Truly a fantastic site on one of Canada's most unique roads and inspiring regions. Many thanks for sharing your amazing experiences.
In 1998, I drove as far as the checkpoint north of Matagami having spent the previous night in Amos. After a wondeful half-hour chat with the checkpoint staff, I decided to head back to Montréal instead of further north to Chisasibi. It was a tough decision (there was a powwoow the next day) and as a member of the Mohawk Nation, I thoroughly enjoy attending the various Nations' events.
I was driving a 1987 Olds Delta which was in excellent physical and mechanical shape, but was somewhat leery as I was alone and funds were getting low. I vowed to return someday to not only visit Chisasibi, but do the Trans-Taiga as well.... but with a more formidable vehicle and a healthier cash flow. Presumably, both are requisite for such a trip.
Personally, the further north I go, the better I like it. Your trip essay perfectly captures my own experience with solo journeys to the north and it's for the very reasons you described that I, also, dream of Northern Wanderlust. As Natives, we believe that all who wander are not necessarily lost. We call it a vision quest.
I love extreme winter weather but also know its many dangers. Still, I am not naive to the challenges of the northern climate and recognize that being more than just 'adequately prepared' is not simply a good idea; it's a potentially life-saving measure.
Again, many thanks for hosting this forum. I eagerly look forward to suggestions and tips as I plan my next great adventure into the North.
Six Nations Mohawk, Ontario