March 24, 2012

Planning for Camping in Parent, QC and Casey, QC

(UPDATE: This trip happened)

If you hadn't noticed, my fall trip to Thunder Bay, Ontario (~1450km) fell through, completely.  By buying my Iltis from Renfrew, I missed out on an awesome 2-3 day camping extravaganza, in near freezing temperatures, across northern Ontario.  Yes, I was in fact looking forward to it.  I'll need to do it eventually, but for now the plan is shelved. 
I hope to extend the trip all the way to Sioux Lookout, Ontario (via Armstrong Station, Ontario).

What I do have on the agenda is the original plan to drive to Casey, Quebec and see the abandoned cold war concrete airstrip. 

Looking at the recorded temperature highs, lows, and averages for the area I think late April or early May are the safest ideas; so the camping party can enjoy the time as best as possible, as soon as possible, without many bugs.  The nights will be cold, so that should kill off the bugs/mosquitoes.  I hope.

Library and Archives Canada
Library and Archives Canada
I discovered that Library and Archives Canada (395 Wellington Street, Ottawa) has several collections including old military archives containing everything from commanding officer logs, to the layouts of sewer systems, where and how roads were constructed, etc..  From that information I should be able to study up on the facility.  I've looked up online, through their search tools, over a half a dozen different applicable files.  I'm hoping to find enough records about RCAF Station Casey to make a composite map/collage of the area, and know where to look for building foundations or other facilities such as water pump facilities, power facilities, sewage facilities, off-site radio facilities, etc. 
From that information we'll know what we're looking at and where we're going.

The National Air Photo Library
(Natural Resources Canada)
The National Air Photo Library
(Natural Resources Canada)
In order to get a better idea of what buildings have stood on the site of the old military airstrip, it only makes sense to consult old air photos.  I've spoken to the staff at the National Air Photo Library (615 Booth Street #180, Ottawa) and they are very eager to help with this kind of research.  I just need to find a time that works for both their office hours and my schedule that will allow me to work with them and review some of the vintage air photos from the 50's, 60's and 70's of the area.

What route?
This is the part that I'm having difficulty with.

The last trip to Parent, Quebec took the main road from Mont Laurier to Parent, but that's easy, because it's the *only* road to Parent!  The road is dirt, but it is very wide and easy to drive.

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Parent, QC to Casey, QC
Casey, QC
Thanks to some local advice I've recently been given, I can confirm that there is a road from Parent to Casey which is passable by regular vehicles, thanks to the 2011 logging which has been happening East of Casey, QC!  Unfortunately it's not really "on the map" yet, but I expect will turn into a real road eventually and get picked up by Google Maps.  It's plainly visible from Parent to Casey all the same, using Google Satellite view.  Disregard the blue line, the road is sand/dirt and viewable pretty much right down the middle, left to right.

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Then comes the challenging bit... Casey, QC back to Ottawa, ON for some, and Montreal, QC for others.

Casey To...
Casey to Montreal or Ottawa share the 1st leg to the Manawan road. The road from the Manawan reserve to Saint Michel Des Saints was built in the 70's, it is a good road, then it's the 131 all the way in to Montreal - but...

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How to get from Casey to Ottawa?
Well... you know the old ditty... You take the high road and I'll take the low road... there's a road on the map, which doesn't look very big, but goes right where I want it to.  I've been burned by Google Maps before, and I'm intent on having it burn me again, so unless someone can tell me that road is a impassable ATV only hell hole I'm going to do it!

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Not Ottawa?
Oh, so you noticed that is not Ottawa... yes indeed, that's the site of the former CFS La Macaza - home of the Canadian 447 SAM Squadron from 1962-1972 who manned the famous BOMARC nuclear tipped anti-aircraft missiles - that's right, one of two nuclear SAM sites on Canadian Soil!  This is the location of the camping trip "BONUS ROUND" if we've made it this far without killing each other or ourselves we can drive by, wave, and likely not actually stop... because the former base is now a medium security prison for sex offenders and recovering substance abusers! 
Camping with me is never dull!

From there we go on to Ottawa!

There we have it.  To Ottawa, via the 323, then the 315, and the 148.

The name of the game will be fill up at every gas station, and drive like a psychopath.  Hey, when in Rome...


1 comment:

  1. Its cool to see you plan a route through that area, my old stomping grounds.