January 3, 2004 Port Blandford to Gambo Run:

 

Earlier this season I made my very first snowmobile purchase,  a 1997 Skidoo Grand Touring 500, as well French picked up a brand new Yamaha Venture 700 triple. With January on our door step and no sign of snow on the East Coast we were getting a little anxious for our first ride! Finally sick of waiting, Saturday morning Sooley, Maffer, French, Bill & I loaded up the sleds and headed out over the highway to Port Blandford where they did have snow!

We unloaded our sleds near the entrance to Terra Nova Golf Course and hit the old railway line West towards Gambo. Unfortunately we hadn't gone more than 1/2 a mile before trouble set in. One of the rear shocks in Bill's '97 V-Max 700 let go and got bent up by the rotating track, luckily we managed to limp it back to the trailer. Not one to leave a buddy stuck, Bill hopped on with me and we started out on our adventure again.

It was a pretty decent day. The track wasn't groomed but it definitely wasn't too bad, there were a few large drifts that would catch you on this overcast day if travelling too fast. We made it to Gambo without incident and headed up a woods path to find a place for lunch. When we stopped we were greeted with wet snow flurries which soaked everything and precluded our attempts to start a fire. Maffer started to eat his sandwich and found that the gas can he was carrying in the rear rack of his Scandic 503 leaked and soaked his knapsack & lunch completely through with fuel. Sooley was getting frustrated with his '89 Enticer 340 which was no longer running well. A cracked ignition coil was causing one cylinder to intermittently loose spark. We tried drying it out and wrapping the cracked housing with electrical tape which seemed to help little.

Since the weather was turning poor we decided to head back towards Port Blandford, all of us followed an increasingly frustrated Sooley on the Enticer. The old beast would struggle to run at 40 km/h but when the 2nd cylinder would cut in it would speed right up. After an hour of this Sooley was getting pretty pissed and pinned the sled wide open with both cylinders belting out a blistering 75 km/h. (pretty hairy on an un-groomed trail on a sled with 2" suspension travel!) Unfortunately one of those large snowdrifts caught the sled and sent him skyward holding the handlebars like Superman. He landed hard and rolled on the ground moaning while the rest of us laughed figuring he was alright. We fixed up the now broken throttle and finished our trip at a more reasonable pace.

When we got back to town, we stopped to Maffer's house to unload his sled. The Scandic started right up but soon started to sputter. French grabbed the primer button to no avail and we all thought he flooded the engine. We burned out the cylinders, changed the spark plugs, checked for spark all to no avail. We then realized the sled was out of gas! The sled ran all the way to Gambo and back and only ran out when we tried to unload it...that's cutting it pretty close!

Cheers, MIKE

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