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Old 08-27-2013, 03:12 PM   #1
Canuman OP
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Come Near At Your Peril - Dual-Sporting "The Rock"

Newfoundland was the last province to enter the Canadian Confederation. The island juts into the Atlantic on Canada's east, at approximately the same latitude as France. It is famous for rugged coastlines, a more rugged interior, icebergs, the wreck of the Titanic, strong tea, stronger rum, hardy cheerful residents, howling winds, lashing rainstorms, moose, big rocks, small rocks, rounded rocks, gravel, sand, sharp rocks, ledges and boulders.

There's a little bit of muddy soil and millions of trees strewn over the surface for visual variety.

The island is likely the first place that Europeans made landfall on the North American continent. An excavated Viking settlement at Anse Aux Meadows on the northern tip attests to this.

Newfoundland is no place for the weak or faint of heart. Simply getting there is a challenge. As it is an island, practically everything must arrive by sea. Four ferries serve Port Aux Basques on the southwest, with a seasonal ferry to Argentia on the southeast. Another ferry connects St. Barbe near the northwestern tip to Labrador. Our trip was nearly scuttled because one of the ferries struck a rock in the Port Aux Basques harbor in early August, sending it to dry-dock in Halifax and throwing the schedule into chaos. Freight has priority on the service. Tourists are a secondary concern.

If one wishes to avoid the ferries, one can fly into various places, but this is not practical for motorcyclists, nor is it particularly cheap. A quick search reveals that a trip from Montreal to the capital, St. Johns, will set one back about $550. There's no rental service on Newfoundland, anyway, so if you want to ride, you have to come ready. The nearest motorcycle rental is outside Halifax, NS, and costs at minimum $150 per day.

I began planning a trip to The Rock nearly a year ago. Although I habitually travel solo, it seemed the better part of wisdom to put a group together for safety and mutual support. It was a good decision.

Initially, it appeared that eight riders would participate. Unfortunately, one broke a leg, another suffered from an injured wrist, and various others had to drop out for scheduling reasons. On the evening of August 18, the following riders met at the ferry dock on North Sydney, Nova Scotia:

Applicant_255, or Adam.




If you were casting a cowboy film, Adam would probably be known as "Slim." From New Brunswick, Canada, Adam is an accomplished rider, a talented photographer, and wastes few words. Although he was riding the heaviest bike, his polished riding skills took him up the roughest trails without a single bike nap. Not so for the rest of us.

AtlasEXP, or Anton



Originally from St. Petersburg, Russia, Anton is cheerfully vulgar, funny, and generous. If you are down in a mud hole, he's the first off his bike to help. His panniers hold a bewildering assortment of hatchets, saws, shovels and other technical gear. For Anton, there is no such thing as a small camp fire. He's a skilled wilderness mechanic. He rides hard, sleeps instantly, and is usually the last to be ready to go in the morning. Packing all that equipment takes time.

8GV, or Rich



From Connecticut, Rich is a pilot and entrepreneur, an inveterate consumer of junk food and fried clams, and often the voice of reason. He's a Swedish sex bomb. For some reason the ladies seem naturally attracted to him. While we were hunkered down for lunch one day, a particularly fine young lady walked over to our group and engaged Rich in conversation for a full 20 minutes, ignoring the rest of us. Us byse felt entirely left out and a bit sullen. Sadly we couldn't find any Icy-Hot to smear in the liner of his sleeping bag that evening.

Canuman, or Tim



Your humble narrator, from Vermont. Route planner, navigator, and documentarian. Thought by some to be a general know-it-all and a PITA. I'm glad that the rest of these guys had the patience and good humor to put up with me for a week. The photo is from another inmate on my RedNEK Rendezvous ride, as I rarely take pictures of myself.

This is a representation of our route. We stuck to the western portion of the island, and planned days from 150 to 200 miles. Although these may seem to be very short segments, it was at times difficult to even make the goal of 150. Conditions on The Rock are all-on.



And so it begins.

Men, hurrah for our own native Isle, Newfoundland,
Not a stranger shall hold one inch of her strand;
Her face turns to Britain, her Back to the Gulf,
Come near at your peril, Canadian Wolf!


From the Anti-Confederation movement, first penned in 1869 and revived in 1947-1949

A recent edit (Jan 9, 2014): As with many ride reports, this one comes with some meat and quite a lot of friendly banter. If you have the stomach to filter out the banter, you'll be rewarded with some world-class photography by other riders on pages 16 and 17. The saga continues.
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Canuman screwed with this post 01-08-2014 at 09:39 PM
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Old 08-27-2013, 03:23 PM   #2
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I'm in...

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Old 08-27-2013, 03:25 PM   #3
damurph
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You know I am so IN on this one!!!
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Old 08-27-2013, 03:33 PM   #4
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This looks good, I'm in.
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Old 08-27-2013, 03:35 PM   #5
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Waiting for this one

This should be good!
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Old 08-27-2013, 04:32 PM   #6
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Woot Woot

I'm here.
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Old 08-27-2013, 04:46 PM   #7
Littlepeter
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Could I have some mooore?
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Old 08-27-2013, 04:47 PM   #8
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Location: Canoodia, eh?
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Boys,

As the Moran who broke his leg, I'm anxiously awaiting this RR.

Tim, get on with it boy!

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Old 08-27-2013, 04:52 PM   #9
Canuman OP
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The Bikes

On The Rock, simple and reliable trumps horsepower and fancy bits every time. Looking at my GPS, we averaged about 30 mph including running slab, and were often much slower on rough terrain. There are few places to obtain even basic parts outside of St. Johns and Corner Brook , although there are many quad dealers where things such as spark plugs can be bought. We were blessed with few mechanical difficulties. Rich (I'll use first names here; as it's easier) flooded his DR650's cylinder one day by forgetting to turn off his petcock in the evening. Anton properly diagnosed the situation, and pulled the plug. A few cranks on the magic button had the cylinder clear and everyone drenched with atomized gas. It cut down the urge to smoke.

Adam rode a late model KLR650, properly outfitted with the best that Princess Auto could afford. We never hit Princess Auto, but it's on my list for the next time through. Adam's KLR is pretty much bog-standard, although he's played with the jetting so he can pop a wheelie in fourth. In the dew and the fog of the early morning, we'd often see him spraying lubricant and speaking soothing words to his steed. For tires, he ran Dunlop 606s, which chunked off on the slab on the way up. Missing knobs aside, he was fine. It's not the bike, it's the rider.



Rich rode a new-to-him DR650, with a Michelin T63 front and a "Golden Boy" on the rear. Rich formerly rode a KLR250, and was just getting used to the larger displacement. Sorry for the rock chips on the paintwork, mate.



For Anton, more is more. His DRZ400 was equipped with a 5.10 Dunlop 606 rear, and a matching tire up front. He went through some trouble fitting the Tubliss system to the bike. It paid off. The sole flat we had was on Red Indian Lake road. Pulling and patching a tube would have sucked heartily. Anton holed his front. Counting the time stripping gear and searching through bags, we were down seven minutes. The actual repair took thirty seconds with a gummy plug, and a quick shot of CO2 brought the tire back up to operating pressure. Although there are some downsides to the Tubliss system, I'm convinced of its worth. We'll get to the shattered windscreen and the bungee cord later.



I cheated and equipped my DRZ400E with trials tires. I came to bikes relatively late, and need to cheat wherever I can. In these conditions, the Pirelli MT43 and DOT IRC Trials front were perfect, although the trials tires chuck rocks like no tomorrow.

A big thanks to the Wolfman for his luggage. The expedition dry bags and the Rolie bags as tank bags kept things dry and safe. That old REI bag on the back is still holding strong after nearly 30 years and tens of thousands of miles on several continents.

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Old 08-27-2013, 06:25 PM   #10
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The RR is off to a great start Tim. I'm going to enjoy the hell out of this!
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Old 08-27-2013, 06:39 PM   #11
Canuman OP
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We missed the hell outn' you Tom. What a fine big land we saw! You would have been skidding and roosting with the best. We'll go back if we can.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jackpiner57 View Post
The RR is off to a great start Tim. I'm going to enjoy the hell out of this!
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Old 08-30-2013, 05:27 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canuman View Post
We missed the hell outn' you Tom. What a fine big land we saw! You would have been skidding and roosting with the best. We'll go back if we can.
Fantastic photo's and writing Tim! I don't feel like I'm reading a ride report. I feel more like I'm there with you guys............only my tent is dry, my ass doesn't hurt, and I'm saving a lot of gas money.

Thanks Anton for the high res pics too!
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Old 08-30-2013, 05:43 PM   #13
Canuman OP
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Next time through, Tom. I'd glady go back with you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jackpiner57 View Post
Fantastic photo's and writing Tim! I don't feel like I'm reading a ride report. I feel more like I'm there with you guys............only my tent is dry, my ass doesn't hurt, and I'm saving a lot of gas money.

Thanks Anton for the high res pics too!
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http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=915172
Dual Sport Luggage Racks: http://www.moto-racks.com
hONORARY mEMBER fIRST aMERICAN cHAPTER tEAM nONGA (pROVISIONAL wING)

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Old 08-30-2013, 05:57 PM   #14
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Alas I'm stranded away from my pc with no way to post my pics.

But I haven't a pic of how my bike crossed the river anyway and as such, a text explanation is what you get.

After Tim crossed (and promptly disappeared from view) Anton and Adam were getting ready to support my attempt. Not wanting to have to set a compound fracture, Anton "suggested" that Adam ride my bike across.

Adam is 6'2" (unknown metric), young and strong. I am none of that. He rode my DR across.

My ego handled it well in part because Adam delegated to me the videoing of the crossing. I kind of failed at that by prioritizing not falling in the river as they crossed.

Once all were safely on the other side I asked Adam if he'd ridden a DR before. He had not and took the opportunity to declare (in Dos Equis fashion):

"I don't ever ride DR's but when I do, I cross rivers."

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Old 08-27-2013, 07:21 PM   #15
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Loving it...

I think you should forgo the 3 days of sleep your body is aching for and continue writing strictly for our entertainment! Seriously, great ride report and I can't wait to see the rest!
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