Midwinter MINI Arctic Run - Hudson Bay or Bust, February 2005 pg 2
by David Rose - DUCTTAPE
Please click on each picture for a larger view and more text!
Divided into TWO Pages. Be sure to see page one!
Well, that was something one doesn't do everyday...
By comparison, the rest of the drive up the James Bay Road was very tame. We stopped to make an emergency phone call, Got gas and food at km381 and drove on to Radisson.
One of the main activities we wanted to do was tour the La Grande 1 power plant. This is the world's largest underground hydroelectric plant, owned and operated by Hydro Quebec. It seems though that just the week before a group of journalists tried to Geraldo Rivera and document how exposed the plant is to terrorists. Seems you could drive right up to the gate. Da'oh, ya think? You only need to drive 400 miles into Canada, then 400 miles down the James Bay Rd, and THEN figure out how to do something mischievious. But since I am writing this via electricity, I'll assume Canada's Dept of Homeland Security is as vigilant as our Department of Homeland Security in keeping North America, free, safe and lit up.
Anyway, back to the main thread. Hydro Quebec got a court injunction barring not only the journalists, but everyone from the plants. Great timing, eh? We couldn't get anywhere near this place.
In October, 2002, I drove all over! People either waved, or ignored me completely. Damn Osama, ruining good Motoring for people everywhere...
So, what to do? Glad you asked! Although several cars chose to drive home Sunday, the rest stayed and we had the times of our lives. One group rented snowmobiles, another rented a de Havilland Beaver and the third drove (very slowly) to the very end of the road.
Blake, Annette and I drove with the plane crew to the Airport. We get there to a DC3 being loaded. Off in the distance is the de Havilland Beaver. We drive over, and enter Air Wemindji.
There is a cache of supplies sitting on the ice. Snow shoes, rifles, sled, music roll, food. The owner is waiting for the plane to return from our charter so it can fly him and his supplies up into the bush. He does this once or twice a month. The center picture is the forklift of Air Wemindji. I don't know why I have a picture of it. No jokes about adding wings and taking off. I went in the plane and took some photos. This was VERY neat! First, the plane is on a very steep angle. The last seat could be 5 ft below the cockpit seating. You walk uphill to the front. The console seemed pretty basic. Nothing fancy, just what you need to get up, and down. Hence, my picture of the UP DOWN control. The last picture is of the cabin. Very cool. This is a cargo/passenger plane. The seats can fold for pure cargo and there is padding on all the walls. The EXIT/SORTIE signs glowed so much one almost needed sunglasses.
The de Havilland plane, in my limited knowledge, is used for smaller trips into the hinterlands. This one was built in 1958, and was later modified to STOL, which stands for Short Take Off and Landing. The plane taxied a short distance down the ice, and was in the air! It was fitted with skis too.
The gang, and their pilot, Glen
At about sunset, most of us hooked up in Chisasibi and drove to Ft George. This is a former European otpost, settled for the Hudson Bay Trading Company and is just opposite the island that housed the original Cree village. It is right on the Bay. The views, the sensations, were unbelievable.
Above: Left, Standing on the edge of the land. Next step is water ice. Annette trying not to glissade down into the La Grande River. Three cars at the end of the road. In the distance, the James Bay, frozen solid. Greg, looking like everyone felt. And me. I'm in there. Click to see it bigger. I like the shot.
A classic picture. Ernest would be proud :)


Standing on Bay ice, with the sun setting.
(C) 2005 David Rose.us
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Click this. It's a triptych of Aurora shots.
Annette, still watching for Aurora
Annette watching for Aurora Borealis
While Annette was busy looking up, I was busy watching her, taking her picture and messing around with my camera. As you can see, it was cold. My beard isn't that white.
My Drive Home:
Well, yes. It was cold. Colder with the top up and no windows then with the top down. Here it is -11C, and it's still daytime. We drove until 3:45 AM, arriving at Ross's house in Ottawa for a few hours sleep. Then, off again!
Click this pic to see the thermometer
Yes, it's cold. The wind is blowing in the car and my throat feels like it's swelling closed! But I was having a great time. Where are we going next?