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Old 07-27-2014, 09:07 PM   #1
ravinerat OP
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Location: Lake Simcoe Ontario Canada
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N 53 58.440' w 079 04.694'

After doing a lot of reading and trying to decide on a trip for the fall of 2014 I started to research The James Bay road in Northern Quebec. I mentioned it to a few guys at work and the trip was becoming a reality. We had a date of May 16-22/14. This would beat he bugs we were hoping.

I spent the winter reading over trip reports, making phone calls to Baie James Tourist info. I found the James Bay web site which was invaluable.www.jamesbayroad.com. We had several trip planning meetings over the next few mths.

We had 3 KTM and 3 KLR’s on the trip.













The James Bay road is 620 km long. It was started in 1971 and finished 420 days later for the Hydro Quebec James Bay project.

The longest section without gas is 381 km.

Day 1

5 of us met in Barrie at a Tim Hortons and after a quick coffee we were off to pick up our 6th member in Gravenhurst.
I might add that one of our team could only ride with us for the first day and then head for home.




We left Gravenhurst heading for North Bay. The temp was about 10 C but sunny. As we got closer to North Bay it started to cloud over. Once in North Bay one of the guys developed a problem with his tire. WE pulled into a Tim Hortons and discovered he either had a bent rim or a bead problem.



He decided that he would head to a local bike shop and see what can be done. We were going to head on up to New Liskeard and meet him there. Once in New Liskeard we waited for his phone call. Good news he had just had a damaged bead and would have a new tire installed in about 2 hours. We had a lunch and in no time he had caught up to us. We left Ontario and Crossed over into Quebec. Our next destination was Rouyn Noranda. We started to drive through some brief rain showers then the sun would come out. We drove through some snow flurries then back into sun. We stopped and gassed up in Rouyn Noranda and grabbed a coffee. Our next destination was Amos. The rain, snow, sun developed a pattern for that day and the temps dropped a little more.






After a long day riding we arrived in Amos and fuelled up. Our originalplan was to find a bush trial and camp. After gassing up cold and tired we decided to grab a motel room and a beer.





We had a great dinner, hit the hot tub and had a few brown pops. Didn’t take long for everyone to turn in for the night.


Day 2

We had a good breakfast and got ready to hit the road. Our plan today was to get to Matagami and fuel up. We were then going to head up the James Bay road and camp for the night.
We said good bye to our one KTM rider who was headed home. It was another cool day of riding. After several hours we arrived in Matagami and fuelled up. This was going to be our longest section without gas. We had some lunch and then head down the James Bay road.



We arrived at the gate house and registered for using the road.




We were finally here.







The James Bay road was long and gentle rolling with some curves. The lanes are a little frost heaved in spots but I thought it was a great road..





We arrived at Rupert River and it was spectacular. Being a white water guy I was picking my line through the rapids. Yup! I’m going to die.









We had something to eat and drink and head toward mile marker km 381 for gas. So after riding for hours you come up on this huge building with lots of out building. They have gas and a cafeteria that had some pretty good food. After some discussion we decided we were going to find the first camping spot and get settled in for the night. There was one just past our gas stop. Oh did I mention we rode through rain and snow again. A few times it was snowing pretty hard.














We had some dinner and hung out around the fire. After a few brown pops it was time for bed. The temps went down to about +2C through the night.
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Old 07-27-2014, 09:08 PM   #2
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Day 3

Woke up a little chilled. Got some coffee going and moved around some and started to warm up pretty quick. It had been clear skies last night so today should be a beautiful day.

We packed up and headed for Radisson. As we got closer you would see a vehicle at the side of the road with front end damage and the windows smashed out. Later we found these vehicles had hit Caribou and been abandoned.



Now Radisson only exist because of Hydro Quebec.



We fuelled up, had something to eat and were now headed to Long Point for the night. I believe Long Point was the farthest North you can go. When you head down the road to Chisasibi it splits at the dam. Long Point road is a 30 km gravel road. We got to the dam and checked it out. This is a smaller dam unlike the one near Radisson.













We rode the Long Point road which was interesting. I really haven’t ridden much gravel before. The road has some hazards marked along the way allowing you to slow down for them. The further we went the more spread out we became finding the right speed for you to travel at. After some interesting moments on the road we arrived at the end.



Not really thinking of it but the bay was frozen. Talking to the locals they tell me that they are still hunting geese out on the melt ponds on the bay. There are 44 snowmobiles still out there and up into Hudson Bay.



We talked to several Cree who were down loading up some snowmobiles on to trucks. They say the ice is still over 1’ thick and won’t be ice free until the end of July this year. One man told me I was 44 km from Hudson Bay.





Well no dipping our tires in James Bay this trip.










We started to set up camp and several people came by hearing we were here.



I think this mans name was George. He said he owned the property we were going to camp on. He gladly gave us permission to camp there and chatted for about an hour. A man with a wealth of knowledge.










Looked like snow clouds moving in



It became very windy and cold as we got a fire going and started some dinner.



Sunset was beautiful that night and the temp dropped. It was -4C that night and all the puddles froze and so did I.

Day 4

We broke camp and were going to start heading home. First we needed to go into Chisasibi and get gas. We crossed back over the dam and headed down the paved road to Chisasibi. The road was in good shape but there were some deep ruts. Any cracks were filled with a rubber compound and was very slippery when your tires hit it.

It was another sunny but cool day.



We stopped at the local tourist info place to try to find somewhere to get something to eat.



We hung around finding a coffee but not much was open. Most of the men were out hunting so it was almost deserted.

We fuelled up and headed down the James Bay Road again. It was a beautiful day and we got into the grove of riding.





We stopped and got gas at Km 381 again then headed for Rupert River to camp for the night.



We got into the Rupert River camp spot well before dark. Several vehicles had pulled in to use the out houses and left. A vehicle pulled in and 4 french guys got out. One of them came over and started to talk to me. My French is horrible and his broken English was ok. After several minutes he asks, “you got beer?” I said “no, you got beer?”He says “yes, You want?” I said “sure”. He says “how many” I say “5”. “ how much” He says “$30”I say “No way, $20”. He says ok and runs over to the vehicle. He brings back 5 ice cold beers and drops them on the seat of my bike. Grabs the $20 and they are gone. Well we each sat down and had a nice cold beer. Well deserved after the ride.

Day 5

We were in no rush this morning. We were discussing how far we should ride today. Some thought New Liskeard some North Bay. We figured if we got to North Bay it was only 3 more hours to home. We headed off and figured we’d see how we felt. Well it wasn’t long before it started to pour rain then snow. We were about 30 km out of Amos and bike trouble. One of the KLRs wouldn’t start. After everyone having a look we decided to tow the bike into Amos as there was a bike shop across from the motel we stayed at.



We sent one guy on ahead since it was getting late to see if they would stay open. We were directed to a Kawi dealer who said he couldn’t look at it tonight but would look at it in the morning. We decided to stay at the motel again and wait to see what happens tomorrow. In the morning the dealer said he could fix it enough to get him home but there was no guarantee the repair would hold. It would be ready around 1400 hr. So we hung around. Once the bike was fixed we headed for home. After some good riding I rolled into the house at midnight. I sure was tired but it was a great trip.

A few things about the trip.

May was a little too early. The organized campgrounds don’t open until June 1. There is camping along the James Bay Road so that’s not really a problem.
Expect any kind of weather.

I understand the Dam tour in Radisson is something to see. You do have to make reservation though.

Everyone we met was friendly and helpful.

Gas on the trip was between $1.42- $1.64/L

You can travel fairly fast on the JBR but you have to watch for frost heaves and ruts.

This is a trip you can do on any bike except for maybe Long Point which is gravel.


Hope you enjoyed the trip.

RR

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Old 07-28-2014, 04:34 AM   #3
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Thanks for posting. Looks like a cool trip.
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Old 07-28-2014, 09:40 AM   #4
L.B.S.
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Awesome pictures, but black text on a charcoal background? Jumping jeebus on a pogo stick.
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Old 07-28-2014, 04:00 PM   #5
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Cool trip.
What was wrong with the KLR ?
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Old 07-28-2014, 04:09 PM   #6
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I don't know how to change the colour of the print. I have been trying but can't find the info on it.

The KLR had something go on the crank.mi think it had something to do with compression but I'm not sure.

RR
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Old 07-28-2014, 05:54 PM   #7
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Glad you posted. Looks like you had a great trip. I met the same George a few years back when I was up there with my son. I think he likes to interview anyone who turns up at Longue Pointe.

Having seen your pics, I'm sure it was you guys we saw coming south as we were heading north.

Ride safely

Nick
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Old 07-28-2014, 06:48 PM   #8
ravinerat OP
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I'm sure George is a regular with us Tourists. How was the weather on you guys?

RR
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Old 07-28-2014, 07:01 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ravinerat View Post
I'm sure George is a regular with us Tourists. How was the weather on you guys?

RR
Beautiful: warm, mild, clear and mercifully bugless. Frosty at night, which is fine by me.

(Check the link below for pics - although I think you've read the RR already).

Nick
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Old 07-29-2014, 07:18 AM   #10
ravinerat OP
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Yes I had read your ride report and checked out a few of your other Adventures. Life is just too short to sit around and wonder isn't it.

RR
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Old 11-20-2014, 02:07 PM   #11
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Thumb Missed this one.

Hard to imagine but I missed seeing this when it was posted.
Looked like an awesome trip and I really have to make this trip one day next year. Great pics and thanks for sharing.
Stay safe out there.
Ken
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Old 01-23-2015, 11:35 PM   #12
ipeters
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Hammock time

I'd like to do this ride this summer as well. I had been wondering whether there would be enough trees to set up a hammock. Your pictures seemed to answer that.
Any issues hammocking up in Radisson?

Also, did the hammocker have an underquilt for the cold nights?
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