Northern Lights Snowmobile Club

By Jim Nykolayko

 Here is an excerpt from an article written in the Rhinelander Daily News dated March 13, 1971. The article started out giving an overview of the club and then went on to describe an overnight ride to the Gateway Inn in Land O’ Lakes. The next time you encounter a rough trail, think back to the days before groomers and what the early riders had to encounter…

The club left the Alpine Motor Inn with 32 machines. In all, 28 were staying overnight and four drivers planned on returning to Three Lakes that evening. At the time of departure, it was blowing a gale of snow. However, the temperature was mild, and the riders discovered they had donned too many garments. The group headed for Eagle River along the transmission line and started the trip through deep powder snow.

Machines were getting stuck and riders were getting flipped from their machines. “Slim Boers” was the first to be spectacularly ejected over his windshield into the snow. Minor adjustments to machines were being made along the way and one machine blew a clutch and had to be loaded onto a trailer pulled by Dorothy Gensler. Jerry and Dorothy Gensler provided the van to carry the gas, luggage and other party necessities and Dorothy met the group at all pit stops.

Half way to Eagle River, the riders were met by Roger Godleski of the Eagle River Club and he and two other members from Eagle River guided the Northern Lights riders to Burnt Bridge Tavern in Conover. This portion of the trip was the roughest as the deep drifting snow made the trail a continuous torture of bumps, gulleys, and drifts. Here the group relaxed and were served lunch. After gassing the machines, the owner of the Tavern and a friend guided the riders to Cub’s tavern near Land O’ Lakes. This portion of the trail was smooth and the freshly plowed fire lanes, were truly beautiful.

Don Fancher reported being pitched off his machine four times between Eagle River and Burnt Bridge due to holes so deep in places that a machine could not get through. From the Cub’s tavern the riders were escorted by police car along County Trunk B to the Gateway Inn.

Rooms were assigned at the Inn and the party began. A hospitality room was set up, a dip in the swimming pool and the use of the Sauna all added to the enjoyment of the group. A buffet dinner at 8:30 p.m. with music for dancing. Sunday morning after a buffet breakfast, the group left the Gateway at 11:00 a.m. Due to the extremely rough trail, arrangements were made to be escorted to Eagle River by two very courteous police officers. One police car led the way, and another brought up the rear. The ride ended at the Rainbow Bar in Three Lakes where riders enjoyed lunch.

Please Ride Safe, Smart & Responsibly

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