We woke up and just as we struck camp, it started to rain. Since today was the day that we were going to start the TT, we decided to head into Chisasibi for a hot breakfast and fuel. As soon as we left the gravel and hit the pavement in town, I could tell my front end had a problem. I pulled over and found my front tire was nearly flat. So I pumped it up and figured that I could fix it at the gas station after we ate. We never found a restaurant, though the locals swore that that one place would probably open......sometime. We headed to the gas station and saw that it opened at 0900, in 30 minutes. I spent the time trying to find my leak and couldn't...puzzling. The staff arrived promptly at 0900 and we filled up. They had to manually add the tax, because we were pretty much the only non-Indians that ever bought fuel there before. An exaggeration of course, but that's how they made us feel.
We decided to seek breakfast in Radisson and as soon as we hit the JB road, Adam pulled over with the same problem...flat front. Neil checked his and found that he was at about half pressure as well. As it turns out, we a were all running Heidenau K60's in tubless rims and they simply were not holding the air. They were fine in the warm weather, but as soon as we hit the cold, every bump caused a little of the air to escape the bead. The three of us had to fill our tires about every hour from then on until the weather warmed up. The tires are well constructed, but poorly designed for this purpose. They are probably fine with tubes, but the sidewalls are so stiff that they are a real bitch to lever on and off. The rears have all performed well, but the 19" k60 Heidenau is thoroughly unsuitable for use on tubeless rims. I will avoid all of their products in the future due to my disgust, but I can only report real problems in this one case.
After a good warm breakfast in which we discovered "creton", we bundled up and headed towards the TT road. By the time we reached the start, it had been raining for several hours and the road was nice and slippery. It was dreary.
After lowering our tires to gravel pressure (~22 front, ~25 rear) the handling improved and we were able to make progress. Much to our dismay, the first good place to camp was at km 203. The good part is that as soon as we pulled in and picked out a spot, the rain stopped and we were able to set up in the dry....WooHoo! Another great site on a river with fishing, firewood and great views.
Adam goes down to the river to see how Rob is doing with the fish.
We relaxed after dinner while our boots dried by the fire....
Adam brought some fire water from his homeland, that unfortunately caused Neil to have visions of bears and wolves so he had trouble sleeping :-)
We awake to a beautiful blue sky and didn't see any more rain until we reached this same point on the return trip. We make our way down to the next fuel stop, Nouchimi outfitters at km 283. We arrive and there is no one around, but a sign on the door reads "return in 5 hours"...but in French.... When did the sign go up? : dunno
Neil was patient.......
We didn't want to pass up on fuel out here so we waited. Eventually the attendant showed up, we filled and headed on. After filling the tires, of course..............
70 km down the road, km 358, is the Mirage outfitters. We needed to top up here because we needed just over 600 km range to make it to Caniapiscau and back as there was no guaranty of fuel at that end.
Mirage is a great place. It was getting ready for the Caribou hunt so was spotless and empty. They rustled us up an early lunch of spaghetti that really hit the spot. On the way in, we noticed this sign....good advice on all occasions, I think.
Some higher rollers than us showed up while we were eating lunch
Further on, we crossed this river and Rob made us promise to stop for 30 minutes on the way back so he could get some fishing time in. Typical view along the TT actually
This also was the spot that Adam had a negligent discharge with his bear spray. I was close enough to get a whiff and tasted cayenne pepper for the rest of the day. My bike had little oily red spots on it. Never trust this man with a loaded gun.....
The last 100 km of the road gets real rocky. We had to fill our tries several times as they were really loosing air every time we hit a rough spot. Finally, about 15 km from the end, I had a total deflation and hit a rock hard enough to bend my rim. It wouldn't hold air, even after we reseated the bead so we had to install a tube. I had no problems after that. Neil also dented his rim, but not severely enough cause a leak.
Unfortunately when we were working to reseat the bead on my tire, I was resting it against my knee while we pounded on it a few times. I didn't think anything about it at the time, but that evening it stiffened up and it became obvious that I had sprained it or stressed it in a similar fashion. For the entire return trip, I could not flex my left leg for more that a few minutes at a time without it becoming unbearable. I was able to stand up in the loose sections and my crash bar makes a wonderful highway peg, so I was able to make it.
We finally made it to the end of the road and made camp on the beach near the boat launch on a huge reservoir. Another fantastic camp site and yet again...no black flies.
The moon kept waxing