Motorcycle Route: James Bay

James Bay (Radisson, Quebec)

In July and August of 2001 I had a chance to take a trip I had long dreamed of doing, North to James Bay. Schedule required it be a short jaunt, just 5 days total.

At first I had assumed I would travel North through Ontario, somehow north of Kapuskasing and Hurst. Inspecting maps, however, I was pleasantly surprised to see that one can get much farther North on pavement by going up the East side of the bay, through Quebec. According to my maps, it should be possible to get almost all the way to the North end of the bay by heading for the town of Radisson, Quebec.

After some research, I learned that Radisson was populated as a support town for the huge James Bay Hydro project, and that the highway leading to it was privately constructed by Quebec Hydro. Some friends who’ve made the trip told me the hydro project was worth touring while there.

I also learned that the James Bay Highway, from Matagami to Radisson, has only one gas station along its almost 700 Km length, at a stop ominously titled “Kilometer 381”. I was pretty sure the Concours would be OK with that range, but decided to take spare gas along, somehow, as a safety precaution. There also appeared to be camp grounds and rest stops at regular intervals. I decided to make this a motorcycle camping trip to add to the adventure.

My motorcycle trip packing list gets refined every time I use it. For this trip, critical components included:

  • Micro tent, small sleeping bag, thermarest micro matress.
  • Multi-fuel stove capable of burning white gas, naptha, kerosene, or unleaded bike gas. I took a small amount of naptha with me, but liked the idea I could burn bike gas in an emergency.
  • Spare gas. I found a 1-gallon jerry can that is squat and cubical in shape, rather than the traditional tall rectangles. It fits perfectly in an old bungee-down tail pack I have left over from a previous bike.
  • Warm clothes (including electric vest) and rain gear (including waterproof socks and glove covers).
  • Bug hat (thank goodness).

Here is my journal and photo album from the trip.


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