Story by C.J. Ramstead
Thrills at 9 MPH
of snowmobilings truly great pioneers was the late E.B. Campbell of Millinocket,
The first snowmobile dealer in Maine, Campbell took part in many early
expeditions and testing sessions for snowmobiles, working with the creators of
the Sno-Traveler (now Polaris) who came to Maine from Minnesota to experience
deep snow adventure in the remote Allagash watershed.
Many years have passed since the historic first
expedition through the Katahdin Region to Eagle Lake in 1961, but the memories
of those adventuring days live on the hearts of those who were there and those
who knew the tough minded snowmobiling pioneers who made the runs that opened
winter for all of us to follow. In February, the memory was relived when several
of the original riders and even one of the original machines from the dawn of
snowmobiling in Maine gathered in Millinocket to create the experience of that
first daring Allagash snowmobile run.
run took place largely through their efforts of E.B.'s son Steve who planned the
trip, wrote letters, persuaded the participants and organized the details during
the ten months prior to the run which began at the Northern Timber Cruisers
Snowmobile Clubhouse in Millinocket on February 17th. With the help of his
brothers Reid and Wayne, Steve not only saw his dream come true but the 11 old
time sleds all completed the 150 mile run intact!
for the memorial run were original members Paul Dougherty of New Hampshire, Dave
Johnson of Minnesota, Jim Chase of Brewer and Jack Sevigny of Sanford. The 1961
Voyager driven by Dave Johnson was the same sled he drove on the original ride
24 years ago.
was the case when they were new, the big machines required plenty of attention.
With the Campbell boys along, however, there was never a problem as these three
men can identify any part on a Sno -Traveler, the year it was in production, and
know how to use bailing wire.
route taken on this historic re-creation was as close as possible to the
original. The overnights were in roughly the same places too, such as the ranger
camp in Baxter park and the fishing camp made famous by Noodge and Patty Nugent.
On this ride, however, the grits were trucked in so everyone ate very, very
well. Many of the participants have had the opportunity to ride snowmobiles in
many different areas and under many kinds of great conditions, but they agreed
to the last man, after this nostalgic tour was over, there was never a tour that
surpassed the E.B. Campbell Memorial Allagash '85 for enjoyment. It was truly
four days of thrills on snowmobiles...... at just 9 MPH (or less).