This week's episode The Jealous Stepfather begins with our rangers returning home to Knotty Pine down a remote snow-covered road. The boys are not riding horses or driving a jeep or truck. They are riding in the comfort of Big Pine's "snowmobile."
When I think of a snowmobile I picture something like a motorcycle on snow tracks and skis with seating for a rider and maybe a passenger. The Big Pine "snowmobile" that Ranger Bill and the boys built is nothing like my idea of a snowmobile.
Ranger Bill's "snowmobile" is actually a station wagon or SUV size car on great big skis. And this snow car doesn't use snow or tank tracks to get around. It uses a propeller like an airplane! The best way to describe this is to say it's an airboat or swamp buggy on snow. An airboat is a flat-bottomed boat that uses an aircraft type propeller to push the boat around swamps, everglades, and bayous. The "snowmobile" is pushed over the snow by a propeller on the rear. Bill's snow car keeps going in all kinds of weather and on all kinds of ice and snow. It is the winter workhorse of Big Pine National Forest.
You can hear about the "snowmobile" in RB034 Piggyback, this week's RB041 The Jealous Stepfather, and RB203 A Miss Is As Good As A Mile.