CHICAGO — After deciding it would be more cost-effective, a Chicago man hauled his first-ever snowmobile over 400 miles on top of his Chevy Malibu.
Tommy Mecher, 22, of Jefferson Park, knew something could have been brewing on Facebook after his Jan. 3 trip to Bessemer, Michigan.
“I thought something was going to happen because there were people speeding down the highway trying to take pictures,” Mecher said.
Sure enough, when he logged onto Facebook after snowmobiling in the rolling hills of Michigan’s Northwoods, a video of his journey went viral in the “Official Wisconsin Snowmobile Enthusiast Club.”
Mecher has been snowmobiling for around six years, but used other family member’s snowmobiles and never had one of his own.
He recently bought a used 1990 Polaris Indy 500 snowmobile with the goal of fixing it up.
“A buddy of mine of selling it. It was kinda a fixer-upper,” Mecher said. “It just needed some simple repairs.”
Mecher had no problem fixing it, but turned to an idea he previously saw online to avoid the expensive cost of renting a trailer to haul it.
He built a support rack on top of his 2005 Chevy Malibu, using six straps and plywood, to carefully shift the snowmobile’s weight away from the middle of the car.
Mecher and his friend then rocked it back and forth to make sure it was sturdy and then went on a test run.
He went to work in Highland Park Friday, then took off to Bessemer for two days of snowmobiling. Snow was a foot and a half deep last weekend.
Mecher said he never felt for his safety, but remarked the most dangerous part was all of the cars speeding up to him on the highway to take pictures.
“That was the only thing that was dangerous,” Mecher said. “People trying to take pictures of me on the highway.”
He said no police officers stopped him on his journey, but he did “get a comedic double take” from a Highland Park officer.
“In gas alone I saved 100 bucks,” Mecher said.
According to U-Haul, a trailer used to haul something from the city to the Northwoods would range from $234 to $312.
Mecher left the snowmobile at his dad’s property in the Northwoods, but said he would absolutely haul it again on top of his Malibu. He hopes to be able to take it to the Rockies someday.