Mirage serves breakfast from 7 to 8 then the gas opens at 8. An early morning and HUGE breakfast, packed a lunch to go (damn eating real food was a treat!). The goal for today was to ride the rest of the TT out (358km) then find somewhere to camp on the JBR.
We decided to meet at km 202 for a regroup and headed out. This was hands down my favourite day or riding. Doing 150 +km sections with no one around and just really cracking the throttle. 6th 5th 6th 4th gear was the rythem for the day. A few moments stand out, top end of 5th gear, back wheel spinning and kicked out around the corners, dakar moments. Prior to this trip there was no way I would even consider sliding around corners with a fully loaded bike. After days on end of getting used to the graded stuff I was feeling like a champ. Top end of 6th gear full out down the straights, watching the road about .5 km ahead, ignoring the ridges and loose stuff, this will be etched in my memory for a long time. Amazing how fast we all were compared to three days prior on the way in.
We regrouped at the rest area at km 202 and then headed out for another 150 km section. Ever had the perfect day on a bike? This was mine
I was leading the way and stopped after an hour or so to let the others catch up. The sun was shining and it was getting warm outside. I had a quick power nap on the side of the road. 15 minutes to recharge the brain. Travelling at these speeds requires mass concentration.
Another very fast 50 or so km's to the end. The first stop sign in 3 days. I felt like it deserved a photo.
We regrouped at a pre arranged rest area a few km's down the Jmaes Bay Road. Felt real weird to be travelling on pavement....kinda boring as it requires next to no concentration. We decided to camp that night at the Rupert River as we had heard from others that it was a nice spot to spend the night. Not sure of the milage but I think its around 200 to 300 km's from where we were.
James Bay Road is a blast! 600 km's long of what becomes a twisty at anything over 130 km/h. Dan started to showing me cornering techniques he aquired from his years of track riding. All of a sudden corners that were scetchy at 130 were completly doable at 150
Burnt some serious gas along this stretch of highway and made very good time. I saw speeds I had yet to do on the KTM and was really enjoying hanging off the bike and gassing the heck out of it around corners and down the straights. Pure fun
Got to the Rupert about an hour before sunset and admired the view from the bridge.
At the scenic view pull over we got swarmed by blackflies, every other night of the trip temps would drop to below or at the freezing mark, tonight the forecast was for a low of +14 C. Well it didnt take long before they were in my mouth nose and ears. An easy choice was made......lets get the heck outta here. "How far is it to the next town?" "260 or so km's" "Lets do it" . John wasnt privy to this choice as he was out scouting for a camp site. His tailbone was killing him on his stock seat and I could easily anticipate his reaction, it was a bout what I thought it might be. "WTF...I seriosuly dont know if I can go any further" Well Stephen and Chris had already bolted and there was hno way I was spending the night getting eaten alive all night. John took it like a champ, said he'd catch up after a quick rest. We agreed to meet in an hour or so down the road.
We pulled over and watched the sunset and waited for eveyone to regroup. Well John comes blazing by and doesnt even stop or wave
"Man he must be pissed". Turns out he got his 3rd wind and pushed straight on to Matagami.
Well those black flies became a nightmare once the sun set. You dont dare wipe your visor in fear of the dreaded smear. Visibility was near zero for the last part of the ride which made for a wee bit of stress at the end of a long day. Got to matagami and booked into a hotel that has a bar and a restaurant, yehaa more real food
Everyone unpacked and had some grub. Dan and mayself moved over to the bar slash disco tech to see some local flavour. Well we didnt even know it existed but we found the elusive Northern Quebec Leopard ! We had heard tales of it before but thought it must be all lies. Leopards dont exist in Canada. Well here she was in all her glory. A skin tight leopard skinned outfit with big cuts outs on the stomach chest and sides. Now this leopard had eatin fairly well by the looks of things and each one of these cutouts was complimented by bulging chucks of fat. It was so damn revolting it was funny. Thought about getting her to pose on the bikes for some photos but after looking around realized it would not be the best plan. This bar was brutal, about 50 young guys all hitting on 5 cougars. The cougars spent most of their night chain smoking, 2 were pregnant but this didnt seem to stop their love for the tabacoo. If you end up in this bar I suspect you would have to fight to get laid as that seemed to be the look of how things worked around there. Now that we were below the 52nd paralel Dan was out of his element and didnt even get a smile
A few beers and some whiskey before crashing for the night.
Total distance for the day was about 950 km's, 360 of them being freshly graded gravel.
Not much to tell here, we packed up early and hit the road for home. A nice drive down some scenic roads. It took a while to get used to traffic and seeing cops again. A long tiring drive, no more concentrating on gravel, no more crazy high speeds, just sitting in a line of traffic making our way home. This was for me the most tiring day, took every thing I had not to fall asleep on the bike. Tried to capture how tired I was at one rest area.
The highlight of the trip home was finally getting to a Tim Hortons for that coffee that us Canadians love so much. Dan looking very excited.
Total mileage for the day was about 700 km's.
We said our fairwells and exchanged some handshakes about an hour out of the city before we all headed in different directions bound for home.
A truely great week. The weather was great, roads were fun, ticked our three ticks that we had planned, everyone got along well, fun to meet some new people and see a part our country not many get to see.
In all we covered about 4800 km in the week, 1900 km's of which were gravel. We asked the lady at Mirage Outfitters how many bikes pass threw each year. She said this was a very busy year, including us she guessed about 20 had done this road this year. A guess at less than 200 in total have ridden this road.
We all agreed we would do a trip next year, Trans Lab and the Newfoundland T-Rail seemed to be on everyone's mind......time wil tell. Thanks for tagging along, its been fun writing this report and kind of reliving the trip. Adios