Hudson Bay or Bust Road Trip II

Here's a MINI event sent in by David Rose that's worth a mention:

It all started with a posting on MINI2, and

Driving home from work one evening I had a fresh idea…driving in NY/NJ during rush hour sucks. Not very challenging, hot, humid, too much traffic and, horror of horrors, I have been passing MINIs lately that don't wave! (Can you imagine that?)

So I thought, what better way to remedy this then another ROAD TRIP?

And by far, one of the best road trips I've taken was the Hudson Bay or Bust trip in October of 2002. That was in the fall. It was very colorful, and just a tad cold.

Now, I am thinking FEBRUARY 2005. I posted, and sure enough it only took a few hours for some more nuts to come out of the woodwork. 'I'll go!' 'Sounds like fun!' 'I'm in!'

The Place and Concept:
As a kid I always wanted to see Hudson Bay. Well, it ends up that short of joining the Coast Guard, there is no way to get there because Hudson Bay proper is not attached to the lower North American continent by a contiguous road.

The Timing:
We are presently looking at an extended Presidents' Day weekend in February 2005. Friday, February 18 we leave, and home (some of us) on Monday the 21st, or (most of us) Tuesday, February 22nd. Of course, Monday is a legal holiday here in the States.

The Conditions:
Ah, cold. Average daily temperature for Radisson is -40 degrees. Doesn't matter whether I am talking Fahrenheit or Celsius, because both scales cross right there on the thermometer.

However, the James Bay Road is probably maintained better than many roads here in NY. The whole purpose of the road is to supply the Hydro plants up there. And since something like 70% of Quebec's power comes from those plants, the road is considered important. Plowed right to the end.

I can attest to the quality of the driving on the James Bay Road. When I checked in at the beginning of the road, the forest ranger said not to worry about speeding because there are no Quebec Police or RCMP because their radios don't work up there so they don't go there. J

On dry roads, 90-100 mph the whole way. And, I can tell you from experience that MINIs fly very well, thank you, when you do a frost heave at 90 mph. However, this road should have a good layer of snow packed onto it, so even though we'll have to drive slower, there won't be any flying!


The Itinerary and Activities:
As we are talking a trip that is still 6 months off, the details are still a little sketchy. So far, it seems like:

Hudson Valley and South, and all of New England will leave their respective starts early Friday, February 18th, 2005. We plan on catching up just south of the US/Canadian border, and driving across together. From there, we will probably get to about Val d' Or, which is the home' of the Canadian gold mining industry.

(We would love people from points west catch up with us too: Ontario, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Michigan. We can meet somewhere north of Montreal.)

Saturday morning, north to the check in point on the James Bay Road in Matagami. Then, 600 km of excellent driving.

While we haven't looked further than mentioning it, we'd also like to do something else Sunday that would be regional'. Maybe venturing out onto the ice, dog sledding and the like. There are plenty of Free guides who would love to be hired out for just about anything we want to do.

Monday, bright and early we are home again on the James Bay Road. We'll probably head as far south as time will allow, then pull over to a motel for the evening. This might be as far south as Montreal. Those with two drivers can, of course, continue to drive on home.

Tuesday would be the final day to get home for those that stayed over Monday.

So, want to join us?

If you're interested, please email me for details at There is also a lively thread on the MINI2 board under New England events. And, we have posted some information here: You can also find some addition photos and the story of the original trip here:

We'd love to have you come. There is no limit to the number of people, and the more the merrier. We should start to get an idea about December or so whether we'll have more people coming then there are motel rooms for in Radisson.

  • Patrick

    That would be so hot…. Cold… Sounds amazing. I would love to join in on this arctic adventure, but alas… i dont think i will be able to. if this changes, i will be sure to get in touch!

  • Deborah

    Where's the Hudson Valley (for those of us outside of New England who might be crazy enough to consider this)?

  • Matt

    wow, sounds like a blast. if i can convince my wife…

  • RB

    Love the dog sled pic.

    Gee let me seeeee, nope way too cold for this SoCal surfer guy. I would rather sit on a block of ice for an hour.

    But if I was a cold weather person and lived near by I'd do it.

    Have a great time and be sure too keep us informed of the journey.


  • Scott

    Deborah – Hudson Valley area is NY/NJ border around Tappan Zee bridge. At least that's what David called it when we headed up for MINIs on Top.

  • Richard

    Madness….sheer madness.

  • RB

    Sounds like skid plates are in order…RB

  • Scott

    RB – as long as the skid plates have retractable skis, you're in good shape!

  • Paul

    Perhaps we could persuade Jesse James to bring out the Monster Garage converted MINI COOPER! That sounds ideal for even off-roading up there!

  • RB

    I'm thinking studded snow tires like Petter uses would also be in order.

    Rennen an….RB

  • Gabe, thanks for the posting! Already, crazies are contacting us.

    Everyone else, yeah yeah. We've heard all the excuses. So Cal, well, I could understand Hawaii being an excuse. Wife saying no? That's why MINI put a boot on the car.

    Seriously, this looks like it might be the sleeper trip of the winter. Keep an eye on this one, and contact me if you have any questions!


  • phaedrus

    Hey, I live in Canada and even I think you guys are bonkers. Hudson's Bay? In February?!

    But that has inspired me to try an October run to James Bay…any takers?

  • phaedrus, see the link on my site for my trip in October 2002. It was very neat.

    After you go, com'mon, break down and go again in Feb with us. Or come south the week after to NY, only bring your Hawaiian shirt because it's usually a tepid 85 degrees or so in NY then


    Where's your sense of adventure. Winter! Snow! MINI! Winter! Snow! MINI! Winter!…

  • Jon

    Funny you should do this trip, Gabe. I was just pondering something like this, but it would be in the middle of summer. I think it would be more adventure than me or my wife would be able to take driving up to nearly the arctic circle in the coldest part of winter. Thanks for the invite though! If you decide to ever do one in the summer, we'd be in!

  • Jon,

    Look at the Alcan 5000 rally site. Every 4 years, and in 06 it will be a summer run (04 was winter)

    Seattle area to North Slope area to south again.

    Not as much fun as Hudson Bay this Feb, but hey, any port in a storm 🙂

  • Im Coming . . . I'm in DE now , Already started saving for snow tires / hotel / gas / ect. . .

    Cant wait . . have friends that may drive up from FL to join me with thier MINI's . .

    Please email me if there is anything that i need to plan ahead for . .



  • Aaron

    Going toJames Bay on Labor Day w/ two friends any one want in. We are leaving from detoit area

  • mrfnuts


    Planning to head that way around the same time (labor day). Going to spend a couple weeks at it though. Want to drive the ‘Trans-Taiga’ hwy once up there — 400 miles or so of gravel road, and why you ask? Because it’s there.

    If I don’t see the Northern lights at least one night while up there, I will be rather dissapointed.

  • All the info you need for a trip along the James Bay Road, at