Woke to sunshine and cold temps this morning. Again Chris's Funduro wouldnt start so he made his way over to the local auto parts store to buy a new battery. The rest of us packed up and made our way down to join him.
Lets hope that was the problem as we are about to head off to the middle of nowhere today. A very brisk 80 km of pavement down the James Bay Highway brought us to the beginning of the Trans Taiga Road. This is what we came here for. At 666km to the end without much on it other than a few hunt camps it was the reason for this trip. Remote and long
A total of 1350 km's of gravel! Our plan is to do it in three days. 358 km today to Mirage Outfitters, then a 620 km day to the end and back to Mirage, then a short 358 km day out and find somewhere to camp on the JBR. The weather forecast was looking good and the gang was excited to get going.
We had a quick meeting and discussed a plan so we wouldnt get seperated too much. Each person is responsible for the guy behind him. On long straights you wait till you see a headlight. Also we would regroup every 100 km or so.
This is the first sign we see
Then this one
Off we go, we were making good tracks and really enjoying it.
Bike of choice for this terrain
Fast, Faster and Fastest
NOTE : At km 202 there is a free (well donation) campsite for anyone else heading this way. Complete with outhouses, covered picnic tables and water you can drink straight out of the river.
We stopped here and warmed up and had some boil in the bag for lunch.
Another batch of gravel brought us to a hunting lodge and gas station at Nouchimi. The gas was about 1.80 a litre but it was hard to complain. This gas station does not have regular hours and may or maynot be open. Up here you DONT pass up a gas station so we all filled up. The guy running it is a real character, long hair, long beard and bad teeth. We all joked around that this could very well be the place where a Canadian version of Deliverance could take place. Me....I wouldnt camp here for fear off waking up to "Squeal like a Cariboo"
This sign looks important but unless you speak Cree or French good luck.
Off we went to Mirage.
We filled up here with gas that was 20 cents a litre cheaper, again you DON'T pass up on a gas station up here. We were going to camp here but as we still had 2 hours of daylight left Dan wisely convinced us to keep pushing on as it would make tomorrow a shorter day.
We pushed on for another hour and made 80km or so. The last 50km's were deep treacherous freshly graded gravel. Why some sections are graded perfectly and then some like this section become a bikers nightmare is beyond me. Maybe its a whiskey thing, who knows, another mystery of the North I suppose. All of us were having pucker moments left and right. The only way to really ride this stuff is to be very agggressive and carry speed. Not an easy thing to get comfy with as I promise your bars will try to wretch free from your hands and your bike will make snakey shapes. But at about 90 km/h + you get less of them, they just become much more intense
With the sun getting low we found an excellent gravel pit that provided some shelter from the wind. We set up camp, got a fire going, ate some more boil in the bag, well most did, I just couldnt do it again. I really hate that stuff, a granola bar and some peanuts were my dinner. No beer or wine.....bad planning
Chris fiddles with his new battery
The views were outstanding as we watched the sun drop and a truely spectacular sunset. We had 270 degree views of the sky looking down on a river valley with some nice hills as a back drop.
NOTE: not many places to camp along this road where you can get flat spots for tents due to all the brush. Another 20 km or so there is a nice spot at a river bridge.
A great day, this road is a bikers dream
Total Mileage for the day 530 km.