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Old 08-11-2010, 09:30 AM   #196
Deadly99 OP
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And it started to rain...big time rain..cold rain driving in sheets. Bummer. I don't have alot of photo's from the rest of the day but I'll do my best to tell the tale.

The rest of the ride to Goose Bay went by fast, no lolly gagging, just riding hard with next to no visibility at times. It's hard to enjoy yourself when the weather is like this. The road was in decent shape, a bit muddy at times but nothing that really slowed us down.

When we got to the pavement stretch near Goose Bay you could feel your spirits rise. We hadn't ate breakfast and left at 6:45 am. We thought we'd be at a Tim's within a few hours and had decided to hold tough. SO when the pavement came I gave her some good throttle, yehaa...warmth and coffee on the horizon The speed limit dropped from 80 km/h to 50 all of a sudden and sure enough there's a police car coming the other way. We make eye contact...damn.....what to do, a quick look shows I'm doing about 130 km/h in a 50 zone.....hmmm.....hmmm...crack the throttle and let him hear the roar from my exhaust. Bold choice, quick decsision. Play dumb and say I didn't see him if he spins her around or he'll just say screw that I'm not chasing this guy. Yehaa he didn't chase........but....Dan is behind me...sorry Dan What was I to do, turn around and pass him to get to you to warn you? No sir. So on I pushed into town and found the Tim's. It was 3 in the afternoon. Instead of three hours it took us over 8 hours to get here, no food, no coffee. Soaking wet and very cold I stripped down and order lunch. Half an hour later dan shows up......again sorry Dan. Yes he got a big ticket, the cop informed him half of it was for "your buddy on the white bike". Dan happy? NOPE
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Old 08-11-2010, 09:54 AM   #197
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The obligatory sign photo





Rain rain and more rain







SO me and Dan have a serious non fun chat. Our ferry leaves the next day at 3pm, we need to be there by 2pm at the latest. If we stay in Goose Bay for the night there is no way we'll make it tomorrow. Not the end of the world but it means we won't catch up to the other guys and Pelvis was to join us for a week of riding around NFLD. I can't do that to him, we'd both been quite excitied about the trip and we'd had many garage beer nights talking and planning the trip together. So the only we'd make it would be to push on and do at least half of the new section of road in order to have a fighting chance of making the ferry. It was raining VERY hard and it was very cold. Dan wanted to stay in Goose bay and I wanted to push on. a wee bit of tension between friends So we came to an agreement, we'd push on and do the new section of road (about 400 km's) and not stop until we came to a motel. No way did Dan want to camp in the rain in the middle of nowhere and I kind of agreed with him. We'd had a long day already and both wanted a warm shower and a hot meal. So at 3:30 we left Tim's and headed to get fuel. Filled the bikes and my aux fuel bladder and made our way out of town and found the new road.
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Old 08-11-2010, 10:15 AM   #198
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The new section.......


It was in great shape, fast and smooth for the most part. There is a bridge that is worth mention ing shortly after beginning. One of those metal grated surfaces that makes the bike a challenge to keep going straight.

We came across the section that was still under construction, about 18 km's long. It was in rough shape, very muddy. 1st and 2nd gear type of terrain.

After this we started making good time again. A quick stop to fill up my fuel tanks and we were off again.


The more it rained the bigger the potholes became. Some were about 6 feet across and the depth varied. Due to the muddy water you couldn't tell if they were 2 inches deep or 18 inches deep. As we were racing along up on the pegs the deeper potholes would rip your legs right off the pegs. A few pucker moments indeed.

All in all the new section is in good shape, had it not been so slick from the rain it would have been a nice ride.

My fuel light came on.....well we must be almost there. I get about 40 km's out of reserve on my bike, I know I've run it dry before (another story for another time ). After 10 km's of being on reserver I see a sign post that says 94 km's to Port Hope Simpson. I stop and wait for Dan. He asks what's up and I relay the sad info, I'm not going to make it. Dan says his fuel light has been on for the last dozen km's as well. Dan "guesses" that his will go longer due to the shape of gas tanks which are aftermarket and says he has 2 liters of spare fuel on board. With no choice in the matter this becomes the plan. I'll ride until I run out, Dan will continue on and IF he makes it to town and IF the gas station is still open he'll come back and bring me gas. This will mean a couple of hours sitting on the side of the road wondering if he'll come back.

Did I mention it was cold? Dan was getting concerned for me. He has a heated vest and grips where as I have notta. I was wet right threw and freezing. My lower lip started to go blue, my teeth were chatterring and I couldn't use my fingers anymore. Dan had to do my zippers up on my coat as I couldn't make a fist anymore. I was using only palms on the grips as I couldn't get my fingers to bend anymore. "Shit Dan this isn't looking good". When I run out I'll quickly setup my tent on the road and get my cook stove out and try to warm up the inside. I have one change of dry clothes left and my sleeping bag should be dry.

So off we headed, it was starting to get dark. Why did our bikes get such crappy fuel mileage I can only guess. We knew fuel was going to be an issue but our math showed we would have some to spare. Other than the construction zone I had been keeping the bike in the bottom of 6th gear the entire way, low on the revs trying to limit my fuel consumption. This meant riding pretty darned fast around corners in the mud with bad vsisbility. I think maybe all the potholes and loose mud created drag, also the front/side wind that was gusting played a major role as well.

I think you can imagine what was going on in my helmet. It wasn't pretty at all I rode, crouched down behind the windsheild staring at my odometer. I saw Dan run out behind me along the way and thought "crap no way is 2 liters going to get him the rest of the way". My bike just kept going and going. Doing the math every 30 seconds in my head trying to keep my frozen brain concentrating on how far I was from town. I saw 85 km's on my odo, 85 km's on reserve ! I may just make it ! Now I am not a religious man, more of a Darwin fellow but I prayed to God. First time in my life outside of funerals. "Come on buddy, I don't ask much, 5 more km's is all I need" kind of a prayer. No sooner had I said amen then I ran out of gas. Lights out, almost dark, hadn't seen a car in a long time and don't suspect I will until morning. Dan is somewhere behind me probably out of gas as well. SON OF A B&TCH, you've got to be kidding me. How far to town? 5-8 km's based on my math. 2 hour hike in mx boots in the dark and freezing cold. Do it or set up camp?
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Old 08-11-2010, 10:52 AM   #199
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That's it, just leave us hanging at the side of the road, in the rain, with no gas and the sun setting


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Old 08-11-2010, 11:39 AM   #200
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We had different reports on the road condition for the new section. So I had no idea what to expect. I was a little tired when leaving and was not really looking forward to another day of rain. My boots were still soaking wet when i put them on and the forecast was for rain, rain and more rain. I kept thinking back to the hotel room and when i checked the weather and it was 27c at home and humid.

When we got on the new section i was quite surprised how good it was. It was only raining a bit and I think we were enjoying the ride knowing the others must be catching up soon.

The rain started to pick up a bit and the road started to get muddy. I saw some construction signs and had learned from yesterday that meant bad road conditions.

It really started to get muddy and our speed dropped, I had heard about the bad section under construction, but for some reason I thought it was at the other end of the road, not so soon. I had in the back of my mind that it was going to get even worse further on down the road. I had heard some reports on how bad that section was. I kept thinking to myself this section is not that bad. It was just the rain that made it bad so its going to get worse and be one long day. Though we were in the worst of it now.

My pictures are not that good at showing how wet ans slippery it was. There will be some others that are posted that give you a better idea.




















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Old 08-11-2010, 11:43 AM   #201
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This report gets better and better as you guys get more and more miserable.
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Old 08-11-2010, 01:43 PM   #202
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Miserable.. yes. Yes, lots of miserable. I remember thinking that this was the last damn stupid motorcycle trip into gravel far flung places I was going to do. Stupid motorcycles. Stupid rain. Stupid Mud. Sigh.

After getting warm and dry in Goose Bay, figuring out how to get Martin's brakes working again, and knowing that we only had 400km to do for the day, we set off with reasonable spirits :)

Actually, because we had a relatively easy day scheduled (only 400km!), we thought that a bit of a look around Goose Bay was in order. Surely one of the ATV stores must have waterproof gloves? Ummm.. nope. But Pelvis did find a replacement bulb for his headlight. At double the price. Oh well.

And plastic bags for his feet :)


Fun metal bridges that pulled the knobbies left and right..


Great fun through one construction zone where the road was blocked. The digger squished down some dirt for us to pass by.. soft mud, big rocks, a large ditch, and pouring rain. I went first paddling my bike (I am embarrassed to say! Paddling is for canoes!!).. then Martin gave it a go.
He can't touch the ground on his Adventure without squeezing off one side of the seat and tip-toeing.. so he was hopping back and forth from one side to the other wrestling the pig through the mud. I was going back to lend a hand but figured pictures were more valuable!


Renaud and Pelvis rode through with more speed (impressive! especially when Pelvis launched his F800GS off the really big rock in the middle :) )



Some nice long bits of this to navigate..


We finally made it through the worst of it.. I was first.. then Martin.. then Pelvis.. then.. uh oh. No Renaud. I walked back a bit to see how far down the road I could see. No Renaud. None of us really wanted to ride back through the slop to go find him. What to do.. what to do..

Luckily there was a pickup full of construction guys having a lunch break. I went and asked them if they had a radio to see if someone down the road had seen our buddy.. they did not but were happy to drive down and check it out. The construction guys were awesome.

A while later they came back and explained that Renaud had a spill and was just putting himself back together. He'd be along shortly. Hooray!

Fox skulking around.. I think the lunch guys had left out some food for him.


The road improved and was actually pretty fun in some places. Apart from the pouring rain. And wicked cross-winds. Yay, cross-winds. Riding along, aiming for the tiny gap between two huge water filled potholes.. and then a gust of wind jiggles you sideways right into the deep bit. What fun!





The closer we got to Port Hope Simpson the more my speed began to creep up. It was like a giant magnet.. 60km/h.. 70.. 80.. 90.. 100.. slamming through potholes, skating over rivulets and mini-lakes.. fuel gauge counting down almost exactly in tune with the GPS counting down.. 80km to go.. 60.. 40.. 20.. I looked back in my mirrors and saw that Pelvis had pulled over so I figured I might as well splash some extra fuel into my tank. 5l in and I was set.

Port Hope Simpson offers one hotel. And they had 4 rooms left! Awesome! We asked about extra rooms (expecting Ted and Dan to show up at some point..) but there were no more. Looks like they'll be squeezing in with us if they do show up.

Staying at the hotel were two jokers coming up from down south.. they were intending to ride the Trans-Lab the way we'd just come. Here is what they were riding -



Ted said to them, with all honesty, 'it's do-able'. They were convinced that they'd just ridden one of the worst sections and it should be smooth sailing the rest of the way. (They'd come up from Red Bay, 100km of firm but potholed gravel road).

I asked if they'd send me pictures of their bikes when they finished- so I'd have a 'before' and 'after'. They didn't know what I meant
I showed them some pictures of the road. The next morning we saw them turning around and heading back down to Red Bay.. chickens!!

Ted?? Yes, Ted and Dan, soaking wet, pissed off because we had not waited for them at Churchill Falls, happy that they had caught up to us and they'd be sleeping indoors that night, hungry, grumpy, with stories to tell, they'd made it. After some beers and a hot shower, some food in the belly, things improved all-around.
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Old 08-11-2010, 02:24 PM   #203
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Sheeeit. Who says you have to go to Angola to have an adventure? We've got bad roads, bugs, wildlife, immense distance, and hypothermia to boot!

As for the cliffhanger question, if this was my choose-your-own-adventure novel, I'd choose:

- set up tent, change into dry clothes, get warm, then start walking, hoping to hitch a ride over the next 2 hours. Can't wait to hear what happened.
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Old 08-11-2010, 04:00 PM   #204
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But Pelvis did find a replacement bulb for his headlight. At double the price.
Double? Try quintuple!

Just got a replacement for my burnout yesterday, H7 same as yours. $12.99, and 5c in canadian tire money back. Remind us all how much you paid for that lamp again Pelvis?
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Old 08-11-2010, 04:03 PM   #205
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Double? Try quintuple!

Just got a replacement for my burnout yesterday, H7 same as yours. $12.99, and 5c in canadian tire money back. Remind us all how much you paid for that lamp again Pelvis?

Ahhh, but I did get the plastic bags for my feet for free.
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Old 08-11-2010, 04:14 PM   #206
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Maybe it was one of those super bright plasma neon HID LED ultra blue halogen xenon bulbs. Those cost a pretty penny.
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Old 08-11-2010, 04:21 PM   #207
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Well I'd decided to setup camp. I was simply to cold and tired to push on. No sooner had I came to this choice when all of a sudden I see headlights coming from the North. Hell I hadn't even see a road back there. This real nice fellow drives up in a truck and says he saw my headlight go out and thought I'd maybe had an accident. I asked if I could siphon a liter of gas from his truck and he says he can do one better, he has a gerry can with 4 liters in it.

Yehaa! I put a liter in my bike and explain that Dan is back behind me somewhere. No worries he says. As he's heading back to give Dan some gas Dan's headlight comes around the bend. Unbelievable ! After getting such crappy gas mileage both our bikes go the distance on the last couple of liters. An honest offer to buy this guy beers at the hotel later that night and we're off.

One more turn in the road and voila ! The lights of Port Hope Simpson across the bridge at the bottom of the small hill. I can't believe I was going to camp a 15 minute walk away from town.

Damn were we stoked. High fives and loud cheers !!!

Got to the hotel and the lady says she is full but to hang tight for a minute. A few minutes and Pelvis comes out of the restaurant. Hells bells baby we're warm and food and beers are only minutes away :)

The small hotel was full so I threw my thermarest of Pelvis's floor, spread my gear out to dry, got changed and hit the bar. Damn fun night. Got to meet the guys I had barely met and in Martin's case had never met. Did a bit of bench racing, had some average at best food that went down as if it was fine cuisine. Beers and whiskeys and beers and more whiskeys until only Pelvis and I were left. Eventually they got sick of us and closed the bar.

Pelvis is a tequila guy and I'd brought a special bottle just for this occasion. A friend brought the bottle to me from his home town in Mexico. It did not dissappoint ! Thanks Huey !

A bit of background. Pelvis is on a personnel quest...to get drunk in every province and territory in Canada. Seriously. He's even flown into Nunavut with a case of beer for a day. Well, Labrador was the second one left and I feel we didn't disappoint :). Late night doing shots until it was empty and then I passed out with a big warm smile on my face....or something along those lines I think ;)
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Old 08-11-2010, 04:29 PM   #208
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Ahhh, but I did get the plastic bags for my feet for free.

Lol. The pic made me laugh. I'd been using garbage bags over my hands and between socks and boot. Works for a while.... until you get water in there.
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Old 08-11-2010, 06:52 PM   #209
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It's amazing how a remote road can change with the climate. I've took the TLH this year, early June. Smooth sailing, dry road, no bugs, no rain. Just enjoyed myself with a steady pace and stopped often to take pictures. It is in those time that you have to remind yourself that, however it looks, it can turn ugly quickly. This RR will help me keep this in mind If I go back there.
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Old 08-12-2010, 06:34 AM   #210
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Woke up the next morning and had the first relaxed start of the trip. Breakfast, repack all my gear now that it has dried out, even lounged around drinking coffee. The hotel in Port Hope Simpson is...well.....really....a bunch of portable's strung together. Warm and dry ? Yes Cheap? Nope





I think some of us were feeling a bit groggy this morning

Pelvis....




Chris, eager and keen as always





Martin...if I was a betting man I'd say he was looking forward to the end of the gravel





A look in the daylight at the hotel. It looked like paradise the night before






Had a look at the damage the beemer bike's had occured. Scratched, dented and broken but still rolling along





Now....I am not sure how to even approach this subject without offending anyone. The folks of Labrador and Newfoundland (from what little I saw and I hate to generalize but this needs to be said) are some of the kindest and most friendly people I have ever met while travelling. Real salt of the earth type of folks. BUT.......a percentage of them have what I can only describe as "The East Coast Glaze". I sincerely am not trying to be rude or to offend anyone but it seems like a small percentage of folks out this way have a "far away" look in their eye. The staff at this hotel seem to have this unique characteristic. Like when they put a menu in fornt of you then just stare off into outer space for...well forever until you snap your fingers and get their attention. Something in the water? Not enough gene's in the pool ? This seems to only affect a small percentage of the population from what I saw but it seems to come in clusters. Go and have dinner and a night's stay in Port Hope Simpson and you'll see what I mean, it's kind of spooky, like a weird sci fi movie or something Stephen King would better describe in one of his books. On the ferry, on the rock, heck even in Nova Scotia we encountered these clusters of folks. Again, not trying to offend just felt it needed to be said. The majority seemed like real quick, smart everyday folk.


Perhaps someone local to the area could add some input here? was it just us who noticed this? Is it a real issue and just never spoken of? Were we dreaming...was it too many miles in the cold rain that messed up our heads and we were the odd ones?
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