James Bay Road. What could go wrong...

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by 4badboyz, Aug 2, 2013.

  1. 4badboyz

    4badboyz Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    Oddometer:
    597
    Location:
    Oakville.
    I was browsing the regional forums when I noticed a thread started by Otis357 (Jon) asking if anyone knew if the James Bay road was still closed because of the forest fires.
    Having wanted to do this trip for some time now, I jumped in on the thread to see if I would be able to tag along with the group. Jon quickly responded with some comment about handcuffs and duct tape:huh. That part of my life is behind me, but what the heck... what could go wrong. I booked a couple of days off and joined up with Jon in Oakville. Turns out he lives only minutes away from my home, and so a new ADV friendship begins.
    Jon and I left Oakville Wednesday after lunch, and rode north towards Orangeville where we would meet Brian, the gentle giant (Angryman).
    After shaking hands and exchanging intros, we headed north on our excellent adventure. Stopped in South River for fuel, the camera comes out for the obligatory shots.

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    The plan was to meet rider #4 John (Sonny) in Temagami at Marten River Provincial Park north of North Bay, before dark.
    Things went as planned and we hooked up with John in time to setup tents and feed the mosquitos before dark.

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    Two KTM's a KLR and a DR settled in for the first night. As it turns out, our campsite was on the water, directly across from the Trans Canada highway. All night long, it sounded as if the transport trucks were driving between our tents. Not exactly what we were expecting but hey, it is what it is...

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    Sonny has a low tolerance for bloodthirsty insects.:lol3
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    and Brian has a good laugh at Sonny's expense.

    The next morning, was a chilly one. Up and on the road by 8:00am we stopped for a hearty breakfast at a local Lodge.
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    Along the way, we stopped in New Liskeard for some minor bike maintenance. I'll leave it to you to caption this photo :lol3
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    #1
  2. 4badboyz

    4badboyz Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    Oddometer:
    597
    Location:
    Oakville.
    As we make our way north, we stop for lunch in Amos QC, where we meet a couple from Montreal travelling on their Goldwing with their little companion in the back. Very cool!
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    By dinner time, we arrive in Matagami, the last town before the James Bay road. The local police were helpful with directions, road conditions etc.
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    6kms further up the road we arrive at the gatehouse to the james Bay road. Travellers are required to sign in and out when using the road.
    The road to Radisson is over 600kms with one fuel stop at the 380km mark. We were all carrying additional fuel in anticipation of this leg of the journey, so the range was not an issue.
    Although the forest fires caused some damage at the fuel depot it was functioning and we would be able to refuel there.
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    The plan was to use one of the many free "wilderness campsites" to set up for the night. At the 89km mark, we turned off the highway and set up camp for the night.
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    The campsites are nicely kept and offer picnic tables, toilets, and all the bugs you can feed:huh
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    #2
  3. 4badboyz

    4badboyz Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    Oddometer:
    597
    Location:
    Oakville.
    Next morning, packed up and ready to hit the road. The signs indicate we are in native territory.
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    The Rupert River, although still impressive, is only a fraction of what it once was before the waters were diverted for the hydro electric project.
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    The further north we get, the more barren the landscape.
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    Caribou hunting outfitters camp.
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    #3
  4. GS937

    GS937 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2006
    Oddometer:
    53
    Please finish this story, we are planning on going in 3 weeks.

    Kevan
    #4
  5. 4badboyz

    4badboyz Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    Oddometer:
    597
    Location:
    Oakville.
    The first signs of the forest fire appear.
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    Arriving at the fuel depot, you could see how close the fire came to wiping out the entire station. Staff were evacuated for 3 days during the fire and only a couple of buildings/tankers were lost.:eek1
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    I stopped at at what was left of a Cree family homestead. It was a sad sight. Total destruction!
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    the remnants of a tee-pee
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    How hot does it need to be to melt a guardrail.
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    #5
  6. Ratman

    Ratman Lucky Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,216
    Location:
    Baja is good
    I was there in '04 when the Rupert was full size. I'm glad to see that it's still running strong. Thanks for running this TR.

    "all the bugs you can feed", now that's funny. :rofl

    <table style="width:auto;"><tr><td><a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/9CrKN_Ot4XttRdbRkn3YrdMTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-3POcAUqmPM8/TTXxdQFAUSI/AAAAAAAAXtY/3___YSB85ow/s288/P1040673.JPG" height="162" width="288" /></a></td></tr><tr><td style="font-family:arial,sans-serif; font-size:11px; text-align:right">From <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/105133432232392762779/MotoTrailer?authuser=0&feat=embedwebsite">moto trailer</a></td></tr></table>
    #6
  7. 4badboyz

    4badboyz Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    Oddometer:
    597
    Location:
    Oakville.
    We arrive in Radisson, a town of 350 residents. The majority of the residents work for Quebec Hydro, maintaining the massive LG2 hydro electric dam.
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    There is a small campground at the top of the hill just outside town, where we set up for the night.
    At 4:00am were were awakend by the sound of a puppy whimpering and whining in the woods behind our tents, followed by the howling of a timberwolf, collecting her pups. The wolf circled the campsite for half an hour or so, and was last heard a quarter mile away, still howling away. That was a very cool experience :D
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    #7
  8. 4badboyz

    4badboyz Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    597
    Location:
    Oakville.
    In the morning we have a personal tour of the Hydro Electric dam arranged. We grab a quick breakfast in town.
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    Mural depicting the Hydro spillway and wintering caribou.
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    Our guide Frederic (center) is an engineering student in Montreal, with plans to work for Hydro Quebec when he graduates. He was a very nice young man and a wealth of information on the project and the area.
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    I'm standing in front of the reservoir spillway. This is an impressive feat of engineering to say the least. It took over ten years to blast away and remove the rock from the spillway. The rock was used to build the dam, which stretches for over a mile. The largest dam of it's kind in the world.
    The spillway is used to regulate the volumne of water in the reservoir behind the dam.
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    #8
  9. dovetailredux

    dovetailredux Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2009
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    78
    Location:
    Ottawa
    Interesting stuff. Keep 'er coming.
    #9
  10. Deadly99

    Deadly99 Fast and Far

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    Merrickville, Canada
    :lurk
    #10
  11. fabriktr

    fabriktr Build it if you can.

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2012
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    Location:
    Oklahoma
    Very Cool,
    count me in.:clap
    #11
  12. 4badboyz

    4badboyz Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    Oddometer:
    597
    Location:
    Oakville.
    spillway from the gate
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    looky... I can see my house from here
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    one of the 16 generator turbines out for refurb.
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    With the tour complete, we load up and head west the 105kms to the shore of James Bay and the Cree village of Chisasibi.
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    community center
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    Considering how unkept the village was, it was a surprise to see how well the little cemetery was cared for, with freshly painted fences and flowers.
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    Finally, James Bay, the Arctic watershed.
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    Our plan from here was to head back out to the highway and make our way south to find a campsite for the night. The weather turned bad and it started to rain hard.
    Brian mentions that he heard a funny '"TINK" sound from his engine and then an intermittent rattling noise. At first I thought it sounded like valve train lash, but it got much louder and more frequent very quickly. By the time we reached the James Bay road his engine sounded like a sack of hammers.
    This was not good! 1,700kms from home in the middle of no where, and an engine on the verge of catastrophic failure... WTF do we do now? ...
    Jon, Brian and Sonny were on two weeks vacation so time was not an issue for them, but on the other hand, I had to be back at work in two days.
    Unfortunately, I had no choice but to part company with the group and head south alone.

    The group head back to Radisson to find a solution...
    #12
  13. 100mpg

    100mpg Self Imposed Exile

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    Great RR! I hope to get up there someday.
    #13
  14. GS937

    GS937 Adventurer

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    Dec 28, 2006
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    Don't leave me hangin', tell me more.
    #14
  15. ANGRYman

    ANGRYman Kind of happy....

    Joined:
    May 12, 2009
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    96
    Location:
    Ontario
    I'm going to throw in a few pics of the trip up before I get to where Mark left us trapped in the north. :D

    Before setting camp at Marten River we made a stop in North Bay to pick up these...Just to help dull the itching from the mosquito bites.

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    #15
  16. ANGRYman

    ANGRYman Kind of happy....

    Joined:
    May 12, 2009
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    96
    Location:
    Ontario
    These are a few of the shots after fueling up in Matagami.

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    #16
  17. ANGRYman

    ANGRYman Kind of happy....

    Joined:
    May 12, 2009
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Ontario
    Last one of the road up.

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    First thing we did when we rolled into Radisson was refuel ourselves......

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    Then the bikes. No premium to be found here.

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    #17
  18. ANGRYman

    ANGRYman Kind of happy....

    Joined:
    May 12, 2009
    Oddometer:
    96
    Location:
    Ontario
    We then set up camp just on the outskirts of town.

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    The next day we went for our tour of the hydro electric plant.

    The view from the bottom of the spill way.

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    And from the top.

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    #18
  19. ANGRYman

    ANGRYman Kind of happy....

    Joined:
    May 12, 2009
    Oddometer:
    96
    Location:
    Ontario
    During out night of camping we were visited by a wolf. I could have sworn he was just outside our tents. According to the locals it's pretty common to see them close to town. Then I saw this the following day.

    A pic from inside the tourist shop....

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    #19
  20. ANGRYman

    ANGRYman Kind of happy....

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    96
    Location:
    Ontario
    After the tour we hopped on for the ride to the bay! This is the only time we rode on gravel.

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    #20