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Old 09-10-2009, 05:38 AM   #31
markbvt OP
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Location: Georgia, Vermont (that's one town, not two states)
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Hey all. We made it to St Barbe, Newfoundland, last night on the ferry and stayed in a cabin. Quick wifi stop now, then we'll be heading off. Destination for tonight is Gros Morne National Park.

I haven't had time to download Tuesday/Wednesday pics from my cameras yet, let alone write the RR, so stay tuned.

We covered the remainder of the Trans-Lab in good time. Last ten unpaved miles were sketchy as hell -- super-loose gravel and strong, gusting crosswinds -- we were all (including the three other riders we picked up on the Goose Bay/Cartwright ferry) about ready to kiss the pavement when we reached it in Red Bay. But we all made it safely. I'll tell the full story later. Off to start exploring Newfoundland now.

--mark
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'11 Triumph Tiger 800 XC / '03 Honda XR650L / '01 Triumph Bonneville cafe

My ride reports: Missile silos, Labrador, twisties, and more

Bennington Triumph Bash, May 30-June 1, 2014

markbvt screwed with this post 09-10-2009 at 06:07 AM
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Old 09-12-2009, 08:00 AM   #32
Questor
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Hey Mark.

We've been traveling home to New England for the past month, and have not had much time to stop and find Internet. But as soon as we did, I immediately checked out your Ride Report.

Looks good! I wish I had been able to ride with you guys. I've always wanted to check that part of the world out. Seems like you had a good trip so far.

I'll be sure to check back for updates...

Q~
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Old 09-12-2009, 05:41 PM   #33
markbvt OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Questor
I wish I had been able to ride with you guys. I've always wanted to check that part of the world out. Seems like you had a good trip so far.
I'm going to have to do it again. I can't stop thinking about Labrador. You should come with next time I do this trip.

On the Newfoundland/Cape Breton ferry now. Was going to post the next few RR segments, but I don't think I'll have time. This ride's not nearly as long as the Goose Bay/Cartwright one, and I should probably sleep at some point.

--mark
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'11 Triumph Tiger 800 XC / '03 Honda XR650L / '01 Triumph Bonneville cafe

My ride reports: Missile silos, Labrador, twisties, and more

Bennington Triumph Bash, May 30-June 1, 2014
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Old 09-13-2009, 04:07 AM   #34
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Labrador has a draw.

Like no other place I've been to.

Great trip so far!


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Old 09-13-2009, 02:24 PM   #35
markbvt OP
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Day 5: Tuesday, 8 Sept 2009

I awoke just in time to witness an amazing sunrise.








The moon was still up over our camp.


Keith and James.


Dan cooking breakfast.


My faithful steed.


The previous evening, we'd had a pair of visitors to our campsite: Jeff and Miriam, whom we'd met earlier when we stopped for gas. Jeff had just bought a BMW F800GS and had it in the back of his truck, along with his KLX250, and Miriam would be driving the truck onto the ferry. Jeff was excited to talk to Dan and Keith, fellow Beemer owners. We mentioned where we'd be camping, and so he stopped by and hung out for a while, and invited us to come to his place for showers in the morning.

So after breakfast, that's exactly what we did. After we'd cleaned ourselves up, Jeff took us to see his place of work:


Yep, Jeff's a pilot. He flies one of these, a purpose-built water bomber for putting out forest fires.


It's got big radial engines.


Very, very cool.

And while we were there, we got to watch a massive Antonov transport plane take off. Apparently these things fly into Happy Valley-Goose Bay roughly monthly, usually for refueling.


This is one of the largest airplanes in the world, and it kicked up a huge cloud of soil and dust from the sides of the runway as it lifted off.


Many thanks again to Jeff!

After running a few errands, we checked in and boarded the ferry. Here's James checking out the dormitory bunk situation.


On the ferry with us were Bill and Peter, two guys we'd run into in Lab City and Churchill Falls, and Mike, who had ridden in from Churchill Falls that morning on his KTM 990 Adventure. We all ended up on deck to watch the departure.


James and Miriam.


Keith talking to Bill and Mike.


We were lucky enough to get an airshow with our passage -- this helicopter was practicing landing a man on deck and retrieving him. Wicked cool to watch.


Nice views of shore too as we went by.


We soon headed below decks and had dinner, then I spent the entire evening processing images and writing/posting the earlier parts of this ride report.

Stats for the day:


Track for the day (I saved it in Cartwright; ignore that long line between the two ferry docks):
__________________
'11 Triumph Tiger 800 XC / '03 Honda XR650L / '01 Triumph Bonneville cafe

My ride reports: Missile silos, Labrador, twisties, and more

Bennington Triumph Bash, May 30-June 1, 2014

markbvt screwed with this post 09-22-2009 at 09:55 AM
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Old 09-13-2009, 03:12 PM   #36
markbvt OP
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Day 6: Wednesday, 9 Sept 2009

The ferry arrived in Cartwright shortly after dawn, and unfortunately it was fairly nasty out. Cold, drizzly, misty. Our group, augmented by Mike, Peter, and Bill, set out down the remaining portion of the Trans-Lab. We didn't stop till we got to the sign at the entrance to Phase 3, the section of the TLH being built between Happy Valley-Goose Bay and Cartwright Junction (so called, apparently, because Phase 3 joins the existing Trans-Lab section something like 80 miles south of Cartwright). This, of course, led to another obligatory road sign photo.


From there we pushed on to Port Hope Simpson. The weather improved slightly, with occasional patches of drizzle interspersed with occasional patches of sunshine. Mike and I had a great run at a spirited pace to Port Hope Simpson and arrived there ahead of the others.






Eventually the others showed up.


The wet conditions made everything filthy.




From Port Hope Simpson, we set off to Mary's Harbour, and once again Mike and I made great time.


After a delicious lunch, we resumed our ride. The countryside became increasingly desolate as we approached the coast, with very few trees. For the most part, the hills were covered with short, scrubby vegetation and moss. And the wind was ridiculous.




The last ten miles to Red Bay (where the gravel ends) were vicious. The surface turned to a reddish, super-loose, ultra-sketchy gravel, and the insane crosswinds kept threatening to blow us right off the road. This was by far the most difficult section of the entire trip. All six of us on bikes almost crashed several times, and James found it difficult to keep his Jeep tracking where he intended it to; but thankfully we all made it to the pavement in Red Bay without any incidents.


It was a strange feeling -- pride at having completed the Trans-Lab, but a distinct sense of sadness that it was over.

Red Bay is a picturesque town though and gave us something to look at.


From there we headed south along the coast to Blanc-Sablon and got in line for the evening ferry to Newfoundland.




Some fishing boats adjacent to the ferry dock gave us a last flavor of Labrador and northern Quebec before we departed.


But Newfoundland beckoned...


Stats for the day:


Track for the day:
__________________
'11 Triumph Tiger 800 XC / '03 Honda XR650L / '01 Triumph Bonneville cafe

My ride reports: Missile silos, Labrador, twisties, and more

Bennington Triumph Bash, May 30-June 1, 2014

markbvt screwed with this post 09-22-2009 at 09:56 AM
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Old 09-16-2009, 06:09 AM   #37
Dave Noel
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The photo you posted of Mary's Harbour second house on the left was on the tent space list for 3 years when i lived there.

Great RR so far look forward to the rest.
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Old 09-20-2009, 09:10 PM   #38
markbvt OP
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Day 7: Thursday, 10 Sept 2009

Upon arriving in Newfoundland the previous evening, we discovered that there were no actual campgrounds in or around St Barbe, and Keith and Dan didn't want to camp in the RV park. So they got us a cabin instead. Mike stayed with us too.

So this morning we got going a little late -- the luxury of sleeping in a bed meant we slept a little later than usual, then we stopped off at the motel the cabin belonged to to use their Wifi and check our email. Mike, meanwhile, headed out to continue his own trip.

Once we got moving, we headed south along Newfoundland's western coast. The scenery was beautiful.








After spending a while on pavement, I began to miss the gravel of the Trans-Lab, so I turned off onto a gravel road that headed off towards the shoreline. I ended up finding a really nice spot where we decided to stop and have lunch. We used up most of what was left of the lunch meats we'd brought -- I was amazed they lasted as long as they did (in both the qualitative and quantitative senses).




As we approached Gros Morne National Park, the landscape became more mountainous.


We stopped off in the town of Rocky Harbour, asked directions to a fish market, and bought several fresh haddock steaks and cod fillets for dinner. Then we rode to Gros Morne National Park's Green Point campground for the night.


We cooked the fresh fish (delicious!), then gathered around a nice fire that James built and enjoyed our evening.




Stats for the day:


Track for the day:
__________________
'11 Triumph Tiger 800 XC / '03 Honda XR650L / '01 Triumph Bonneville cafe

My ride reports: Missile silos, Labrador, twisties, and more

Bennington Triumph Bash, May 30-June 1, 2014

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Old 09-20-2009, 09:29 PM   #39
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Day 8: Friday, 11 Sept 2009

This infamous day dawned crystal clear and virtually cloudless over Gros Morne. The campground sits on a cliff overlooking a pebble beach.


Keith had lost his right pannier the previous afternoon while exploring a trail, so before we got going he secured it back to the bike with a ratchet strap.


Once moving, we explored some of the roads winding through Gros Morne National Park.




In the town of Trout River, we looked for another fish market in hopes of another dinner of fresh fish, and we hit paydirt. We got there just in time to watch a haul of fresh cod come off the fishing boat and get cleaned and filleted before our eyes.




With our cooler freshly stocked with ice (courtesy of the fishery manager) and 7 pounds of ultra-fresh cod fillets, we headed out of Gros Morne National Park, stopping off at a small motorcycle museum on the way.


We rode past Corner Brook to Lark Harbour, where we intended to camp at Blow Me Down Provincial Park, but unfortunately the park was closed and gated off. So we continued down the road to Bottle Cove, found a dirt road that seemed to head in the right direction, and followed it till it ended on a small plateau on top of a cliff overlooking the sea. At one end of the plateau was a small fenced-in installation, which turned out to be a foghorn (signs on the fence warned of damaging sound levels). There was plenty of room up here, so we set up camp and cooked the fresh cod fillets on the grill in aluminum foil packets with a little salt, pepper, and lemon juice. They were astonishingly good. Fish that was swimming around a few hours before really is delicious.

Unfortunately it turned out that our remote, free camping site was a little too good to be true. We should have figured that the local kids would long ago have made this their party spot. Some time after we went to sleep, we were joined by several carloads of them, and they didn't seem to care that there were three motorcycles, a Jeep, and four tents already there. They caroused for a few hours but left us alone, and eventually they went away.

Stats for the day:


Track for the day:
__________________
'11 Triumph Tiger 800 XC / '03 Honda XR650L / '01 Triumph Bonneville cafe

My ride reports: Missile silos, Labrador, twisties, and more

Bennington Triumph Bash, May 30-June 1, 2014

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Old 09-20-2009, 09:34 PM   #40
markbvt OP
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Day 9: Saturday, 12 Sept 2009

Keith and Dan had talked about getting an early start this morning and heading back north for a while before continuing south; James and I didn't really feel like doing this, so we agreed to just meet them at the ferry dock that evening. By the time we got up, Keith and Dan were heading out. James and I lazily broke camp, and before getting going I walked over to the edge of the cliff to get a look.


James and I headed south to the Port au Port Peninsula and circumnavigated it.






From there we continued south to Port aux Basques to catch the overnight ferry to Cape Breton.


Keith and Dan showed up a half hour or so after James and I got to the dock, and we soon began loading. This ferry was by far the largest of the trip. There are two vehicle decks; we were directed to the upper deck and tied down our bikes, then watched cars get loaded into the ferry's massive belly.




Stats for the day:


Track for the day:
__________________
'11 Triumph Tiger 800 XC / '03 Honda XR650L / '01 Triumph Bonneville cafe

My ride reports: Missile silos, Labrador, twisties, and more

Bennington Triumph Bash, May 30-June 1, 2014

markbvt screwed with this post 09-22-2009 at 09:58 AM
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Old 09-20-2009, 09:41 PM   #41
markbvt OP
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Day 10: Sunday, 13 Sept 2009

The ferry docked in North Sydney, Cape Breton, at 0dark:00 (really, something ridiculous like 3:30am). Being dropped off in the middle of the night in an unfamiliar town really kind of sucks, and none of us had any better idea about what to do than to find a Tim Horton's and hang out till the sun came up. So I had my GPS direct us to the nearest Timmy's (which, according to its POI database, was about 20 miles away; for the record, its POI database is wrong, as I discovered later that morning). We rode through the pitch black (my Honda's headlight really sucks, by the way) to Tim Horton's and spent the next few hours drinking coffee and killing time. Once the sun was up, we decided to head over to Baddeck and check out the Alexander Graham Bell museum there. In order to get there, we backtracked our route from earlier that morning, which was when I discovered that there was a Tim Horton's on the road leading away from the ferry dock, just beyond the point at which the GPS had ordered us to turn off onto the highway.


We had breakfast (my second, but the first one was at a completely unreasonable hour and therefore didn't count) in Baddeck, then went to the museum. Interesting stuff. I had no idea that Alexander Graham Bell was such a versatile individual.

Once we were done at the museum, we set out for the Cabot Trail. Traffic was light, and we were able to enjoy the twisties. In fact, we enjoyed them so much that we didn't stop for many photos, but here's one.


The destination for the evening was Meat Cove. Unfortunately, due to the group getting too spread out, James missed the turn and ended up on the western side of the peninsula near Cheticamp. Phone calls were exchanged, and Dan, Keith, and I set off to meet James in Cheticamp. This was just as well, since the weather was supposed to get rainy that evening, and Meat Cove is the sort of place that deserves good weather.

Because I was pushing south to meet James, I didn't take any pictures on the western side of Cape Breton Highlands National Park, but I did last time I was there, so you can always just refer to my Canadian Maritimes ride report, linked in my sig below.

The road on the western side of the park included the very best twisties of the entire trip. And the Honda was an awful lot of fun in those twisties.

I found James on the side of the road just before Cheticamp, and Keith and Dan soon turned up as well. We found a campground in Cheticamp, set up, then rode into town for dinner.

Stats for the day:


Track for the day:
__________________
'11 Triumph Tiger 800 XC / '03 Honda XR650L / '01 Triumph Bonneville cafe

My ride reports: Missile silos, Labrador, twisties, and more

Bennington Triumph Bash, May 30-June 1, 2014

markbvt screwed with this post 09-22-2009 at 09:59 AM
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Old 09-20-2009, 09:44 PM   #42
markbvt OP
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Day 11: Monday, 14 Sept 2009

Unfortunately, the weather forecasts were right, and Monday started off rainy. We packed up our wet tents and headed south, stopping off at lunchtime at the Glenora Distillery, where they make a single-malt whisky that would be scotch were it made in Scotland (as with champagne or bourbon, scotch is a term that's restricted to specific point of origin). We got a tour of the distillery, and the sample at the end of the tour convinced me to buy a bottle. After the tour we had lunch at Glenora's attached restaurant (outstanding fish and chips), then continued on our way, passing out of the rain and over the Canso Causeway to mainland Nova Scotia. From there we headed east and then southwest along a coastline of lighthouses and small fishing villages.




We camped that night just outside of Sherbrooke.

Stats for the day:


Track for the day:
__________________
'11 Triumph Tiger 800 XC / '03 Honda XR650L / '01 Triumph Bonneville cafe

My ride reports: Missile silos, Labrador, twisties, and more

Bennington Triumph Bash, May 30-June 1, 2014

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Old 09-20-2009, 09:47 PM   #43
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Day 12: Tuesday, 15 Sept 2009

The original plan for Tuesday was to head across Nova Scotia to Digby and then take the ferry across the Bay of Fundy to Saint John, New Brunswick. But none of us particularly felt like spending another $100 on ferries, and the schedule was inconvenient, so we opted to ride around the Bay of Fundy instead. This involved getting on the highway towards Moncton, which sucked. Really sucked. My Honda's chain had been stretching at a ridiculous rate, and I'd gotten pretty much to the end of the adjustment already; the highway stint stretched it even more, and I decided it was done for. I would have to stop off in Moncton for a new chain.

James and I had become separated from Dan and Keith; we took secondary roads towards Moncton and left a message on Dan's cell phone to meet us at the motorcycle dealership in Moncton.

We made it without incident to G. Bourque, where I had stopped off on my Maritimes tour last year to get a new face shield for my helmet. They were very helpful, and a short time later the Honda was wearing a brand new chain. James and I headed down the street to the local BMW dealership, where we figured Dan and Keith would be waiting, and we were right.

With the group back together, we headed through Moncton and along the Bay of Fundy. As the sun got low in the sky, the landscape became increasingly beautiful.


The cows watched us curiously.




We continued to Fundy National Park and camped there for the night.

Stats for the day:


Track for the day:
__________________
'11 Triumph Tiger 800 XC / '03 Honda XR650L / '01 Triumph Bonneville cafe

My ride reports: Missile silos, Labrador, twisties, and more

Bennington Triumph Bash, May 30-June 1, 2014

markbvt screwed with this post 09-22-2009 at 10:00 AM
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Old 09-20-2009, 09:51 PM   #44
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Joined: Sep 2007
Location: Georgia, Vermont (that's one town, not two states)
Oddometer: 2,626
Day 13: Wednesday, 16 Sept 2009

We headed off from Fundy National Park and headed west past Saint John to the Maine border. Once we crossed over, Dan and Keith got their stuff out of the Jeep.


James and I were on a tighter schedule and needed to get back home sooner, while Keith and Dan still had several days. So we decided to part ways at the border, and James and I would head straight across Maine back homewards, while Dan and Keith would take their time and ride along the coast. So we said our farewells, and James and I set out on Airline Rd to Bangor and beyond.

We ended up camping for the night near Farmington. Sorry there aren't more pictures, but this was just the homeward slog, so I didn't really feel very inspired to stop for pics.

Stats for the day:
330.4 miles (I forgot to reset the GPS's trip computer that morning, so ended up with cumulative numbers for Tuesday and Wednesday; no point posting the screen shot showing 597 miles)

Track for the day:
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'11 Triumph Tiger 800 XC / '03 Honda XR650L / '01 Triumph Bonneville cafe

My ride reports: Missile silos, Labrador, twisties, and more

Bennington Triumph Bash, May 30-June 1, 2014

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Old 09-20-2009, 09:52 PM   #45
markbvt OP
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Joined: Sep 2007
Location: Georgia, Vermont (that's one town, not two states)
Oddometer: 2,626
Day 14: Thursday, 17 Sept 2009

Again, this day was just the ride home -- on roads I've ridden quite a few times -- so I didn't bother stopping to take pics. James and I just followed Rt 2 all the way back to Vermont, then Rt 15 back to Burlington. We got home by mid-afternoon.

And just in time -- my rear tire was spent. It's hard to see in this pic because the carcass is dirty, but the center tread blocks are down to about 1/8".


Stats for the day:


Track for the day:
__________________
'11 Triumph Tiger 800 XC / '03 Honda XR650L / '01 Triumph Bonneville cafe

My ride reports: Missile silos, Labrador, twisties, and more

Bennington Triumph Bash, May 30-June 1, 2014

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