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Discussion in 'Canada' started by ZZR_Ron, Nov 20, 2006.
Happy New Year everyone! Hopefully this year we can actually do some long bike trips!
I posted this on the regional/Canada page, but somebody suggested posting it here. Any info on the roads/trails in the area would be greatly appreciated.
My buddies and I had a good trip planned last year, but COVID had other plans. We’re starting to plan it again for next summer (fingers crossed the US/Canada is open next summer).
It looks like we’ve got a couple likely routes between Pickle Lake and Armstrong without having to go anywhere near Thunder Bay. We’ll probably be spending some time around Lake Nipigon. There are a lot of logging roads on both the east and west sides of the lake. And I understand a route over the top connecting the east and west sides is sort of a holy grail of the area. It may be fun to poke around up there and look for a route, but just camping in the area would be good enough. For kicks we’re looking to see if there’s any way to ship the bikes by rail between Armstrong and Auden.
Looking at the maps, it looks like roads on both the east and west sides of the lake go way way way further north beyond any potential holy grail connection between the two sides of the lake. Google satellite view shows what looks to be work camps way up there. Active logging in the area? We’d like to set up camp in a logged-out clearcut as far off pavement as possible and drink beer around a campfire visible from orbit.
Has anybody here been up that way? I mean any of the roads beyond Armstrong on the west side and Ombabika or Auden on the east side. Basically as far f***ing north you could get a big ADV bike for extreme backcountry camping. Any recorded gpx tracks in the area would be greatly appreciated.
A big adv bike is going to be your limitation, plus that winter roads cross lakes, swamps, and rivers - not passible in summer. East of Thunder Bay, the road to Armstrong is good, and gravel beyond Armstrong is good to a point. Many of the far north roads you see on maps are winter roads, not passible in summer.
North of Sudbury, search out the Sultan Mine Industrial Road, a fun gravel alternative to following the TC. You can later connect back to the TC and Lake Superior at Wawa. Another option from the Sultan Road is to head north to Timmins.
Here's some gravel options west of Thunder Bay, in the Kenora/Dryden area, most if not all are doable on a big adv moto. You'll be out in the bush, away from everything:
You can also ride out of Ignas to Pickle Lake and north to the termination of the summer road at Windigo Lake. Along the way, the Stirland Lake indigenous residential school is worth a visit. North of Pickle Lake it is remote, namely no gas or settlements. It's good gravel for a big moto. A local fellow told me there is gravel worth exploring west of Pickle Lake, but I haven't explored those roads. I have the impression they are more like quad roads/small cc moto roads, but who knows?
There’s pavement all the way to Pickle Lake. They recently built a bridge north of Windigo Lake so you can ride all the way to Lake Weagamow now, and there’s gas in Lake Weagamow. There’s also pavement all the way to Armstrong, and I’m wondering how far beyond Armstrong we can get. Satellite images show a pretty significant work camp
55-60 miles ENE from Armstrong, and there appear to be trucks. So I suspect we’ll be able to get at least that far. It’s really hard to tell when the all-weather gravel ends and the winter road starts.
Access up the east side looks more limited. But if we leave the TC around Macleod it looks like there might be something off the north end of rt 643 and another work camp at
Again, it’s really hard to tell when the gravel superhighway turns into a tiny gravel road and then into winter road. Info from boots on the ground would be much appreciated. There’s a lot of land up there. It’s begging to be ridden and camped. Out in the bush away from everything is the whole point.
I wonder if that first location you posted is core sample storage from the Ring of Fire mining exploration. Doesn’t look like forestry.
That's why it's called Adventure Riding. I have been an hour or two northeast of Armstrong, and it's a good gravel road serving resorts and summer camps.
Interesting information about the road to Lake Weagamow. A highlight of my trip was time with some residents from there, waiting for a float plane to pick them up at Windigo Lake, before this road extension. I suspect the road was controversial for the indigenous community there.
Being just across the border in the States, I suffered from the closed border this past summer. Overall you Canadians are doing a much better job with Covid than us Yankees. We now have two approved vaccines but no effective plan for mass distribution.
Awesome. How far did you get? Any chance you could post a gpx track, or at least coordinates of the extremes of your travel up there?
I don't have tracks, but somewhere past Jojo Lake to the east, a while past where the CN tracks are close to the road. I was on a day ride from home in the States and was running out of time. I was riding a 650 cc moto, but a bigger moto will be fine. Little Jackfish River may be your stopping point, or not, depending on if a bridge exists or if you can cross the river. There is gas in Armstrong, along with food and I believe a room for the night.
Go here: Northeastern Minnesota | Page 239 | Adventure Rider (advrider.com) post 4764
If so, wouldn’t it be more connected by road to the Webeque area? This looks more connected to the national road network through Armstrong. I would expect the Ring of Fire roads to be more or less landlocked until they get the road link completed in 2025 (construction starts this year AFAIK!).
I wouldn't rely on that. If there is, great, but just in case make sure you got enough gas to get back to pickle lake.
Thank you COVID-19. I’m packing up and abandoning Kenora. Smaller house time in Thunder Bay. Probably will call it retirement. Perhaps not. I like what I do, but the wee GS will find herself zipping around the T Bay Area. Hopefully the boarder will be open this summer.
Good luck on the next chapter. Should have got together for a ride besides the one to minaki a few too many years ago!
You know the way to Thunder Bay. Thanks mate.
So now I have to go to TBay to meet for a coffee. Lol
You should be able to burn the rubber off that bumble bee there. There’s some great day rides out of the City, just keep your eyes on the road for the bush rats. Stay safe.
TBH, JohnF, there is a ton of roads west of Thunder Bay, which are more likely to give you some nice circle routes. You can head back into the bush, and never see a human in many cases.
Congrats on the move to Thunder Bay, Lyle! I'm in Current River.
I'm still obsessing over maps of the area north of Lake Nipigon. It looks like the route past Lake Lemaune might be impassible due to a river crossing, but rumor has it there's a beaver dam that you might be able to get bikes across with a little construction and some luck. I think I've identified a possible route further north. The attached satellite view shows it along with GPS coordinates of a lake nearby so you can locate it easily. It looks like it's a little over 2 miles between gravel on the west and east sides, and the satellite views don't show any obviously boggy areas or water crossings along this ~2 mile route. Anybody been up that way? I've also attached a .gpx track.
Thunder Bay is famous for a great search and rescue team! Lol
I can only suggest that you guys take lots, I mean lots of insect repellent or commonly referred to as bug dope.
You'll probably not make it but this route just south of your dotted line leading from the small short road heading south on the east side of your line, may be a better place to try. Looks like a winter road did exist there at one time. Top right of this photo is that little road that goes south just before your dotted line on the east side. Things grown in so fast around here though. I tried years ago a bit further south of there but couldn't find away across. Bring lots of gas and tools...up there you are in the middle of nowhere! You'll need a saw for sure to open trail. Looks to be about 2kms between roads. And I'd put a bet on the Border not opening next year till the fall at the very least.
I spotted that faint route, but it looks like it goes through some woods and is almost certainly blocked by downed trees. If we do make it to either end of the gap, we'd probably park ourselves for a couple nights and scout a bunch of options on foot before we tried anything -- *if* we tried anything. But that's what it's all about. Plus, that assumes we can even get to that gap. There's a good chance a bridge is missing or something has washed out along the way. Barring that, we should at least be able to get to the clearcuts on either side and camp in the middle of fu**ing nowhere. The west side of the gap is 66 miles from gas in Armstrong. The east side of the gap is 66 miles from gas in Aroland. I've got a GSA so I'm not the limiting factor. I'll be with a GS and an AT. With extra gas those guys have a range well over 300 miles. And we've got tools, tire repair, compressor, straps, ropes, saws, water purifier, food, beverage, inReach, and assorted sundries and we can last for days unresupplied. We're pretty conservative.
I'm really hoping the border opens before the end of the summer so we can pull off this ride. But given the magnitude of the COVID sh**show in the US, I wouldn't doubt the border remains closed into 2022. I'm hoping the change of administration fundamentally changes the way the US deals with this crisis and we start to get it under control.
By the way, is the route you tried to the south by chance what I show below? This is a route that supposedly some guys did on ADV biked in 2005 and a bicyclist did in 2012. The water crossing in the middle looks insurmountable now. Still, it'd be kind of neat to get to the water crossing just to see.
[Edit] Interesting. The satellite view ADVrider.com uses when displaying GPS tracks shows an additional water crossing on this southern route that I haven't see in other sources. Anybody know what is the source of the maps/satellite?
[Edit^2] The map source and imagery source are clearly shown at the bottom of the image. I really need to learn to read.
Looked at Bing maps? They show what looks like a beaver dam at 50.339512, -87.988556.