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Old 09-15-2009, 09:11 AM   #16
Northstar Beemer
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I LOVE the Northcountry. Even if it's hard to understand the signs.
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Old 09-15-2009, 12:32 PM   #17
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After our first night of camping we were all eager to be up and on the road. This early in the trip I had tonnes of "Boil In Bag" food so every time I opened my pannier it all spilled out which made packing a bit of a chore.

First stop was Chibougamau

Then the moment we have all been waiting for. THE START OF THE DIRT!

Riding the gravel road was interesting. Lots of varied surfaces. Made for some interesting "butt clench" moments when you came flying around a corner at Mach 1 only to discover that the nice hardpack was suddenly all graded.

Finally after an exciting first day we found a nice campground across from the Rupert river pick-nick are and setup for the night.

We were treated to a beautiful sunset and as the temperatures dropped the bugs left us alone to enjoy our campfire and the coming sub zero temperatures that night.
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Old 09-15-2009, 03:38 PM   #18
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Lookin good guys!
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Old 09-15-2009, 05:18 PM   #19
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Chibougamau outside the liquor store.. we stopped there by coincidence! really!

Oooh-la-la!! Small town Quebec always seems to have some interesting places..

A bit apprehensive about starting the gravel with a fully loaded bike..

The first encounter with a grader.. notice the almost concrete hard gravel on the left and the soft squishy gravel on the right.. a nice mix that randomly changed along the road, sometimes mid-corner, just to keep it interesting.

What's this? is someone hurt??

Nope.. Ted having a power nap!

Home for the night!

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Old 09-15-2009, 05:58 PM   #20
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Old 09-15-2009, 06:42 PM   #21
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good one.
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Old 09-15-2009, 06:46 PM   #22
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Keep it coming
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Old 09-16-2009, 08:28 AM   #23
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That power nap is the first of many
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Old 09-16-2009, 09:34 AM   #24
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After a chilly nights sleep we awoke to frost on our tent and bikes. Maurizio riding a GS1150 with Tourances decided that its best he get a head start and took off for the end of the North road. Following soon after was Ted and myself but we decided to stop and get food at the gas station half way along. The others were fighting with Chris' funduro trying to get it started, which they did by bump starting it a few times until it caught.

Somehow durring all of this the third group MISSED seeing us at the resturant/gas station and drove by thinking we had gone to Nemaska for gas instead. When they got there and no one had seen bikes they decided to back track and look back at the first gas station. Meanwhile everyone else was grouping up at the end of the north road and wondering what was taking so long!

Finally we all grouped up sharing some confused looks as we tried to puzzle out how we had passed each other on a road with only one intersection.

From there we headed north on the James bay road crossing the 52nd parallel.

Passed some beautiful scenery

As we cruised the cross winds became stronger and stronger until we were scraping pegs on straights or flying around corners without having to lean at all. I very odd feeling.

Here's a vide showing the wind.

Then just as we made the last 40Km into Radisson it started to rain. We all looked at each other and said F*** this, Lets get a motel!

Here's all our stuff drying out. A floor fan is running, the AC is on to remove humidity and then the heater is on so we don't freeze. It worked out and all our stuff got dry.

We then had beers all around and crashed for the night!
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Old 09-16-2009, 09:50 AM   #25
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Day Three

Well finally the sun started to come up, bloody cold morning, must not have gotten more than a few hours sleep due to air mattress fiasco.

The Rupert River was roaring away in the morning sun and was a nice sight to wake up to. This time next year it will be a trickle, bit of a shame I suppose. Giving up our wilderness in Canada to feed the Americans with electricity. But....hard to complain from a bikers perspective as without all these dams these great remote roads wouldnt exist. A catch twenty two. I'll leave the debate at that as I have mixed feelings about the situation.

Did I mention it was freaking ......

A quick pack up and off to finish the North Road. I think about 160 km were left. Maurizio left about half hour before the rest of us so he didn't have to rush on his balding street tires. I left next with plans to meet the gand for breakfast at a Hydro Camp. Things got a bit screwy here. Chris's bike had technical difficulties starting, somehow Dan and John missed me at the camp and went looking for me in some reserve about 20 km of the road then back tracked looking for me. I have no idea how we missed each other on the only road out there. A mystery of the North I suppose. John crashed his bike (I'll let him give the details), Maurizio got to the end of the road about 5 minutes ahead of me and was met by a big old black bear. Me....well I had a heck of a trip. The trees started to be replaced by rock and it was the first time I really felt like I was up North. Great vistas. The wind was blowing so hard a few times by bike would get blown right across the road threw two sets of tracks and up onto the sandy shoulders. A bit unnerving at Dakar speeds to say the least.

A great breakfast at a Hydro workers camp

I am pretty sure this dog was dead, I even tried yelling at it but couldnt even get it to blink. Or maybe he is just damn lazy, who knows.

Chris and Stephen decided to push on up the James Bay Road to next gas station while I waited for John and Dan. After a while they came blazing by me, didnt stop and started cruising up the JBR (James Bay Rd). I awoke myself from a my siesta, jumped on the bike and started ripping to catch up. I caught up to them and Dan's bike is lying on its side. Well what a sight, I was greeted with a "it hasnt been a good morning" and two pissed of dudes. I guess the looking for me, John crashing, the high winds, loose road surface and pucker moments got them down. Note: they rebounded fast and were smiling shit eating grins the rest of the day

The end of the North Road

Something happened after we crossed the 52nd parallel. All the chicks we met above this latitude were obsessed and unexplainably attracted to Dan . Now Dan's not an ugly dude but this was to become uncanny at best. Dan, you need to move North and live the life of a Don Juan I am not referring to one incident but I am mean every chick we saw up here was giving Dan the bedroom eyes, while the rest of us sat there looking at each other with a WTF kind of expression.

Well a few hundred clicks of pavement was left for the day. The destination for the day was the town of Radisson. Maurizio got a jump start on us as he was going to zip up to tag the James Bay as he had to leave the gang tomorrow so he could get home for his child's first day of school. The JBR is excellent. Add some, well alot, of speed and it becomes a great twisty road. Fun road with great views along the way.

A quick stop for gas at the only gas station for many miles. Not sure if this gas is watered down or its simply a throttle twisitng thing but every time we used this gas we all lost tons of mileage. My bike got 210 km from a full tank where it normally gets 300. Who knows, another mystery of the North I suppose.

The last half hour or so on the JBR and it started to rain pretty good. Pulling into radisson the decision was unanimous to get a motel for the night. We choose the Auberge Radisson. Actually this place was clean, had great food and reasonable rates. We all enjoyed a few brown bottles, a good meal and a good sleep.

After eating boil in the bag for a few days it was damn nice to have your food separated as opposed to something that resembles dog food The boil in the bag will get you threw in a pinch but I grew to hate it. Not sure if it was the whole eating out of a bag or the affects freeze dried food has on the digestion system or a combo but I for one will pass on it next trip and bring real food

Hannibal Lecter??????????????????????

Nope, Johns weird ass sleeping contraptions. Hard to get this out of your brain falling alseep. All sorts of odd Silence of the Lambs dreams that night.

Said good bye to Maurizio as he was leaving at the crack of dawn for a 1300 km iron butt home.
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Deadly99 screwed with this post 10-27-2009 at 12:39 PM
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Old 09-16-2009, 12:29 PM   #26
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Tommy the cat had many a story to tell, but it was a rare occasion such as this that he did.

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Old 09-16-2009, 01:05 PM   #27
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Looks like a great trip!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 09-16-2009, 03:33 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Deadly99
I am pretty sure this dog was dead, I even tried yelling at it but couldnt even get it to blink. Or maybe he is just damn lazy, who knows.

Hey, I saw that dog at Nemiscau! Hangin out by the cafe only a couple weeks before you guys, he was alive at that time...

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Old 09-16-2009, 06:07 PM   #29
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It was all going so well.... until....

For those of you that have been following along I’m the one cruising around on the F650GS Dakar.

I had that poor bike packed like an old beaten mule. I had never felt it weigh that much and as I started down the North Road thought “ I must be insane riding gravel with this much weight.” Strange thing happens though, I got used to it and after a couple of hours of being puckered right up, started to relax. It’s either that or I simply couldn’t stay puckered any longer! I tell you, after you’ve done 1900 km of gravel you'll learn to read every pebble, color change and nuance of the road while you’re riding. But I’m getting ahead of myself, by the 3rd day I still had a lot to learn about gravel roads, especially one that was often mixed with sand like the North road. Don’t misunderstand , I have ridden many gravel roads before, but frankly this seemed way more technical.

So what happened to John the 3rd day. The day was gorgeous and I was really starting to get into the gravel and dirt riding. Unlike Ted, I had had a wonderful sleep the night before on my air mattress, you know the type, the ones that don’t leak! Being bright an alert I though… “I’ve got this gravel/sand thing mastered… no worries. The irony of that thought was to echo in my head in short order. As I’m happily touring along I come into a downhill left-hander. Not too sharp but it did look a little bit soft so I dutifully slowed down to around 50 km/h. I started around the turn and was just starting to apply throttle when… WTF!! My front wheel shot instantly to the right causing my rear wheel to skid left. Then the front decided to go left, (probably me over-correcting), causing my rear now to skid right. This continued for 3 or 4 iterations until all that weight on the rear of my bike pendulumed around causing the back end to pass the front end of my bike while still moving forward down the road. I gotta tell you, that’s some weird ass feeling sliding backwards, on your back, with the bike down the road. My reverse low-side came to rest in a cloud of dust, gravel and sand. Laying there I thought several things in the blink of an eye. Are all my body parts still attached, how long are my riding mates going to leave me laying here, what happens if a transport comes around that corner right now, how bad is my bike screwed up and finally, what idiot said that he had this gravel/sand thing mastered? Oh ya, that was me. One thing I have to say is, damn, that riding gear really works! ATGATT!! After extricating myself from under that bike I found not a mark, not a scrape, no gravel burn or embedding, nothing broken, halleluiah, I’m in one piece. The only complaint later on was a sprained left finger and couple of sore muscles.

So now that I’m out from under the bike, alive and well, I’m standing there thinking how the hell am I going to lift this thing? It’s laying past 90 degrees on its side, in gravel and sand, no way I can pick this up. So I stand there waiting… and waiting… and waiting, you get the idea. Turns out Dan (the rider in front of me) thought I had just stopped for a leak or other bodily function and was off in the woods! As I’m just about to start unpacking my bike so I can lift it, along came a Caterpillar repair man in his truck. After the obvious “are you all right” and “what happened” questions, we managed to pick the beast up. I thank him profusely and after a quick assessment and realization that my bike is still good to go, off I went. I catch up to Dan just as he’s turned around to see where heck I am. He looks at me in stunned silence while I tell him what happened… then off we ride.

At this point I have to admit I was not in the best of moods. Dan and I get to the end of the North road and nobody!! Where the freaking heck are they. So Dan and I figure they’ve gone up the road to the next meeting place. So off we go. After a couple of minutes I think I feel something so I stop just to double check my bike, nothing wrong. Poor Dan parks behind me wondering if everything’s alright, off his bike he gets and BAM… down goes his 1150GS on the road. I think we both said the same thing at that moment, SHIT! His side stand was not quite all the way forward and let his bike drop. So just as were picking his bike up along comes Ted from behind us and says “What are you guys doing”. I’m not sure exactly what we said, but I know our “frustration” of the moment may have come through a little… well maybe more than a little…ok, ok a lot. I don’t think Ted knew quite what to say at this point but looking back on it now, it all was pretty damn funny!

One last note, the cause of my backwards adventure turned out to be a deep ridge in the road which my front tire glanced off of. I went back and looked after I got my bike up. Unfortunately I didn’t think till later of getting pictures of the event. The crisscrossing tracks my bike made were quite entertaining to look at. Damage to my bike; dent and grind marks on the right Jesse pannier and end of my handle bar. Way better than I could have reasonably expected. Next farkle for my bike... say it with me... Steering Damper.

The rest of the day was great especially the gourmet meal and motel room that night in Radisson!


Jlsa screwed with this post 09-16-2009 at 06:56 PM
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Old 09-16-2009, 06:19 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Jlsa
Damage to my bike; dent and grind marks on the right Jesse pannier and end of my handle bar. Way better than I could have reasonably expected. Next farkle for my bike... say it with me... Steering Damper.
Heavily loaded bike sliding down the road on this pannier.. and all that happened was a few character scratches! Awesome!

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