Just back from James Bay

General discussion about the James Bay Road and region. Share your experiences and travel tips. Ask questions.

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Just back from James Bay

Postby Mercedesrover » Sat Jul 28, 2007 8:46 am

Took the old Land Rover up the Route-Du-Nord and on to the James Bay road and out to the end of the Trans Taiga road to Caniapiscau. Here's link to a bunch that I put on my website.

http://www.seriestrek.com/jamesbay.html

Jim
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Postby brettm » Sun Jul 29, 2007 9:03 pm

Great pictures but you must have a story or two! Leaving for the James Bay HWY tomorrow in a modest Matrix so no dirt roads for me.

Brett
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Postby Mercedesrover » Mon Jul 30, 2007 11:12 am

Take the gravel roads! They're in better shape then the paved roads.

Really, they're not that bad at all. I'd take my Subaru on them without a second thought.

Jim
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Postby chasindaylight » Tue Jul 31, 2007 7:01 am

Hey Mercedesrover! For some reason I'm unable to link to your website.If you check out the Trans-Taiga forum you'll notice I was riding a motorcycle up there in early July - I did see a mean lookin Landrover in Radisson -may have been you. What was the TTR like past Centrale Brisay?Also what was the Route de Nord like as compared to the TTR? If you check out the TTR forum you'll notice I'm considering a return trip next summer. Thanx-Terry
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Postby jdmetzger » Wed Aug 01, 2007 12:01 am

I returned from a trip up in that area just a week ago. I rode my BMW up to Radisson, and then on a side trip to Chisasibi. It's not a GS bike, so I was rather limited in my gravel exploration (although I DID cover the road that leads to the shore of the James Bay). Before reaching Matagami, I ran into a hail storm (marble sized) which held up my progress. I spent the night at Matagami Lake campground, which was OK except for the black flies. Some "Off" kept them at bay.

I saw the Rupert and hiked the 1.2km "nature trail" along the North side of the road; not well maintained; a few trees to climb under and over. It was unseasonably cold when I got to Radisson; it was roughly 39F. When I got to my hotel (Radisson Inn) I had a major problem. To quote the employees "You have a valid confirmation number; it is the correct format we use, and the rate information you wrote down is correct. Unfortunately, we do not have you in our system. This has never happened before. The number you have is for someone who stayed a month ago. Sorry, we have no rooms available." All hotels in town were booked, as well. I was NOT happy, and would suggest AGAINST staying with those fools. I got lucky, met some other BMW riders who had been at the International BMW Rally this year, and spent the night on the floor in their room at "Le Carrefour La Grande." Thankfully they were there. It was not a bad place at all, and right next to the good restaurant in town... I wish I had booked there... instead of dealing with the Radisson Inn. "Sorry" doesn't help me when I'm a long way from anywhere, wet, cold, and tired.

All in all, it was actually quite a nice trip (thought the weather made it a challenge). I have photos of my whole trip across Northern Canada, including a few of the JBR - starting on page 6, with the hail storm:

http://tinyurl.com/23zgeh

MUCH thanks to the creator of this site, who provided LOTS of good information, and a lot of pictures that made me want to ride up in the first place. It was nice being able to see the Rupert before the diversion...
Josh Metzger
Toledo, OH
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Postby chasindaylight » Wed Aug 01, 2007 6:16 am

Hey Josh!
Sounds like you had a great trip. I looked at the pics, the hailstorm looked nasty. Glad to see your ridin a great motorcycle -can't beat em. How did you like the washboard rd going to James bay? We tried to stay at the Radisson Inn but they were full. so we stayed at Carrefour La Grande -had a good time in Bar Boreal. Hope you had a nice stay at Pinery Prov. park -its about 15 km from my house. On my trip the mornings were cool [the day we left it was 36 deg f] check out my post on the TTR forum -for further notes on my trip. Ride safe ,Terry
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Postby jdmetzger » Sun Aug 05, 2007 5:38 pm

chasindaylight wrote:Hey Josh!
Sounds like you had a great trip. I looked at the pics, the hailstorm looked nasty. Glad to see your ridin a great motorcycle -can't beat em. How did you like the washboard rd going to James bay? We tried to stay at the Radisson Inn but they were full. so we stayed at Carrefour La Grande -had a good time in Bar Boreal. Hope you had a nice stay at Pinery Prov. park -its about 15 km from my house. On my trip the mornings were cool [the day we left it was 36 deg f] check out my post on the TTR forum -for further notes on my trip. Ride safe ,Terry


I could have done without the washboard section of the gravel. Between that and the rather rough sections of the JBR, I just noticed last night one of my saddlebags has a rather large crack around the rear latch. Nothing was overloaded, either.

The carrefour was nice, and I even slept in a sleeping bag on the floor (With my thermarest). Overall the trip was nice, but it would have been nicer if the temperature was a bit closer to normal. I had read before my trip it should be 45F as a low and 65F as an average high. I don't think it got much above 50F the day I was there. It made for an adventure.

I'm now shopping for a GSPD for myself. I'd like to go back and do the TTR, although it sounds like I would need some knobby tires and some practice. From reading your writeup, I definitely need a GS or GSPD for that. The North Road would be interesting as well, but I was reading it may be closed at times due to construction around the Rupert.

The Pinery was nice as always; been going there almost every year my whole life. Lots more crowded now, but overall well maintained.
Josh Metzger
Toledo, OH
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Postby Mercedesrover » Mon Aug 06, 2007 8:00 pm

chasindaylight wrote:Hey Mercedesrover! For some reason I'm unable to link to your website.If you check out the Trans-Taiga forum you'll notice I was riding a motorcycle up there in early July - I did see a mean lookin Landrover in Radisson -may have been you. What was the TTR like past Centrale Brisay?Also what was the Route de Nord like as compared to the TTR? If you check out the TTR forum you'll notice I'm considering a return trip next summer. Thanx-Terry


Hi Terry

We were in Radisson around July 4,5,6th. Not sure of the exact date. I'll try another link and see if that works.

The TTR past Brisay is pretty darn bad but if you take your time and go slow, it's not that bad. Not much out there but I went to prove a point. The Route Du Nord is a bit sandier and softer then the TT but both are pretty darn good. In some ways they're better then the James Bay road. After a day of banging over the pavement breaks every 100 meters in a short wheel-base truck, if I had met the engineers behind building those joints I would have strangled them with my bare hands! :) Well, not really but I thoroughly enjoyed driving the gravel roads and hated most of the paved roads up there.

Here's a link to a web page with a few photos:

http://www.seriestrek.com/jamesbay.html

Just cut and paste if it doesn't link

And yes, thank you very much, Walter!!!!! I would have never made this trip without all your help and information. The tourism board of Quebec should be paying you!!!

Jim
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Postby admin » Tue Aug 07, 2007 11:53 pm

Do you have any photos of the Trans-Taiga Road past Brisay? Are any of the photos you posted of that stretch?

I was strongly advised against driving that section by a Hydro Quebec employee when I was there, so didn't. However, I have driven some pretty bad roads in an ordinary passenger car, so have wondered ever since whether it was in fact driveable in my car (VW Jetta wagon).

Thanks!
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Postby Rally_T-115 » Wed Aug 08, 2007 10:37 pm

jdmetzger wrote:I saw the Rupert and hiked the 1.2km "nature trail" along the North side of the road; not well maintained; a few trees to climb under and over.

It was unseasonably cold when I got to Radisson; it was roughly 39F. When I got to my hotel (Radisson Inn) I had a major problem. To quote the employees "You have a valid confirmation number; it is the correct format we use, and the rate information you wrote down is correct. Unfortunately, we do not have you in our system. This has never happened before. The number you have is for someone who stayed a month ago. Sorry, we have no rooms available." All hotels in town were booked, as well. I was NOT happy, and would suggest AGAINST staying with those fools.


I was up there on May 20th and I hiked the trail with my dad. There was 1 to 2 inches of snow on the ground at the time. In the dark forested area where the trees are well spaced but the canopy was thick, the trail was actually hard to see, but in the more open areas it was ok. I am suprised that they didn't go in with chainsaws and clear that path yet. I had to climb under/over when I was there, I figured it was early (May) and later on they would come in and clear it some more. Oh well. I guess whoever goes up next, could you do us a favour and bring your chainsaw? :wink: I still want to go up in september again (but august is moving too swiftly) I should try to bring a little one or something.

Now are you talking about the Auberge Radisson? The one where the parking lot is full of white HydroQuebec pickup trucks?

James
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Postby Mercedesrover » Fri Aug 10, 2007 4:11 pm

admin wrote:Do you have any photos of the Trans-Taiga Road past Brisay? Are any of the photos you posted of that stretch?


Here's a picture I took while rolling along on the way back. Compared to the rest of the gravel roads up there it's pretty bad, but all things considered and driving carefully it could be done in a passenger car, all-be-it very slowly. There would be a lot of dodging rocks and ruts and washouts in the road.

Image

I had driven too far that day and should have taken more time with it. I didn't get to Brisay until almost 4:00 and was planning on camping at km post 521 on the way out that night. It was a fast run to the end and back out. If I was smarter I would have taken another day and took my time going out.

jim
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Postby admin » Fri Aug 10, 2007 10:46 pm

That road looks fine to me. Driven on a lot worse.
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Postby jdmetzger » Sun Aug 12, 2007 4:10 pm

Rally_T-115 wrote:I was up there on May 20th and I hiked the trail with my dad. There was 1 to 2 inches of snow on the ground at the time. In the dark forested area where the trees are well spaced but the canopy was thick, the trail was actually hard to see, but in the more open areas it was ok. I am suprised that they didn't go in with chainsaws and clear that path yet. I had to climb under/over when I was there, I figured it was early (May) and later on they would come in and clear it some more. Oh well. I guess whoever goes up next, could you do us a favour and bring your chainsaw? :wink: I still want to go up in september again (but august is moving too swiftly) I should try to bring a little one or something.

Now are you talking about the Auberge Radisson? The one where the parking lot is full of white HydroQuebec pickup trucks?
James


I'd like to go back as well, but it won't be this year. I'm planning on going once more before the Rupert gets diverted. I could take my truck (a sturdy 4x4 with the same tires as mercedesrover ran), but I'd rather go by motorcycle, again. Hopefully next time I go, someone (you?) will have cleared out that "nature trail" a bit. :D I'd like to have more time to do the hydro quebec tour, and maybe go out an a boat from Chisasibi. While I was there we were approached by the "tourism dept" of Chisasibi (a couple of guys in a Geo Metro) who mentioned the tour. I just didn't have the time.

Yes, the Auberge Radisson was the place that lost my reservation, even though I had a valid confirmation number. I was as nice as I could be, but after riding a few hours in temps around 4C (39F) and rain, I was looking forward to a room and a hot shower... so my attitude wasn't so friendly in the end. Mistakes happen; such is life - at least other people helped me out, so I did OK sleeping on the floor at the Carrefour La Grande. I've suggested NOT to stay at the Auberge Radisson to most everyone I have talked to; it surely won't make a dent in their business, but at least other people won't have to deal with what I had to.

At least going up once I now know what to expect; maybe I'll call a day or two before I arrive to verify my reservations before I get there, as well.
Josh Metzger
Toledo, OH
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Postby Bonk » Wed Aug 15, 2007 6:07 pm

Jim --

I thought the JBR was supposed to be in good shape. I'm going that way next year, so what did you find wrong with it?
"What's the 'C' stand for - selfish?' - unidentified NHL player during a scrap
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Postby Mercedesrover » Sun Aug 19, 2007 8:35 am

It has horrific expansion joints along almost the entire length of it. Maybe it's not so bad in a normal car but in a short wheel-base, leaf-sprung, 35 year old Land Rover, it was hellish. Usually about 22 per kilometer, sometimes less, sometimes more. At one point along that road I turned to my wife and said "I'm going to find the guy that built these joints in this road and punch him right in the mouth!".

If you're driving up in a longer truck with coil springs or a car, I'm sure you'll be fine.

jim
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