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Old 05-20-2009, 12:00 PM   #1
marcoue OP
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Jan 2008
Location: Montréal, Québec
Oddometer: 264
Canadian Adventure: Montreal to Inuvik solo (2008)




Hello everyone!

I learned so much going thru this site that I think I have to contribute!

Last summer, I rode almost 20 000km from Montréal, Québec to Inuvik, up the Artic Circle in the Northwest Territories.

After the ride, I wrote a blog relating my greatest adventure so far but in French... Now that the translation is done, I thought I would share this with poeple like me who are curious or want to learn a bit from others before leaving for such a trip!

If you don't mind a few (ok, many!) spelling mistakes and of course, funny expressions, here is the link!

If you prefer only to look at pictures...

Let me know what you think!


And one last...

marcoue screwed with this post 02-07-2010 at 06:23 AM
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Old 05-20-2009, 12:04 PM   #2
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Inmates don't like clicking on external links.. you've got some fantastic pics there.. keep it comin'

ADV decals, patches & flag? Here
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Old 05-20-2009, 12:09 PM   #3
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Joined: Jul 2008
Location: North
Oddometer: 2,469
Bloody hell Marcoue!
That's one beautifully trashed Adv. bike you've got there

Great photos.....more pluuuease!


Just went on your site to look at the photos there, again, absolutely splendid! Gotta agree with GB above, put 'em on here for all the wicked world of Adv riders to see!

I'm sorta, kinda looking into heading up that ways too this year....not quite sure it'll happen though, would like to get Alaska in on my "Been There" list and your pics REALLY, REALLY make me fever, best and worst of all the contagious fevers known to mankind!

Offblnz screwed with this post 05-20-2009 at 12:33 PM
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Old 05-20-2009, 01:08 PM   #4
marcoue OP
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Joined: Jan 2008
Location: Montréal, Québec
Oddometer: 264
Originally Posted by Gadget Boy
Inmates don't like clicking on external links.. you've got some fantastic pics there.. keep it comin'

More work, again! I was kinda scared you were gonna say that. I will try to transfer the hole thing here soon!
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Old 05-20-2009, 02:14 PM   #5
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Location: central oregon
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Fantastic!! Absolutely beautiful photos, thanks for the RR. I might be heading there in August this year, so this is just what I need to get motivated.
one day I will learn, until that day... fuck it.
2001 HONDA XR650R
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Old 05-20-2009, 02:17 PM   #6
Scared of the dark..
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Joined: Nov 2007
Location: Currently in Canada.
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I just opened it all in a new tab. Amazing tale and photos. Thanks for sharing, must have been awesome mate. Cheers.
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Old 05-20-2009, 05:00 PM   #7
Better down the road
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Joined: Sep 2008
Location: GWN
Oddometer: 77

Awesome report! An honest and at times dramatic story, with a sense of how you became stronger as the journey went on. Beautiful pictures! And the "post mortem" is a well thought out bonus, especially for n00bs.

Btw, your english is very, very good. The occasional wonkiness that creeps into it simply adds to the character and the international flavour of this great website. I hope you don't change anything when you repost here... which I sincerely hope you do!
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Old 05-20-2009, 06:11 PM   #8
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Joined: May 2007
Location: Western Colorado
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If you have nothing nice to say, shut up.

Thank you for the pictures, I am able to click your link to see the rest.
Thank you for talking your time to post those pics, they look so good I clicked your link.
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Old 05-20-2009, 07:49 PM   #9
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Joined: Jul 2008
Location: So.Cal.& St George UT-Baja-riding anywhere
Oddometer: 767
Very nice report and the photos were great!!!!!! Ten more days and I'm off for the Yukon and points north also.

R1200GS-08', WR250R-08'
XR650R-03', 110 Honda-83'
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Old 05-21-2009, 03:45 AM   #10
Planning mode...
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Joined: Aug 2005
Location: Willow Grove, NB Canada
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Looking good!

Do you have a map of your tracks?
- I don't want a pickle, I just wanna ride on my motorsickle -
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Old 05-21-2009, 05:48 AM   #11
Long time no see
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Joined: Dec 2007
Location: South China
Oddometer: 282
Salut cousin Quebequois,

Publie ton RR sur Advrider, comme souvent est bloqué depuis la Chine.

Ride report - Few weeks in South West China
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Old 05-21-2009, 06:37 AM   #12
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Salut Marcoue,

Great to see these pics once again! Give us more!

C'est quand le prochain voyage?
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Old 05-21-2009, 07:07 AM   #13
marcoue OP
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Joined: Jan 2008
Location: Montréal, Québec
Oddometer: 264

THIS BLOG IS A TRANSLATION FROM MY ORIGINAL POST WHICH IS IN FRENCH!!! You will probably see many spelling mistakes or bizarre expressions but I thought that it was worth the effort to publish this in English as many people have asked for it! Don’t hesitate to suggest corrections!


For a few years now, I’ve had the chance to visit Europe and especially,
South America, and this, during a few months at a time.

I love travelling. I adore discovering new horizons, cultures, languages. To visit completely different cities, to climb mountains and volcanos, to go to deserts and in rain forests.

I hate driving…

In fact, I don’t hate it, I just don’t get cars and the consequences they have on everyday life (and on an explorer's life as well).

I certainly do not enjoy having to drive around for 2 hours to find a parking spot, or simply pay 100 Euros to fill up. I do not like to feel enclosed or the detachment that comes from being in a closed cabin.

There’s always a most effective way to travel in my opinion, that is using public transport, with a backpack. This method of discovery is not always obvious, however, and also creates several constraints. Indeed, it’s difficult to escape the beaten path and discover places less touristic and more remote. We must resolve to adopt the destinations served by buses or trains or rely on taxis which are not always very economical.

This method, although allowing to be closer with the local population, still keeps me in a vehicle and doesn’t always have the effect of freedom that I looking for.

Since I’ve turned 16, I’ve always owned a car. For me it was a visceral need, a way of life and also a means of positioning in the social scale. It was also a source of great cost and with the current cost of the acquisition, maintenance and gasoline, it had become for me, too much of a cost, especially with to the distances done annually.

In 2006, at the end of the long-term lease of a car, I made the decision to return the car and not to renew the contract.

Simultaneously, I had the chance to get transferred for work in downtown Montreal. Residing in the Notre-Dame-de-Grace area, I could easily travel by bike or take the subway when the weather was not cooperating!

Obviously, adaptation was not easy. Driving a bike in my city is “slightly” dangerous (road conditions, reckless drivers, blind pedestrians, weather …). The Metro system is really quite uncomfortable because it’s really crowded in rush hour and too often stops for technical reasons. During a fall on Thursday evening (the evening of 5 to 7 in Montreal!), I decided to walk St-Laurent Boulevard to get in a small bistro in Outremont when I came across a Vespa dealer. They are charming small machines!

In fact, I never really considered buying a motorcycle and even less a scooter.<

My job gives me the “chance” to see the consequences of motorcycle accidents and I promised myself to never to buy this type of vehicle. I have owned, in the past, motorcycles but without much conviction. Uncomfortable, not practical, cold, warm are the words that came to mind and were associated with the bike.

A few trips to Europe certainly made me discover another reality.

On that continent, this mode of transportation is not only efficient but is one of the only practical solution to urban congestion. In fact, I think that over there, it’s a lifestyle, not a hobby like here.

To make a short story, 2 days later, I was driving fast in the saturated streets of Montreal with a superb Vespa GTx 250! Wow, what beautiful bike! I’m free at last! Top speed of 140 km / h, easy to slip into the traffic. Obviously, I’m not in Europe where you see these machines on every street corner! Ultimately, I loved this new way of life, to the point of starting to go a little further, leaving the city sometimes.

This machine, while offering a “comfortable” cruising speed on highways, is not designed for it as such. The braking, steering, engine and suspension are adequate but make long trips uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous. In the spring of 2007, during a weekend ride, I made a mistake that will prove to be very costly.

I stopped at BMW Motorrad, just to “see”.

To make a short story, 2 days later, I was walking out of there with a superb BMW R1200GS to conquer the world!

And yes, I totally fell in love with the GS series BMW. A machine that I didn’t really know but, as in a dream, was waiting for me, just like that, as if someone had produced a bike for exactly what I was looking for in several areas of my life. The Adventure.

My goal is simple and clear: Perform solo trip between Canada and Argentina (specifically in Patagonia). Of course, all of this doesn’t happen in a few days, even months or years. You need practice, practice, practice and more importantly, learn to plan and know your limits.

Summer 2007 brings me to the Maritimes and to Colorado. I drove about 20 000 km, which quickly pointed me to the obvious limitations of the machines (and mine too!). Upon returning from Denver, I decided to trade my GS for the 2008 model of the BMW R1200GS Adventure.

A motorcycle that, while offering similar benefits, could fill the gaps encountered during my first trips.

-Substantial autonomy Increase with 33 liter tanks that could allow me to go for 700 km without stopping;
-Enduro Transmission allowing easy driving off-road or when the bike is heavily loaded (shorter 1st gear);
-Better protection with a larger windshield;
-Suspension: electronic adjustment system for various driving conditions such as bumpy roads , off-road or with passengers and luggage;
-A more powerful electrical system for accessories like an electric vest or GPS;
-Better legs protection;
-Metal boxes for storage (more solid, more space, more secure);
-Better lighting (fog lights);
-Electrical outlets for accessories;
-Spoked Wheels.

I finally receive the beast in April 2008 after a long winter of waiting. In fact, winter 2008 was certainly the most difficult of my life. Having bought the bike, I decided not to travel and that decision coincided with the most rigorous winter ever recorded in Quebec! Meters of snow! All this had, in return, permitted to work hard to plan a first major adventure, which will serve as practice for a possible trip to Patagonia: Cross my country and I try to get to Inuvik, in the North West Territories , in fact, at the end of the road because literally, it’s impossible, in summer, to go any further.

At the beginning of the project, I thought of going go to Mexico but I quickly turned to Canada for a very simple reason, I had never really crossed and visited my country!

To prepare, I read a lot in websites, books and started drafting the route and making a list of the things necessary to carry out such a crossing alone, independently.

Here is a brief summary of my daily adventures written in my spare time.

Ready to go? Inuvik, here I come!

marcoue screwed with this post 09-09-2012 at 06:41 PM
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Old 05-21-2009, 07:09 AM   #14
marcoue OP
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Jan 2008
Location: Montréal, Québec
Oddometer: 264
Day 1: Ontario


08h00 Montreal (QC)

Starting mileage : 9798km
19h30 Sault St-Marie (ON)
1009 Km

And so the journey begins.

After all these months of preparation, it is finally time to leave for the Adventure!

Km 0 (yes, ZERO!): First equipment failure!

While preparing the bike last night, of course, I managed to drop it. I guess I was a little nervous!

Result: broken clutch lever. I quickly decided to live with it because it was broken at the tip but was still functional! Still, $ 100 wasted without even having left the house!

I leave at the same time than Nadine who left for work and did not seem too happy to see me go. Normal I suppose. It’s an adventure that is out of the ordinary and which includes its share of dangers and is a real risk. Also, the numbers of weeks of absence is substantial and will not be easy.

Obviously, the bike is very heavy and I must accustom myself quickly. Leaving Montreal is difficult. The traffic is dense but again, the weather is perfect. Warm and sunny …

Not for long however!

I get to the 417 leading to Ottawa and northern Ontario. A light rain moves in quickly, just to give me an idea of things to come! Nothing too serious, however. As I leave Quebec, the road quickly becomes better. It should be known to people outside Quebec, that our road conditions are abhorrent. The road conditions are simply pathetic.

There is little traffic. I drive slowly, 110 km / h, which is very conservative, economic and above all, comfortable. It’s the pace that I was aiming for and I hope to keep up. It would be so easy to go 130 – 140 km/h but I’m on holidays and I didn’t really want to stress myself with the police and above all, animals that are very present.

The landscape is rather platonic. I go thru Ottawa and Petawawa quickly and straight towards northern Ontario. Traffic flow is very good.

Just before Sudbury, without warning, a front weather literally knocks me out of my shoes! I get into a wall of wind that pushed the temperature from a comfortable 30 degrees celsius to a chilly 17 in a few seconds! I have to stop and put on my heated jacket almost immediately.

After a few uneventful hours, I arrive in Sault Ste-Marie. I decide to take a hotel even if I had planned to camp because it’s definitely too cold! Nice start! I realize that I will possibly not have brought enough warm clothes, not necessarily for riding but for the evenings or activities.

I also decided to totally dismantle my luggage from the motorcycle because I ‘m not comfortable with the distribution and position of my cargo. With tires attached on top box, it isn’t accessible and entrance to side panniers is difficult. I decide to move in the top box, all objects that I won’t use daily.

My strategy for luggage transportation is quite simple. Everything must enter in the boxes. I use BMW metal panniers. They’re made of solid aluminum, have good size but more importantly, they’re safe because they are locked on the bike and the doors are locked as well. The tires are attached securely to the top box and locked with a metal cable and padlock. The only thing that is on the bike and that is not secure is a small cooler, which is worthless.

While I work on the bike, I am approached by 2 retired fellows in route towards Moab. They drive a BMW R1100GS and a R1200GS. They have so much luggage, it’s incredible! They explain that it’s because they will go camping and they like to be comfortable!

Afterwards, I fire up the the stove, good homemade pasta and time for dodo comes quickly! I must be awake early for a big day tomorrow!

Did I mention that Sault Ste-Marie is a ghost town?

marcoue screwed with this post 05-18-2011 at 12:46 PM
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Old 05-21-2009, 07:10 AM   #15
marcoue OP
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Jan 2008
Location: Montréal, Québec
Oddometer: 264
Day 2: Ontario… Bis!


07h00 Saut Ste-Marie (ON)
19h30 Rushing River Provincial Park (ON)
1139 km

A second long day on the road. The landscape has diversified slightly with the onset of the Great Lakes. However, it’s cold (between 12 and 14 celsius) for this time of year. It’s still unbelievable to be faced with such temperatures in the month of July!

The road conditions are perfect. Asphalt is without imperfections, passing stretches are frequent. The traffic isn’t dense at all. I have a lot of time to think and I find it difficult to accept or even explain why, with a similar climate, the roads in Quebec are so pitiful.

Most of the time I’m alone. I rarely cross or pass other cars. It’s quite a beautiful day with just a little rain during the afternoon.

I decide to enter the city of Thunder Bay to take a well deserved break and quickly visit the place. Hem, another ghost town without interest, therefore, the visit is limited to a few streets!

I rapidly continue towards the far west of the province (Ontario) and I decide to brave the cold (it gets a little better at the end of the day!). Finally, a night of camping to save a little money and to really feel that I’m on vacation!

Wow, $ 30 for overnight camping is not cheap! Finally, at least, I get settled in with a little bonus: a beautiful lake cries out for me to jump in!!! Water is a little cold (!!!) but the dive is worth it! And yes, I’m really on vacation!

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