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AUTHENTIC QUEBEC - PART DEUX


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By: Matt Lester, Photos: Mike Lester

Friday, January 27, 2012

Sometimes a snowmobile trip turns into much more than what you originally planned for. A few critical errors, on our part, paved way for an adventure we'll be talking about for a long time.

Since this was a saddlebag trip, we would be taking only the essentials needed to get by... like a fresh pair undies and our credit cards.

As we ventured out from Auberge du Vieux Moulin it didn't take long to lose ourselves in the thrill of the ride along some of the most magnificent, groomed snow highways we've ever seen.

The scenery in the Authentic Quebec region is absolutely stunning as well and the combination of these two things had us giddy like children and not paying attention to direction.

So 50 miles into our 500 mile adventure, we were feverishly backtracking to... well... get back on track and failed to realize one of the saddlebags had slipped off the side of the sled.

Following Mike a few hundred yards back, at a comfortable pace, I began to see strange things appear on the trail. First, a sweater. That/s weird. Then a winter hat and socks. Why would someone leave that on the trail? As I approached the next straightaway Mike was sideways in the middle of the trail and it quickly became apparent what had happened.

The saddlebag had been sucked up into the track and was jammed way up in the tunnel with a pair of long johns stretched like a bungie cord around the entire track. This wasn't in the plan!

With Vern leading the way off in the distance Mike and I were stuck at the scene to perform minor surgery uncoiling the gear from the drive axle and getting the saddlebag unstuck. Luckily, other than a bent idler wheel, a gaping hole in the saddlebag (photo) and some now air-conditioned garments, damage was relatively minor.

Quebec is a wonderful place to be a snowmobiler for a multitude of reasons, one of which is because there's always an amenity not too far away.

It might be a hotel, a restaurant or gas station. In our case we were thrilled that just one mile away was one of the area's finest Ski-Doo dealerships in Saint-Michel-des-Saints called Location de Motoneige Haute Matawinie www.locationhautematawinie.com.

Mike's sled was still ride-able so we limped into the dealership right around lunchtime. Saint-Michel-des-Saints was just buzzing with snowmobilers and the service department at the dealership was jammed packed.

When the guys at the counter heard where we were supposed to be heading that day (La Tuque - about 200 miles away), they bumped us to the front of the line and had us out of there in half an hour with a new idler, a saddlebag and, of course, a pack of bungies to strap down those bags - something we'll remember for next time.

Check in soon to see what happened next. Here's a hint... always fill up with fuel when you have the chance!

Visit www.snowmobilecountry.ca for more information on Authentic Quebec.


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