The mystery of the storm-drain snowmobile

Speaking of Coastal Cleanup Day, did you see the city’s list of strangest items found in Stockton’s storm drain system?

Paint cans, bicycles, car tires, food truck grease, strollers and car seats, stereo speakers, suitcases, vehicle batteries, bowling balls, and… No. 1 on the list…

A snowmobile.

Come again?

There had to be a great story behind that. Who in Stockton even owns a snowmobile, not to mention decides to stuff it down a manhole somewhere?

So I checked in with the Municipal Utilities Department. And alas, it may not have been a snowmobile at all.

The MUD employee who put together the list remembered former utility director Mark Madison saying something about a motorcycle having been found in the storm-drain system. But she also spoke with some long-time employees in the office who recalled that it had been a snowmobile, and that’s how it earned its spot atop the list.

I emailed Madison, who now works in Elk Grove. “I actually recall it being a motorcycle with a fairing,” he responded. A fairing is an outer shell that might make a bike look a little more like a snowmobile… I guess…

“We found it in a storm maintenance hole in Holman Road, just south of the Auto Center. I never figured out how somebody stuffed (it) in there and I think our crews had to tear it up just to get it out,” Madison wrote.

Snowmobile, motorcycle, pish posh. Either way, there’s some mighty interesting trash out there, and if you participate in Saturday’s cleanup event you just might win a prize for the strangest item found.

Let the treasure hunting begin.

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  • Blog Author

    Alex Breitler

    A native of Benicia, he lives in Stockton with his wife, Ann, who forces him to go backpacking in the Sierra Nevada or Trinity Alps at every opportunity. He has been writing mostly about natural resources since 2003, first in Redding and now in ... Read Full
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