Authentic Quebec - Act 3
Authentic Quebec is an extraordinary place. It's so easy to get lost in the absolute joy of the riding experience here that, believe it or not, sometimes the nuts and bolts get overlooked...even by seasoned veterans like us.
Our 2012 Ski-Doo Renegades were amazing the whole trip and literally sipped fuel and oil. Keep in mind they do require both in order to run.
After our mishap with the saddlebag we knew we had to cover some serious distance to get back on schedule and everything seemed to be going according to plan. We knew time was going to be tight but we were re-energized after conquering a fairly big obstacle and coming out relatively unscathed.
So when we reached Saint-Zenon - home of the legendary Auberge Le Cabanon www.aubergelecabanon.com, the wise decision would have been to fill up the sleds while we had the opportunity (For the record, this was suggested by one of our crew).
Looking at my watch and realizing the distance we still had to cover that day I foolishly made the decision to press ahead believing (without any proof or justification whatsoever) there would be another gas station in the not too far distance.
The amenities in Authentic Quebec are copious, however fuel stops along the section of trail from Cabanon towards Matawin on trail 360 are limited. So make note that if you make it to Cabanon... fill up!
Pressing ahead, it didn't take long to realize my assumption of unlimited numbers of gas stations along the way was way off the mark. As I watched the gas gauge shrink, I began checking signage to see just how long my riding partners would be making me walk to the nearest town for gas when we undoubtedly ran out.
By now the sun was gone and we were literally in the middle of nowhere. We arrived at a junction that said "Matawin 45km" which is about 27 miles. My gas gauge had one bar and Vern's gas light was already blinking. It wasn't looking good. Its interesting to see how panicked three grown men can get when faced with being stranded in unknown territory in the middle of the night in the middle of winter.
Pressing on was the only thing we could do now and getting as close to the next town as possible to limit our walking distance was all we cared about. Counting down the miles was a little stressful. Every hill we went over was one less we'd have to walk back up with a can of gasoline and before we knew it, we had made it to the end of trail 360 in Mattawin.
Vern had literally sputtered into the rest stop on fumes and Mike and I weren't fairing much better. We turned off our sleds, high fived each other and then realized we still had about another kilometer to go along a road in order to reach the gas station.
Vern started his sled, went about ten feet and that was it. We towed him into the tiny town's ESSO station and filled up right to the brim and decided to call it a day.
There was one hotel in town which was completely full with snowmobilers, not even one room available. The next closest place was about 35 miles away so we had a late dinner in Mattawin and headed for Auberge Beau-Lieu in Saint-Joseph-de-Mekanic www.aubergebeaulieu.com, which turned out to be one of the best nights of the trip.
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