The Actual Trip (Part 2)

Charles Dowdell---Aug 8, 2003


Day 3 Continued

I was very excited to actually get to drive the James bay highway. There is not a lot of information out there on what to expect.


The road is paved. It has strips on the center and edges and good sized shoulders.


The James Bay Highway Road Side

The Highway

Click the link to the right for a short movie of me driving. Jeff is holding the steering wheel. We are goind about 75 mph. The speed limit was 100 kph. The posted limit is just way too conservative.


You can see that the highway is bumpy in the video. It definatly reminded me that I need to new shocks in the truck. They are smooth bumps lot like pot holes and of course some stretches are lot worse than others.


Movie of the James Bay Highway

The Scenery

The trees reminded me of Velcro(r) if you were a giant. When you reach a top of a hill you can see trees go on forever.


The high tension wires are always in your view. I know now that the two-wire transmission lines are DC lines and are used primarily for importation to the United States. The three-wire transmission lines are the standard 3-phase high voltage lines for use in Quebec and Ontario. The primary lines are 750 KV lines. see


The forest fires are very apparent of years ago. You can see where there was a forest fire as long ago as 30 years.


The trees continued to get shorter however, once we were on the james bay highway things became more consistant and seemd more arctic. The trees were maxed out at about 25 feet in height.


The truck was running well. We had 5 extra gallons of diesel if we needed it.


Trees along the James bay highway reminded me of Velcro

It is a long while you spend on the Jamesbay Highway from end-to-end. The time passed easily, however. Jeff and I talked about our worst tenant stories and all sorts of other topics.


The scenery was great.



After a forest Fire (probably 20 years ago)


The Rivers

One of the stops along the way is at the St. Rupert River which is next on the list to get flodded out by hydro projects. It occured to me that perhaps that is why few people vacation here. I am guessing that the Quebec government does not encourage tourism here. The reason being that the more awareness there is of the environmental change the more resistance there would be to it.


Click on the link for a short video of the falls on the St. Rupert River.


I can only imagine what the falls looked like at the Le Grande River or Eastmain River before the hydro projects.


Unlike Niagara falls these rivers are entirely diverted through hydro turbines.


The naturally beauty of St. Rupert River was astonishing.



Rupert River Falls along the James bay highway



We pushed on. I was surprised that we had seen so much. This was only day 3 of my trip.


There is one fuel and food stop along the James bay highway. It is government run and they have fuel, food, and a helicopter for emergencies. The food is a cafeteria in a modular building unit that I was familar with watching documentary films on Antarctica and Artic work camps. No alcohol is served.


The Poutine was pretty good.


We watched some French language news programs on the TV and enjoyed the arctic work camp atmosphere. The complex is powered by a large diesel generator out back on a semi trailer. There are also modular dorm rooms presumably for construction crews here as well.


The thing that struck me about this rest stop was that this was the equivilent of driving between Buffalo NY and Manhattan and there was only one rest stop. There are no other places for food or fuel along the James Bay highway.


We had to put air the front tire here.


I had a hard time communicating with the fuel attendent trying to locate the air for the tire. It appeared he knew no English or French. I suspect he only new his aboriginal language. That or he was just not interested in helping us since I had originally asked in English.


Small friend along the road

There are a number of information stops along the James Bay highway. Bring your French or Cree language books. There is no English up this way for almost anything.


Jeff had commented that we were probabbly way more north than an Moose ever gets to. He turned out to be correct. However, we learned that because of clear cutting forests down south, the Moose were actually getting this far north occasionally.


Information Stop

The End of the James Bay Highway

The end of Day 3 we made it to the campground in Raddison. We made camp and poured Rum and congratulated each other for making it to our destination.


We had made it, how exciting.


Jeff had his tent and I would sleep in the back of the truck. Notice that Jeff and I had coats on.


First Camp



End of Day 3 in Raddison Quebec



Continue to Part 3- The Actual Trip