09-27-2010, 09:18 PM
Joined: Jan 2005
Location: The Badlands (of NJ)
I have been thinking about riding up the James Bay Road for quite a while now. I became aware of it when preparing for my ’08 Trans-Labrador ride: Walter Muma’s site, www.tlhwy.com, the "basic reading" for Trans-Lab travelers, has a parallel section devoted to James Bay Road and to North Road.
James Bay is one of the few exotic adventure locations available within a reasonable driving distance from the US East Coast.
OK, so it certainly is not in the class of Charlie’s and Ewan’s "Long Way" ride, nor Colebatch’s Siberian Extreme - still, I do find it a challenge to battle distance and elements in order to reach the Arctic Ocean.
Getting to James Bay would give me the satisfaction of having ridden a bike to the shore of every ocean in Earth: Arctic, Atlantic, Indian and Pacific. Well, maybe with the exception of the Southern Ocean - though I have been a mere 5 degrees of latitude, 300 miles away from it in Ushuaia.
Nevertheless, the idea of this trip remained a "nice to do". I did not go on any big rides this season and did not even plan on any more, until I realized very recently that the remaining weekend schedule is very booked. Effectively, I had only one weekend open before the end of northern riding opportunities!
Suddenly, the trip was on and the preparations went into high gear. I secured a few days off before and after that free weekend in late September and laid out the route.
* North via Montreal toward Chibougamau, Quebec (point "C" on the map).
* Access the North Road and travel east on gravel to join James Bay Road about midway.
* Continue northbound past Radisson toward Chisasibi to reach James Bay ("D).
* Return trip would be all-paved: south to Matagami, then home via either Montreal or Ottawa ("F").
I checked out the bike and realized that the front Anakee has 11,000 miles on. Quick! - get a new one ASAP!
A week before departure, my dining room table became the preparation area. All the gear was collected and packed, then taken down to the garage.
September 15: Northern NJ to Plattsburgh, NY - 285 miles.
Finally, the departure day arrived. I was still working, but my itinerary called for putting in a good number of miles in the evening, to give myself a nice distance advantage for next morning. I sped home from work, changed into riding gear and pulled the bike out from garage. It was getting dark – a long night ride was ahead of me. Little did I know: it was a portent of things to come throughout the whole trip: night travel all around!
Riding at a steady pace, I went past the Adirondacks in surprisingly good conditions: dry and fairly warm for a night that season, in low 40’s. Just before midnight, I was bedding down in the Plattsburgh, NY Econolodge.
rdwalker screwed with this post 09-28-2010 at 05:42 AM