Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Speed Fiend

The big green blob who looks like Darth Vader really gone to seed is me on my ATV.

When our guide, Kevin, picked me up for my ATV trip up to the Knik glacier he said "This is a first for me - I've never taken a single female on one of these - single guys have joined us, but never women on their own." OK, so I'm a little bit odd :o) We picked up the rest of the group (another 3 people) and off we set. Kevin got us to sign a disclaimer which basically said "ATVing is very dangerous and you could die. If you die, you agree not to sue us." By this time I was beginning to worry that I had made a mistake, and should have stuck to something a little less dangerous (like bathing in maple syrup and introducing myself to a grizzly bear. Two of our group had ridden ATVs before (although none as powerful as these). I was the only one in the group who didn't drive. I could see Kevin looking at me in despair as he said "We may not make it up to the glacier."

We set off, with strict instructions not to touch the footbrake. Ever. Unless you wanted the differential somethingorother to set fire to the petrol tank, which, by the way, was what we were sitting on. You would know if you had touched the footbrake, because your bum would
spontaneously combust.

We drove through the most amazing scenery (after the first 5 minutes when I was too scared to look at anything except the ground in front of me) - tundra, forest, mountains covered with snow, rivers... there were flat parts where we could speed up (I discovered that my name should be Donna Schumacher when I had a race with one of the guys)

and really rugged parts where you had to go slowly - one of the party tipped their ATV over trying to negotiate one of these. One of them also hit a tree, and then, about 5 minutes later, slammed into the back of my ATV.

My favourite bit was going through water - some of the water we went through was about 3 feet deep. I told Kevin I loved the water parts so on the way back he made sure to take us the wettest, deepest, splashiest way. By the time we arrived back I was covered from head to foot in mud. Good job I was wearing a rather fetching pale green waterproof number.

We were out driving for about 6 hours, and I'm pleased to report that we DID get to the glacier.

As you can hopefully see from the pictures, it was absolutely gorgeous. The ice is so blue in places.

We had lunch there and topics of conversation ranged
from the British use of the word 'brilliant', why men
sit with their legs open, My Fair Lady and what Kevin had in his survival kit (knife, saw, blanket, warm socks, 115,000 bullets (he reassured us by saying that he'd never shot anyone who didn't deserve it), flares, water purification tablets, toilet paper.) I had toilet paper and lip gloss, so half of my survival kit was useful (how many people can say that they have pee'd at a glacier? It was the most scenic loo I have ever used (if a tad frosty around the nether regions)).

We took it in turns to follow immediately behind Kevin. At one point when I was behind him he went sideways up a hill really fast until he was almost parallel with the floor. It was only centrifugal force that was keeping him up there. My heart was in my mouth, but I followed. When I came down Kevin shook his head at me and said "You're crazy woman." Apparently, I wasn't supposed to follow him, he was just 'goofing off' :o) But he said he was impressed.

I still have a big huge grin on my face.

It was the most amazing experience. Wonderful fun, exhilerating, scenery to die for, and I learned a number of things...that I like going fast, that I love getting dirty, that I am braver than I thought, and that when you wee outside, make sure there are no thorns in the vicinity.

I was sad when the trip was over. I wanted to do it all over again. What a superb day. Now I'm off to scrape the 2 inch layer of dirt from my body.


Anonymous said...

Even though No-one Lives Forever, I can see that Cate Archer is alive and well :-) Wonderful photos again, the trip looks to have been fantastic. Take care, John xxx

Julie said...

Oh, fantastic! I am green with envy, and full of admiration! The woman who put the 'shoe' into 'schumaker'... wooh! Go, Donna! J x

Anonymous said...

Omigod, Donna driving. Your Mum saw the pictures yesterday and said, Oh Goodie, jigsaws. I downloaded a couple and converted them, now guess what she said tonight, yes, more jigsaws. At least this blog lets us know where you are, just do not buy any of those little brass bells.
Enjoy yourself,

Anonymous said...

Oh Donna!! You are excellent on that ATV!! What a grand story, and what wonderful photos--you look great and it sounds like you had a terrific adventure...and now, of course, you will have to come here and ATV in the cornfields, to test whether it's easier on cold icy terrain or hot gravel roads, ha. I'm going to have to start calling you Motorcycle Wench!!

Thanks for sharing this grand adventure!


Patricia said...

How odd am I...I would love to say I had pee'd in/on? a glacier..great photos Donna...and I am sure that they must be even more magnicficent in real time.

Julie said...

Hey, Donna - happy birthday!!!!!!! Have a superb day - I'll raise a glass to you later (7.30 am is too early even for me...). Cheeaazzzz, doll! Have a blast! J x

Anonymous said...

Whoops. We did not forget, your card is in the post. You will go to these exotic locations. Mum says happy birthday even though it is late. I will not put any more as I do not want to dig myself in any deeper.

John said...

Happy Birthday, Donna! Hope you have a wonderful day xxx

Donna said...

Bobbie - I will definitely be coming to ride through those cornfields!

Jools - lol at shoe in Schumacher :o)

John - I WAS Cate Archer...well, without the slinky catsuit and not a hair out of place. By the time we'd finished I looked like the nightmarish love child of The Creature From The Black Lagoon and The Thing.

Patricia - I wish the photos could do the place a hundredth of the justice it deserves.

Dad - no bells - just halibut stuffed with tiger prawns and snow crab...

All - thank you for the birthday wishes! I will post yesterday's trip in a small plane around a mountain later, right now I have to prepare for an interview with Alaskan radio - eek!

Anonymous said...

Hey, Speed Fiend, HAPPY DONNA DAY!!! ENJOY!!!
Ironically I am writing this message from a computer in Quincy's public library, where you personally signed and donated a copy of your wonderful book...small world to those who are friends Across The Big have a wonderful birthday, my friend. And there should be something waiting in your mailbox when you get to Alaska's had to travel to USA to get your birthday card, ha.

Best Wishes,
Bobbie Jo

Anonymous said...

So is the ice blue because they use that airline toilet cleaner stuff for people who decide to use the glacier as a loo?


Anonymous said...

BTW, I love the ATV picture. You look like you should be in NASCAR... erm, sorry, Formula 1 I guess for you Brits...


Anonymous said...

Dear Donna, This is your ATV guide Kevin. The office only recently shared your written account of the ATV trip with me. I loved the way you described it. I hope you are doing well. I also hope we meet again some day. lol, still waiting for you to write a book with me as a character. Remember this. "And the glacial river ran red with blood and ripe with the smell of.....Murder" with a Scottish accent of course.