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Published: March 8th 2011
(Contributing Photographer-Michael Weinstein: Many thanks)
Did I mention it was blowing harder and snowing harder? The next morning we awoke to the Mother of all Blizzards. Being right on the mouth of the St. Lawrence Seaway, it was ferocious blowing off the sea. It's always hard to determine how much snow fell, but we were told the next day it was over 40 cm (16").
When we got to Matane, Gary realized that something was wrong with his rear suspension. There are several sled dealers in town and he called the Skidoo dealer and was told to bring his sled in and they would look at it. When Charlie got up and tried to ride from the motel portion of the Riotel to the restaurant for breakfast, he found that his sled would not start. The whole engine compartment under the hood was packed with snow. In addition, during one of his off-trail adventures, Rich went over the handlebars and broke his windshield mounting pins. So we have a couple repair situations to deal with.
Gary and I rode to the Skidoo dealer which was 3 km to the west. The blizzard was getting stronger and we chose
to ride right down the shoulder of the highway since the back trail would probably be impossible to find in the blizzard. It was determined that his rear springs were shot and they would have to order them. They said they would arrive the next morning. So, we rode back to the hotel. The blizzard was really bad now and visibility was down below 1/8 mile. When we got back to the hotel, we were told that the highways leading into town were closed and the internet trail reports for the Gaspesie showed that all the trails were closed, too. It was decided that we would just have to stay right here for another day to wait out the storm and deal with the sled repairs the next morning. It was the only thing we could do. With all the drifting and blowing and depth of the snow, we wouldn't have made it very far even if all the sleds were ready to go.
This means our itinerary will have to be changed and we won't be able to get all the way to the easternmost part of the peninsula in the 4 days we have left. You just
have to be flexible in this sport. There are so many factors that can change your plans, weather being the most prominent one.
So, we hung around the hotel shooting the bull and watching the blizzard get worse. The group is really a great bunch of guys. We're all getting to know one another, having the free (dead) time. A young girl, Tanya, an employee of the hotel, made coffee and popcorn for the group. The she opened the bar about 3 PM. This girl was fantastic. She was doing 3 jobs and had a great personality. She was cheerful and also had a great sense of humor. She sure made a bunch of unhappy guys feel a lot better. A couple beers didn't hurt either.
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