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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Deadly99, Sep 14, 2009.
Keep it coming
That power nap is the first of many
After a chilly nights sleep we awoke to frost on our tent and bikes. Maurizio riding a GS1150 with Tourances decided that its best he get a head start and took off for the end of the North road. Following soon after was Ted and myself but we decided to stop and get food at the gas station half way along. The others were fighting with Chris' funduro trying to get it started, which they did by bump starting it a few times until it caught.
Somehow durring all of this the third group MISSED seeing us at the resturant/gas station and drove by thinking we had gone to Nemaska for gas instead. When they got there and no one had seen bikes they decided to back track and look back at the first gas station. Meanwhile everyone else was grouping up at the end of the north road and wondering what was taking so long!
Finally we all grouped up sharing some confused looks as we tried to puzzle out how we had passed each other on a road with only one intersection.
From there we headed north on the James bay road crossing the 52nd parallel.
Passed some beautiful scenery
As we cruised the cross winds became stronger and stronger until we were scraping pegs on straights or flying around corners without having to lean at all. I very odd feeling.
Here's a vide showing the wind.
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Then just as we made the last 40Km into Radisson it started to rain. We all looked at each other and said F*** this, Lets get a motel!
Here's all our stuff drying out. A floor fan is running, the AC is on to remove humidity and then the heater is on so we don't freeze. It worked out and all our stuff got dry.
We then had beers all around and crashed for the night!
Well finally the sun started to come up, bloody cold morning, must not have gotten more than a few hours sleep due to air mattress fiasco.
The Rupert River was roaring away in the morning sun and was a nice sight to wake up to. This time next year it will be a trickle, bit of a shame I suppose. Giving up our wilderness in Canada to feed the Americans with electricity. But....hard to complain from a bikers perspective as without all these dams these great remote roads wouldnt exist. A catch twenty two. I'll leave the debate at that as I have mixed feelings about the situation.
Did I mention it was freaking ......
A quick pack up and off to finish the North Road. I think about 160 km were left. Maurizio left about half hour before the rest of us so he didn't have to rush on his balding street tires. I left next with plans to meet the gand for breakfast at a Hydro Camp. Things got a bit screwy here. Chris's bike had technical difficulties starting, somehow Dan and John missed me at the camp and went looking for me in some reserve about 20 km of the road then back tracked looking for me. I have no idea how we missed each other on the only road out there. A mystery of the North I suppose. John crashed his bike (I'll let him give the details), Maurizio got to the end of the road about 5 minutes ahead of me and was met by a big old black bear. Me....well I had a heck of a trip. The trees started to be replaced by rock and it was the first time I really felt like I was up North. Great vistas. The wind was blowing so hard a few times by bike would get blown right across the road threw two sets of tracks and up onto the sandy shoulders. A bit unnerving at Dakar speeds to say the least.
A great breakfast at a Hydro workers camp
I am pretty sure this dog was dead, I even tried yelling at it but couldnt even get it to blink. Or maybe he is just damn lazy, who knows.
Chris and Stephen decided to push on up the James Bay Road to next gas station while I waited for John and Dan. After a while they came blazing by me, didnt stop and started cruising up the JBR (James Bay Rd). I awoke myself from a my siesta, jumped on the bike and started ripping to catch up. I caught up to them and Dan's bike is lying on its side. Well what a sight, I was greeted with a "it hasnt been a good morning" and two pissed of dudes. I guess the looking for me, John crashing, the high winds, loose road surface and pucker moments got them down. Note: they rebounded fast and were smiling shit eating grins the rest of the day
The end of the North Road
Something happened after we crossed the 52nd parallel. All the chicks we met above this latitude were obsessed and unexplainably attracted to Dan . Now Dan's not an ugly dude but this was to become uncanny at best. Dan, you need to move North and live the life of a Don Juan I am not referring to one incident but I am mean every chick we saw up here was giving Dan the bedroom eyes, while the rest of us sat there looking at each other with a WTF kind of expression.
Well a few hundred clicks of pavement was left for the day. The destination for the day was the town of Radisson. Maurizio got a jump start on us as he was going to zip up to tag the James Bay as he had to leave the gang tomorrow so he could get home for his child's first day of school. The JBR is excellent. Add some, well alot, of speed and it becomes a great twisty road. Fun road with great views along the way.
A quick stop for gas at the only gas station for many miles. Not sure if this gas is watered down or its simply a throttle twisitng thing but every time we used this gas we all lost tons of mileage. My bike got 210 km from a full tank where it normally gets 300. Who knows, another mystery of the North I suppose.
The last half hour or so on the JBR and it started to rain pretty good. Pulling into radisson the decision was unanimous to get a motel for the night. We choose the Auberge Radisson. Actually this place was clean, had great food and reasonable rates. We all enjoyed a few brown bottles, a good meal and a good sleep.
After eating boil in the bag for a few days it was damn nice to have your food separated as opposed to something that resembles dog food The boil in the bag will get you threw in a pinch but I grew to hate it. Not sure if it was the whole eating out of a bag or the affects freeze dried food has on the digestion system or a combo but I for one will pass on it next trip and bring real food
Nope, Johns weird ass sleeping contraptions. Hard to get this out of your brain falling alseep. All sorts of odd Silence of the Lambs dreams that night.
Said good bye to Maurizio as he was leaving at the crack of dawn for a 1300 km iron butt home.
Looks like a great trip!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Hey, I saw that dog at Nemiscau! Hangin out by the cafe only a couple weeks before you guys, he was alive at that time...
For those of you that have been following along I’m the one cruising around on the F650GS Dakar.
I had that poor bike packed like an old beaten mule. I had never felt it weigh that much and as I started down the North Road thought “ I must be insane riding gravel with this much weight.” Strange thing happens though, I got used to it and after a couple of hours of being puckered right up, started to relax. It’s either that or I simply couldn’t stay puckered any longer! I tell you, after you’ve done 1900 km of gravel you'll learn to read every pebble, color change and nuance of the road while you’re riding. But I’m getting ahead of myself, by the 3<SUP>rd</SUP> day I still had a lot to learn about gravel roads, especially one that was often mixed with sand like the North road. Don’t misunderstand , I have ridden many gravel roads before, but frankly this seemed way more technical.
So what happened to John the 3<SUP>rd</SUP> day. The day was gorgeous and I was really starting to get into the gravel and dirt riding. Unlike Ted, I had had a wonderful sleep the night before on my air mattress, you know the type, the ones that don’t leak! Being bright an alert I though… “I’ve got this gravel/sand thing mastered… no worries. The irony of that thought was to echo in my head in short order. As I’m happily touring along I come into a downhill left-hander. Not too sharp but it did look a little bit soft so I dutifully slowed down to around 50 km/h. I started around the turn and was just starting to apply throttle when… WTF!! :eek1 My front wheel shot instantly to the right causing my rear wheel to skid left. Then the front decided to go left, (probably me over-correcting), causing my rear now to skid right. This continued for 3 or 4 iterations until all that weight on the rear of my bike pendulumed around causing the back end to pass the front end of my bike while still moving forward down the road. I gotta tell you, that’s some weird ass feeling sliding backwards, on your back, with the bike down the road. My reverse low-side came to rest in a cloud of dust, gravel and sand. Laying there I thought several things in the blink of an eye. Are all my body parts still attached, how long are my riding mates going to leave me laying here, what happens if a transport comes around that corner right now, how bad is my bike screwed up and finally, what idiot said that he had this gravel/sand thing mastered? Oh ya, that was me. One thing I have to say is, damn, that riding gear really works! ATGATT!! After extricating myself from under that bike I found not a mark, not a scrape, no gravel burn or embedding, nothing broken, halleluiah, I’m in one piece. The only complaint later on was a sprained left finger and couple of sore muscles.
So now that I’m out from under the bike, alive and well, I’m standing there thinking how the hell am I going to lift this thing? It’s laying past 90 degrees on its side, in gravel and sand, no way I can pick this up. So I stand there waiting… and waiting… and waiting, you get the idea. Turns out Dan (the rider in front of me) thought I had just stopped for a leak or other bodily function and was off in the woods! As I’m just about to start unpacking my bike so I can lift it, along came a Caterpillar repair man in his truck. After the obvious “are you all right” and “what happened” questions, we managed to pick the beast up. I thank him profusely and after a quick assessment and realization that my bike is still good to go, off I went. I catch up to Dan just as he’s turned around to see where heck I am. He looks at me in stunned silence while I tell him what happened… then off we ride.
At this point I have to admit I was not in the best of moods. Dan and I get to the end of the North road and nobody!! Where the freaking heck are they. So Dan and I figure they’ve gone up the road to the next meeting place. So off we go. After a couple of minutes I think I feel something so I stop just to double check my bike, nothing wrong. Poor Dan parks behind me wondering if everything’s alright, off his bike he gets and BAM… down goes his 1150GS on the road. I think we both said the same thing at that moment, SHIT! His side stand was not quite all the way forward and let his bike drop. So just as were picking his bike up along comes Ted from behind us and says “What are you guys doing”. I’m not sure exactly what we said, but I know our “frustration” of the moment may have come through a little… well maybe more than a little…ok, ok a lot. I don’t think Ted knew quite what to say at this point but looking back on it now, it all was pretty damn funny!
One last note, the cause of my backwards adventure turned out to be a deep ridge in the road which my front tire glanced off of. I went back and looked after I got my bike up. Unfortunately I didn’t think till later of getting pictures of the event. The crisscrossing tracks my bike made were quite entertaining to look at. Damage to my bike; dent and grind marks on the right Jesse pannier and end of my handle bar. Way better than I could have reasonably expected. Next farkle for my bike... say it with me... Steering Damper.
The rest of the day was great especially the gourmet meal and motel room that night in Radisson!
Heavily loaded bike sliding down the road on this pannier.. and all that happened was a few character scratches! Awesome!
Nope, Johns weird ass sleeping contraptions. Hard to get this out of your brain falling alseep. All sorts of odd Silence of the Lambs dreams that night."
And here's me just trying to be a nice guy! I know I snore and snore loudly so I picked up this "chin strap" to keep my mouth shut (a rare event some would say). It worked and I didn't keep my room mate awake all night. Some thanks I get eh!
By the way, do you have any fava beans and a nice keante perhaps?
As already mentioned.. Day3 started rather cool.. frost/ice on the tents, trees and motorcycles..
Boiling up some water for hot tea and oatmeal was just the ticket.. while the plan was to 'stop for breakfast' I had a feeling that something might go wrong (which it did) and did not want to set out on an empty stomach! Ten points to someone that can identify my camp stove!
The gravel road was fine, but watch the ice on the wooden bridges..
Everything was covered with a nice layer of dust by the end of the road..
Happily Ted and Steven were waiting when I got to the end of the North Road (John and Dan were somewhere behind be having fun of their own!)
Once on the James Bay Road and heading north we eventually found ourselves going from bright and clear to dark and ominous.. John stopped to don rain gear (and turn into a pumpkin!)..
Finally ending up in Radisson in the rain.. and happily taking a hotel for the night (Auberge Radisson, very friendly, fair prices, and decent rooms!).
No pix, I went inside for a hot shower and a hot meal :)
One more thing of interest from Day Three.
So I stop for a smoke break to let the others catch up and this 300 year old Indian lady appears from nowhere. She has this "raisonish" look to her and stands about 4 feet tall. You know the look, something outta a Jim Morrison vision.
She politely tells me a bike crashed on the North Road yesterday and they had to airlift him out to Chibougamau. She pauses then says "he was a white guy like you", this was said with disgust in her voice. She turns her back on me and walks off into the tundra.
I was at a loss for words, should I tell her to go Fock herself or.......then a smile came to my face......damn I just got racially slammed for being a white guy. Not a normal occurance up here in Canada.
Where she came from and where she was off to is anyone's guess and there isn't much up there and what there is is very spread apart.
Much helmet time reflecting on this and I came to the conclusion that if I were in her shoes I would resent me as well. We are raping the land they have held sacred for many many generations and within a few decades have built roads, built dams that forever change the landscape,put up mass hydro lines buzzing across the land, big mines get dug that come with all sorts of debris and side affects, the folks that go up their to work are at times less than stellar representitves of society. Really other than money making landscape changing projects there isn't anything up there other than the Indians who are just living their lives which are often lead the hard way.
So can I relate to that old lady when she almost spits the word white man? Ya for sure, rock on old lady, tell us how it is !
Day 4 - The Easy Day
Feeling fresh and clean after taking serveral LONG showers at the hotel we rolled and packed all our freshly dried equipment and loaded up the bikes. Todays destination James Bay! Maurizio left us this morning at 6 am to blast 1400+Km back to Ottawa in one day. He's got an IronButt for sure!
Our fine accomodations
We crossed this dam on the way to James Bay. Amazing stuff. I definatly recommend comming this way if you are going to James Bay. Aparently the southern route via town isn't as beautiful.
We made it !
Then we hiked out to the point for a photo-op
While we were there we all wanted to ride our bikes in the water. Everyone did it perfectly except Dan decided he was going to "stop and wave". Then when he decided to go again he realized that his back tire was caught on a large rock. Lots of cluch burning tire slipping fun later he got unstuck and made it out. I guess if someone is going to get stuck why not the biggest bike while fully loaded?
This is the large power station near Radisson. I'm assuming it combines the power from several dams and prepares it to be send south.
All in all an amazing day. Low KMs on the bike and our butts. That night we stopped at the local outfitters and a few of us purchased second sleeping bags. The nights were looking colder and colder and boy was it worth it! Made sleeping for the rest of the trip a dream.
That night we crashed in the campground at Radisson. They had closed the weekend before for the season so we got FREE CAMPING.
Given we had comfy accomodations it was decided the night before to take a day off. The weather was to clear up and the campground in town had just shut down for the season. The water and electricity were still turned on but the bathrooms were closed. The price = free = perfect. The only objective for the dat was to go out to Longe Point and dip our wheels in James Bay.
We packed up the bikes and were off at the comfortable hour of 10 am.
A group shot in front of the classic sign post to the world. Its shows Ottawa as being 1300 km away. A bit further when you take North Road
Some great high speed ashpalt for about 80 km's or so bring you to one of the big dams in the area. The signs read something like a million cubic metres of concrete were used for this one dam! The pictures cannot do justice to the size of these things, they are HUGE!
Well the ocean is just around the corner, about 50 km away on a gravel road. After much straing at Google mpas this looked like the most northern road we could find that lead to the salt water. Funny how a Google sat image can get etched in your brain and then when you show up its exactly what you saw.
A quick walk over the rocks to the point proper for some classic been there done that photo's.
We had some boil in the bag for lunch while enjoying the salty air. This was one of the three ticks on our list of most do's for the trip so everyone was kind of just enjoying the moment.
We all took turns riding down the beach to dip our tires in the water.
Is that the smell of a BMW clutch burning Of course one of us had to get stuck. The rocks were about 6 inch deep of ball bearings and anyone who stopped would have a tricky time getting started. So of course I was already laughing at Dan as he stopped and gave his wave to camera. Sorry I didnt help push you out Dan but I was laughing to hard and taking a picture seemed like a better idea.
The locals use these big canoes with motors for lack of a better description (based on my very limited knowledge of boat types).
Just as we finished loafing around one these boats came across the water and pulled up to shore. They were out goose hunting and had everything including the kitchen sink in their boat. Seriously they even had a full size ATV in there, a huge bone that we guess must be a whale's vertabrae and lots of other odds and ends. The lads chipped in to help them get their boat up above the tide line. They use rollers under the boat and stop every 20 feet and move the last roller up front. Nice little system, primative indeed but works effectively.
Well time to pack up and hit the road. Chris bike fails to start so everyone gets off their bikes and adds their opinions to what may be wrong. The local guys we helped lend a hand by giving us a battery to jump off of. Yes we could of donw this ourselves as we had cables but no one wanted to unpack their bikes to get at their batteries and well it was kinda nice for these chaps to lend a hand after we had helped them out. Makes you realize that 99% of the people in the world are very good people given the chance. As it would turn out of the leads one of Chris's spark plugs had come loose.
An uneventful drive back to town where we set up camp in our private campground. The sun was shining and everyone seemed to be enjoying the day off.
A quick trip down into town to grab some chips, dip and brown bottles along with a trip to the gas station/everything you may need store where a few of us stocked up on some new gear. 30$ sleeping bags were bought by a few to try and beat the cold weather and me well I found the only air mattres around for probably hundreds if not thousands of km's
After sitting around the fire and just completely relaxing a few of us decided to go down into town to the local pub for a few more beers and some pizza. Good pizza, cold beer and strong whiskey shots and we were ready to crash. Don Juan de Dan gets stopped in the parking lot by a local native lady and boy was she in love with Dan. A good laugh for me pulling out of the parking lot while this drunk lady is kissing Dans hand while Dan looks at me with a "save me! Dont leave me here" look. To Dans credit he must of been on his bike in a big hurry as all of a sudden he was right beside me.
A great day, about 300 km's on the odometer.
"She politely tells me a bike crashed on the North Road yesterday and they had to airlift him out to Chibougamau. She pauses then says "he was a white guy like you", this was said with disgust in her voice. She turns her back on me and walks off into the tundra."
Sounds like she needed some of Dan's special lovin'.....
Seeing Dan ride into some water and then the smell of a burning clutch seem to be a common occurrence.
What a beautiful part of the continent!! Thanks for showing it to me!
I picked up the chips and dip and I got to tell you, that was an adventure unto itself! Go to the first store, a real grocery store in fact. Look for dip... great have 3 kinds on the shelf. Pick up two kinds off the shelf just in case. Go to the isle with the chips and I thought to myself "I must be in the wrong place, there are only about 10 bags of chips here and they are all ketchup chips". So I put the dip back because you can't eat ketchup chips with dip, that's just barbaric! I ask the girl at the front if there are any more chips around thinking maybe there are some in the back. To my surprise she tells me the only other chips in town are at the local "hardware" store where the sleeping bags were purchased. Skeptically I walk down there and I find that he at least has two kinds, plain and BBQ ruffle. Perfect I'll pick these up and go back for the dip at the other store. I guess Radisson only gets shipments of chips like once a month or something! :huh
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Long story short... 2 bags of chips and 2 containers of dip... almost an hour and over $20.00 with tax!!!<?xml:namespace prefix = v ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:vml" /><v:shapetype id=_x0000_t75 stroked="f" filled="f" path="m@4@5l@4@11@9@11@9@5xe" oreferrelative="t" o:spt="75" coordsize="21600,21600"> <v:stroke joinstyle="miter"></v:stroke><v:formulas><v:f eqn="if lineDrawn pixelLineWidth 0"></v:f><v:f eqn="sum @0 1 0"></v:f><v:f eqn="sum 0 0 @1"></v:f><v:f eqn="prod @2 1 2"></v:f><v:f eqn="prod @3 21600 pixelWidth"></v:f><v:f eqn="prod @3 21600 pixelHeight"></v:f><v:f eqn="sum @0 0 1"></v:f><v:f eqn="prod @6 1 2"></v:f><v:f eqn="prod @7 21600 pixelWidth"></v:f><v:f eqn="sum @8 21600 0"></v:f><v:f eqn="prod @7 21600 pixelHeight"></v:f><v:f eqn="sum @10 21600 0"></v:f></v:formulas><vath o:connecttype="rect" gradientshapeok="t" o:extrusionok="f"></vath><o:lock aspectratio="t" v:ext="edit"></o:lock></v:shapetype>And that was the cheaper ones, Ruffles were over $5.00 a bag! :eek1 Gotta say that those were the most expensive chips I've ever eaten. We had some left over that night so I made damn sure they came with us the next day.
As others have said, day 4 was a nice relaxing beautiful day with lunch by the sea.
An ATV in a boat was metioned. Talk about everying but the kitchen sink!