Creating a Cross Canada Overland Route

deadly99

Explorer
North Eastern Quebec

Fab who created the NE section of Quebec went and rode a section of his route and had this to report....


It started like it would be a great escape from regular life and a trip I've been tinling about for a long time: to ride all the way to a town named Natashquan where the road ends on the lower north coast of the St-Lawrence river. I would be driving through the TCAT/TNE for a while and when at Relais Gabriel (a little higher than Manic 5), I would dive toward the coast and ride up till there is no more road.

I started the bike at around 11am and got to the gas station to fill it up plus a 10 litres can I would be carrying aboard for the 380km stretch without fuel that Deadly and Shipwreck skipped when they came by.

As i got moving, I noticed that my lighter socket was not getting current and that my GPS was running on it's own batteries which would not be good enough. 20km from home. First stop. It was only a blown fuse that must have shorted out when I plugged back the battery two days before after changing the gearbox seal for the second time in two weeks since the clerk at the seal shop gave me the wrong one by 1mm the first time. Speaking of which, after two days riding the bike with no sign of dripping oil, the f**ker decided it should start pissing now that I was on the road.

Hmmm. I was getting seriously pissed off about me (for not testing it long enough) and the bike (for letting me down). I said screw it little f**ker, I'm going to ride the hell out of you until you spit enough oil to ruin the brand new clutch I've put in two weeks earlier (yes the marks on the clutch are 120deg apart for you oil-head aficionados-must be the gear box bearing). Note to self: buy an oil resistant friction disc next time around idiot.

And rolling I was again. I was going to ride from my place (Chicoutimi) to Labrieville, like Ted and Shaun did last time and then up north trying to get to Baie-Comeau before darkness. 710km of pure gravel travel. 7 hours to go before dusk. Place your bets.

Along the way the newly named Fab's hill (thanks guys). Pick your line:



Then I got pass L'auberge du 31 where there is fuel and lodging available. A nice river along the way:


I was in Labrieville at 2:45 nearly 4 hours after leaving the gas station. Only 380km to go and 4:15hours till the day is over. Let's go.

From Labrieville (for reference, Labrieville is located at about km 79 on this particular logging road), the road is REALLY wide and well maintained mainly because there is logging activity going on. You should always keep your right to avoid the big 14 feet wide (yes, wide) trucks that are using the center of the road as it would not support their weight if they'd go to far to the side of it.

Nice view out of Labrieville:


Nothing to declare until about km 174 or so where the road turns into something less wide but still decent with more crests and turns which make for an entertaining ride:


At this point, you are really in a remote place. If you think the TLHW is remote, think again; I did not see a living soul between 3:00pm and 6:15pm. No car, no truck, no cabin, nothing for 3+ hours straight. It never happened to me before and that was a bit freaky to be honest. The view:


After that point the km markers started going downward from about 180 so it meant that I would have to ride another 180 klics to get to the nearest town. No problem I thought. Bu this road was not the same animal as the one going up. Wide, but hardened and not maintained ie: full of 6-8 inches deep potholes.

At one point, the bike developed a strange noise when hitting potholes, like the rear wheel rubbing the fender kinda noise. I inspected the shock mounts and the rear of the bike but found nothing. The noise did not stop tho.

Later on the rear got all wobbly. I stopped to find the rear tire had a new hole in it. Easy. Take out the tool kit and plug it. 15 minutes later (I did not pack that well :lol3) and I'm back on the road.

15km later, flat. Again. Plug's gone.

Re-plug.

Re-pack.

Find what was causing the funny noise; the aluminum luggage rack broke in 2.

Re-pack.

By that time, it's getting darker and time is running out and I still have 80 klics to go to reach Baie-Comeau. Here's the next 2 hours in rapid RR mode:

Get running, loose a pannier. Luckily, I see it fly in the rear view mirror. Stop, turn around and replace said pannier. Re-pack 3 removed the dry-bag's weight from the top of the pannier so it now has a tendency to fly off the bike. Back on the road for about 40 km until I realize that the pannier is gone again. Turn around. Ride 20 km in opposite direction on high beems (it's dark now). No pannier. Turn back. Screw that pannier, that shirt, those shoes, that food, that etc..Roll 40km and another plug's gone. Flat. Change the plug in total darkness with strange noises in the wood behind me. Probably a beaver taping the water to scare me.. Back on the road for a while. Only 10km to Baie-Comeau. Notice something loose when I push my butt against the luggage. Dry-bag's gone with tent mattress, sleeping bag and daughter's Strawberry shortcake's pillow. Turn around. Find bag 5km up. Re-pack. Enough. First trail to the side and I pitch my newly found tent without having lunch and I go instantly to sleep.

6:00, feeling a bit cold, I get dress to find it's been freezing:


I get to Baie-Comeau shortly after to get fuel for me and the bike and decide that I'm going back home as the clutch started to slip and my bike is definitively not in shape for the ride I anticipated. Maintenance is required. 300km of slab and 4 plugs and I get home thanks to a 94 GS that will not leave me stranded.

I'm not sure whether it's my personal experience but I'm not 100% positive that every folk doing the TCAT would be advised to ride that particular 380km section. Shorting it to Labrieville is only about 150km vs the 380 and the road is spectacular too. It's definitely a challenging stretch tho. Your choice. I did it. Will I do it again? Maybe....
 

zeke2.0

Adventurer
The truck would be more than capable as the bulk of the TCAT and TNE routes are gravel roads, the only concern would be scratching the paint as a couple of trails have overhanging branches. Nice choice of truck, if I had to pick a vehicle and money wasn't an issue, the Raptor would likely be the one I would get.

Have fun in your new ride
I think I've found the perfect TCAT vehicle. The venerable U.S. Army Gama Goat. I drove one of these back on the day when I was active duty. No longer in service, but a healthy aftermarket exists for them.
6 wheel drive, fully articulating rear box, amphibious (so beavers and typical road hazards are not a problem).
Here are some videos on youtube.

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=gama+goat&aq=f

It was so much hassle trying to order a Raptor with the options I wanted, I decided to go with a Ford F150 4x4 Lariat with the off road package and the ecoboost engine. I'll add necessary things to it to prep for long distance TCAT use.
The back order time for a new Raptor is over 10 weeks and the dealers really don't want to sell you one over stock they have on the lot. Next time I'll use a broker. Besides, I fell in love with the F250s, but couldn't afford the one I wanted.
 
Maybe This would be a great trail? If only they allowed Expedition vehicles....

http://www.tctrail.ca/home.php

But who would mind really?? Haha!!
You can ride much of that in a motorized vehicle. Much of it is old rail line on crown land with no restrictions.

It was so much hassle trying to order a Raptor with the options I wanted, I decided to go with a Ford F150 4x4 Lariat with the off road package and the ecoboost engine. I'll add necessary things to it to prep for long distance TCAT use.
I hope you don't plan on loading it very heavily. The EcoBoost doesn't work out so well when it's "working". It's for people who don't really need a truck but want an F150 anyway.
 

zeke2.0

Adventurer
You can ride much of that in a motorized vehicle. Much of it is old rail line on crown land with no restrictions.



I hope you don't plan on loading it very heavily. The EcoBoost doesn't work out so well when it's "working". It's for people who don't really need a truck but want an F150 anyway.
Total Baloney. It does fine when "working". It's stronger than the 5.0 liter engine. I got the "truck" with the 3:73 EL rear axle. It's a "real" 150. If you actually knew the history behind how the engine was designed and built you wouldn't say such ridiculous things.
If you're implying I don't know the difference between a real truck and a phony one, you are wrong. But hey... if you want to make a fool of yourself in front of everyone, go right ahead.
 

deadly99

Explorer
I find it funny how folks on this forum are so defensive of whatever vechicle they own. On the motorbike forum folks are just stoked if you have a bike and are actually out exploring. I bought a 2 wheel drive Ford Ranger and have been very happy with the decision. My choice was based on fuel economy, price and reliability. To me reliability is the big one, being out in the middle of nowhere and breaking down is a bummer and can often wreck a trip or add to the cost of the trip in a big hurry.

Some folks just like to go mudding (wheeling, bogging..call it what you will) but for an extended expedition style trip a Hyundai Pony would more often than not work just fine. Maybe its just me but I find many people on this forum get a bit anal about what the "best" overland vechicle is. To me the "best" is the one that is out there doing it :ylsmoke:
 
I know very well how it was designed. I was just attempting to help you out.

The point I'm alluding to is that a F-150 4x4 5.0L was tested pulling a 9000lb trailer and achieved an average of 9.4MPG. An F-150 4x2 EcoBoost towing a similar trailer achieved 8.5MPG. When loaded, the V6 is in boost most of the time with a very rich AFR which kills milage. The 5.0L can be ordered with a 36 gallon tank, the EB is restricted to 26. I have a buddy with a 5.0L 4x4 who's measured 24MPG cruising at 60mph, giving an almost 900 mile range with the 36 gallon tank. I also am leary of the underhood temps over long-term use.

Don't take it so personal. One of my vehicles has an engine with the dubious distinction of having "the worst engine ever made". Doesn't stop me from loving the truck.

/Hijack
 

zeke2.0

Adventurer
OK, but you made it sound like I didn't know what I was doing.
The 3.5 Ecoboost engine is built like an Abrams tank. 5 years of development, over 100K miles per prototype in real world conditions. My brother in law with over 30 years experience as both a Ford mechanic and head of service at a local Ford dealer, has had almost no problems with these engines. The only problems have been with people not performing proper maint. on them or minor electronic issues that get resolved quickly.
Ford knew there would be lots of questions about a turbo charged engine, and spent more money/man hours in development than perhaps any engine before it.

Thankfully, with this turbo, you don't need special oil or fuel to run it. Standard Motorcraft 5w30 oil and 87 unleaded are all that is needed. This ain't your grandfathers twin turbo.

My interest is it has plenty of torque, but is also the lowest emissions truck currently in production. Would have been nice to have the 36 gallon option, but I can always carry extra fuel cans. Plus I have a liquid fuel (white gas) Coleman stove that can use unleaded if needed. I managed to find a SuperCrew with the 6 1/2 foot bed. The only difference between the FX4 with the luxury package and Lariat with the off road package, are the cosmetics. Weird.

Towing maxes out at 9600 since I didn't get the Max Towing package, just the factory stock towing with TBC. I got a great deal because the Dealer had it on the lot for over a month and needed to move inventory. (That 11,300 towing capacity Ford advertises requires the factory installed Max Towing package on the F150).

I only plan on towing either a off road rated utility trailer or one of those light weight Chalet's. Am looking for a camper shell that can hold 300 or more pounds of gear on top. If I don't get the Chalet, I'm looking at car top tents.

The bed is large enough to hold fuel and supplies for 2 people for extended periods. I keep my video/photography/computer stuff in the back of the cab where I can reach it quickly. Plus a cooler for drinks and lunch. They finally added a proper 110 outlet behind the center console too.

Hopefully will be ready by next August/September to tackle at least part of the TCAT. It's officially on my bucket list, and will be the first time I spend more than a few hours in Canada.

Sorry for the mis-understanding. Peace and goodwill.
 

zeke2.0

Adventurer
Trying to not be defensive. I read it as mis information about something and over reacted. Like you, what ever one likes is good enough. If I have any issues with the engine at all, I'll post them here for others to gain knowledge.

I just happen to part of a "Ford" family, nothing more. Nothing against any other make or model. The only mistake purchase I made was a Honda Ridgeline. Nice truck, lousy for offroad use, though I know of people who fix them up for that. Taught me a lesson on what not to buy.


Back on topic....
Is there any good fishing along the TCAT?
 

deadly99

Explorer
Good fishing,,,that would be a huge yes. Atlantic ocean, Pacific ocean and way too any lakes and rivers to mention. With some careful planning you could easily make the TCAT a crazy cool fishing trip. Deep sea to fly fishing and everything in-between. Permits and seasons will be linked on our site to help with planning as many other folks have expressed an interest as well.
 

ini88

Adventurer
I find it funny how folks on this forum are so defensive of whatever vechicle they own. On the motorbike forum folks are just stoked if you have a bike and are actually out exploring. I bought a 2 wheel drive Ford Ranger and have been very happy with the decision. My choice was based on fuel economy, price and reliability. To me reliability is the big one, being out in the middle of nowhere and breaking down is a bummer and can often wreck a trip or add to the cost of the trip in a big hurry.

Some folks just like to go mudding (wheeling, bogging..call it what you will) but for an extended expedition style trip a Hyundai Pony would more often than not work just fine. Maybe its just me but I find many people on this forum get a bit anal about what the "best" overland vechicle is. To me the "best" is the one that is out there doing it :ylsmoke:
You are so right Ted. I am on both forums. Bikes and trucks. Its funny to see the differences. Bikers just want to ride and don't care if its kitted out or minimal. Doesn't matter what brand you ride and bikers have a better sense of camaraderie. when you crash, or lay down the bike we all laugh and joke about it. We know how difficult it is to ride.

Truck guys really only stick to their brands, and the more your truck is kitted out the more you seem to be an adventurer. When you don't have a winch and you are stuck, people give you **** for not being prepared and tell you how you suck at driving.

This forum is a bit better than some as it likes to include all adventure people no matter what they drive but the two are still two VERY different worlds.
 
You are so right Ted. I am on both forums. Bikes and trucks. Its funny to see the differences. Bikers just want to ride and don't care if its kitted out or minimal. Doesn't matter what brand you ride and bikers have a better sense of camaraderie. when you crash, or lay down the bike we all laugh and joke about it. We know how difficult it is to ride.
Well, there's always a bit of friction between KTM riders and all the other brands that don't break down as much. ;) You know, you wait for us in the corners, we wait for you back at camp. :D

Yep, lots of fishing along the route as well as on many other sideroads near the TCAT. It goes right through lots of prime fishing areas.
 

zeke2.0

Adventurer
Well, there's always a bit of friction between KTM riders and all the other brands that don't break down as much. ;) You know, you wait for us in the corners, we wait for you back at camp. :D

Yep, lots of fishing along the route as well as on many other sideroads near the TCAT. It goes right through lots of prime fishing areas.
awesome, fresh caught fish for dinner is one life's great joys.
 
Better book 6 months to do the trip if you're planning on catching fish every day.

I prefer battered and fried. With a nice beer.

/Not much of of a fisherman
 
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ini88

Adventurer
Well, there's always a bit of friction between KTM riders and all the other brands that don't break down as much. ;) You know, you wait for us in the corners, we wait for you back at camp. :D

Yep, lots of fishing along the route as well as on many other sideroads near the TCAT. It goes right through lots of prime fishing areas.

haha. We wait for you guys to catch up for lunch. You wait for us to bring the dessert :)

I think in the bike world its more of a light hearted picking on each other more than anything. BMW vs KTM vs Suzuki vs Honda vs Yamaha etc. but in the end we all ride and we all seem to hate cages :)
 
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