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Old 08-29-2009, 04:46 PM   #14
Bikebits OP
Scramblin' man
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Joined: Dec 2005
Location: Southwestern Ontario
Oddometer: 241
Day(& night) 6 & 7


The mods are pretty much what you can see in the pictures. Handguards, windshield, Honda CRF shift lever, Suzuki RM footpegs, ATV gas can mount, Triumph gel seat, Ikon shocks and luggage. I detailed the mods some time ago on the Scrambler thread in 'Beasts'.

The only shortcomings were the small tank that necessitated stopping for gas every 225 km and the stock length shocks don't have enough travel for the rough stuff. The bike purred like a kitten for the whole trip, 0 oil used. Can't ask much more than that.

Day 6 was to be pretty laid back, waiting for the coastal ferry, Sir Robert Bond. Cold and rainy again, so after a bit of souvenir hunting we got to the ferry terminal early and cracked out a couple of books to pass the time. Check in started at 2 PM, vehicles lined up at 3, boarding at 4 and departure at 5.

We had made reservations for important stages of the trip in advance, with the rest left to chance. The ferry was reserved with a two berth cabin, as it was an overnight trip leaving Goose Bay at 5 pm and getting to Cartwright at 6 am the next day.

As we were waiting for the ferry, a pair of KTM adventures with Georgia plates showed up. We had seen them around town earlier in the day. We chatted to the riders who turned out to be Jim and Aussie Darren from the 'Labrador or Bust' thread.

They had 990 and 950 Adventures looking like they were kitted out for the Dakar. Jim had done a solo ride to Terra del Fuego and Darren had done Alaska so there was some serious adventure riding cred here. They had done the Baie Comeau-Lab City & Lab City-Goose Bay legs in two days each. When we told them we had done them in a day apiece I think we got a bit of cred for ourselves.

Another interesting rider we met was Bill from Grand Rapids MI. He did the Trans-Lab solo on an Aprilia sportbike. Kudos Bill, that's all I can say.

The Sir Robert Bond is not a drive-on, drive-off ferry, so all vehicles had to enter, do a u-turn, and then back into place. This lengthened the loading process considerably, however having a watertight bow would be a worthwhile consolation with some of the weather they see.

The Bond does a coastal circuit to the remote Labrador communities that have no road access, as well as bridging the gap in the highway between Goose Bay and Cartwright.

Our cabin was small, but at least we had one. Our American compatriots hadn't reserved one and went on the standby list, waiting for a cancellation. As we swapped stories in the bar that evening Bill got word he scored a quad berth, which he shared with his fellow travellers.

At 0430 the PA announced the kitchen was open for breakfast and fifteen minutes later we were told docking would take place in a half hour. Dawn was breaking as we got onto the road in Cartwright at 0600, separating from our fellow riders.

There was a light rain as we set out and the temperature was something less than 10 C. There was a steady flow of vehicles that were making their way south from the ferry.

We stopped for pictures at the point where the final stage of the Trans-Lab is slated to open. This will create a road link from Goose Bay to the south shore of Labrador, bypassing Cartwright. The locals confirmed that next year when the road is opened, the ferry will cease the Goose Bay-Cartwright run.

After 225 km we arrived at Port Hope Simpson for gas, a snack and to warm up. The Labrador flag flies everywhere here. Its colours represent the blue of the sea, the green of the forests and the white of the snow. A spruce twig is for the tree that is found in every part of Labrador.

By noon, due to our early start, we were as far as Red Bay. In the 1980's when I was working for Parks Canada I had heard a lot about this discovery of a Basque whaling settlement from the 1500s.

We went through the site, marvelling at how men in a small boat could think it was a smart idea to harpoon a whale that outweighed their vessel by a factor of 100. It made our Trans-Labrador ride look like child's play by comparison.

By mid afternoon we were settled in our seaside cabin in Forteau, conveniently located across the street from a gas station, restaurant, and general store. 479 km today, with pavement beginning at Red Bay. We'd reached the end of the gravel roads

We went for a short ride (17 km) to scout out the location for the next morning's ferry across the Strait of Belle Isle to Newfoundland.

Having determined tomorrow's plan, what should we see but Jim and Darren on their KTMs. We figured out we would all be on the 1030 ferry to the island the following day.

We returned to Forteau and Bruce had the idea of picking up something from the store for tomorrow's breakfast. When we got there, it was five after six and the store closed at six. We inquired in the attached restaurant at supper, and the lady said she could have the owner open the store for us, if only we could wait a bit as he was also the chef and the dinner rush was on. The hospitality of the residents is from a time gone by.

Tomorrow: south to the Rock and warnings of Hurricane Bill.

'06 Triumph Scrambler Trans-Labrador veteran

Bikebits screwed with this post 08-30-2009 at 05:51 AM
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