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Old 08-12-2010, 06:59 AM   #211
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We all fueled up and hit the road. First day in a while that it wasn't raining Still damp and misty but not raining.




It was good to finally be riding with everyone. No more rushing to catch up, no more dakar rally speeds, just cruising and enjoying the vista's. This section of the road was my favourite, I suppose I'm biased based on the weather and whatnot but finally the tree's started to dissappear and the views were what I was hoping for. Very rugged terrain, rocky and windy. Really felt "out there" and "up north".









Renaud packing everything but the kitchen sink
















The winds REALLy picked up for a stretch. A strong cross wind only added to the feeling of being out there. It was quite strong and from other ride reports I've read of the TLH this wasn't unique for us to encounter.












Don't buy whatever gloves Pelvis had

















Yehaa First view of the Atlantic Ocean. Mixed feeling for me, excited to get to the coast but a bit bummed that the gravel was going to be over.





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Old 08-12-2010, 07:13 AM   #212
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Quote:
Originally Posted by totem
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.



You got the ride we were expecting. It didn't seem like one stretch was harder than any other for me. Just the many hours of white knuckes due to the "slick" nature of the road that eventually take their toll on you. A very good brain exercise indeed. Lose concentration for a minute and you'll likely pay dearly for it. Realaxing in it's own way I suppose, hard to be stressed about life when you are so focussed. That being said, it would have been darned nice to take a break in the sun and just chill like you describe. Images of sitting around the camp fire after a day's riding and bench racing the day's events was what we had all pictured......not this time I guess.
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Old 08-12-2010, 07:19 AM   #213
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I would say that anyone working at this hotel in Port Hope Simpson for an extended period of time would develop that kind of look. I grew up in a small town in NF, not as small as Port Hope, but can imagine the kind of life a person would be living working at this kind of establishment day after day. Keep in mind your passing through on an adventure, this is where they live out there lives. I think a more appropriate term would be "crap town glaze". Don't generalize to the EC because this can be found all over the world.

Oh yeah, great rr bye!
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Old 08-12-2010, 07:30 AM   #214
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Originally Posted by d79cjm
I would say that anyone working at this hotel in Port Hope Simpson for an extended period of time would develop that kind of look. I grew up in a small town in NF, not as small as Port Hope, but can imagine the kind of life a person would be living working at this kind of establishment day after day. Keep in mind your passing through on an adventure, this is where they live out there lives. I think a more appropriate term would be "crap town glaze". Don't generalize to the EC because this can be found all over the world.

Oh yeah, great rr bye!
lol, points taken. I have lived in small isolated towns for a few years at a time and I have travelled to a few different countries around the world and NEVER have I seen something like this. One small town is "normal" and the next one is "odd". Again not trying to offend just curious what local's have to say on the subject.
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Old 08-12-2010, 07:37 AM   #215
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My last shot of tequila was to the sound of Ted snoring on the floor or my room.

Awaking next morning and looking outside to what looked like another cold rainy day of riding. Yes, i was a little groggy and could have gone back to bed, or spent the rest of the day in the bar

















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Old 08-12-2010, 07:48 AM   #216
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Originally Posted by Deadly99
lol, points taken. I have lived in small isolated towns for a few years at a time and I have travelled to a few different countries around the world and NEVER have I seen something like this. One small town is "normal" and the next one is "odd". Again not trying to offend just curious what local's have to say on the subject.

No worries man. It is probaly due to the relentless flies. Some sort of natural Chinese water torture that has driven them a little insane. Not that I would know anything about that........
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Old 08-12-2010, 08:01 AM   #217
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On the last 125km for gravel I was starting to wake up, But nothing wakes you up quicker than being "bombed" at 120km\h

I was riding behind Ted, a little closer than i should be. All of a sudden his tent and dry bag come flying off at me. I was waving and flashing my lights at him but he kept on going.

I stopped and tied all his crap on to my bike and raced up to try and catch him. When i got to him he was taking pictures leaning on his bike. He didn't even notice he had no gear strapped to his bike and that mine seemed to be stacked abnormally high with stuff.
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Old 08-12-2010, 08:08 AM   #218
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pelvis_98
On the last 125km for gravel I was starting to wake up, But nothing wakes you up quicker than being "bombed" at 120km\h

I was riding behind Ted, a little closer than i should be. All of a sudden his tent and dry bag come flying off at me. I was waving and flashing my lights at him but he kept on going.

I stopped and tied all his crap on to my bike and raced up to try and catch him. When i got to him he was taking pictures leaning on his bike. He didn't even notice he had no gear strapped to his bike and that mine seemed to be stacked abnormally high with stuff.



On a side note those new "thin" dry bags everyone sells don't hold up to cartwheels down a gravel road.
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Old 08-12-2010, 09:50 AM   #219
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deadly99


On a side note those new "thin" dry bags everyone sells don't hold up to cartwheels down a gravel road.
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Old 08-12-2010, 06:40 PM   #220
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Day 5/Monday started out great.
With just a little sprinkling to keep dust down the road leading east was a good ride, hard-packed gravel with little or no crevices and easy to hit 140 for a few photo-ops on the red bauxite-laden gravel.






It was short-lived, as sprinkling turned to downpour, hard-pack gravel turned to mud, and then we finally hit the much-feared construction zone.


Hmm, this doesn't seem that bad...


Let's speed up a little for more photo-ops!






Oops



The other guys were all a little quick to raise their bikes without a victory picture, but I nay!

Unfortunately I went down with no one around and the three other buggers having made it out of the muddy section were no where to be seen,

I couldalmost hear their thoughts: "i'll be damned if i'm going back in there" and indeed those lazy bastards sent beck a construction crew in a pickup to rescue me!
Complete with the cute stop/slow-sign wielding dudette.
Splendid.
They got me back upright pronto, she starts worriedly asking how I am, etc. etc. Not a big fall, all parts intact: so let's get to ratcheting broken shit on the bike! The colour may change but having a strap around my left pannier becomes a familiar theme... (it tore off in June when I tried to repurpose the pannier as an icebox to cool some beers. while still on the bike . yellow strap that time ;-)



The cherry atop the pudding is that I was trying to give my bike some good luvin' by carrying octane-boost in that left pannier which cracked open and spilled out inside the pannier. That and a pair of stupid "Goose Bay" imprinted coffee mugs. Wise souvenir choice indeed, I now have a single smelly mug and have yet to affront the fuel-soaked mess that is my left pannier where I had all my tools, ratchet straps, rubber bungies, etc.


We made Port Hope Simpson right before nightfall, just time enough for Martin to let go of his bike... in the motel parking lot ;-)



Lesson of the week: won't order the "daily special" salmon. Perfectly good fish, probably as fresh as it gets. But I was freaking starved and a little hunk of salmon and a few potatoes in a sauce just ain't gonna cut it.

I digress and our meal was interrupted by the owner anyways: "I have two feller's in the lobby and no rooms for them- maybe they're friends of yours?".

We all rushed to the lobby, and immediately felt somewhat bad for the two big fellas. Did we look like that a few hours ago?!?
Rooms, no problem but at a cost: I call dibs on test-fitting Dan's FroggToggs raingear he says is too small. Right Dan?

Besindes, I drew the long straw and had one with two doubles but I think Pelvis got shafted by the room with a single twin and... a loud bastard snoring on his floor. I'm a deep sleeper and he woke me up from the next room over! In Ted's defence it was small motel with kinda thin walls.

Day 6/Tuesday
Morning comes and it's not raining! It's not pretty out but not raining so Ted, Dan, Chris, Martin, Brian, myself and that dead animal carcass Ted calls a sheepskin hit the road a little late after some Zzz's (loud Zzz's in Ted's case) and a few minor "repairs" (let's call them corrections) to the bikes.
Of course I'm last to leave the motel and get a little lost... in Port Hope Simpson, which has all of maybe 3 streets. One wrong left turn and... you're last in line for petrol!


The Labrador Coastal Highway is a very pleasant drive in comparison, not solely because of the change in weather. Nice gravel with fantastic views onto the coastal towns, rugged windy wilderness, etc.










One town really stands out: Red Bay.

Beautiful little place we thought we had a little more time to visit.




I exit the little boys room to see Ted and Dan gone: Ted's muffler tore at a weld and is spewing hot goodness close to rubber pipes etc. so they jaunted ahead.


And the locals inform us we've crossed a 1/2 hr timezone, and the ferry is a 1.5 hrs drive not he 50 minutes we expected.

Crap, saddle up and rush! But... not until i get a snap of Red Bay! I stop at the hillside for one last pic.


It was all asphalt after Red Bay which made it a pleasantly refreshing and fast ride to catching up after the picture-taking delays ;-)

I even boldly stopped at a randon-village hardware store to chat with the owner lady, picked up some o-rings for ghetto-fixing Ted's muffler, etc.

A little (too much) gas to catch up to the guys again and we all make Blanc-Sablon in 50 minutes, as planned






At the ferry terminal our whole caboose skips ahead of the grumbling people in the "blue line" with our "red line" reservations, I ditch some fuel-smelling cardboard mush and a shady looking hot-dog pack which had also spent a few unrefrigerated days in the octane bath, Dan has a complete stranger help him take off his rainpants (someone got a picture right??!?) and off we are for The Rock!

Ferry... crappy "club sandwich"... and Ted's tone turns more serious. We've only just done 1 day together and he's contemplating riging ahead south to limp home. Yet I was so confident in my tin-can + o-ring muffler fixing capabilities!

Dan's bike turns out to be a little bit of a no-go puttering as soon we debark the ferry. So we diddle daddle to a local shop to the north. At this point there are 2 "Newfies" and 4 "Townies" all exchanging a mixture of blank stares and "aha" moments as we tear apart and go over Dan's bike. Those guys were great though: the shop owner let Dan crash in his (sheltered!) garage, offered a few beers, advice, tools, etc. and all-around niceness with a heavy accent.



Problem is isolated again but not quite solved, it's getting late so we all follow the recommendation to stay at a nearby b&b with a very nice view. I saw Dan's white legs enough in Port Hope Simpson so we switch up the room-sharing a little
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Old 08-13-2010, 08:16 AM   #221
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SO we got to the end of the gravel. My bike had been making a heck of a rattle for the last hour or so When we got to the small town where the ashpalt starts I got off to have a look. My exhaust pipe had cracked right through just where it comes out of the rear cyclinder. This was causing the bike to run bad, overheat and casuing a heck of a noise. Renauld had a few o clamps and I was going to get a soda can and rig something up, no worries. Then a local tells us what time it is...shit we forgot about the time change. We now barely have enough time to catch the ferry. Given my bikes condition I take off for the ferry leaving the other fellows changing brake pads on one of the GS's.

The asphalt ride to Blanc Sablon was great. Nice road, fun twists and excellent scenery. The small fishing villages are fantastic, right out of a post card.














I did not realize that we would be entering Quebec again along this road. Of course I could have guessed a town called Blanc Sablon was french.





Now I also did not realize how small of a town Blanc Sablon was going to be. For some reason I just assumed it was a small city. Ferry and how many times the name had been spoken due to it being the last stop in what we thought would be Labrador. Blanc Sablon is wee, not much there if you were thinking along the same lines as us.




In the backtground is downtown Blanc Sablon in the above photo


We got to the ferry, checked in and got in line. Worth noting is that you don't really need reservations for this ferry. The lady at the counter told me they would never leave a bike behind I like that attitude.






So.....................

Not exactly sure what took place here. Dan was trying to get his rain pants off, a nice stranger saw him struggeling and offered to help.




So............................ somehow they ended up in this position. As everyone was staring I blurted out (yes I have no control over my tongue)..."Hey Dan, bet you didn't think you'd find love in Labrador". Renaud spit his drink out, Dan's face went red, the stranger looked..well...shocked and embarassed...and me...I had water rolling out of my eye's I was laughing so hard. At this point I hear someone ask how it tasted and this just set me off laughing again. Man if the stranger is watching I am truely sorry to have such a laugh at your expense, but damn was it funny. Dan.....what the hell was going on?






Got on the small ferry (it's about a 1.5 hour ride) and tied down our bikes (they provide straps).




Had a walk about deck as we took off. If I couldnt ride bikes I'd ride boats, I love being out on the water.










Met this fellow from the Toronto area (forgot your name, sorry). He was riding a vstrom and had also just finished the TLH. He was two days ahead of us and said he had percet weather, nice and sunny and dusty. He'd said he did the museum and stay in red bay and mentioned it was great. We'd met before at a few riding events in Ontario. Cheers, see ya next time, small world


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Old 08-13-2010, 09:58 AM   #222
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Deadly, awesome ride report.
A few friends and myself plan on doing a similar route next summer.
I'm taking notes!
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Old 08-13-2010, 11:57 AM   #223
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So.....a hard decision was made. I decided on the ferry to end this trip short and head home. This was not an easy choice for me by any means. A few factors lead to me to this choice. The surgery I was recovering from was acting up and the idea of being "out here" and having it kick in again and needing a specialist scared the crap out of me My bike was running like crap and needed work. My budget for the trip was blown to hell because of hotel sleeps instead of camping (no regrets I hate camping in the rain when a hotel in nearby) and bike repairs, I was catching a cold (runny nose and sore throat) and this was not a good thing for a recovery from said surgery, we had done the TLH and that was one of three ticks for the trip and the only tick for most of the fellows, the weather forecast showed one good day then another week of rain on the island, my wife is trying to get her business up and running and I promised I'd have the construction phase done for her but left before completing it (yes she was pissed), I have alot of trips left to come and the extra bucks not spent could go towards this, next year SkiBum69 will have the Newfoundland section done and I'll come back and ride it with him.

So a hard choice was made, not one I was proud to announce but one I felt needed to be made.
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Old 08-13-2010, 12:34 PM   #224
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After getting off the ferry pelvis and myself headed south to deal with the ferry situation while everyone else headed north to the viking museum. Having a photo of a viking on my bike (ya not a real one but hey) was one of the ticks I wanted on this trip. I'm a geek at heart and love anything to do with swords and medeval times Pelvis had no more rear brakes and was scraping rotot and I believe he felt he'd had a good trip and was willing to join me for the drive home...thanks Pelvis Would have been a long drive home by myself.

We had been hearing rumours of how crazy bad the ferry situation was. Four of the guys had made reservations for two days later leaving from Port Aux Basques but we (Dan, Pelvis and myself) hadn't as we figured we would do it once we got to the island and looked at the weather, the calendar and how we were feeling. So we called the ferry terminal and were informed the next opening was 3 weeks away Jeepers this just won't do. We chatted with a few other bikers at some gas stations and they were telling us tales of people waiting in line for 9 days on standby Jeepers this won't do either. The newspapers were telling how the next day the local trucking companies planned on blockading the ferry terminals so no one could get a ferry As I understand it a broken down boat and bad weather had screwed uo the schedule big time. Also a coouple of big trucking companies booked every available commercail spot on every ferry for the summer and then would cancel at the last minute if one of their trucks wasn't going to be on it, this was really screwing the small trucking companies over. In years past it used to be a first come first serve...but the government in all their wisdom implemented this new reservation system and it sure didn't seem to be working out. So without many choices we headed south down the island and figured we would see what we could do.

The drive down the highway was absolutely gorgeous. Breaking waves on our right as the sun set over the water horizon, nice granite looking rock faces on our left, very little traffic and a very smooth road with some nice bends. Picture perfect.





We spent the night in a small town called Rocky Harbour which is tucked into the bay on the left of the above photo. I needed to get on the web and see what I could do about the ferry situation. Nice hotel, good food, cold beers (yes this was Pelvis's last province/territory to complete his list, CONGRATS on fullfilling your dreams Pelvis ) and the lady at the concierge let me use her computer.

We tried phoning the ferries but a message simply said we are too busy, try another day please...WTF ! I logged into their site and was greeted with all red x's showing every ferry was full except for tomorrow at 6pm...well I quickly picked two people and a motorbike, then i realized that meant they would think two people on one bike, I added this to the shopping cart and went back to add another bike/person but the ferry now showed full. Screw it I went to the shopping cart and hit buy, the price dropped and the bike was removed. Screw it I hit pay and got a reservation for 2 passenegers with no vechicle. Went back to the site and it now showed that ferry as full and no other ferries as having a spot open (even for passenegers for the next 2 weeks). So good/not good news. The plan.......SMILE...it's hard to get mad or deny people with big grins


Woke up the next morning and had a great drive down the rest of the island. Have I raved enough yet about how beautiful NFLD is?

Heck they even brag about how clean their washrooms are at gas stations
















We stopped off the highway to get gas in this small town. The local kids all showing off doing wheelies, etc The lady at the pumps says "you must be roasting".....I still had the liner for my coat on, windy and about 15 degrees celcius...she informs me it was the warmest day so far this year Coming to NFLD, bring warm clothes, summer is a relative term














While driving down the road I spot this guy in the middle of nowhere and spin her around to have a chat.




Meet Joe. Joe has been walking for a year and a half. He left Victoria BC in the fall of 2008. A real cool guy and he had made a real neat rig. Perfectly balanced, nice sun/rain cover etc. Joe only plans one day at a time and if it rains he stays put. Wow what a difference than the last week of my life. I was very envious of him at this point. Real interesting fellow to say the least, if you see Joe, stop and say gidday Of course I had to take his rig for a spin


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Old 08-13-2010, 12:52 PM   #225
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When we got to Port Aux basques we headed straight for the ferry and got in line to get our tickets. Now.....Pelvis isn't always the most smiley guy I re-enforced to him to just keep grinning. We got to the front of the line and played dumb with the sweet gal. "But I picked two motorbikes on the drop down", "well then I'll just pay the difference", "well no worries we'll wait and get the next boat". Boat full, no way, next one, full no way, etc She says hold on I'll get my manager, this grouch of a lady comes up (yes I understand these people have been yelled at all day everyday by pissed off people but seriously that isn't my issue is it, cheer up my taxes are paying your salary ) and says right out of the gate, no way no chance in fact I don't even want to see those bikes cross this line. ARG..."keep smiling Pelvis". The sweet heart in the ticket booth leans out and says "Just drive, ignore her when she screams and drive right by the food and immgration people, DO NOT stop. There is a building down on the left where people can complain. I'll phone ahead and tell them you are coming." Smiling worked. A quick thanks and vroom. "Hey, stop those bikes" Vroom


When we get to the complaints department you can tell people are pissed off and have been waiting a LONG time. "keep smiling Pelvis". This over the top gay fellow seems to be in charge and is telling his employee to keep telling people the boats are full, nothing they can do about it. He looks up and down the line up and spots me and Pelvis smiling like idiots (the only people smiling in the whole place), leans over to the young girl and says something, she replies "Susie from up front called and said these two would be coming here". Well he looks us up and down, winks and rolls his eye's in that gay I'm checking you out manner So without breaking the smile off my face I wink back.....wow shivers up and down my spine, I can hear pelvis freaking out behind his perma grin, lol The fellow tells the yound lady that me and Pelvis will be getting on the next boat and winks as he walks away Hells bells baby, we're on. Not only that but he gives us a cabin with two beds, a tv and a private bathroom
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