February 7-12, 2017 Annual Cabin Trip: (93 Photos)


93.   With much anticipation the Annual Winter trip to the Sooley Cabin near Whitbourne finally arrived. Even better, a winter storm dropped some much needed fresh snow the day before we were set to leave which would make for decent snow conditions.



92.  I loaded the sled aboard my trailer while French stopped by and put project Foreman in his enclosed trailer alongside his new Argo Avenger 8x8. I left the snowplow on the bike to clear the driveway once we arrived at the cabin. Although it was freezing cold now, if the weather turned warm later in the week the bike would be great to have on hand to ride.



91.   French and I were the first to arrive at the cabin late Tuesday afternoon. After lighting the woodstoves we quickly set about clearing the parking lot and laneway with my Foreman and Sooley's Fourtrax 300 finishing up just before dark.



90.   Later that evening Sooley arrived along with his kids Liam & Erin ready to enjoy a few days at the cabin. For supper we heated up French's pot of Beef Stew, a nice hearty meal after a long day!



89.   The rest of the crew would be arriving and leaving throughout the week as work and life commitments came and went.



88.   Wednesday morning brought cloudy skies and cold temps as we got ready to head out and enjoy the day.



87.   With the machines fired up French, Sooley, Liam, Erin and I headed up the pond to scout trails and plant some ice fishing lines.



86.   After seeing my Ice auger drill adaptor last year, both Sooley and French followed suit and picked up one as well. French has the same drill as I, a Milwaukee M18 Fuel which is a high torque brushless motor cordless drill. With a 6" Auger they work best in low gear and the extra handle installed, drilled the 20" of ice quickly and can easily do 100 holes without recharging.



85.   Snow conditions were pretty good, not really enough for jumping, but certainly lots to ride the ponds, pole line and the recently cleared Muskrat Falls transmission line. This new transmission line & accompanying service road certainly opened up a lot of new country which is convenient but may be a detriment to the peaceful privacy we previously enjoyed at the Sooley Cabin.



84.   We all spent the afternoon alternating between ice fishing and riding. Sooley took the Arctic Cat 570, French and the kids in the Argo, and I on Project REV which is a 2006 REV 800ho.






82.   Liam and Erin really enjoyed Argo rides, although I think Liam was rotted he couldn't drive! LoL



81.   French and his new Argo is the definition of a true love story as the man fell more and more in love with the machine as the week progressed. While practicing donuts on the ice you can really see just how the Argo Admiral Transmission works in hi-gear. Even when turned hard the inside track never stops but spins at 1/3 the speed of the outside track for optimum traction. In low gear the inside track will stop and fully skid steer.









78.   As the daylight faded Sooley and I tested out the wood slide and hauled a load back to the cabin which will help heat the place in future trips.



77.   With freezing rain in the Forecast we managed to fit all but the Argo inside the shed overnight. Maffer, Gavin, Myriam and Zayhef arrived Wednesday evening just after supper and set up shop in the bunkhouse.  Wednesday's supper menu called for Sooley's Codfish and potato stew which was absolutely awesome.









74.   As forecasted, Thursday morning brought warm temps and remnants of rain and freezing rain which turned the parking lot into a skating rink. A quick bit of work and we had some road gravel spread on the laneway and parking area and we were off to enjoy the day.



73.   This weather pattern occurs on just about every winter trip back as far as I can remember. However we never let it dampen our spirits and I managed to burn a little more gas in the sled. Although air temps were warm there was plenty of water and soft snow to keep the sled running cool.









70.   At the top of the pond the kids had a ball burning gas doing laps on the pond while French cleared an oval track which would freeze up nice once the temperature dropped again.









67.   Officially known as Sledsooley Jr., young Liam center pic, managed to burn more than 6 gallons of gas in the old Enticer over the course of the trip. He literally ran the tank dry later that afternoon!






65.   Maffer's Project REVolution 500ss is still running strong, albeit with a few cobwebs and still sporting a temporary bulkhead fix from last year's cabin trip!



64.   Liam's first stuck, pretty sure he was setting up to go across the neck and do his first ledge drop but he buried the Enticer in soft wet snow instead.









61.   As daylight drew to a close we packed up and headed back to the cabin for a fancy Chilli dinner prepared by gourmet chef Maffer.






59.   That evening we had a few beer in the shed while Maffer worked on his bike. At some point in the day his recently repaired left front axel popped out of the front differential. This is an upgraded Gorilla Axel that he recently replaced CV boots on. When the axel pops out it no longer transfers power to the wheel rendering the bike 3 wheel drive which is OK on the pond but renders the bike useless in soft snow.



58.   After a few minutes working with hand tools and Maffer had the axel out, cir clip tweaked and reinstalled in the bike. Hopefully that solves the problem.



57.   It may have been warm all day, but temps were dropping quickly as the evening progressed.



56.   The early morning hours of Friday found Ronnie and AJ on the highway headed west to the cabin with two studded out dirt bikes in the bed.



55.   Breakfast this morning consisted of whatever you wanted LoL. I chose to cook Erin's creation - flower wiener/eggs which were awesome.



54.   Although you usually find Ronnie and AJ at the racetrack in Shearstown during the summer, earlier this winter the boys decided to stud out the tires of their identical Yamaha YZ250 dirt bikes with over 2000 studs per bike. These studs create amazing amounts of traction on ice, a totally different riding experience, and a chance to use the bikes year round.



53.   Temps were warm again Friday but set to drop overnight into Saturday. With soft snow and water in abundance I chose to log a few more miles on project REV before glare ice would mean no loose snow to cool the sled the following day.






51.   Aside from riding, the crew continued with our wood hauling operations as we set to bring more firewood back to the cabin to junk up and split next year.






49.   As the day progressed and temperatures dropped the dirt bikes got better and better off the pond, I was really amazed at just how well they did on the snow pack requiring a little negotiation here and there but over all ran great on hard pack snow following the rest of us everywhere we went.



48.   Janes arrived a little later in the day and promptly blew the belt on Maffer's sled! Actually the belt was destined to fail, Janes just happened to be the pilot at the time. We quickly had the sled back in working order with the spare belt installed.



47.   The ol' Arctic Cat worked well hauling firewood. We kept the size of the load small and made more frequent trips which is wise as not to overstress the machine and break up equipment.






45.   French making his second attempt at climbing the soft snow on the big hill at the end of the pond.



44.   After a few attempts he finally crested the top!









41.   Having gotten soaked on his first wood hauling rip up the pond, Maffer came up with this invent-tech to stay dry, we were a little sceptical to say the least.



40.   AJ tearing up the new Muskrat Falls transmission line service road on his YZ 250.



39.   Ronnie following along looking almost as cool.



38.   The old wood trailer didn't hold up well behind the awesomeness of Maffer's Can Am Outlander 800. Undeterred he picked up the broken wheel and towed the load right to the cabin in this state with ease!



37.   Later that afternoon my Dad arrived to spend an afternoon in the woods with the crew.



36.   His Yamaha Venture Multi-Purpose is holding up very well with lots of trips and miles logged.



35.   The first order of business was lunch which consisted of pan fried onions topped with French's own Canned Moose accompanied by Kippers prepared over open fire at the top of the pond.












31.   The rest of the crew and kids headed back to the cabin for a more traditional, kid friendly, city boys lunch.



30.   After lunch Janes joined French, Dad and I and we headed to our new gully to plant a few lines.



29.   In a couple hours we managed to catch a meal of trout for dad all the while swapping stories on the ice. Temps were really starting to drop now as water on the ice was freezing up. It would soon be time to park the sled and take the snow plow off the bike.



28.   Friday's supper menu was a good ol' cabin BBQ, most of us had kick ass steaks accompanied by mushrooms & onions, rice, and pasta with cream sauce.



27.   Saturday morning brought freezing temperatures but beautiful clear sunny skies.



26.   Breakfast was another gourmet affair, as French prepared moose sausages, bacon, boiled eggs, and toast.



25.   Maffer was still having trouble with his left front axel. Sooley had to run back to town to drop off the kids so he picked up new Cir Clips on his way back which were quickly installed.



24.   The axel doesn't completely fall out, but comes out enough to disengage from the splines.









21.   With everything fixed and the pond frozen we parked the sleds and headed out on the bikes with French following close behind in the Argo.






19.   The first order of business was settling a Father/Son grudge match in the form of a drag race. The boys both have identical YZ250 dirt bikes and they wanted to see who was faster.






17.   The big (and surprise) winner was Ronnie, I'm sure poor AJ had to hear about the win the rest of the weekend if not longer. LoL



16.   Next up was the hill climb at the top of the pond. The tires on my Foreman are 10 years old and don't provide the traction they held when new. I could pop up over the rocks and stumps but gravity kept pulling me back down while spinning forward. Luckily my effort was enough to convince Maffer that he needed to try.



15.   After nearly flipping his Can Am, Sooley and I walked up and helped him to the top by holding the front rack down.






13.   All in all it was an awesome evening that lasted well into dark as we explored the front side of Highwaters and later ran back the old pole line under headlights.






11.   Saturday evening found Sooley, Ronnie and I around the bonfire while Maffer had to run back to town.






9.   Before leaving to go back to town with Maffer, Myriam prepared a wonderful meal of pork roast, cheese stuffed baked potato and a macaroni salad while I added a Cesar salad.



8.   Ronnie and AJ headed back to town Saturday evening as AJ had a training session early Sunday morning, Steve and Lisa dropped up for the evening and were given a night-time Argo tour of the woods.



7.   For a midnight snack French put together a kick ass tray of Nachos & Salsa which we paired with an awesome Rice Milk drink concoction prepared earlier by Myriam. We spiced it up with a little Bailey's and it went from awesome to epic!



6.   Sunday although sunny and beautiful was dedicated to packing up, cleaning up, and heading home. One of us had a little more packing to do than the rest of us. LoL















1.   Another annual cabin trip came to a close all to quickly. It was a fantastic time with great friends, lots and lots of laughs and a good time had by all.


Cheers, MIKE

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