Florida Snowman

Season Opener 2017

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What a difference a day makes!  

Yesterday Low Rider & I drove north from PA/NJ in ridiculously warm temperatures with rain on & off & many areas with dense fog.  We literally watched the snow shrinking & disappearing before our eyes.  Nothing eats snow faster than fog & there was plenty of it.   NY/VT/NH/ME & southern PQ all got decimated.   Sucks big time given the great start this year.  Oh well.  Mother Nature can be an ornery biatch sometimes.  

Once we crossed the Saint Lawrence and started climbing north on 55 the snow levels significantly increased as it normally does.  Got to Shawinigan at 4:00pm & unloaded the sleds & started organizing all our gear.   It started snowing around 5:30pm & we got about an inch.  Hit the pillow early as we wanted an early start the following morning.

 

Day 1:  Friday Jan 13th

Woke up to 25*F, clear skies & a fresh inch of light powder covering all the ice formed from yesterday's rain & melting.   The area had gotten 6" of snow the day before we arrived thank goodness.  Add some water to that & then chill makes for a good potential recipe.   Had a good hot breakfast, saddled up the sleds & pulled out at 7:15am.  Took local trail a few miles then got on 23 West.  Conditions were surprisingly good for the first 25 miles.  Then we made first tracks on perfectly groomed for the next 20 miles.  Got to Le Cabanon at 9:30am & filled up the tanks, paid the clerk & got out of town pronto.  The people at Cabanon were just waking up & getting to their sleds.  Glad it was a Friday & not a weekend.   Took 345 North up to Repos & took gas.  345 was sweet for sure.   Took the "Kanawata Express" north.  Passed Mario in his Road Grader about half way to Kanawata & waved hi.  He was going towards Repos plowing his side.  Jim (Low Rider) blew a belt on his SkiDoo.  Doing 75 MPH in 14" of fresh can do that!  Belt had 7500 miles on it.  Not bad.  Took gas in Kanawata & went in for soup & burgers.  Celine is gonzo!  I guess Mario finally had enough of her.  We met Marie his new gal.  Very nice & friendly.  We heard that Gizmo the dog has gone to doggie heaven.

After lunch we exited the parking lot right onto 345 North & the trails gods continued their blessings!  First tracks on double wide fresh groomed & flat as a pancake!  I have always loved this stretch of trail and today it was the best I have ever seen it.  Burned up to Casey where Mario had turned around last night when he groomed.  Continued 345N up to 83W.  All good & fast!  There is tons of snow up here!  Took a right onto the eastern spur for the Gouin Reservoir.  This trail was a goat path years ago.  Today it was a "10"!  First tracks yet again on fresh groomed, double wide & fast!  Burned up to the Gouin, took gas, unloaded sleds and got comfy.  Got here at 4:15pm.  Temperatures continued to drop all day long.  Gonna be much colder tomorrow.

An amazing ride today.  Any hesitation or apprehension about what we would find was completely squashed & erased.  Now is the time everyone!  

As the hardest working man in show business James Brown says:  "Get on Up"!

 

296 miles

 

Edited by Florida Snowman

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Day 2:  Saturday Jan 14th

Woke up to a much colder morning today.  Temp was -15*F with clear blue skies.  Perfect day for riding!  Had a great breakfast & pulled out at 7:45am.  I love Barrage Gouin!  Louise & Steve are great people.  We love the Walleye!  Not being sure of trail conditions on 83 going west from the Barrage Gouin feeder trail, we decided to take the road all the way to Parent.  "Autobahn Express" today for sure.  4-5" of fresh on top of hard pack.  Nice!  We fly the 60 miles to Parent where we gas up at the only game in town.  While inside asking the owner & his wife some info on 83W we were told things were groomed & opened to Clova.  They thought the trail was closed past Clova.  They let me use their phone to call Dominic Vincent, the "owner" of Clova (haha).  He wasn't at the gas/restaurant but the woman offered me his home phone number.  Dominic told me that the grooming from Clova to Balbuzard was completed yesterday & that he had spoke to the groomer who left from Senneterre coming east & had finished at Balbuzard.  Bingo.  We're good to go.  83 west all day!   We shoot the 70 miles to Clova on great trails other than the first 5-6 miles of the rerouted 83.  Gas & lunch in Clova.  Saw Dominic & spoke with him for a while.   We discussed yet again the details of the idiots who left their sleds on the railroad tracks four years ago & were hit by the train! Such a great story.

After lunch we continued west on awesome trail conditions all the way to Balbuzard.  We pulled in to see what the status was on their opening date.  There was only one guy there & he was carrying a ladder to shovel off the snow on one of the cabin roofs.  His name was Morel.  He stated that they just opened but that there is no food because the chef has not shown up yet.  The chef was supposed to show up in the next two or three days.  They also were not selling fuel yet.  That's about all I got from that conversation since Morel doesn't speak English.  

We pulled out of their lot & got back on 83W.  Rut Ro - no grooming!  We broke trail for about 5 miles & had a pow-wow.  Was the info Dominic gave us wrong?  It's about 45 miles to Lac Faillon.  We decided to continue going west.  About a mile later we had a water hole crossing to discuss. Maybe 6-9" deep.  Yes, No, Maybe?  We decided to give it a go.  Splash & we're both across on the other side.   We continue about a mile more breaking trail.   The sky had become heavy overcast and it was snowing lightly with strong winds.  Conditions were deteriorating rapidly.    The drifts were getting bigger and bigger as we climbed up a steep hill.  Look at it closely, plan your throttle response, and blast the drift. Continue to do that over and over and over again.   Where is this Groomer that supposedly opened this trail?  

To be continued.......... 

Edited by Florida Snowman

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3 minutes ago, dooright said:

From your day one , The 25 miles of trail into Gouin has to be the best trail in Quebec so far this season !  

Amazing for sure.  What an improvement over the goat path years ago that he groomed with a drag pulled behind a snowmobile!

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2 minutes ago, Florida Snowman said:

Amazing for sure.  What an improvement over the goat path years ago that he groomed with a drag pulled behind a snowmobile!

Remeber the kid who totally blew the corner and almost took me out on our way up there? Close one. 

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19 minutes ago, Florida Snowman said:

Amazing for sure.  What an improvement over the goat path years ago that he groomed with a drag pulled behind a snowmobile!

So true , Johnny's JD tractor and full size drag makes a huge difference !

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7 hours ago, iceman said:

Remeber the kid who totally blew the corner and almost took me out on our way up there? Close one. 

Yup.  Must have been from England and thought you Drive on the left side of the trail.  Close for sure!

Was that the day you got clocked on radar just before the eastern spur turn-off to Gouin?

Edited by Florida Snowman

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