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Old 08-30-2009, 04:30 PM   #16
Bikebits OP
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Days 8 & 9

Leaving Forteau for the ferry, it was foggy and wet.


As we waited for the ferry, James and Darren showed up. We had been told we didn't need a reservation for this one as motorcycles are easy to fit on. The non-reservation line did take longer to get through, as the reservation line was processed first.


The weather started to clear as we set out. We saw large whales on the east side of the ship as we crossed, followed by smaller black whales(?), about the size of a large dolphin on the west side.


The weather was overcast again a couple of hours later as we approached the dock in St. Barbe. We bid James and Darren goodbye again, telling them we were going to look for a motel somewhere around Cow Head, a town near Gros Morne National Park.

The wind were stiff out of the west on the ride south, with occasional showers.


As we approached Gros Morne the tops of the mountains were lost in the clouds, but they were spectacular nonetheless. The motels were full in Cow Head, so we continued south to Rocky Harbour in search of a place to stay.


Rocky Harbour is in the heart of Gros Morne, and appears to be a popular spot to stay for visiting the park. After getting settled in to a motel directly across from the harbour we set out for an exploration of the area and some pictures. It was an easy ride of 258 km for the day.


Gros Morne is a UNESCO world heritage site and the scenery was spectacular, even if half obscured by clouds.

Our room was at the back of the motel, and as we rounded the corner to pull up to our room I laughed out loud in my helmet as we saw James and Darren's KTMs. We were quite a way from where we said we would be, and in spite of all the choices we all settled on the same place. They said they had seen Michigan Bill in town as well, and invited him to supper.

When we had all left the ferry back at Cartwright, Bill had stayed on board for an extra day for the trip all the way to Lewisporte NF. In a huge coincidence we had once again all converged on the same spot. We enjoyed dinner together at another restaurant "where the locals eat".

We had all been following the weather on TV, as hurricane Bill was threatening to disrupt ferry service to Nova Scotia. Bruce and I had confirmed reservations on tomorrow's Saturday daytime ferry; Bill had booked for Sunday and James and Darren (who were pretty much travelling without reservations) tried to get reservations but were told that they couldn't get on until Monday.


Morning dawned sunny and warm with a great view from the front of the motel.


We took our time heading south, drinking in the scenery. On a more leisurely schedule, the Gros Morne area would be worth spending several days itself.


That afternoon, we arrived at Port aux Basques and stopped at the tourist information centre and asked about a place to stay. They recommended a small cabin in the outport of Isle aux Morts. With directions in hand we set out for our last night in Newfoundland and Labrador.

443 km today for a total of 3983 for the trip thus far.

The cabin was a four-plex on the shore in Isle aux Morts and was the first disappointment in all the places we had stayed. We made a point of using old style non-chain, pull-up-to-the-door motels wherever we could. The majority had been right on the water and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend any of them until now.


Although it was clean and in a very picturesque setting, it was an old building with a definite slope in the floor, and the water was chocolate brown. Not risking the water, we skipped showers and used the drinking water we had packed for the Trans-Labrador Highway.


There was an interesting local fisherman's home museum, and although we arrived at closing time the curator insisted on opening back up to show us through. Once again the Newfoundland hospitality shone through.


Bruce had a knack for always asking the locals for the best place to eat, and we had also done very well in the dinner department. A little restaurant in the next community of Margaree came highly recommended. We were warned it opened at four and if we got there later than five we might not get a table. Hedging our bets, we got there at four thirty and true enough the place was packed by five.



We did a bit more exploring of the ports east of Port aux Basques and packed it in for the night.

It appeared hurricane Bill was far enough off our ferry would get to Cape Breton tomorrow.
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Old 08-31-2009, 02:28 PM   #17
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Old 08-31-2009, 04:09 PM   #18
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Day 10

It was mild with very dense fog when we got up on Saturday, August 23. We had reservations on the 11:30 ferry, with check-in an hour and a half before.

Due to the heavy fog we gave ourselves lots of time to travel about 15 km to the terminal. Check-in was simple with the reservations, you pulled up to a toll-type booth, gave them your name and they handed you the ticket. I made a point of telling the attendant how hospitable everyone had been in her province.


We were standing about, passing time with others in the motorcycle lane, and when I turned around, the MV Atlantic Vision had appeared out of the fog. It was invisible when we first pulled up.

This is a huge ship, with five vehicle decks. Built in Kiel, Germany in 2002, it ran a route in the Baltic for a few years. The walls are still covered with directional signs in German, Russian and two other languages I didn't recognize. The ship is now under charter to Marine Atlantic for the Sydney - Port aux Basques run.


As we were strapping our bikes down, one of the deck hands said not to worry, it would be a calm crossing. The calm before the storm at it were. The prediction for hurricane Bill to make landfall in Nova Scotia was tomorrow. Given that four ferries were integral to the trip, we had carried our own tie downs, which worked out for the best.


When making the reservation, I noticed that cabins were available at a substantial discount during the daytime runs. The entire ship was quite luxurious compared to the Sir Robert Bond and the cabin turned out to be a very good idea. It was equipped with an ensuite bathroom, so the first thing we did was take the showers we skipped in Isle aux Morts due to the scuzzy water.


Both of us were cleaned up and feeling human again by the time the ship pulled away from the dock.


There was still a lot of fog when we caught our last glimpse of Newfoundland receding into the distance. Contrary to my expectation, there was a warm breeze on deck for the entire crossing and the water was indeed calm.


We passed on the fancy restaurant (by comparison, the food on the Bond was high school cafeteria quality) and got a light lunch in the cafeteria.

During the roughly seven hour crossing we alternated time on deck, naps, and reading time in the cabin. BTW we both brought books, I highly recommend it as it gave something to do for the waiting-for-ferries downtime. All-in-all a pleasant passage.


The weather was clear, warm, and sunny as we reached Sydney, NS at 7 pm local time. Bruce had made a reservation at another excellent mom and pop motel west of Baddeck, and we arrived before eight. Today comprised only 101 km of riding in addition to the ferry crossing.
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Old 08-31-2009, 04:33 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Bikebits




WOW - this is making me take a second look at the Scrambler as a great all-around bike - just sold an 07 Tiger but DAMN that Scrambler looks good kitted out for distance travel!
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Old 08-31-2009, 04:47 PM   #20
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Day 11: Bill arrives (both of them)

After another great meal at a local restaurant recommended by the woman from the motel, we had spent the previous evening glued to the weather channel.

Morning dawned foggy and wet (we were used to that by now) but the forecast was for it to get worse, not better. We had originally set the day aside for a ride around the Cabot Trail, one of North America's motorcycling must-dos. With great disappointment we decided to forgo it in order to be spared the brunt of the hurricane.

Hurricane Bill was to make landfall in Nova Scotia before noon, and the problem was we had to ride directly toward it for about two hours before we could turn west to New Brunswick, the only avenue of escape.


As Bruce and I were in front of the motel, putting our helmets on, I heard the sweet snarl of an Aprilia V twin. It was Michigan Bill again, crossing our path for the third time. I did a jumping-jack wave and he pulled into the parking lot. Bill had manged to get on the overnight ferry, which turned out to be the last one off the island with service cancelled for a day as the hurricane approached.

With everybody suited up, we rode together for a time, then Bill peeled off behind us.

By the time we crossed into New Brunswick on the Trans Canada Highway, it appeared we were skirting the worst of the storm by riding counter-clockwise around it.


We reached Fredericton NB in the mid afternoon and decided to call it a day with 623 km on the clock. At another excellent local motel we set about drying out and tended to a bit of minor bike maintenance.


It was here that I discovered that some point on the Trans-Lab had taken its toll on the Scrambler in the form of a dented front rim.

As the skies cleared once again we took an evening ride into town to see a few sights in historic Fredericton.

Tomorrow: The way home.
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Old 08-31-2009, 07:49 PM   #21
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Enjoying the RR

I have been contemplating the Trans Lab. I'm getting a great idea what it might be like from your writeup. Keep it coming.
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Old 09-01-2009, 11:58 AM   #22
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I'm keen to know what those panniers are on the KLR? The right hand one looks like it might sit above my Arrow pipe.
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Old 09-01-2009, 12:49 PM   #23
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I'm enjoying learning about a part of the world I know nothing about. Keep it coming
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Old 09-01-2009, 02:15 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blacktiger
I'm keen to know what those panniers are on the KLR? The right hand one looks like it might sit above my Arrow pipe.
Hi Tiger,

That's the Kawasaki OEM soft luggage for the KLR.
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Old 09-01-2009, 03:32 PM   #25
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The Trip Home

We pretty much dispensed with picture taking for the remainder of the trip home, due to continuing wet weather and familiarity with the territory.

Setting out from Fredericton, for our twelfth day we headed west and crossed the Border into the US from McAdam NB. A rather remote crossing with two lanes and a friendly CBP officer who checked our passports and wished us well. We followed Route 6 west to I-95 for a brief stretch, then got onto old US Route 2 near Bangor ME. We followed Route 2 west through Hew Hampshire, enjoying the scenery of the White Mountains while dodging intermittent showers. We finished the day near Montpelier VT with 686 km under our belts. Another stay at a local motel with dinner at a recommended no-chain restaurant.

The next morning when we set out it was rain gear again to deal with heavy fog in the Green Mountains. About noon we crossed back into Ontario at Prescott, served by a young border officer who didn't really seem to be interested in listening to the answers we provided.

As the weather was clearing we were confronted by strong headwinds, that made for some of the most unpleasant riding of the trip. We rode straight through to Bruce's house in Toronto chalking up 719 km.

The following day, I headed out through the morning Toronto rush hour traffic, arriving at my parent's house an hour and a half later. After a brief visit I set out again along my preferred route of two lane highways in sporadic southern Ontario rain, by far the heaviest of the trip. By 3 pm I was home, having covered 391 km for the day.

The sum total for the trip was 6494 km in fourteen days according to the bike's odometer, with 6503 on the GPS. The difference was attributable to the fact I used the GPS sporadically on the ferries to track our progress at sea.

The Scrambler acquitted itself remarkably well, the smooth running engine a treat on the highways. With the modifications I had made, it was fully up to the task of tackling the Trans-Labrador Highway, with the exception of the shocks fading on the one rough section. A set of pricey Ohlins might have solved that problem, but on the other hand maybe not, as the Scrambler shocks didn't have enough travel to cope with the really rough stuff.

Although the weather was less than cooperative, it was a unique trip. Two old friends experiencing one of the most remote regions of Canada accessible by road will leave a lifetime of memories.

The people of Labrador and Newfoundland were friendly and hospitable like nowhere else I've travelled. I highly recommend the Trans-Labrador experience to anyone so inclined.
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Old 09-01-2009, 06:34 PM   #26
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Great ride report Dave! Riding the Trans Labrador Highway with you was a tremendous experience. A unique land with wonderful people. We may not have had the best weather, but all in all the bikes held together well and we made good time...almost an iron butt pace when you compare to our KTM buds.
Here are some pics:

Dave & Bruce
Photobucket

The plastic gerry can, when full, gave Dave peace of mind.
Photobucket

The Royal Inn, Happy Valley - Goose Bay Labrador. A great place to stay!
Photobucket

Aprilia Bill (from Michigan) and the KTM boys, Darren and James from Atlanta, Georgia) join Dave.
Photobucket

Dave with Darren and James (KTM boys)
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Departing Rocky Harbour, Newfoundland.
Photobucket

Twin City Motel, Barre-Montpelier, Vermont
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Old 09-01-2009, 06:37 PM   #27
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very interesting and well written report: thanks for sharing.....

I had hoped to get back to newfoundland this year and ride the trans-lab, but have not made it, yet
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Old 09-01-2009, 06:59 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Bikebits
We pretty much dispensed with picture taking for the remainder of the trip home, due to continuing wet weather and familiarity with the territory.


Although the weather was less than cooperative, it was a unique trip. Two old friends experiencing one of the most remote regions of Canada accessible by road will leave a lifetime of memories.

The people of Labrador and Newfoundland were friendly and hospitable like nowhere else I've travelled. I highly recommend the Trans-Labrador experience to anyone so inclined.
Dave, great ride report and photo's... Your summary above was perfect... I did the trip in July this year and agree totally..

I also recommend a Trans Lab trip to those who want to get out into the wilds....
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Old 09-17-2009, 09:59 PM   #29
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Kind of strange for me - this ride report. I normally ride a Scrambler, but this August I rode Iceland for a week on a rented KLR (that looked exactly like Bruce's). I've pulled 7,000 mile trips on the Scrambler too - ran out of gas in the Moab desert in June.

Tough luck about that rim. Hope you lace up a new one without much hassle.

Here's the Iceland ride report for those who are curious:

http://advrider.com/forums/showthrea...5#post10629915

Here's the June Scrambler road trip:

http://www.triumphrat.net/ride-trip-...scrambler.html

Here's the November cross country on the Scram:

http://www.triumphrat.net/ride-trip-...scrambler.html

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Old 11-23-2009, 08:25 AM   #30
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I love to see folks tackling trips like this on a Scrambler. Inspiring, to say the least.
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