Another year for the Alpine? UPDATED

January 20, 2009

Every year I promise myself that I will sell the Alpine and accept that I’m too old for such a brute of a machine.  But you can’t sell a snowmobile when it’s sitting in a barn, so I have to haul it out and start it up.  Then, of course, it needs exercise to keep its fuel fresh, and the trails need to be maintained, and before  you know, it’s time to put it away because it’s spring.

Today was the day.  After a week-long cold spell the eaves were dripping, the wind had calmed, and the Massey Harris started eagerly at first touch of the starter.  The Massey was parked in front of the Alpine, so it had to get some exercise.  Then I decided to use it to back the Alpine out of the barn.  This involved many short pulls on a rope:  every five feet or so I would have to set the brake, get off, centre the handle bars on the Alpine, get back on and back down the ramp a bit more.

Once the tractor was back in bed, I gassed the Alpine up, tugged the cord, and away it went.  Yeah, right.  The truth of it is that I somehow forgot I had siphoned the fuel out of the tank last spring when I put it away, and so I worked for ten minutes or so with a vacuum pump sucking fumes through the primer.  The whole process worked much better when I added a can of gas from my fishing boat to the Alpine’s almost-empty tank.  Three pumps on the primer, a tug on the cord, and away it went.

Apart from a lot of fly specks on the cowl, the thing was just the way I left it last spring.  Everything seems to keep well on a thin pad of twenty-year-old sheep manure over a sloping concrete floor in the barn.

Mindful of my forced march back to the house last year when it ran out of gas in the woods, I took care not to go far from the barn.  Perhaps tomorrow I’ll add more gas and a pair of snowshoes, then look to pack some ski trails.

Thoughts of turning the Alpine into cash are fading fast.

UPDATE:  February 2nd, 2009

I’ve almost used up the second tank of gas for the year.  All of this light, fluffy snow hit and there’s no point in taking the Polaris Ranger out in it.  The Alpine, on the other hand, is right in its element.

A couple of times this week I thought the deep snow would stick it.  It slowed right down, the engine howled, but it kept creeping ahead through snow well up on its cowl until it came up on plane again.  This process left an amazing trail through the soft snow.

All was not aimless wandering.  This week seemed like an appropriate time to plan spring tree planting, so I packed tracks and then measured a five-acre area for Norway spruce, white cedar, and yellow birch.  It’s a skinny field, 1300 feet long and a couple of hundred wide.  This called for lots of trips over the pristine snow with the Alpine, of course.

Left over from a week of running around the property,  my ski-doo trails  have become popular with the local wildlife.  The coyote leaves the track only to catch mice around the little spruce trees.  She seems to be able to smell them under the snow from up to ten feet away.  Maintaining a hiking trail for the coyote enables me to direct her toward my saplings for her hunts, and she doesn’t seem to mind.

I’m finding the Alpine easier to handle this year.  One change is that I have given up on the snowmobile suit in favour of lighter gear, though I still wear that life-saving helmet.  The thing throws lots of heat and is well shielded from the wind.  One variable is that the snow’s deep enough this year that I can drive over many obstacles instead of awkwardly steering around them.

Next time I decide to sell the thing I’ll have to do it before I take it out of the barn in early winter or else it won’t leave the farm for another year.  It is kinda fun to take the brute out for a wrestle around the property.

One Response to “Another year for the Alpine? UPDATED”

  1. John hebert Says:

    Have a prob with my 640 alpine works good till its warm then gets air bubbles in fuel line all new seals condensers checked comp its good new fuel lines new plugs starts and works fine for fifteen tweny min then get bubbles and quits

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