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Thread: Canadian Odyssey - James Bay Road

  1. #61
    mrich12000
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    The chech is a nice way of getting to tho north or south quicklly. As others here have stated THANK YOU, makes the cabin feaver go somewhere else. Hope to meet you at one of the rallies in the Ontario or upper great lakes runs.Excelent writing.

  2. #62
    Registered User jgsmith's Avatar
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    Great story! It felt like I was riding with you.

    Jim

  3. #63
    Hogaan! testinglogin's Avatar
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    Epilogue

    After completing my trip, it took me a few days to get everything unpacked, cleaned, and put away. I spent quite a lot of time cleaning the bike, as well. My beloved R80 was not without some damage. Below is some information about after-trip issues, as well as thoughts about certain portions of my ride. Included is mileage covered, and other bit of random data. Very dry reading, I bet.

    There are more than a few photos that I did not include in this ride report. Lots of duplication and stuff I didn't think warranted typing about. If you're interested, the whole gallery is on my website, here. All the photos are captioned.

    Shameless self-promotion (or MORE of it): I don't have another ride report for you to read (yet) but one day a few months ago, I did a bit of "Creative writing" about a walk I took through the park with my dog. If you just want something to read for 5-10 minutes, check it out here. I know a few of you have already read it, actually. It contains no riding content, but it does have a reference to this journey.
    -----
    First, the bike is now in need of a repaint. Really, it needed one before the trip. The previous owner had painted the bike himself, and it was not done well. I kept a heavy layer of wax on the bike which made it look rather good, but looking close you could see sanding lines and other flaws. It also seemed to take damage far too easily. The combination of mud, bugs, and tree sap, coupled with my knees coming in contact with the tank led to further damage. A repaint will be done, soon.

    Second, I had saddlebag damage. I purchased a lightly used set up Seibenrock bag (Hepco-Becker reproductions) which had improved bag racks and better latches. They were in excellent condition. I found the bag had cracked around the latching mechanism. I was careful about never overloading the bags and also put a strap around the bags as insurance; I assume the rough condition of the James Bay Road led to that damage - I should have lowered my speed a bit. Good thing I had the bags strapped to the racks, as well. I may have lost the bag, entirely.

    The transmission continues to work, though I don't ride the bike, much. It's headed off for a rebuild, shortly. It still likes to get hung up between gears, at times. I drained and inspected the fluid and didn't find any massive metal shards, so that's a positive.

    Although some may disagree with me running from a thunderstorm that was producing ground-touching lightning, and then trying to ride through another storm that included hail, I'm glad I did what I did. Once I returned home I looked at some historical weather data, and found out things could have bee MUCH worse for me. (hard to believe, isn't it?) Based on the data I found online and the comparing the time I was running from the storm; that specific storm cell not only contained lightning and hail, but it also produced damaging winds. I'll take hail alone over hail and high wind. Luck was on my side, after all.

    If you are going to take the Chi-Cheemaun ferry across Lake Huron, make sure you have a reservation. I was surprised at the number of people taking that across the lake. The Canadians I met in Radisson ended up crossing there as well, although without reservations. They ended up waiting 5 hours to get on the boat with their motorcycles. Fortunately they were in no hurry.

    On Manitoulin Island, I asked the campground about bears. They told me not to worry; they really weren't on the island. I awoke around 11pm (after falling asleep early) to hear something getting into the trash (well away from my tent, fortunately). I assumed it was raccoons, and went back to sleep. While I have no proof it was a bear, I later learned that Manitoulin Island has the highest black bear density in all of Ontario. On top of that, due to it being an island (the bears tend not to swim the long distance to the mainland), the government sometimes relocates "problem bears" to the island, in an attempt to keep them from returning to the areas where they cause problems. I'm not sure where the campground girl got her information, or if she was just trying to make me feel better... but it's probably best I didn't know that. I still slept with my bear spray next to me, and I still didn't carry any food into my tent, or leave any on my bike. Safety first.

    Finally, I covered a lot of miles in a short period of time. My scheduled route was:

    Day 1 - 496 miles - MOA Rally in West Bend, WI to Grand Marais, MN
    Day 2 - 409 miles - Grand Marais, MN to Lake Superior Provincial Park (Wawa, ON)
    Day 3 - 553 miles - LSPP to Matagami, QC
    Day 4 - 348 miles - Matagami, QC to Radisson, QC (side trip to Chisasibi, add 150 miles)
    Day 5 - 348 miles - Radisson, QC to Matagami, QC
    Day 6 - 523 miles - Matagami, QC to Tekummah, Manitoulin Island, ON
    Day 7 - 167 miles - Tekummah to Pinery Provincial Park (part via ferry), in Grand Bend, ON
    Day 8 - 163 miles - Grand Bend, ON to Toledo, OH (after several days at the Pinery)

    3007 total miles. If you include the trip from my house to West Bend, it's 3378 miles. Of those miles, I did 2677 back to back over 6 days. Most of this was in cooler weather (riding jacket with liner in), so that can wear on you, over time. I know it did, me. Aside from day 1, all of this was done on two-lane roads. Just because it's called "Highway 17", it's still mostly a two-laner running between small towns and nothing. You occasionally get a passing lane added in. This is not the slab.

    I deviated from the plan on Day 5 and 6, where on day 5 I went 752 miles to North Bay, ON, and then day 6 was about 200 miles from North Bay, ON to Tekummah, ON. The 348-odd mile days were no big deal, though I was planning more for 60's than 30's, weather wise. I had decent gear for the cold, though I was on the edge. I'm glad I packed for cooler than I really expected to encounter. That could have really gone wrong with slightly different gear choices. I still covered a lot of miles in a short period of time. It would have been nice to spend two days between Duluth and Wawa; lots of neat stuff to see, and enjoyable riding.

    The campground for Lake Superior Provincal Park is closer to the south end of the park than the north end. I was a bit tired pulling into Wawa. I got REALLY tired when I kept not seeing the campground entrance, although I had been on park lands for 20 minutes. It's a LARGE park. Turns out I had 30 or 40 miles extra to cover. Oops.

    Through the course of the trip (even including eating horribly UNHEALTHY food at the rally), I lost 10 pounds. I wasn't drinking much pop (occasional Red Bull was all), I was generally skipping lunch, and my dinners were healthier. I never felt sick, but probably should have been drinking, more. I kept not wanting to stop aside from getting fuel. If I were to do it again, I'd make time for a 5-10 minute break between fuel stops to stretch. Even making 3 gas stops, that only adds 30 minutes to the day, max.

    I literally felt like I was still "moving" for a few days after returning home. I kept having "riding dreams" for about two weeks. When it's all said and done, I look back on the trip and I'm VERY happy I decided to go.

  4. #64
    Registered User RINTY's Avatar
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    Jbr

    Excellent, Josh; the narrative flows very well. Thanks for all the effort. It must be very satisfying to have toughed that whole trip out.

    I could really relate to the salamander incident. I've been scared crapless a number of times in the backcountry when critters were around my tent. One night, during a hike to the Chinese Wall in the Bob Marshall Wilderness, my wife and I were awakened by an ear splitting bugle like sound from a few feet away. We'd unknowingly camped in an elk run. My heart rate must have hit 200 that time. I'd usually take a shot or two of rye before bedtime, so I could get to sleep.

    But now that you're back, it's time to install a Boyer Branson.

    Rinty

  5. #65
    Hogaan! testinglogin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rinty View Post
    Excellent, Josh; the narrative flows very well. Thanks for all the effort. It must be very satisfying to have toughed that whole trip out.

    I could really relate to the salamander incident. I've been scared crapless a number of times in the backcountry when critters were around my tent. One night, during a hike to the Chinese Wall in the Bob Marshall Wilderness, my wife and I were awakened by an ear splitting bugle like sound from a few feet away. We'd unknowingly camped in an elk run. My heart rate must have hit 200 that time. I'd usually take a shot or two of rye before bedtime, so I could get to sleep.

    But now that you're back, it's time to install a Boyer Branson.

    Rinty
    I'm glad I included the salamander story. I was a bit embarrassed, but I thought it made for a good story. Now I feel better that I'm not the only one who has their imagination run away from them while camping. In your case, I'd be afraid of an elk, as well!

    Electronic ignition? I'm not sure about that! Should I not mention I'm considering replacing the hall sensor and ignition control module on my 93 GSPD with a 79-80 vintage R100 points setup, as I don't trust the electronic gadgets in the middle of nowhere? I can adjust points. If an ICM fails, I'm dead in the water, so to speak.

  6. #66
    Hogaan! testinglogin's Avatar
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    Again, thank you all for the kind words. I look forward to seeing and/or meeting many of you this next riding season! If you see me, feel free to walk up and introduce yourself. Be careful though; I might get to telling a story, and then you'll never get me to shut up.

  7. #67
    BUBBAZANETTI
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    man, after reading this i was thinking about how i'd thought about riding up there with you, but that moving to NYC and stuff had left some variables in my remaining vacation time. turns out i didn't need it and could have gone. really wish i had!

  8. #68
    Registered User RINTY's Avatar
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    James Bay Road

    Josh:

    I think your anxiety to get out of Quebec was probably a reaction to your experiences in the north country, which can be a raw, rough and tumble place. Overall, I think it's a pretty visitor friendly province.

    I don't trust the electronic gadgets....
    Not to worry; I know there are thousands of points enthusiasts out there. I've just had very unhappy experiences with them...on an English car. And the whole issue has been well ventilated in the points thread a few months ago.

    Are you having the transmission looked at, or is it behaving itself now?

    Rinty

  9. #69
    Hogaan! testinglogin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rinty View Post
    Josh:

    I think your anxiety to get out of Quebec was probably a reaction to your experiences in the north country, which can be a raw, rough and tumble place. Overall, I think it's a pretty visitor friendly province.

    Not to worry; I know there are thousands of points enthusiasts out there. I've just had very unhappy experiences with them...on an English car. And the whole issue has been well ventilated in the points thread a few months ago.

    Are you having the transmission looked at, or is it behaving itself now?

    Rinty
    I agree with your assessment. I started planning my trip 6 months in advance, and I would occasionally daydream about what it was going to be like. Generally I was seeing the possibility for a little bit of rain, but otherwise it was going to be 50's at night and 60's by day. I would pull in to Radisson and have a little party in the middle of nowhere before riding back home triumphantly; people would throw themselves at my feet. Women would want me, and men would want to be me. OK... maybe I've gone a bit far.

    I have nothing against Quebec. I actually found people to be very friendly; even to a non-French speaker. On my long day I pulled into a gas station in Amos and was approached by another rider who carried on a brief conversation with me in Frenglish, and the owner of the station was all smiles. The north country CAN be a rough place though; I will agree. North Bay was quite a "Safe zone"... city lights and lots of people. I'm used to cold weather, but 30's in July was just a bit much. The BMW leggings I had with me weren't purchased until I saw them on sale at the MOA rally - I think it was Blue Moon Cycle selling them. What a good thing I grabbed those in a moment of "I hope I didn't get in too deep".

    I'm an I.T. guy and have always been leery of electronics on cars. I know things break. Actually, the points problem I had was partially my fault. I expected no problems with them, as I installed a new set. I'm running dual-plugs and have an ignition booster. That means the points are only a trigger now, and carry very little current. They should be a "lifetime" set. Of course, if the booster fails, I can still wire around it and use the points, although with the dual plugs, they will wear much faster. Of course, I didn't realize the new points would wear into the rubbing block over the first few thousand miles and close up, requiring adjustment. Lesson learned.

    The transmission is soon to be removed and mailed out for repair. It's still not in good shape. I've ridden a few times with it (I had an attractive passenger who wanted a ride, and the GSPD is a single seater). I was mostly assured by a mechanic that I wouldn't experience a catastrophic seizure, though I really shouldn't be riding on it.

  10. #70
    Hogaan! testinglogin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BubbaZanetti View Post
    man, after reading this i was thinking about how i'd thought about riding up there with you, but that moving to NYC and stuff had left some variables in my remaining vacation time. turns out i didn't need it and could have gone. really wish i had!
    I was thinking about that, too. What an interesting trip that would have made. It probably would have been less of a mental challenge for me; misery loves company, after all.

    I'm thinking about the trans-Labrador Highway this year; get yourself some type of GS and come along.

  11. #71
    You stupid, fix it! r11rs94's Avatar
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    "Twang!" Whatever it was had just brushed against one of the guy lines on my tent. Adrenaline was rushing through my veins now; whatever it was had to be within 3 or 4 feet of my tent; probably closer. I was now protected only by a double layer of tent fabric. I grabbed the can of bear spray and removed the safety from the trigger. If a bear suddenly tore through my tent I was going to make sure I was nicely marinate for him. Maybe I should grab the lighter and set my tent on fire, as well. More crunching gravel, and another "twang!" on the guy line. Now it's behind the tent. No way to get out from there. Several more minutes pass with only the occasional sound of crunching gravel and my breathing. Something touches the bottom of the rainfly and I consider cutting myself out of my tent with my Leatherman until I realize what it is as it crawls along the bottom of my rain fly. I am officially an idiot; it's nothing more than a small salamander. I am likely the only person to ever mistake a salamander for a bear. I can see the news report now: "Shoeless man seen running down James Bay Road in burned clothing. He appears to be crying, or blinded by pepper spray. Mumbling about a killer salamander." It must have been "hopping" or something, making the gravel crunch and hitting my guy lines. I lay back down and put the safety back under the bear spray trigger. I tell myself nobody will ever hear of this; and then consider changing "salamander" to "moose" or at least "fox". After wasting 20 minutes being terrified of a salamander, I decide it's now a good time to get out of bed and get moving; it's still before 6:00am, though.



    And I thought I was the only one terrified by a salamander. One night on an old bombed out Repubician Guard Base, just outside of the Bagdad airport , we set up camp inside one of the few buildings still standing. During the night I thought I felt something brush up against my leg. I didn't see anything so I went back to sleep. Some time later, near dawn I awoke to see a salamander sitting on my chest, just looking at me. Needless to say, being a big bad soldier armed to the teeth. I jumped up and yelled like a little school girl. My squard got a good laugh out of that. Still, in the year that I was in Iraq, I can not think of too many other times when I was more afraid. Great Job on the articles. Keep up the good work.
    The thing about traveling is, you never want it to end and you can't wait to get home.
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  12. #72
    Registered User RINTY's Avatar
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    James Bay

    The transmission is soon to be removed...
    You probably already know about it, but there is a shifter plate upgrade you can get (it's a BMW part), and tell them to make sure to put in a new "that little spring" whether it needs it or not.

    Rinty

  13. #73
    BUBBAZANETTI
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdmetzger View Post
    I was thinking about that, too. What an interesting trip that would have made. It probably would have been less of a mental challenge for me; misery loves company, after all.

    I'm thinking about the trans-Labrador Highway this year; get yourself some type of GS and come along.
    i'll just toss some anakees on the S (although i dont' think they make them wide enough for my rear) and be good to go.

  14. #74
    Chromehead bobs98's Avatar
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    Outstanding!

    Very well written and entertaining as well. Thanks for taking the time to write it up and share with us, Josh!
    Bob Smith
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  15. #75
    Braz J Brase's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobs98 View Post
    Very well written and entertaining as well. Thanks for taking the time to write it up and share with us, Josh!
    Yeah, what he said.

    John

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