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Old 09-07-2008, 05:39 PM   #1
Katie K OP
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Location: The place where dreams come true.
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Love and Luck in Labrador

Hello all- I am excited to write this ride report about the trip that CJRacer and I took from Milwaukee, WI to Newfoundland via Labrador. I should start by describing the characters and their machinery in this report:

CJRacer: Avid motorbiker, former ATV racer, enjoys the dirt- an adventure rider without a doubt.

Katie K: Novice rider- 3 years on the bike, not much dirt riding experience, questionable adventure rider.

We took off on CJ's KTM 950 Adventure, with all of the bells and whistles that he put on the bike. My bike is the '99 BMW F650. No bells and whistles here, but at least my riding outfit matches the bike!

Day 1: We headed out from Milwaukee early in the am, planning to make it to London, ON or thereabouts. All went well, riding was fine. We were wanting to take the tunnel from Detroit to Windsor, ON; however motorbikes are not allowed. So, the bridge it is. Only problem today was the horribly marked detour to the bridge in Detroit and some thunderstorms.

Here are the rigs all ready to go:

I am really tired right now. So I will be continuing this saga in the days to come...

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Old 09-07-2008, 05:51 PM   #2
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Big tease!

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Old 09-07-2008, 06:01 PM   #3
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Location: Mukwonago, WI
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DAY 1 Aug 9, 2008

Mukwonago, WI to London ON
520 miles

Ok, so my turn I guess.

Katie's bike (99 F650) has been out fitted w/ Carabou luggage boxes mounted via a steal frame I made. Hebco and Beckor Crash bars purchased from Twisted Throttle. I had an old skid plate from an 83Honda XL 500, surprisingly it bolted on w/ little fuss. Drill a few new holes and trim off some excess fat that was in the way and voila....F650 skid plate. Looks pretty good if I do say so myself.

I upgraded the rear shock to an 04 650 Dakar shock just before we left. The stock one was toast and this should handle the extra luggage weight w/o any issues. Hope it works out, only had about 50 miles of testing before we head out.

A new rear luggage rack was installed to strap on a Chase Harpor Alaska Bag to hold her sleeping bag and tarp.

New chain and sprockets installed.

Pulled off the bark busters from my LC4 640 and installed them on the F650.....all bikes need a bit of orange.

Tires choice was a Kings Rear and TKC 80 front.
Bike had about 15K miles.

Loading up the night before the early departure.

I'll be taking my 06 KTM 950S, w/ about 34k miles.

My bike specs can be found here.

New set of TKC 80 installed. I chose the 140 rear instead of the normal 150. This will be my first long ride w/ this tire. I do not plan to change tires on either of these bikes during the trip. From my experience they should make it back home.

New mods on my bike are a tool tube made from the stock silencer w/ a fuel transfer pump. Katie's bike has a range of about 200 miles at freeway speeds, I figure much less once we hit dirt. I will be holding extra fuel for her in my tanks for the long dirt sections between fuel stops in Labrador.

I also installed a Warn 1500 lb winch on my rear rack.......just in case. After reading about a few riders that had gone off the road I thought being able to save ourselves may be nice if needed. My Chase Harper Alaska bag held our tent and my sleeping bag even w/ the winch installed so it worked out just fine.

We have traveled to Mexico's Copper Canyon on 2 weeks trips, so we packed the same amount of clothes figuring we'll be able to find laundry cleaning when needed.

We headed out Aug 9 2008. Early Morn 4:45AM to beat the Chicago traffic.

If was about 60F and very Dark, the brisk ride helped me stay awake.

Just checking the reflectivity of the riding gear.

We made it though Chicago pretty well. Everything is under construction so getting around can be kind of a pain. I hate traffic, freeways were built to move traffic, not to park cars. We purchased I-Pass units before we left. One for each bike and they sure make life much easier on a bike going through tolls. It was sunny and warm all the way to Detroit.

I wanted to go through the tunnel and just figured all vehicles were allowed. We didn't find out until we were 3rd in line and looked DOWN at the ground to see the sign that says no motorcycles. Great place for that.

We got turned around and zigged our way through on coming parked traffic to get out of there and head toward the bridge. Good thing the boarder officers were understanding and just waved in understanding instead of giving us tickets.

It cost $4 a bike to get over the bridge and w/ it starting to rain again I was glad it was a paved bridge and not steel grating. No issues at the border, had lunch at McDonalds in Windsor around 3pm.

We left just in time as the rain started and we kept riding w/ the storm to our back. As we neared London area some lightning bolts were so close I could feel the power in my chest. We stopped to stay at a Best Western at 6:15pm to hide from the storm and rest up for the next day.

We did 520 miles for the day and our expenses were about $200, Gas, food, lodging.

Checked over the bikes and all looked pretty well.

Just before we left my clutch slave started to leak (34K miles). My KTM dealer got me one next day so I installed a new KTM unit and filled up my larger reservoir. It was only about 1/8 full from the leak. Still enough to work, but not good to start a trip like this w/ failing parts. It looked like the Oring failed on the piston and the plastic spacer piece was very warped.
My 2006 950S thread. 2006 950s update
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cjracer screwed with this post 09-09-2008 at 07:01 PM
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Old 09-07-2008, 06:10 PM   #4
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woooooooooooooo...another Labrador sojourn. Fantastic, let's hear about it all..can't wait how it was for you guys.....
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Old 09-08-2008, 05:43 AM   #5
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Hiya CJ...this looks like a good trip
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Old 09-08-2008, 10:27 AM   #6
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I'm looking forward to this!!
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Old 09-08-2008, 12:17 PM   #7
Joined: Jul 2008
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I'm in for another northern adventure
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Old 09-08-2008, 12:24 PM   #8
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Mom always told me I was special and I believe her.
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Old 09-08-2008, 12:28 PM   #9
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Location: Baie-Comeau,Quebec, Canada
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Saw many bike in town (Baie-Comeau) this summer for the trans lab. Saw 2 Gs last week-end...
Offroad? Is where everythings begin!
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Old 09-08-2008, 05:41 PM   #10
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Always enjoy reading RR from Labrador, first time I heard of anyone carrying a winch though, hope you didn't need it.

Yes, the bike is shit to ride, but so is a pissed off wife... Dim


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Old 09-08-2008, 06:04 PM   #11
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Ok U got my attention and I got the popcorn popping.So let get on with it.
The Mountains Are Calling ME and I must Go.
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Old 09-08-2008, 06:13 PM   #12
Katie K OP
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Ok... I shall continue this report. I should explain that this ride report provides a lady's perspective as well as the gent's. I think that so many of these ride reports are so skewed towards the technical stuff (all that bling that you guys put on your bikes) and don't mention the lovely details that many male riders might forget. CJ will try to reply to my report with the technical specs that I tend to overlook.

Ok... onwards: After we left London, ON and rode next to Kingston, ON. Rainy and cold all day. Encountered all 10 or so lanes of freeway traffic closed in Toronto, which lead to a 3 hour waste of time. Then, more rain... miserable! But, Kingston turned out to be a cool town, with some interesting old houses as well as a cool downtown.

Left Kingston in the rain... All went well until a gas stop on eastern ON. Yours truly really had to pee and I was fumbling around to get my credit card to pump the gas. CJ, having giganto gas tanks does not have to stop as frequently as I do... He came to my rescue and I said, "can you finish for me, I really have to go." When I came out, my bike was next to his, gassed up. Well, we got right into Montreal and my bike decided to die. All I could say is that "It feels like I ran out of gas." That was the only description that I had. After freaking out and crying and saying that now the trip is ruined, CJ calmed me down and we got to work. Strange... the bike worked fine on reserve but not on "on." So, we managed to get the bike to a gas station, CJ noted that perhaps the petcock on my bike was plugged. He told me to drain my gas tank from reserve and we'll look at it. Only 1.5 L came out, I thought, that's funny; I only have 30 miles on the bike. Well the long and short of it is, that by "finish up," I meant gas up the bike, to CJ, it meant bring the bike next to his. Communication is key here!

So from there, made it to Trois-Rivieres for the nite. Stayed at a youth hostel; in which I think that now I am too old for. We were the oldest people in the place.

Good times at the Auberge Trois-Rivieres:

This helped me forget about the rain:

Left Trois-Rivieres in the rain... Is this becoming a theme here? Making our way towards Baie Comeau. Saw a lovely Church in Saint Anne. I thought that the bikes needed some blessing before Labrador:

finally, the weather got somewhat nicer and made it through Quebec without incident. Kept on Hwy 138, along St. Lawrence. It was a nice ride until the latter portion with construction, rain, and lots of towns. Found a good Fromagerie and had some cheese curds that rivaled those from Wisconsin!

Mmmm... Fromage:

Next post: the start of trans-lab...

Katie K screwed with this post 09-08-2008 at 07:15 PM
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Old 09-08-2008, 06:20 PM   #13
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Welcome Back Home!

You obviously made it home! Can't wait to see how your trip turned out!
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Old 09-08-2008, 07:02 PM   #14
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Should be some good stories to share!
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Old 09-08-2008, 07:07 PM   #15
Katie K OP
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Will the Translab kick my ass?

Alright... We then left Baie Comeau pretty early, at about 7 am, heading north towards Lab City. Overcast and cold. Turned into rain.

Are we having fun yet?

Welcome to the Translab highway!

We had continuous rain up until about Manic 5. So much so, that we didn't stop and take any pictures. The rain continues and Katie K continues to get more and more discouraged. And... it was inevitable; the meltdown. On my MP3 player, the song "I can see clearly" came on, and I was getting encouraged by the look of the sky. But then, we rounded a curve and lo and behold, more black clouds just taunting me. All I could do was hit my head on my tank bag and cry a bit. But... we had to press on. The road after Manic 5 became gravel, but not too bad, except for the recently graded stuff. Once getting to Gagnon, there was a nice stretch of pavement. Finished the last 50 miles with some dodgy gravel. But we made it! Rolled into Lab City at about 7:30 pm- no rain, just very cold!

The pavement was a nice touch:

Good Scenery:

Of course, there is the town of Fermont just before Lab City. I was running on fumes, but we pressed on and lo and behold, big red ran out of gas. Thank goodness for CJ's fuel pump!

Welcome to Labrador-

We were really in the mood at this time for a warm meal and bed. I had made reservations at PJ's inn on the Lake B&B- great choice! The most comfortable bed on the trip and an awesome breakfast. She even sent us off with some muffins for the ride to come. Check them out:

One thing that we should have done was stop by the Two Season's Inn to pick up the satellite phone for the translab highway. Oh well. Upon leaving Lab City, we stopped at Wal-Mart for some supplies, a nice fellow made our acquaintance. Unfortunately, we didn't get a picture of him, but here's an artist's rendition:

Imagine this person minus the robes, and instead wearing a Joe Rocket Jacket and with a red KLR instead of the staff... We had a nice chat and he gave us his name, number, and address. He left us with: "It's always good to know someone in Labrador." Well, this gent, Chris will soon become my St. Christopher...

To be continued after I get some sleep (It's tiring returning to work after a month!)
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