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Old 08-26-2014, 08:07 PM   #1
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Trans-Lab: Alone? At your age?

For many years I'd thought about riding the TLH but had never seriously gotten right down to it. Three weeks ago my manager came to me and said hey boss, you haven't taken a holiday in a long time and would you like 10 to 14 days off starting on Aug 1st? Since all staff would be present then, I'd be free to go. Sure, I said.

On the ride home that night I started considering my options and one of them was the TLH. Could I really do it? Should I? At my age? (More on that later.)

Most people doing the TLH had more time to plan carefully and to get riding buddies to join them. I was late in the game and in spite of posting messages here and on other boards, I wasn't finding anyone to ride with. Would I dare do this trip alone?

For richer of poorer, for better or worse... Oops! Wrong solemn oath! I was going to do this!

I started serious planning.

That involved using Google Maps to plot out a route. (Duh, there's only ONE route across Labrador!). I read all the trip reports I could find (Thank you folks who posted them... You have no idea how many of us follow along, dreaming, planning and absorbing every little tidbit of info you've shared).

Was I going to be able to handle the roads up in Labrador? Was the bike going to last? How about extra fuel which I'd need to carry to make the trip? I carry all the tools needed to change a tube should I get a flat tire, but gee, it's a really hard job! I sure hoped I wouldn't have to do that at the side of the road somewhere, in the rain, maybe in the dark, while being devoured by blackflies.

I guess what scared me the most was the blackflies. I'd heard stories about how ferocious they are, that they're the size of hummingbirds and that they have the tactics of fighter pilots. I have childhood memories of being eaten alive by the things and as a child running out of the woods in tears as they devoured me. My fear of the blackflies was immense and they, more than anything else, made me wonder if I really wanted to do this trip.

Reading all I could, I found out that only 100% Deet would be effective, but that it was such a strong and harmful substance that it melts plastic and rubber and destroys fabrics. I really didn't want to put that on my skin. Besides, you can't buy 100% Deet in Canada (only up to 35%). Then I heard about a chemical called "Permethrin". It's what is used on the insect repellent clothing that you can now buy in the States. You are supposed to spray your clothing with it and allow it to dry and then you "should have" protection for up to six months or a few washings. I needed that stuff! With only 10 days left before the start of my trip, I made a rush overnight trip down to Burlington Vermont because I couldn’t find the stuff in Canada, and found Sawyer's Permethrin at a Dick's Sporting Goods store.

I rushed home and hung up all my clothing: riding gear, gloves, t-shirts and underwear, socks, boots, etc. Even the mesh screen on my tent. I then sprayed it liberally with Permethrin and allowed it to dry. Supposedly there is no ill effect on humans once it has dried, but while it's wet you're not supposed to get it on your skin or in your eyes. And you shouldn't inhale the vapors (but there really wasn't a strong smell). I also bought some 35% Deet, just in case.





With that out of the way, I was feeling more encouraged. I wasn't at all worried about bears, at least not initially. Then I heard that currently around Churchill Falls the bears were particularly aggressive. And then a friend of mine, Chris Dodds, arguably one of the very best nature photographers in Canada warned me that I should take them seriously. Chris often leads photo workshops in remote areas to shoot (with cameras of course) bears, moose, birds, and other wildlife. http://www.chrisdoddsphoto.com/Artis...&Akey=HKP7BK55 Chris told me not to bother with bear spray, saying that it wouldn't do me much good when a bear was racing across a clearing towards me. Chris suggested I get three 45 minute road flares... the 15 minute ones wouldn't be enough he said. And ALWAYS keep one with me he said. If you get off your bike to go pee at the side of the road, or have lunch, etc. have one with you. And take them into your tent at night. Surely he was kidding I thought. Then I read a little more about bears, and the fact that you shouldn't even have your toothpaste in the tent with you. I knew that you keep the food far away, but toothpaste? And don't have any snacks in your pockets - ever! The residual smell of a chocolate bar or other snack would be enough for a bear to detect. I was going to be camping as often as the weather, bugs and bears allowed, and along the TLH there really aren't official campgrounds. Basically you find a clearing along the road somewhere and pitch your tent. So I started thinking that even if I used safe practices regarding where and how I kept my food, what about the previous people who camped there? Were they as careful as I would be? Did they leave garbage around? Bears are supposed to be very smart and are also creatures of habit. So if they found food/garbage in a place one day, they'd constantly be checking again and again.

Maybe I'd better be more concerned about the bears.

So I got the road flares (could only get 30 minute ones, and that would have to do). I didn't have a "bear banger" or bear spray, and still didn't really think I'd need it. I did go to Mountain Equipment Co-op and buy two "bear cannisters" (I didn't think one would be large enough to hold all my food, snacks, toiletries, etc.). These are large polycarbonate containers that supposedly a bear cannot get into. You put everything into those and store them far from your tent OR motorcycle at night. In the end, as I did my final packing, I found I simply didn't have enough room to take two bear cannisters along so I cut down on some of my food stuffs and decided to go with only one.

Was my bike ready for such a trip? I changed the oil and filter, swapped wheels (I have two sets) to ones that had brand new TKC80 knobbies mounted. I checked all bolts and anything else that might vibrate loose and used blue loctite on things that might have. Gas would be an issue... the longest stretch without gas is about 450 km and my bike only has a range of about 300 km. I often travel with a 3.8 litre Rotopax gas container, but even that wouldn't be enough for the trip, especially since an emergency reserve really was necessary. Rotopax had a new design 6.6 litre model, unfortunately not yet available in Canada. I ordered directly from them and had it sent via FedEx to get it in time. It fit on the same mounting on top of my luggage rack as the smaller Rotopax did. I made sure I had appropriate tools for the trip and also a spare clutch and throttle cable. (I'd broken a clutch cable on the bike the first year I had it and that resulted in a low-speed dump of the bike as the engine compression caused the back wheel to lock up when I slowed down. And there was simply no way to ride the bike without the clutch.) Spare tubes, tire irons, Airman compressor and I was good to go.

New TKC80's mounted and ready to go:



Since there is no cell service along most of the Trans Labrador Highway, I was going to take my DeLorme inReach SE satellite communication device along. This not only lets me send and receive short text messages, but pairs to my iPhone to show me a detailed map (even more detailed than my Garmin GPS for that area) of where I am and the surroundings. I've had it for a few months and upgraded my service plan so that I could send/receive a larger number of messages for free (included in the monthly fee) as well as "tracking points". I could send my friends a link to a map site that would show my position via those tracking points, every 30 minutes that I'm moving.

In spite of all this preparation, I must admit I was getting somewhat cold feet. My bike would be more loaded than ever, making it even heavier. And still the blackflies and bears were weighing heavily on my thoughts. And doing the trip alone probably wasn't the smartest thing either. Maybe I shouldn't be doing the trip now but should plan much better and find at least one other rider to do it with.

So, with about 10 days left before my departure day, I visited with my accountant. He knows me very well and we've been friends for about 25 years now. One of his employees is a Canadian Olympic Gold Medal winning athlete and a wonderful lady, who's retired from competitive sport. She was sitting close by as my accountant asked me what interesting trip I had planned for this summer. I puffed up my chest and proudly told him of my upcoming TLH trip. I told him about the bears, blackflies, lack of cell service, doing it alone, camping as often as possible, etc. The athlete was listening. Finally she looked at me and said,

"Eldor, you're so brave..."

"Eldor, you're so courageous..."

"... to do SUCH a trip..."







"... at your age!"

Wow!

What could I say? But the gauntlet was laid down, the challenge was on. And I must say honestly that if she hadn't said that, there was a very good chance that I'd cancel that trip and do something easier, or at the very least, postpone it until I could organize better and get a travel partner. So thank you MB for your unintended motivational comment. If you hadn't said that, I might have chickened out. But now I couldn't!

On the Wednesday night before my Friday morning departulre, I got a PM from fellow AdvRider member Ovidiu, who had riden his Honda CBF1000 to Montreal from Vancouver. His wife would be flying in to meet him, and together (2-up) they'd be following me on the TLH 2-3 days later. He rode up to my office to meet me and have a beer (or two). Here's my first look at him:


The day he'd arrived he had ridden 1300 km!! Must have been tough without any cruise or throttle control.

I guess it was our shared love of motorcycles and adventure (or maybe the beer) but we clicked right away and if we lived closer to each other I'm sure we'd be great friends.

Ovi showed me some terrific photos and told stories of amazing motorcycle trips he and his wife had made. Please join me in encouraging him to post some ride reports.

Thursday after work (I was still there tying up some loose ends before leaving in the morning) I got a panic text message from Ovi that he needed emergency brake service before leaving on Monday morning. He couldn't delay his departure because unlike me, he's been smart enough to make hotel and B&B reservations for every night along his trip and he had to keep to that schedule. I tried to call the local Honda dealer, Excel Honda, who is simply amazing. Their phones were believe it or not, out of order. So I jumped in my car and rushed over to see them (only a couple of blocks away). The service manager was already gone for the day but they phoned him at home and arranged that Ovi could be taken care of first thing Friday morning at 8am. We still didn't know exactly what kind of brake service was needed, and hopefully it wouldn't require parts that had to be ordered. It was arranged that Ovi would be there when they opened at 8am and they'd do their best for him.

With that taken care of, I headed home to double-check my packing and hopefully get a good nights’s sleep.

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Old 08-26-2014, 08:22 PM   #2
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Ahah! I've been waiting for your report!
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Old 08-26-2014, 08:33 PM   #3
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Day 1:

On Friday morning, my departure day (D-Day) before actually starting my trip, I had to stop at my office to sign some pay cheques for the staff. My bike was fully loaded, like never before and I actually had trouble getting it off the side stand (thanks to my short legs).



I was a little delayed hitting the road from my office and saw it was close to 8am, so I made the small detour to Excel Honda to make sure Ovi was there and being taken care of. I introduced him all around and the great folks at Excel promised to take good care of him. One of the staff took this photo of Ovi and I just before I left:


It was still the end of of Quebec's famous construction holidays (last two weeks of July) when a tremendous number of people are away, so the traffic was fairly light as I headed east off the Island of Montreal and got onto Hwy 20 going to Quebec City. I was finding the bike more top-heavy than usual and somehow it didn't feel well-balanced either. I was used to riding with my smaller 3.8 litre Rotopax (full of fuel) and regular camping gear, but now with the larger 6.6 litre one and a bike much more loaded with gear than ever before, the extra weight was taking some getting used to. I really shouldn't have filled the Rotopax so soon... I wouldn't be needing the extra fuel until a lot further along the Trans-Lab. So as soon as my gas tank had enough room, I stopped at a highway rest area and emptied the Rotopax into the tank. I also shifted some of the luggage around from the top of one pannier to the other for better balance, and the bike felt a lot better after that.

It was a sunny beautiful day and because I was riding on TKC80 knobbies that I wanted to preserve as long as possible, I was riding along at a much more leisurely pace than I do normally (no more than 110 kph - about 65 mph). I also had over-inflated the tires a bit, in hopes that on the pavement, coupled with a reasonable speed, they'd last me a lot longer. I was finding the pace quite relaxing and stress-free, and it didn't take long for me to feel my mind was in "vacation mode". Life was good!

I crossed the bridge over the St. Lawrence to Quebec City:


And continued along the 138 through very scenic countryside, past Baie-St-Paul and towards the (free) ferry crossing over the Saguenay River to Tadoussac.











After crossing to Tadoussac on the ferry, I made a couple of stops along the way to drink some water and stretch my legs.





The sky was starting to look threatening as I approached Baie-Comeau and I was starting to fear that I'd get some rain and that it might be dark by the time I reached my first night's destination. I was trying to make it to a campground at Manic 2, about 30 km up the 389 from Baie-Comeau. The campground was supposed to have a restaurant within walking distance and I was REALLY looking forward to a cold beer or two and a good meal.

In Baie-Comeau I got gas and decided that maybe just in case, I should also get a "bear banger". I went to Canadian Tire (who sold them in Montreal) and was surprised to find that they didn't carry them. Nor could they suggest any place to get them. Out in the parking lot I asked a fellow in a pickup truck if there was an outdoor gear or hunting store around and he was kind enough to lead me through some small side roads to a hunting/fishing store. I would have never found it on my own. And I picked up one small bear banger:




Heading north on Hwy 389 the roads were really very nice and I got my first look at the dam at Manic 2:










I got to the campground before dark and without any rain and was disappointed to find out that the restaurant closes at 2 pm!!!! What kind of restaurant is that?? And there was no option for food or beer anywhere nearby. I set up my tent before dark and decided that it was really much too early in my "adventure" to eat freeze-dried food and to hit my flask of emergency liquid rations. So with a much lighter bike, I set off back down to Baie-Comeau to either pick up something and bring it back or eat there. On the way there I thought about the bears I might encounter later on in the trip and their incredible sense of smell, and decided it might not be the best idea for me to carry some delicious smelling warm food back in my panniers because that smell might still be detected by bears days later. Besides, the food would probably be cold by the time I got back with it. I also was against drinking alcohol and then riding my bike, but gee, I really really wanted a good beer.

Right on the corner where Hwy 389 gets into Baie-Comeau, I lucked out. "Marco Pizzeria Le Bistro" not only had good beer but a delicious menu (not only pizza). And I settled in for a very enjoyable dinner and beer. I figured that one beer, with a meal, couldn't hurt too much and that I'd be extra careful riding back to the campsite. But that one beer probably clouded my judgement, as I wasn't able to resist having a second one. By the time I finished my dinner, beer and desert, it was fully dark outside and raining. Not raining terribly hard though and I decided to risk the ride back without putting on my rain gear.

That road really is a spectacular ride, with lots of tight twists and turns. And no side roads and very little traffic. And the traffic there was, seemed to be heading out, towards Baie-Comeau, probably for the weekend. In the dark though, with thoughts of bears, moose or deer on the road, and after two beers, I'm afraid I took it very gently, and I arrived back at camp safe and sound. Straight to bed, feeling really very good.






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Old 08-26-2014, 09:52 PM   #4
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"At YOUR age?" Hilarious.
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Old 08-27-2014, 04:37 AM   #5
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Excellent write up. More please. And tell us about any encounters with them critters.
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Old 08-27-2014, 05:28 AM   #6
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Well, from what everyone says, I certainly look a lot younger than I actually am.

But regardless, it's a fairly serious undertaking for someone with a fully loaded bike and short legs, especially doing it alone.

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"At YOUR age?" Hilarious.
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Old 08-27-2014, 05:30 AM   #7
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Thanks!

Next installment coming later today.

Which "critters" are you interested in? I'm going to write more about the blackflies soon but in my whole trip I didn't even see a single bear or moose, even in Newfoundland which is supposed to have 6-10 moose per square kilometer, compared to only 1-3 for the rest of Canada.


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Excellent write up. More please. And tell us about any encounters with them critters.
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Old 08-27-2014, 05:54 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Mtl_Biker View Post
Thanks!

Next installment coming later today.

Which "critters" are you interested in? I'm going to write more about the blackflies soon but in my whole trip I didn't even see a single bear or moose, even in Newfoundland which is supposed to have 6-10 moose per square kilometer, compared to only 1-3 for the rest of Canada.
Dang! I saw a moose in NFLD before I saw another person!! Must've been a convention weekend.

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Old 08-27-2014, 06:14 AM   #9
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Great start, I look forward to following your ride report! I can sympathise as a fellow rider with short legs and a tall F800GS.





Cheers,

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Old 08-27-2014, 07:40 AM   #10
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I am 56 and riding with you through this ride report. Excellent so far. Good luck!

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Old 08-27-2014, 07:44 AM   #11
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Day 2: Manic 2 to Labrador City

I woke up at 5am and thought it was much later. Shows that I'm quite a bit further north than Montreal.

Packing up the bike was a bit of a challenge, and I couldn't figure out how I'd managed to pack so much stuff on the bike:



Hit the road at 7:15 am after a leisurely shower and a couple of shots of espresso.



(Gee I really love my Handpresso espresso maker!!!)

It was fairly cool riding (but clear and dry) and after an hour or so I had to stop to put on more layers.







I made it to Motel de l'Energie where I got really expensive gas (and regular only) and since I was hungry I treated myself to a good (but also expensive) plain omelette and toast. With coffee the Bill was almost $15!





They told me that Relais Gabriel was another 100 km further.

Suitably recharged and warmed up I hit the road again under threatening skies.

I passed some kind of electrical station but can't remember what the name of it was. Impressive though.



The road was still paved here (it turns to gravel at Manic 5) and I was really enjoying the ride, although it was a lot less twisty than the earlier sections of the 389.



There's not much to see at the lost city of Gagnon, but it's kind of cool to see sidewalks and divided roads where the town once stood.





When I got to Relais Gabriel, I was surprised that there really wasn't much to it. But it is a place to top up your fuel and get a bite to eat.



When I pulled in, I met two riders who were going in the opposite direction and they both told me the gravel ahead was pretty tough and that they'd encountered rain. My adventure (with the gravel sections) was about to start and I admit to a fair bit of trepidation about being able to handle it.



I continued on and soon got my first look at the IMPRESSIVE Manic 5 dam complex.





I'd forgotten to lube my chain as I'd planned to do when I stopped for breakfast and when I hit the gravel at Manic 5 I stopped right away to do it. Only problem was that I was on an uphill incline in loose gravel and sand. I got the bike onto the center stand quite easily (that should have been my first clue something was wrong) and because of the incline and the heavily loaded bike the rear wheel was NOT off the ground. The front was dangling in the air.



I lubed the chain by lifting the rear a bit, turning the wheel, repeat. Job done. Now to get the bike off the center stand. No go. I tried and tried and if anything, the bike was leaning away from me! I just couldn't manage it. I considered unloading all my luggage (not sure if I would have succeeded even then) but before I could do that a pickup truck came by. I flagged them down and the fellow was kind enough to help me. Two people, one young and strong and me, well it was a piece of cake. The fellow was Trevor Kennedy with his wife Josie I learned later when I ran into them again in Labrador City at the end of that day.

The gravel at Manic 5 starts on an uphill (that's where I stopped) and I let the good Samaritans go ahead of me. I started up and had a school bus (!!!) on my tail. I mean a bright yellow genuine school bus. There was no way I'd let him in front of me because passing him on the gravel (not to mention the dust) was going to be hard). Anyway instead of school children the bus contained what I thought were dam employees but I later found out it might have been a group touring the dam installation! And the bus was riding my rear much closer than I was comfortable with.

I still had my tires fully (maybe over-) inflated in hopes that they'd last longer on the pavement and I was damned if I was going to air down on what everyone calls the easiest stretch of gravel of the whole Trans-Lab. My bike was fully fully loaded with over-inflated tires, and I certainly didn't have my "gravel legs" yet. At the top of that first incline is a hairpin turn and I was so shaky and tense that I almost lost it there. I was afraid to lean the bike on the loose uphill surface, in a hairpin curve, and I went so wide and upright that I almost went off the road at the outside of the turn. And the bus was right on my tail! This wasn't a good start to my gravel riding.

The gravel was tough! All reports say this is a real easy stretch. But one man's easy is another man's terrifying! Seriously, the road is always changing and just because it is easy one day doesn't mean it would be the next. Everything changes. Weather, road crews, those damn (not dam this time) road crews with their graders! Later on I encountered two other individual riders who did this very same section of road the very same day. And all three of us had such different experiences and impressions that it really appeared we weren't talking about the same road. On that stretch I encountered three road graders, one of the other guys encountered one and the third guy didn't see any. It's like they just disappeared!



Because this was supposed to be easy and relatively short, I didn't stop to air down my tires. And I'd had them pretty highly inflated in hopes of prolonging their lives for the high-speed highway ride to get there. The gravel was very loose and there were sand tracks which had the rear fish-tailing and the front wanting to go, well, where IT wanted to go.

My heart was in my throat.

Finally I couldn't take it anymore. I was too tense, the bike just wasn't feeling right. I stopped, and while offering an all-you-can-eat buffet to the blackflies, I lowered the pressure in my tires. Wow! What a difference!

Then I encountered the first of three road graders.

Road graders are death!









They make several passes on a stretch of road, scraping up all kinds of loose stuff and creating a berm that is easily a foot high. (I've seen reports saying it can go to two and a half feet high!). And this is very soft loose sand and gravel. Crossing them (and indeed you do have to cross them at some point) is very difficult because you can't parallel them - you've got to cross at a sharp angle. And when you do cross, you've immediately got to turn back to parallel the road or you'll end up in the ditch. And there may be on-coming traffic too! After the graders have worked on a section of road and the surface has dried, there are no visual clues about the condition of the road... the color and texture is uniform. One moment you may be riding on a surface so good you'd think you're on the Trans Canada Highway, and the next second it's as if you're on a loose sand beach with the bike wallowing and trembling (me too!) something awful.



But I made it through and was again on a paved stretch. Between the start of the gravel at Manic 5 and Fermont there are occasional stretches of pavement, but then there are other challenges to face:






Closer to Fermont (and back on gravel again) I was starting to feel fairly confident on the gravel. I had the traction control and ABS turned off and was actually enjoying the feel of the rear wheel spinning and sliding around corners. I was in a groove! I came upon three riders from Nova Scotia stopped by the side of the road at a little cut off. I stopped to say hello and see if they were all alright and one of them was wearing an insect net on his head. The second still had his helmet on with the visor closed and the third was being eaten alive by the blackflies. Still with my tremendous fear of the blackflies, I too kept my helmet on and we only chatted for a few minutes before I continued on. With all my riding gear on (and the blackflies) it was just too uncomfortable to be stopped in the heat. They were headed to Labrador City for a night or two where they'd be staying with a friend who lived there.

About the blackflies... As I said, I had a real terror of them and the few times I stopped they swarmed around me in a cloud. I was afraid to remove my helmet or even open my visor and I kept my gloves on. But I didn't get bitten. Later on, and over the next days, I did remove my helmet and gloves and even open my jacket and I was incredibly surprised to find I wasn't getting bitten at all. The blackflies would swarm around me but none would land and bite. I could stand next to other people who were being eaten alive and yet I didn't get bitten. Even without any head covering, or having used ANY insect repellent on my skin, I wasn't getting bitten. That Permethrin was REALLY WORKING!!! It was so clear that I wasn't getting bitten that several other people noticed and commented about it. Incredible!

The gravel was quite loose but not very deep the rest of the way to Fermont and I was able to keep my speed up to about 100 kph (60 mph) or so.





Quite close to Fermont I passed a pond that was scarlet red! Wow! I realized after that it was a tailing pond full of waste from the mining in the area. I'm sorry I didn't stop to get a photo. Reaching Fermont I was impressed with the large scale of mining operations that take place there and even from a distance the size of the vehicles was amazing.











My bike and I were both covered with a thick layer of dust. And when I later removed my riding jacket and pants, I found that my black t-shirt and underwear were almost white with the dust that had gotten through the outer wear.



I didn't know where I was going to stay in Labrador City... I had no reservations anywhere and had heard that because of the short summer season if I hadn't made reservations a month in advance, it would be just about impossible to find a room. I was ready and willing to camp, but I just didn't know where. When I got to Labrador City almost the first thing I saw was a very small mall with a Tim Horton's. Tim's are great because they always have free WiFi and clean washrooms and I really needed that because I had no cell service up there. Most of Labrador doesn't have any, but around Labrador City Bell Mobility had limited service. Unfortunately my carrier is Fido/Rogers and they're nowhere in Labrador and very limited in Newfoundland.

I ordered my coffee and donut and asked the staff if they knew of any campgrounds in the area. (I don't mind camping at all, but I really do prefer a place where I can get a shower in the morning, so I'll only camp "in the rough" when necessary.) The staff had no idea. So I took my donut and coffee to a window seat and started using Google to figure out where I'd go. Just then a man came up to me and said, "Welcome to Labrador! You've got the BMW outside, don't you?" It turns out the fellow also had a BMW (1200GS) and we chatted for a little while. He said there really wasn't any camping nearby so I asked him about some of the places I had listed in my notes. One of them, "Twin Cities" B&B he knew of. He said he'd stayed there for two weeks when he first came to Labrador and that he could recommend the place. Since I didn't have service, he used his phone to call the B&B. "Lottie? It's Wayne. I'm up at Timmy's and there's a fellow here looking for a room. Do you have a room for tonight? You do? Okay, I'll send him right up!". Wow, he knew Lottie (the owner) and she obviously knew him. The place was only about 3 blocks away.

Anyway, Wayne and I chatted for a few minutes longer when he said that a few years ago there was a professional photographer passing through with his girlfriend and another couple and that he'd helped them out with a rear tire for one of the bikes. I probably didn't know about it he said, but there was a report about it on an Internet site called "Advrider". :) Didn't know about it? Heck, that was one of the very finest ride reports ever about the TLH and I'd read it twice before starting my trip. Gregor (Sakurama) had an amazing trip and he documented it professionally. If you haven't read the report, you should: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=491784

And it turns out that Wayne was the fellow who gave Gregor his used rear tire after Gregor had totally destroyed his (had something like 7 or 9 plugs in it, including 3 in the sidewall). What a small world! Imagine Wayne coming over to talk to me and welcome me to Labrador!

Leaving Tim Horton's, I noticed a white pickup truck in the drive-thru lane... it was Trevor and his wife, the couple who had helped me get my bike off the center stand back at the start of the gravel at Manic 5. He pulled away from the drive-thru and we chatted for several minutes. He gave me his email and phone number and told me that if I had any difficulties while in Labrador that I should call him and that he'd find a way to help. What terrific people!!!

I made it to Twin Cities B&B where I met Lottie and got a wonderful clean and comfortable room for the night.



After cleaning up, I walked the three blocks back to the little mall to a sports bar type of restaurant called Jungle Jim's where I enjoyed some great local beer and comfort food.



Walked back to Lottie's and had a good night's sleep. The end of a great day!

Mtl_Biker screwed with this post 09-05-2014 at 05:56 PM Reason: Removed text formatting
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Old 08-27-2014, 07:47 AM   #12
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Well John, you're a fair bit younger than I am.

After all is said and done, in spite of seven days of torrential rain (but luckily only after I left Labrador), challenges along the gravel, etc. I do not regret for one second having done the trip.

If you have the chance to do it, go for it, while you're still young! :)


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I am 56 and riding with you through this ride report. Excellent so far. Good luck!

John
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Old 08-27-2014, 07:49 AM   #13
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Hey Poolman, glad to have you along!

My 2013 F800GS has a factory-lowered suspension and low seat, and I still cannot flat-foot the bike. I'm on the balls of my feet on level ground. Give me uneven ground and it's a LONG way down before my feet touch.

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Great start, I look forward to following your ride report! I can sympathise as a fellow rider with short legs and a tall F800GS.





Cheers,

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Old 08-27-2014, 07:51 AM   #14
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The only moose I saw were on the signs warning you to watch out for them. Kinda disappointing.

But I was constantly scanning the sides of the road in Labrador and NFLD in fear of a moose, deer or other animal jumping out in front of me.


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Dang! I saw a moose in NFLD before I saw another person!! Must've been a convention weekend.

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Old 08-27-2014, 07:53 AM   #15
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I see you just joined advrider. Welcome! And you're in Montreal too!

What do you ride?

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Excellent write up. More please. And tell us about any encounters with them critters.
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