18 Priest Lake, Idaho • www.priestlake.org Snowmobiling at Priest Lake in the 60’s By Susan Bendickson Snowmobiling fun at Priest Lake began in 1965 when my father, Austin Raine brought home an Evinrude Skeeter. Soon after, Karl Duncan bought a Skidoo and the two men each made a toboggan to pull behind the machines. Karl hauled around his five kids: Kathy, Marcia, Tommy, Milia and Susan. Austin pulled his three girls: Susie, Shirley, and Joy, and his sister Wynona’s four kids: Clifford, Wesley, Waneta and Wilda. When Austin traded up to a different Evinrude, Wynona and Weldon bought two snowmobiles so they could join in. The two men then added extensions to the long tracks and each built a box to put on the extension part. The boxes held lunches, extra clothes and tools. All five of us were able to ride on that one machine. Joy was in front of Austin and Shirley behind. Gayle sat on the back of the machine and Susie sat on the box. We pulled the toboggan and later the Sleigh-Mate on trail rides. Eventually we had two machines, and Austin, Shirley, and Joy rode one. Gayle and Susie rode the other. A very few years later Austin’s parents, Owen and Corrine Raine, and Gayle’s sister Arlene Turnbull, husband Roy and their four girls Kathy, Julie, Leslie and Elaine joined us. It was truly a family affair. Eventually Tim Bendickson joined us. Susie and Tim’s boys, Sam and Matt, were each a year old when they started to ride and darned if they didn’t become exceptional riders. Now they have kids, and we are into our fifth generation of snowmobilers. It was a lot different in those days. We didn’t go as many different places in one day. We would pick a destination, and it pretty much took all day to get there and back. You really had to ride those old machines. Anyone who rode seriously learned to be a pretty good rider. The new machines have a lot more power, and you can point your machine, hit the throttle and shoot up the hill, which is pretty nice, but it took skill to side hill the older machines to the top of the hill. It usually took two girls to start a machine, one girl to hold the throttle and one to pull the starter rope. But the old machines could hold two or three girls easy so we always had help. We all learned how to change spark plugs as we seemed to go through them faster back then. We also had more break downs. But for the kids that just meant a chance to slide down a convenient bank or hill while the dads got things fixed. The clothes have changed a lot over the years too. Everyone was wearing wool coats and wool pants for snow pants. Wool may be warm but it won’t keep out the wind. All of us kids wore two pair of knitted mittens at a time and brought at least two more sets to change into when the ones we were wearing got wet. The hats were stocking hats and knitted hats and hunting type hats with ear flaps. Susie was the first to wear a motorcycle helmet as Gayle wouldn’t let her ride with Tim without it. It turns out they are pretty warm. The rule was no playing in the snow until on the way home so we wouldn’t get miserably wet too soon. Before they made “Packs”, like the Sorrels, everyone wore felts Priest Lakes Original Mercantile Since 1906 Groceries, Liquor, Beer,Wine, Ice Clothing, Gifts, and a Large selection of Huckleberry Products Lakeside Sandwich Shop Gourmet Sandwiches, Pizza, Salads, Ice Cream and Espresso Leonard’s Famous Huckleberry Pies! Services Hunting, Fishing, Boat, ATV Snowmobile Licenses Propane, Wifi Hotspot “Home of the Coolin Bay Grill” On TheWaterfront In Coolin! Leonard Paul Store (208) 443-2463 • OpenYear Round 341 Bayview Dr., Coolin, ID 83821-9713 www.theleonardpaulstore.com - Live Web Cam Online