|Hudson Bay or Bust II|
|Midwinter MINI Arctic Run
February 18 to 22, 2005
August, 2004: Two years after driving up to Chisasibi in my MINI with Jay, I (DUCTTAPE speaking) finally realized that driving in commuter traffic in the NY metro area, even in MINI, sucks. MOT 03 and 04 were great. Tail of the Dragon was interesting. But the Hudson Valley to Hudson Bay run was boss!
So, I posted a link on what is now NEMINI.org, North American Motoring and MINI2, and others agreed! Pretty soon, several people signed on for sure. Others said "maybe" (which we know is a euphemism for "Damned right I'm gonna be there..." Now, we only have to wait the 6 months, and we're off!
|We're going where?: Chisasibi is a Cree Indian town that sits at the end of the furthest northly paved road that is attached to lower civilization. There are roads further north, but you can't drive there. Plane, snow mobile, ship or trekking. The road is called the James Bay Road, (and try this link too) (ok, one more. A really good one...) and it is part of La Municipalite de la Baie James, which is the largest municipality in the world. It's 690 km from the check-in station (manditory, 24/7 12 months of the year) to the end. There is one outpost of civilization at km. 381.
The road was built in the 1970's to service the hydro plants up there. Unlike the service roads going to the North Slope, in Alaska, this is paved the entire way. But, like paved roads the world over, this has some of the finest frost heaves you'll ever experience. Especially zooming down the road at 90 mph.
|We're getting there how? As of early August, '04, it looks like people are coming from N.Y., N.J., N.H. and Mass. We've had interest expressed from as far away as Georgia, so for sure others will hop on. Initial plans call for the 'southern contingent" and the "N.E.'ers" to hook up somewhere between Albany NY and the Canadian border. From there, we'll drive through, as a group, and hopefully get as far as Matagami before sleeping. That's about 1350km from NYC, so it is a very good days drive.
Along the way we pass through the St. Laurent mountains, apparently well known for it's skiing. After, we'll drive through Canada's main gold mining district. Through to Matagami for the night.
Day two should give us a nice, easy ride up the James Bay Road. We should arrive at Chisasibi before dark. At this point, the plans are to Motel-it in Matagami and Chisasibi.
|And we're doing this because...? Because we can! As a kid, I always wanted to see Hudson Bay. Technically, James Bay is part of Hudson Bay. Either way, this is probably as close to a sub-arctic experience as any of us will ever get, save joining the USARP, or, global warming coming in our lifetime.
While there, current plans are to spend Sunday up at the top of the road. Our choices are going out on the bay, dog sledding (I guess) snow mobiling, hiking, and driving to any of the several large hydro plants up there. (They are very impressive to behold.)
Plus, I'd say we have a better than even chance to see Northern Lights (ok, that's not what the picture is of. I tried...)
|Ok, I'll bite. What should I bring?:
Click the link for a short and probably not too complete listing of goodies to make your trip more enjoyable.
NOT listed, but most important: bring yourself. While it will be cold, don't sweat the small stuff. Show up, enjoy the time with other MINI drivers and everythig should shake out just fine.
|Be sure to stop in and check out these two links:
Hudson Bay/James Bay Watershed Ecoregion, by the Sierra Club
Hunting and the Quest for Power - The James Bay Cree and Whitemen in the 20th Century
|Want to stay in the loop? Email DUCTTAPE and let us know about you!|
|Do you have 4 or 5 free days in February? Nothing to do to kick the mid-winter blues? Drop DUCTTAPE a line and let us know about you!
Even if you aren't sure, better to stay in the loop then be left home, alone, in the lower 48!
|Click this picture for a larger map of the NYC route|
| Some good regional links
Quebec's Northern Crees Ville de Matagami
Charles Dowdell's August, 2003 trip Chisasibi Winter
Northern Lights in Chisasibi Every phone number in Chisasibi...
|Ok, this link has nothing to do with our trip. It's a link to the site of a Russian woman, KidOfSpeed, who took her motorcycle into the Chernobyl area of the Ukraine. It is a spectacular documentary.|
|Please visit DUCTTAPE's MINI Page
or, I'm bored of these silly little cars and want to see the David Rose Home Page...
|New links will be in BOLD
last revised 12/15/05
|Caveats: It will be COLD. I know that. We know that. You know that. There will be traffic on the James Bay Road, but don't expect the Long Island Expressway. You will need to make room reservations somewhere (with the group, preferably). Gas will be slightly more expensive in the northern reaches of the trip. You may do things up there, like flying or ski-doo rides, etc, that would get your mom upset.
Please note that while we would LOVE to have you join us, this is not a trip organized by any group or sponsor. It's just a group of people, like you, wanting to get together for a great MINI drive. You'll need to take common sense precautions, as well as precautions you might not have thought of: You obviously must have car insurance. Although Canada has socialized medicine, you should have health insurance. You should realize that IF your MINI breaks down, 1-800-ASK-MINI might not be thrilled about getting you out of there. This list is not all-inclusive.
In short, this is the groups attempt at saying if you come you are doing so under your own free will and please don't even think of attempting to hold us responsible or liable should something happen.