I am outside wandering around the parking lot of the motel drinking coffee and smoking a cigarette when I can’t resist taking a better look at this old style passenger snow cat type sled out by the main drag. It is mechanical, has a motor, looks old so I am naturally attracted and start looking her over in detail. She has the name DeLacy painted on the door right above where my hand was as I slowly pulled the handle to see if it was locked. It wasn’t locked and I looked inside. Wow, this looks like a Hot Rod, its got a sun super tach, wooden homemade dash, a B&M ratchet shifter and a huge old looking steering wheel. The bucket seats in front are custom and the seating in the back is shaped in a horse shoe pattern.
“She’s a beauty isn’t she”
Oh no, busted!
“I’m the driver of that sled, been driving this one for 18 years.” Mike had walked up behind me and started giving me the history of DeLacy. She was designed and built by a fella named Bombardier and the snow coaches as they are called are also called Bombardiers. Built originally in 1939, they essentially use the same design now as they did then. They were used for school buses, rescues, mail and military transport and they are still used for that today only now they are mainly used for tourist. I will have more pics in my main website since it is truly a motorhead wonder once you start looking at it. This one has a 5.3 liter chevy vortec , fuel injected with a turbo 400 transmission. Mike was there because in the summer he provides hotel shuttle service for tourists and was waiting for his South African passengers to come down from their room. Mike has lived in West Yellowstone all his life and considers himself one of the luckiest guys alive. I agree he just might have one of the best jobs ever. He said that he was just an ol hippy and didn’t need much to make him happy. He bummed a smoke from me and I offered him a light. “oh no this is for later after I dump the passengers off” I asked if he needed matches to take with him and he replied, “no I have a lighter so I can smoke a bowl after I let them off at the airport” I see where the old hippy thing comes from now.
I wandered downtown to the main drag in West Yellowstone seeking a cup of coffee from the little coffee stand I spied the night before. I found it, bought a cup of jo and sat down and there was Paul. First thing i noticed was a grey ponytail hanging out from under his doo rag and a tattoo of an eagle on his neck. Both hands covered with tats and all of the tats were black. They looked like prison tats to me, the kind done with black ink from pens and done with crude instruments. Paul spoke first and then Paul spoke some more and Paul spoke last, Paul like to talk. He is from Lake Charles Louisiana and now lives in New Mexico because that is where the railroad started sending his checks so he figured they wanted him to move and work there. He wants to move, too much crime he says. He is retired from the rail road now and travels around on his motorcycle looking for a woman. Most he finds think he is too old and most say they already had one like him and traded it in for a younger better looking model. Paul had lots of stories and was great coffee company. For some reason I expected Paul to still be there when I left town later that morning telling stories, but he was gone.
On every corner of West Yellowstone there are buffalo statues painted by different artists. I really like this one and wondered what it would look like in my pasture. Maybe I should come back August 29th and buy in one in the auction that benefits the downtown urban renewal projects.
Gotta go get wet and been saving lots of money on sun screen.
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