ADVrider

Go Back   ADVrider > Riding > Ride reports
User Name
Password
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 10-03-2010, 07:43 PM   #91
jdrocks OP
Gravel Runner
 
Joined: Jul 2007
Oddometer: 3,997
Quote:
Originally Posted by scottmac

You just need to start taking pics of some of them waitresses...
i would, but my camera might explode.

more to come, hang around for the show.
jdrocks is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2010, 07:50 PM   #92
MTrider16
Ridin' in MT
 
MTrider16's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2006
Location: Eastern Montana
Oddometer: 1,516
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdrocks
you need to point that F800 north.
I have. RR in the works.
__________________
'13 VFR1200D, '13 XVS950, '09 F800GS, 07 CRF250X
Riding roads in Montana - Big Sky Country
www.mtrider16.smugmug.com
Mountains, Moose, and Miles: a Montanan's Alcan Highway Story
Continental Divide and More: the "No Dust" Tour of WY and MT
MTrider16 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2010, 08:00 PM   #93
jdrocks OP
Gravel Runner
 
Joined: Jul 2007
Oddometer: 3,997
Quote:
Originally Posted by MTrider16
I have. RR in the works.
good for you, i'll watch for it. any waitress pix?


i don't have a plausible explanation, but i have really good luck with my waitresses...sometimes exceptional luck.
jdrocks is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2010, 05:00 AM   #94
RRVT
Wild and Crazy Guy
 
RRVT's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: Burlington, VT
Oddometer: 232
Common David, get back to writing. You finally get almost to the point where you met our group, and then you take a sabbatical.

Roman
RRVT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2010, 01:47 PM   #95
jdrocks OP
Gravel Runner
 
Joined: Jul 2007
Oddometer: 3,997
Quote:
Originally Posted by RRVT
Common David, get back to writing. You finally get almost to the point where you met our group, and then you take a sabbatical.

Roman
Roman, good to hear from you. was riding gravel in WV for a couple days. rode all that gravel up north, then fell off twice in the same day out there, didn't learn much.

yeah, i'm down to the day we met at Relais Gabriel.

coming up...
jdrocks is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2010, 02:27 PM   #96
jdrocks OP
Gravel Runner
 
Joined: Jul 2007
Oddometer: 3,997
Day 10: ate year="2010" day="30" month="8">Monday 8/30/10ate>-Manic 5, QC. To ChurchhillFalls, Lab. 389 miles

The 389 gravel starts right here, so when I get up early this morning I almost know what to expect, it’s raining. I haven’t had much luck putting sunny days together back-to-back, but at least it’s just a light rain right for now and I would be pleased if it didn’t get heavier. The bike is ready, I check out, and meet a Newfy coming back across the parking lot. Originally from Labrador, he has been living in St. John for 25 years, and is on his way back from Ft.McMurray with equipment in a box trailer behind his pickup. A slow leak in one of the trailer tires caused him to stop here, but there’s no one around to fix it.

We talked about our respective trips and I said “Man, you’ve traveled quite a ways”, and he replied “Maybe about the same as you”. After discussions about Labrador, Newfoundland, and Alberta, a half hour had passed and we both need to get going. When I check the miles later, he was right, we had both traveled similar distances.

The Manic 5 dam is around the corner and is an imposing piece of engineering, in other words, it’s one big mofo.



It’s so big it would take a better camera than I have to get it in a frame. It reminds me of the big earthen dam at the Resevoir Caniapiscau, except this is all concrete.



Just as I follow the road around so I can ride across the top of the dam, a KLR with panniers passes southbound. I stop, but he doesn’t. Damn, I really wanted to talk with him. That KLR guy would probably know every single cheap place to eat and sleep from here to Nova Scotia, what a missed opportunity.

If you didn’t know you were on a dam, you might think this is a huge river bridge.



After the dam, the gravel gets serious and I was ready for a quick run up to Relais Gabriel, about 60 miles, for breakfast. This road has plenty of traffic, including considerable truck traffic, so there was no chance of a repeat of the Trans Taiga situation. The road was wet, but in decent riding shape, with the usual gravel berms in the corners and sand holes where the trucks had created soft spots. I was happy with what I saw so far…nothing new in the way of hazards, and pleasant country for a bike ride. My right hand mirror didn’t agree with the road and suddenly snapped off as I rode. I went back and recovered it, surprisingly the mirror itself unbroken.





Numerous small lakes, glassy smooth in the calm air.





The terrain finally afforded the long views I had gotten used to, and also gray sky in my path a long way north. The rain would be with me for the rest of the morning.



When I get to Relais Gabriel, I find an ADV rendezvous in progress, four dual sports in travel mode. My Newfy truck and trailer friend was there too. The group leader came over to introduce himself, and after some initial confusion in which I thought he was a rider from New Hampshire, and he thought I was a rider from Maryland, we got back on the right track. It turned out we both knew the other from posts on the ADV forum, and weren’t all that surprised to meet. Remember, there’s basically just one road up here.

The riders were Mark, Jason, and Roman, all from Vermont and were riding a custom Wee Strom, Tiger, and F800GS respectively. The fourth rider was Martin from Argentina via New York, and he was on a 12GS.



The group seemed a little unsettled, and I quickly found out that Roman had gone down hard just after starting the gravel above Manic 5, the victim of a sand hole. Hmmm, I know a few things about those. Both Roman and the 800 were a little beat up, but both ready to start north again today. Marked showed me the duct taped 800, and blamed the soft suspension for the wreck. I can’t say that I’ve paid much attention to that bike, but when Mark pointed out that the forks didn’t have any adjustment, I was surprised. Even my cheap ass rat bike has adjustable forks. The problem with a real soft suspension in those holes is that the hole swallows the whole bike before you can get the front wheel up and out. You’re down quicker than you can snap your fingers. I have to give Roman credit, he was hurt but still back in the saddle, ready to go. Perseverance is a valued commodity across the north, and it ain’t something you can go out and buy.



(To be continued...)
jdrocks is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2010, 02:34 PM   #97
jdrocks OP
Gravel Runner
 
Joined: Jul 2007
Oddometer: 3,997
Day 10: Continued

The Vermonters and the Newfy all left me, I had my mind on another big breakfast. The gal running the café was a lively French woman with a twinkle in her eye and an easy laugh. If I were to bet, I would say that she liked men and men liked her. Some women live their lives in a comfortable coexistence with men, the experience full of humor, sharing, and love…she was one of those.

She spoke lightly accented English, and I got a boisterous laugh when I told her about my disasters with the French language yesterday. She said “You need to study and then practice, lots of practice”. When I looked directly across to her and make eye contact, she said “No, no, never. You can’t practice here”, but then she laughed, shaking her finger at me. The breakfast was excellent, blueberry pie for dessert. I don’t know where I’ll end up today, but I better start riding.

More wet road, but I was feeling good, must have been the pie. Good pie trumps a rainy day on wet gravel anytime. I was hittin’ a nice fast groove, but then road construction with one of those count down timers. I like those timers, but when I rode up and just missed the green light, the damn red light timer said 600, as in ten minutes. WTF? Drawing the 600 card makes it seem like you should come back some time next week. The truck driver behind me takes the opportunity to take a pee in the middle of the road, plenty of time for that.



Through the construction zone and on my way to Gagnon, the old company town that Hydro Quebec built, populated, depopulated, and then dismantled. It’s kind of odd to ride 100 miles of gravel and then hit a paved section way out here, but that’s what you find when you get to Gagnon. Rough pavement just south of town, then more typical pavement north. It looks like someone still mows the grass in the medians of the divided highway in the center of the town site.



Time to crank it up, and I’m running 80 cruise, confident I’ve got enough fuel to reach LabradorCity. The country has opened up and I like what I see, green to the horizon, and a patch of blue sky.





The road turns back to gravel after about 50 miles, and now it’s very dusty, the rain never got this far north. There are numerous small rivers crossing the road, and the bridge is always a good place to stop if there’s no traffic.



A heavy tanker truck passes me on the bridge. The bridge becomes a trampoline, there had to be six inched of vertical movement, and the bridge was still moving long after the truck was out of sight. Wow, I hope they inspect these things frequently. Fires had burned up here also, and a combination of dust and smoke must have reduced visibility to near zero.



This had to be some wild country before the road was punched through to develop the mines still farther north.



Southbound truck traffic was heavy and the dust was blinding. Looking down the road, I can see a bike, then another, must be the Vermont crew. When I catch them I find Martin, then Roman, Jason, and Mark. Roman was standing on the pegs, going slow as he picked his line through the marbles. As I pass them, I understand what was going on here. The group was letting Roman set the pace, and Martin was riding herd, keeping an eye on things. Sure, the pace was slow, but it was good to see that his friends had stuck with him and done the decent thing. I could blast right by, but then I had a recent thousand mile gravel tuneup under my belt already, while they had just started the gravel. Ahead of the riders is the Newfy truck, and he’s creating so much dust I just can’t pass him safely, so I back off.

Another little piece of pavement, then right back in the dust.



I stopped at the one lane bridge over the Riviere aux Pekans to take a break and wait for the Vermont boys just to make sure that everyone was still right side up. That piece of road was full of marbles over a hard subgrade, making riding a challenge.



While waiting, I perform my own bridge inspection and find the pins holding the structure together secured with bent nails, some galvanized, some rusty. Hmmm…not good, someone with evil intent could knock that bridge apart in thirty minutes if they were ambitious, or the nails could just rust away and the thing fall down on it’s own.



A northbound French woman in an SUV stops and says “Your friends are coming, pretty soon they are coming”. It had been a while, so I asked if they were ok, and got “Yes, they are all riding, coming soon”. When I said “Merci”, she laughed and was gone in a cloud of dust. I need more practice I guess, people still laugh when I try out one word.

Ten minutes later, a southbound pickup stops to see if I’m ok. A middle aged French couple speaking decent English and we have a lively conversation on the side of the road. I was covered with dust from the road and must have been a sight. I didn’t realize how dirty my face was until I looked in the mirror later. They leave with a wave, and a few minutes later I see a bike coming around the curve before the bridge, Mark on the Wee Strom.



The others were behind him and coming along at a safe pace. Jason was in second on the Tiger and his first words were “I’m never taking this bike up here again”. He had MT60’s on the 17” wheels and said they just weren’t up to the job. An excellent young rider, he would later figure out the gravel and ride that bike at good speed. Roman and Martin came in next, Roman in rising spirits with no incidents on this road, a confidence builder. Martin was dusty, but smiling and relaxed. He had been to TDF, and I doubt this road was anything he hadn’t seen before. I still planned to be past LabradorCity today, so goodbye, and I was riding north again.


(To be continued...)

jdrocks screwed with this post 10-04-2010 at 02:40 PM
jdrocks is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2010, 02:45 PM   #98
jdrocks OP
Gravel Runner
 
Joined: Jul 2007
Oddometer: 3,997
Day 10: Continued

North to Mont-Wright, you get a look at the reason for the existence of this road. The mine operations are visible from the road across a small lake, rust colored water from the tailing runoff.



This is only one of the mines in the area, and you can get an idea of the infrastructure needed to support it. The used wheel loader tires form a wall along a curve in the road. It must be too expensive to ship them out for disposal or recycling.



The road is now paved again all the way to LabradorCity. The company town of Fermont is just north of this mine, but I didn’t ride in there, not interested. I’m more interested in fuel and lunch, got to keep my priorities in order.

I stop at the first fuel stop I see, my low fuel light was on. Two women were cleaning this huge parking lot with brooms and dust pans. Man what a job, where’s the big sweeper? Fuel the bike and go in to pay where I meet the young man minding the place. This is a young guy, so the discussion naturally comes around to the subject of the young women from Quebec. When I mentioned that it looked like most of the women over that way wore thongs, he said “Yeah, most of the women who stop here are wearing ‘em, don’t think they even sell the regular stuff in the stores anymore”. He went on to say “I asked this one girl last year if those things were comfortable to wear, dint look like it. So she said somethin’ in French and my friend started laughin’, so I asked him what’s funny, an’ he tol’ me she said somethin’ about “like flossing my butt””. Geez, I had to ride all the way up here to get the inside info on those thongy things, good to know in case anyone asks.

The same young man also gave me good directions to McDonalds, not surprising. What else is there at that age besides hot women and fast food. I find McDs and order a bunch of crap from the billboard menu, 5000 calories and a 5 gallon bucket of saturated fat inside a sesame bun…and a sunday also. There was no one else in there, so I entertained the kids working the counter and they were pretty sharp, so I got entertained too. I ate up all the food and could barely stand up, maybe I needed a nap after that meal. Nope, I need to ride, and I’m out in the parking lot when the Vermont guys ride in, it’s a small world up there.



I was going to look for a camping spot down the road 75 miles and I might see them again later, gotta go.

The road running southeast from LabradorCity is now paved for the first 60 miles, and it’s one of the best paving jobs I’ve seen anywhere, a very smooth and uniform surface. Once at the end of the pavement, the road become a nightmare of construction zones, rough gravel surfaces, construction vehicles, and flaggers…dust too. By this time it was getting late and I hadn’t found a place to stop yet. Scenic to the north, the sun was back out.



I was almost at the end of the construction area for this season when I ran up on what looked like the last flag girl of the day. A thirtyish French woman, burned blond hair sticking out from a hard hat, fluorescent polka dot top under her safety vest, skinny jeans tucked into half laced black logger boots, she was making a fashion statement out here, this might be fun.

Fair English, she’s talking to me and yelling in French at another flagger across the road at the same time. She turned back to me and held up her radio, “Battery all fucked up, can’t talk”. So I said “Looks like I’m stuck here, ya got a cold beer?”, and she replied “No, don’t drink”. I think she meant that she doesn’t drink more than a case at a sitting. She leaned down and gave her radio a big thunk across my front tire, didn’t help it any. She turned to yell across the road and dropped her sign on my foot, there’s a novel road hazard. The girl is flustered now and says “Go!”, and grabs my sleeve to pull me forward. I’m just starting to roll and she yells “Stop!”, then “Go!”, then “Stop!” again, and finally “Aw fuck it, just go”.

The road is most graded marbles and you need to concentrate while riding this kind of surface, no second chances.



The traffic is fairly light, but the dust raised by the trucks is impressive, if not outright hazardous. When these trucks go by it’s like someone threw a brown blanket over your head, you can’t see your hand in front of your shield. You’re riding blind on marbles, scary as hell at 50mph.



I haven’t seen the camping spot I was watching for and so I decide to try Churchill Falls instead. Might as well make a day out of it, and if I can get there I’ll have been on the move for 14 hours. Worse yet, I’m going to run out of daylight. I’m in a serious push again, fighting the dust and failing light. I have to stop every so often to clean my shield, the dust was sticking to both sides. I zoom my GPS setting in to the lowest scale, it’s one of my old tricks for the end of the riding day when I’m getting tired. That black vehicle icon on the screen is runnin’ across the map like an ant with his ass on fire…supersonic speed, helps me get there quicker.

I pass some small lakes in this huge country, and it dawns on me that I haven’t seen anyone for many miles, everyone else was smart enough to get off the road by this time of day.



It’s just about dark now, and looking way down the road, the surface looks black. Pavement, I wasn’t expecting it, but damn welcome. Past the airport and I make the turn on the highway looking for fuel. Nothing, all the services must be in town. This is another town built around a big hydro project, otherwise it wouldn’t be here. I get directions to fuel, then try to get directions to lodging at the CityCenter complex, I had changed my mind about camping. The people at the convenience store got in a big argument about the proper directions to give out when a young guy said “Just follow me, I’ll take you over there”, good.

I followed my guide over to this huge building and he pointed me towards the main entrance. I rode in there, but had to maneuver around a pickup. I was leaned over, went to give it a last shot of gas, found myself in second instead of first, the engine hiccupped, and the bike fell over. Welcome to Churchill Falls, and I crashed directly in front of the entrance doors to CityCenter. You might think my arrival caused something of a stir.

Nobody saw me ride up, just the aftermath. They thought I was dead, but then I stood up, a miracle in the flesh. Everyone wanted to call the ambulance, get me to the hospital…blah, blah. Forget that, just help me pick up the bike. I had gone down on the right, and when four guys pick it up on the right side, they nearly flip the bike back down on the left. Fortunately, the one guy on the left caught it, and put the stand down when I asked. Whew, I’m here anyway, let’s get a room. No rooms, booked solid, I should have seen that coming.

Ok, no rooms, how about a place to camp? The young lady said “Just go over to the church, they probably won’t mind if you camp there”. A half hour later I was in my tent set up on a nice grassy spot next to the church, a fitting place. I had been blessed and survived to ride another day.

Bored with life?, just come ride with me. You might get scared to death, but you’ll never die of boredom. Even more gravel ahead….


(To be continued…)
jdrocks is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2010, 04:04 PM   #99
Vikingtazz
Will ride for food.
 
Vikingtazz's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2010
Location: Prescott Ontario, Canada
Oddometer: 229
Such excellent narrative!
Loving the report.

I've dated several Quebec girls in my younger days JD.
They're kinda like the older Ducatis.
Sexy as hell, but very high maintenance.
Vikingtazz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2010, 04:57 PM   #100
jdrocks OP
Gravel Runner
 
Joined: Jul 2007
Oddometer: 3,997
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vikingtazz
Such excellent narrative!
Loving the report.

I've dated several Quebec girls in my younger days JD.
They're kinda like the older Ducatis.
Sexy as hell, but very high maintenance.
thanks.

funny thing about those Ducatis, even the new ones, guys are still buying them.

maybe there's a certain attraction to that high pitched exhaust note when they hit the redline.
jdrocks is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2010, 09:38 PM   #101
Geek
oot & aboot
 
Geek's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2003
Location: 8000ft.
Oddometer: 30,279


As someone who has lived a few years in Quebec and in Newfoundland.. but hasn't been back to Canada in 15 years.. I'm thoroughly enjoying every word.

Keep it coming and thanks!
Geek is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2010, 03:30 AM   #102
jdrocks OP
Gravel Runner
 
Joined: Jul 2007
Oddometer: 3,997
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geek

...but hasn't been back to Canada in 15 years..
whatcha waitin' for?

bumbling along in quebec with my stupid french, now there was an experience. now i'm back in the english zone.
jdrocks is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2010, 06:41 AM   #103
markbvt
Beastly Adventurer
 
Joined: Sep 2007
Location: Georgia, Vermont (that's one town, not two states)
Oddometer: 2,655
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdrocks
I was almost at the end of the construction area for this season when I ran up on what looked like the last flag girl of the day. A thirtyish French woman, burned blond hair sticking out from a hard hat, fluorescent polka dot top under her safety vest, skinny jeans tucked into half laced black logger boots, she was making a fashion statement out here, this might be fun.
Ah yes, I remember her. She told us you were a little ahead, and we asked about the camping area you'd told us about. There was quite a bit of back and forth between her and the construction guys, and eventually they all agreed that the campground was about 100km away on a side road whose name I've forgotten. We didn't end up going that far, instead camping off the side of the road in a clearing that I was familiar with from my trip last year.

--mark
__________________
'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 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2010, 09:19 AM   #104
RRVT
Wild and Crazy Guy
 
RRVT's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: Burlington, VT
Oddometer: 232
Laugh

Quote:
Originally Posted by jdrocks
whatcha waitin' for?

bumbling along in quebec with my stupid french, now there was an experience. now i'm back in the english zone.
I go to Quebec all the time. In my experience, if a French girl likes you, you don't need no French
RRVT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2010, 09:59 AM   #105
L.B.S.
Beastly Adventurer
 
Joined: Feb 2010
Oddometer: 1,183
JD- thoroughly enjoyed this RR, bless your heart for making dull work days go by much faster

I introduced my new F800ST to gravel just a couple weeks ago, on a little trip of my own up to a small town called Bella Coola, here in British Columbia.

It did far better than I would have ever dreamed, but needless to say, the OEM Metzeler Z6 street tires had my heart pumping, going through mile after mile of freshly graded 6" thick golf ball size gravel!

In sympathetic memory, I felt my muscles tense up and I began to counter steer back and forth just a wee bit in my chair, reading the pin-ball left/right/left/right slithering through the evil patch of the stuff you encountered

Those off camber, downhill, no traffic prior, thick, loose, freshly graded roads being traversed in the rain, had my overloaded, slick tired street bike at all manner of sideways OMFG moments, especially when encountering the big centre berm of death, always exactly where you really didn't want it to be!

Leaving Bella Coola in the morning rain of Sep. 23rd, I missed by mere hours, the torrential floods and dissaster that struck the town, washing out the only road out, destroying all the bridges, flooding the entire town, stranding virtually everyone west of Williams Lake, to this day!


Like you, I didn't pass by very many people or vehicles in or out, and not one single other motorcycle, in one near 1,000 km section I did. (westbound and return!!! ) But every single last truck, RV, van or car, waved to me as we passed by each other. It was a welcome feeling, to again reacquaint myself to that kind of small northern community outlook...

All the best
L.B.S. is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Share

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

.
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


Times are GMT -7.   It's 06:44 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2014