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Old 08-16-2014, 02:17 PM   #1
VladM OP
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Eek Trans-Labrador. On a scooter. On the dark side.

I've been lurking here for some time and read a lot of inspiring ride reports but never thought my rides really deserve the "adventure" prefix. Fellow ADVrider I met on Trans Labrador Highway (Eldor) insisted that this one definitely qualifies, so here it is. It's in chronological order, but you can skip straight to Day 1 if you are not interested in preparations and planning:

Labrador and Newfoundland (Aug. 1-10, 2014)

~6000km loop

The weapon of choice

Preparing the scoot

Luggage

Gear

A square ride

Brake fix

Studying the route

Final bike preparations

Test ride

Where is the point of no return?

480Km between gas stations??!!


Day 1: Todonto, ON to Rimouski, QC - 1,100Km

Day 2: Rimouski, QC to Labrador City, NL - 755Km

Day 3: Labrador City, NL to Goose Bay, NL - 530Km

Day 4: Goose Bay, NL to Blanc Sablon, QC - 625Km

Day 5: Blanc Sablon, QC to Deer Lake, NL - 330Km

Day 6: Deer Lake, NL to Port aux Basques, NL - 600Km

Day 7: Port aux Basques, NL to Halifax, NS- 670Km

Day 8: Halifax, NS to Sussex, NB - ~350Km


Epilogue - lessons learned

Photo highlights

Trip statistics, logs etc.

Photo album with (even) more pictures is at Trans Labrador Scooter Ride Album 2014

Thank you for looking and feel free to comment, here or on the blog.


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Old 08-16-2014, 02:37 PM   #2
VladM OP
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The link to my fellow inmate Steve's report. He was just a few days ahead of me and his blog was a valuable source of information and inspiration.

www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?p=24862119
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Old 08-16-2014, 02:54 PM   #3
nick949eldo
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Attaboy! But you know, you really need an adventure bike with knobbly tires for a trip like that

Nick
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Old 08-16-2014, 03:12 PM   #4
VladM OP
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Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by nick949eldo View Post
Attaboy! But you know, you really need an adventure bike with knobbly tires for a trip like that
Thanks, that's what I thought too. However, after this trip I know I don't need no stinkin' knobbies . Adventure bike? I had an adventure bike that wasn't overtaken by a single GS the entire trip :)
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Old 08-16-2014, 03:38 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VladM View Post
Thanks, that's what I thought too. However, after this trip I know I don't need no stinkin' knobbies . Adventure bike? I had an adventure bike that wasn't overtaken by a single GS the entire trip :)
Motorcycle adventure is what's between the ears, not between the footpegs.

Nick
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Old 08-16-2014, 05:30 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nick949eldo View Post
Motorcycle adventure is what's between the ears, not between the footpegs.
Well said Nick, I'm going to use that.
All we really need is two wheels and a motor.

All that said, my idea of adventure is a trip that implies a certain level of struggle, be it fighting the road, the bike, the elements, fatigue, doubt, pain... This one had none of that, at least not to the point that it stopped being fun. Than again, I take everything a trip throws at me as the integral part of the experience and great story material.

Every road is experienced differently by different people, but Trans Labrador Highway takes the cake, IMHO. I have heard diametrically opposite assessments of the road from people riding it on the same day, sometimes just hours apart. It cannot all be attributed to personality and equipment difference, though. Sometimes all it takes is a grader or a truck to turn fun into torture while the other guy passed through without even seeing one.

Another example: If I had a penny for every time I heard complaints about washboard and potholes I'd be retiring. I rode that same road on an effin' scooter and it would never occur to me to even mention washboard or potholes...
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Old 08-16-2014, 06:21 PM   #7
nick949eldo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VladM View Post
Well said Nick, I'm going to use that.
All we really need is two wheels and a motor.

All that said, my idea of adventure is a trip that implies a certain level of struggle, be it fighting the road, the bike, the elements, fatigue, doubt, pain... This one had none of that, at least not to the point that it stopped being fun. Than again, I take everything a trip throws at me as the integral part of the experience and great story material.

Every road is experienced differently by different people, but Trans Labrador Highway takes the cake, IMHO. I have heard diametrically opposite assessments of the road from people riding it on the same day, sometimes just hours apart. It cannot all be attributed to personality and equipment difference, though. Sometimes all it takes is a grader or a truck to turn fun into torture while the other guy passed through without even seeing one.

Another example: If I had a penny for every time I heard complaints about washboard and potholes I'd be retiring. I rode that same road on an effin' scooter and it would never occur to me to even mention washboard or potholes...
Yep. Unless I've had at least one decent breakdown, some major part has wiggled loose, or I've been stalled by a wash-out, it just seems like another ride. It's only through a bit of adversity that a ride becomes an adventure. As a culture, we've become a bit milk-toast.

Nick
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Old 08-17-2014, 08:06 AM   #8
nick949eldo
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Vlad - just a suggestion. Most people (myself included) want to see the full ride report, with pictures, on the ADV site. I think a lot of people would be interested in your trip but are reluctant to follow external links.

You could probably cut and paste from your blog easily enough.

Nick
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Old 08-17-2014, 08:34 AM   #9
VladM OP
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Thanks for the suggestion Nick. I seriously considered that approach, but it poses some big challenges:

- The report was originally posted in the blog as the ride progressed. I like to keep it there for several reasons, not the lest one being full control over it's content. I can update the posts and add new information and pictures as I see fit. I don't have that level of control here.

- There are many potential formatting issues when copying and pasting blog entries to the board. I tried that once on a board I administer and it was a disaster. I may try it here, but only if I find time and when I'm sure there won't be any more updates to original blog posts.

- Time and effort it takes to clone the report to multiple boards is often not worth it. ADVrider, as dear to me as it is, is just one of several boards I post on. Also, I already made a serious compromise when I decided to post exclusively in English. That excluded sharing my experiences with non English-speaking people from my fatherland, including my own mother.
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Old 08-17-2014, 09:36 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VladM View Post
Thanks, that's what I thought too. However, after this trip I know I don't need no stinkin' knobbies . Adventure bike? I had an adventure bike that wasn't overtaken by a single GS the entire trip :)
There is nothing wrong with doing such a tour on a scooter, particularly with the powerful scooters of today. Heck some even do it on a bicycle
I criss-crossed all through Europe over alpine passes with a 1956 Vespa GS150 and later did the same with my GF in a 1959 Fiat 500 with a whopping 15 HP engine.
I still would prefer to do the trip on my 800GSA
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Old 08-17-2014, 10:40 AM   #11
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The point I'm trying to make is not "ride whatever you have wherever your hart desires" even though such an approach has a lot of merit. What I'm saying is that Majesty was the best bike for a trip like this. If someone asked me before what I would choose, I would say a 800GS with knobby tires. Now I know that it would be the wrong choice on many levels:

- GS is a purpose built machine for those who know how and have the cojones to use it's full potential, like power sliding in corners on gravel. I am not a Dakar competitor and I argue 99% of GS riders aren't either. They unnecessarily suffer because they have been conditioned to think they need a GS (or any other "adventure touring" bike) to ride anywhere off-pavement.

- Knobbies are bad on paved roads. Noisy, poor handling and wear like they are made of butter. They also really hate steel grate bridges. Not worth it for a trip that is 90% on asphalt.

- Ride height. Stop in loose gravel, sand or mud with a bike you have to tiptoe on asphalt and you are going down. And the bike will arguably suffer more damage than a scooter.

- Weight / center of gravity. Once you drop an adventure bike you won't easily pick it up alone. Also, scooters low CG inspires more confidence because it's more composed on bumpy roads and less wobbly in the loose.

- Price. I can trash ten used scooters before I reach the price of a new GS800 or a used 1200.

All in all, if you can use a GS to it's full potential - more power to you. I will have more fun riding my Majesty faster, safer and in better comfort.
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Old 08-17-2014, 11:01 AM   #12
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Old 08-17-2014, 07:15 PM   #13
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Just read through your blog. Great ride on a great scooter.

Did I miss the part about the Majesty dying?
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Old 08-17-2014, 08:38 PM   #14
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VladM, I am in full agreement with you and like I said, I enjoyed my touring on a Vespa very much. But I hated getting off every 200 - 300 meters in elevation gain to adjust the carb. I certainly would not use knobbies on my GS, since like you said, 80% is paved and 20% is gravel on most "touring' trips. Tires like the Heidenau are a pretty good compromise on both. And I don't know anyone who wants to power slide with a GS on trails. That's better left to 250's and 350's endures.
By the way, I like the name of your scooter.
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Old 08-18-2014, 07:21 AM   #15
VladM OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cbolling View Post
Just read through your blog. Great ride on a great scooter.

Did I miss the part about the Majesty dying?
Thanks for reading, I'm glad you liked it. Majesty died and was left in Apohaqui, NB. The engine seized badly in the middle of the open highway after surviving the worst roads of Quebec, Labrador, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. My best guess is that it died due several hours of high speed riding with severely clogged air filters, but I'll never know for sure (I probably would if I washed those filters after all the dust they had to suck and checked the oil level more frequently).

Quote:
Originally Posted by jowul View Post
VladM, I am in full agreement with you and like I said, I enjoyed my touring on a Vespa very much.
We are on the same page jowul, no argument. I apologize if I appeared a little too harsh - it's mostly because I'm upset with myself for being bamboozled into believing the adventure touring bike hype. After this experience I feel sorry for ever thinking I would have more fun on a "Gelande/Strasse". I still think the new V-Strom 1000 may be the right choice for me. Powerfull enough not to put me to sleep in the flat desert yet nimble enough to tackle some canyon gravel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jowul View Post
But I hated getting off every 200 - 300 meters in elevation gain to adjust the carb.
Interesting. I expected my Bandit to be succeptible to that issue but never had any problems, from -85m to 3,000m and from -5 to +45c. Granted, it did loose a little power at high altitudes, but nothing really annoying. I guess re-jetted CV carbs make a difference (Vespa had flat slides, right?).

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By the way, I like the name of your scooter.
Thanks. It was hers, so it made sense to call her that. Next one will probably be "his Majesty" :)
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