Aug 8, 2015

I spent the last two weeks trying to work out a fix for the narrow snowmobile track boardwalks that got installed on July 25 – 26.   Luckily, I have Solidworks CAD access at work, so I could draw things up and do “what if” scenarios with various ideas.  I also put together one boardwalk at home so that I could build prototypes and see how things fit together and looked.  After trying out several ideas, I came up with simple, treated wood, 10inch wide “wings” that could be installed on either side of the sno-track boardwalks.  This would make them go from 15″ wide to 35″ wide.  I designed them to be as easy to install as possible.  I got them all built up ahead of time, which was quite a job since I needed 2 times 110 feet of “wings”.  Needless to say, I was highly motivated to get the boardwalk problem fixed and into the rear view mirror.  I was loaded up and ready to go on the evening of Aug 7th.

I gave myself two days to get the “wings” installed.  I hadn’t asked anyone for any help.  I pulled into the cabin driveway very early in the morning.  Hauling was the first order of business.  It was going to take several trips.  When I got back from dropping off the first load I found John Otto parked at the end of the Northeast Extension.  He had planned to do some brushing for the Enduro.  We talked briefly and I told him what I was up to.  Without being asked, he dropped what he was doing and started pitching in to get this project done.  By sheer luck he had his ATV, rather than a bike, along on this trip.

Another load or two and we finished hauling all of the stuff, including some extra lumber to support the edges of the “wings” if they needed it.  The “wings” were made in three different lengths, based on the known lengths of the boardwalks.  We grabbed the first 12ft long “wing” and got started.   After a little digging and shimming it looked like a fit, so we screwed it into place.  I won’t say that it was easy, but it wasn’t too bad.

And so it went, one “wing” at a time; digging, shimming and fastening.  We started on the dryer end of the long rut, and things started to flow as we figured out the formula for getting the “wings” set and attached.  It took all of 9 hours (11 for me) from start to finish to get the whole thing done.  Shortly after we got the first half of the job done, play riders started showing up at the site.  This gave us a chance to see bikes using a long, completed section of the modified design.  The boardwalks were now easy to ride on, and we got a few “thank you”s for making the trail improvements.    I’m still concerned that the construction might come apart from extended use.  We’ll just have to see how things pan out over time.  In the meantime, it’s the most unique fix that we’ve installed.  A long, curved boardwalk with snowmobile tracks running down the center.  You won’t confuse it with any other fix anywhere else.