Every winter we escape for a weekend of quad adventures to a destination known for its excellent food. We had tried a few times to book at Manoir du Lac William without success, so this year we booked very early… I didn’t think we would still be in the middle of a pandemic with all the health measures of a red zone. Closed dining rooms, no place to stop on the way, masks and all the rest didn’t take anything away from the super nice trip I’m sharing with you here.
We were very lucky with our choice of date, as the weekend before it was extremely cold and the following week it was above 0°C. Our starting point is the parking lot of the Sainte-Marie de Beauce hunting and fishing club for a drive of about 170 km to the manor. The temperature is ideal with -9 degrees and a clear sky. We are three vehicles, one side by side and two quads, each with a GPS and the planned route.
Thus equipped, we can rotate the lead vehicle: at each intersection (or after a few kilometers), the lead vehicle stops and positions itself pointing in the direction to be taken and the other two vehicles pass it. When the second vehicle passes the one that is stopped, it continues on its way at the back of the group and so on. This way of driving offers several advantages:
- Everyone has the chance to be at the front of the group;
- It is not necessary to always be in sight of the previous quad;
- If one vehicle has a problem, the other two are stopped.If no one comes to join them, they know that a problem has occurred at the back and they quickly turn back;
- Those following the leader can drive without worrying about the route and enjoy the moment.
From the start, we crossed the magnificent Sainte-Marie footbridge, a 207-meter long construction that overlooks the Chaudière River. The trails are busy with this beautiful weather and we cross many groups. Despite all our caution, we experienced some difficulties with getting stuck on the edge of the trails. Each time, the two groups that crossed each other stopped to help the stuck vehicle, a very nice demonstration of mutual support and teamwork.
Of course, I gave my fellow travelers a good laugh and took tons of pictures of their unfortunate positions. Fortunately, when I got stuck, they were at the front and it is with the help of a generous snowmobiler that I was not exposed to my companions’ revenge. I made myself discreet about this little moment of distraction and to this day, they knew nothing about it…
We had planned two trail lunches and were well equipped to heat our meals on our little stoves (see my article on trail lunches). After a good homemade meatball stew, we continued in a magical landscape. The sky was cloudy, but the sun was almost shining and a little snow was falling which made the quad in front of me disappear in a kind of enveloping mist.
As the day goes on, deep ruts are forming on the busy trails. The ride becomes more difficult and I get shaken from left to right. No matter how hard I try to stay out of the ruts, it’s hopeless. We have to reduce our cruising speed and it is around 5:00 pm that we arrive at the Manoir du lac William.
We checked into our rooms and left our quads in the heated garage in front of the manor. The site is beautiful with its fire pit, the skating rink on the lake illuminated by torches and the snowmobile trail that crosses it. The place offers several activities like skating, fatbike, snowshoeing, etc., but our meal is scheduled at 6:00 pm, which hardly leaves us time to prepare ourselves and rest a little.
When I learned that the dining room was closed and that we would have our meals in the room, I was a little disappointed. In the end, it was an experience I would do again. We had a nice table right next to the patio door of a very large room which made the experience intimate and enjoyable. The dinner met my (fairly high) expectations and was very generous. I gave up on the 4th course.
The next day’s breakfast was just as good. A hot plate with quiche, croissant, sausages, bacon, potatoes, etc., and a cold plate with salmon, cold cuts, cheeses, fruits. Well fed, we knock again on our door and my boyfriend has a surprise when he discovers that a dessert accompanies the breakfast: the crepes Suzette and their sauce… I quote: ” This is sick “.
The 180 km return was done under a beautiful sun. Our loop took us through Black Lake and Thetford Mines where the mountains of gravel from the snow-covered mines gave the scenery a Martian look. The trails were very nice and solid, as in many places the snow was pushed down, which almost eliminated the ruts. Unknowingly, our route took us through a lot of country lanes, which takes some of the magic out of the trails, but on the other hand it saved us time and we arrived at our trailers around 3:30 pm.
The welcome, the courtesy, the service and the table of the Manoir du lac William are really remarkable. It is a destination that I recommend and will certainly do again.