Well, Merry & I are back home in Jamestown, NY after a 14 hour drive from Rimouski. I wanted to let folks know what we found on our trip.
Day 1 - Rimouski to St Anne Des Monts. 171 miles Started at hotel Rimouski, snow was really slim in Rimouski, got a little better a few miles out, but thin again near Matane. Had lunch at the St Adelme club, it's a very nice clubhouse, only a couple sleds there. This was 2:00 Sunday. Stayed at Hotel & cie in St Anne Des Monts. The highlight lodging of the trip. Gas across the street. The first floor rooms are park in front of your door, very convenient to unload the sleds & move stuff 10 feet into the room. Then there's an interior door that opens into the hotel hallway - cool! The hotel was recently modeled, the room, lobby, and restaurant are very nice. The restaurant was very nice, ate at the bar with a guy who was going backcountry riding with a tour group the next couple days. There was another group of guys there from Maine.
Day 2 - St Anne Des Monts to Gaspe. 205 miles Again snow thin in the towns, good once we got out of towns. Views around Mont Pierre beautiful as usual, although it was snowing & couldn't see as well as we would have liked. A local guy took us up to where the hang gliders take off in the summer. Very nice. Stopped in Grande Vallee (I think) for gas & lunch. Snow very thin in town, skidded up the highway for a half mile or so from gas to Dixie Lee for lunch. Stayed at the Auberge sous les arbres in Gaspe. It was a very nice B&B, great local breakfast. Unfortunately, no snow in the town of Gaspe, skidding down roads & sidewalks, sled wont turn, lots of traffic. Had to dodge school kids in the morning. I hate those situations.
Day 3 - St Anne Des Monts to New Richmond. 191 miles. I wanted to ride through the Reserve ecologique de la Grand-Riviere, it's one of my favorite spots to ride. We had lunch at the Pasbebiac clubhouse, great pulled pork sandwich. It started to snow pretty hard at this point. Somewhere between Pasbebiac and New Richmond the trail was rerouted. Wow, was this horrible. One sled width wide, solid ice bumps, 5 mph tops. Luckily it only lasted a few miles. This was the only point on the trip that the Trakmaps were wrong. Got to Hotel Francis just before dark. The pub there was really neat & busy there, had a great dinner in the restaurant. Met some guys from Ottawa (I think).
Day 4 - New Richmond to Amqui. 166 miles Nice sunny riding day, stopped for lunch & gas in Pointe -a-la-Croix. A little more snow in town, things are looking up. The snow got deeper & the trails much better groomed after we left Point-a-la-Croix, & stayed great until we got to Amqui. Stayed at the Ambassador in Amqui, very well marked although weird riding through multiple hotel parking lots to get there. A couple Skidoos were already there, one had a Quebec Rider sticker on the windshield. Who was it? Didn't see them at dinner & they left while we were having breakfast. Had a great time with the bartender as she tried (unsuccessfully) to teach us some French. I guess we now understand that all nouns are masculine or feminine, & you just have to know which is which so you can apply the appropriate adjective. A little every trip I guess.
Day 5 - Amqui to Rimouski. 83 miles. Lots of riding in the mountains, tons of windmills. Got lost at one point, as the trail was on a road & the road had been recently plowed. The plowed snow was so high we missed the turn off & signs. The GPS quickly showed that we'd missed a turn, and as we returned, a groomer busted through the snowpile! Tried to talk to him, but our lack of French & his lack of English didn't work. At one point we rode up to a windmill to see it close up. Very impressive! Just a really neat day riding on lots of very deep snow & perfectly groomed trails. Got back to Hotel Rimouski about noon, checked in & went to St Hubert for lunch - our fav!
So that was the trip. The Garmin & Trakmaps more than anything else made navigating around towns & at poorly marked forks in the trails much quicker to figure out, especially when snow is thin & what few sled tracks we could see head in multiple directions. Great time, look forward to coming up again some day.
Heading to the upper peninsula of Michigan in a couple weeks with my brother from Tennessee & his son (my nephew). My nephew hasn't been on a sled before, but he passed the online Michigan snowmobile class. We'll see how he holds up for the 900 mile loop!