I Marcel Lafrenière guided the Gull Lake ride with the help of the tail Rob (Robert) Mineault last Saturday September 18, 2023 on a beautiful sunny day but a little chilly morning. We parked at the Blue Demon Lodge with the owner’s permission. We left at 9:45 (15 minutes late) and did the run in reverse order just because we had to be different haha. Actually when we scouted the trail a few weeks before we did it in reverse order by mistake but loved it better since we kept the more difficult section at the end of the day in case someone broke down. Just before getting to the Upper Bass Lake we had to go through a very deep puddle of water. Since I was in front I stopped to take pictures of people crossing the puddle and it was beautiful to see how everyone had a big smiling grin as they crossed, no stress. We got to Upper Bass Lake at 10:50 for our first break but just a few minutes before getting there an ATV motor was overheating and had to let it cool down. As they were investigating why the ATV was overheating, a woman asked what that little box was and when they investigated they found a burnt fuse and changed it which resolved the problem. Most probably when we crossed the deep puddle there was a short circuit which burnt the fuse.
After a 20 minute break a female member said when are we leaving (she’s a go getter haha) we left at 11:10 to continue our ride. At 11:45 we passed by Lower Bass Lake which is a more beautiful spot than Upper Bass. We arrived at the beautiful Gull Lake beach at 12:20 and had lunch there. Forgot to take pictures at that spot. After a 50 minute lunch break one female asked when we were leaving haha people want to ride and not have too long breaks. So we left at 1:10 and proceeded to continue.
Up to now we had done about 70 % of the length of the ride but now the challenging part was coming up which slowed the speed at a 10 km and less. Again we had to go through a deeper puddle of water and again everyone had a big smiling grin, love it. Everyone including me has a tendency to push it when it is deep¸and make waves which makes the ATV sort of float which is a mistake. There was a solid bottom at every big water hole so when you push for faster speed we get more wet and there is a chance to hit something harder and break an axle of other parts. The only person Leon Paquin that voiced his concern at the beginning about the depth of the water holes was the only person that was crossing at a cool slow pace without making big waves and with no problems which is the proper way to do it, learn by his action.
Now it was really rough and we got to a spot where the ditch we had to cross was very deep. I crossed and two more crossed with our tires spinning in the gravel but the fourth one did not make it and had to winch out. When we scouted the trail we had put some logs in the hole but in a directional way and it worked but not perfectly. So I proceeded to do it the same way and the members thought it made it worse so we removed the logs and with no logs the next one was again getting stuck but was able to pull out backward. Now there’s this guy Bryan Kellar (I know his name because he was the last one to sign the sheet) who works for Hydro says when we do bush trails we put the logs across which made sense (why did we not think about it) and right away a few guys proceeded to do what he suggested and it worked like a charm for the rest of the ATV that had to cross and the logs did not move, yep we always learn.
Now the rest of the ride was really really rough, you better have a good back or a very soft suspension. I was worried that we were going to finish too early but luck came. We had the tail rider Rob (the president of the club) having his ATV heating up on numerous occasions so we had to stop about 10 minutes at a time to let his motor cool off. Most probably he went on a number of previous rides and mud dried on his radiator and once dried it is hard to wash out. It is easy to forget to rinse our radiator after a ride. If the radiator fins have a lot of caked mud, use a degreaser or radiator cleaning solution and brush with a soft bristle and water hose to wash. Do not use a pressure washer as you might bend some fins as they are made of thin aluminum, yep I better check mine. I think most of us like those little 10 minute breaks that give us a pause to our older backs of all that rough bumping.
Finally we finished at 3:40 which is perfect timing and by the time the last one had packed and left it was about 4:10. I loved how most were coming to me too thank us for guiding this ride. Good thing we did not screw up and we had some spare time for expected problems as usual. Love the good sportsmanship of the members as you never know what can happen and have to be prepared mentally to accept the challenges. I am guiding the next Baie Jeanne and Cross lake ride with the help of Rhéal Bérichon on October the 07. It is a very beautiful ride that is not too challenging. Last year I guided it and I think we were about 27 ATV and side by side. Hope to see you there. Yes I know I have a tendency to write a book and do this almost daily on my Facebook account adventures. Some tell me they are too long and just read a few sentences haha.