Woke up to an amazing sunrise.
A quick pack up and we were on the road by 8 am. This time seemed to be a compromise between the morning guys and the sleepers and became the norm for the week.
We jumped on the highway and did a few hundred km's before stopping in Sennetere for breakfast and some gas.
We did the next stretch of highway at speed. I think its about 300km to Chapais and we made it there in about 2 hours
Gotta love these remote roads, no police anywhere. Quotes from a KLR "my bike can't go any faster, its been pinned for the last hour"
In Chapais we were to meet our 7th companion for the trip. Mike was coming from Nova Scotia on a Transalp but had his clutch begin slipping to the point where he had to turn around a few hundred km's from Chapais. Mike ended up doing about 3200 km in 3 days and I am sure had a good ride although not the one he intended to take. Bummer Mike, you missed out on a good trip
Downtown Chapais (wouldnt want to live here, bit of a desolate rundown feel to it). We topped up with gas and made our way to the next town of Chibougamau (your guess is as good as mine of how to pronounce it) to top up with supplies (SAQ the french version of a liquor store). Bikes packed with vino we were off to the start of the North Road. Our plan was to camp at the Rupert River which is about 258 km down the North Road.
A few quick cell calls to our significant others as this would be the last area with cell coverage for a while (note half of us had Rogers phones and they get no coverage for the better part of trip, something to consider of you head this way, Telus phones get coverage in all kinds of crazy and remote areas).
Looking down the North Road its hard not to grimace as the road has been freshly graded with maybe one set of tracks on it. Ah well its only 258 km. Funny how a trip like this starts, at first everyone is a bit apprehensive of the gravel and speeds are kept low and the pack close together. Well soon enough the dust forces everyone to spread out and within a short while everyone is hitting it Dakar style. This is truely one fun road. The surface changed from loose marbles of gravel, to oiled down almost pavement style road to a section about 50 km long of deep silty sandy terrain that guarantees pucker factors no matter what speed you were doing.
We stopped to regroup every 50+ km or so. Maurizio was the only one of us to not be riding on knobbies so he understandably had to go a bit slower. I wouldn't have wanted to have been riding his big bike with worn out tourances on it, kudo's to you
I am sure he must have had many more pucker moments than the rest of us, and we tallied up many of them for ourselves.
Reading the ridges in the road between tracks becomes an art that we were all mastering with an hour or so. Hammer the gas, lean back a bit and let the bike squirrel around under you. Seems easy, takes a bit of practise to feel comfy with it at speeds in excess of 130 km/h. But once you do....nothing but grins poking out from dusty faces
This is how you could tell how far you were from the guy in front, look for dust clouds as you come up over hills.
Chris looking a bit tired, this is after about 800 km for the day.
You know you are starting to get into Indian territory when the signs begin to read in Cree. They must be very devoted to Christmas as it constantly seemed as if half of their words consisted of candy canes
We made it to the Rupert just as the sun was going down, approximately 11 hours on the bikes and just over 800 km's for the day. We setup camp just before the river on the right hand side. A nice free lttle camp site Dan had read about on a ride report somewhere. Came with firewood and everything. When we first stopped the black flies were out in force but as soon as the sun began to set and temperatures began to fall they disappeared. I can't imagine what it would be like during summer when the nights are warm. Note: early September is a good time of year for this area as long as you dont mind cold nights.
Kicking back by the fire after a long day.
Dan damn proud of his new spork
And hence begins a cold night and frustration with my darn air matress. I normally travel with a thermarest but after a trip last year where everyone else had airbeds (large double bed sized air mattresses with a velour top) I picked one up for myself. Well after sleeping for about 2 hours I woke up with one hell of a cold hip from the large tent sized rock under me and no air in the matress. Toss, turn, screw this, I brought a small back up air matress (not planned just threw it in the pannier on my way out the door). 2 more hours and damn, this one leaks too. Toss turn where's the damn sun.