What is and isn’t included in the price of your trip.
Is – Guide, Lodging, Breakfast, and Dinner.
Isn’t – Trail Permit, Gasoline/Oil, lunch each day, alcoholic beverages, souvenirs, and your cost to get you and your sled to the point-of-origin for the trip.
Alcoholic beverage policy – Please refrain from drinking any alcoholic beverages until we reach our destination point. That’s means drinking for lunch is off limits.
What does an average day of riding consist of?
I plan an average day of riding to be 8 hours of riding, give or take. I don’t plan on riding after dark, but it may be necessary in certain circumstances. We meet in the lodge for breakfast at 7:30 each morning. Generally we take 30 minutes for breakfast and then go back to our rooms to pack, use the restroom etc. The group meets at 8:15 am in the parking lot to pack the sleds and we are on the trail at 8:30 am. If this type of schedule isn’t something that you can or want to do, this trip isn’t for you.
Most people want to know how many miles we will ride each day. I base the day on hours, not miles. You can ride 250-300 miles at a steady pace in some areas and 150 miles in others. You hit a blizzard and it all changes! I know the trails in the areas well enough to know how to plan the trip. And sometimes the location of the lodging will also determine the miles per day.
Sled – Your sled is literally your lifeline on these trips. You must have a newer, well maintained sled. Have it mechanically checked out before a trip, put a new drive belt on and keep a spare with you just in case. If you have a brand new sled, you need to get through the break in period before taking it on a big trip. Many of the newer sleds computers will not allow you to go over a certain RPM until break in is period is met. If you have a 4-stroke sled, you should complete your 500 mile break in and have your oil changed. If one sled breaks down, you might as well say we all break down.
The preferred type of sled is a longer track (136’-148”) crossover type with 1 ¼” minimum depth track. The short track, speedster trail sleds are a lot of fun in the flat lands, on lakes and on freshly groomed trails but under the conditions we frequently encounter, the longer tracks are necessary. It is not uncommon on a 6 day trip to wake up to 12-24” of fresh snow on one or more days!
Gas - An auxiliary gas can is always a good idea too. I plan out the trips to make a gas stop in the middle of a day, but if you’ve ever broken trails you know you go through gas much faster. On one trip in particular we broke trail for 65 miles and were already running low on gas, so we had to turn around and go back.
Oil (2-stroke sleds) - I recommend carrying a 2-3 day supply of oil. We will go through towns or gas stops that will have oil, but it is good to carry some just in case. Also, buying oil in the great white north is not inexpensive!
Windshields/heated face shield – Your main line of defense against the extreme cold is your windshield. Those little 6” pieces of plexiglass on your sled may look cool, but cool is not what you want at 20 degrees below zero. A heated face shield and a spare cord are also essential to keep from fogging/icing up.
Touring Bags – Securely mounted touring bags are going to carry your week’s supply of clothing and your toiletries. I don’t need to say how ugly it would get if you lost your saddle bags! Space to pack becomes a premium. Thin polyester or synthetic clothing packs much tighter than blue jeans and cotton. Fashion loses out to function!
I Might Have Gone Off The Trail
Here It Is!
I Know We Parked
The Sleds Out Here Last Night!
Items To Pack– These are items that I always carry and I’m not suggesting that everyone must carry the same things as space is limited. Some items are those, “just in case” necessities.
Lighter, waterproof matches, magnesium fire starter, firestarter log
Small hatchet, folding saw
First aid kit, ibuprofen, cold medicine, Pepto-Bismol etc.
Tow strap or rope
Zip ties, duct tape, tie wire
Small tarp or space blanket
Battery jump starter
Border Crossing Information – You must have a valid passport or passcard to enter into Canada.
In today’s wonderful world of computers once they scan your passport or passcard, Border Patrol will know if you have any outstanding warrants, DUI, arrearage in child support payments, etc., so don’t plan to get across the border if you have anything questionable on your record. I’m sure either your traveling companions won’t be happy if they have to turn around and go home or you won’t be happy if they leave you at the border! I cross into Canada many times each year with my trailer and rarely do I get stopped. Answer their questions politely and respectfully comply with their instructions.
Additional information on border crossing can be found at:
Cash and exchange rates – The exchange rate between US and Canadian currency is always changing. The Duty Free stores at the border will exchange your money, but they do keep a percentage for doing so. A bank will give you your best exchange. I don’t carry a lot of cash, but some is necessary as there could be places that don’t accept credit cards. I always say in the event of an emergency, cash is the universal language! If you plan to use a credit card, I suggest calling credit card provider and informing them where you will be going and for how long. I always do that and even have a back-up card, but there have still been times when the credit card company does not allow a charge to go through because it is worried about potential credit card theft.
Trail Permit – You can purchase a 7 day permit to do one trip or a full season if you plan to spend more time in Quebec riding. A 7-day permit is currently $215.00 U.S. Dollars (“USD”). A full season permit is currently $385.00 USD, or if purchased before December 9th, $315.00 USD. I recommend getting your permit in advance so it doesn’t take up time once we are there to ride. Trail permits can be purchased through a club. I always get mine through the Chandler club at the Gaspe because I ride there a lot and it helps support the club for funding.
Link to Gaspe Club - http://quebectrails.com/
Important to know, when you purchase your trail permit in Quebec it includes liability insurance. Everyone riding the trails legally in Quebec is insured with such insurance. I do have a copy of the insurance policy paperwork in English.