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Old 08-09-2010, 08:12 AM   #181
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Rolled into Lab City and fueled up the bikes and went searching for somewhere to have lunch. Somewhere with real food, you know the type, something hearty and healthy, fuel for the body type of food.





After a couple of quick cell phone calls to our families and friends we hit the road again. On a side note, only Bell phones work in Labrador, Newfoundland and northern Quebec. Fido, Rogers, etc get zero coverage.
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Old 08-09-2010, 08:38 AM   #182
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The ride from Lab City to Churchill Falls is approximately 300 km's. The 50 km's outside of Lab City are paved and the rest was a nice fast and fun gravel section. We made short work of this section, really flying along, foot out around the corners type of riding. I had a blast The rain was intemittant and the low clouds and fog made the scenery kind of spooky.

























We were to meet the rest of the group at the gas station in town at 6 pm. We were half an hour early and went and explored the town. No offence meant but Churchill Falls is shit. Compared to Lab City with it's clean look and facilities Churchill has nothing. One crappy gas station, one over priced hotel, one bar that was empty, etc This town only exists to house people who work on the hydro facility. If you have the choice stay in Lab City or Goose Bay and only use this as a gas stop. Anyways.......we waited and the guys didnt show up, it started raining hard so we checked into the local hotel and looked forward to a warm meal and a couple of cold beers. The restaurant doesn't sell alcohol SO a hot meal and wet ride down to the gas staion for a six pack and we retired to our room. Got an email from the other guys saying they were making real slow progress and had pushed on to Goose Bay. no worries we'll catchup tomorrow sometime.




The gas station runs an accomodation business. 88$ for an apartment, beds for two but you can crowd in and the rate stays the same. Maybe a good option for larger groups?




We drove around in the rain but couldn't find thids place but might be worth looking into if you plan on spending a night here. No campgrounds in town but you can camp out on the church grounds. Didn't look appealing to us in the pouring rain though.






Well that finishes off day four of this ride. Roads were fun and demanded concentration. Scenery was excellent and all in all we had a great day, made good mileage and had a few good laughs and a few moments of frustration as well.


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Old 08-09-2010, 07:05 PM   #183
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I'll chime in here with a bit of a glimpse from the 'front of the pack'..

The start of the trip did not bode well.. 8 became 7.. and then 6.. and then 4 with minutes to go - Ted and Dan planning to catch us up. No problem, they ride like the wind so we kept expecting them to show up on our tail for the entire trip. Maybe.

BUT most of us were not paying much attention during the planning stages :) and only had a fuzzy idea of where we were going and what the schedule should be. At least I had the route in my gps.. and some backup maps. The other 3 people had not much of anything so I became the de-facto leader.

Heading out with three others that you've never met before is always interesting.. Renaud (the last one to be ready.. always messing with something :) on his bike or his iphone), Martin (can't touch the ground on his GS Adventure so is always hopping around on tip-toes), Brian (on his slick 800GS) and me.

We set off at a comfortable pace, enjoyed the excellent scenery through Quebec, giggled like crazy after tearing up the pavement to Manic2 and enjoyed a great campsite and excellent weather. Brian kept checking his iphone (wifi or cell signal in towns) and was keeping track of Ted&Dan.. I figured they'd catch us tonight or tomorrow. Especially with my tumble.

The next day we set out in great weather, hit the gravel at Manic5 and worked on getting our dirt legs. Martin had never ridden gravel before, we were in no hurry, and it was very pleasant. After a few pucker moments hitting sand or soft gravel at 100+km/h we brought the speeds down but were still making good time.

On the fine twisty section where the road kept crossing the railroad tracks it was dusty, there was a lot of traffic, and the gravel got really soft in places..

I was taking it easy, I had moved over a bit and just let a truck go by when the bike started to get a little squirmy.. when I regained consciousness :) I was lying in the middle of the road, bike was taking a rest on it's side, and I could only think of one thing- get the hell off the road so I don't get run over!

Renaud was the next bike to come along and he saw me scooting over to the edge on my hands and knees. Within minutes the others had shown up, cars had stopped, I was walking around (a bit loopy) and my bike had been righted and rolled to the side of the road.

I'm sure there are pictures to come (I asked my new friends to take some!) but alas my camera has none. After an hour or so two of screwing around repairing stuff I was good to go! Tally was
-headlights smashed and pointing to the sky (bulbs intact, glass busted)
-windshield cockeyed and scratched to hell
-front brake master cylinder reservoir and protector smashed to hell (bye-bye front brake for the next 3500+ km!!)
-vario cases reattached (broken bracket) but held on with strap

Leg hurt like hell (I suspect I low-sided and bike layed down on leg, then high-sided and catapulted me, flipping the bike which landed upside down on the front brake reservoir/headlight). Helmet was bashed pretty good in the chin and face (I love you Arai XD!) and I was a bit shaken, but all bits still worked so what the hell.

BMW jacket was perfect, Joe Rocket Alter Ego pants were perfect, Gaerne mx boots were perfect and saved my ankle, good gear works!!

Anyways, off we went. Lab city for dinner, no way we were getting to Churchill Falls for dinner but we pushed until dark. And that's when the trip really started getting good.
Bugs. Rain. Mud. No front brake. Wacked headlights. Why am I here again?



Camp for the night between Lab City and Churchill Falls. Renaud wearing a bug jacket on his head.



Blackfly were ferocious and swarming. Mosquitos made the air hum. Once the tents were up everybody went indoors to set up their sleeping bags. Nobody came back out until morning. At which point it started raining.

And raining.


And raining.
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Old 08-09-2010, 08:00 PM   #184
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Gidday Chris, I was wondering when I'd hear from you on this thread. Stoked you weren't seriously hurt in your crash. I can only imagine what you were thinking for the first hour or two after you got back on the bike. Hope the damage won't set you back too much, ebay is your friend :)
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Old 08-09-2010, 08:11 PM   #185
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Hitting really soft mud/sand was good for some extra fun.. There were some spills




A flat tire.. rain, rain and more rain. My hands got frizzled- cold wet rain, heated grips, hours and hours of it..



All the while expecting Dan and Ted to show up. The plan was to wait for them @ Churchill Falls but because our progress was somewhat slower in the pouring rain (70-90km/h) and things like flat tires and wipeouts, our overall average speed was only around 60km/h. And that's if nothing went really wrong. So we pressed on to Goose Bay.



It kept raining and raining. No front brakes on gravel with no traffic around is not a big deal. No front brakes on pavement with cars, and heading into town was extra fun.

At least I had some brakes.. Martin's bike had NO brakes at all :)
After a small spill his ABS computer was going crazy.. and he had absolutely no brakes. Fred Flinstone would have been proud watching Martin come to stops in town :)

Camping tonight?? I don't think so. We grabbed the last 4 rooms at a hotel and tried to dry out a bit.

After a shower, some dry clothes, and dinner I found an internet connection and we looked at possible reasons for Martin's brake failure.. I found a few posts on the hand guard touching the brake lever (causing the computer to go crazy) and sure enough it solved the problem! Martin was quite relieved.

Tomorrow we tackle the new extension! It can't be any worse that what we've just been through.. right??

sigh.
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Old 08-09-2010, 08:22 PM   #186
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Gidday Chris, I was wondering when I'd hear from you on this thread. Stoked you weren't seriously hurt in your crash. I can only imagine what you were thinking for the first hour or two after you got back on the bike. Hope the damage won't set you back too much, ebay is your friend :)
Well.. I took a long look at the map thinking about turning around and heading home or keep going. But I could still stand and shift gears (mostly because the boots held me up!) and while I couldn't STOP I could twist the throttle and go forwards, so what the hell :)

Ebay.. beemer boneyard.. at the end of the day I've ordered the bits I need from Max BMW and I should be back up and running in a week or so. The swelling on my leg had finally gone down too, so it's all good :)
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Old 08-09-2010, 09:58 PM   #187
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisP



. . .

.. and he had absolutely no brakes. Fred Flinstone would have been proud watching Martin come to stops in town :)
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Old 08-10-2010, 05:04 AM   #188
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Once we hit the gravel road I was really starting to enjoy the trip. After all this is what we came for.











When i came around the corner ChrisP was on all fours on the road. I asked if he was all right, but he only responded with "get a pic of the bike"











Yes, ChrisP was right. It was raining and the rain was getting to us.


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Old 08-10-2010, 05:16 AM   #189
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Old 08-10-2010, 05:45 AM   #190
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And from all accounts I'd read I was expecting a long dusty road. What a different experience a few days of pouring rain can make to the Trans Lab: potholes full of water, little rivers on the hills creating little twisty ruts, deep sand in spots creating front wheel grabbing slop, temperatures that hoover just above freezing, and every now and again a section of slick mud.

So Martin had a flat that caused a bail or a bail that caused a flat ?
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Old 08-10-2010, 10:49 AM   #191
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Originally Posted by Deadly99
And from all accounts I'd read I was expecting a long dusty road. What a different experience a few days of pouring rain can make to the Trans Lab: potholes full of water, little rivers on the hills creating little twisty ruts, deep sand in spots creating front wheel grabbing slop, temperatures that hoover just above freezing, and every now and again a section of slick mud.

So Martin had a flat that caused a bail or a bail that caused a flat ?
Martin had a bail and he had a flat but not at the same time :) (although the flat did lead to an almost bail).

One thing good to say about the pouring rain.. it made it easier to find the hole in the tire! We just dipped the tire in a big puddle and looked for bubbles :)
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Old 08-10-2010, 01:59 PM   #192
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My turn! This RR is the opposite of the ride itself: the four who left Ottawa spent 4 days fully expecting Ted and Dan to catch up and whizz us by, and here we are late and catching up to complement Ted's ride report! I'll go back a few days only to tell the tale of a few memorable moments

We left Ottawa a little later than expected Thursday due to a few no-shows we thought were riding with us . Ted's mechanical troubles set us a little off our bearings as he was the main organiser of this little trip, but Chris had a good GPS so off we were with an overly-aggressive wheelie on the loaded bike that saw me scrape footpeg landing it at the intersection


We made decent time to get an hour past Montreal for the night, with Friday spent cruising up to Manic 2. Long day, many miles etc. but an otherwise uneventful, albeit beautiful, ride.




I was having a little bit of a hard time letting go of everything, but I havta ride north! I spent pretty much every gas stop emailing and holding the guys back a little...I guess that's what started my reputation as always being last to saddle up


So Day2 to Baie-Comeau/Manic2 is mostly covered by ChrisP and Pelvis_98's hammock pictures fit into here somewhere:



Day3/Saturday for us covers Manic2 to somewhere past Lab City. We're up and at'em pretty early for the twisties north of Manic 2. I was impressed by how an old logger and hydro access road could be this much fun after being paved:




Dust! We finally hit gravel around Manic 5, and by all accounts we were having a go at it. Sunny + warm + gravel = throttle.




About 25 kms outside of Fermont, cornering a bend, I barely spot ChrisP on all fours in a dust-storm crawling away from his bike to the shoulder.

I didnt much care for the ABS on my bike, but I think ChrisP is happy I had it. We were going largely too fast for the very loose gravel around the Fermont mines, and the ABS definitely saved ChrisP from a front-wheel impaling.
The bend in the road had enough of a dip on the inside corner for ChrisP' left cylinder/peg/case (or all three) to hook into gravel, spin him 90 degrees to the road, send him flying over the handlebars and finish the grinding with the bike on its right side.
I stopped without a foot to spare, close enough to hear ChrisP mumble "get a picture" which is apparently the second thing he remembers after the blackout. Unfortunately, we were all a little slow on the trigger!


ChrisP was soon being helped by Pelvis_98 and a couple who drove up in their car, so as we were in a dip in the road without much visibility for oncoming trucks, I parked my bike at the top of the hill before heading back down.
After all the plastic tie-wrapping, ratchet strapping, ghetto-wedging, etc., I vaguely remember ChrisP having a moment's hesitation as to which direction to head on the road, but I'm glad he didn't turn around or he would have missed all the excitement of the wet, cold, slushy muddy days 4 and 5!


The rest of the day was otherwise uneventful, we found an excellent campsite outside of Lab City, netted up and spent time swatting the bugs that make it into the tent with me.

"Screw getting out of here again!" thinks I.
We all wussed out when the sun set, black flies died down for about 5 minutes and the buzzing of mosquitoes drowned out thoughts of a second dinner or a campfire!


Day4/Sunday is where the rain started and while it kept the dust down and was a nice ride for the first hour or two... the constant rain started soaking through everyone's raingear, past the bike gear, boots etc.
(Open Parenthesis) I'll offer up a free plug here for the FroggToggs rainsuit which pelvis_98 was wearing. While we all had vanilla raingear, gore-tex, etc, which the rain eventually penetrated through, his rain suit+pants kept him 100% dry, save the boots+gloves problem. If FroggToggs has a similar solution for that, I'm definitely sold (Close parenthesis)

Anyways, I'll admit the rain and cold got pretty annoying after a while.
But we plowed on at a decent pace... except... where's Martin? I stop to look back and at the top of a hill far back I catch him flicking his highbeams. But he seems upright... Great, bike troubles in the rain.

One plugged tire and one hour later (mostly due to 4 goons trying to figure out how to use the mushroom-cap insterting tool) we're back on the road.

Some flora... (notice the surveyor pegs, this section will apparently be paved within 5 years)

Some fauna...


We made it to Churchill Falls noon-ish sunday, soaked and somewhat worried a the slow pace we had... technically ahead of schedule but only because the plan was to hit a trail headed north with Ted(Deadly99) & Dan.

After thoroughly soaking the atrium in "the mall" in churchill, pelvis_98 convincingly tosses his bundle of wet socks into the rubbish bin and leads the way upstairs to stink up "the restaurant" over coffee&lunch.


At this point we're all worried about the slow progress... ChrisP has no front brake so is in no mood to hit up an ATV trail for a day, the 3 or 400 kms to Goose Bay is seems daunting b/c 6am to noon only saw us progress the 200kms from outside Lab City. Ted's expecting to see us here at 6pm...and it's still raining.

But Churchill falls is, to quote Ted,
Quote:
" a shithole."
Goose Bay it is, better get ahead of schedule if the new section is worse than this sheite. In retrospect, the 380kms Churchill Falls to Goose Bay were almost worse than the "new section", there were a few pucker moments for all of us, some funny close calls and a spill for Martin. There was a stretch where you'd hit a construction zone where they rip out the hard-packed gravel leaving nothing but the sand, ignoring that persky little '15km/h recommended' sign and plow unexpectedly into said sand at a high rate of velocity...



And this is where the timeline meets up with Ted's. We're up in Goose Bay fretting the much-touted new section, he's in Churchill Falls wondering where the eff we are and probably where the eff "the bar" is.
This is ChrisP taking that picture of his hand:

And obligatory Goose Bay sign:



Teaser: A few more posts and the storyline will meet up as the friendly owner of the warm shower we rented for the night in Port Hope Simpson politely interrupts our warm meal to ask us if those two big, cold, stinky and wet riders who just walked into her over-booked hotel are friends of ours ...
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Old 08-10-2010, 02:25 PM   #193
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Q: What tires are you guys running on those GS's?

(Great RR so far!!!)
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Old 08-10-2010, 04:25 PM   #194
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Q: What tires are you guys running on those GS's?

(Great RR so far!!!)
Thanks.

Correct me if I'm wrong fellows but I believe they were all using Continental TKC 80's. Dan had a TKC80 front and a Heindenau? rear and I had a Dunlop 908 rear and a 606 front.
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Old 08-11-2010, 09:14 AM   #195
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Woke up early the next morning and eager to hit the roads. The rain was still coming down with moments of only drizzle and fog. Stopped by the gas station and filled up my aux fuel solution. I had a 10 liter Dromedary bag with me. The next stretch was to Goose Bay and was approximately 300 km's. We were hoping to get there by 11, have a Tim's lunch then push on down the new section of road. Plans never work do they

Today we had planned to ride a gravel road up to the top of the Smallwood Resorvoir (280 km return) and see how far north we could get up some atv trails we had heard about.

I was a bit bummed the guys hadn't waited for us in Churchill, but on the other hand given the weather, atv trails would probably not of been a good idea in the middle of nowhere with loaded bikes. Dan and I discussed why they wouldn't have stopped. At first I was a bit pissed off, heck we'd just busted our butts to make the meeting time, stood around in the rain for an hour waiting and all that crap. After a warm shower, hot food and a cold beer the frustration had disappeared. Maybe they are really struggelling with the road conditions and or weather. Better safe than sorry I suppose, if they were having a hard time with the main road (TLH) perhaps a day of backroad exploration wouldn't be a wise choice. I tried to put myself into their shoes and came to the understanding that they most have known we would be disappointed but thought it was still the better choice to push on and try to make the ferry in Blanc Sablon. Turns out they did make the good choice.

So dan and I headed off down the TLH hoping to make quick work of this section and both mumbeling about the Tim's that is three hours away.

Well after about 70 km's I catch up to Dan and he is coasting and hitting the start button on his bike, clutch in. He comes to a stop and I ask what's going on. He shrugs......I can tell he looks pissed off and grumpy...hmmm....





We try to start his bike but it won't catch, well it does once, idels real low then stalls. I notice dan was driving with his choke part way on. Hmmmm...does this mean it would have flooded or ? Well we decide it's flooded, so what to do? We try the regular approach to a flooded bike, twist throttle hit starter for a few seconds, then release throttle and let it turn over until it catches. Well it doesn't catch. We should pull the plugs to see if they are fowled. Dan has a spark plug wrench (CJ Designs I believe) but we don't have a socket wrench to fit it We try using vise grips and other odd contraptions to get it to work but no go. A few more tries of the start button and the battery fails. Cables? nope

So we wait, and wait and wait. A nice drizzle to keep us company. Black flies are out in full force and they seem very pissed off. Not much traffic at this time of the day. We take turns flagging down the vechicles as they pass asking for a boost, no one has cable or won't admit they have cables. One dude in a truck says "ya but they are buried in the back and it would be an inconvience to get them" and burns off leaving us in a spray of gravel


I'm not sure how long we sat there for, a couple of hours at least. I spent alot of that time with my jacket pulled up over my head, lieing in the ditch and waiting. I must have left an ear exposed at one point because it got bitten to heck. Swelled right up nice and puffy. Black flies EVERYWHERE, in your ears, nose, etc. I will NEVER live somewhere with blackflies like this.....EVER!

Finally an older guy pulls over and says he doesn't have cables but can help us out. Says he will be back in a bit and takes off up the road. About 20 minutes later he shows up, with no cables....BUT says he told his mechanic to come see us with his tool truck The guy must have been a big wig on the road crew to have pulled that off. I forgot his name but cheers to you man

The tool guy shows up and we discuss what's been happening. He let's us use his tools and we get the spark plug off and were very surprised to see it was bone dry. WTF not what we were expecting to see. Hmmm....so starved of fuel. We charge the battery and turn the key, hold on I didn't hear the fuel pump pressurizing. Sweet! Dan has a spare fuel pump he got for free from someone on the web just for such an occassion. Hells Bells baby we're back in business

















Me...sick of the black flies and tired out and we have barely gotten going.






I had a nice chat with the mechanic. 35 years old and having a tough go of life. He's from Newfoundland and says there isnt much work there. Alot of his buddies went of to work in the oil patches in Alberta and all but one came home broke and with a mean drug habit, he says he'd rather live on welfare than go that route. I can't blame him. Keep in mind this fellow is a master mechanic, licensed and all that other stuff. He works 28 days on, 6 days off. They charge an arm and a leg for him to share a trailer with a bunch of other road crew guys. no tv, no staellite reception, no phones, etc He's married and has a kid and doesn't get to keep in touch for a month at a time. They work 16 hours a day for 6 days a week. Sunday is a rest day, you only work an 8 hour shift. CRAZY His take home pay is just under a 1000 bucks a week. He tell's me his wife told him just before leaving for this "tour of duty" that she is leaving him and taking the kid. Imagine that brewing in your head for 28 days. I guess the fellows that don't work and sit around on welfare scoop up the other guys wives while they are away. My freaking heart was going out to this guy....BIG TIME. Through all that he was happy and chiper. He wasn't complaining just telling me the way it is up there. The guy even gave us a few tools fwe might need from his truck....solid guy indeed. Dan gave him a bit of green backs to have a pint or twenty that night and we bid him bon voyage and hit the road again.

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