Episode 3: Busted in Yellowstone
Our seasonal family is now flirting with the idea of becoming convicts. We’ve been walking the edge since we arrived in West Yellowstone; dangerously teetering back and forth between lawful and unlawful. It started when we made the conscious decision to ignore the sign that said, “NO Overnight Parking.” The rebel in us spoke loud and said, “Oh hell, what’s the big deal? We did it last year!” So we not only parked our huge rig right in front of the sign, but we did it for several days straight. It made us feel alive!! That was until we got a big sign posted on our window telling us to move. So we sheepishly tucked our tails between our legs and moved; which wound up being more than a ¼ mile away from where we are staying. It must have been the lack of oxygen from the long walks back and forth to the dogs because something tapped into our rebel juices again and we got a little more lawless. You may have seen our Facebook post where we videotaped Dylan being pulled to work on a kiddie sled behind a snowmobile. Not only was this dangerous, but it produced enough laughs that we wanted more! This led us further down the path of criminality.
That’s how it works with criminals; we break a small law and get away with it and then the next one is bigger and so on until finally we wind up in the clink dressed in striped pajamas. It’s an adrenaline rush and we were feeling it. We decided to go big on our next one and this time we put three of us on a snowmobile along with a large case and then we pulled Al behind on the kiddie sled with 4 buckets of food. This felt like a felony! This crew was living dangerously and it was a rush! We were feeling the rush of adrenaline and were totally cracking up and wishing we had brought the video camera.
Then suddenly we heard Al scream something undiscernible. It was loud, but made no sense. This made us all laugh harder. Until we all simultaneously looked back to witness Al roll off the sled with the buckets of food rolling alongside him right smack into the local Police Officer’s car. It was like watching a drunk fall down and spill his cans of beer all over. Thankfully for Al, the Police Officer had anticipated a disaster and had stopped prior to rolling over him. This shouldn’t have been funny, but seeing Al scramble out of the way gathering his buckets was a little too humorous for words.
Al, being the polite guy that he is, set his buckets down as the Police Officer exited the car and went to approach him. The officer said, “Whoa! Do Not Approach! Stand Back!” Al quickly stepped back not wanting to have guns drawn. Bruce, who had stepped off the snowmobile, was standing with his hands behind his back and when the officer flashed him a glance he quickly brought his hands forward. I believe Dylan was standing behind the snowmobile; at least I hope he wasn’t lying face down in the snow. I, who must be the dumbest or biggest rebel not sure which, continued to sit on the snowmobile with my back to the officer, carrying a large black case in my lap, giggling like a junior high kid. If I had been back in Detroit, I probably would have got thrown to the ground with a piece to the side of my head. Can you tell I’m a rookie at this criminal stuff?
The police officer, who appeared to have just graduated from the academy, had wrangled himself some real rebels and they were not going to escape unscathed. Officer Younglove, as we’ll call him, proceeded to tell us in his most professional police voice, “Well, folks I am pulling you over for this!” He then waved his arms dramatically in a scanning motion to indicate all of us, our debris and our snowmobile. OH GAWD, stifle laughter! Then he proceeded to tell us he didn’t think we were allowed to pull a sled behind a snowmobile. He did know; however, that we were NOT allowed to pull someone in it because they might fall off and get run over by a car similar to what nearly happened here. “Oh Lord, stop!, I was saying in my head as I quietly tried to stifle my laughter. The officer continued, “I also DO know that you are NOT allowed to ride three on a snowmobile!” The guys just stood there nodding their heads. “It’s a safety issue,” the officer said. Oh, this was too much, I was going to die. The officer asked for Al’s driver’s license and he handed it over. He then asked Bruce who replied, “I don’t have it on me.” He asked Dylan who replied, “I don’t have mine either.” He then approached me. Here I am with my back to the officer, holding a black case and giggling like an insane escaped inmate. He approaches and then takes a slight step back when he saw the case. I quickly realized that he was concerned about its contents. I almost said, “Oh, it’s just a laser!”, but something told me to not say anything as I realized he might think I meant laser gun. Holy crap, I’m really about to burst with laughter now! Wonder Woman here is carrying a laser gun! Thankfully, he only asked for my license. Knowing that I was also going to reply, “I don’t have mine either.” I could barely keep from laughing out loud. It was too funny. Four, supposedly responsible adults, out riding three on a snowmobile, pulling a guy on a sled with a bunch of dog food at 6 miles per hour and none of us have id on us. Really? The Officer seemed a little taken aback that none of us had any identification. Who were these unidentifiable law breakers? Then very seriously he said, “I’ll need your full name so I can look you up while I’m checking into the law on pulling a sled.” He asked me for my full name, spelling, date of birth and middle initial. The rebel in me started wondering if I was getting the ticket. What the hell? I’m the middle passenger, they all hop off the snowmobile, leave me sitting there and now I’m going to get the ticket? Something very powerful told me to keep my mouth shut and I proceeded to answer the questions with a smile and a stupid shit eating grin. Much to my relief he proceeded to ask the rest of the crew for their names and birthdates. When he got to Dylan he asked, “Full Name?” to which Dylan replied, “Dylan Harris” The officer repeated, “Dylan?” “Yes, like Bob Dylan” this brought forth a full snort of laughter from me as I realized that the youthful Officer Younglove probably had no idea who the aging rock star was let alone how he spelled his name. Shoot, I was surprised even Dylan knew who he was!
After the officer got all our info he explained that while he waited for an answer on the sled towing law, he would call all of our names in to check on our driving records. If everyone’s was clear, he would let us go with just a warning. At which point we all looked at each other and someone said, “Does anyone have anything they want tell us?” Al then starts to ask the officer if he can leave to go feed the dogs (such handler loyalty), but that powerful force that kept Monica’s mouth shut also stopped Al mid-sentence. The officer returned to his vehicle and Al proclaimed he was just trying to make a break for it. We started laughing and very stupidly proceeded to discuss making a break for it with the snowmobile. One could take the snowmobile and the rest could scatter. I told the guys if they left me I was turning them all in. More loud laughter. We were having far too much fun considering we were 5 feet from the back of a police car. Then we heard a snowmobile approaching and realize Officer Younglove had called in reinforcements. This was gut busting funny. Another officer pulled up. Oh my gawd, this isn’t happening. We realized that Officer Younglove’s window has been open the whole time we were discussing fleeing. Oh man we could be in deep doo doo!
Then as if we aren’t stupid enough already, one of us mentioned it would be great if the officer had us on video! Maybe we could ask for a copy to post on Facebook. At this point, we were nearly peeing ourselves with laughter much to the chagrin of the officers.
The newest officer came over and asked us what was in the buckets. Probably, hoping we were running cocaine by sled. We replied meat for the dogs; which led into a discussion on the cost of meat and how expensive it must be to feed dogs. Meanwhile, we were thinking, “Yes, so please don’t give us a ticket. We’ve already had to take out a loan to pay for tires on this trip.”
Finally, Officer Younglove exited the vehicle and said that we all had clean records so he was letting us go with a warning. We were also not allowed to pull the sled behind the snowmobile. We quit smiling. The thought of pulling 4 buckets of meat ¼ mile in the altitude pretty much stunk. The newest Officer then chimed in with a smile and said, “It’s a very dangerous thing doing what you did.” We all nodded with our heads bowed looking like scorned children, except me I was still smiling. He continued, “One guy was killed not too long ago for the same thing. Well sort of. After he fell off the sled, his buddy came back and ran him over. Granted they were drunk, but someone could get seriously hurt.” Oh, thank gawd we weren’t drunk!
The officers bid us on our way and wished us a good day. We followed orders and got to pulling the sled by hand. We see an officer every day now as they drive by our cabin. We must be on the Yellowstone watch list. So every day we walk and pull, walk and pull. We’re getting good exercise for damn sure, but we’re exhausted. The more I think about it the more I get worked up. Why can’t we pull a sled behind the snowmobile with just the buckets. Who cares if a bucket gets killed? This mushing business is tough enough without this extra work. Walking ¼ mile pulling 200 pounds of food, in altitude, in slippery/slimy snow in snowy/cold conditions. It’s just not fair.
We’ve decided we were treated unfairly and are going to stage a protest. We are gathering all mushers in the area to come support us. Every musher is going to come to the center of town and we are letting all our dogs loose. They will run in and out of the shops, down the roads and terrorize the tourists. It will virtually shut down the town as dogs wreak havoc! We will be carrying signs that say, “Musher’s Lives Matter!” and “Dogs Pull – Not Humans!” We’re hoping this will get them to start treating Musher’s with sympathy and that the laws will change. If that doesn’t work, we’re thinking of violently throwing meat.
In the meantime, we will be setting up a Go Fund Me Account to help us pay for a motorized meat wagon. This will be of great assistance in saving our physical health for the race. So please help us!!
DISCLAIMER: In all seriousness, the officers were extremely professional and friendly and we appreciate the work they do. This is all in good humor and by no means intends to disrespect the police or anyone else. We realize that, “We were very, very bad mushers!”
Next Episode of Furred & Afraid, Stinky & Delayed will be announced soon!