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Time for a Montreal-Radisson trip?

PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 8:43 pm
by Buck
I have been reading everything I can about James Bay and I have been planning to go for a few years, but now I think it will happen in 2009.
I know the distance from Montreal to Radisson is about 1400km. The only question I have is how long of a drive is this, time-wise? I am used to some long trips, 1200km from Montreal to the Maritimes is something I do once a year and do the trip in ~11 hours. I know that we aren't talking about this kind of time frame for this trip. Is it possible to get there in a day? Or is that crazy and should I plan on two days to get there and back?
I was planning for the July 1st vacation to go up but after reading about the insects I think I will wait until the fall. How late can I go without having to worry about getting any snow?

Thanks in advance.

Re: Time for a Montreal-Radisson trip?

PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 9:29 pm
by James
Buck, You raise an excellent point about the insect problem. I guess that I am not a tough guy but fighting off swarms of hungry bugs is not my idea of a vacation or an adventure. Mention is made that it is not too bad if there is wind blowing. So? What if there is not wind blowing? Walking around decked out in bug jackets slathered in deet does not appeal to me. I recognize that predicting the presence or absence of insects is an imprecise science. I'm sure it depends upon the weather, the amount of rain during the year, and other factors that I cannot imagine. But like you I am guessing that there must be a "window", however brief, between the time the bugs drop dead and the weather gets nasty. Indentifying this window, if it exists, would be (for me) the key to a pleasant trip. I even went so far as to email the president of the Entomological Society of Canada (guys who study bugs) with my query but received no reply.

I took a look at some photos of some bikers who made the run at and the shots left no doubt in my mind that, for me, I would have to solve this insect problem before I venture up north. I recognize this trip is not a luxury vacation, and that is fine. But there is a limit to how much abuse I will tolerate from nature :twisted:

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Re: Time for a Montreal-Radisson trip?

PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2009 11:05 am
by Buck
I agree with you James on all of your points. I think that being the food for swarms of biting insects does not make for a good trip. My wife and I are going and she is a mosquito magnet, they swarm over her anywhere we go and if she is miserable, so too am I. I don’t feel like having to run from enclosure to enclosure while being chased by bugs. I don’t want to count on a strong breeze to keep us safe. I’d rather have cooler weather and have less bugs.
I am pretty sure that I will make a run up either around Labour Day or Canadian Thanksgiving.

I just need to figure out how much time I need to get up there and back and then I can start planning it out. I just hope my trip doesn’t get pushed back to spring of 2010.

Re: Time for a Montreal-Radisson trip?

PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2009 1:56 pm
by Bonk
I can totally relate.

I, too, wanted to avoid the bugs and also was concerned about hitting snow, so we decided on mid-September. Walter (the site host) assured me if that region got any snow at that time of the year, it would be negligible.

I went up the road last Sept. 15 and the weather was great, although I heard a few days after we returned it did snow.

It was about 52 F (11 C) during the afternoon the day we went up, and about the same on the way back. Overnight in Radisson we did get frost and the temperature dropped to 25 F (-4 C).

It was pretty windy and cold at the bay itself. We were there for the final hour before sunset, and it was probably about 35 F (2 C) with a singificant wind chill of maybe 15 F (-9 C).

We went from Rouyn-Noranda to Chisasibi and made it to our hotel in Radisson -- all in one day -- and drove from Radisson to Kirkland Lake, Ont., the next. It was a ton of driving and we had to push ourselves, but it can done. If I had it to do again, though, I'd have spread it our over three days instead of two.

Re: Time for a Montreal-Radisson trip?

PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2009 4:03 pm
by Buck
Hi Bonk,
Thanks for the info, I just read your “September 2008” report today and enjoyed it a lot.

I think that I will plan for leaving on the Labour Day weekend and take an extra day or two off to make the trip not such a rush I know that this is the last big weekend for people to their cottages up in the Laurentians Not the best time to travel but I figure once I get an hour north of Montreal I won’t have any traffic to speak of. The temperatures you report are a bit less than I had thought they would be, I guess I won’t try for a quick swim in James Bay, maybe just a toe.

The “expedition” vehicle has all-terrain tires so I am not so worried about the presence of snow as I would be about icy roads and sub zero temperatures.

I was thinking about camping my way along the trip but maybe a hotel stay in Radisson would be a better trip.

My plans would be to drive to say Matagami on day 1 and then up to Radisson on day 2.

Let’s see how my plans change as the time gets closer ;)