In my ever expanding efforts to diversify my driving skills I’ve offered to be a driver for a variety of the unusual vehicles here in hopes of visiting some of the outlying areas and fill in the gaps of time between the recent meager dental patients. My networking skills paid off a few days ago when my buddy, Jeff, who runs the Vehicle Maintenance Facility, aka VMF, asked me to join him on a test run for a repaired Piston Bully. It’s a “Lost in Space” type of tracked vehicle used for all sorts of snow and ice travel, so I joined him after dinner and we took an evening road trip out to Castle Rock to see how the repairs would hold up. It was a beautiful time to be out on the glacier without any traffic in sight, and when it was time to turn around and head for home, I jumped at the chance when Jeff asked if I would like to drive, like a teenager who is offered the keys to a muscle car. The Piston Bully bumps and grinds it’s way across the ice and snow, and the engineers had comfort in mind as much as the designers of women’s high heels. You can’t get in too much trouble cruising at 10 mph and back in town I pulled it in to it’s parking spot on the ice next to the VMF without running any lights or through any walls.
The very next morning I got a call to learn how to drive a Delta, which is a late 1970’s Navy half truck, half personnel carrier used for taking people out on the sea ice for a variety of reasons. Almost a third of the gauges still have some life to them, although it’s anyone’s guess if what they show is at all accurate, so driving a Delta is a combination of intuition and luck. My instructor and I made it out and back, so now it’s a matter of time before I’ll get a call as a shuttle driver to take some happy campers out for a two day survival course on the sea ice. I get to return home to a warm room and hot shower while they learn how to spend the night out in the elements, and then I’ll pick them up the next day with a new appreciation or all things indoor and unfrozen. I’ve also continued working in the galley and am sporting a white chef’s jacket under my apron which is the kitchen equivalent of earning a few stripes and bars, so there’s no telling how much value that adds to my resume. Hope your roads are clear and your tracks are unclogged.