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Old 08-13-2012, 09:00 AM   #2341
Deadly99 OP
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Woke up and hit the road to the city of Sudbury (.5 hour ride) to a Tim Hortons for some breaky and to meet Sean.




Last fuel stop before heading north





The route utilizes the Portelance Road. Its a 100 + km gravel road that heads north from just outside of Sudbury. Its a fun scenic road, lots of hills, twists and it follows a river for some of its length. The road is maintained primarily by logging companies..













How can you not be happy? Perfect weather, days of gravel ahead of you and the day to day routine of life left behind you.







There is a section of the road that follows the river that is known locally as the bomb run. Its a pretty sweet stretch of road that begs you to use the throttle
















About 2/3 of the way up this road we added an optional tech section to the route. Its a double track trail that criss crosses and follows a hydroline. It's approximately 26 km in length. Nothing to tricky, a few water crossing and whatnot. Oh ya locals call these pole line trails. Where I live we call them hydrolines. Other call them cut lines. No matter what you call them they offer some good fun. Add an hour or two to your day if you plan on riding this tech section. It gets a bit narrow and overgrown in a few spots.















Some video showing the "main route". This is a section of the Portelance Road






After Portelance Road ends you quickly get into a small village called Shining Tree. It a native community and doesn't offer too much. Just up the highway (east, way points taken) is a restaurant a kilometer or so off the highway. The Bears Den doesn't look like much from the outside but inside its a pretty cool spot. Food isn't half bad either





Like most places in these parts the reason this restaurant/pub exists is because of the hunters. There is every imaginable animal stuffed and hung on a wall in here along with some very impressive photos of different bear kills. If you want colorful characters then this is the place Places like the Bears Den are one of the reasons I like exploring remote places in Canada, you just dont see stuff like this everyday living in or near the big cities. The salt of the earth people are to me what Canada really is




















Oddly enough Gord and a friend of his walked into the restaurant. They were out ripping the roads on their 950's. Gord lives in a town called Wawa; we were going to spend a night at his cottage in a couple of days time. The Bears Den is at least a hundred km's from anywhere if you travel gravel roads, by pavement its a few hundred km's. Running into Gord out here was a fluke and was pretty cool.

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Old 08-13-2012, 11:28 AM   #2342
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After lunch we pushed on and did a quick stop for gas (waypoint taken)




The main route follows a gravel road north for a 100 + km's into the city of Timmins. Its a fantastic road (Grassy Rd) that resembles a roller coaster for the first 20+ km's. We rode past this road for about 10 km's then headed north up a hydro line trail. Whats to say...a 50 km double track trail...pretty awesome and a great optional tech section for the TCAT. Plan an extra hour or two for this trail.











Somewhere near the end of the trail my bike slid out and I landed on my side. I wasn't even giving it, just cruising along. I assume wet tires and some clay (video is still uploading that shows a bunch of this trail). The end result was a broken shift lever and a banged up nav tower. Nothing serious although my knee took a good smack between the gas tank and the ground.






So with the bike back and running the damage was accessed. The gear shift was working but wouldn't for much longer. We had booked in for a night at a lodge that Sean had recommended (Pole 389? I think?). Its on a hydro line trail and is supposed to be quite the place with amazing food. I decided to carry on to the nearby city of Timmins and get the bike fixed. I got a room at a Motel 8 and called a fellow I know who lives in Timmins. James met me at the pub beside the hotel where we caught up and had a cold beer and some chow. We loaded the bike into James truck as he was going to check with some guys he knew to see if they had a spare. We made plans to meet the next morning at 8:30 am. I grabbed a bag of ice for my knee which was causing some grief and headed back to my room. I felt crappy not being with the guys but felt it would be worth it when they rolled into town and I had the bike fixed and was ready to roll.

After getting cleaned up I was stoked to have a comfy bed to sleep in. Right as I was drifting off to sleep the room next door erupted into what I would call a "white trash domestic" complete with a child involved. "Look, just look at your drunk father" the lady was yelling in a drunken slur. Screw this I am gonna call the cops but everytime I was about to the yelling would stop and a door would slam then right as I would be about to fall a sleep again a door would open and slam and things would begin again. This went on for a few hours before exhaustion got the better of me and I finally fell a sleep. Freaking Timmins is the last thing that was on my mind that night.

Below: James loading up my bike in his truck. He runs a website forum called http://gpsadventuretouring.proboards.com/index.cgi

A great resource for anyone traveling in these parts and James is a cool dude who was very kind to go out of his way and help me out...THANKS

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Old 08-13-2012, 02:31 PM   #2343
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Nice report Ted!
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Old 08-14-2012, 03:59 AM   #2344
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TCAT Ontario Continued

Here is a video clip showing some of the tech section between the small town of Shining Tree and the city of Timmins.






Here is a quick clip showing some of the main route north of Sudbury

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Old 08-14-2012, 05:06 AM   #2345
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The next day began with me waking up with a very sore knee. I went for a walk and grabbed some bean to start the day. Like the day before the sun was shining. James showed up at his scheduled time and I jumped in his truck and we drove to all of the different bike shops trying to source a new gear shifter for my bike. One dealership in particular was kinda cool with wharehouses of salvaged parts.








We had no success and time was ticking. I got text messages from the guys indicating they were in town. James and I tried several machine shops trying to get the shifter welded but they all seemed to outsource their aluminum tig welding to a dude who was on vacation that week. I made a painful decision to tell the guys to go ahead without me. They had a long ride ahead of them and it was getting close to noon now

James and I tried one last place and the fellow agreed to weld the shifter but informed me he was skeptical the weld would hold. I knew I could easily put a set of vice grips on the spline and limp the bike back to Sudbury and my truck. So with the guys headed out to continue on the route I had resolved myself to heading home. A text from the guys saying they had changed their plan on were going to spend the night in Wawa instead of the bear hunting lodge we had reserved was the final nail in the coffin. Even if I were to get the bike properly fixed I wasn't going to slab hundreds of km's to Wawa to just have to turn around and slab all the way back to Sudbury.

At this point James informs me that he is going to Sudbury with his wife to go shopping at Costco. "Why dont you just come with us since your bike is already loaded in my truck?". Heck yes

We sit around and wait for his wife to get ready and hit the road. Just as we about to leave town she recieves a phone call, they are supposed to be at some sort of memorial service that evening that they had forgotten about. The truck turns around and we head back to James house. I quickly unload the bike. Borrow James drill press and redrill the hole in the shifter (which was full of weld), gently tighten it onto the spline and was stoked to see the weld held

With rain clouds on the horizon I got suited up and headed out of Timmins. Destination Sudbury which is a few hundred km's away. As I was about 10 km out of town and about to turn onto the highway heading south I see 3 dualsport bikes coming towards me. Holy crap its the guys! Seems Scott had broken his clutch cable while on the route and they had turned around and headed back to Timmins to get it fixed. I gave chase and we met up at the Canadian Tire store and got caught up. A bicycle brake cable and a crimp got Scotts bike ready to roll. It was now early afternoon and as a group we decided to just take the paved roads to Wawa and spend the night at Gords cabin. The next day we would head out and do the route in reverse. Damn was I stoked to back with the guys and continueing on to ride more of the TCAT route

Timmins....the town that is near impossible to leave. Twice this day I had left and kept getting pulled back into the vortex of Timmins. Last year I left in my truck and hit a dead end a few hundred km's from town and head to return. Be forewarned that Timmins has some sort of Hotel California thing going on









Not much to say about the riding this day. Hundreds of km's on lonely, remote highways. I always find it funny when I am up north I think nothing about saying heck lets just ride this 400 km's of paved road to get to X. When at home I wuld shrink back with fear if someone told me we were going to ride 400 km's of paved road (on a dirt bike0 to get to a dualsport ride. The vastness of the landscape and looking at maps seems to somehow make the distances up north seem shorter than they are...




The section of the route the guys had attempted in the morning sounded like ti was good going until they came to a berm where the road had been decomssioned and the road/trail now consisted up a steep ditch with a 4 foot water crossing at the bottom. This is about where they turned around only to quickly have Scott's clutch cable broke. The trail was meant to pop out near the small town of Foylett, cross the highway and continue heading south to the Sultan Rd. Later that night, after speaking with Gord it appears as if an alternative option is viable, maybe not as exciting but more reliable.










Gas and food stop in the town of Chapleau





We arrived at Gords cabin. Gord has lived in Wawa his entire life and is quite passionate about his biking hobby. He is the fellow who provided me with all of the route suggestions for the TCAT from Sudbury to Wawa and points beyond...THANKS GORD As with many other sections of the TCAT, having local folks contribute has made an impossible task possible. The roads and trails Gord has recommended do not disappoint and may just be the highlight for many people. The optional tech section are brilliant. Having long trails WAY out in the middle of nowhere is fantastic. I cannot imagine that I or anyone would ever have the time to explore these remote areas and discover these trails on their own.

Anyways....Gords cabin is amazing. Its on a lake about 10 minutes outside of Wawa. With a sandy beach, a water side sauna it was like being on a "real" holiday.





Local art....





Moose skull and rack....





Gord has a cool collection of bikes. Like these two trials bikes (the wee one is electric...sadly I was informed I was just a "bit too large" to try it )...




Two wheel drive Rocon. It holds air in the wheels and is supposed to be able to float. Dont expect high speeds but if I were a betting man I'd say you could ride this bike threw some pretty cool terrain that other bikes wouldnt be capable of....







We sat around, drank pints and figured out the plan for the next day..




Has an insanely hot sauna followed by a swim in the lake. So...there si this inmate here on adv called Hecktoglider (?). He made this dvd about a trip he did to the US....I am unsure if it was all the beer and wine but that video had me laughing so freaking hard. Gord, I NEED a copy of that video

So that ends the day. Started off a bit stressful, became disappointing then ended perfectly


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Old 08-14-2012, 05:47 AM   #2346
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Woke up and enjoyed a nice coffee and Bailey's...THANKS AGAIN GORD! The host with most


Gord had to be at work so we quickly packed up and headed into town. Scott grabbed a spare cable and crimp for his bike, we stopped by Gords dealership and I reloaded the gps files i had deleted to free up room on my gps unit the day before (doh), fueled up the bikes and had a a Tim's breakfast.





The plan for the day was to follow the main route. Based on Gord's feedback and Scotts experience last year it was decided that the proposed main route outside of Wawa would become an optional tech section and we would use Gord's suggestion for a milder main route to bypass the hydrolines, water crossing, etc.

The route starts about 20 minutes (or ends if you are riding it east to west) outside of Wawa and follows a series of logging roads. Sean had to get back to his house as we was moving the next day so we said goodbye and headed out for a long paved ride home.

Its about a 2-3 hour ride along these logging roads to a "lodge" called Halfway Haven. Call ahead to ensure they will be there. Gas, food and lodging is available and it is in the middle of nowhere and is the only place around







Partway along these roads the tech section pops out of a hydroline and joins the main route.








Along these roads we encountered numerous washouts. Some were small and others were quite large. Use caution on these roads as some are as you round a corner on an otherwise smooth, fast road. The roads change from wide well maintained roads then all of a sudden switch to two track with grass growing in the middle. A nice mix of terrain which made for an enjoyable ride.










Above: One of the larger washouts.
Below: Step and Scott utilizing the go around









Eventually we got to Halfway Haven. No one was around but we had a look inside and around the property.







To be continued......
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Old 08-14-2012, 05:59 AM   #2347
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It wasn't the beer and wine. That video is hilarious! Specially the "ditch sleep".

HektoGlider and Rosie are good people.

Also, Gord from Wawa, and Rick from Chapleau.
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Old 08-14-2012, 06:17 AM   #2348
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Originally Posted by ZZR_Ron View Post
It wasn't the beer and wine. That video is hilarious! Specially the "ditch sleep".

HektoGlider and Rosie are good people.

Also, Gord from Wawa, and Rick from Chapleau.
"That was the best ditch sleep I have had"
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Old 08-14-2012, 06:23 AM   #2349
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I wanted an nan kang but ended up with this cheng shin

Looks like the wicked rains gave us some new washouts up towards halfway.
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Old 08-14-2012, 06:28 AM   #2350
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Also, when Finndian came up with his new handle, I think I just about hurt myself laughing.
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Old 08-14-2012, 06:33 AM   #2351
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After having a break and a drink at Halfway Haven we got ready to hit the route again. Waypoint taken for Halfway Haven and web link for reservations added to the writeup

This is the sign to the lodge, easy to miss





The trail after the lodge quickly goes from being a road to a double track trail. After riding it I thought no way can that be the main route....but after some reflection I have decided that indeed will be a part of the main route. For experienced riders or riders on smaller bikes they will wonder what the big deal is but for larger bikes with less experienced or less aggressive riders they may wondering WTF. Creating a route that is doable for all skill levels and sizes of bikes is not always an easy task. I have tended to error on the side of caution whenever I have been presented with an option. That being said it is an adventure route and having a "spot" here and there that will challenge some folks is not necessarily a bad thing (I hope).

So what makes this next section difficult? Well it is a trail and not a road for starters. There are a couple of spots where the trail gets quite narrow and your panniers will be hitting brush along the sides....my hand guards started white and came out grass stained






There are a couple of spots where the trail climbs and descends and consists of loose rocks. Again for experienced riders it will be nothing. The trail will force you up onto your foot pegs in a few spots My batteries were dead on my head camera so I didnt get any footage of the trail nor did I stop for photos as I was kinda in the groove. This is the only photo I took of that section. Time wise I would say the trail will take folks between an hour and three hours depending on speed of travel and issues encountered. Staying at Halfway Haven is likely a good idea for folks with less experience and the trail ends a couple of km's from the lodge and might be a welcome relief to sit down and have a beer after the trail ends





I am unclear on what these signs are but I certainly like their logo




After the trail ends the route follows some big wide gravel roads to the town of Chapleau (gas, food lodging). It then follows about 80 km of pavement to a road called teh Sultan Industrial Road. A big wide and dusty gravel road with a ton of traffic. About a third of the way down the route heads north towards Timmins. We continued on and made our way to Sudbury. It was a great day of riding and I was stoked with the results for the TCAT. The section from Sudbury to Wawa will not disappoint. Some awesome roads, a few optional tech sections, some cool remote lodges, great scenery, etc

My plan was to jump in my truck and power drive the 500+ km's back home so I could wake up beside my wife. Sadly once the sun set I hit the wall and grabbed a cheap road side motel. Sleep came very easy...




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Old 08-14-2012, 07:07 AM   #2352
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I drove to Timmins last Tuesday and saw you guys stopped at the side of the highway and then again gassing up at the Canadian Tire. I was gassing up at the same time and was checking out the KLR with the ADV sticker as it looked like my previous bike with the ADV sticker in the same place. I never made the connection it was you. Dang.
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Old 08-14-2012, 07:14 AM   #2353
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In summary and TCAT status

It was another great trip. Sean, Scott and Step...thanks for the great company and the fun ride

Sean informed us of an old rail line trail that runs from the city of North Bay to Sudbury. Step is going to go and give it a test run. This would be a great addition to the route as it now stands the route utlizes a paved highway for this section as I couldn't find an alternate means to connect the two cities (about 100 km apart). I look forward to hearing about this trail and Sean informs me there is a trestle bridge that is 80-90 feet above water (no guard rails and the surface consists of old rail ties ).

The eastern half of the TCAT is now 99% complete. I am working on the write ups, gps files and maps with the intent of publishing it this fall. Its been years of work and I am stoked that the end is within sight

Chris informs me he just returned from completing the Alberta section of the TCAT and has now completed the provinces of Manitoba, Sask, Alberta and the entry into BC.

David informs me that the TCAT across Vancouver Island is complete and he is hoping to ride it one last time before sending in the gps files and the write up.

Ross sent me an email a while back saying he would have the portion of the TCAT that crosses the province of British Columbia, complete by this fall and would be submitting write ups and gps files.

What does all of this mean? The TCAT will be complete after this season and ready for distribution this winter.

On a personnel level it is overwhelming to have this "dream" becoming a reality. The outpouring of support from the various folks involved is simply amazing. I truly believe that the TCAT is a world class expedition route, the variety of terrain, scenery and cultures are inspiring to say the least.

A few different groups of people have approached me and have indicated that they plan to ride the route from start to finish next season....I wonder who will be the first to ride the entire TCAT

Cheers

Ted
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Old 08-14-2012, 09:01 AM   #2354
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Thanks to all the guys who have done a tremendous amount of work and expense to put together this route. . After seeing some of Ted's vid's I know it's helped in firming up my plans for a ride but I do think I'll ride at a slower pace than in the vids.

Thanks again for all the work.
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Old 08-14-2012, 09:11 AM   #2355
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....I wonder who will be the first to ride the entire TCAT
In a perfect world ... YOU
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