Headed north to the Trans-taiga Road

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Scanning4adv, Apr 6, 2019.

  1. Scanning4adv

    Scanning4adv Adventurer Supporter

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    We finished the Trans-taiga in the rain....not fun. There was a lot of fresh bear scat on this road. The proportion of bear scat to vehicles was about 2 to one.
    Many times we didn’t see a vehicle for many hours. We saw 5 bears, lynx, Pine Martin, otter, beaver, eagles, ptarmigan, mink, osprey, and snowshoe hare.
    We were in line for road construction, and had a bear walk toward us, stopping at 25 feet....trapped on our bikes that were shut off...I own bear spray...I had it with me...it was locked in my side case...not good...it finally turned and walked into the woods.
    We met a couple other guys on motorcycles when we got back to the James Bay Road. Both were very nice. Went north to Radisson, it was late, no hotel rooms available...ate then an additional two hours in the rain to Chisasibini. The next morning, a quick 6 miles to James Bay, shrouded in thick fog....so peaceful and beautiful. I did ask a newfound friend at the hotel about polar bears, she said they come in occasionally, there was even one several years ago....one hundred miles to the south.

    It felt strange to be home and out on the water with good friends the night we returned....how different the last week had been.

    We ended up with 3500 miles...almost 1000 miles of it was gravel. The conditions were even more difficult than anticipated....and got worse. It was not like the gravel roads at home by a long shot.

    For me the trip was about the challenge, the beautiful remoteness, the helpful people....and about sharing this with my brother Roger. Perhaps the toughest person I know....my big brother. There isn’t anyone else I would have done this with. I’m glad these two “old men” did it.

    I have only one printed quote at home, it’s from Mark Twain. When asked late in life, if he had any advice for younger people “ Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do”

    Live life with no regrets.
    #41
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  2. Scanning4adv

    Scanning4adv Adventurer Supporter

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    #42
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  3. Scanning4adv

    Scanning4adv Adventurer Supporter

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    #43
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  4. John F

    John F Been here awhile

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    Actually, I know of at least 8 people who made it to the end last year, myself included. I doubt there’s ever more than one or two groups of bikes on the TT at any one time, but it does get a steady drip drip drip of bikes all season.
    #44
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  5. The Sexy Medic

    The Sexy Medic Adventurer

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    Hearing the potential of polar bears has me horrified at the idea that I'm going alone and camping :S ugggghhhhh
    #45
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  6. Motopsychoman

    Motopsychoman Not a total poseur Supporter

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    I had already decided that next summer, I won't ride the TTR unless I find someone stupid enough to ride that part with me. The rest I would do alone. I'll go to James Bay alone, but not the TTR. And yes, I camp ~80% of the days I'm out.
    #46
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  7. John F

    John F Been here awhile

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    I would be more concerned about polar bears on James Bay than I would along the TransTaiga. And even then, I wouldn't be very concerned. Polar bears in Quebec south of Hudson Bay are *extremely* rare, and on the rare occasion they do venture south it's usually on ice floes. And when they hit shore they tend to head north again. The TransTaiga is too far inland for polar bears. You would probably have as much concern for polar bears along the TransTaiga as you would for grizzlies in New England. Impossible? No. Improbable? Extremely.

    Technically you need permission to camp on Cree tribal lands. If you do want to camp on James Bay, you should stop in at the Cree band office in Chisasibi and ask permission. (99.9% sure they'll say yes as long as you respect the land) If there's a polar bear in the area, they *will* know about it.
    #47
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  8. Scanning4adv

    Scanning4adv Adventurer Supporter

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    Having done it
    I would do the James Bay alone
    For me, I would not do the Tran-Taiga alone
    #48
  9. Scanning4adv

    Scanning4adv Adventurer Supporter

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    Agreed John F.
    The only reason I mentioned it was to illustrate how far north and different from home this is.
    #49
  10. The Sexy Medic

    The Sexy Medic Adventurer

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    I appreciate the reassurance from everyone. I called the very polite folks at Mirage Outfitters somewhat embarrassed to be asking, and they assured me that they have never heard of a Polar Bear sighting along the road LOL. I also have bear bangers, and more importantly, bear spray, which is the best bet for staying safe aside from prevention.
    #50
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  11. Scanning4adv

    Scanning4adv Adventurer Supporter

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    When you pull into Mirage for fuel. You will most likely meet “Bear”. Please tell him the two tall guys on bikes said hi.
    #51
  12. John F

    John F Been here awhile

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    I'm not sure bear bangers or bear spray would do much good with a polar bear. The best they might do is piss him off so he kills you quick.
    #52
  13. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    If the hotel(s) in Radison are full there is no reason to ride much longer to find a camping spot and without worry about polar bears . Have supper and fill up the fuel tank first.
    There are good places to camp if you ask or look around .
    At the south end of town in the industrial park there are some empty lots where it is no problem to put up a tent . You might even find one of the disused industrial sheds that has a covered loading dock - perfect tent spot for a rainy night .
    Also acceptable camping spots to be found around the area of the airport south of the Chisasibi road junction , and near the damsite on that road west .
    #53
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  14. Wayward Gypsy

    Wayward Gypsy Been here awhile Supporter

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    Excellent trip!
    #54
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  15. John F

    John F Been here awhile

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    I’ve done them both alone and I wouldn’t hesitate to do them alone again. Sure, there’s safety in numbers. But riding alone you can go at your own pace, stop when you want to stop, go when you want to go, and nobody has to ride in the other’s dust. And as long as you use your head it’s perfectly safe. My only problem when going solo is I’m overly cautious. An obstacle like a difficult water crossing tends to make me turn tail and run. When you’ve got buddies riding along you can work as a team to get the bikes across.
    #55
  16. Motopsychoman

    Motopsychoman Not a total poseur Supporter

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    Wise man. Yes, there are things I will not do alone that I will do with another rider along.
    #56
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  17. Scanning4adv

    Scanning4adv Adventurer Supporter

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    I’m trying to understand your statement. The main purpose of this tread is for people to gather information. When you say you wouldn’t hesitate to ride this road alone. Do you mean an average rider, with average experience, with average equipment, with and average amount of equipment malfunctions, with average road conditions, etc, shouldn’t hesitate to ride this road alone? Before I did the Trand-Taiga I searched , and I would suspect other people will read this in search of accurate information , to make an informed decision. Does the road always have a grader digging to the rocky base of the road? Does the road always have deal grooves crisscrossing the surface when you get north of Brisay? I’m not trying to start an argument. I’m sure you know what your talking about. It’s just that I’ve tried very hard to to communicate how different this road is, than any I have ridden. This is based on the conditions one week ago. I think it would help people out, if you would crarify.
    #57
  18. GravelRider

    GravelRider AKA max384 Supporter

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    It's not hyperbole. Not at all. Getting back on the Trans Taiga Road felt like getting on a superhighway after doing the south branch. If you ever ride it, you'll get it.

    Like John said, several people that I know of, myself and another guy included, rode the entire TT last year.
    #58
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  19. GravelRider

    GravelRider AKA max384 Supporter

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    People ride this road and many other more difficult roads solo all the time. Sure there are risks to doing big remote trips solo, but a lot of that can be mitigated with a good satellite communicator, not taking unnecessary risks, and letting others know where you are.

    Maybe you aren't comfortable riding this road solo, and that's absolutely fine. But John is comfortable doing it. Anyone planning a ride like this will have to look at their own skills, their comfort riding alone, and make that determination individually.
    #59
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  20. John F

    John F Been here awhile

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    My point is the TransTaiga is just a gravel road in the middle of nowhere. It’s no different from any other remote northern Canadian gravel road. They all get graded. They all get messy in the rain. They all have wildlife. The TransTaiga is not overrun by man-eating beasts. It’s nothing to be scared of. It’s just a very long gravel road with very little traffic that simply must be respected. As with any other remote northern Canadian gravel road, you just need to use your head. I’m an average rider with average equipment and average experience, and have done a number of solo rides into the middle of nowhere without any problems.
    Now, that’s not to say that on the next ride I won’t become bear chow or part of the grill of an oncoming truck. But I’m willing to take that chance.
    #60
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