Cool place to travel and explore...
yes it is, for us anyway, while others consider that black spruce country a complete bore, nothing to see. besides the Baie James and Trans Taiga, they're thinking of extending the road north another 250km. that new road would draw me back up there.
she spoke zero english, but was able to communicate her wish to barter a tutorial in French for a tutorial in English, she already had some English For Dummies type textbooks. my French is beyond hope, she had no idea what a poor bargain she was proposing.
i also camped at Radisson, nice spot, with the only other occupant being an old guy from Montreal in a big motorhome who wanted to know all about my trip. he laughed when i told him about missing my turn north on 309 due to insane road construction, getting lost, then seeking assistance...
Just then, a BMW pulls in and parks right in front of me. A woman steps out, soft leather briefcase in hand, andÖman-o-man was she gorgeous, welcome to Quebec. She goes into an office, but only five minutes later sheís back out and walking to her car. Hmmm, what are the chances that she can give this lost Yank some directions? I didnít think it would be appropriate to yell, so when she was looking at me I waved my Quebec road map a little. I could see a split second of indecision, but then she walked right over.
She started addressing me in French from a distance of ten feet. I donít know enough French to say much of anything, and by the time she was three feet from me, I couldnít speak English either. She was doing her best with limited English to explain to me where I needed to go to catch that road north. Me, I was just doing a little pointing and trying not to stare. Ok, weíre set, I thank her, and she leaves with a smile and a little wave. Only certain women can do that wave, but she was one.
I did learn a few things from her and I was very grateful. I found out where I was and how to get to where I needed to go. Secondly, I found out that it was not necessary for a beautiful business woman in Quebec to wear undergarments of any kind, and that a lack of undergarments did not preclude wearing semi sheer clothing. I was in a foreign country and these kinds of cultural distinctions were important to know. Thirdly, I found out that if the molecules from a beautiful Quebec womanís perfume happened to land on your riding gear, they are guaranteed to stay stuck there for about 24 hours.
he went on to say that Montreal had the most beautiful women in the world, don't know for sure, those women in Quebec City looked great too.
i rode out to Pointe Longue, crossing the Centrale La Grande-1 dam, didn't go into Chisasibi. lots of freight canoes at that landing also. i used that exact style of boat in northern Manitoba a few years earlier.
i did ride the Trans Taiga out to Caniapiscau, the farthest you can get from any town in North America, 745km. from Mirage Outfitters to Relais 381 is the longest distance between reliable fuel in all of NA, 517 km.
adventure on the Trans Taiga...
I hadnít seen any vehicles yet, but as I continued west, graders had worked the road yesterday and I could see some tire tracks. I had adopted the practice of using the banking in the corners just like everyone else when I had a sight line through the curve. This kept me out of the deep gravel on top and usually there was a well worn line down low, sometimes two.
I was riding comfortably at 50 and downshifted to 5th for a little compression braking as I rapidly approached a sweeping left hand curve. There was moderate banking here with deep gravel thrown up the banking and covering the whole west bound lane. I dropped down and picked a line on the upper track in the east bound side, ran over a patch of marbles, drifted a little lower, and rode right into a deep sand hole saturated by the recent rain.
The front wheel dropped into the hole and the bars were nearly ripped from my hands. I was on the gas instantly, the front end lifted, the rear end came around left, and I roared up out of that sand like I was attached to a bungie cord. Now Iím crossed up right, shooting up the banking at a shallow angle, and in real trouble. My entire world was inside a little circle centered on the bike where the action was going by in high def clarity. Everything outside that circle was a complete blur.
Off the gas a fraction of a second, the bike straightened up, but Iím in the marbles on top of the banking and about to run off the road. Stab the shifter into 4th without the clutch, lean left, and now the rear is coming around right in a spray of loose gravel. I canít believe Iím up. Still at 40 going down the banking at an angle, now Iím going to run off into the trees at the inside of the curve, not in control yet. I muscled the bike back around right, stabbed the shifter again, and on the gas in 3rd when I find another sand hole down low. The bike snapped upright and instead of another lowside, I almost highside. I wanted to be going right and ended up coming around left, still on the gas, that engine was howling.
I was moving too fast to catch the upper east bound track, but landed in the hard lower track, upright, straight, and coasting. My heart had stopped beating. I had forgotten how to breathe. My throat felt like sandpaper, I know I was yelling something on that roller coaster, donít ask me exactly what. It was all over in some very long seconds.
I never stopped. If I hadnít been dazed, I might have. At a quarter mile I was fidgeting around in the seat trying to get comfortable again, and at the half mile mark I was back in 6th and rolliní west at 50. There was nothing else to do. I had been riding at a deliberate pace, not slow, but not nutso fast either. I couldnít think of anything to change. Being in 5th sure helped me power out of that first hole, and not for the first time, but 4th gear was the one that saved my ass. From that curve forward, I thought of 4th as my ďget me the **** outta hereĒ gear, and would need it again on the gravel ahead.
regarding info signs, the Cree are not friendly with French speaking Quebec, and as a result, speak English. they don't want French on those signs either.