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Old 08-21-2009, 11:51 AM   #1
donnymoto OP
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Virginia / James Bay / North Road / Quebec / Mt. Washington

I heard the quote something to the effect that you don't take a trip, the trip takes you. This time the trip really took me. I'd planned a trip that takes me way up north 2 miles short of the 54th parallel, open landscapes and remote roads. That part of the plan I got. I didn't get the time I wanted though, unexpected things happen and sometimes the worst time, sometimes you get a break. I got a break and had a great trip.

14 days and 4,000 miles, I traveled from Virginia to Ontario Canada, then up the James Bay Road to Radisson and the furthest point north, Longue Pointe. Coming back, I rode to Lac St. Jean and down the Fjord Road to Tadoussac. Then around Quebec city to ride up Mt Washington

In December 2008, I found a spot, way up on the James Bay close to the Hudson Bay, a spot where roads go out to a point. On that point, boats and a couple of buildings. This Google Earth/Maps photo of large canoes is what I saw. This was very interesting to me. I really like open spaces, remote areas and of course riding, maybe this would be the place to take a 2-week ride?

At that time I thought, "I will ride to this place someday". I'm not sure why I wanted to but as the people are asked why they climb mountains, "because it's there" seems somehow a good enough reason.



The other reason is because I want to do this on a single cylinder, dual sport motorcycle, and camp along the way. The roads will be more fun on this type of bike and 1,000 on this bike is like 2,000 on a big touring bike. More bang for the buck.

It's far enough north that the days are longer, bugs are bigger, crowds are few, temperatures are cooler and northern lights will illuminate an August evening sky.

So after a lot of planning, phone calls and emails, I got enough information, and time off work, to make this happen.

Here's a little teaser of the trip. Camping on the Rupert River. Local cuisine, what the hell is Poutine?



Failures brought friendships. What these guys did not do.



Northern light show. I made it to the James Bay!



The fantastic North road. Prime parking atop Mt. Washington.


donnymoto screwed with this post 02-20-2011 at 02:56 PM
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Old 08-21-2009, 11:58 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donnymoto
This was very interesting to me. I really like open spaces, remote areas and of course riding, maybe this would be the place to take a 2-week ride?

Says it all, doesn't it?

Looks like a great ride. Particularly like the Northern Lights pic. Looking forward to more.
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Old 08-21-2009, 01:00 PM   #3
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Subscribed! Looks like a great trip report in progress.
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Old 08-22-2009, 12:23 PM   #4
donnymoto OP
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Virginia to Canada: The ride that gets me to the trip.

The day started out wet, I'll miss my Xterra OR but can't wait to put some mileage on the bike. I got over it pretty quick. A small window opened and rain stopped long enough for me to pack the bike. I pulled a muscle in my lower back a few weeks ago and it hasn't gotten that much better, I was worried about that. So when I loaded, I did so carefully.

Was a rainy drive for the first part of the morning, through Leesburg, Virginia. It rains up there too, more than here. I brought a tarp and got a new tent that still packs up small but I can put my riding jacket, pants, helmet inside and I can sit up in case I need to hunker down through rain and bugs. Turns out I will need to do this. I stopped by the local shop for shield defogger, didn't work that well. From snorkeling I know that plain ol spit does the trick.



Cleared up for lunch in Thurmont Maryland. I though about how different the lands will look as I pass through the birch and cat tails that remind me of the Adirondacks, then to the "Taiga" which is more arctic in nature.



Needed a few supplies, no trip through central PA is complete without a stop to the mega store, but they didn't have small chord to repair a camp bag, only parachute chord which is too flexible. I later found some at a Walmart. hmmmm



After Cabala's, I went over to the Dunkin Donuts for coffee and... yes a donut. While outside a biker starts up a conversation, he's riding a sweet looking Harley with the cream colored gas tank, turns out he's drag raced bikes, etc. Traveling alone on a bike doesn't mean you're alone. People all over come right up and start conversations.

The road to the campground from here is sweet, twisties and farmland. Was a real blast. I'm definitely in the riding zone now, the bike feels balanced, turns are coordinated with the weight, weather is great, cool and clear, planets aligned, etc.

Stopped for the day at Locust Lake State Park in PA. This was a very nice campground, no other bikers today and the other campers eyed me a little strange, maybe I had really bad helmet hair? I did get a great spot. Quiet, moon was out, life was good.

They say the ice cream is made with local dairy, was pretty tasty for sure...



Early bird catches the photo, the next morning.





My back had been bothering me. Pulled the lower left side a few weeks before the trip and was worried that it would sidetrack me. Last night, slept great and actually for the first time, woke up with no pain. Wow. Now I know what to do if my back acts up. Take a moto-camping trip. The morning camp consisted of cooked oatmeal, local figs and coffee. Loaded the gear and proceeded up a road that was very cool, this road had nice twisties that woke me up more than the first daily hit of java, wow!

Got on a part of the Slab that I actually enjoy, Pennsylvania north to Wilkes-Barre. This stretch rolls over mountain ridges and highlands that feel the wrath of winter hard enough, the trees never grow that tall. Whenever I experience these places, the feeling of wide open lands and remote areas is a great thrill. Jeff Beck wailed his guitar with impossible licks as I sped along. The single cylinder Kawasaki engine settling in around 5,000 RPMs, seems to like this speed, vibration dampens and just purrs along. Also puts me at about 69mph which doesn't seem to set off any radar units.



I decided to take a sidetrip around 81. Some local flavor outside Wilkes Barr. The Huber Breaker.



A bar on every block, probably to help forget Huber Breaker is shut down and has no jobs...



New York: landscapes that feed the soul.



Closing on on Canada, 'Shallow' by Porcupine tree was playing in the iPod. I changed the words to Shadow as I hummed along.



1000 Islands bridge, crossing the St. Lawrence, I was getting stoked, the trip is really underway!



Will they let me in?



Of course, I bring $USD :)


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Old 08-22-2009, 01:36 PM   #5
donnymoto OP
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Merrickeville, ON to Maniwaki, QC

So first thing I do in Canada, call deadly99 and get set for the night. He will ride out to meet me off the main road. I've got time to get to the ATM machine and get some Canadian dollars. My GPS steers me here. Money is now in my wallet.



I meet up with d99 and we head to his place outside Merrickville.



Parked for the night...



deadly99, what a hospitable ADVrider!



We got to a pub for drinks and food, then talk about biking and whatnot until lights out. Next day he escorts me into Ottawa where he works, his commute is through farmland, pretty nice indeed!

d99 took this one, it's the only one I've got of me riding. Otherwise it looks like my bike took a trip by itself.



Ottawa, stopped to take a few shots.



Now, the next part of the trip takes me further out to the area called Le Domaine, and Réserve faunique La Vérendrye where I'll head off the beaten path and explore lakes and roads. Heading out of Gatinuea, Quebec.





Weather was perfect.



Small town of Maniwaki; I tried to score a fishing license, not much English here and I was sent around to 3 places before I decided to just pull off at the next gas station out of town.



Headed out of town, got weather forecast here. Rain is on the way.



Licenses sold here. I can understand French when it's a picture of a fish.



Scenic stop, also made coffee at these small falls.




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Old 08-22-2009, 02:24 PM   #6
Haroon
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I am enjoying your report and wonderful pics.
Are you headed to the same Mt. Washington with the COG railway? I had been there with my family in May and it snowed real heavy on the summit.
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Old 08-22-2009, 02:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Haroon
I am enjoying your report and wonderful pics.
Are you headed to the same Mt. Washington with the COG railway? I had been there with my family in May and it snowed real heavy on the summit.
Thanks, glad you're enjoying it. I believe so, there's a train that goes up to the top, looks like this. Will get to this part in a day or 3 :)


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Old 08-22-2009, 03:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iDave
Great start Don .

How much is Gaz up there?
Hey Dave, I'm not sure it was in French Wait, that's metric, about 1.05 per liter Canadian
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Old 08-22-2009, 04:39 PM   #9
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Awesome ride.. nice to see Canadian landmarks through your eyes

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Old 08-22-2009, 05:35 PM   #10
mica
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Old 08-22-2009, 06:49 PM   #11
donnymoto OP
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Maniwaki, QC to Réserve faunique La Vérendrye and Le Domaine

The road north of Maniwaki gets more rural and population diminishes. Now the fun stuff starts. I head west off 117 and start stringing roads together. There is traffic back here, more than I expected. I head into Réserve faunique La Vérendrye, an area with sketchy gravel roads and fishermen trying to get enough speed to launch their trucks and trailered boats into thin air, they were flying down these roads.





This is the type of place I get lost in, not literally (well most of the time :) but I just get off the bike and sit, have some water or something and really take it all in. I took a nap near here until the bug alarm went off. Just a peaceful place in between the truck/boat nascar races.



Some roads get less travel and are more fun on the bike. I rode for hours back here. It took longer than I expected but the ride was very nice. I smelled rain in the air well before I saw the clouds that were rolling in. Fresh air is a wonderful thing and it was plentiful up here.

Riding through the last parts of my detour, the road went to hard pack dirt, speeding through the birch forest at 65 mph was exhilarating. Light rain started.



Another stop, rain let up a little and I needed dinner.







I'm getting closer to the main road. It's been several hours of gravel and dirt and I'm ready to pitch the tent. Then I come up on this, a town not on the map.



Was wondering if I was supposed to be able to ride over it or not. I see the tracks and head over. There were native kids fishing, I didn't get a shot. On the other side a village with what seemed to be all the residents out in the road. Again, I did stop for pics. They looked very surprised to see me. I waved and said hi, they waved back. Was a bit strange being surrounded by people on this dirt road so I didn't stop. Looking back I should have and asked about the village and what nation they were.



Setup camp at the first formal place around 8:30, it's already lighter at night than in VA. I like having a picnic table when it's wet for when I pack up. Only unpacked essential sleeping gear, the rest stays dry.



Say good night. I slept like a rock. Did NOT wake up until 7am, wow I slept in.



Morning coffee, a small break in the rain let me spend a little time with the bugs :)) Not bad though this year they say, I never once used the DEET I carried.
Peets--the official coffee of this trip.



One note:
Camp suds are kind of the swiss army knife of detergents. I use it to clean dishes, wash clothes both by hand and in a machine, wash my hair, hands, etc, also it cleans up the bike well.\
Mileage for the previous day;


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Old 08-22-2009, 07:18 PM   #12
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Can't wait to make a similar trip. Looking forward to seeing more updates.

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Old 08-22-2009, 08:10 PM   #13
donnymoto OP
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Thanks Gadget Boy, yes I enjoy seeing others reactions to in my lands. Overall my reaction was, Fantastic!

iDave, thanks!! We'll ride once I get some needed maintenance done on the KLR. Yes the Jetboil does as advertised, wow! The pan works well too. I cooked eggs a few times as well.

Tige, yes it's the type of trip every rider probably dreams of. I was pinching myself the whole time. That also helped the itcing skeeter bites.

Hello Mica! Still loving your new DS? Some of the roads on this trip would have been perfect for your bike.

Hello Elkhound, also thank for the texts on KLR repair

Thanks, Selkins, come on back.
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Old 08-22-2009, 08:21 PM   #14
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I start riding to Senneterre. Not raining... yet.



In Senneterre, it's coming down. Look for breakfast inside instead of my camp food.





Breakfast was great, and only $5 Canadian!

Now, I will say this more than once, road work for the 2 weeks I was out was everywhere and a real pain. This stretch was a bit slippery as well.



After the road work I noticed my fairing was loose. The previous days ride through 100 miles of rough roads took it's toll.



No spare bolt, but dug out a twisty tie.



The rest of the ride wound through Amos then up to Matagami.



Some photos along the way.







I'm here!



The ride so far was wet but fantastic. The landscape is slowly shifting and getting even more remote. I pulled over a few times to get dry and wrap up things that were getting wet like my wallet and iPod.

Arriving in Matagami was a milestone. This is the final town before heading up the James Bay Road and where my eyes had gazed on a map for months preceding this trip. 234 miles to the next fuel stop. No cell phone service along the way.
I stop to look at my GPS and a fellow stops to chat. He's a local and speaks a bit of English. Quite the resource of information although he was wrong that the info center was closed on Sunday, it was open and I visited there to get another weather forecast. Another day of rain, then, sunny skies for a while. Great!

A check-in station for the James Bay Road is manned 24/7 so that if you disappear, they've got a record you were there, not just hearsay from frantic relatives. I give them my info, tag # and they give me info and an emergency number to use on one of several SOS call boxes. Today I was only going 20 miles up to the campground though. I'd be back to get fuel. The trip had other plans though.



Lake Matagami campground is 20 miles down the JBR from Matagami the town, and is a real fantastic place to stay. A beach, excellent shower room, laundry and full time residents that are very friendly. The host, Scott was a real fun person to talk with. His English was very good and didn't mind speaking with me about all sorts of things. I settled in and the rain continued into the night.





Drying out.



Some college kids speaking English and French setup camp next to me, they were night owls for sure. I dozed off listening to their funny observations on life, etc. Age and the experience that comes with it like it or not, might change a lot of those views. Was good for a chuckle or 2.

Woke up to the sound of voices and saw flashlights lighting up my tent. The bike fell over! Oh no, I forgot to put something under my side stand and the rain saturated the ground, so the stand just ran into the ground. The boys were great, they helped me lift the bike up and got a large piece of wood for me. They wondered where I was from. Of course the further north I go, the more surprised people are to hear I'm from Virginia. I was probably good to them at this point for a chuckle or 2.


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Old 08-23-2009, 03:39 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donnymoto
14 days and 4,000 miles,
So I researched and then found the whole James Bay Road, Chisasibi, Radisson and North Road area.
Don, great report so far... I have already subscribed.. I am planning a ride from NH Via North Road to Radisson etc... so I have a vested interest in getting all the details from your trip!
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