With the sun shining but a chilly -20 F on the river, we ventured out of the museum last Saturday with the 1917 Ford Snow Flyer to head to Fairbanks' annual Tired Iron Rally. Since this event is held to celebrate vintage snowmobiles, we figured we'd take what we think is likely the oldest snowmobile in Alaska. We caught the attention of lots of rubber neckers on the way across town to get to the Graehl boat landing, where we planned to unload and head out onto the frozen Chena River to watch the races. After unloading we parked next to some old classic sleds like this one, a Hus-Ski, probably manufactured around 1963.
A friend described riding a Hus-Ski as "driving a belt sander while sitting on an ironing board." In other words, not very comfortable!
After coaxing the Snow Flyer into a run downriver to the Cushman bridge and back, we let him know that the event was called the Tired Iron. He became very steamed at this news and decided to rest for a bit, gather his thoughts and mark his territory with a little Sierra (environmentally friendly) antifreeze.
We soon discovered that the Flyer had thrown a fan belt, but after replacing it and talking nice for a bit, he agreed to perform the rest of the day without difficulty. We even managed to take several little kids for a spin up and down the river.
Tim showed up with a circa 1910 bear coat that I wore, along with a nice warm hat. I was very comfortable, but Tim nearly froze (naturally, he was more concerned for others than himself).
A special thanks to Rod Benson for his time helping and keeping things under control, and to Paul Tekin, Rick Larrick, Will Chase and Ron Allen for their help getting the Snow Flyer ready to run. Make sure you mark your calendars for next year's Tired Iron Rally. You may be surprised at what the musuem shows up with on the ice!
We had a great time and send thanks out to everyone involved for making this a great weekend. Here's a video of the Snow Flyer at Tired Iron: http://ow.ly/1dWLh, and here's one of some of the fantastic old snowmobiles taking part in the Jurassic Classic race: http://ow.ly/1ds67 We also posted photos from the event on our Facebook page at http://ow.ly/1dWSC.