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Old 08-14-2009, 09:03 PM   #151
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Joined: Aug 2007
Oddometer: 23
This is one of my favorite reports! I love how you are open to letting your plans slide when an opportunity presents itself. Those times are always the best and most memorable. Gotta love how the newfies help you out!

Great pictures and commentary, keep it coming!!
Ride your own ride.
2013 Suzuki V-Strom 650
2009 Suzuki Burgman 650
2007 Suzuki V-Strom 650
2005 Yamaha V-Star 650
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Old 08-14-2009, 09:28 PM   #152
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Joined: Jan 2006
Location: Atlanta
Oddometer: 7,572
holy snarkies!!!

Hey hey guys and gals, just got back from there and am so sorry you're having so many problems. But this trip will be so epic because of it. Your girlfriends are troopers, cannot believe you're doing this 2 up. Balls of steel I say. As a side note, I was 20 mins. in front of the gentleman who crashed that you mentioned. yes he hit the berm, probably at too high of a speed. pure speculation on the speed factor. just outside of mary's harbour and his name is jim. and hes 74. I haven't heard much lately, but he was doing all right the last time i heard. bad concussion and a fracture to his left cheek. don't think he broke any bones. Be careful out there boys and girls. its a jungle
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Old 08-14-2009, 09:59 PM   #153
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Joined: Feb 2007
Location: Lost in Utardia
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Way to shine in tough times.

Just keep it coming. Truly amazing photos and if possible an even better ride. Thank you so much for taking the time to post this from the road. Has made my week catching up to current.
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Old 08-14-2009, 10:00 PM   #154
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Joined: Jul 2006
Location: NJ
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Originally Posted by Jabba
The real adventure happens when shit starts to break.
So true...and it also brings out the in people...

Man I am really enjoying this RR..
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Old 08-15-2009, 04:48 AM   #155
sakurama OP
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Joined: Oct 2004
Location: NYC & PDX
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Day 14 - We're tired.

For those that are curious I generally write the ride reports in the evening when they're fresh and I try to download during dinner. I backup while we're sleeping and then upload in the mornings around 5 or 6 before anyone gets up. I get up early anyway and I like the quiet of that time with my coffee.

So Friday we woke and had a coffee and Gino had two breakfasts - he's been famished this trip and tends to order a meal and then get a second one. We can't explain why we're all so whipped when what you're doing is sitting but it is work.

Gino and I met up with Pierre and finished the work on his subframe and got the bike back together. Pierre only charged us $80 for about 6 hours of work and, we failed to mention, he was on vacation this week and not taking jobs. We also have learned how important thread lock is. Very.

When we got back to the motel I finished my ride report and the girls loaded the bikes. When we were about to put on our helmets up rides the very first Adventure biker we've passed on this trip which is sort of crazy as it's been 2500 miles and we thought the place would be filled with bikes.

Bill Mitchell worked for Herman Miller and lives in Michigan and is retired. He explained this trip as his first solo adventure since he was a kid - his kids are grown and he told his wife that she might not hear from him for a week but he wanted to do a big trip and Labrador was calling. I gotta say that Bill completely embodies the spirit of adventure riding. It's not about having a big BMW or KTM as their are plenty of people with those bikes that never adventure farther than the edge of town. It's about taking a path you've not taken and being open to what you find. And it's about doing it on what you've got which in Bill's case is an Aprilia with road race rains. The guys got gumption.

Bill was eager to hear about what the road was like from Lab City onto to Goose Bay as he's going the opposite direction than us and we were eager to find out what the road we had coming was like. Supposedly there's going to be one hard section after Relais Gabriel which is our goal today. We'll see. Bill had a good map of Quebec which was the first we'd seen - all my research on Google was essentially useless as their maps are just not accurate or up to date. The satellite stuff from Google Earth is much better.

When we hit the road we wished we'd had time to explore or tour the mines of Labrador City as they're just massive. Tailings are as large as mountains and stretch for as far as the eye can see. When we passed a wall of discarded tires we had to stop as I'd seen this on a previous thread but it had no perspective as to how large they actually were which was just massive.

Lauren is showing how black her hands are from climbing the tires. There were workers just a 100 meters away and we kept expecting them to come over and tell us to scram but they could care less and we played around for 30 or 40 minutes. Here we're hiding. From what I don't know but hiding is fun.

The road after the tires and mines was worlds different than before Labrador. It was loose gravel but with a decent track but it was twisty and very hilly. If this was paved it would be a dream but in gravel is was demanding of attention. Not hard really but you needed to be careful as the gravel would sometimes pile up as much as 8-10 inches.

The moss here is just wild. It covers everything and walking on it is like walking on a mattress - it's soft and springy.

We finally hit the 100K or 60 miles of pavement that is in the middle of the route which is a strange sensation. There's been a forest fire through here and the landscape is eerily beautiful. I hate to keep stopping but sometimes I have to stop to shoot something for myself - my personal work. This is one I shot along the way.

Shot with the 24mm TS-E and stitched together to make a 180mb pano.

At the end of the pavement section we reached the ghost town of Gagnon which was built in the 60's as a mining town. It's strange to just come to a section of road, in the middle of nowhere and suddenly there's sidewalks, curbs and a grassy central median which was the main street. The town was bulldozed in 1985 and this is all that remains.



We stopped and looked around but nothing is there save the main street and a ton of black flies. The local roads are still listed on the GPS though which is mildly unnerving.

After getting back on gravel the road became wider but with huge hills and the dust got heavy. At one point we stopped to take photos and a semi passed us and was going really slow but it was impossible to pass him as the dust cloud just obliterated your entire view and was like riding into a choking cloud.

We just had to slow down and hang back until we reached Relais Gabriel. The scenery was really beautiful though.

We reached Relais Gabriel around 6:30 and finally met two groups of adventure riders heading north. One was Darren and James who have are documenting their trip in "Labrador or bust..." here. The other pair were from outside Quebec and only one spoke english. They were on a V-Strom and a 12GS.

Relais Gabriel we'd heard had great food and rooms above the store - it sounded sort of quaint and fun.

The reality is that the rooms are tiny, have one small window and are suffocatingly hot and share a tiny bathroom. Since the rooms are so hot everyone leaves the doors open and drinks and talks loudly which isn't helped by the thin walls. The food however was very good and is all homemade. I had sugar pudding this morning with my coffee.

My laptop is dragging and crashing every day. The card reader I brought is horrible and corrupting the HD and while I'm backed up I know it's going to crash hard soon and it will take a night to erase and rebuild the drive and I don't have the time. For now it's slow and I'm hopeful to get this up.

We don't know where we're going to end up today. We know we want to meet up with Flanny at some point but it's hard to say how far we'll get. There was the thought of Quebec City tonight or tomorrow as we're dying for some city life and food but we might camp again tonight too. We need to be out of black fly country before we pull the tents out again I think.

sakurama screwed with this post 11-07-2012 at 11:43 AM
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Old 08-15-2009, 05:40 AM   #156
french horn
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Joined: Sep 2007
Location: Bundaberg Qld. Australia
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You were sure lucky with the tyres ... oops .. tires , some nice folk up that way, good to see.
I hope your laptop holds out, I need my nightly fix.
Did I say I appreciate your efforts before now ? ... super job, by all.
I can understand the tension during the flat tIre situation but being the buddies you are, I'm sure all was good in a short time.

All the best

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Old 08-15-2009, 06:34 AM   #157
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This is a fantastic report.

The road to Hell is paved...
Save $5 on a Smugmug subscription when you use my coupon:
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Old 08-15-2009, 07:03 AM   #158
Joined: Sep 2008
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This has been a great report all the way with excellent photography. I am one of those riders who ran into thick gravel and crashed on that road -- just south of Fermont last July. You handled those very difficult conditions very well and I was glad to see you made it through without the same kind of mishap. Very impressive riding two up. Your experience of running into generous folks who go out of their way to help is exactly what I found. It's a great corner of the world.

Thanks for taking us along.
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Old 08-15-2009, 07:09 AM   #159
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Joined: May 2009
Location: Parachute, Colorado, USA
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Wow. What a RR

The older I get the more I realize how few people I actually need in my life.

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Old 08-15-2009, 07:43 AM   #160
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Joined: Dec 2008
Location: Behind the Redwood Curtain
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Epic ride, epic RR. Dunno what the rest of your relationship is like, but those gals are tough... they sure look like keepers to me.

>"Here we're hiding." [in the tire]

What? Nobody told you about the Black Widows in there?

[Heh, only kidding].
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Old 08-15-2009, 10:37 AM   #161
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Joined: Nov 2008
Location: Cortez Co
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and wanted to let you know how much I have enjoyed and appreciate your work on this report

Also thanks for the how to on tire repair/pump mods
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Old 08-15-2009, 04:50 PM   #162
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Joined: Apr 2009
Location: S. VT / W. MA
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Now this may seem a little premature or even outright pushy but..... when your done with this adventure, where ya going next ? I'm so hooked on this adventure with the great pictures, great writing and fantastic cast of characters, I'm getting worried already about the withdrawal I'll suffer when this is over ! Please say the adventure will continue !
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'12 Victory Cross Roads
Now, if I could just put off procrastinating
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Old 08-16-2009, 06:35 AM   #163
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Joined: Jul 2006
Location: The Golden Isles
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Adventure starts where the plan stops-
Great RR, attitude, pics and people. Thanks for letting us tag along.
A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving. ~Lao Tzu
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Old 08-16-2009, 12:12 PM   #164
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First class ride report! Subscribed!
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Old 08-16-2009, 12:53 PM   #165
sport twin
Joined: Aug 2009
Location: Goose Bay Labrador
Oddometer: 3
message to: 5 up on two bikes

It was great to meet you guys on the TLH trail. I was the old dude on the Aprilia Falco, and have just safely arrived in Happy Valley Goose Bay. Taught myself a lot about riding a sport twin in the gravel. It's basically a dance. Hold her (the bike) lightly, let her find the path, press down on the pegs, trust your pelvis instincts, and use a bit of throttle when when she shakes her head. Doesn't feel like the road race track, but there was some flat trackin' going on (if you remember those days).

I'm not too sure how many sports bikes have made the TLH trip, but it has been worth it. I left Baie Comeau on the 12 Aug (where I met two KLM 650 riders- they advised me not to go), then you guys (BMW and KLM), then two more KLM guys in Labrador City, and finally a BMW and VStrom rider last night in Churchill Falls. Ever since I read about the Harley guy with a trailer (2003) I knew it had to be done. R1 crossed Africa, Benelli crossed the Sahara. Go for it.

Have a great trip home. Bill (sport twin)
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