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 02-29-2012, 01:10 AM   #16
Kedgi OP
Banned
 
Joined: Mar 2011
Location: Shediac NB
Oddometer: 1,388
Trans Labrador Highway twice in one Summer

Tom and I had about three weeks to wait before we could head out again for Labrador. I ordered an new Mefo tire for the front of my bike. When it arrived by courier, about a week before our scheduled departure, I decided to install it myself in my garage one sunny day. Try as I might I couldn't get the fourth of four pinch bolts out of my front axle. I twisted a hex key like a candy cane in the attempt. I'm sure glad I discovered that in my garage and not some where on the TLH in the rain. Those bolts must really get torqued in there at the factory!

I decided to strap the new tire to the back of my bike and ride over to Roy Duguay Sales, the Kawasaki dealer in Amherst, NS. They managed to get the tire installed and did an oil change for me while I waited. Duguays is a great dealership, they sold Tom his KLR and a quad he uses in his work planning windfarms. While Duguays worked we talked about the Labrador trip and I mentioned that Tom and I were about to set out again for the TLH.

I rode home and the very next day went for a short ride around Cassie Cape, NB our local, scenic Cottage area and during the ride my signal lights quit. Murphys Law. It would have to happen they day after I was at the dealership. I tried to fix them but couldn't find the problem.

I called Duguays and rode to Amherst again the next morning, they quickly found a tiny crack in the wiring insulation. It had been caused by a tab on the frame that was supposed to have been removed in a recall. Where I had bought my bike used from a guy that had never ridden it but only used it to display aftermarket parts at motorcycle shows none of my recalls had been done.

Duguays needed to get a part to do the recalls, it was now Thursday morning, Tom and I were scheduled to leave on Saturday morning and timing was critical. We had made reservations for hotels in Lab City and Churchill Falls, which are really hard to come by and we had to leave on Saturday to make the trip work. I didn't relish the idea of riding some 4000kms without signal lights. Duguays went right to work, ordered the parts, had them overnighted to their shop and told me they would have my bike ready to go Saturday morning. Friday, Tom rode up to Shediac from his home in Saint John and stayed at our place.

Saturday morning at 9am Duguays called and said my bike would be ready in an hour. We jumped in the car, drove to Amherst again, picked up my bike, now with working signal lights and Duguays didn't even want payment until our return. They told us to get going and enjoy our ride. How cool is that?

We headed home dropped off the car, picked up Tom's bike, I threw my stuff in my saddle bags, said a quick goodbye to my wife, Angele and we were off on the second Labrador trip in one Summer. We rode towards Campbellton NB, our planned stop and with only one brief Summer shower we arrived there before supper and were treated to this spectacular view on the way into this small northern New Brunswick town


Kedgi screwed with this post 02-29-2012 at 01:31 AM Reason: continuation of ride report
Kedgi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-29-2012, 01:58 AM   #17
Kedgi OP
Banned
 
Joined: Mar 2011
Location: Shediac NB
Oddometer: 1,388
Trans Labrador Highway twice in one Summer

We spent the night in Campbellton. It's right on the border with the Province of Quebec. There is a bridge that connects the two. We rode over to the Quebec side to see what was there (only a liquor store and a convenience store at the Quebec terminus of the bridge) The bridge is busy even though the town is small because beer is much cheaper in QC than it is in NB. The liquor store is there on the Quebec side for a reason!

We returned to Campbellton and found a decent hotel like a Comfort Inn and had a some fried chicken at the KFC. We stopped for a couple beers at a bar where you could sit at an outside patio and were treated to an unexpected car show along the main street. Campbellton was like American Graffiti that night. Everyone was driving their muscle cars around town. There are an amazing number of really nice cars in that small town. A lot a sharp Mustangs especially. We both remarked on how we would like to own the Ford dealership in Campbellton.

The next morning we got going early and rode up the spectacular Matapedia River Valley in fog at first, which is a shame as it is such a pretty ride. We stopped at Mickey D's for breakfast in Amqui, QC where the sun came out bright and strong. After breakfast we rode to Matane, QC to catch the ferry. We had a quick look around Matane, where their main industry appears to be the construction and assembly of wind energy towers. Very forward thinking indeed. After an hour of so we boarded the ferry to Godbout, QC (about 30 miles east of Baie Comeau) I'm not sure why but sometimes the ferry goes to Baie Comeau and sometimes it goes to Godbout and like I say they are 30 minutes apart by good road. Godbout is very pretty and is basically a tiny village of what appears to be mostly summer cottages while Baie Comeau is a much more substantial city. Here is a look at Godbout's beach.

I forgot to say that our ferry ride across the St Lawrence was amazing. We took full advantage of the warm Summer day and found two fiberglass benches on the top deck and enjoyed a nap in the sun. When we landed we hung out at Godbout's beach, which is about a mile west of the ferry dock along the shore. We were sort of waiting for the ferry traffic to disperse and we had a nice chat with a local woman who was walking her dog and told us about when she used to live in Fermont, QC with an Ex husband that worked in the mine there.

We rode to Baie Comeau enjoying the smooth, hilly road and amazing view up and down the St. Lawrence River. Our plan to let the ferry traffic disperse was a good one. Hardly any traffic except for a guy with the family packed into a mini van pulling what must have been a 3500 pound tent trailer at 90 mph. It was fun to be back in QC. He passed us like we were going backwards.

We searched Baie Comeau looking for a bank. Really hard to find one. We got directions twice to find a tiny Bank of Montreal in an obscure strip mall nearly on the edge of town. We needed to do some administrative tasks. Tom's credit card company had somehow not like the charges it has seen from our remote location and put a hold on it thinking they were protecting him. It pays to call your credit card company in advance of an unusual trip and let them know you are going, I guess. He had another card, one he had never used and called home to get the code for it. In an amazing display of organization he was able to tell his son where to find the letter that had originally accompanied the card and get the password the bank had supplied. The card worked! Yay! I'm just not that organized.

We found Baie Comeau to be a very nice tidy little city, if you ignore the huge smelter that is the reason the town is there, with well cared for homes and a nice downtown, just no banks. Here are a couple snaps I shot in Baie Comeau.



With our administrative task complete, fueled up, we headed up the amazing 389N with it's winding, steep 301 turns in 200 kms toward Manic 5 dam and the start of the gravel.

Best ride ever! Tom set a very fast pace, he's a former road racer, and I only scared the poop out of myself three times. keeping him in sight. Warm sunny evening, almost no traffic, perfect!

Between Baie Comeau and Manic-2 another dam on the Manicouagan River we only passed three vehicles. A guy in a Mercedes two seat convertible complete with the mandatory good looking blonde who was driving at about 40 mph. WTF? and two tractor trailers hauling tankers of fuel north, likely to Lab City to fuel the construction boom. Passing the trucks on loaded KLR's in the limited straight stretches available was no easy task but we did it.

Long after we passed the trucks we came to the site of Manic 2. It has an amazing array of high tension hydro electric wires beside the road. We stopped to check it out. There is a sizzling, crackling, hum coming from the wires. We took a break for about ten minutes to see this incredible electrician's nightmare of wires, transformers and huge insulators, parking the bikes at the side of the road.




It was then we heard it, over the crackle of the wires, the two trucks we had passed were approaching. Oh No! We leapt to the bikes, donned helmets asap, and Tom blasted off while I struggled to get my friggen key out of my saddle bags. Do you think that damn key would come out! No way. I had to wait for the trucks to lumber by. Tom poked along in front of the trucks while I waited for a chance to get by and luckily within 5 miles or so I got my chance and wound up all 38 horses in my KLR to slip by both trucks at once.

We continued on to the Energy Motel at Manic 5 truly enjoying the best ride ever and not wanting to stop. We got there about supper time and shot these photos of the Manic 5 Dam before checking in.


We met a German rider on a BMW 1150 who lives in Sarasota Florida who had ridden solo to do the Labrador Highway. We all had supper together and a couple beers before retiring for the night. Later that night the weather changed. Rain at Manic 5 Check this out!


Rain and lots of it complete with thunder and lightening. All we could do was go to bed and hope the storm blew itself out by morning.

For the most part it did. We got up early had a quick breakfast and headed up the gravel. We stopped at Riviere Beaupin for a quick look around, before the flies ate us to pieces, had lunch at Relais Gabrielle and they make a good lunch. You can get home cooking like beef barley soup or mac and cheese, we even stopped to take this picture.

When we got to the paved stretch at Gagnon we must have caught up with last night's storm. It started raining and the farther we went the harder it rained. A guy at breakfast that morning in the Energy Motel had told us that we would be alright because it never rains in Fire Lake, (the north end of the pavement that stretches out from Gagnon) and he was right about that. At the Fire Lake sign there was a break in the weather for about 60 feet. Then it rained harder and harder until it wa bouncing about 6" off the gravel. We continued on.

As we waited for a train to cross at one of the 17 crossing our German friend from the night before caught up to us. The noise of the train made it difficult if not impossible to talk. He must have thought he caught two slow old guys on their KLR's, of course he didn't know we had stopped for lunch and sight seeing along the way.

After the train passed he set a blistering pace in the rain. Tom followed and I brought up the rear. We rode like this for many miles before Tom's competitive spirit took over and he flew past the BMW, Tom used to be a road racer, after all. After that we all sort of slowed down a bit and slogged through heavy rain until we finally reached the mine site that is Fermont's reason for being. Here is a look at the mine site traffic and our BMW friend who's name I've forgotten.

The BMW rider decided he was going to Lab City for the night, Tom and I had reservations at the Hotel in Fermont. We parted ways at the turnoff into Fermont. Tom and I were both wet and tired, our German friend had a Eurpopen riding suit on that he swore had kept him dry the entire day. Rukka. I checked them out when I got home, very pricey but if they work..... My brand new $200 Icon was wet through the crotch again!

When Tom and I got to the hotel, we could identify the building It is about 7 stories high but it is sort of in the middle of the very unusual main building (more on that in a minute) that is the town of Fermont. There are several entrances as like in a mall that are near the main building but none of them has a sign that says hotel. We asked a guy that was out side one entrance, eating an ice cream if that was the Hotel Entrance, he looked puzzled that we would ask or he didn't speak English, not sure, but the English, Hotel and the French, Hotel are the same word. He pointed around the building to another door. We went there and unloaded our stuff, including Tom's waterproof Garmin GPS that had stopped working thanks to the rain.

We went in the door, it opened onto a mall like main room with a stripper bar and a liquor store and some gift shops and a travel agen but no obvious entrance to the Hotel. We trudged, all wet up the stairs to a second level of more shops, and some sort of large cafeteria that seemed to be for mine workers only, and we saw the hallway to the outside at our ice cream guy so we gave up on that and trudged back downstairs where we found a guy that said the hotel entrance was upstairs down the hallway where the ice cream eating guy had been. Back up stairs still lugging a ton of wet stuff. We went down the hallway where the ice cream guy was now sitting on a bench, he gave us a weird look like, suckers!!! and we walked into the Hotel Entrance right beside him. Frack!!!! What was all that about? Note to Fermont Hotel. Put up a sign!

We got a room, moved the bikes to the correct entrance, unloaded some more stuff, and I discover that the frame had cracked on one of my panier racks. Son of a ..... We would have to look into fixing that tomorrow in Lab City. I made a temporary repair with duct tape and zip ties that held very well in the meantime.

The main building at Fermont is huge and nearly unique. I understand there is another something like it in northern Scandinavia. It is shaped like a 4 or 5 story "V" that points into the cold winter north wind so that residents can go outside in the lee of the building comfortably in the severe winter cold without suffering the extreme effects of the windchill. Here is a picture. I actually snapped this one on the first ride through with Iggy, Tom and I never enjoyed the luxury of any sunshine in Fermont.

It is hard to take a picture of this place it is so huge. The hotel is the highest part in the middle and to the left of that you can see the left wing of the residential area streching off into the distance. There is a matching right wing. This building is about a mile long "V" overall that contains everything. Every store, the hotel, a swimming pool the grocery, the banks, bars, restaurants, the fire department, the schools, a curling club, the hockey rink, everything. You could live here for years and never go outside. There is a tiny residential town in the lee of the building that contains a small collection of houses and town houses but for the most part the mine workers all live in this big building. Everything is owned by the mining company.

It was built in the 60's and the building and the hotel are a little past their prime but we had a good sleep there. We ate well in the cafe type restaurant that seems to be part of the hotel and we had a beer in the bar below the hotel which was booming with mine workers and their families. I bought a bottle of Crown Royal at the liquor store.

The next day it was raining again and we headed out for Lab City in search of someone to weld my panier rack. We crossed into Labrador in a few miles at the QC/NL border, The Big Land again!

It was here I discover that thanks to all the rain my bike would only start in neutral. Something to do with a wet lockout switch I guess. Tom's 2010 is wired that way and note to Kawasaki it is a pain in the butt! My bike healed itself when we got a dry day and so did Tom's Garmin.

First order of business in Lab City was to stop at Walmart, yes they have a Walmart in Lab City where Tom bought more rain gear.Then we went to the Ford Dealer and I found the GM and gave him the bottle of Crown Royal for saving my ass on the first trip through with Iggy. I made his day! He said he never thought he would see us in Labrador again based on the miserable shape we were in that first night. Little did he know what suckers for punishment we are.

Then it was off to the Yamaha Shop to find John who I had met on the first trip to see if he could weld my rack. John was awesome. He dropped everything to weld my rack, did and excellent job and only charged me something like $37.00 for an hours work! What a good guy! Here's John working on my bike.


The panier companies really ought to reinforce their welds. I don't care if it costs a bit more just sell me something that is reliable.

After a quick bite at McDonalds we were on the road again, headed for Churchill Falls in a crazy cross wind and heavy rain, being tailgated by the only car on the road. We slowed down until he finally passed.

to be continued......

Kedgi screwed with this post 03-01-2012 at 06:03 AM Reason: Ride report continued
Kedgi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-29-2012, 07:34 AM   #18
TheMule
Gnarly Adventurer
 
TheMule's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2007
Location: Sunny Southern Utah
Oddometer: 401
Great report!! Looking foward to the rest.

TB
__________________
"Animadvertuntur in desertis"

TW Goes To Alaska Solo
http://advrider.com/forums/showthrea...ght=utah+tw200

My Bike
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showt...ighlight=tw200 (Sold )

My New Bike (03/09)

2001 Tiger 955i - Fully Farkled
TheMule is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-29-2012, 07:38 AM   #19
nick949eldo
Studly Adventurer
 
Joined: Jan 2010
Location: Inverary, Ontario, Canada
Oddometer: 719
keep it coming Kedgi! Great report - and its good to see all those familiar places again.

In the first half you beautifully described most of the compelling reasons for taking a trip like this on your own. Other people's agendas, riding pace etc. can be a real pain and lead to far more trouble than any advantages company may offer. Particularly, trying to match someones else's pace on a long gravel trip is a recipe for disaster.

I'm looking forward to seeing how you and Tom make out on the return trip.

Nick

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=718205 Solo Trans-Lab by 1972 Moto Guzzi 2011
http://www.adamsheritage.info (Other motorcycle stuff)
nick949eldo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-29-2012, 09:56 AM   #20
Kedgi OP
Banned
 
Joined: Mar 2011
Location: Shediac NB
Oddometer: 1,388
Quote:
Originally Posted by nick949eldo View Post
keep it coming Kedgi! Great report - and its good to see all those familiar places again.

In the first half you beautifully described most of the compelling reasons for taking a trip like this on your own. Other people's agendas, riding pace etc. can be a real pain and lead to far more trouble than any advantages company may offer. Particularly, trying to match someones else's pace on a long gravel trip is a recipe for disaster.

I'm looking forward to seeing how you and Tom make out on the return trip.

Nick

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=718205 Solo Trans-Lab by 1972 Moto Guzzi 2011
http://www.adamsheritage.info (Other motorcycle stuff)
Thanks Nick

Tom and I have known each other since we met in Grade 5 and we're both now 55. We are very used to travelling with each other and travel well together. We leave early, stop early have a nap, something to eat and a beer(s) usually then call it a night early so we can do it all again the next day but most importantly if we develop some sort of bike trouble we have time to deal with it.

Kedgi (Dwight)
Kedgi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-29-2012, 11:06 AM   #21
nick949eldo
Studly Adventurer
 
Joined: Jan 2010
Location: Inverary, Ontario, Canada
Oddometer: 719
Dwight,
Sounds like he's the right riding partner. I much prefer to ride alone, especially on longer trips, but sometimes will ride with my son and a couple of good friends who I too have known for a long time for the same reasons you note.

I hope you're rolling out the next installment soon.

Nick

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=718205 Solo Trans-Lab by 1972 Moto Guzzi 2011

http://www.adamsheritage.info(Other motorcycle stuff)
nick949eldo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-29-2012, 11:51 AM   #22
Kedgi OP
Banned
 
Joined: Mar 2011
Location: Shediac NB
Oddometer: 1,388
Trans Labrador Highway twice in one Summer

On our way to Churchill Falls I noticed that within the month that had passed since the last trip the Government of NL had paved an additional 20kms or more of the TLH. The gravel was pounded down a lot more than it had been in July and it was easier riding. My Mefo's were good but if not rock solid they were way better than when I had the stock front tire. Tom said his bike felt just fine with his TKC's. In August there were still lots of bugs but not as many as in July, perhaps that was just because we had so much rain.

We made pretty good time to Churchill Falls we rode though a bit of construction and at one construction site we saw a little black fox hanging around. I never knew there was such a thing. The guys must be feeding him. He looked like a cat. He hid between some rocks when we got close and I couldn't get a picture.

We arrived at the Midway Motel around 3pm, they had a nice room reserved for us. Tom had expressed an interest in the Churchill Falls Power project tour but it turned out that the person that gives the tour was off on sick leave. We got cleaned up, dried out, ate a bite and headed over to the local bar, called Cochrane's Pub. It's a five minute walk from the Motel. Don't walk straight across the lawn we were warned....Goose Poop!

We got there about 10 minutes before 6pm. We didn't know they open at 6. We waited. Glad we did. We met the bartender and her friend, who was in training to be a bartender. Both women and their husbands work for the power dam. It was nice to talk to a couple locals and hear about life in Churchill Falls. A lot of quads, snowmobiling, fishing and hunting is the majority of the recreation. I was surprised to find out that a lot of people from Churchill Falls fly to Moncton, NB for a few days of shopping when they get the chance. I live 20 minutes from Moncton, it is the retail hub of the Maritimes but who knew people in Labrador think of it as a shopping holiday destination.

Oh yeah we also saw this girl too.

She was actually a poster provided by the good people at Coors Light but we had a buddy at home convinced for a while that he should fly to Churchill Falls and visit Cochrane's Pub

As it turned out one of Cochrane's other patrons that night was an Engineer at the Power Project, he was kind enough to explain to us, complete with diagrams he drew on napkins how the project was built. Not quite a tour but we learned a lot! Cool!

If you're in Churchill Falls drop into Cochrane's for a beer. Nice people there.

Kedgi screwed with this post 03-01-2012 at 05:00 AM
Kedgi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2012, 04:59 AM   #23
Kedgi OP
Banned
 
Joined: Mar 2011
Location: Shediac NB
Oddometer: 1,388
Trans Labrador Highway twice in one Summer

When Tom and I left Cochrane's we walked back over to the Midway Motel and we met two riders who had just arrived on KLR650's. Ken and Jim are from St. John's NL. They were on a counterclockwise trip across the TLH with plans to spend a few days fishing just north of Churchill Falls.

The guys told us good stories about their ride at high speeds with heavy loads, they were equipped with camping gear for the fishing portion of their trip.

This is one of their loaded bikes.

Another angle


Ken and Tom discussing the ride and Jim's nifty extra fuel setup.

It was evident the boys were enjoying their trip their enthusiasm was infectious.

We made plans to meet them for breakfast in the hotel restaurant.

The next morning we all had a good breakfast and spent a lot of time over coffee's. We were in no hurry. Tom and I planned to ride only as far as Goose Bay that day and Ken and Jim were headed an hour or so north to camp and fish. We all got to know each other and lamented the fact we were travelling in opposite directions. I invited Jim and Ken to stop for a night at my place in Shediac when they passed through New Brunswick on their way home. We parted ways around 9:30, wished each other well and we were on the road again. More on Ken and Jim later.

Tom and I had a good ride that day. It was dry most of the way until we got to the pavement that stretches west of Goose Bay. The gravel was in good shape, not nearly as deep as when I had struggled so much in July. Along the way we passed this interesting sign reminding us of how far from home we were.

Sorry the picture is too small but the Orange sign reads

No Caribou Hunting until west of........(then it names a river)

Labrador is remote!

When reached the pavement, we hit a rain shower and were putting our rain gear on when the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) pulled up in a GMC suv. The officer was very friendly and genuinely interested in our trip. I'm glad he appeared when we were stopped! He may not have been too happy with our speed on the brand new pavement. In any case he was just checking to be sure we were alright since we were stopped.

We rode a little farther and came to a road that leads to the site of the proposed Muskrat Falls Hydro Development. They say it is the last really huge Hydro development left in North America. Tom and I rode for maybe 10 kms down that road and came to a dead end at the cliff that drops down to Lake Melville. We could hear the Falls in the distance but didn't walk through the bush to see because the flies were hungry! Here is Lake Melville with Goose Bay on the far shore

There is a lot of sand around the Goose Bay area and I took this shot on the Muskrat Falls road.

Our next stop was for the mandatory photo at the welcome to Goose Bay sign.

I had discovered a bolt missing from my bike when we were about two hours out of Goose, a fairly important bolt, one of the front engine mount bolts! Yikes, and on arrival in Goose Bay we rode over to the Yamaha Shop where I had bought oil a month before. They dropped everything and spent about 20 minutes searching for a long bolt that would fit and installed it. The charge? Nothing! How is that for excellent service?

We spent the night in Goose bay at Hotel North or Hotel North II, I still get the two confused but it was the one I hadn't stayed at last time. That's how I know they are both OK.

The next day was to be a long ride. Goose Bay to Port Hope Simpson. We had an unremarkable supper in Goose, like chicken fingers at a less than friendly bar across from the hotel, turned in early and got some rest.

Kedgi screwed with this post 03-02-2012 at 02:33 AM
Kedgi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2012, 06:24 AM   #24
Kedgi OP
Banned
 
Joined: Mar 2011
Location: Shediac NB
Oddometer: 1,388
Trans Labrador Highway twice in one Summer

Hope you inmates are enjoying this RR. If you have any questions about the Labrador trip(s) please feel free to ask.

Kedgi (Dwight)
Kedgi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2012, 06:48 AM   #25
C-Stain
Banned
 
C-Stain's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2009
Location: Canoodia, eh?
Oddometer: 4,996
Keep the updates coming! Having done it only once last summer, I love seeing other perspectives on the whole trip. Great photos and description!
C-Stain is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2012, 02:45 AM   #26
Kedgi OP
Banned
 
Joined: Mar 2011
Location: Shediac NB
Oddometer: 1,388
Trans Labrador Highway twice in one Summer

The following morning we got up early and had a great breakfast at Jungle Jim's Eatery in the hotel. We gassed up for the long trip to Port Hope Simpson and were on our way on an overcast but dry and warm day.

After a short ride back to the welcome to Goose Bay sign we made the turn toward PHS. The first thing you see is this long steel bridge that crosses the river flowing into Lake Melville, with one of those tricky grated decks. Here is Tom at the bridge.



The ride from Goose Bay to Port Hope Simpson is my favorite part of the TLH. It is remote, there is nothing for the entire 405kms in the way of civilization, no gas stations, houses, stores nothing except a couple road service depots they use to store graders and plows, but in Summer there is no one there. There is little traffic and none of the tractor trailer traffic you see between Baie Comeau and Goose Bay. You are treated to mile after mile of wilderness, with long straight stretches like this in many places.

We made good time, averaging about 80kph or 50mph. We took a few breaks and at one stop I noticed these wolf tracks. That's my size 11 boot.





We had a great ride that day. We arrived in Port Hope Simpson and discovered that we had enjoyed excellent fuel mileage when we filled up at this station. We figured we got 70 miles to the Imperial Gallon or about 56 miles to the US Gallon, no doubt thanks to our steady, moderate speed. We certainly could have ridden much farther before going on reserve. Here is the gas station.



And the view from the station



We spent that night at the Alexis. They gave us a room in the new section upstairs which was very nice. I don't know if it was because I mentioned that it was my second trip through this summer that we got a nicer room or if that was just coincidence. In any case it was a great room.

We were now getting close to the end of the TLH. Only 140kms of gravel remaining. We planned to get up very early and try and make the ferry to NL departing at 10am. This would give us time to make Rocky Harbour in Gros Morne Park the next night.

Tom asked me if we needed a reservation for the boat. I told him how the ferry was nearly empty on the last trip and the girls working the front desk at the Alexis agreed that the boat is never too full for two bikes. So we decided against making a reservation, had a great meal at the Alexis Dining Room and went to bed early.

Kedgi screwed with this post 03-02-2012 at 04:47 AM
Kedgi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2012, 03:36 AM   #27
Kedgi OP
Banned
 
Joined: Mar 2011
Location: Shediac NB
Oddometer: 1,388
Trans Labrador Highway twice in one Summer

The next morning we got up early, like around 5am, had a coffee, paid for the room and with well wishes from Carol who is the front desk staff, and very nice, we were on our way, in the dark, in an attempt to make the ferry.

Carol mentioned that Port Hope Simpson is going to have a motorcycle rally this coming Summer but I'm not sure of the dates. You may want to check that out if you're headed that way.

Riding in the gravel, with stock lights, in the dark when you are somewhat colour blind and have little extra time is probably not the best idea but off we went. I took this shaky photo of the beautiful sunrise along the way.



We did our best but the gravel slowed me down. The section from Port Hope Simpson to the pavement at Red Bay is rough in places. There is a lot of traffic, including truck traffic along that stretch and the road gets pretty beat up. We passed quite a few pick up trucks that morning, no doubt the Labrador Coast's morning commuter traffic.

That beautiful colourful sunrise was warning us of some weather and as soon as the sun came up so did the wind out of the West, our right to left. Wicked crosswind all the way to the ferry. On the wide open barrens, approaching Red Bay you could feel it slide you off your intended line. We finally made Red Bay and were glad to see the pavement and hoped we would make up enough time to still make the ferry. We flew along the final 85 paved kms and in spite of the cross wind, which was maddening along the tops of the bluffs we had a very enjoyable ride.

At the top of one bluff somewhere near Lanse au Loop I noticed that Tom had stopped. I pulled over and waited a couple minutes and a couple more minutes and he finally started up again, explaining that he must have inadvertently sort of missed a shift or got in between gears and felt the revs climb and hit the kill switch thinking maybe he had lost his chain. It is rare to miss a shift on the KLR's the transmissions are very precise, he stopped checked the bike and when satisfied that all was OK continued on.

We made the ferry with little time to spare and we were actually later than the cutoff time for reservations, so if we had had one it would not have mattered. The boat was full! Too full for our two bikes. The next boat was at 3PM. Which lead to an amazing scene in the ticket office.

Here is a picture I took of the ticket office, from the boat that will help explain what goes on.



You can see the road to the ferry's parking lot. It runs from the right of the picture past the far side of the ferry ticket office to the left of the picture and then (just out of the picture on the left runs down a steep little hill to the ferry landing and parking lot)

Look closely at the left edge of this photo and you can see a pole by the side of the road and you're looking at a large 4'x8' sign that warns travelers they must check in at the ferry ticket office before waiting in line. See how the sign is mounted about a foot from the ground? Well, there is limited parking anywhere near the ferry office so it only takes one car to park in front of the low sign and no one else sees it! They all go get in line.

I guess there is a message over the PA that tells travelers to check in but no one can hear anything over the scratchy, muffled windblown PA. So, while people with reservations wait in line, because they haven't seen the sign or heard the message, the cutoff time comes and their reservations get cancelled and their spot on the boat is given to people who don't have reservations but know to check in, probably because they've been through it all before.

Tom just happened to get a glimpse of the sign as we idled past the ticket office, it was hidden behind a parked SUV and I never saw it. Anyway we went to check in and buy tickets. There were about twenty or thirty people in the office all holding numbers written in marker on coloured construction paper. We took a number. This is when we slowly figured out that the boat was full and we were sharing a room with a bunch of angry people who had had reservations but were refused loading because their reservations were cancelled even though they had arrived in time at the landing parking lot. (Why the ferry doesn't have a booth at the entrance to the parking, avoiding this cluster, is beyond me)

We still weren't sure what exactly was going on so I waited in line to ask if there was a chance if we might be squeezed on on our bikes. The unusual response from the woman who was "customer service" was "Do you think so? Look around at all these people, do you think I'm going to Fuckin' squeeze you on ahead of them? Wait over there if you want to get on the 3PM boat!" Ah, the adventure I had been seeking. I've got a thick skin, I've been cursed by 747 Captains, when I was an Air Traffic Controller, and I've been known to have few carefully chosen pleasantry's to pass their way in return, but this lady was mean! I did what she said.

Tom and I sat and watched the show. This lady made the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld look tame. She cursed her job, she cursed that her computer was down, she cursed the "stupid customers" all to a co-worker who was so embarrassed she couldn't look up from her desk or respond. She ranted at the guys in the lot over a radio she could not hear responses on as it must have been provided by the same company that provided the unintelligible PA

The boat sailed without us.



There was a verbal war between "customer service" lady and those that had had their reservations cancelled, including one lady and her husband from Baie Verte, Newfoundland who had driven all day and night from Lab City, in their Toyota SUV to make that boat because he had to be at work the next day,who had had a reservation and had arrived on time only to have the reservation cancelled and given away because they hadn't seen the sign or deciphered the PA messages. They were pissed off!

In short, if you have a reservation, make sure you check in at the ticket office!

We got tickets for the 3PM sailing finally, and went for breakfast where we met the Toyota couple. They were nice to us. He rides a Harley and was quite interested in our bikes and our ride across Labrador. Breakfast was good in this little "Korner Cafe" about a half mile from the ferry



So, Tom and I had to wait about 4 hours for the 3PM boat. It gave us a chance to look around Blanc Sablon, QC and we figured we could still likely make Gros Morne before dark. We rode around and I took a few pictures.







And a picture of some heavy equipment coming off the boat as we waited to board


Kedgi screwed with this post 03-04-2012 at 05:50 AM
Kedgi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2012, 06:05 AM   #28
Kedgi OP
Banned
 
Joined: Mar 2011
Location: Shediac NB
Oddometer: 1,388
Trans Labrador Highway twice in one Summer

We finally boarded and had a very rough ride across the Straight of Belle Isle in the persistent westerly wind. We saw the Toyota couple. She had to stand by an open door to keep from being seasick. It was pretty rough, difficult for us landlubbers to walk without weaving across the intended path and grabbing at things to stay in place.

As we neared land I shot this picture of a village just north of our St Barbe landing. I Think this may be Flowers Cove but I'm not sure.


When we got off the ferry we headed for Gros Morne Park, still fighting the cross wind. We took a break at a gas station and sought shelter from the wind at the side of the building. Tom thought his rear tire was a little soft and added some air. The gas station looked new thanks to brand new aluminium siding.

We headed out again now only a little over an hour from the Park but within 5 minutes or so Tom had a rear flat. We stopped, tried to fix it with a flat fix foam but that didn't help. We were in a bad spot to change a tire with little shoulder and we were hidden to oncoming traffic over the top of a hill. I found a spot about a 1/4 mile ahead where there was a driveway down to this little fishing shack.

We were lucky. It was one of very few places to pull off the road for the next several miles. I snapped this photo while I wated for Tom who walked his bike up to the spot.

The sun was beginning to set.

Kedgi screwed with this post 03-04-2012 at 07:13 AM
Kedgi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2012, 07:51 AM   #29
Kedgi OP
Banned
 
Joined: Mar 2011
Location: Shediac NB
Oddometer: 1,388
Trans Labrador Highway twice in one Summer

We really lucked in when I found that driveway. there was a signpost there that we tied Tom's bike to using the tie downs we had brought for ferry crossings. Tom's bike doesn't have a center stand. Here is what we found when we removed the tube!


A hole the size of a quarter! It seems a shard of the previous gas station's new aluminum siding had penetrated Tom's tire, swirled around in there and destroyed the tube. We were lucky we had a spare. How ironic is it that this was the second time that after crossing Labrador's 1100 kms's of gravel someone almost immediately got a flat on the pavement.

Tom taking a break from the tire repair


You can see the post we have the bike cinched up to.

We got the tube changed in about 30 minutes overall but it was getting dark and we knew we wouldn't make the Park in daylight. It is not smart to ride a bike at night in Newfoundland. Too many moose! There are something like 400 moose/vehicle collisions a year on the island of Newfoundland. We stopped at this roadside motel.

It had a big sign that said EAT and we were hungry but it turned out there dining room was closed so they could host a bingo tournament. We had a makeshift dinner of ju jube candies and potato chips and a few Bud's I had stuffed in my luggage somewhere along the way.

The next morning we were on the road early and made it to Corner Brook, at at McDonalds before thesky opened up and it poured. We road in heavy rain to Port Aux Basques to catch the ferry to Nova Scotia. The rain finally let up whe we got to the ferry. We met a rider from Halifax, Cory who had ridden to St Anthony NL on a new Kawasaki ZX14

We had supper on the ferry and spent the night at a hotel in North Sydney, NS when we disembarked at midnight.

The next morning we were like horses headed for the barn and road the Trans Canada back to the Shediac turnoff.

Here are the bikes at home and all our wet gear from the last leg in NL

We had "survived" the Trans Labrador Highway. Twice in one Summer in my case.

A few short days later I had a call from Ken and Jim, who we had met in Churchill Falls. They were passing through Shediac on their way home to St John's NL. I convinced them to come a stay a night at the house.

We had a lot of fun during their visit. Ken fell in love with my 1977 Honda CT 90 Trail bike. I had been trying to sell it and he bought it on the spot.

It is now in Newfoundland and enjoys life at Ken's cottage.

It was wonderful to do the Trans Labrador Highway twice in one Summer. To have a chance to ride in three Provinces with my son on his new bike. To meet Iggy, Jeff, Ken, Jim, to spend time with my buddy Tom. and to see apart of Canada that few ever get to visit.

Thanks for reading this account. I hope you enjoyed it.

End.
Kedgi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2012, 07:55 AM   #30
woodsatyr
Kitty Boy
 
woodsatyr's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2007
Location: NE FL
Oddometer: 438
Awesome! Really enjoyed it.

I'll be doing the clockwise route in August. Can't wait!!
woodsatyr 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 08:01 PM.


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