Tuesday, January 02, 2007

I have returned

Well I am finally back from the long break. Obviously I can't recount everything that happened while I was on vacation, but two incidents stand out and interestingly enough they're related, so that seems as good a subject as any. On our annual winter vacation we have one afternoon set aside for the kids. We take them up to a hill and they can go sledding. My father also purchased a little snowmobile with a 120 cc engine that governed to around 7-8 miles an hour. This little snowmobile is the highlight of the kids vacation (once you can get them over their fear) and generally there's a constant supply of little boys who want to ride it, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

So my oldest daughter decided to sled down the hill with my oldest son. There was a spill and she hurt her arm. It wasn't until the day after that we discovered it had been broken. This was tragic, not only because of the injury and the pain associated with it, but also because it meant that the 6 weeks of snow school she was about to embark on, was now out of the question. Fortunately we had taken her for her first day skiing earlier in the week, so the 500+ we spent on clothes and equipment was not entirely wasted. (Also there's a chance she'll be healthy enough to ski in March or April.) So that's basically story number 1.

Story number 2 happened an hour or so later. At this point all but three of the kids (out of a potential 9) had gone back to the condo. My youngest son was on the 120. He had been doing some really impressive hill climbing (nothing too steep we are talking about a really tiny sled here). He seemed to have a really good knack for when he needed to turn. In any case after successfully navigating the hill several times his knack failed him and he got stuck. One of my brother-in-laws (not the potato wedge one) was already on a snowmobile, so he raced over to help out. As he was heading over another guy who was standing nearby started to walk over. Initially I thought, "Well that's nice of him to walk over and help out." When the man continued talking to my b-i-l, I had to revise my assumption. My dad suggested that he was asking about the 120 since it's a fairly unique snowmobile. It turned out we were both wrong.

When he got back we asked him what the guy wanted and my b-i-l said that it was an off-duty park ranger and he'd read him the riot act. First off the snowmobile needed tags (feh, whatever, but its the least egregious demand), secondly he needed to wear a helmet. Now while I can see that, this is where the irony starts to emerge. You can go significantly faster on a sled then you can ever go on this little snowmobile, but no one would think of requiring a helment for that, and it's significantly more dangerous (as evidenced by the broken). Where it gets really ridiculous is when he said that the child needed to take an off road vehicles class, but he couldn't take it until he was 8... By the time you're 8 you almost don't need to ride a 120 you can ride a normal snowmobile. The whole thing was really annoying and I didn't even talk to the guy, but I'm inclined to say, "well then throw the book at me" if it comes up again.



Anonymous ed said...

If you haven't gotten your replacement bike yet...


A bike with automatic transmission? I imagine the next line will come with a/c.

6:53 PM  
Anonymous sti said...

Whenever you are stopped by a law enforcement officer, they are "just doing their job." However, the fact that a ranger will take personal time to harangue you tells you it is more than that. Unfortunately, many (I have no idea what percentage) law enforcement types like telling people what to do. This particular disability is most evident in the political types. As far as I can tell essentially all politicians get their jollies by telling other people what to do. Democrats want you to do one thing, Republicans another, but both political parties are currently based on taking your money and using it to make you do something that they think is important.

There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him. - Robert A. Heinlein

11:07 AM  

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