Mike Nigro cuts the engine of his Arctic Cat 1100 Snow Pro and fills his lungs with the crisp, unpolluted oxygen that’s all around him in the north woods of Wisconsin. He looks up at the night sky, and it’s the color of midnight; there are no man-made lights anywhere.
As Nigro sits atop his slumbering snowmobile, he savors the quiet respite from everything other than the sweet solace of God’s country.
This is why he’s here.
It’s the same for Nigro’s neighbor, Steve, and their friends who take their behemoth snowmobiles and invade the windblown wilderness every winter.
Of course, this isn’t the only reason they go. Nigro says he appreciates the camaraderie.
“Sometimes we’ll stop in the (middle) of the woods and just talk,” he says.
Nigro says he and his friends go sledding around Iowa, but their favorite thing to do is get up to Wisconsin and Minnesota.
“We go up to Wisconsin two to four times a year,” he says.
They take their first trip on Jan. 1 — as long as there is snow to ride on — and stay for a “strong weekend,” which Nigro defines as leaving Wednesday after work, then riding on Thursday, Friday and Saturday with a return trip on Sunday.
In Wisconsin, there is drag racing and something called a “Weenie Roast,” which involves ice bowling, polar bear swims and lots of good food.
“The food is really bad for you, but it’s awesome,” Nigro says.
This is Nigro’s fourth year snowmobiling, and the 19-below-zero temperature plus the wind-chill generated by cruising at 60 mph hasn’t deterred him in the slightest. In fact, it’s the opposite. He and his group of sled-head friends actually say they fear warm weather and pray for bitter cold and snow, because without it, they can’t ride. So not only does Nigro monitor the Iowa weather, but he also keeps tabs on Wisconsin, too.
In a good winter season, Nigro says he gets to ride about 1,200 miles, and as long as he’s surrounded by his friends and ensconced in nature’s fresh air, that’s all that matters.
Contact Darren at 953-4822 ext. 304 or firstname.lastname@example.org to recommend someone for an upcoming issue of “What’s In Your Garage?”