Thursday, 14 February 2013

Celebrate Family Day Weekend in Style

This weekend marks a special occasion for all families; Family Day Weekend. And for snowmobilers, past and present, it marks the beginning of something new;  a free weekends pass to snowmobiling in Ontario. That’s right, if you registered to receive your free family day weekend pass at you have a full access pass to all of Ontario’s trails this weekend, so why not make it count.
Snowmobiling with your family wouldn’t be complete unless you took part in an organized ride. But which one do you choose? Lately there are more and more rides popping up in the Ontario’s Highlands, so we are here to offer you two that are taking place this weekend, and then let you decide.

The Pembroke Ride for Dad is a shoe-in. And it’s not too late to join in on the fun. The ride takes place this Saturday, February 16th at 10am. You can pre-register online here or you can show up at the Timeberline Club House, which is right off the A/B trail. Registration is between 8am and 10am for the small fee of $30, but if you raise over a $100 in pledges, your registration fee is waived.

Ride for Dad started as a motorcycle ride in Ottawa to raise awareness and research dollars for prostate cancer. But since its start in 2001, has expanded into the great sport of snowmobiling. In fact, the snowmobile Ride for Dad started as an idea in a Tim Horton’s in Pembroke by one of the rides organizers, co-chair Bernie Boulay. That idea has now turned into two successful rides (soon to be three) with a total of 189 riders participating in Pembroke last year and a total of $60,000+ being raised for prostate cancer. It has encouraged other chapters to spring up around the country and gets people of all ages, both male and female, to take part.  

While out making friends, you can expect to experience trails passing through pristine pipelines and old rail trails, some beautiful forest-hopping club trails and farmland looping. Having the military town of Petawawa nearby, you can also expect to shake hands with some men and women who fought for our country overseas and, if you’re lucky enough, ride with them.

If you need a place to rest your head at night, Pembroke’s accommodations have you covered.

Located just off the club trail 121, this is central hot spot for all snowmobilers participating in the ride or passing through to link up with the Voyageur Route (see post below). It has several styles of rooms to suit family groups, single riders or those traveling with friends. The hotel itself features secure parking, on-site restaurant, indoor pool, and complimentary breakfast and is right across the road from a gas station. Staying here you are a 20 minute sled ride into town.

Located just off the club trail 120, the Comfort Inn is right off the Ottawa Valley River in downtown Pembroke. It has several room styles to suite all travelers and plenty of secure parking. There are plenty nearby restaurants and shopping facilities for those needing to grab a few things. Being right downtown, you will want to give yourself a little extra time in the morning to make your way over to the starting point of the ride, approximately 30 minutes.

Looking for a different type of ride?
You’re in luck. This weekend the Maple Leaf Snow Skimmers are hosting their annual Poker Run in Lake St. Peter.
You can register for the ride for $10 between 8am and 12pm at the Lake St Peter Community Centre on 5 Boulter Lake Rd. All riders are expected to return to the Community Centre by 3pm where their will be a hot lunch waiting for them.

On this type of ride, nearing the beautiful Algonquin Park, you can expect to enjoy the results of all the hard work and dedication that volunteers put into their club trails. Many of these trails loop through forests and travel on the shores of lakes, just make sure you are mindful and stay on the marked trails, as some of them are privately owned and it is a privilege to be riding on them, not a right.

Accommodations nearby the Poker Run in Lake St. Peter are slim, but if you don’t mind the half hour ride from Barry’s Bay or Madawaska, there is one great spot that comes to mind. 

Spectacle Lake Lodge
A favourite for many snowmobilers in the area, this central location is great for those looking to turn their poker run experience into a week long trip or family day weekend adventure. Close to the boundaries of Algonquin Park, it is a great route to go if you plan on hooking up with the RAP tour. The lodge features plenty of trailer parking, on-site gas and restaurant and several room styles, ranging from motel to your own personal and fully equipped cabins.

Organized rides are not only a great way to help out a cause, but they provide a great riding experience. There is nothing more satisfying than being apart of something life changing, like saying you helped raise 10+million in prostate cancer awareness or helping out a small club located in Ontario’s Highlands. That’s just a small part of the reward when you come to know snowmobiling in the Ontario’s Highlands.

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