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The Boys of Hummer

She's got me there.

I guess driving a Hummer is a yuppier version of tractor pulls or demolition derbies: Lots of gears and moving parts and noise are involved, and that excites some people, mostly men.

It would seem at first blush that Hummers are out of place at a posh resort with a golf course that hosts the PGA Tour and a spa carefully designed to create a feng shui harmony, with rippling water and aromatherapy and thick white robes. But the Hummer perfectly fits the demographics of Nemacolin, says resort spokesman Jeff Kmiec. After all, the H1 costs in the neighborhood of $120,000. A two-hour ride with instruction at Nemacolin is $275, with the price dropping to $100 an hour after that. If you bring your own Hummer, the cost is $125 for a two-hour session.

True, participants tend to show up in jeans and sweat shirts, but the latter are likely emblazoned with the logo of an Ivy League school, the jeans and shoes by L.L. Bean or Banana Republic.

"It's a chance for professionals to let loose and feel like outdoorsmen," says Kmiec. Sometimes, participants are considering buying a Hummer and want to see what it's like first. Sometimes they've already bought one and want to learn how to use it.

"It's an incredibly popular attraction," says Kmiec. "Some people come solely for the Hummer."

But I don't know any Hummer people; I'm still alone in an adventure built for three (plus the instructor).

Luckily, I happened to mention the upcoming trip to my sister-in-law, Ruth Alpert, mother of twin boys.

"Oh, my goodness," she said. Samuel and Benjamin have plastered their bedroom walls with pictures of Hummers. They know all the specifications and could tell me every little thing about the different models even though they've never seen one up close. Being in a Hummer would be a dream come true, the apex of their 10 years so far on Earth.

Hummer instructor Jordan Weyand pulls in front of the ski lodge to find two very excited boys, who lunge toward the vehicle the moment it stops. Samuel and Benjamin each beg for a turn sitting in the driver's seat. They want to push the button that automatically inflates and deflates the tires and to pull all switches within reach. Weyand indulges them while they rev the engine and honk the horn and turn the lights on and off.


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