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Old 07-12-2011, 12:09 PM   #1591
R_Lefebvre
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Quote:
I should mention that Rob is the most prepared person I have ever travelled with, I mean it. he has everything including the kitchen sink. Gazebo? yep Stove? Yep Table cloth? Yep Every piece of recovery equipment known to man? YEP Me.....well I forgot shoes and clothes One pair of pants and flip flops dont mix with being stuck in the mud...ah well live and learn..... again.
Remember my email to you on Thursday morning?

Quote:
I gotta ask... where are you putting everything? Did you get that truck cap? My truck is going to be full, and I'm just one guy, and it's an SUV!


I did use just about everything I brought, except for the stuff that was brought "just in case". ie: tools, recovery gear, first aid kit, bug-out bag. Actually, I did even use some of the tools, 550ml of gear oil on my truck, and the recovery gear on yours.

Although I think we spent more time setting up and taking down the Eazi-Up than it did sheltering us from rain. Soon as we got it up Friday night, the rain stopped.

Quote:
Worth mentioning that Rob speaks very decent French. Good and bad for us as he could find out much more info than we would have otherwise been able to, the bad is that I use these trips to Quebec to finely hone my charades skills.
My wife disagrees with your assessment of my french abilities. ;)
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Old 07-12-2011, 01:06 PM   #1592
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deadly99 View Post
.../...The TCAT is designed for both bikes and trucks.../...
I did not understant that !

From my previous life, I'm a member of the first french 4x4truck forum ( forum4x4.com )
Most of them start to know all the african trail "by heart" and I'm sure some of them wouldlike to come ride yours
(maybe only one trouble... 99.9% of us have diesel engine)


The truck I sold before leaving France (6cyl 4.0L TurboDiesel, direct injection, 510.000Kilometers. only 146hp but amazing torque!)
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Old 07-12-2011, 01:44 PM   #1593
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I love that you guys are using Land Rovers! :)

I was following this on expedition portal too
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Old 07-12-2011, 02:41 PM   #1594
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On The Road Report -- T.C.A.T.

It's day 4 of the first week of exploring the BC section of the TCAT. Can't post pictures until we get home but thought we would check in now that we have internet. We have decided that we cannot take one more mosquito bite or deal with anymore rain, so we have checked into a cheap motel tonight.

We have seen some incredible roads and scenery, but have also been frustrated with many road closures of routes that we thought were going to be part of the TCAT but are unlikely to ever re-open.

After a dinner without misquitos in it and a good night's sleep, we will head out tomorrow to the Chilcotin and see if we are any luckier with our proposed routes there.

I doubt we will have internet service again until we get home, so I will post lots of pictures then.
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Old 07-12-2011, 03:12 PM   #1595
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Originally Posted by MANXMAN View Post
It's day 4 of the first week of exploring the BC section of the TCAT. Can't post pictures until we get home but thought we would check in now that we have internet. We have decided that we cannot take one more mosquito bite or deal with anymore rain, so we have checked into a cheap motel tonight.

We have seen some incredible roads and scenery, but have also been frustrated with many road closures of routes that we thought were going to be part of the TCAT but are unlikely to ever re-open.

After a dinner without misquitos in it and a good night's sleep, we will head out tomorrow to the Chilcotin and see if we are any luckier with our proposed routes there.

I doubt we will have internet service again until we get home, so I will post lots of pictures then.

Travel safely, looking forward to seeing some pics and hearing about the route
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Old 07-12-2011, 08:28 PM   #1596
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Remind me not to camp with you in bear country. Very good read!!!
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Old 07-13-2011, 07:00 AM   #1597
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Originally Posted by Deadly99 View Post
I was intending to get the route to a town called Poisson Blanc to meet Fabs section but this town is relatively close and hopefully we'll get the two end points connected in August when I'll be back up that way.
BTW, Poisson Blanc as you see it on Google map might give the impression that it's a town but it is not. It's the intersection of the road leading to Chibougamau and the road to Parent or Opitciwan (Atikamekw for Poisson-Blanc), a native community.

If the TCAT is going to go by Chibougamau, I may to re-plan so that we do less tarmac and more gravel. There is way more gravel than asphalt in this part of the country so finding a straigth to Chibougamau off-road track is anything but impossible.

Why does August have to be so far away (I'm like a kid waiting for Christmas)! Damn job....
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Old 07-13-2011, 10:51 AM   #1598
R_Lefebvre
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My adventure actually started in Wednesday. I had last driven my truck 2 weeks prior and parked it in the garage. I had to change an O2 sensor, and set about working on that, but that little job went all SNAFU on me, so it ended up taking a long time to do. I finally finished it on Tuesday night, and drove the truck to work on Wednesday. Went shopping at noon, and discovered I have a sticky/siezed right rear brake caliper. Wendesday night I was supposed to be packing so I could leave for Ottawa after work on Thursday, but now I had to fix the truck. On the drive home, the caliper got hot enough that the RR brake was pulsing and grabby, and when I pulled into my driveway, the brake was smoking.

Took it apart, and found mud packed in the caliper. Not enough that I thought it would cause a problem, but who knows. I cleaned it, greased the pins, cleaned under the dust boot, put it back together, test drove it, all good. Stayed home Thursday morning to pack. Thursday, I get to work after noon, the brake and wheel are hot again. Great. I suspected I put too much grease in the guide pin bores which was pushing the outside pad against the rotor. Took the thing apart again in the parking lot after work to fix that. I called around to see if I could get a new caliper in Ottawa on Friday, but the warehouses were closed. I set off for Ottawa, hoping for the best. I was NOT going to cancel this weekend, I've been planning it too long!

I stopped a couple times and the brake was still getting hot. But I figured if I didn't touch the brakes, they'd wear themselves down and stop dragging. So I kept coasting to a stop on the shoulder of the 401 to check and make sure the brake wasn't going to catch fire. It got cooler and cooler as I went, according to my plan. As long as I didn't need to use the brakes between Belleville and Ottawa, I'd be OK.


Friday morning, got up at 7 and started calling parts places. I called all the big places, pulled a few strings, and the soonest I could see a caliper was Monday! Friggen Land Rovers. The worst is the way those guys snicker when you say you need parts for a Land Rover.

I decided to try servicing the caliper AGAIN. I did so, and this time squirted a little light oil under the dust boot to lubricate the piston. Cleaned and regreased the pins and bores again. And hatched a plan to disable that caliper if we had to. Since the hose attached via banjo bolt to the caliper, I figured all I needed was a plain bolt, nut and copper washers to plug off the banjo fitting. Should be easy right? That led to a wild goose-chase... I hate shopping at Brafasco in Belleville, and the one in Ottawa is even worse. You'd think a store that specializes in selling fasteners would have competent people, stocked and organized shelves, etc... Took me about an hour to find a couple bolts, nuts and they don't carry copper washers. NAPA doesn't have them either? Finally Partsource (quickly becoming my favorite parts store) had a blister pack of copper washers in the HELP! section.
But, while driving around, it became aparent that my caliper was now working perfectly! In fact, that brake was running cooler than the other side!

Now on to the fun parts. But first off, communications. We had none. I had a CB, Ted didn't. I brought some old FRS radios, but we needed batteries, and too much chaos with the brakes we forgot to pick them up. Yeah yeah, this is sounding like a gong show, but it gets better, I promise.

We arrive at the ferry crossing in Cumberland Ontario. $9/car, and they're smaller boats, hold about 9-12 cars each, they run a rapid service with 3-4 boats circulating constantly. The small boats move around while you're driving on them, leading to a queasy feeling, but it was fun as I don't use a ferry often.



Once we arrived in Buckingham, Qc, we headed north. After a few secondary highways, we turned onto "Old Buckingham Creek Road", or something like that. One thing I've learned over the years, is that whenever a road is called "Old Road", you're in for some interesting times. It usually means "this is the road the settlers used 200 years ago, we've since built a highway and this path is now abandoned." And that's exactly what we had.

Now, this was my first time out with a 2wd truck. I've heard stories about how they are suprisingly capable, as long as you hit things with some speed. And Ted's truck is set up for speed what with the long-travel suspension, etc. I think he has even more ground clearance than my truck. The road went through the bush, and got rougher as we went. Ted stops and they get out because they see a sign for a narrow bridge, so we walk down the hill to scout it out. It was a long way down, but the bridge looked fine, just a single lane wide. I always find this funny, that the government makes the effort to put these metal signs out in the bush, in this case to warn us about this narrow bridge. The bridge was the best part of this goat path! The whole trail is one lane wide (or less), but they have to warn us about this one-lane bridge.

Anyway, fairly long descent to the bridge, and then a climb up the other side. Here's where I finally put it in low range. Ted stops, concerned about some mud up ahead. "Just keep your speed up, you'll make it", I say. Looked like totally not a big deal to me. Up around another corner, and Ted's stuck. His truck appears to have 1 wheel drive, and that wheel is now smooth like a chocolate covered donut. Hmmm... I get out the yank strap, wrap a tree strap around his bumper and pull him out. Hardly took any effort at all. At this point, we decided to abandon this trail. It might make a good optional technical section, but given Ted is having this much trouble, and this is "dry" season, guys on big BMW bikes aren't going to have much fun trying to get up this hill. It highlights the difference between vehicle capabilities, something a lot of people don't understand because most people only participate in one sport. Here, I haven't even locked in 4wd yet (while pulling another truck) but bikes would struggle. I know, however, that in other places, I'd be plodding along at 10-20mph in the truck, while Ted would blast over the same road at 50mph on his KTM, throwing a roost and wheeling over the hill.

Anyway, now we're going backwards down hill on a muddy track, I'm pulling Ted's truck most of the way and we need to turn around, but the trail is way too narrow. We back all the way down to the bridge, and I actually have to take my truck down into the river onto a gravel spit to find enough room, then drive back up onto the bridge. Ted turned around by backing his truck into the bush, better turning radius helped him here. At least now we're all going forward, and he's behind me so I can easily pull him, as we have to go back up the hill out of the ravine to get out. We talked about keeping going forward to the end of the trail, but with me ahead of Ted but decided not too, good thing as a local told us there was a locked gate at the other end.

I've contemplated taking bolt cutters along as that type of thing pisses me off. This is legally a road. There's a way in, with no indication you can't get out the other way. Probably one local wants to go fishing down in the river, another doesn't want through traffic, so some yokel goes and builds a gate on government land at one end of this "road".

Anyway, here's Ted's truck emerging from that trail.



At this point, we decide that since it's 1pm, and we've gotten NOWHERE due to a late start, and now this, that we'll run the highway up towards Mont Laurier. This section is close to Ottawa, so easy for Ted to come back on his bike and figure this out.

After a quick lunch stop beside a river, we hit the road again, but about halfway to Mont Laurier, Ted suggested we find our way back onto the intended route through Papineau Labelle park, so off we go. That works out well, and we're not on some really nice gravel roads.



We saw a few of these signs. Interesting. If you need an ambulance, come to this intersection. Um... OK. No emergency phone. No cell phone reception. No indentifier of where you are. Not sure what purpose this sign serves.



What does this mean? This road is for snowmobiles and logging trucks only?

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Old 07-13-2011, 10:54 AM   #1599
R_Lefebvre
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Along the route through the park, we get to an area where the intended route gets a little wonky. I knew this wasn't looking right, but Ted wanted to check it out. I come over a small sand dune, and here's what I see.



Yeah, that whole "2wd can get through a lot if you keep your momentum" doesn't work out so well when you have to stop because trees have grown over the road.

Get out the tow strap again, and pull him out of here, but he keeps getting stuck. My first time in deep sand, but it's true what they say, once you've broken the crust, the sand is weaker. So you can't go back over your own tracks. But in this case, we had to. I'm pulling Ted, but I was also worried that I myself am going to get bogged down, then we're really screwed. There are no large trees in range of the winch. I do have my as-yet untested SmittyBilt WASP Land Anchor.... it was negatively reviewed in Expo, but I take anything from there with a grain of salt...

Luckily, the mighty Land Rover doesn't have any trouble. Putting away my tow strap, I find somehow a knot got in it, and now it's a solid knuckle that will probably never come undone, and the strap is weakened. Bummer. Hope we don't need that again. I also find that I've partially yanked Ted's front bumper off the frame. The previous owner didn't install it very well.

I figure out where the road really is, and off we go up the gravel roads through the park.

Somewhere along the way, something on the left hand side tweaks my interest... In these types of areas in Ontario and Quebec, there are about an infinite number of lakes and rivers. May sound like you could set up camp anywhere, but what I've learned is small lakes all have swampy shores. You have to keep your eyes out for a big lake for camping. There were tons of side roads throughout the park going towards little lakes. Those are for fishermen. But here, I saw there was a big lake on the GPS, and not one, but TWO sideroads heading into the same spot, and I saw a clearing out of the corner of my eye. Stop, backup, and... VOILA. Awesome camping spot.

It appears like it gets a lot of use, as there was even an outhouse, campfire ring, unused firewood scattered around, and a chimnea. A chimnea, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, connected to nothing. Cool!



There's even a picnic table.



As best we could figure, there used to be some sort of shelter, like a pavillion here. You can see the marks where the roof was near the top of the chimnea. They must have taken down the structure at some point, but the chimnea looked in great condition. Overall, it looked like an unofficial-official camping spot. Good condition, not overused, no garbage strewn around like you often see.



This place even has a path to the lake.



The lake is a fair size, and while there's isn't really a beack, the bottom is somewhat sandy with just a bit of grass.



Finally, a nice river along the way.

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Old 07-13-2011, 11:00 AM   #1600
R_Lefebvre
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We arrived in Mont Laurier, and I wanted to stop at a grocery store to pick up some lunch meat and buns I had forgotten because of the brake fiasco. The town looks pretty nice. Really nice, compared to other places in this area. The other thing that struck me while ordering from the deli counter, was these people speak proper French!

My French education was at a school near Montreal, and I had a really snooty teacher who kept preaching about "Proper French". I never really got it at the time, in fact, I hated French class. But, as I got older and used my French more, and married a French girl, as hard as I try I just CANNOT understand what they're saying most of the time. The dialect west of Montreal and down in and around Ontario... it's like trying to understand somebody speaking "English" down in the deep south. They're talking English, but you just can't get it. The first time I realized that it wasn't just me who failed to learn French properly was one day at Ford when I met another engineer from France, and we held an in-depth technical discussion in French, and I had no problem!

Anyway, I find it curious that everybody I spoke to in Mont Laurier had more of a France dialect. For the most part, that was true for all the areas up north. It wasn't until Monday, coming down south when I got into Maniwaki and stopped for lunch and I found I could no longer converse well enough to place my order.

After leaving the store, we talked about finding a campground near town for the night as it was about 4PM, and we were about to hit a long stretch of remoteness until the next little town of Parent. I wanted to make more miles, since I felt guilty about wasting so much time that morning with the brake problem, and I wanted to keep to the schedule required to complete the route we had mapped out. But, the other two wanted to stop at the first decent place we found, so that was the plan. But, we didn't find much on the way out of Mont Laurier along the route.

Eventually pavement turned into an *excellent* gravel road, the road to Parent. We did see one nice unofficial camping spot, but there was another large family already set up there, so we continued. There were lots of little side trails, but you couldn't see anything, and we weren't about to start checking out every one.

Ted was running up ahead, and I followed far enough behind that I wasn't eating his dust. At some point, I realized I hadn't even seen any of his dust for quite some time. His truck does handle these fast dirt roads much better than mine, so I figured he must just be that far ahead. But after about 30 minutes with no sign of him... I started getting concerned. I had a pang of fear and guilt... knowing that sometimes I don't pay enough attention while fiddling with my GPS. Had I passed him? Maybe I should stop. But what if he is ahead? I'll fall further behind.

I don't actually know Ted that well yet. Was he upset about the wasted time in the morning? Am I driving too slow? Maybe he's just going to run all the way up to Parent? Would he REALLY just drive this far without stopping to make sure I'm still behind? Or did I somehow not see him and now he's behind me? Should I stop? Continue driving? Drive fast? Slow? I had no idea what to do, so I decided to just continue at my normal pace. Worst case, I get to Parent. If they're there, great. If not, I'll park out somewhere obvious and they'll find me that night, or in the morning.

Another 30 minutes pass. The sky is dark, and it starts to rain.

What if they crashed off the road down an embankment somewhere? We're in the middle of nowhere, nobody will find them.

Lightning starts to flash and the rain comes down harder. Well, now for sure I'm not stopping to set up camp all alone somewhere, I'm going through to Parent.

I stopped at this major intersection, make sure I am going the right way.



I check for tracks from Ted's truck. His tires are distinctive, and he often roosts his way through corners. Nothing. Fuck. Should I go back? No, the only logical thing to do is continue on to Parent.

I find an actual official RV campground. Quick check in there for Ted. Nope. But now it's more time off the road. What if Ted was behind, and now is ahead again?

The rain and lightning gets worse. I stop to turn my snorkel head backwards so I'm not injesting water into the airbox. I hear a distant rumble, then see 4 lights in the distance.
TED!

It's about 8 PM by this point, getting dark, we're still almost an hour outside of Parent, and no idea what we'll find when we get there. Along the way, we pass a new Toyota minivan on the side of the road. I stop to see if he needs help. He tells me his engine overheated. Weird. Says another truck has already gone to Parent to send a towtruck down and they don't need help, so we continue. Ted eventually picks a gravel pit to set up camp. I'm a bit skeptical, but whatever... It's flat, drains well, no bugs.

I'm out of my element though. I'm used to camping in a clearing in a bush, or near a beach. Now we're in a lunar landscape. Sometime after 10PM, I see a flatbed towtruck heading south in the direction of that minivan. That's a long wait...

While cooking supper, Ted says "Hey, did you hear about that bear attack out west? Bear killed 4 people, 1 guys survived. He said it just sat on him, pinning him in his sleeping bag while it ate his legs. Well, goodnight!"

I've also heard Ted tell people his pre-active method for dealing with bears is to slip hotdogs underneath everybody else's tent. He's just joking though, right?

I didn't get much sleep that night. I think I was up until 4AM. At some point in my sleep deprived delirium, I hear footsteps in the gravel, and what sounded to me breathing/snorting. Is that just the wind rustling the tent fly? One of the two other guys? Or a bear? Should I keep my bear spray inside my bag? How do you spray a bear when you're inside a tent? Eventually I fall asleep, clutching my by big knife... and awake way too early at 6:30AM.



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Old 07-13-2011, 11:07 AM   #1601
R_Lefebvre
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The next day, we're on the road just after 9. But again, I'm afraid I'm holding up the other two, because I've got to repack so much stuff. Before we left, I asked Ted where he's putting all his gear. 2 guys in a Ford Ranger, with a big tire in the bed. My SUV was full of gear, and I'm just one guy! Ted's response was simply "LOL!". What's that mean?

I think Ted forgot he was in a truck. Friday morning he revealed he only had flipflops, forgot his shoes at home. Two shirts, his stove, tent, a chair and a few odds and ends. That's about it.

I had work clothes, lightweight synthetic clothes, shorts, rain jacket and pants, stove, tent, sleeping pad, pillow, 5 gallons of water, 3-way powered cooler, a box full of odd's n' ends for camping including about 6 lights, a fully stocked bug-out bag, large first aid kit, full bag of tools, recovery gear, land anchor, 12V air compressor, axe, shovel, chainsaw, reflective triangle, full replacement fluids for the entire truck, spare ECU, fuel pump.... Eezi-Up awning, laptop, 4 cameras... chair, folding camp kitchen, wash tub...



Somewhere on the way to Parent I saw this sign.



This just cracks me up. Middle of nowhere, but if you need a VERY specific oil for a 2 stroke motor, this guy has you covered!

We arrive in the town of Parent, and it's even smaller than I thought. It pretty much only exists because the train runs through. Only industry appears to be servicing travellers and the Outfitters in the area. We stop to use the bathroom, and buy some coffee out of guilt even though I've already had 2. We try to get directions from the locals. I ask the waitress, but she doesn't know... there's only 3 roads in and out of this place, and she doesn't know where 2 of them go. She takes us outside where some men are gathered at the patio. One guy talking to me in french, one guy in bad english talking to Ted, none of their instructions are clear, or make sense, or agree. Great! Ted decides to abandon his route up to Poisson Blanc. I was surprised by this, but this is when Ted tells me there isn't actually anything IN Poisson Blanc, it's literally just a point on a map. We'll follow the misdirection these guys gave us towards the only thing they agree on: There's a new, good, gravel road going north of Reservoir Gouin towards Chibougamau.

Parent does have gas, and surprisingly it's not that expensive. When we pulled into the gas station, it's like everybody is on "African Time", if you know what that's like. Both sides of the pump are blocked, guy filling up his truck, then his boat. On the other side of the pump, there's a Ford Explorer that won't start. They don't push it out of the way. They're playing under the hood. Dead battery, guess he pulled in for gas, then it wouldn't restart. They take the battery out of a boat and attempt to jump it. *CLICK*. That's not good. I think about helping him by jumping from my running truck. But, this far in nowhere land, self-preservation takes over. I'm guessing the battery in the truck died from all the vibration from driving on these roads, fused plates. He's just as likely to fry my alternator if I hook up. They're going to have to pull it, because no amount of jump starting is going to get that truck running. They do all this, still blocking the pump.

Finally we fuel up, I buy batteries for the FRS radio, and off we go. Luckily, I had prepared a route from Parent to Clova, and we are following that route. There are side roads everywhere for logging, but the main road is obvious. Somewhere we pass an Astro van on the side of the road. Only... it's upside down. Wheels are gone. Windows gone. And it's full of bullet holes. Obviously some poor Overlander who hadn't bought the right brand of Expedition Exchange approved lug nuts for his wheels. See, look what happens...



The FRS radios prove practically useless. They only work when we're in visual range. Funny, I remember them working better than this... Must be just getting old. I was going to get a new set of fancy GMRS radios on Thursday, but I had brake trouble...

In my sleep deprived state, I get confused about where we're going. Instead of taking the fork towards "Patate Gouin", I take us into Clova. Interesting town anyway. The VIA train stops in Clova 3 times a week.



My home town is RIGHT on the line between Montreal and Toronto, but I can't get the train to stop in my town (10,000 people). This town, population 50, has regular train service. In fact, apparently you can request the train to stop ANYWHERE along the route between Parent and Senneterre.

They've got wolves running free in town.





The store.



The town appears to run off generators. There's a large white shipping container in town, with two huge fuel tanks beside it, emitting a humming noise, and wires coming out. Remote.

The town is home to Air Tamarac. They fly down to pick up passengers in Montreal and bring them to Reservoir Gouin. Or, you can take the train to Clova, and they'll fly you out into the reservoir for fishing. Or, they'll take you even further up north. There were about 6 float planes, business must be good, all of them in beautiful condition. I think they had two deHaviland Beavers, THE iconic Canadian Bush plane.



http://www.tamarac.ca/php/en/accueil.php
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Old 07-13-2011, 11:12 AM   #1602
R_Lefebvre
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Back on the road out of Clova, back to the intersection that will lead us to Patate Gouin. What is Patate Gouin, and why is it a landmark? Good question, and I don't have a good answer. It used to be a chip wagon that grew into a restaurant, but I saw exactly 1 dwelling anywhere within a 50 km radius. And as luck would have it, that guy is picking up a pizza while we're there!

I go into the store and ask the lady behind the bar for directions. We're trying to go up to Chibougamau. She has no map. She pulls out notebook with some distances scribbled down. In pencil. "Chibougamau, 220 km" she says. "Which way?" That way, pointing back at the intersection.

Back outside, Ted is nervous to hear the news. He's just about half a tank, and we have 200+km to go, IF we don't get lost. Luckily, Patate Gouin sells gas. $1.60/L for regular ($6/gal). Good news though. You can pump gas, sit on the crapper, and clean your windshield all at the same time.



I have 10 gallons of gas on the back of my truck so I decide to risk it an not fill up.

I think somebody lives in this thing:



Snowmobile trail groomer I guess.



Wait, how did that Sunfire get there?

Back out on the road, we keep heading north. At first we're following the route I had planned between Clova and Poisson Blanc. But it's rough. 200km of this?! They said this road was good! What have we gotten ourselves in for?

After about 50km or so, the road changes. It becomes a gravel superhighway. Starts running straighter, and smoother than some paved roads in Quebec. Eventually it diverges from my planned route. I can see the old roads down below. Now we're making time, travelling at 80-100km/h.



The road does look new. Sometime within the past year. It starts to run almost straight as an arrow towards Chibougamau. We realize we've discovered a new road for overland travel through this large expanse of nothingness. 500km of gravel from Mont Laurier up to Chibougamau, almost linking up with the famous Route du Nord. Ted leaves it up to me to name it. I must think of a proper name.



Somewhere along the way, there is a bridge over a river with a weight limit sign on it. It has a pictogram of a logging truck with the marking "200T". HOLY SHIT!!!

As we approach Hwy 113, a mountain of logs comes into view. The scale is staggering.



40-60 feet long and stacked 20 feet high, the road is lined like this for over 1 km.



I left Ted behind a bit while I filmed it. I stopped for pictures. Eventually I hear a faint rumble, and then a rattling clanky squeaking noise approaching, like a mechanical beast approaching. It reminds me of a WWII movie, soldiers holed up in a blasted out building, as a German Panzer tank approaches and turns the corner...

Only it's a Ford Ranger. Somewhere along the way, Ted's truck has picked up a few noises.

Attempt at an artistic shot that Photobucket compression is killing.



Amazingly, this depot is the smaller of two that we pass. There's a larger one near an industrial building, not sure if it's a sawmill or what. Logs are piled 50 feet high here.

Across the road from the lumber yard appears to be an indian reservation.



I just love saying it. Try it yourself. 3 times fast.



We didn't go into the town, but after doing some research at home, I'm sorry we didn't. It actually looks very interesting. Appears to be a "successful" reserve. Prosperous, innovative, and permanent. They present an interesting history revealing typical white mismanagement. They claim to have never been conquered militarily, nor signed any agreement. They were living happily until 70 years ago when, unannounced, Quebec companies moved up and just started cutting down all their trees.

http://www.ouje.ca/

Their town features a sawdust fired community heat generating plant.

http://www.alaskawoodheating.com/ouje_district.php

Their buildings are solidly built, and architecturally designed to reflect their culture.





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Old 07-13-2011, 11:15 AM   #1603
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BTW, Poisson Blanc as you see it on Google map might give the impression that it's a town but it is not. It's the intersection of the road leading to Chibougamau and the road to Parent or Opitciwan (Atikamekw for Poisson-Blanc), a native community.

If the TCAT is going to go by Chibougamau, I may to re-plan so that we do less tarmac and more gravel. There is way more gravel than asphalt in this part of the country so finding a straigth to Chibougamau off-road track is anything but impossible.

Why does August have to be so far away (I'm like a kid waiting for Christmas)! Damn job....
Hi Fab, I agree that August cant come soon enough

Chibougamau it is. The route we found there is just to good not to use. Hopefully its not a concern from your end of things? I see a maze of logging roads that lead there from your end...maybe it'll give us somewhere to get lost in August The connection in Chibougamau also works very well for the TNE route that shares your section of the TCAT as the Rue Du Nord is part of the TNE so its a great place for the routes to diverge from each other

See ya soon
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Old 07-13-2011, 11:15 AM   #1604
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We decide to burn some pavement and head down to Reserve Faunique de la Verendrye, the second half of my intended route. (So far, very little of our route has followed what we intended).

We drive through Chapais, a proper little town. They have gas, groceries, and beer. We ask about a campground, and are told there is a nice one a little west of town. Perfect. After last night, I needed a proper campground, increase my odds at not being the unlucky sod who get's eaten by a bear. And hopefully Ted doesn't have enough hotdogs to go around.

We pull into the place, I think it was called Camp Opemiska or something like that. Pretty nice place, but REALLY heavy on the RV's. Ted, Ian and I are the only ones not in a hard-sided trailer. Great. I pay extra for electricity so I can plug in my cooler. I forgot the propane connector for it, so I couldn't power it last night and it warms up fast. The owner has to run an extension cord to the pole, and it won't reach back to my site. He tells me to leave my cooler outside. It'll be fine. He promises they don't have any bears, or racoons. Only skunks. Great.

We pulled in around 5, and it was nice to relax, cook a nice dinner, sit around the fire, and hit the bed early. I slept well.

The next morning, we hit the road again. About 3-4 hours of pavement down to Verendrye.



We pass a number of "towns", but there's litterally nothing there. Just points on the map. Level-sur-Quevillon is an actual town, but we don't see much of it. Finally we reach the north office of Verendrye, about 2-3pm. I don't really understand it, as "Reserve Faunique" means nature preserve, but there are about 500 campgrounds, they offer hunting, fishing, and an indian reservation, etc. Whatever. We decide to take an interior campground, Baie Mazo. It is a small cluster of 6 campsites deep, deep into the park. There is nobody else there that night. Perfect. The check in is incredibly long however. Took about 1 hour total.

We drive in, through the indian reservation, and across a dam.



The road is ROUGH. I stop to let more air out of the tires and Ted continued up ahead.

You *could* take a minivan on the road, but I don't recommend it.





I stop to check out a cluster of campsites, Baie Baker or something like that. They don't look good. One road into a lake, small rough sites on the side of that road, two of them just on either side of a boat launch. Not good.
Back on the road, and I hope Ted hasn't come back looking for me...

The road gets better, and it's fast and flowing... like a rally road. The urge is irresistable. I can see sand spray marks from Ted's tires so it looks like he's having fun too.

Finally I pull into our spot. It's PERFECT. Nice sized camping spots. The one I chose is really rocky, so I move to another. Nobody around so who cares. There's an outhouse, and it doesn't even smell. Trail leading down to the lake. A boat launch further down. We all go for a swim, but the water is kinda cold so it's quick. The lake is different than any I've seen in this area. The shores are very rocky, and there are stumps sticking out. I realize that this lake is a reservoir, probably flooded not that long ago, maybe 10-20 years. The water has washed the sand out but left the rocks behind, and hasn't yet taken the wood which lies on the beach in places like driftwood. As nasty as it sounds, it's really not. Just different than I'm used to. There are a number of small rocky islands in the lake. We are totally secluded, nobody else around. It looks like an interesting lake to explore by canoe.
Another nice evening in camp, and sleep come easily again.

The next morning, we have about 2 hours on dirt roads to get back out to the highway. We drive down to Le Domaine, fill up with gas and air, and part ways. I know my way back and Ted sort of does, it's pretty straight forward at this point.

We completely abandoned my route from Le Domaine through Lac Dumoine and down to Rapides a Joachim. But I'm OK with that. We've done a LOT of driving, and I've still go another solid 7 hours of slab just to get back home today. We'll save my trip for another time.
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Old 07-13-2011, 11:21 AM   #1605
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Originally Posted by R_Lefebvre View Post

We saw a few of these signs. Interesting. If you need an ambulance, come to this intersection. Um... OK. No emergency phone. No cell phone reception. No indentifier of where you are. Not sure what purpose this sign serves.
To me, this is not a "public sign"
It certainly have something to do with the workers...
This signs probably let them know there are at a "help point", named "F"
They probably communicate with radio or sat phone



Quote:
Originally Posted by R_Lefebvre View Post
What does this mean? This road is for snowmobiles and logging trucks only?
Same meanning of this one:

But with some different animals

Seriously, everybody may know that, but just in case... in Quebec (and maybe elsewhere), you could meet some 14 feet wide trucks... they can't stop quickly and they often need the 2 ways in the curves
Bonus: they don't want to drive to close too the edge (soft ground) and they will send you a lot of stone is the ground is gravel.
Motocycle should stop and be prepared each time one is coming

The good thing is they (most of the time) love to see riders like us and they all speak together on the radio to let everybody knows some motivated and "fragile" peoples are on the trail


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