Fun under P.E.I.'s winter sun

Mary MacKay
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The 2014 Celebration Ride’s three-day snowmobile tour of the province wraps up

Brilliant sunshine ignited a bedazzling spread of diamond sparkles in the new fallen snow on the final day of 2014 Celebration Ride’s snowmobile tour of Prince Edward Island.

No one had to light a fire Friday under any of the 100-plus participants from all over North America to get up and out the lobby door of the Loyalist in Summerside for this last P.E.I. Snowmobile Association ride that took them into the heart of Queens County.

“If you put an order in for a beautiful day, it would be this,” said Jim Holbrook of Vermont during a mid-morning stop-over at Louie’s Place in North Granville, which is one of many snow lodges on the extensive snowmobile trail system.

“It’s been really cool,” said his wife, Bonnie Holbrook, who was one of almost 25 women on the 2014 Celebration Ride.

“We’ve met people from all the provinces, that’s why it was so exciting for Jim and I, especially because we are from the States but every single person we talked to from every province was so welcoming and just so friendly. We get a little ribbing in back and forth but it’s all in fun and camaraderie,” she said.

Snowmobiling is an industry, but the rider side of that is the recreation of actually getting out and snowmobiling, seeing new places and meeting new people, said Dennis Burns, executive director of the Canadian Council of Snowmobile Organizations.

“You will find that no matter where you go, if you say you’re a snowmobiler and you meet (another) snowmobiler, the first thing you do is ask ‘Where have you been? Where do you travel? What do you ride? Show me your colours.’ Everybody wants to show their colours.”

When asked if he was enjoying himself, Wayne Hart of Montreal, Que. expressed his heartfelt thoughts on one of his most favourite outdoor pastime subjects.

“One hundred and fifty-seven per cent!” laughed the 75-year-old, who was one of the older riders in 2014 Celebration Ride group.

“I’ve enjoyed myself because of the camaraderie and because of the travelling. This thing is so well organized it’s just enjoyable to be involved. Meeting a lot of new people is really nice. I also met some folks that I met on a trip to Quebec City a couple of years ago. . . . They remembered me as soon as they saw me so that was pretty nice too.”

Bruce and Sonia Hewlko of Yellowknife, NWT, had four days on the ground in P.E.I. before they started snowmobiling and used it to tour the Island.

“Being the first time that we were here we used our imagination to figure out what it would look like in the summer. It’s so beautiful,” Sonia said.

“The people — everybody is so friendly and everyone is very dedicated to snowmobiling,” Bruce added.

“People have driven 12 to 14 hours; Newfoundland 21 hours (to participate). It’s just incredible the amount of dedication, as you can see by the turnout today. And the trails are great.”

This being her inaugural snowmobile tour with her new sled, which was a Christmas present from her partner, Carole Blenkhorn of Amherst, N.S. was definitely bitten by the touring ride bug.

“It’s been interesting and tiring too. (Thursday) was more miles than I needed to put on a sled, but it’s been a lot of fun and I’d definitely do it again.”


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