April 7-11, 2005 Roddickton Sled Trip: (76 Photos)

 

76.   They say the West Coast is the best coast for snowmobiling in Newfoundland, having only picked up the sport a couple years ago I was eager to see what it was all about.

 

75.   The snowmobiling season of 2005 ended on a very high note for me as I set out on my first snowmobile trip to the West Coast of our fair province.

 

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73.   Dad and I were invited to join some of his Indian Bay Cabin buddies on an snowmobile adventure in Roddickton which is located near the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula.

 

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68.  We left St. John's early Wednesday morning arriving at the May Flower Inn in Roddickton approximately 12 hours later.

 

67.   After packing away our belongings in the lodge, we took advantage of the longer April daylight hours to go on an early evening ride. With fellow rider Bruce Hunt leading the way, we picked up the groomed trail behind the lodge and ended at a gazebo on a vantage point overlooking the picturesque community of Englee. 

 

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65.   We arrived back at the Lodge shortly after dark just in time for our first wonderful home cooked supper.

 

64.   The next morning we geared up for our first day's ride. Bruce (with his 2005 Skidoo Expedition v1000) and I (1997 Skidoo Grand Touring 500) were the only ones who brought our own machines, the rest of the group were riding rental units supplied by the Inn.

 

63.   These machines included another Expedition v1000, an Expedition 600HO, a ZX Chassis Summit 600, a Yamaha Venture 600, and a Polaris 550 fan. The sky was overcast and fog created by mild temperatures and melting snow hung low over the distant hills, not uncommon Spring riding conditions.

 

62.   The May Flower Inn also arranged a local tour guide for our trip who led us to great destinations each day. His Yamaha VK540 was outfitted for just about any occurrence that could happen on our adventure.

 

61.   We left the Lodge heading due South. Following our guide we crossed the road and landed on the frozen bay where we headed across the tidal ice nearly to the end at the waters edge. Here we accessed a tight woods trail and made a steep accent up into the hills, eventually reaching the top of the Tabletop Mountains.

 

60.   This was a great run, it was not all one straight climb, but a series of climbs comprised of twisty wooded trails and open country. The snow was hard packed, but loosened by the mild temperatures so traction was great and stucks were rare. The only unnerving aspect of today's ride was the lack of contrast between snow and overcast sky, which was only made worse by thickening fog.

 

59.   I didn't have my own GPS at this time, so I have no idea of the exact route we took, nor the names of hills, ponds, rivers traversed, but we travelled across country stopping at a wilderness camp for lunch.

 

58.   That afternoon we continued our loop travelling open country and wooded trails alike. At one point, I was the second machine behind our guide when he suddenly dropped out of sight!

 

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56.   The overcast sky obscured my view of the drop directly ahead, the decent was rapid and steep but perfectly safe.

 

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54.   We paused our ride at this point while some of the group and I played in the area climbing the steepest facades of the hill.

 

53.   Coming out of the country I broke through the soft snow on what turned out to be a river running into a small gully sticking my sled pretty good. Our guide hooked a strap to his VK540 and pulled me out in no time at all.

 

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51.   We returned to the Lodge via the frozen bay ice just in time for supper.

 

50.   The next day brought sunny skies as we headed back across the bay ice and back into the Tabletop Mountains taking a different trail than the previous day up into the hills.

 

49.   This accent was a little more relaxed and we eventually reached the wide open country at the top of these mountains.

 

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46.   There was nothing to see for miles, we followed our guide across this moonscape like expanse stopping for pictures at a barren mountaintop (cant remember the name) and continuing on towards our lunch stop.

 

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40.   We stopped for lunch in another backwoods hunting camp, while the boys dropped a few ice fishing lines I took the opportunity to burn some gas on a few little climbs and drifts in the area.

 

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32.   After our break we continued our decent out of the mountains following a twisty trail canopied in tall spruce trees which led to a river  just showing signs of the impending spring break up.

 

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27.   This was my favourite part of the trip as we ran down river crossing rushing torrents of water on bridges of ice. This run was not flat, but it wasn't rough either.

 

26.   One of the boys managed to sink his Polaris Rental sled in a slobby part of the river run, he didn't understand pin it to win it!

 

25.   Luckily our guide came to the rescue once again with his trusty Yamaha and pulled the sled out of the slob.

 

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15.   The river eventually met the frozen salt water bay, along the route back to the lodge we passed many beautiful summer homes. The day ended around supper time just in time for another first class meal in the dining hall.

 

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13.   Our last day riding took us North of the lodge.

 

12.   We spent the day running sections of the Groomed Trail, many woods roads, and large expanses of open country completing a loop back to the lodge. Once again, I have no idea of the names to places we visited, but it was an excellent day's ride.

 

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5.   Overall there wasn't a whole lot of carnage throughout this adventure. The belt on my machine was a little worse for wear after the first day's ride so I picked up a replacement at the Gas Bar/Parts Store. I installed the new belt to ensure maximum power and reliability for the last 2 days of our trip. On day two Dad clinked a rock on his Grand Touring 600 rental, which bent an ADSA front suspension arm. That evening the crew at the lodge made a quick, temporary repair and the sled was ready to ride again the next morning. The Polaris rental unit never worked right from day one, as it had a brutal hesitation in acceleration. We traced the problem to a partially seized secondary clutch probably caused by a bad bushing, the lodge replaced the sled with another rental unit.

 

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1.   The end of our trip cam all to quickly and Sunday we headed home. Our experience at the May Flower Inn was great. We were very pleased with the accommodations, the service from the staff and our guide,  and the food served was absolutely fantastic.

Cheers, MIKE

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Copyright 2011 Michael Smith