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Old 08-08-2011, 07:15 AM   #1726
Dan Alexander
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I read that the average temp of the water in Superior is 4 degrees C. Way too cold for my wussy butt.
Oh, yeah, there was some shrinkage going on
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Old 08-08-2011, 07:52 PM   #1727
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Have been wanting to do a trip across Canada. Then I found this !!!!!!! Can't wait
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Old 08-08-2011, 10:24 PM   #1728
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I read that the average temp of the water in Superior is 4 degrees C. Way too cold for my wussy butt.
sounds like surfing in the Atlantic
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Old 08-09-2011, 02:27 PM   #1729
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Central Ontario Test Ride Report - part 4

The sleeping bag that I took on the trip was an 80 Argentinian peso job that I picked up in Puerto Madryn. It wasn’t supposed to make the trip back to Canada, but somehow it is still in my possession. Since it compresses the smallest of all the sleeping bags that I own (and since the trip was in July, not worrying about cold temps), it is the one that made the cut. My feet were cold at times during the first night at The Chutes and being further north, I opted for using the space blanket in Wawa. (If anyone has any data on whether these things actually work or not, please let me know.) Even with the space blanket, I had to get up in the middle of the night to put on another layer. That seemed to help and it allowed me to sleep until 8 o’clock. Unfortunately, I was hoping to get up at 7 so that I could have an early start to the TCAT. To compound the slip to the schedule, there had been so much dew it seemed that it had rained overnight, as you can see below:



I had to drag the fly and tent into the sun and let it sit for quite a while to get it dry enough to pack - later still.

I had a bit of a conversation with the campground owner, Peter, about the TCAT. I told him that I would be riding from Wawa to Timmins on dirt roads. He indicated that he once owned a re-forestation company and that he was unaware of any roads that would lead through to Timmins. Interesting.

I didn’t get to breakfast until 9:30, which was again at the North of 17 restaurant. Call me predicatable, but you just can’t beat eggs, suasage, homefries and toast for breakfast - I even have a routine way of eating it.

Since I didn’t know when I would see a gas station again, I made sure to top up the tank before leaving town. I headed south on Hwy 17 for a bit and before long I was at the turn for the TCAT. Keep in mind that I am travelling from west to east, which is opposite from the actual direction of the TCAT. Don’t worry however, I made sure I took all of the pictures looking backward so that you’ll recognize the places when you get there.

Ah, the thrill of a nice gravel road.



Soon the surface loosened and a tell-tale pile of dirt down the middle of the road let me know that I would soon be seeing a grader. After a couple of bends in the road it was over the dirt pile, around the grader and onward to more hills and turns.



About 14 km in from Hwy 17, the route crossed a power generation dam.



On the other side of the dam, the route turned from gravel road to trail.



The route followed some 2 track trails that led to a power corridor. The trail was generally quite “doable”. One section required a climb that had been fairly washed out, leaving erosion ruts and several loose large rocks to navigate. In some areas it was wider and a lot of fun.





Of course, there were all of the features that you would want in a good trail such as beaver dams (fortunately on the right side of the trail) ...





… and water crossings.



If you look carefully below, you can see the water crossing here went along the edge of the water and was bounded by an incline. It looked pretty ominous but I made it through without difficulty (remember, the knobbies had been taken off).



The two track went on for miles and miles.



In fact, I thought it was going to be a long day to get to Timmins travelling on 2 track. I figured that I must be approaching the end of the trail when I saw this:



I’m not sure how these types of things happen, other than some guy trying to unsuccessfully prove the route is “doable”.

More beaver dams.



The trail finally brought me out to a transformer station and a road that crossed an adjacent railroad track. The route followed decent gravel roads for about 100 km, which allowed for some fast riding, albeit the location was still very remote.



Soon I came to an abandoned snow plow. As far as I know, this is the middle of exactly nowhere. Who would leave a snowplow at this location is incomprehensible to me.



Almost immediately around the corner from the snowplow was this sign, which would seem to confirm the remoteness of the location.



All I could think was that the guy got the snowplow that far and finally had to radio for an air-vac!?

I actually thought that I would be getting to Hwy 101 soon after this point, which would have been roughly the first third of the way to Timmins. However, instead of the highway, the route took me onto more 2 track.



I was thinking, “good lord, when am I going to get back to the highway?”. The 2 track went on and on. Eventually, it gradually turned into a single lane dirt road ...



… and gradually got wider and became a 2 laned logging road. The truck traffic on the road had really ripped it up, leaving tracks where the tires had been and loose gravel elsewhere, making for very unstable riding. To make matters worse, I soon came to a cloud of dust so thick that I couldn’t see more than 10 m in front of me at times. It was like riding blind and the messed up conditions of the road made sure I stayed on my toes. For me, it wasn’t fun riding. I kept thinking that I was getting close to the source of the dust (I wasn’t sure if it was a grader or a logging truck), but the dust made it impossible to see whatever it was, let alone to pass. If I had a brain, I would have pulled off, rested and had some lunch while I waited for things to settle down. Unfortunately, I guess I don’t and I white knuckled it for about the last 15 km until I got to the highway, where I caught up to the culprits - two logging trucks.

By this time, I was exhausted and hungry. It was about 11 km south of Chapleau, so I headed into town to have lunch (at 3:40 in the afternoon). The “morning” took about 4 hours and 45 minutes (moving time) and I had covered approximately 235 km.
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Old 08-09-2011, 02:49 PM   #1730
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And during all this time I'm stuck at home

Thanks for your report!
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Old 08-09-2011, 02:49 PM   #1731
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Damn....that looks......awesome

Gord from Wawa provided this section of the route, along with a gem of a road leading into Sudbury (Portelance Road). Great additions to the TCAT


Was reading some TAT reports the other day, couldn't help noticing that a few places have become legendary due to being a bit rough. Then I started thinking about how many of these types of places exist on the TCAT and I started laughing. Looks like that section heading into Wawa has a few spots on it that will provide some stories. Throw some remoteness into the mix and small challenges get big in a hurry

Enjoying the report on the recon trip, I'll bet you had a moment where you wondered if following a gps track some guy on the web sent you to "test ride" was such a good idea

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Old 08-09-2011, 04:32 PM   #1732
Dan Alexander
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Looks great up there!

How are the bugs?
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Old 08-09-2011, 05:47 PM   #1733
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deadly99 View Post
I'll bet you had a moment where you wondered if following a gps track some guy on the web sent you to "test ride" was such a good idea.
You'll get the answer to that question in the next post.

Quote:
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How are the bugs?
The bugs were a non-issue. Some mosquitos from dusk to dawn, but nothing to get all twisted about.
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Old 08-09-2011, 06:09 PM   #1734
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You'll get the answer to that question in the next post.
.


I haven't quite decided if you hate me or had the trip of a lifetime........

I presume Hardwaregrrl is watching this intently as she is the next volunteer for a test run

And then................
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Old 08-09-2011, 08:31 PM   #1735
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deadly99 View Post
I haven't quite decided if you hate me or had the trip of a lifetime........

I presume Hardwaregrrl is watching this intently as she is the next volunteer for a test run

And then................
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Old 08-09-2011, 08:49 PM   #1736
skibum69
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giv 'er!
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Old 08-10-2011, 05:25 AM   #1737
Dan Alexander
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Remember, be carefull what you wish for
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Old 08-10-2011, 05:26 AM   #1738
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OK, now where the heck is the next installment ... I'm really curious now
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Old 08-10-2011, 10:45 AM   #1739
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Just wondering, is a yearly checklist something that going to be on the final product website? My guess is that things will change from year to year and the route would have to be pre-run from time to time. When someone from the area checks(tests) a section, they could confirm its' condition, including the date checked. It would give people planning long trips some piece of mind knowing the trail had been ridden recently, or in the case of not, plan accordingly.
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Old 08-10-2011, 10:59 AM   #1740
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Central Ontario Test Ride Report - part ?

Of the options that were available in Chapleau, I chose Gus’ Restaurant. Gus was sitting on the front porch when I arrived. The joint is run by Gus and his wife, or so it seemed, even though they were both very old. I’m not sure how they managed the place.

I was so hungry that I had a hard time deciding what to order. I felt like saying “just bring whatever is easiest”, since it seemed like an effort for the old couple. I think it ended up being a sandwich and salad.

I wasn’t only hungry, I was also tired; however, getting some food into me helped. As I ate, I struggled through some philosophical moments. I knew that I couldn’t make it to Timmins by evening if I continued on the route - I had only covered approximately a third of the distance. I was torn. I felt like I’d be a schmuck if I didn’t complete the route, but I also didn’t want to get too behind schedule and arrive late to meet my family at Christian Island. Compounding matters, I wasn’t sure if I’d have the same pace on the piece between Timmins and Sudbury. If only I had a road book that would give me more information so that I could decide.

After finishing up lunch, I found that paying was just as difficult as ordering. Gus wranggled with the debit machine for a while until I finally told him that I’d just pay cash. (I used debit or credit as much as possible to conserve my cash for emergency situations.) After the bill was payed, I hopped back on the bike and headed out of town. Of course, I filled the tank since in these remote parts you’re not sure when you’ll see another service station. This was the most expensive gas I bought on the trip at a buck and a half a litre. (By the way there is gas on the 101 approximately at N48 13.156 W82 18.747. There is also a small town called Foleyet just off of Hwy 101 that _likely_ has gas. The TCAT uses Hwy 101 for a short section and it will take you by these points.)

As I headed south back to the TCAT, I got to the point where Hwy 101 headed off to my left. I stopped. I considered my situation. All the thoughts from lunch needed to be consolidated - now. In a moment of weakness, I took the easy route. It was a tough decision and if I knew then what I know now, I probably would have gone back to the TCAT. Sorry. I guess I have some unfinished business.

I paid for my sins though. Highway 101 was pretty boring after the amazing route of the morning. I was forced to endure the shame of the decision in my head for a couple of hours.

As I mentioned, the TCAT works its way back to Hwy 101 after the second third of the route between Wawa and Timmins. It follows the highway for about 30 km and then heads onto the less beaten path for the last 100km into the Timmins area. It was about 6 PM when I arrived at the turn for this section of the route. Dusk wasn’t arriving until about 9 PM, which would give me about 3 hours for the section. I decided that I would give it a try and judge things as I went.

The sign posted just after the turn indicated that there were active logging operations on the road. The road was in pretty good shape and was pretty easy to ride on. I did encounter 2 logging trucks on this part of the route (at different times though).



At times, there were large stretches of deep sand.



This continued for about 20 km, when I realized that although I had stayed on the road, my track was off of the route. I zoomed the display and sure enough, I had missed a turn somewhere. I turned around and headed back about a kilometer to the point where the paths diverged. The way I should have taken looked like this.



At this point it was about 6:30 and I decided that I had better cut the fun short. I didn’t feel quite as bad about this decision since it was quite late in the day. In addition, I was on my own and had less than ideal tires on the bike. I’m a firm believer in riding on my own terms - ending up in a mud hole or de-watering the bike at dusk (or worse) isn’t my cup of tea. There is adventure riding and then there is adversity riding. I prefer the former.

So, back through the sand and back onto Hwy 101 for the tail-between-my-legs ride into Timmins. They make sure you know Shania Twain is from there with the number of signs they post.

After a long day, I decided to forego the tent and I checked into the Days Inn. Fortunately, this was the location of the only injury on the trip. I banged my ankle against the bed frame, tearing off a chunk of skin and then the blood started oozing. After patching it up, I headed off to an Indian restaurant that I had passed in town. I was very much looking forward to some butter chicken, naan and basmati rice. Alas, it was not to be - it was 9:00 and the place closed at 8:00. Down the street to a Sushi joint. Nope - closing up too. I had to settle for a Montreal Smoked Meat sandwich and a Cherry smoothie at Christopher’s Coffee House. Now that wouldn’t have been so bad, except there was a local kid trashing some 90s music live and all of his friends had filled the place, taking all of the tables.

Oh yeah, the elevator at the hotel was broken and I had to carry all my stuff up the stairs to my room on the top floor. The morning of this day was absolutely great riding. The afternoon was without a doubt the low-light of the trip. I should have camped half way between Wawa and Timmins and taken the extra day to do the whole route. Of course, hindsight is 20/20. And I’m still waiting for the road book.
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