Just back from James Bay

General discussion about the James Bay Road and region. Share your experiences and travel tips. Ask questions.

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Postby admin » Wed Aug 22, 2007 9:47 pm

I am not aware of any expansion joints along the James Bay Road. Usually those are used on bridges and on concrete-paved roads, such as expressways.

However, the James Bay Road DOES have a lot of dips, presumably a result of permafrost heaving. These dips can be dangerous at high speed.
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Postby Rally_T-115 » Wed Aug 22, 2007 11:31 pm

I don't think the road is too too bad. I've driven smoother gravel roads and I think the JBR could be on par with either the 40 or 20 through Montreal. (I forget which, the one that looks like a quilt of concrete/cement/asphalt patches it's entire length).

I was driving a Suzuki Grand Vitara when I went up on May 20th. Even though the speed limit is 100km/h I was only able to lock the cruise at 110km/h, any faster and the bumps and curves get uncomfortable, even at 110km/h on some curves my foot was hovering over the brake pedal. I still had to stay alert on the road and watch for the "bump ahead" sign as well as the tell-tale cracks and patches that indicate unmarked bumps and heaves.

At least Quebec is nice in that they put the "bump ahead" sign in and then down the road they mark the bump itself with small orange diamond signs. They mark if the bump goes all the way across the road (signs on both sides or one side only) and their magnatude 1,2,3 diamonds on one post. Lots of 1s,(slow down if on a curve) a few 2s,(slow down to say 80km/h) and one magnatude 3(whoah nelly!! :shock: ).... plus there were a couple unmarked deep heaves up around the Old Factory Lake area (within 100km either way) on the way up that took us by suprise, I nearly hit my head on one for sure.

But I have no complaints. It's a work road not a recreational highway and we were well warned before we left that it was a rough in places. Just got to stay alert and read the pavement. On the way down I knew what to expect and saw the big unmarked bumps well ahead enough to haul down the speed and ease over them smoothly.
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Postby jdmetzger » Thu Aug 23, 2007 4:58 pm

I think it was just the "dips" caused by the freeze/thaw cycle, and they WERE pretty bad. After I was nearly bounced off my motorcycle hitting them at speed, I started to slow down. Once or twice I hit and was pretty much standing up on the pegs. Definitely something to watch for if you're on a bike - they're worse than they appear.

I know several people who wanted to go up and make the JBR their personal race track; run high-speed for a while from scenic stop to scenic stop. Aside from the wildlife, the bumps will keep you from doing that. I'd hate to run off the road; you may not be found for quite a while as the road is usually a good amount higher than the surrounding area... plus the obvious lack of traffic.

I only noticed one "triple diamond" bump; the rest were single diamond. Sadly, most of the go all the way across the road, so you can't just run in the other lane around the bumps. I can see it being quite uncomfortable in a truck, too.
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Toledo, OH
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Re: Just back from James Bay

Postby Bonk » Wed May 21, 2008 5:54 am

I'll be taking a rental car up there, but we'll still be careful.

Josh -- Just finished reading your thread on advrider.com. Great stuff! I can't wait to get up there and see it for myself, although driving up there on a bike is insane.

Glad you made it back in one piece, and here's hoping a couple more Ohioans can conquer the road. :lol:
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Re: Just back from James Bay

Postby jdmetzger » Wed May 28, 2008 9:43 am

Bonk wrote:I'll be taking a rental car up there, but we'll still be careful.

Josh -- Just finished reading your thread on advrider.com. Great stuff! I can't wait to get up there and see it for myself, although driving up there on a bike is insane.

Glad you made it back in one piece, and here's hoping a couple more Ohioans can conquer the road. :lol:


I'm happy to hear you enjoyed the trip story. It was nice writing that and re-living some of the experience. As I said, at the time with everything that happened to me when I hit the JBR, I couldn't figure out why I went. Now I want to head back. Traveling with someone instead of riding it alone would have really changed the experience for me, but I wouldn't change anything about how I did it; even the hail made for a great part to the story. I'd love to ride to the end of the Trans-Taiga, although I don't think my riding skills are up to the challenge as of yet. Truly beautiful area up there, especially if you like the solitude like I did. Good luck on your trip; I look forward to hearing about it when you get back. If you're ever in the Toledo area or have any questions I might be able to answer, feel free to drop me a line; I have a "contact" button on my website; http://www.jdmetzger.com If that cute dark haired girl with glasses is still working at the restaurant in town, do me a favor and give her my website address and tell her to get in touch with me. :D

Oh, and a shameless plug; if anyone else wants to read my JBR ride story (including the start of my trip going around the north side of Lake Superior), you can find it here: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=305194.
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