Sunday, August 30, 2009

Quebec Part Deux!

ok, so just when you think things can't be topped.. we had a totally different experience for our second day of riding...
Doug and I got up early and headed out from Roberval, and made our way to Saint David de Falardeau. Our home for the rest of the trip.. Auberge Carcajou, we arrived in time to get unpacked and have an early lunch before we headed out for the afternoon. This spot is fantastic if you don't want to bring your atv's, or don't have any.. they have rentals and guides available to make your trip that much easier! Charles was our fearless leader for the day and we headed out behind him not sure what to expect!

We were able to convince Nancy that she should come along with us again today.. HOWEVER not as a passenger....! ERRR yesterday would have been better trails for a beginer.. but boy she didn't hold us back and she even got thru a lot of mud and muck!!! Best yet she's alive and enjoyed it!! Maybe this winter we'll get her on her own snowmobile!! ???

This area, know as the Saguenay & fjords, has some very hilly terrain.. ok yes they are mountains! the local club was even out in full force with a backhoe cleaning up the trail. Our destination was a look out.. wayyyyyy up, this riding was awesome! Really bumpy and some very steep sections.. I was smiling.... the entire ride.. i think maybe nancy was cringing and clenching her jaw... but the view from the top was well worth it!!

Err now to come down.. we just kept enticing Nancy with what Emy had created for dinner... All I could think about was how fantastic lunch was... (ok i'm actually salivating thinking about what we had for dinner) This gal can cook! everything is fresh from the area and a lot of it is even on site! There was Lamb, Salmon and chicken to choose from.. I guess I was asking too much for one of each! I have had a few meals at 5 star locations... this is right up there with them.. a nice homey atmosphere with brand new rooms.. Mark my word this is going to be the "spot" to go!


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Quebec! Saguenay Lac St. Jean...

I searched out this location in the winter.. for my first ride.. why? Because the snow falls early there and leaves late.. it's also well known for the trail system and hospitality.. After visiting Saguenay Lac-St- Jean, Quebec.. I knew I had to go back!!! and with miles and miles of interconnecting ATV trails and outstanding hospitality it was a win win situation for me! Most of my trips have been ride, ride, ride.... this time we took it easy, I think people were feeling a little bit guilty making me ride while pregnant... Doctor said it was ok..I ride! to quote him, " no big doubles,no jumps, keep all 4 wheels on the ground not upside down." so that's what i have been doing. :) So when Nancy Donnelly ( of tourisme Saguenay-Lac St Jean) sent me our itin.. i was blown away! This was not only going to be a riding trip but we were going to be able to see some really neat locations AND FOOD!!! Blueberry season time!

So I must do a shout out to all the riders we had on our first day.. Marcel Lachance, our guide- club VTT amis du lac ,Yvon & Aline Lajoi, Gino Morin, Gustove Gagnon, Lina Asselin, Gaetan &Alain Boutin. We had a fantastic day with all of you and so much fun!(p.s. aucun bébé encore! seulement 11 semaines pour aller!!)
Day 1
Our first day we left from Roberval Quebec, right from our hotel- Chateau Roberval. This hotel had just about everything under it's roof! And it was really busy! A great location for families, pool, hot tub, pub, restaurant and fantastic food! But for us.. ooo very convinient to drop the truck and trailer and ride right from the back parking lot!!!!

So off those ATV's came and onto the trails we headed.. first stop.. Les "petit" chutes.. right near one of the many "bleuetiere's" BLUEBERRY FIELDS!!! YUUUMMY! Did you know that So-called "wild" (lowbush) blueberries, smaller than cultivated highbush ones, are prized for their intense color. The lowbush blueberry, V. angustifolium, is found from the Atlantic provinces westward to Quebec and southward to Michigan and West Virginia. In some areas, it produces natural blueberry barrens, where it is the dominant species covering large areas.Canadian exports of blueberries in 2007 were $323 million, the largest fruit crop produced nationally, occupying more than half of all Canadian fruit acreage.Quebec produces a large quantity of wild blueberries, especially in the regions of Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean (where a popular name for inhabitants of the regions is Bleuets, or "blueberries"), and Côte-Nord which together provide 40% of Quebec's total provincial production. Due in part to declining frequency and intensity of spring frosts, Quebec's wild blueberry production (27 million kg in 2008) now rivals that of Maine!

Talk about a lot of Blueberries!!! So when we finally snuck our fill and had finished our little snack snack along the trails.. we jumped back on the ATV's and headed to see where the little chutes went to..thank goodness for that snack of blueberries.. the distance between food/ rest stops is long!In a good way!!! Lots of great trails and really diverse. Along the way to the "Big chutes"we rode beside blueberry fields with sandy terrain, and then through forest, tall magnificent pines. When we arrived at the big chutes, we were all quite warm.. ready to jump in! but these were fast moving rapids.. we all got close enough to feel the nice cool mist off of them... lunch anyone!?

Lunch stop was scheduled a short ride away at "les Jardins de Normandin" . A gorgeous spot to stop and walk around... really get to appreciate someone else's fruits of labour!

and enjoy Doug did.. in the "potager" garden= veggie garden.. we were told EVERYTHING was edible.. uh o! look out Doug is STILL hungry!

Hummmm we could be here awhile!

The ride back was spectacular!!! The trails were flat.. ok flat isn't the right word.. I would compare these trails with some railbed trails.. however... throw in some rolling hills, fields of canola, bison and other farms.. and that would be the comparison in Quebec to railbed riding.

Stay tuned for part two of our Quebec travels!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

WAWA..... WOW!

Ok I will admit I have been jealous of Luke for awhile now.. 2 seasons ago on Snowtrax , he did the Snow Train loop via sled... HOWEVER they have trains in the summer that run from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario Canada all the way up to Hearst! And better YET you can load on your ATV, Bike, side x side and gear that you need for your trip!
We started out at the Algoma Centrail Train yard in Sault Ste. Marie.. now it's nothing pretty to look at, but there was lots of room for our truck and trailer, and made it so much easier to load everything on.. all but the side x side.. but that's another story, one better told by my husband and Doug around a campfire with a few beers in the cooler..

There was so many people on the train and gear it was hard to believe we'd get everything on! After talking to a few other train goers I realized that this was the "last leg" of a trip for most.. wether they were hunting, fishing (hence why my husband is along on this trip) going into camps or all the way up to Hearst! As we rolled out of Sault STe. Marie.. we rode through the industrial part of town..and then suddenly we were out of the city.. into the wilderness.. It was so nice to be able to stretch out and talk to everyone, not jammed in a truck. We were on the cargo train.. so no lunch service, But Lori from Wawa tourism thought of everything and we had our picnic lunch on the train and then headed back to the freight cars for a better look at the scenery that was zipping by us.

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Now don't get your hopes up!!! unless you are a kid with big eyes that can work someone over, or a pregnant co host of a tv show... we were able to meet the Senior locomotive engineer, Kelly Hopkins.. and Huey (sorry if it's spelled wrong!) we got an escorted walk up to the locomotive, to shoot of course! And the view from up there is amazing! You can see everything in front of you and a much better depth of field as far as how high up you are and how fast you are actually going! I have to say we were up there a little while, and for the best part of the trip I might add.. going across the trestle bridge, up to the top of the escarpment alongside the agawa canyon.. and coming DOWN 500ft so you are alongside the agawa canyon. The rest of the trip was very smooth, people getting off the train at their camps and before we knew it it was our stop.. Hawk Junction. the train ride wasn't really that long..6hrs, and we had lots to occupy ourselves with. But make sure you bring a lunch, there is no food car on this train. Thanks Lori for thinking ahead!

Before i get too far ahead.. joining us on this trip...

Of course Camera crazy man Doug Volpel,my husband Jeff McLean, Lori Johnson from the corporation of Wawa- and her other half Doug. Meeting us at Hawk Junction were our guides, Gord and Russ Jones, of Jones Powersports. All i know is that unloading the gear and ATV's just didn't go fast enough to get me riding!!! I'm sure that after 6hrs any trail is going to look good.. nope..these trails were amazing!!! The area doesn't have clubs.. so you are on your own.. there are tonnes of side roads, logging roads, and crown land that is used, it is really challenging! Right up our alley! HOWEVER i am certainly glad for guides!!! If you do plan on making this trip.. there are a few ppl you should contact about getting you around the trails, the Jones brothers can point you in the right direction or Bristol off roading outfitters, it's a great investment for a day to get you the type of riding you will want! plus some of the places they take you to.. you'd NEVER find on your own.. well you might.. but i'm not sure you'd get back out of there!!!

Now, all that is missing from this trip is food right?? NOPE! I am fairly certain I gained at least 10lbs on this trip!!! the food was FANTASTIC! there was every type of food imaginable in Wawa.. your typical bar, burgers, fries many breakfast spots to choose from.. but the really memorable meals... our first evening we ate at Best Northern..

talk about amazing!!! All I heard about later that night was how GOOOOOOD the fish was from Doug and Jeff had the potatoe pancakes with yummy meat filling..

another spot you have to try out is Kinniwabi Pines Restaurant, it overlooks the michipicoten river and the view is ALMOST as good as the food!!! Portions are HUGE so you'd better bring your appetite!!!

And I guarantee you will find something to eat here... they specialize in European, Carribbean (trinidad), Canadian and Chinese food dishes!!!

There are so many other locations , scenics look outs.. Youngs General store... (ouch bring your other halfs credit card!!!) that you have to check out I could write forever... just put this destination on your list.. and get there!

Thanks to everyone for making this trip such a memorable one!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Self Proclaimed "ATV CAPITAL" of the WORLD!

Just back from Gillet Wisconsin, in beautiful Oconto County, (It's about 30 minutes north east of Green Bay..) population of 1300 and out of those 1300 every house has an ATV. no kidding! And boy do they have some good trails for those ATV's! Gillet Railrunners link up with many other clubs and miles of trails.
We were treated to some great hospitality from Sleepy Hollow Motel a big huge thanks for their warm welcome.. they have a great spot.. off the highway so it's nice and quiet, a bar right on site.. and it always seemed busy.. !
Our day on the trails started out with a HUGE breakfast at OJ's... Owen and Joan have been doing this for a bit.. and boy their food and portions are fantastic! Did I mention she bakes pies EVERYDAY!? no kiddin! and i'm not talking about 1 or 2 kinds.. try 8-12 different kinds daily... and yes you guessed it THey are KNOWN for the best pies in the STATE! yumm yumm! it was pretty hard dragging Doug out after he saw the banana cream pie come out.. sigh! We had work to do and trails to hit!

We started off on the railbed on the way to the trestle bridge.. close to 100yrs old! and pretty high up.. yes if you look at the pics.. you can see doug way way wayyyyy down there! He will do pretty much anything for the shot... i think the guys were worried he'd run into a bear or something!the great thing about riding the railbed.. aside from getting really dusty is you can go quite a distance on it as it's really smooth riding..and it gets you to other types of trails and the play area.. o but that's another day.. ;) Doug worked us pretty hard so we decided it was lunch time and gas stop.. we needed something quick so we could finish up our shoot for the day and get Doug back to OJ's before all the banana cream pie was gone!

Thanks to Jerry's hospitality and Shell station we were able to grab some Chester Fried Chicken and a quick fuel stop for the ATV's before we headed out to see some more club trails.

now I am NOT high maintenance.. but when they said they'd groom the trails for us.. I mean how can you say no to that?


ok, so railbeds aren't your thing!? try the play area.. WOW! talk about fun... miles and miles of sand, dunes, mud, trails, trees just about anything you could ever want!!!! We had a few more riders with us today and boy even the kids had a great time!!!

but if Mud is your thing.. ooo ya they have it!!! we hit a bit of a dry spell when we were there.. but they assure us there is mud all over.. and well yup we found it!!! :)

I was hungry after getting stuck in the mud.. make sure to watch the show to see just how deep it was!!! we headed to Logans.. Doug and I had ventured to this pub the first night we rolled into town.. Mark and Dina were awesome hosts and the FOOD WOW WOW WOW!!! amazing!!! everything is sooo fresh... o and soooorrry Perry.. I have to show everyone the size of the burgers.... ;)

Thanks sooo much for the big warm welcome from everyone at Gillet!!! stay tuned for when the ATV capital of the world will air!!!