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C-Stain 08-08-2011 07:07 PM

Trans Lab a Go-Go.
Trans-Lab a Go Go.

Ever since I discovered ADVrider, I’ve been dreaming of riding the Trans Labrador Highway. And until last year, I was on a Vulcan 900 Classic I never thought it was possible. But when my previously faithful 900 let me down last year and I picked up an 07 Vee..the planning has been on. Four days after I purchased mine, Larry picked up a 2010. Dates were set and the countdown was on.

The riders:


I’ve been riding since the spring of 06. I had almost no dirt riding experience when I left on this trip. Most of the Dual Sporting I’d done was limited to local Fire Roads and the trip I took with YellowKnife, FredGreen and this bunch of reprobates..


Larry has been riding dirt bikes since he was a kid. Currently has the Strom in the stable as well as a Concours 14. He’s already completed a 14000 Km trip out west this the TLH is a second trip.

We’ve got one week for our trip. Larry has to be back to work for Monday morning.

My son watching the departure. Not a happy lad that Daddy is going away. I’m on vacation next week as well, so I’ll more than make up for it.

The bikes:

I’m riding the ’07 Vee. I’ve installed the Mermite cans on a custom made rack and have added the Anduro Guardian Skid Plate made by inmate Narcosis Junky, Givi Crash Guards, Acerbis Multiconcept Tour Pro Handguards and the all important Oxford Heated Grips.

Larry is on the ’10 Vee. He’s got the stock luggage, and SW Motec accessories. He’s also added a heated vest ‘cos he tends to get cold.

So, off we go. Towards Matane, PQ to await the ferry the next morning.
Stats for the first day:

Our first day saw us riding 846 km from my house to Matane, PQ. The only casualty for the day was my can of chain lube that was located in my left side case. The cap popped off and it exploded in the Zip Lock bag it was stored in. Chain lube on EVERYTHING. I was so pissed off I forgot to take a picture.

Waiting for the Ferry to Godbout on Tuesday morning.

The view from the deck as we left Matane.

Huge Wind Farm on the hill over town.

And the traffic in the Harbour.

It was a spirited ride from Baie Comeau to Manic 5. But finally we arrived.

The size of this dam is, as my son says, “Inconceivable!”

And then the dirt starts.

It had started to rain as we began riding the dirt. The road was a bit snotty and it was much later in the trip that I would realize that I should have really lowered my tire pressures less than 30 PSI. The rain went on and off until we stopped here.

So far, the Vee is holding up well. My el-cheapo side cases are still attached and holding all my shit.

We stopped by the mine in Fermont. The road there was not the most fun I’d had all day. It was a lot of washboard, recently graded and a LOT of railway crossings.

My Dad asked me a couple of days ago why I wanted to go to Labrador. He said, “I looked at the Google Map you sent me and used the Satellite Imagery. There’s nothing there.”

My response, “Exactly.”

Finally, we made it to the QuebecLabrador border. I had survived my first “Dirt Section”.

The goal for tomorrow.

There were reservations for Tuesday night at the Two Seasons Inn in LabCity. A quick bite to eat at Micky Ds next door and Larry was ready for bed. I on the other hand required a beer and went to the parking lot for a bit of maintenance. The next day would be a long one.

We were on the road at 0700 hrs. The first 70 miles of asphalt was a refreshing start to the day, and by 1100 or so we made it to Churchill Falls and our gas stop.

We stopped at the Gas Station and had a break. It was then that Larry decided he wanted to take the Churchill Falls tour at 1330 hrs. As I was not feeling the love of the rather hectic pace I decided to strike out on my own to GooseBay.

I saw lots of this.

And this.

The scenery, however can be breathtaking.

At one point in the afternoon I felt totally beat. I stopped on the side of the road, made up some Backpacker’s Pantry, had a coffee and just watched absolutely nothing happen. It was the first time in a few days that I had fun.

By chance, found another river to take pictures of.

This is the “Sponsor” shot. The boys at Freedom Cycle in BayersLakePark in Halifax have been great with parts and stuff for me for years.

Riding the Trans Lab, you see the dust clouds before you see the trucks.

Finally made it to GooseBay!

My reward for my solo ride to GooseBay. At one point, its all that kept me riding. The thought of a Tim Horton’s Large Coffee. Just proved how Canadian I was, didn’t I?

The road from GooseBay to Port Hope Simpson was much better than from Churchill Falls to Goose. It was hard packed and quick. Since I finally had figured out how to stop the squiggly front end movements, I had a whole lot of fun buzzing along. I’m thinking, maybe Dakar, next year?

The vastness of Labrador can be overwhelming.

My attempt to be “artsy”

When we arrived in Port Hope Simpson, I found out I had picked up a hitchhiker and needed to do a little repair.

I think that this little hitchhiker was the beginning of my undoing. More on that later.
We had finally made it to the coast.

If I never see another SteelGrateBridge, it will be too soon.

Almost to the end in RedBay.

And I may finally have figured out this dirt riding shit. I can upgrade myself from "Dirt Noob" to "Dirt Beginner"

Asphalt. Sweet, sweet asphalt.

We stopped and put more air in our tires in RedBay, the views were spectacular once again.

And this is where my pictures kind of stop. Outside of Forteau, about 16 Km from the Blanc Sablon ferry, I blew a tire. Heard the “pop”, felt the ass go squirrelly and then found a nice pull off. There was a toonie sized hole in the sidewall about 9” from where my plug was located.

I got towed to the local bike dealer in L’Anse aux Loup and found a B&B for the night. The next morning, there was a local fellow who had ridden the TLH a month ago and he went above and beyond the call to help me out. $237 and a truck ride to DeerLake later, my tire was changed with a set of spoons and we were back on our way.

We made the 1430 hrs Ferry Crossing to North Sydney from Port aux Basques.

There were plenty of other bikes on the boat as well.

My first views of Nova Scotia since leaving.
I stayed in North Sydney for the night and arrive home safely on Sunday afternoon. After some brief maintenance, I’ll be back on the road and ready for my next adventure.

Doug329 08-08-2011 07:47 PM

Trans Lab a Go-Go

Nice Ride Report. Four of us did the trip in 2009, East to West. This was before the "short-cut" was completed..In 2009 you had to take the Ferry from Cartwright to Goose Bay. I had an 05 DL1000, the other 3 had BMW GS's. In my opinion, the V-Strom is an excellent choice. One of the best bikes I've ever owned, in 50 plus years of riding.

Glad the tire blow-out wasn't worse...and it happened in a not too bad of a location. There are a lot of places out there you could have gone unnoticed for a few days, waiting for help.

Thanks for letting me relive my trip, through your pictures. Unless you've experienced the vast openness of Labrador, you don't realize how beautiful it really is.

Enjoy the V-Strom, and ride safe,
Doug :clap

Wolfgang55 08-08-2011 09:12 PM

Good job!

yellowknife 08-09-2011 12:18 PM

Good Stuff - Congrats on completing the ride Craig

This is the first picture that I have seen that puts the size of the dam into a perspective I can appreciate with big 18 wheelers by it.

Glad the tire issue was minor, and it proves again that Newfoundlanders are the bestest folks on the planet.


Slowphil 08-09-2011 05:30 PM

Seems like you had a great trip, glad to hear it:clap. On the next ride you can fill in some of the other facts and figures as well, by the way how did you like the knobbies on the Great Gray Beast?

TouringDave 08-09-2011 11:34 PM

C-Stain, lovin' the RR, great pics! :clap

Gotta love the black Stroms :D

kelsow 08-11-2011 05:03 PM

Great report Stain.

Some of those images even look familiar to me.
Glad you had a great ride with a bit of adventure thrown in to keep it interesting.

C-Stain 08-11-2011 07:32 PM

Thanks for all the great responses. The TLH was a helluva lotta fun. I'd like to do it again sometime, but take a bit more time to complete it.

fredgreen 08-12-2011 04:42 AM

So you tried to turn the Trans-Lab into an IronButt ride.....good on ya. Wanna come to Cape Breton.......there will be Dirt.

C-Stain 08-12-2011 06:18 AM


Originally Posted by fredgreen (Post 16610414)
So you tried to turn the Trans-Lab into an IronButt ride.....good on ya. Wanna come to Cape Breton.......there will be Dirt.

That wasn't the hope. That was Larry only having a weeks vacation. I much more the "stop and smell the roses" type on a trip like that. I'd love to go to Cape Breton, but back to work on Monday and the 'Strom is now wearing a lovely pair of street shoes for the rest of the season. I need to find myself another set of TKC 80s. The gravel was way too much fun.

toddbrule 08-12-2011 06:14 PM

Great RR C-Stain :clap
I'm hoping to do the TLH in 2012. Thanks for sharing



MZcountryboy 08-13-2011 04:49 AM

Nice write-up - the TLH is as good as it gets east of the mississippi.


Till they pave it.

Jenn 11-13-2011 02:44 PM

Great pictures!

scarysharkface 11-13-2011 02:48 PM


yellowknife 02-10-2012 09:44 AM

ok - lets go this year!

Originally Posted by C-Stain (Post 16608527)
Thanks for all the great responses. The TLH was a helluva lotta fun. I'd like to do it again sometime, but take a bit more time to complete it.



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