Saturday, January 10, 2009

Island Life: Winter Transportation

By now you all know that we can't have cars on the island and most hauling is done with "horse power." Lots of people have asked me whether or not we own a car, and if we do - what do we do with it. Our car (a minivan actually) stays on the mainland, patiently awaiting our next visit. During the summer it is parked at the boat dock, but this time of year it gets moved up to the airport. Parking is cheap - about $40.00 for the nine months the boats run (April - January) and then free for the months we fly or cross the ice.

Since we can't drive cars we ride bikes when we can, but this time of year that is pretty much impossible (though not for T.) Luckily, since the early 1970s snowmobiles have been legal on the island. The city ordnance says that "ski steered track driven" vehicles are legal from November 15th to April 15th - so that way no one can try to find a way to drive one in the summer. If we get good snow before that, the mayor just steps out onto her porch, declares that it is now legal to ride and off we go. Winter is the only time of year we can go anywhere fast. And when I say fast I mean at a top legal speed of 20 miles per hour (about about 30 km.)

My morning commute looks something like this:

At about 7:45 the kids and I hop on the machine...

...stash our backpacks in the "trunk"...

...pick up some friends at about 7:50
(they have to ride in the caboose)...

...and arrive at school at about 8:00.
(What do you think of my parking spot?)


We try not to go out riding just for fun very often given the price of gas on the island. Can you read the sign on the pump?


If not, here's a close up...


Yup, that means gas is $5.00 per gallon. Ouch! Thank goodness snowmobiles get good mileage.


Most of the kids who drive to school park up here instead of down by the water where I do. Kids in Michigan can get a snowmobile driver's license at 12 - provided they pass the state mandated safety course. It is kind of a nice rite of passage for them. One of my students went out for a midnight ride on Wednesday night - at the exact moment she could legally drive by herself. Sounds like a fun way to start your birthday if you ask me. I'm going to have to remember that one for when my little ones turn 12.


I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend. We plan to spend some time outside tomorrow since it's suppose to be bitter cold in these parts next week. The high on Monday is supposed to be six degrees (about -14 C.) We try not to be outside any more than we have to on days like that. Stay warm...

12 comments:

Shannon said...

AWESESOME! Now THAT I could handle! :) I've enjoyed reading the information you've shared about your islalnd. It's very interesting to me!

Mum-me said...

Your posts are always so informative, in a very interesting way, whether you are writing about Island life or a cooking or craft project.

Thanks for the photos of snow. We are expecting next week to be absolutely sweltering - no day under 30C and a high on Thursday of 39C. (about 100f)

nicolette said...

Thanks for sharing more of your wonderful island life! The pictures are gorgeous!

Claudia said...

oh cool! it's just like the place I did my internship (a few years ago) in Lower North Shore (North Quebec).
They have pretty much no road (except a few kilometres) so they all have snowmobiles or boats to do their shopping and visiting.

Manoute said...

Wow that's great! No cars, it must be so peaceful!
Thanks for sharing. Keep warm!

susan said...

are there specific trails you have to stick to? the only thing i dont like about snow machines, dirt bikes, etc is how they tear up the country side. dirt bikers in california have destroyed the fragile eco system of the desert. but you got to get around on your little island. I MISS VICTORIA!!!

Sam said...

What a fabulous parking space, lol. More fabulous snowy pictures. I like hearing the details of how you live in the winter. And it must be very peaceful in the summer :-)

Amy Jo said...

Great photos - I love these posts of yours!!!

stitching under oaks said...

I'm really enjoying your "series"! Thanks for taking the time to share. Drive safely to work tomorrow!

AdrianeS said...

OMG that is soooo cool! If I didn't hate cold weather I would want to move there...haha

cinnamongirl93 said...

I really enjoy learning about your life on the island. The pictures are great too!
We used to do a lot of snowmobiling and even had a caboose. We ended up selling our sled and caboose because our winters have been so mild. I kind of miss the fun rides we would take.

c|ara said...

So cool and fun to be riding on a snowmobile! Something I only see it on movies!