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Re: What speed is recommended on the JBR?

PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 4:29 pm
by jdmetzger
vince wrote:Bonk: I had never thought that the time entry might have been related to winter driving! That would make good sense.

My June or July schedule is tentatively set as:

Depart Arrive Time on road Distance (in miles) Accomodations

Grand Blanc, MI Lovells, MI 3:00 152 Family (leave after work)
Lovells, MI Chapleau ON 7:24 341 Aux Trois Moulin
Chapleau, ON Amos, QC 7:32 316 Hotel des Eskers
Amos, QC Radisson, QC 8:00+ 470 ?

This route is about 150 miles longer than that recommended by Google. But it should be more scenic and it avoids going thru Toronto!
The Honda S2000 is a two -seat sports car of 250 hp that I use only in the summer. It is a joy to drive on two lane roads. We have used it on trips to PEI and also to Lac Ste Jean.

Is this schedule realistic?


That looks like a completely acceptable schedule. I did Lake Superior Provincial Park to Matagami in one day (passing through Chapleau), and I also went from Radisson, QC to North Bay, ON in one day. I don't suggest the second distance (752 miles), but that tells me getting from Amos to Radisson is no problem in one trip. I'd leave early - just to give yourself time to stop a few places and check things out - especially the Rupert, of cousre. :D

Re: What speed is recommended on the JBR?

PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2009 2:15 pm
by njam101
I would say the plan in definitely realistic. I'm assuming that you don't mind long drives and I'm also wondering if you are interested in seeing anything along the way. Let me know and I can recommend things.

If you are planning to stay in Chapleau, driving up to Wawa is much more scenic with Lake Superior but Highway 129 from Thessalon to Chapleau is faster, isolated and scenic as well along the Mississaugi River. On Highway 17, you don't have to venture very far from the highway for nice trails in Lake Superior Provincial Park which can be done in less than an hour or two. You may have already seen this area but I thought I'd mention it in case you haven't.

I would have recommended driving to Sault Ste. Marie the first day but staying with family is better when it's an option. I know the Mackinac Bridge to the Sault is just under an hour's drive. If you don't mind dirt roads, you can take Highway 556 (Ranger Lake Road) for isolation and it's shorter. I've stayed at Aux Trois Moulins in Chapleau many times and it's the best place there by far. You can get a room with a jacuzzi for a decent price and they also have a jacuzzi room upstairs that all guests can use. If you think you could drive another 2-2.5 hours that day then I'd recommend staying in Timmins.(where I live) Timmins is the last city you'll see, population 43,000. Timmins to Amos is usually about 3.5 hours but the drive is nothing really exciting. Amos has a population of about 12,000.

I've stayed at Hotel des Eskers and the other well known hotels in Amos and I'd say they are all good. I think Amos to Matagami took about 2 hours. We camped in Matagami then drove to Radisson. I think the drive up to Radisson would be a full and long day but we camped halfway up. You could do it in a day for sure but you'd want to start early. There are so many interesting sign boards(information panels), trails, Rupert River, etc. that if you are driving up there, you should want to see it all for sure. This website's information has it all. The only downside about the signboards is that they are written in French and Cree (French and Algonkian in the southern portion) so you may have difficulties reading them. I speak and read French and one of these days I might look into making a booklet for English speaking tourists as I took photos of all the information panels.

Well I have to get back to work but I'll continue the discussion. I'd be happy to answer any questions or give recommendations. I'm surprised that you Vince have been to the Lac-St-Jean area. I've been there too. Very few non-Quebeckers go there.

Re: What speed is recommended on the JBR?

PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2009 12:45 am
by Bonk
JD: Whoa! Radisson to North Bay in one day is a major haul!

We thought we were pushing it going from Radisson to Kirkland Lake. And since we had headed up from Rouyn-Noranda the previous day, I fell asleep at 9 p.m. and was out for 10 straight hours once we got to Kirkland.

Vince: Going from Amos to Radisson in a day is a good idea. You'll have plenty of time to make stops and enjoy the surroundings. We came up from Rouyn (as mentioned above) and we were pushing it a little to get to Chisasibi by sunset because we made tons of siteseeing stops. The point of this trip is to appreciate nature and get away from outside stresses, and because of that if I had the trip to do again I wouldn't want to place as many time demands on myself.

Re: What speed is recommended on the JBR?

PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2009 11:08 am
by vince

Thanks for the latest posting and for your thoughts on the run from Amos to Radisson.

My concern is/was (a) that Google had a VERY long time to get from Matagami to Radisson and (b) there are postings that also echoed quite a bit of time altho' very much shorter than Google.

I figure from Chapleau to Amos should not be a long haul....get to bed early and get a daybreak start northward with two hours to Magagami. That should match a "normal" eight AM start from Matagami.

It looks as if we could have a bit better hotel (and food) in Amos that would prepare us OK for the trip that day.

In the "old days" I would drive 20 hours and really enjoy myself. Recently I have not been doing such things and so that is the reason why I am a bit concerned about not stretching things so much. While I was not looking I turned into an old geezer; it was quite a surprise!

My French is passable.....only passable. I know that Amos, Matagami and Radisson are French-speaking but what about Chapleau??

Spring is finally coming to Michigan but snow (just a cover) is expected sometime from tomorrow, Sunday, thru Tuesday.

You are in Timmins?


Re: What speed is recommended on the JBR?

PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 2:47 am
by Bonk
Chapleau's in Ontario, so it's going to be English-speaking.

We stayed in Kirkland Lake, which is much closer to the Quebec border, and it was all English.

In Amos we went to a restaurant where the cashier didn't speak any English (fortunately I remembered enough French from high school), but the people that ran the hotel in Radisson spoke English. The guy at the Shell in Matagami spoke a little English, but the people at the Relais did not. It seems pretty hit-or-miss in the smaller Quebec towns.

Gilbert, the guy at the JBR checkpoint, spoke excellent English and was very helpful.

Re: What speed is recommended on the JBR?

PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 3:16 am
by njam101

Yes I live in Timmins and we still have lots of snow here but are finally getting warm weather. Chapleau to Timmins takes about 2.5 hours and Timmins to Amos about 3.5 hours under normal summer conditions. You could drive to Matagami that day but the hotels in Amos are much nicer and so is the town.

As to your language question: Chapleau is at least half francophone (French speaking as a first language) but everybody speaks English as it's the business language in Ontario. Timmins is the same. French is the official language of Quebec and also used in business. Many Quebeckers speak English quite well, especially in hotels and tourism related businesses. Amos is entirely french speaking but it is amazing at how well some of the people working at the hotels speak English. Matagami and Radisson have more bilingual people but are still mainly French speaking. Kirkland Lake, ON is almost entirely English speaking while Rouyn-Noranda, QC is 97% francophone 3% anglophone. The native (Cree) communities in Northern Quebec generally speak Cree as a first language but most speak English as their second language.

I speak French myself as a second language and I never have any problems travelling in Quebec. Just an interesting thing to remember: sometimes when in Quebec and somebody is speaking English and may sound rude or inconsiderate, usually the person is nervous or struggling to speak and may not come off the way he/she intends to. Some people may know a fair bit of English but are too nervous and lack confidence to attempt. They are NOT avoiding to speak English to prove a point as some people may think. I have found Quebeckers to be generally the friendliest people in North America.

If anyone has any language questions, needs help translating or is wondering about something, feel free to ask me.

Bonk: Your experiences with who spoke English and who didn't was what most people should expect in that part of Quebec.

Re: What speed is recommended on the JBR?

PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 4:54 am
by Bonk
My girlfriend speaks no French and I don't consider myself fleuent, and we never had anyone play the elitist card on us. I was disappointed in my French when some people started speaking to me in English after just one sentence out of my mouth. I had kind of hoped to prove my French teacher had taught us well.

I found a lot of times Quebeckers were having the same problem I was -- they could speak in their non-native tongue but had trouble understanding it at a high rate of speed. Thus I had many conversations where I spoke in French and the person I talked to would speak in English.

But everyone we met was very nice. I would hope that if someone visited our region and had so-so English skills he/she would be treated as well, but unfortunately I don't think that would be the case.

Re: What speed is recommended on the JBR?

PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 6:25 pm
by vince
njam and bonk:

I composed a reply to your recent posts this morning but I am sure I did something incorrectly and my efforts were lost.

Thanks for your observations regarding lanuages in ON and QC. My wife and I have never experienced any problems with languages in various countries even though we did not know the local language. It appears that making an earnest effort with a touch of humor is the key! In my morning attempt to reply I gave some examples....but this time I will spare you the time to read these!

One of you said that the hotels in Amos are superior to those in Matagami. I suspected the same after reading various reports of travel in that region and that is why I decided to make the run to Radisson from Amos rather than from Matagami.

There is no snow in mid Michigan today. The traces from last week's freak storm are now gone.

I am located in Grand Blanc, MI.......very French name but that is the sum of it. Virtually no Francophones here.

njam101, I understand OK that you are in Timmins. I have been there on a previous trip to Moosonee.

I am curious to know where you, bonk, are located....if you wish to add that to a message.

We are real Canada enthusiasts and try to get there as often as we can. Many, many utility trips between Niagara and Sarnia. Been to PEI and Isles de la Madeline (on a tandem bicycle), Tadoussac and Lac Ste Jean and, of course Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto. We like the shores of the St. Lawrence and have bicycled around Ile d'Orleans.

The S2000 will come out of the garage in mid-May for a run to New York City and Boston...this will be a tune-up for Radisson.

Thanks for sharing your experiences and advice.


Re: What speed is recommended on the JBR?

PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 8:53 pm
by Bonk
I'm in Cincinnati now, but I grew up in suburban Chicago. Haven't seen snow in quite a while here. It was about 50 today, which is well below normal for southern Ohio.

When we went up we went to Toronto, up Hwy 11 to North Bay, east on Ont. 63 which crossed into Quebec and became 101, which took us near Rouyn-Noranda. That's where we stayed, and we drove to Chisasibi the next day and stayed in Radisson. Then we drove all the way back to Kirkland Lake, Ont., the next day. Made for 48 very long hours, but it was well worth it.