Calgary snowmobile

Dennis has a tale of crashing an old Elan skidoo into a cop car

I was driving to work this morning when I saw snowmobile tracks on the side of the road. It reminded me of the time me and my buddy Chubby had to drive from Calgary to Edmonton on an old Elan skidoo. Let me tell you about it.

We were stranded in Calgary because Chubby blew his pogey cheque at the Stampede Casino. He tried to blame me cause I talked him into going there and we got cleaned out. I was going to college in Edmonton and heard through the grapevine that my landlord had thrown all my stuff onto the street for non-payment. So I was in a bit of a bind. We started hitch-hiking early the next morning and got picked up by a guy in a beat-up old truck that had a hand-painted sign on the side that said, “Sal’s Salvage.” It was mid-November and we were happy for the ride. He said he was only going as far as Olds, but would gladly take us there. When he asked us where we were from and I said Inuvik, he damned near drove off the road. He told us he used to drive taxi and bootleg in Inuvik back in the ‘60s. We had a good laugh about the old days all the way to Olds, talking about his best customers and all the shenanigans they got into. 

When we got there, he pulled off the side of the road like he was going to let us out. Then he said he always felt bad for selling bootleg whiskey to our people and wanted to pay them back somehow. We suggested he give us $500 and we’d make sure we split it even with his surviving customers. He just laughed and said he barely had five bucks in change. He said he had an idea.

We pulled into his junk yard in Olds and he said he’d give us a car to get home with as some kind of payback. But none of the three he tried to start actually started. He had an old Elan skidoo buried under a pile of tires and tarps which I dug out as he was trying to boost another car. 

I cranked on that old Elan skidoo and I’ll be damned if it didn’t start. It was blowing blue smoke and we had to run for cover or get gassed. But it ran. I told Sal we’d take the Elan instead. He was laughing like a hyena as we pulled out of his yard. We had to drive down in the ditch cause we were doggone near causing a pile-up along highway two as cars and trucks came to sliding stops to gawk at a couple of fools driving down the highway on a skidoo. Plus all them vehicles coming at us at 60 miles an hour was unnerving. 

Somebody must have called the cops cause just before Bowden a cop car tried to pull us over. He was telling us through a bullhorn to pull up to the road. I knew we’d be in some kind of trouble and I was in no mood for trouble, so we just kept driving along the ditch with him yelling at us to stop. Then he took off. And about half an hour later, two RCMP on big ATV’s pulled up beside us and were waving at us to pull over. I knew damned well we hadn’t done anything wrong, so I wasn’t going to pull over. Plus it was getting dark and we had to find a place to make camp. 

They tried to block us, but they forgot I won the Elan race at the Muskrat Jamboree year before. I outmaneuvered them as they tried to prevent us from getting past them. I slowed down and pretended I was going to stop. But the last minute I gunned it and took off between them. They gunned their ATVs and crashed head-on and flipped over each other. When I looked back I saw one of them pull out his gun and shoot in the air. I sure as heck wasn’t gonna get shot over a little speeding ticket, so I took off.

But at the next overpass, there were about 20 RCMP cars and two helicopters. One said RCMP AIR PATROL, and the other said, CTV NEWS. I tried to jump over those cops cars like Smokey and the Bandit but we didn’t have enough speed and slammed into the side of the RCMP cruiser. Good thing we flew right over top or we sure would have got hurt. 

We got charged for evading capture, but got bailed out by Lanny McDonald from the Calgary Flames who just happened to be watching the news. We jumped bail and headed back to Inuvik. Then one winter, the NHL old-timers played in Inuvik against the Town Ookpiks and I was time keeping. Lanny was coming up the ice with the puck and when he saw me, did a double take, then ran into the boards. I jumped out the back and took off. If you ever see him tell him I’ll pay him back.

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