Tour de Nord V - 2009
MINI Coopers to Hudson Bay, again
Page 1 is the trip there - Page 2 up at Radisson - Page 3 the People of James Bay
This year's trip started out completely different than it ended up. The group originally decided (see the
map) to drive to
Cochrane Ontario and take the Polar Bear Express, on the Ontario Northland Railroad
Moosonee, on the western side of James Bay. From there, drive the ice road up to Attawapiskat.
What happened, after driving to Cochrane and finding out the rail crew couldn't figure out how to chain
down the MINIs to the rail cars, was nothing short of marvelous. Seven MINIs turned around, drove
across the bottom of James Bay and headed back up the
eastern shore, up the James Bay Road to
the end.

Double click on the map for a larger detailed image.
We arrived in Cochrane late in the evening, and posed by the touristy Cochrane
Polar Bear. At 6:30 in the morning, we drove the MINIs over to the
Rail Yard. It was
sun up and wicked cold! We bought tickets for the people
and the cars and waited
for the rail crew to load the cars. The plan was that they would drive them on the flat
rail cars and bolt them down with four mother chains to some steel spot on the frame
of each car. Well, after wiggling around on the ice for 15 minutes or so the head yard
man decided there was no way these cars were going to get bolted down. There was
nothing there to do it and the two eye hook points were woefully inadequate.
Everyone was bummed. I think the rail guys more so than us. They even offered to call and have us participate in that afternoon's parade through town!
image (C) 2009
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Being the resourceful people we are, and having Ross to work out the details
we debated (and quickly ruled out) being floats in the Cochrane parade and
decided we should in fact drive another 1000 or so kms east and north up to
Radisson again. Good choice!

Of course, no MINI drive of more than two or three cars would be complete
someone getting busted. At right, one MINI gets pulled over, and six
more join him, by an Ontario trooper with little sense of humor.
About 11 PM we get to the Garden Spot of the James Bay Road. A place so picturesque it is known simply as Km 381. As in, if you don;t like it, it's 381
km back to Matagami or 231 km to Radisson.  These images do not do the place justice. In fact, even sleeping there doesn't do it justice.  It was
designed as residence for the road building crews. And I think it's gone down hill since. The only place I've ever stayed in that would struggle to keep it's
one star Zagats's rating.
We followed the orneriest, oddest hotelier I have even met all around the place until we finally got a room. Walk in, past the No Fumier signs and one
immediately gets
slammed in the face with the smell of cigarettes. Lovely.
The lounge was overrun by Québécois truckers watching hockey, in French. Loudly.
And the facilities... See the picture of the sign. I am
sure the caribou had better facilities than the guests.
Half the James Bay Rd on DuctTape                Jacob, NOT taking his socks off                 Caribou showers, right this way           Please do not insult the Gaz Man          The dog was friendlier than the clerk
The resident dog, showing Sarah where to park.  Funny thing was, IF the dog liked you, he peed on your car. I just missed his christening BUMBL K8
FYI, pages TWO and THREE are my favorites in the group
Page 1 is the trip there  -  Page 2 up at Radisson, the Flight and Hydro Plant  -  Page 3 the People of James Bay
(C) 2009