Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The End of the Road

I love to drive and am a big fan of road trips.

In December 2001, I drove with my father all the way from Montreal (PQ) to Los Angeles (CA) and back: 11200 km (7000 miles) in 11 days.

In May 2002, with my best buddy Sylvain "Rob" Robillard, during a long week end, we drove from Montreal (PQ) to New Orleans (LA) and back to visit a friend: 6000 km (3750 miles) in 4 days. Including 2 days of party on Bourbon Street.

In 21 years of driving, I had the opportunity to drive (from Montreal, PQ) to the Eastern End of the road (Mingan Archipelago, PQ), the Western End of the Road (Pacific Ocean) and the Southern End of the road (somewhere in the Louisiana Bayou).

The Northern End was missing in my book.

In the same vicinity, I also wanted to visit the mighty LG2 dam, the world's largest underwater power generating station.

So last June, along with my friend Pat, his 4 month old pup Xena, his white FJ Cruiser and red Zodiac boat, we drove from Montreal to Radisson (PQ) and even a little further north to the exact end of the road.

From Montreal, it is a 1400 km (875 miles) drive. When you reach Matagami (800km from Montreal), you have to register before driving futher on the James Bay road. From here it's 650km to the end of the road (Radisson) and there's only one solitary gas station (at the 350 km mark). In an entire day of driving between Matagami and Radisson, we saw a grand total of 5 cars on the road. And this, mind you, was at the height of the high season.

Upon arriving, we visited Hydro Québec dams (LG1 & LG2), the Cree village of Chisasibi (pop. 4000), Radisson (pop. 343) where black bears and wolves roam the streets, the cold shores of James Bay and last but not least, navigated the immense Robert Bourassa Reservoir (1095 sq miles, 3 times the size of Lac St-Jean).

We found an unnamed island we nicknamed Peter Island and camped in total solitude, with only the stars as companions.

This far North (53rd parallel), in early June, sunrise is before 5 AM and sunset around 11 PM so we had plenty of light to take a few pictures.


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