As just about
everyone knows, this was almost everywhere a bitter and extraordinary winter.
However, it was less remarkable in Potter than elsewhere because it was more
common. That particular day it had snowed six inches, the thermometer had not
risen 5� above zero and the wind had been blowing briskly off the Great Lakes.
It was, in short, an average Potter January and nobody at Potato City was
paying much mind to the weather. Sam and I certainly were not, being fully and
pleasantly occupied with a couple of strip sirloins, hot potato salad (anything
at Potato City that has potatoes in it is likely to be very tasty), Genesee
beer, and later on coffee and sour-cream raisin pie.
The only other
people there were a dozen or so snowmobilers, a good many of whom truck on up
to Potter on winter weekends from all over the Mideast to compete on the
racecourse laid out behind Potato City or to cruise the trails the state has
laid out and maintains for them in the Black Forest.
suspect, including this one, but generally snowmobilers seem to be hearty,
down-to-earth, convivial folks who are fond of pickups, campers, 4WDs, outboard
motors and CB radios as well as their snow sleds. They tend to run in clans or
clubs with names like the Cool Drifters or the Blizzard Beaters. These names
and appropriate logos are usually stenciled on windbreakers, helmets and
vehicles that are color coordinated in Day-Glo purples, oranges and
What with some
back-and-forth between tables, questions arose in an amicable way about what
Sam and I were, if we weren't snowmobilers. We said we were not anything
identifiable in an organized sporting way, but that what we were doing was
stoking up on the victuals preparatory to setting off in the morning to
snowshoe through the Black Forest.
going to get far falling around on those things," one of the snowmobilers
said. "You'll just get out and have to turn around and come back to get in
We said we
weren't coming in at least for a few days.
"You mean you
are going to stay out nights?"
that that was what we intended brought down the house. Nobody around Potato
City had ever considered the possibility or met anyone who wanted to go off and
bed down in the woods in January.
you'll freeze to death."
that's not the plan. We've done it in colder places."