My eyes pop open at 3 a.m. It’s the middle of the night in a small village on the Euro-Asian border. I start to chuckle. Still in a dream state, I simply can’t comprehend this is real. I’m in Russia on a snowmobile trip in the Ural Mountains. I’ve ridden all over North America, but nothing will ever top my adventure with Borodin, Roman, Igor, Sergey and Vlad.
In 2011, an email arrived from Russia. Against my better judgment, I opened it. The brief message was from an avid snowmobiler who wanted to attend the International Snowmobile Congress and was looking for assistance. A snowmobiler in need – how could I refuse? I helped with logistics and more importantly, found him an interpreter.
Evgeniy Borodin arrived a few months later and we hit it off. He insisted I fly over and ride with him. I wasn’t very worldly, so being invited to Russia was like being invited to a distant galaxy. I prefer pulling my trailer behind a pickup to my own special places.
But it’s good for one to break out of his comfort zone, and last year snowfall just wasn’t happening in the eastern reaches of North America. Borodin knew that. I finally gave in to his endless stream of emailed photos of armpit-deep Russian snows, and booked a flight.