow where there is no packed down trail).-----------At any rate, I was out of harms way, completely sobered up, and grateful to be alive. After that whenever I went to see Charley, I stuck to the snowmobile trails.
    Brian Rupnow---2018
    Last edited by brian Rupnow; 07-20-2018 at 03:32 PM.
    Brian Rupnow

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    West Sussex UK
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    291

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    Thanks Brian, another classic! Interested (but not surprised) to hear there is another Turriff in Canada!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Grand Blanc Michigan
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    Puts me in mind of a story my dad told: when he was a teenager he had a Model T Ford. The big spoked wheels provided sufficient clearance to drive on the ties of the railway roadbed. After a test drive, Dad would challenge his fellow students at Kearsley High School to race from Flint's eastside out to Otisville. All the roads were laid out in North-South, East-West grids, with multiple routes possible, but the Huckleberry Railroad right of way ran on a perfect diagonal. The other lads would take off in their hotrods and were long out of sight by the time dad, in his junker Model T reached the Geneseeville grade crossing where he turned off and bumpity-bumped along the railbed until he reached the lumberyard in Otisville. By the time the hotrod boys showed up, Dad was about a third of the way down into his milkshake at the drugstore. The boys never caught wise.

    The Huckleberry Railroad wasn't much of a threat as it ran at a leisurely pace and passengers could depart the moving train from the first passenger car, gather a handful of the blueberries that grew along the right-of-way and board the still moving train at the caboose.
    Weston Bye - Author, The Mechatronist column, Digital Machinist magazine
    ~Practitioner of the Electromechanical Arts~

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Central Virginia
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    257

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    But what happend to the rest of the scotch?
    Sole proprietor of Acme Buggy Whips Ltd.
    Specialty products for beating dead horses.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    USA MD 21030
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    I was expecting to hear that you poured the rest of the scotch into the fuel tank, and that gave the snowmobile just enough extra oomph to avoid getting clobbered by the train.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Chilliwack, B.C.
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    There's something my dad did a long time ago- cops were chasing him and he turned the pickup off the road, through the ditch, and across the field. The cops had to find the nearest crossing to come after him. He poured the 'high test' into the tank and got away before the cops could catch up. I was in the truck. I was nearing three years old at the time. Reminds me of another time we were motoring along the highway and came up behind a combine rolling down the road with no light on. Dad veered off the road, went through the ditch, came back through the ditch and up onto the highway again. That '52 International went through a few things- went through a fire twice, came to BC sagged onto the overloads with every piece of crap we still had. It survived me feeding dirt into the gas tank, but I did cook the starter when I used to drive it on the farm. I was three then.
    I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    north bay area
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    4,954

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    Great life stories everyone, a nice change from all the crazy **** going on in this whacky world.

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