A Northbound Adventure, Part Four – The Long Trip Home

“Lets drive north as far as we can go” Begin Part One –> here.

At 3:35 PM, August 31, 1966, Tom and I, in my Austin Healey Sprite, gazed at the long wooden road-barrier before us, and then made a “U” turn to head home. We had traveled 918 miles (1,477 km,) and on a global scale, changed latitude by 9.1 degrees, or about 1/5 distance to the north pole. Longitude changed by a mere 0.2 degrees, almost straight north.

Re-tracing our route back 21 miles (34 km,) through Chibougamau again, we turned west onto Rt. 58, (Rt. 113,) on what was the only alternate route back the United States.  Information about that road ahead, was sketchy as provided by locals filling our gas tank with fuel.

Above: The barrier (Route du Nord) to Senneterre would be 225 miles (365 km) and take about nine hours to sometime after midnight on a route only about 10% paved. 

Forty minutes after starting on Rt. 58, we passed through Chapais, the last town of any significance and last pavement we would see for hours. This sparsely populated region was home to the local Cree Indian communities, (see here)  known as the Waswanipi.

Pausing at this bridge just before sunset in the town of Waswanipi, the road would deteriorate considerably after this crossing.

A grueling four or five dusty hours would follow as we moved on into the night. Traveling virtually alone under the northern stars, seeing only a rare passing vehicle, amenities like fuel and light food were available only every 40 or 50 miles (64 or 80 km), although typically for us, a simple request like “ice cream” would prove a bit challenging when asking the well-meaning French-speaking Waswanipi. 

Every few hours, Tom and I switched drivers, but the primitive road made sleep fleeting at best for the passenger. Having to occasionally pitch in and help free the Sprite from being  bogged down in soft ruts proved a little distracting to any kind of worthwhile rest. These conditions were particularly challenging during the last 125 miles (201 km) with our progress restricted to often under 25 mph (40 km.) The welcome return to pavement would finally come near the town of Senneterre, as we continued south just after midnight.

In the following late-night hours, we would drive an additional 100 miles (161 km) along the paved road within La Verendrye Provincial Park, and sunrise would occur shortly later as we reached populated areas about 50 miles (80 km) from Ottawa, Canada.

Above: 9:30 AM, approaching the St. Lawrence River at Cornwall, Ontario, and the bridge back into the United States. 

Below: From the bridge, a good view of the locks and Eisenhower Power Plant on the river below, 1,500 miles (2,414 km) into the trip.

As the air warmed, the top came off the car once more as it would be an additional 11 hours of daytime driving through New York State, including a slight detour to Oneonta, a college town where Tom would shortly be beginning his next year of studies.  

Note the modern-day Google “travel time” above is based on paved roads, 53 years after the actual 28.5 hours on primitive roads in 1966.

 

At about 8:00 PM that evening, we would be back in Bergenfield after 1,957 total miles (3,150 km) in slightly less than three days.

Our final northern-most point was only about 6 miles (9.5 km) west of directly north, the basic objective of going north as far as we could go by car.

Below: Lat 40.9 deg., Long -74.0       Above: Lat 50.01 deg., Long -74.19

As usual, comments are always welcome. Most images can be enlarged with tapping of finger stretching. Thanks to Google Maps and Wikipedia for certain images and information used for this series. M 🙂

 

 

A Northbound Adventure – Part Three

Today, Wednesday, we would continue the adventure from Roberval, arriving at what would be our ultimate destination, indicated below as “Route du Nord”

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The 185 mi (298 km) from Roberval would take us about 5 1/2 hours this day, compared to the 3h 22m indicated on the 2018 Google image, the route now …all pavement!)

In Part Two, I covered our initial 725 miles (1,167 km) non-stop drive over just under 22 hours from New Jersey to Roberval, Quebec Province, Canada. “Day Two” began at 9:45 AM August 31, 1966, in that lakeside town, driving North-West among more alpine lakes enjoying a smooth, well maintained paved road.

Within about 35 miles (56 km), however, we came across this worrisome signpost just inside another provincial park, (“Chibougamau Reserve”) indicating the end of the pavement. 😦

65 mph (104 km/hr.) was no longer practical on the gravel surface that stretched endlessly ahead. Stones occasionally pelted the sides of the car; and as this was lumber country, massive logging trucks would fly by enveloping us in choking clouds of dirt and dust.

It would be 115 miles (186 km) before reaching pavement again, at the junction of Rt. 58 West (now known as Rt. 113.)  After hours of gravel, the Sprite’s ride felt smoother than ever! Eight miles (13 km) later we would be in the last town while heading north in this part of the world, Chibougamau, serving a growing copper mining region, logging, and the Royal Canadian Air Force radar services.

Continuing, …the pavement ended again just past the town, as we once again were on the gravel road. Thirty minutes later we arrived at the barrier shown below. Its deterrent-rousing presence seemed to emphasize increasing aches and pains, emotional drain and weariness to us, not to mention the effects of dust inhalation and a worsening cold, on my part. We decided this would be our turn-around point as the road would end about 100 miles (161 km) further with limited or no amenities, and likely little change in scenery.

   3:25 PM, 8/31/66, 918 car miles (1477 km) – 632 miles (1017 km) as the crow flies.

The non-stop return trip would first take us over 200 miles (322 km) on an unprecedented, unexpected overnight challenge of gravel and poorly maintained, primitive dirt road before reaching dawn and the increase of population, north of Ottawa!

See the conclusion of  “A Northbound Adventure,” (Part Four) here.

Thanks for viewing, and comments are always welcome. Zoom-in or finger-stretch for a closer view of the maps and images. M 🙂

 

 

 

A Northbound Adventure to the End of the Road – Part One, Prologue

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It was late August. Summer jobs were finishing and my friend and I wanted to do something different before returning to school. “Let’s drive north, as far as we can go!”

(Three-second pause …) “Ok!”

Although my 1962 Austin Healy Sprite was slightly damaged by a rear-ending just a week before, its fun handling characteristics and open-air ambiance was an easy choice of vehicle, not to mention great mileage for college kid’s stingy budgets.

There was little debate, and in the warm, humid air of a New Jersey evening, we decided, …the trip was on.

Back in 1966, there was no internet or Google Maps. Preparation was more fly-by-wire as our available time and financial resources didn’t allow many options besides just …going! The Sinclair, Mobil, or Exxon paper maps were our planning media, and if it wasn’t on the map, we’d have to resort to local advice along the way.

Below is the 1098 cc Sprite as it appeared ten months prior our trip, when it was …clean! (“FANG,” the dog, agreed to be the model!)

See Part Two here. 

As usual, click on or stretch for a closer view, and comments are always welcome. M 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reflections – Sunset from Sunrise, Forked River, NJ and Kennebunkport, Maine

Above: Peace and tranquility at sunset off Sunrise (Blvd.) 11/11/10
What is this? I’m not sure. But it was in a mirror calm harbor, Kennebunkport, Maine –  7/16 /10

As usual, thanks for viewing, zoom in for a closer look, and comments are always welcome. M 🙂

                                                         and….thinking of Danny!

Clearing the Air – of Fog… and Raising the Bar

My last post featured a barely visible bridge across the Delaware River near where George Washington famously crossed from New Jersey to Pennsylvania on Christmas Day, 1776. That experience was interesting because of the heavy air and dense fog, but the picture  didn’t quite convey the ambiance.

I like the following two images a lot better however, near where George Shaw has gained some notoriety…

Background Of These Images

Jeanne and I were in Canada at “Niagara on the Lake,” which hosts the Shaw Festival each year, …the second largest repertory theater company in North America, staging plays written and inspired by George Bernard Shaw. Located on the shoreline of Lake Ontario at the mouth of the Niagara River, this quaint little town is about 24km (15mi) north of the Falls.

These positive slide film images were taken from the scenic Canadian Niagara Parkway on April 23rd, 1997.

As always, thanks for viewing and you can click-on or finger-stretch to zoom in. Comments are always welcome. M 🙂 

Rebirth in Great Smoky Mts. – Serenely Beautiful

DSC_0314    See updated version of this post (with Zoom In capability)  here

A wonderful five mile one-way roadway just east of Gatlinsburg, Tennessee, in the foothills of Mount LeConte, the third highest peak in the Great Smoky Mountains, at 6,923′ (2010 m.) The turn-outs allow access to old growth forest, streams, waterfalls, wildlife and more. Recently, Sandy Paws and I found unexpected tranquility in the resurgence of forest life, ten months after devastating fires scorched the region. 

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A short walk from one of the turn-outs, leads to a small summit, elevation 2,900 feet (884 m) as shown photographically in the last picture above, and located on the topo renditions here.

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Thanks as usual for viewing, and click on for a closer look. Comments are always welcomed. M 🙂