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January 23-26 2014, Tail of 2 Ferry Crossings and a Bridge!


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Thursday January 23, 236 miles, (Quebec City to Les Escoumins)

Plan was route 3 north all the way. We decided to head out of the Sheraton 4 points and avoid any potential icy conditions from St-Foy. We have been out here for the ice hotel a few times, but never stayed here. Wow, very nice and not too expensive. The huge parking lot is very nice also.

Our worries were for nothing as it was good going right away, and 30 miles north you were in the Mont St-Ann area and then into the Baie St-Paul area and the snow depth really increased tremendously. At 3000 feet in elavationThe traffic was light and the conditions excellent! There was fresh snow in the trees, and the trails were groomed perfectly! As usual the last 40 miles to the Tadoussac - Baie-Sainte-Catherine ferry is a bit tiring, as there are record setting turns per mile.

Good news is the trails were smooth. After crossing the ferry we headed up to the club house in Les Escoumins. We looked for the old 314 after the crossing, but the trail is a bit different and we did not see the turn off for it. We went inside to warm up and get something to drink and visit with the relay operators for a bit.

We got back on the trail to finish the 20 miles to the hotel Hotelier Pelchat. I really like this place, nice to park your sled outside your door. We got cleaned up and got dinner at the restaurant across the street overlooking the Saint Lawrence Seaway at darkness+.

Awesome day, beautiful conditions and very light traffic., (perfect for us). Gas is easy on this run, all on the trail in the towns, no expensive relay gas.

Edited by markusvt
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Nice Run Mark, headed for Sept Isles Saturday. Hotel Pel Chat one of my favorite stops. Yeah the 314 is No more. On the Escoumins end past club house near Hydro Quebec lines the 314 is there and is a dead end that goes no where. it does not go to Tadoussac anymore.

Edited by iceman
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Friday January 24, 198 miles, (Les Escoumins - Baie-Comeau).

Yesterday we had one sled in the group overheating. Plenty of snow, and -16F but still not behaving right. We got it to the local BRP dealer in town at 8:00AM sharp to take a look. We called in our BRP contacts and they had the dealer change the thermostat and bleed the system while we ate breakfast. The good news is today was a short day anyway on the way to a 5:00 PM ferry departure in Baie-Comeau to Matane. The dealer had us on our way by 11:00.

The trails up to and out of Forestville were AWESOME! In the first 100 miles we saw 3 groomers and 2 sleds, (we like these numbers). The trails were so wide and so smooth, they should have been illegal. No sign of any warming trend up here.

We had a quick lunch at the MacDonald’s when we got gas. Not the preferred lunch but we needed to get to the ferry by 4:15. We spent a few minutes taking pictures of the suspension bridge in Baie-Comeau. It is after all the longest suspension bridge in the world, and pretty darn high too. We were there in the daylight, but not by a lot.

We had never taken this ferry before, (we had taken the Godbout ferry 55 more miles north). We were eying the GPS and the trail signs when one of the locals offered to lead us to the ferry. He asked his passenger if it was OK, she gave him the thumbs up and we were off. This took some stress away as we were now cutting it close on time and could not miss the turn or it would be a morning ferry for sure. The trail was groomed the whole way except the last mile or so down to the ferry. Coming off the mountains and down to the ferry was really, really, cool. Very nice views of the seaway for sure.

We pulled up at 4:15 on the money. We had reservations, but as it turns out the boat was lightly loaded and we would have fit no problem. There were 2 other guys there that had taken the ferry across to snowmobile the Mont-Valins area and were heading home. We got food on the boat and relaxed for the 2.5 hour trip across. The ice was solid and this boat makes some very odd noises smashing through it at 18mph.

We were the last ones off the ferry. Sure wish I had a set of wheels for the skis! The groomed trail starts in the ferry parking lot, and .4 miles later we were in the hotel in Matane.

Nice day, unbelievable trails and some cool features to the trip. I do think the GodBout ferry in the morning makes for a better trip as its way nicer to see the crossing in the daylight.
























Edited by markusvt
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Saturday January 25, 214 miles, (Matane - Rivière-du-Loup).

We were expecting the worse here. Less snow, more ice, and terrible conditions. Say what? It was great right out of the lot! The temps were finally above 0F for a change, (this has been a cold January). Plenty of snow here, maybe as good as it gets? We mainly stayed on the 5 the whole way down.

It was all very smooth, nice, very fast running all the way to Rivière-du-Loup. Now coming off the mountains and down into town the last 6 miles were not pretty, but I have never seen them good. It was wind blown icy snirt, but ridable for sure just to get to the hotel and back 1 time. We pulled into the Universal ready for a nice room, and we get the word all folks with reservations for the day are being turned away. Oops


The big fire on the news was only 10 miles away and the local police were staying extra nights in the hotel causing the dilemma. They had us loosely pre-booked in another hotel, so off we went another 15 miles by trail to get there clear on the other side of town.

No big deal, it was a nice place and pretty cheap.

We took a taxi to La Cage aux Sports for ribs, beers and hockey. Does it get any better than this?










Edited by markusvt
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Sunday January 30, 2014, 224 miles, (Rivière-du-Loup - St-Nicolas).

Bummer this was the last day for a 4 day trip. We only needed to ride down the 5 back to Hôtel Bernières, and catch a cab back to the truck. We cut a lot of the Rivière-du-Loup snirt riding in town by taking one of the side trails instead of the 85, wow, way nicer and plenty of snow. I was not expecting great conditions for the day, but I was wrong.

The groomed double wide trail on the 5 was awesome, and the whole day we had lots of snow. We ate lunch at Relay Hiboux, where 5 turns off the small stretch of railbed, never ate there before but it was really nice. The nice thing about this run is you have many options to take side trails here and there.

The snow was a little thin in the Montmagny fields, but not bad at all for the few minutes you are there.

The only real adversity was the very HIGH winds. This made for a bit tough going here and there. You almost got blown off your sled on the river running, and the drifts in the fields were huge at times. In a way, it was fun not knowing when the next drift would appear!

We got to Hôtel Bernières in St-Nicolas at 3:30, and got a cab back to the trucks at the 4 points, ($45).

In no time we were loaded and headed for home, ( me wishing the trip had not ended so soon).

The plan came together, lots of snow, smooth trails and almost no traffic.

Trip total of 872 miles.





Edited by markusvt
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  • 1 month later...

I am leaving from Vermont Monday at 6 am headed to RDL and going to continue on Tuesday to the ferry in Matane. Basically we are going to do this same trip in reverse. Monday will be a long 465 mile ride and Tuesday we will need to move right along to make the ferry in Matane(185 miles) for the 2pm crossing! After that we are gonna slow it down a little bit and take 3 days riding down TQ3, crossing the river in Quebec City to Bernieres and back to Vermont on Friday sometime. Glad I came across this!

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You will have to get up early and ride steady to make the ferry. You should try to be at the terminal by 1pm.

That is our plan. On the sleds 6-6:15 and hit it hard!!! Get across and have an early night after doing 460+ miles on Monday!
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I am leaving from Vermont Monday at 6 am headed to RDL and going to continue on Tuesday to the ferry in Matane. Basically we are going to do this same trip in reverse. Monday will be a long 465 mile ride and Tuesday we will need to move right along to make the ferry in Matane(185 miles) for the 2pm crossing! After that we are gonna slow it down a little bit and take 3 days riding down TQ3, crossing the river in Quebec City to Bernieres and back to Vermont on Friday sometime. Glad I came across this!

Godspeed Nowa. That is an ambitious Day 1 and making good time in the Eastern Townships can be a challenge. Are you leaving from Derby?

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  • 2 weeks later...

I rode to my friends place in Morgan Vt from Derby on Sunday and spent the night there all loaded and ready to go! We left Morgan at 6:15 and crossed at Norton Customs then wasted no time passing thru Weedon very early and Thetford Mines somewhere around 11am! From therewe made our way to TQ35 and the railbed where we made great time! We got to the closed bridge on 35 before 5pm and took the local trail to Clubhouse Hiboux where we took a well deserved break as we were only 60 miles from Hotel Universal. Pulled in around 7:15 that night! Tuesday we were outta RDL around 8:15 and made it to the ferry a few minutes after noon! The fastest 189 miles I ever did! After crossing we went north about 12 miles to a clubhouse I knew about from a previous trip then we got a room for the night at Petite Manoir. A very nice place priced ridiculously low!! Hit the trail a little later on Wednesday headed to the casino on another perfectly sunny day! Trails were also perfect!! Made it to the ferry in Tadousac around 4pm and crossed. The next section of TQ 3 was the best I had ever seen it!! Perfect 10!! After 300+ miles we got to the Casino around 9pm after some issues with the zipper on my jacket. I had to be wrapped in electrical and duct tape and wrapped in turtlenecks! The top zipper broke in 3 pieces!! In the morning I cut a zipper off of 1 of my pockets and got it on and working in 10 minutes!! That was the beginning of a long day!! Saw a Team Iceman sticker near the burned down relais right on the 3 of a TQ 3 sign!! 100 yards from relais 115 my buddy put a stud thru his heat exchanger! it was 11am! Marco from Performance in St Anne du Beaupre sent his guy with a trailer and got us fixed up!! Great group of guys!! Fixed obvious hole then went to Marcos shop to fill it and found another leak in front heat exchanger! it was 5pm! Called the welder who was home eating dinner and he said bring it back NOW!!! got on the trail at 7pm. last crossing in Quebec City is at 9pm so we waste no time and make it there for 8:20! Stayed at Bernierres that night. Friday its back to Vermont! We took a bunch of longer routes so we weren't home too early and were back in Weedon fueling up for the last time at 4:30. 15 miles out of there another stud thru the heat exchanger!!!! I towed him to East angus to Petit Sarah where we called for our buddy to get us with a trailer. Crossed at Norton and I met some friend so I could ride back into Derby where I started. Shoulda left it in the trailer. 3 miles from the house in Derby I put a stud thru my heat exchanger!! It was still a Phenominal trip with the best conditions I have ever seen, mile after mile!!




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That sure is a cool loop , sounds like it for you guys with a little adventure added in !

Oh , as of 2012 I've been mostly done with studded tracks .... ice ripper/attack for me now.

I had a 1/4 season replacement sled with regular studs last year ..... stud ripped out and track blew right out the back about a mile form Windigo to seal the deal.

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I stopped running studs back around 1999!! I started running them around 2007 again without a major failure. I think low snow conditions at the beginning of the season and high milage were a factor but I'm done with them again!!! Probably gonna go with an Ice Ripper!! Iceman approved!!

Edited by nowa
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Sounds like you had a great trip and conditions. Cote More is certainly one of my favorite areas to ride.

Last time I rode up TQ3 and stayed in Baie Comeau then rode back down the next day. Crossing on the ferry was the way to go!! It is a great area!
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