CT to Caniapiscau

Discussion in 'Americas' started by CavReconSGT, Mar 8, 2015.

  1. TorontoDude

    TorontoDude Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2011
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    bowels of downtown Toronto
    i'm a bit concerned about your access to fuel, especially on the TT. Hope it works out.
    #61
  2. CavReconSGT

    CavReconSGT Just the right amount of evil.

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    Thanks Derek. I appreciate the information. I was planning on going to Raddison and Chisasibi. I was also planning on trying to get to Long Pointe.

    TD why are you concerned? I will have 4 extra gallons after filling up in Mirage. You don't think that is enough?

    KR
    #62
  3. ktjim

    ktjim longtime n00b

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    Aug 16, 2004
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    155
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    so. maine
    I carried about 4 1/2 gallons extra gas. 1 1/4 each in two homemade peg packers and about 2 gallons in a MSR dromedary bag. Full tank in the Super Tenere about 6 gallons. Normally got about 45mpg with the S-10. Made it back to the Mirage on fumes!!
    We didn't try the aerodrome for fuel.
    #63
  4. CavReconSGT

    CavReconSGT Just the right amount of evil.

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    I'll have 9.2 gallons total. 4 gallons in two 2 gallon Rotopax containers and 5.2 gallons with reserve in the bike tank according to BMW. I calculated at 50mpg which I think is conservative and gives me a range of 460 miles for a 400 mile round trip from Mirage to Caniapiscau back to Mirage. I will be recalculating my gas mileage during the trip to see if it changes much but with what I know now, I think I will be OK.

    KR
    #64
  5. dhilt

    dhilt Been here awhile

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    Maine
    Long Pointe is pretty cool. We camped literally on the rocks by the water. There won't be many times in life you will have a chance to camp right on the shore of the Artic Ocean! The ride out is pretty good too, lots of cool lichen and moss in the woods. Check out the overlook for the dam, (it's after you cross the dam, on your left) it has some pics of the construction of the dam, it's crazy! Also, Watch out for water in the road, we had a couple surprise "puddles"!

    My 2 cents on fuel. You know the range of your bike best, I'm sure you have it figured out. My experience with mpg's with my Tiger 800, I got the same mileage the entire trip. 42mpg on the way up, 42 while there, and 42 on the way home. That was my experience. I have heard others saying it varied. Just keep an eye on it. You will be fine. If you run out, take a break. In a day or two someone will drive by. :-)
    #65
  6. CavReconSGT

    CavReconSGT Just the right amount of evil.

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    Thanks dhilt,

    It is something I have been considering, heading to Long Pointe. I will make that decision based up my trip back from Caniapiscau. If I am able to travel the south route I might not have enough time to do it.

    Yeah, as far as the gas mileage, I will start tracking it closer on the gravel to see what it shows up as. That is were I would think it would be worst. Hoping for the best.

    KR
    #66
  7. CavReconSGT

    CavReconSGT Just the right amount of evil.

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    CT/NH
    I messed up and just realized that I didn't post this message.

    I started this trip on Saturday 7/30. You can follow my trip at this site.

    https://share.findmespot.com/shared/faces/viewspots.jsp?glId=11rjnxgZgbmh9J6ti43QTkdaY9Z9TB1DU

    The password is “Caniapiscau” - Notice capital C as the first letter in password

    I will be updating the Spot site periodically when I stop.

    I will try to write a report when I get back.


    I have made it to Radisson and stood in James Bay. I will not be heading to Caniapisau though.

    upload_2016-8-5_12-43-34.jpeg

    I will make a report when I get back.



    KR
    #67
  8. MattF44

    MattF44 Been here awhile Supporter

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    Looking forward to your report.
    #68
  9. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    3,189
    Good to see you made it to dabble in James Bay, and that you have decided to forgo the attempt to reach Caniapiscau.
    Wise decision , I was waiting for the time when the reality of it worked its way through your mind . That sort of very long ride into unpopulated regions with questionable feul availability is best left to a team effort with a chase vehicle carrying the gasoline , lots of it . Or a very frugal bike with a ghastly large feul tank.To me it holds no attraction because of the requirement to travel in opposite direction those very same roads for several days .
    On the way back are you / did you take the Route du Nord as an alternate ? It is unpaved and in great condition with suitable feul stops and it should satisfy the need for having explored some of the wilds .
    Enjoy , and hope you have great summer weather
    #69
  10. CavReconSGT

    CavReconSGT Just the right amount of evil.

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Day 1 - 07/30/2016 - CT to Val-David
    upload_2016-8-11_20-47-41.png

    https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?hl=en&authuser=0&mid=1vLnedaXyN-0p6kCe426OdwPE9nc

    Intentional late start. Not much to report as this was a travel day primarily. Left around 1030 after having breakfast with my wife. Bright and sunny weather, temps in the mid to upper 80's. Took about 45 minutes to get through customs. CT now has what they refer to as Enhanced Driver license. Reading the Canadian customs website they accept EDL for entry into Canada. But it also stated that the only usable EDL license for crossing into Canada so far were from New York and Michigan. That information was from 2012 so I figured that they were behind the times as more states, including CT, now have what they call a EDL. I thought I would test mine. I should point out in order to get a CT EDL you must supply 1. A passport. 2. A recent piece of mail at your address dated within the last 90 days.

    I was surprised at how many cars there were. I talked to the customs agent and ask about my brand new, spiffy EDL and how I think it is supposed to allow me entry into Canada. She says no, that isn't what they consider an EDL. She says real EDL's have a chip embedded in them and a code on the back. The little star that CT puts on theirs has no meaning to them. Fortunately, I already have out my Passport card, and hand that to her.

    Had a person behind me in the line with a NY plate while waiting for customs. He kept crowding me and was being a pain in general. Foolishness like this often confuses me. As if him crowding me was going to make the line or me go faster. I did my best to ignore him. Was sweltering in the heat under the sun while waiting there. When you get up to the booth there is a stop line that you wait at until the agent calls you forward. This guy pulled up right behind me when I pulled up. One of the things they wanted to know was my license plate number. I'll admit, I don't know it. I know almost all of my license plate numbers for my cars but for some reason, I have never bothered memorizing my motorcycle plate. I told her I can pull forward so she can read it. She says fine. I do so and New York car behind me pulls forward also. So now I can't move back to retrieve my credentials. She yells at him to back up and gives him a scolding, telling him where he was supposed to be stopped. Yep, that put a smile on my face. It's the small things in life.

    My passport card was accepted and I was allowed in. WooHoo! I make a mental note to ask the US border agents about it on the way back into the country to try to get more information about the EDL. Upon further examination, CT refers to it as a Real ID and that it is used for federal identification purposes such as to use for boarding aircraft. Whether is it actually an enhanced drivers license is up for debate.

    I stopped for the obligatory picture at the crossing. While I was stopped taking pictures, I saw the New York car go driving by. Apparently, not being able to follow simple instructions isn't enough to keep you out.

    upload_2016-8-11_20-56-24.png

    Montreal had a fair amount of traffic but the GPS gave me no issues and it was easy to navigate the city by staying on the hard top. I had what I thought was an interesting setup that I used to get voice from my GPS. I had a Cardo Scala rider G9x intercom system that accepts Bluetooth input. I also had a Bluetooth transmitter that hung off of the cable to transmit the voice to my helmet from the GPS. I had used this on my test drive to NH and back and it worked flawlessly. It was working flawlessly now also. Later on it would cause some consternation on my part but that is for a later installment.

    Lots of construction and some slowdowns but only several full stops. Saw the St Lawrence waterway on the way over the bridge.

    Had arranged a hotel in Val-David on Booking.com about a week before. $68 American and then tax. Nice room, pleasant owner. First floor so I wouldn't need to carry all my gear up the stairs. Speaking of tax. Everything up there, appears to be taxed at around 15%. Hotels, food, gas. That was kind of a surprise. And there are two separate taxes, one called TPS is 5% and the other called TVQ is 9.975%. I did ask if they knew where that money went. They didn't really seem to know. I suspect some of the money might be for people like me to be able to take paved roads into the middle of no where. No objections. Was just wondering.

    Miles traveled:
    411 Miles

    Things seen:
    St Lawrence waterway
    Montreal

    Roads driven:
    I-84 I-91 I-89 133 35 15 117

    Hours on the road:
    Moving 06:58
    Stopped 02:02
    #70
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  11. scratchypants

    scratchypants Loathes the impolite

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    Unless you're English, and then they become GST and PST (general and provincial sales tax). And gas is a fixed, per litre, deal and varies by region from ~14 - ~22 cents.

    How big was the sigh of relief once you got moving on the 15 north of Montreal?
    #71
  12. CavReconSGT

    CavReconSGT Just the right amount of evil.

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    I'll admit that going through Montreal was a little bit of a nail biter for me. Even the highways are a bit of a maze. The GPS screaming instructions into my headset was very useful. It wasn't that bad but once through, the traffic was so much lighter. The transcanadian highway was also a joy. As well as the people driving it. They get it. They stay, like the signs tell them in the right lane unless passing. Driving those roads was truly a joy.

    And thanks for the English translation. I was suspecting that one tax was the equivalent of a federal tax and the other a Quebec state tax but wasn't positive.

    I will have to looks closer at the gas receipts, of which I have plenty. I wasn't aware there was a difference.

    KR
    #72
  13. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    Oddometer:
    3,189
    If you travel in Ontario you will have the single HST of 13 % on goods and services but not on essential food and medical goods and services.. .HST is short for Harmonized Sales Tax , the PST and GST combined into one figure on the cash register slip. These taxes are added to the sticker price .
    The gasoline tax is included in the advertised pump price so no
    point worrying about it . In fact don't fret about any of these taxes. If you want to buy someting you cannot avoid them anyway , just like in the USA , a fact of life .
    #73
  14. CavReconSGT

    CavReconSGT Just the right amount of evil.

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    Day 2 - 07/31/2016 - Val-David to Campsite near Joutel

    https://drive.google.com/open?id=1h0a_9RH_Cp9qcwh6ZlU3V2sXug0&usp=sharing


    Driving the Trans Canadian highway and Rt 109 was a joy. The people drive well and use the passing lanes correctly. One of the major differences with the US is the way the roads are constructed. Rt 117 heads east and west and is basically, for all intents and purposes a divided highway. The posted speed is 56 mph but people usually are going 65-70. There is no divided highway in the US that I know of were peoples' driveways empty out right onto the road. Even more interesting is that they have side roads that allow them to cross the highway and no lights.

    I guess the first indication of how far I was heading was this:
    upload_2016-8-14_21-28-38.png
    213 miles until my next turn.


    Along the way, I assume because the distances are so long and you are driving through areas of a huge forested park. There are SOS phones. I looked at one and I should have looked closer because I don't know if it goes to an operator for help or if it is just a regular phone. While I thought it was overkill, in the winter it might be useful. Since I didn't have an international cell phone plan I don't know if there was any cell service along that road. There probably isn't any service. I am sure these phones are useful on James Bay road were they also exist. I am almost certain that there is no cell service along that road. But, if you need to use one of these phones, you better be able to walk. They don't even start telling you that one is available until you are 10K (6 miles) away. And you could go 20 miles before you come to the 10K SOS phone ahead sign.
    upload_2016-8-14_21-30-39.png


    Had to pull over and take a picture of this lake. Lake Comatose.


    upload_2016-8-14_21-32-26.png




    The weather was very hot with temps in the mid to upper 80's and strong sun and vicious black flies and mosquitoes.


    I went through Val-d'Or and headed north on 111. Before Amos I stopped and had a hamburger and fries that were very good. Just a local eatery on the side of the road. After Amos I headed north on 109.

    One of the original intents I had was to see a ghost town I had read about on my way up to the James Bay road. I had originally thought that I was going to head to Joutel. Joutel was a mining town that opened in 1966 but then the gold, copper and zinc dried up and it was closed in 1997/8. At its height it had 600 people in the town.

    http://www.ghosttowns.com/canada/quebec/joutel.html


    My plan was to either camp in there or near there. When I got to the gravel road, I think some maps list it as Rt 812, I considered how tired I was and how I wanted to set up camp at a location that I had time to look over with plenty of time to set up. I opted instead of driving to Joutel, to find a road off of this side road to set up. The next morning I would drive the short distance to Joutel.

    I found what looked like a suitable forest road off of Rt 812 and decided to set up on a turn around section of the road. Out of sight from Rt 812 itself.

    While trying to make sure that my motorcycle wasn't visible from the main road my motorcycle decided that it was as tired as I was and it decided to take a nap at an inopportune time.

    upload_2016-8-14_21-35-47.png


    I had only heard two vehicles travel the road I was off of for a period of more than an hour and with none on the road I was camping on and it was still pretty early. I was pretty certain after dark which wasn't far off, there was going to be no traffic to speak about at all. I was thinking if I can't pick this bike up, its going to make for a very long night. Luckily even though it was still pretty heavily loaded I was very happy that I was able to pick it up on my second attempt.

    Miles traveled:
    388 Miles

    Things seen:
    SOS phones
    Lake Comatose
    Val d'Or

    Roads driven:
    Rt 117 Rt 111 Rt 109 Rt 812?

    Hours on the road:
    Moving : 06:48
    Stopped: 02:50
    #74
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  15. CavReconSGT

    CavReconSGT Just the right amount of evil.

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,232
    Location:
    CT/NH
    Day 3 - 08/01/2016 - Campsite near Joutel to Matagami

    Miles traveled:
    155 Miles

    Things seen:
    Joutel


    Roads driven:
    Rt 109 Rt 812?

    Hours on the road:
    Moving : 03:20
    Stopped: 07:44

    upload_2016-8-17_12-42-16.png

    https://drive.google.com/open?id=1VfhJoxubR55kHk84l83TpOGL2ZY&usp=sharing


    I would be hard pressed to remember a more miserable night I spent out in the woods than last night.

    I have camped solo for decades out in the back-country of the White mountains and Adirondacks, not to mention sub zero "camping" in pup tents in the military. For whatever reason I picked the second worse possible spot to camp last night. Trying to stay out of sight, I pushed the tent to close to the edge of the open area and as a result I setup on ground that was sloped. I have camped on sloped ground before. As long as you can orient yourself so your head is up slope, there is usually not much of a problem. If you orient yourself head down I promise you, you will eventually wake up with a headache you will not believe. And if you are with your head downhill that is easy to fix, just swap ends. More difficult to fix is if you are laying on the slope sideways. That is what happened to me. So I kept rolling to one side through the night. No other orientation was possible because the tent was too narrow for anything else unless I pulled up all the stakes and physically reoriented the tent with all the gear in it which I wasn't going to do.

    To add to those issues was the fact that I apparently found the only area in northern Quebec that isn't filled with water. When I setup I saw several drainage's and assumed that there would be at least a little flowing water in them. Northern Quebec is a land where you can't swing a dead cat without hitting either a lake or river and I found the only spot with dry drainage's. So, no water for the night except the little I had left in my Camelback, which wasn't much.

    During the night, I had some kind of animal that was playing around my tent. I suspect it was porcupine but couldn't be sure. I don't like porcupines. They love to chew on anything with salt, including my waterproof gear like my pants, jacket, and boots and chew through my shelter to get to them. I have run into bears, moose, foxes, and other animals and none of them have bothered me. The most destructive animals I have dealt with in the wilds are Red Squirrels, Chipmunks and Porcupines. I really didn't want him wandering around my area during the night chewing on my stuff so I was going to lay a short burst of the pepper spray for two reasons. Since my early backpacking days I don't ever carry anything into the woods that I don't test at home first. If I am going to carry something I am going to make sure it will work and make sure I know how to use it before I need it. I had read the instructions on the can but opted to not test it at home as I didn't want oily capsaicin around near the outside of my home. With a critter hanging around the tent though, I figured now was as good a time to test it as any. I removed the safety and kept pushing the button to get a burst out of it and no dice. I was really pressing harder and harder and nothing. Something wasn't right with this. After pushing so hard I thought I was going to rip the top off of the canister I finally got a short burst. Uh oh. Something is seriously wrong with this thing. It would be unusable if a bear actually came around. At least I know this now but figuring out what was wrong with it would have to wait. Whatever it was, it wasn't something I could fix in the field. I made sure that all of my food was in the bear canister and that it was placed far enough away from my tent to feel somewhat secure.

    Back to the tent. Like I wrote, I never bring anything into the field that I don't test at home first. This tent was no exception. I had set it up twice before at home and put my sleeping gear into it. It was a new tent to me having bought it specifically for this trip. What was more annoying is I literally had several other tents that I could have brought, all tested in the woods many times and very usable. What I didn't do with this tent was get in and try to sit up in it. There was no headroom to sit up which I didn't realize. It was almost low enough to qualify as a bivy and just about as uncomfortable. So ended my day.

    In the morning I packed up and got ready to start my short trip to Joutel. I checked and the way-point called Stop 2 that I was using to navigate to yesterday was still active in the GPS. Literally just 5 or so miles up the road. This was the location that I had actually planned on stopping for the night instead of the spot I did stop. I headed to Joutel based upon this way-point. Very soon driving on this gravel road I arrived at that way-point. To my surprise, I was in a driveway of someones house. I looked around and saw vehicles at the house. I decided that I didn't want to trespass in order to see the ghost town so after thinking about it, I decided that I wouldn't try to reach the town itself. Oh well.

    Now heading to Matagami I decided that I would spend an overnight there in a hotel. Didn't know which one yet so I would decide when I got there. On the way back to Rt 109 I stopped at Halte Cartwright, a rest area at the intersection of Rt 109 and Rt 812. There were items that I suspect were used in the mines of Joutel on display.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Matagami was an interesting small town. It is where KM 0 is. The start of the James bay road. There is really nothing north of it until KM 640 (396 miles north) except a truck stop at KM 381. I pulled in and filled my tank at the gas station. It also contained a small chicken restaurant. I ordered some chicken nuggets that they made, breading them right there according to the person working there. The woman behind the counter and I started talking and she asked about where I was going and so forth. She told me about her growing up in Chisasibi. The town on James Bay west of Radisson filled mostly with native Cree. About how she was half Cree and half Iroquois I think she said. Also how I should visit that town if I am heading to James bay. She also told me about how I must register at KM 6 where the registration station is. I had read about this place and had intended to register before traveling the James Bay Rd. Anyway, paid for my food and was on my way.

    I pulled in next door to the Hotel Matagami. I checked in and registered. The room was very nice and I thought reasonably priced. They also had a restaurant that served breakfast and dinner. When I got to the room I unpacked the bike. I decided to take a shower, a luxury that I really didn't think I was going to have. After the shower I decided to do a couple of things. One, to figure out what was going on with my bear spray canister. I looked it over and quickly figured out that the plastic piece inside was broken and basically was jamming the trigger so it couldn't be pushed hard enough to fire. Into the garbage it went with the trigger removed. I also wanted to look over the GPS data I was collecting to make sure everything was working the way it was supposed to. I remember I had a nagging feeling on the ride when I left Joutel that something wasn't right but couldn't put my finger on it. It just kept gnawing at me. I figured it was just the fact that I wasn't able to accomplish one of my goals. Anyway, I am looking at the data and it hits me. I never crossed the bridge. I was supposed to cross the bridge because Joutel was on the other side of a fairly substantial river. How did I screw this up? I came to the realization that the way-point I had in the GPS, Stop 2 was where I had planned to look for a place to stop in this area for the night AFTER visiting Joutel. It wasn't the location of Joutel. Of course I knew all this but just wasn't thinking about it at the time. I rode all this way and missed one of the objectives of the trip. I was planning on leaving Matagami tomorrow and heading north. I looked at the clock, it was close to 3 PM. I checked the map and started doing the math. 40 mile ride back to Joutel, 40 miles back to here, 30 minutes both ways on the gravel road rt 812 and 30 minutes to look around. I could be back by around 6 or so and riding an unloaded bike on the gravel road. OK. Off I go. Headed back to where I was this morning. Went a little farther on the road and there is the river and bridge. Took a right off the gravel road, not a left, something else that bothered me and there I was, in Joutel. Took video as I drove around the town. Like I said, there is actually very little to see. It was more about the trip and putting my foot at the destination. The houses were all removed. I had read that the sewers were actually filled with sand. Cracked asphalt, overgrown sidewalks and pads where the houses used to be is all that is left. There is also a tower that re-transmits a FM radio station that was left behind for other inhabitants in the area. I headed back to the hotel feeling pretty good about the day.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    My plans were pretty solid. I had intended to sleep at the hotel tonight, get up the next morning early and start for Radisson, checking out both the North Road and the Trans Taiga on the way. After dinner I had met a couple with two GS bikes who parked next door earlier in the day. We talked for a while earlier and I saw them again when I was heading back to Joutel to correct my screw up. They were going to ride to the KM 0 sign that indicates the start of the James Bay road for pictures.

    Later, after dinner, I came outside to sit for a couple of minutes and enjoy the night when a couple of men came over to admire all three bikes. He started asking questions and we started talking. Their names were Remi and Denis. Talking with them, they told me that they worked in a gold mine not too far away. There are several different mines around Matagami. Denis is actually the Chief engineer for the mine. Remi is an explosives consultant. How cool are those jobs. I started asking questions about the mine and Denis tells me that he can get me a tour of the gold mine if I want. I tell him what my plans were and I didn't want to change them. He told me the mine is 650 meters deep (2130') and other information. He is telling me this and in my head I am thinking what am I nuts? When would I ever get a chance to go into a working gold mine again? I would postpone my trip to Radisson for a day to see the mine. He tells me to be there at 6:45 in the morning. This should be pretty cool. I think adventure actually begins where the trip stops going to plan.


    KR
    #75
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  16. AdvRich

    AdvRich Long Time SmugMug Patron/Supporter

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    Dec 10, 2006
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    2,986
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    Adirondacks
    :thumb
    #76
  17. CavReconSGT

    CavReconSGT Just the right amount of evil.

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,232
    Location:
    CT/NH
    Day 4 - 08/02/2016 - Matagami to Gold mine and back

    Miles traveled:
    038 Miles

    Things seen:
    Gold mine


    Roads driven:
    Rt 109

    Hours on the road:
    Moving : 00:52
    Stopped: 00:25


    https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?...0&authuser=0&mid=1yvSRTeOvsiFQPz2L6OcQkcWI9ds

    Got up early, had a good breakfast in the attached restaurant. Traveled to the mine and arrived at 0645 as instructed.

    Stopped at the sign to make sure I could remember the name and the location on the GPS of the photo.

    [​IMG]

    Headed down the gravel road for 5km and turned right where Denis told me to. After taking the right turn there is the parking lot and security checkpoint that Denis told me about. Also the shaft elevator is visible.

    [​IMG]


    I checked in at the security building and told them why I was there and who told me to meet them. They knew who he was, I figured that was a good sign. I filled out some simple paperwork and they gave me a card, hardhat and vest for entry.

    When I got through the gate I went to the main building they told me to go to and entered. Denis wasn't there yet so I milled around in the break area looking at postings on the wall. Most was in French so I had some trouble interpreting them. Others I was able to get the general idea.

    I saw Remi and he introduced me to Varun (pronounced Varoon). He was an intern in college in the mining program. He got me kitted up with what I needed. Coveralls, gloves, safety glasses, hardhat with miners light, rubber boots, rescue belt and very important, ear plugs. The other important item albeit a temporary one, an accountability tag. Just like in the fire service, everyone has an accountability tag. When you go down in the mine, you take it off of your equipment and place it on the board. This way, up top, they know who is in the mine. You remove it off of the board when you come out of the mine.

    After this was done, I meet up with Varun and another intern named Claudia. She was being trained by Varun to do the tasks that he had been doing as he was going back to school soon. We went to the shaft elevator and waited. Our first stop was the lowest level that they are mining at 650 Meters (2130'). The trip in the elevator was great. It is not very large and they use all the space to get people in. It is also used to carry whatever equipment might need to go up or down. It is also very wet in the shaft and the mine in general. So while you are going down, you have water that is dripping on you, always. The trip itself, especially considering the distance is very rapid. They communicate with the operators of the elevator with a series of pull switches. The operators up top know the general location of the elevator, I assume, by how much cable has been payed out. But probably because of temperature and other factors, they can only get close. When the elevator slows, the person opens the door and grabs a pull cord. When the elevator is in the correct position he pulls a certain number of times on the cord to send messages to the operator. The system works very well and of course the operators and people using the elevator make it look seamless.

    Poor picture of the shaft
    [​IMG]
    There are three vertical shafts. The one on the left can be used in and emergency but it is used for air handling. The one in the middle contains the elevator that is used to transport people and equipment. The one to the right is used to remove ore.

    Minecar
    [​IMG]

    So now at level 650 I start my tour. The first thing you notice is the noise. It is also cool and damp. There is a lot of very big equipment down there. Pumps, air handlers and of course moving equipment. It is also pretty wet, though most areas were not that bad. Especially since everything has been cut right out of solid rock, it not like there is a lot of mud. There isn't but all that stone dust mixing with the water makes a sludge that can get into everything. They have several large areas that are water reservoirs. They cut these out of the rock. They use a large amount of water for the drilling and other equipment that is constantly recycled. Obviously not every area is clearly lite making the headlight very useful in many spots as well.


    Ladder to one of the water containment areas.
    [​IMG]

    Ladder to catwalk over water containment area
    [​IMG]

    Water pump and motor to pump from containment storage
    [​IMG]

    High voltage sign
    [​IMG]


    Air handler motor and fans
    [​IMG]

    Ceiling reinforcement
    [​IMG]

    Reinforcement rods
    [​IMG]



    My tour guides had three jobs. First, they had to take readings of O2 and CO at certain locations in the mine taking cross sectional airflow at certain specific places in the mine as part of the survey they do to make sure there is enough good airflow. Claudia was doing this while Varun supervised as she would be taking this job over when he left. Second, to show me around and answer my dumb questions and third. Make sure I get back to the surface so they can blast on time.

    Varun and Claudia
    [​IMG]

    The crews need to move at least 500 tons of rock a day. They run two twelve hour shifts but they aren't in the mine for the full twelve hours. It works like this. The crews go down at 7AM. They excavate rock while another crew drills and preps explosives. At 5 PM everyone evacuates the mine, they set off the charges and they spend two hours clearing the mine of gas, dust and making sure of safety. They next shift goes in at 7PM and the process happens again. They do this twice a day.

    Now when I say they excavate rock, that is what they do. The rock they excavate contains gold but not like you might think. There aren't veins. There isn't gold laying on the ground in the mines. There is about 4.69 grams of gold per ton of rock. Sometimes more, sometimes less. This rock is then crushed and they remove the gold chemically. They recover about 82% of the gold this way. I was told some mines can recover as much as 95% of the gold.

    After showing me around at level 650 we took the elevator to level 300. More readings and some equipment was shown to me and explanations on some of the equipment used is shoring up the walls and ceiling.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Now the part they didn't tell me was on the tour. If I understand correctly, they were having an inspection of the shaft elevators, so they were not in service. And because of that we couldn't use the elevators but of course the work must continue. Varun asked if I had any problems with ladders. I told him I didn't. He said well to get down to level 450 we need to take ladders. I kept my best poker face on and wasn't sure if he was kidding or not. I said sure, I'm up for it. Sure enough we went down 500' of ladders. It wasn't one ladder, it was a series of ladders. They were in what I think what I estimate to be 20 foot sections. Open a trapdoor, go down a 20 foot section of ladders to the next level. Open the next trapdoor and do it again. This seemed to go on forever. Doing the math, it must have been around 25 times. Thank God were were going down, not up. Varun told me that he has climbed up those ladders, once.

    One of the section of ladders
    [​IMG]

    One of the things that Varun designed was a containment for water to be used in drilling. He did the prints and we checked the area they were making to his drawings to see how it was coming along. I didn't go into the area but did look over the stone wall. Later I saw the plans. It appears to be very large and clearly Varun was very proud of this as he should have been. It had Denis signature of the approval of the drawing. Something I think he felt was hard earned and he felt as though he learned a lot through the experience. Every single thing that is built or done ultimately has to have Denis's signature on it with his approval. All safety and operations are his responsibility.

    As far as water goes. From what Varun told me. This mine was used previously. At some point it was shut down. I think that it became unprofitable to run. Because of the price of gold rising it was now profitable to open the mine again. Varun told me that the mine was flooded and they needed to empty it and that took several days I think he said.


    Obviously if you are going to blast you need explosives. We went to the rooms where they store the explosives for blasting. They, like the military, have two separate rooms. One for the explosives and one for the detonators. They are never kept together. They use three different types of charges. They use commercial dynamite. They had one interesting one that is a shaped charge. Claudia and Varun were doing inventory on the explosives. The government want to make sure none of it gets out and is used for bad purposes.

    Explosives room
    [​IMG]

    Large Charge
    [​IMG]

    Small Charge
    [​IMG]

    Shaped charge
    [​IMG]


    I think this was an area that they were prepping for explosives.
    [​IMG]


    After the tour, we had to wait a fair amount of time for them to open the shaft elevator so we could go to the surface. We stayed in one of the refuge rooms while we waited to be able to use the lifts to get back to the surface. They are able to use VHF radios down there which made no sense. VHF cannot penetrate 2000 feet of rock. The reason they can use these radios is because they have repeaters down in the different tunnels.

    Refuge room sign
    [​IMG]

    The refuge room
    [​IMG]

    While we were waiting we talked and I found out that Claudia worked at another mine earlier. What really surprised me was the type of mine. It was a diamond mine, in Quebec. I didn't know that they even had diamond mines in Canada. She said that she enjoyed that. I thought that they were probably just industrial grade diamonds but she said that they were of good enough quality that they are mounted in jewelry. I was really surprised about that. She said it was called the Renard mine with means fox. According to a little research, there are only six diamond mines in all of Canada and this is the first one in Quebec.

    http://www.canadianminingjournal.co...s-first-diamond-mine-prepares-for-2016-start/

    After spending time in the mine, the tour was over. Headed to the surface, took off my overalls and removed my accountability tag from the board. I learned a lot, it was a great experience.

    On my way back to the hotel I took my hero picture at the sign. I figured the weather was beautiful so I wanted to take a look up the road and see the sign. I prepared to start north in the morning.

    [​IMG]


    http://www.maudore.com/en/CustomService.aspx?ResourceId=f4651691-0350-4adf-9f45-291016381943

    According to the web. This mine has produced 9879 oz of gold.

    Thanks to Denis, Varun, and Claudia for their invitation and spending their time with me, I had a great day.


    KR
    #77
  18. AdvRich

    AdvRich Long Time SmugMug Patron/Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,986
    Location:
    Adirondacks
    Very cool excursion KR1 and nice write up too.
    #78
    blacktruck likes this.
  19. CavReconSGT

    CavReconSGT Just the right amount of evil.

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2011
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    1,232
    Location:
    CT/NH
    Thanks.

    KR
    #79
  20. GravelRider

    GravelRider AKA max384 Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    Oddometer:
    6,577
    Location:
    North by South
    Didn't expect a ride report here too! Looking forward to the next installment.
    #80