Ever since I finished my first trip to Labrador last year (see the RR linked in my sig below), I've been plotting a return to experience it again, and of course to ride the newly-completed Phase III section. As MZcountryboy said in my ride report last year, Labrador has a draw, and I couldn't get it out of my mind for months after I got home. I was eager for more.
So I started planning my return -- but this time, since my buddy James wouldn't be able to come along again, there'd be no support vehicle, and I opted for my V-Strom instead of the XR650L for its superior ability to carry supplies and operate at highway speeds on the paved portions of the trip.
Originally the plan was to ride the Trans-Lab to Blanc-Sablon, then take the Relais Nordik coastal ferry along the St Lawrence to where Rt 138 begins in Natashquan. But this ferry turned out to cost nearly $500 once factoring in bike, rider, cabin, and food -- too expensive. So the route went back to the standard one through Newfoundland and Cape Breton.
I also started talking to several other friends about the trip. It quickly caught the attention of my friend Roman, who had been wanting to do a long trip up into Canada. My buddy Jason, with whom I'm planning to ride to Alaska next year, was interested as well. And eventually the group was joined by Martin, an ADV inmate from New Jersey who found out we'd be doing the trip at the same time as him and asked if he could join up with us as far as Newfoundland.
So over the summer, bikes got prepped, supplies were ordered, and plans were finalized. The evening before departure, I packed the bike and tried to go to sleep early.