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Old 08-14-2012, 03:18 PM   #16
Parcero
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Great report, thanks for posting it, and the pictures are beautiful. This ride is on my bucket list.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fastredbike View Post
...and I get one of them to take an "extended" bike trip. I know a week hardly qualifies as extended, but there it is.
Only a week, huh? I know the feeling. I am usually in the same boat, but a week was about all I needed to make it from Chicago to Panama. It's not the amount of time, it's how you use it!
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Old 08-14-2012, 06:11 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Parcero View Post
It's not the amount of time, it's how you use it!
I agree completely... but when you have to get there and back again in a week it doesn't leave much time to smell the roses.

thanks for the feedback Parcero, going to read your RR next.
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Old 08-14-2012, 06:21 PM   #18
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a couple of videos

this is a bit of commentary from the middle of the deep gravel between Port Hope Simpson and Goose Bay, you'll get an idea of the wind and blowing dust:



and here's a clip of the same road right after the grader has gone through. Watch near the end of the clip for how that ridge of gravel up the centre gets splashed around when a vehicle crosses it. Imagine having to get across that at speed... I'm going slow because I'm filming and driving one-handed, you can actually go pretty fast on this stuff, you just have to watch for deep holes that are leveled off with loose gravel - I encountered none of those, though.

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Old 08-14-2012, 07:24 PM   #19
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Day 6, August 3rd, 2012

So after a great sleep at the Carol Inn I packed up the bike and checked out. There's a McDonalds right around the corner so I stopped there for a quick breakfast and coffee. Labrador City is pretty much exclusively a mining town and McD's was filled with people ending or starting their shift. It's a really busy little town. I looked around a bit and since I've never spent much time in mining towns, most everything looked foreign. The mining company owns this rail line and I was told these belong to employees headed out on vacation. There were several rail cars set up this way - apparently the company ships their rigs down to civilization for them... but if somebody was just pulling my leg you can correct me.



I had fueled up the night before so I hit the road around 7:30 for my last day of the TLH and northern gravel. As rain was in the forecast I'd put my rain gear on at the hotel before leaving.

The road to Fermont goes right through part of the mining operation and it's really interesting. There are lots of gates and turns and it really doesn't feel like you are on a highway so I didn't take any pics, but it was fascinating. There's quite a bit of road construction here too and eventually the road narrows to a single lane with alternating stop signals.

Everything up here really is huge. As I'm sitting there I can see massive equipment way out on the horizon working on the tailings pile that goes as far as you can see in both directions. Truely awsome in scale and I doubt any picture could do justice... so here's the best you're getting from me:



Although the signals alternate pretty quickly you have to sit there as long as three minutes. That's plenty of time for a blackfly to work it's way inside your helmet so that just as the light turns green he can crawl into your ear. I'm sure you can guess how I know. Luckily there was nobody behind me so I had plenty of time to get my helmet off and try to get that little bugger out of there, which I was sure I did. That sensation haunted me for at least an hour though, and several times I was sure I could still feel it crawling around, though I'm sure it was my imagination... ugh.

Once I got clear of the construction it really started raining. because of the way the road is built you have to cross the rail line something like 13 times in the next 12 km or so, they are all level crossings that require a stop and due to the rain the visibility was low so I took it easy.

a quick stop along the rail line:



Eventually you cross into Quebec leaving Labrador behind at another mining town called Fermont. I just kept going right on by as it was still raining.

A little later on, though, the rain let up and I travelled on perfect surfaces for most of the rest of the day. Fast gravel that was slightly damp from a recent rain. No dust and just soft enough to get a really good grip. I made really good time for the next couple of hours in weather that was sometimes wet and sometimes dry.



Making tracks, as they say...



and passed amazing scenery:





I saw a bear scramble off the beach and into the woods but naturally by the time I got the camera turned on he'd become invisible... though if you look really hard maybe you can find him in there, I can't.



and there was even a rainbow (hard to make out, I know)




As I got closer to the Manicougan area and the end of the TLH I hit a lot of fresh paving.



I'm sure they were paving there today and will be again tomorrow. The gravel is getting covered up quickly, especially at the Quebec end and although it's still going to be a spectacular ride, it's obviously not going to be at all the same once it's finished. That said, there's still a lot of gravel on the TLH so those who have this ride on their bucket list have some time.

And just because it's paved doesn't mean it's not dangerous:



The obligatory stop for gas at Relais Gabriel, at $1.69.9 per litre for regular they set a new record for gas prices for me.



I rolled through the ghost town, Gagnon and the new tar runs up to both ends of it now. It's not quite so surreal any more with it's curbs and boulevards but no houses.

Then the end of the gravel at the Manic 5 dam, with a motorhome strategically placed for scale, yup, it's a big 'un.



Then it was time to air the tires back up:



for a lengthy section of really choice curvey riding down to Baie Comeau, where I arrived just before noon. All I needed now was lunch and a ferry across the St. Lawrence... too bad I'd already forgotten my new rule about ferry reservations....

fastredbike screwed with this post 08-14-2012 at 07:35 PM
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Old 08-14-2012, 07:36 PM   #20
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Old 08-14-2012, 09:09 PM   #21
X1Glider
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2 more weeks til I start my trip. These RRs are just making me lose more and more sleep until then.
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Old 08-15-2012, 03:32 PM   #22
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Day 7, August 4th, 2012

As soon as I arrived in Baie Comeau I called to arrange a ferry to Matane on the Gaspe Penninsula. The problem was I'd forgotten the obvious - that this was Friday in early August and the forecast was for a great weekend and that lots of Quebecers travel to the Gaspesie for vacation or weekends.

The helpful booking agent advised me I the next available spot was for Monday at 6:30PM! WHAT?

Can they please squeeze me on? - I pleaded... "no, the ferry is completely booked and there's no room"
It's just a motorcycle, I reasoned... "no, there is no room onboard, even for a motorcycle"
It's a very small motorcycle, I lied... "no, there is no room at all, did you want to reserve a spot for Monday at 6:30? it's booking up..."
If I went down to the terminal and waited is there a chance they could find room for me? I cajoled... "no, there are already people in line waiting to do that... is there anything else I can help you with?"

OK, so I knew there was a ferry about 160km upriver at Les Escoumins, it was out of my way but not as far as the first bridge at Quebec City so I called. They had room for me the next day at 6:30pm so I booked it and went looking for a place to stay overnight. I found a nondescript campground near the water and set up - then went to eat.

The next day I killed time by riding the 40km down to Tadoussac (which was very scenic but crowded - no pics) and to Saguenay park but didn't bother with a pass so there are no pics of that either.

I decided just to head back to the ferry terminal and wait to get on the ferry, planning to kill time there. I arrived 2 hours early at 4:30 and they were just preparing to load the ferry for a trip across. Just on a whim I rode up to the front of the line where an attendant was starting to get the cars moving.

I have a reservation for 6:30 but can I get on this ferry? I asked. "yes, you can get on this ferry"
really? "yes, of course, we'll find room for you - but would you please drive on now before the cars start moving?" I could have kissed her!

My new favourite ferry worker:



Nearly in shock, I drove on the ferry ahead of everyone else realizing that of course I should have gone to the terminal the day before and if not then I should have come here first thing this morning... oh well.

Tucked in under the stairs:



These guys had reservations but got put on last and drove off last... go figure:



loading the ferry:



It's a nice ride across the river - out on the horizon you could see Beluga whales breaching but they were so far the pictures are useless. There were plenty of dolphins, though:



I got off the boat in Trois Pistoles at about 7:30 and there was nothing to do now but head for home - which was still 7 hours away. I got as far as St. Leonard, NB around 9:30 and it was getting really dark - there are a lot of moose in the region and I didn't want to end my trip by hitting one in the dark so I found a mom & pop campground and set up for the last time on this trip.

Next morning I got up early




and rode the 4.5 easy slab hours home... this trip was done.

Newfoundland and Labrador have been tagged but I know I'm going back, maybe as soon as next year, I really liked it and want another shot at that gravel while it's there.




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Old 08-15-2012, 04:32 PM   #23
nick949eldo
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Enjoyed your report - a lot!

Hello Fastredbike,

I really enjoyed your report. Great photos, good observations and commentary. I too hope to travel that way again before it gets spoiled with pavement. There's nothing like a few miles of gravel to give you a sense of remoteness and adventure, even if you and I know, its mostly an illusion.

Next time though - take a real bike, not a lounge chair! (tongue in cheek, of course)

Congratulations - and all the best

Nick

PS. If you want a laugh at my expense, click on my web site below and read:

"The James Bay Road Debacle" and "Highway 138 to Natashquan "
and of course, the Trans Lab / Eldo trip (and the others too if you have the endurance).

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Old 08-15-2012, 05:21 PM   #24
Statdawg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fastredbike View Post










I passed Corner Brook just before noon and about half an hour later turned left at Deer Lake toward Gros Morne..
About mid point or half way across this photo is a face. Eyes , ears, forehead, also nordic in nature. My parents used to make my brother and I watch out the window of the family car for this land mark on our way to visit family in Deer Lake. It was long ago when the whole island had dirt roads. The days when it said finish the drive in (19)65 and the Newfies added and give it a fix in 66.

I hope you see it, the last surviving mountainous Old Man since the one in New Hampshire fell down.
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Old 08-15-2012, 05:32 PM   #25
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I hope you see it, the last surviving mountainous Old Man since the one in New Hampshire fell down.
Hey Statdawg!
I might see something there... Is it in profile like in NH or face on? Great story either way.
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Old 08-15-2012, 05:42 PM   #26
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Quote:
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Next time though - take a real bike, not a lounge chair! (tongue in cheek, of course)
Thanks Nick!

Great idea - I've got a plated CT70... maybe I'll take that next time! But then I might not be able to take the kitchen sink!


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Old 08-15-2012, 06:12 PM   #27
nick949eldo
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Thanks Nick!

Great idea - I've got a plated CT70... maybe I'll take that next time! But then I might not be able to take the kitchen sink!


Now that's just too decadent! And surely washing dishes ( no matter how critical), is something one should leave behind on an M/C trip?

Nick
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Old 08-15-2012, 06:38 PM   #28
sibyib
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dreamin

Thanks for the RR and hope I can post one half as good just enough and not over done .You need not appoligize for missing photos your comentary was great and I hope to witness it from the Ontario side soon or next year for sure.
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Old 08-16-2012, 02:47 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sibyib View Post
Thanks for the RR and hope I can post one half as good just enough and not over done .You need not appoligize for missing photos your comentary was great and I hope to witness it from the Ontario side soon or next year for sure.
thanks Sibyib, it's my first one... I'll be looking forward to your report!
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Old 08-18-2012, 04:20 AM   #30
huguesfrederic
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Tire question ...

First and for most great ride report. It seems doable, I might try it. You complain about your Heidenau, can you tell me more about your impression of these tires. Thanks
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