Yet another Translab report... Owen and Mark do Labrador
I've heard it said "the greatest adventures start with piss poor planning", so I'm doing my best to prepare for this ride, sweating the details.
On the other hand, I'm told "weight is the enemy" so I'm trying to keep the list to just the essentials required for this two week ride. How am I doing so far?
No matter what I do to shave weight, there's still not enough room for all my "essential" gear.
I've been planning do do this ride for a year now and we're down to the wire. Tomorrow morning we depart from Toronto, heading for Quebec and wouldn't you know it, just my luck:huh
the hurricane decides to arrive the same day we do :freaky
oh well, I could think of worse places to hunker down for a day or two... stay tuned:evil
Once you hit gravel, gas up at every opportunity. Keep your speed down. Don't try to ride at the same speed as the trucks - just move over a bit and let them go by. Keep your speed down. Have fun. Oh yes - did I mention, keep your speed down.
Owen and I met up Sunday morning in Mississauga at the alter to caffein. Quick stop for gas and we were on the way.Let the fun begin:clap
3 hours later, we were into the tailwind of hurricane Irene. What started out as irritating buffeting wind soon turned into menacing blasts trying to rip the helmet right off your head. At times the bike was heeled over as if making a hard left turn but for miles on end.
By the time we hit Montreal, the storm was in full force. We rode right through 50-100mm of rain and wind gusts of 60-100kmh. At times it was down right scary:eek1
One kind young French Canadian driver gestured to me from his car, tapping his temple with his index finger:huh ... no idea what he meant.
So we made it to Berthierville, just east of Montreal, but well short of our goal of Quebec City before calling it quits. I've had enough of this fun for today:wink:
Tomorrow we take a look at the weather forecast before we head out.
This pic doesn't do the storm any justice, but when the bullrushes are lying horiziontal, you get the idea.
Mark you're awesome and maybe a little nuts.
Hopefully the worst of the weather is behind you and you're on your way.:clap
Best of luck. I'll be checking in daily to watch for your report.
Good luck fellers,
The same bit of bad luck hit me last September on my Trans Lab trip. It was Hurricane Ivan or Earl - I can't remember. I had some very poor weather driving up through Quebec like you two, it was beautiful through Labrador and NFLD for the most part, but I got socked off the ferry in Sydney and most of the whole way home. Stay safe.
You probably won't need that spare tire on the BMW.... I hope you won't need it anyway.
My ride report is attached to my blog which is linked.... September of 2010.
This morning I pulled back the drapes and couldn't believe my eyes. Clear blue skies:clap A picture perfect day for a ride.
We loaded up and head east with the hope of making Baie Comeau for dinner. The ride to Quebec City was an absolute joy in comparison to what we had endured the previous day, but the real surprise was the drive along the 138 on the north shore, east of Quebec. This area is so pretty it's a worthwhile destination all in itself. Rolling hills with elevation changes and beautiful shoreline villages with colourfully painted cape cod homes. We were in heaven.
About 30km from the ferry at Tadoussac, we arrived in a little town called Saint Simeon. There was a roadblock up ahead. I figured it was another cleanup crew removing downed trees from the road. Unfortunately not so. The hurricane has washed out the road in two spots and will not be repaired until tomorrow at the earliest:huh. The town also has no hydro. 100,000 people on the north shore are without power.
The alternative route would be for us to head northwest 125kms to Saguenay where we could cross the Fjord, then back across to Tadousac another 125kms, but that road is washed out too. If the road isn't ready to open, we will have to take the ferry south across the St Lawrence to Riviere du Luop, then east up the shore to Matane where we can ferry north across the St Lawrence again to Baie Comeau. Two days on the road and already we're a day behind schedule.
Our concern is that if there is this much damage here, what's it going to be like in Labrador?
On a positive note, we couldn't be stranded in a more beautiful setting. We rented a cabin overlooking the St Lawrence and sat on the porch with a pint watching dozens of whales swimming up the river. What a fabulous surprise:D
Baie St Paul Cathedral. every little town has at least one of these.
Lunch in Baie St Paul. the best pannini sandwich ever! curried chicken with cumin and raisins.
view from the front porch Saint Simeon, gorgeous.
We watched a couple of dozen beluga whales work their way up the St Lawrence from the front porch.
chef Owen at work.
The roads crew worked on the washouts all night and by the morning had 1 lane open. We waited our turn to get through the construction and were on our way. Half an hour later we were at the Tadoussac Ferry.
we continued on to Baie Comeau then north to Manic 5 Hydro Electric dam. Unfortunately the road had suffered some serious erosion damage from the storm and washed out in half a dozen or more spots. The wait at each repair section wass painful. Pull up, shut the bikes off and wait. By the time we got to Manic 5 the day was done:huh
the obligatory Manic 5 pic.
we stayed at the workers quarters at Manic5. 12 rooms, 1 bathroom, small but clean, good deal
Owen swaps out the rear tire in preparation for the dirt ahead
When I gassed up at Manic5, I met BostonGS. He did the route counterclockwise and had a nasty crash just outside of Port Hope Simpson. He hit the grader berm at 100kmh and went down really hard. He was knocked out cold and has some nasty rash on his back. The bike suffered a broken handlebar, windshield, gauges and pannier. He had it towed to a shop in Port Hope and had it welded back together and soldiered on. Hope you're feelin better Boston. Nice to meet you!
Relais Gabriel gas stop. We met this group of atv riders from Mont Tremblant on their way to Fermont via fire roads and snowmobile trails.
breathtaking scenery up here!
Iron ore mines in Fermont, the entire lake is stained red from the ore tillings.
endless views on the translab
Quebec hydro has reduced the mighty Churchill river to a mere trickle.
We had a fantastic day today, riding from Manic5 to Churchill Falls. The gravel sections of the road are in great shape. We were able to run 95-100kmh for most of the day. WHAT A BLAST!!!
please keep posting on road conditions from storm. I leave in 7 days for my run at the tras-lab
you will be fine next week. The roads are being repaired 24-7.
On the translab, just watch out for the grader berms, if you hit one on an angle, it will take the front wheel out from underneath you:eek1
Keep it coming. :clap
Great report and pics so far. Waiting for more. :lurk
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today was an absolutely beautiful day for a ride. 12c in the morning, 23c in the afternoon, and for once, a TAILWIND:D
Our plan was a half day ride from Churchill to Goose (286kms) with a little sightseeing along the way.
We crossed paths with 4 other riders going counter clockwise today.
The road is in great shape and we were able to stand up and bomb it at 100-110kmh for long stretches at a time. There are a couple of sections with deep marbles that demanded your full attention, so just be careful:wink:
At one point, probably at the halfway mark, I thought I had a front flat. I was standing on the pegs doing 110kmh when the front end went into a wobble. I slowly backed off the gas and the wobble got worse. The bike wouldn't turn and I quickly found myself on the wrong side of the road. I pulled over to the other side and stopped expecting a flat, but no flat... the gravel is sitting on top of 2-3 inches of soft sand:eek1. For the most part, the road is in great condition, but this was one small reminder that you need to be careful and pay attention ALL the time or it will bite you!!!
Owen being the veteran of Patagonia, New Zealand, Thailand etc, gave me a simple tip that allowed me to stand up for much longer periods of time without getting sore feet or tiring. He told me to fold down the passenger pegs and stagger my stance one foot on a rider peg and the other on a passenger peg. Great tip, I was able to stand for half an hour at a time before having to reposition:1drink
another of the dozens of rivers that cross the translab
these little road crew towns are everywhere. unfortunately, the translab will be asphalt from one end to the other in a few years.
here's where I had the flat that wasn't a flat. Turned out the road surface changed to 2-3" of silty soft sand/gravel... watch out!
They don't call this place "The Big Land" for nothing
92kms west of Goose, the gravel ends.
Muskrat falls scenic lookout. a great place to free camp outside of Goose.
Muskrat falls. 10 minutes off the highway and a 10 minute walk through the bush. well worth the effort!
better get up there soon if you want to see the falls Quebec Hydro has plans to dam this one next.
the wish you were here postcard
robocop hiding from his creditors
Happy Valley is a complete shithole. We weren't in town for 30 seconds before the first native asked us to buy him a coffree followed by money for lunch. In the morning the same guy btracked us down to the hotel and was waiting outside for a handout.
Seemed like every girl nover the age of 12 was pushing a stroller.
Can't get outa here fast enough.
Tomorrow is a long day Goose to Port Hope Simpson, Over 400kms, hope the Orange pig can do it, she likes her petrol.
Glad you are having a great time :)
Hey Mark, glad to see you two are having a great time. All your employees at the shop are having a relaxing time off while you are away, lol. Just kidding. How are the Kenda tires working for you? I am having mine installed at work later today. Looking forward to seeing more great pics from your adventure, stay safe buddy.
hey Robb, sup? 2500kms in and the kendas are half done. I'll try and make it home on them, but may have to pickup a rear along the way:1drink
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