2up to Labrador - Another father/son adventure

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by NorWis, Jun 7, 2014.

  1. NorWis

    NorWis No longer a "Wanna Be"

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2009
    Oddometer:
    280
    Location:
    Northern Wisconsin
    June 12, 2014

    Day 5

    We were again up early. It had sprinkled on us sometime during the night but nothing terrible. We got packed quietly so we did not disturb anyone (wish everyone was that considerate).

    Dylan was packing the bike while I tried to get a couple of camera batteries charged in the restroom.

    [​IMG]

    As we left Alma we got to see the discharge from Lac Saint Jean. Powerful!

    [​IMG]

    We had to go into town to fuel up before we started for the day. This was getting pretty expensive for premium fuel. I started to alternate between fill ups with premium and regular unleaded fuel. It wasn’t saving a boatload of money but every little bit helped. We didn’t see or feel the bike working any differently.

    As we drove through town it was pretty apparent that the local car dealers were dealing with a strike.

    [​IMG]

    We, ok, I, had a hard time finding the road we wanted to be on. We drove around for a bit then stopped in the Information Center. You will ALWAYS find very friendly and informative people that speak French and English or at least are willing to try and help you out no matter what. You can also find them quite easily because they all use a big “?” for a sign.

    We were on route 169 and I was looking for route 172. The paper map I had in the map holder on my tank bag was not in perspective and that threw me way off. These folks gave us great directions.

    [​IMG]

    Right outside the Information Center was this cool glass covered arch.

    [​IMG]

    What is hard to see is the water flowing over it. The entire glass portion was “flowing” with water. Even the video below doesn’t do it justice. With the Hydro Quebec theme starting to take shape this was pretty cool and unique.

    <iframe frameborder="0" scrolling="no" width="640" height="360" src="http://api.smugmug.com/services/embed/3360431279_PNqcSnX?width=640&height=360&albumId=42660844&albumKey=xdDwfC"></iframe>

    Just south of the city of Saguenay the Caribou River meets the Saguenay River.

    [​IMG]

    I mean we are talking HUGE rivers here. The Caribou is tiny compared to the Saguenay.

    Somewhere along the way I took these two videos. Here&#8217;s the story about the videos. I use a Contour GPS. Great videos and overall I&#8217;m pleased with it but one thing that really jacks me is the time and date do not stay on it. If you turn it on you need to wait for the GPS satellites to connect and provide the correct date and time. Well, if it had better battery life that would be OK. I don&#8217;t want to waste the batteries waiting for the GPS to connect. Also, when you change batteries you need to resync! That sucks when you&#8217;re traveling with a co-pilot able to swap batteries from behind while you focus on the marble like surface when you&#8217;re using tires you just figured out you&#8217;d never put on a bike again!!! Oops, did I just say that....? :wink:

    Somewhere between Alma and the Saint Lawrence Seaway these videos were taken. How do I know that? I know the videos that were taken before and after so that places these two in between. It does number them sequentially so that&#8217;s my story. I&#8217;m going to stick with it, too. :lol3

    <iframe frameborder="0" scrolling="no" width="640" height="360" src="http://api.smugmug.com/services/embed/3377261288_PcSJr4J?width=640&height=360&albumId=42660844&albumKey=xdDwfC"></iframe>

    This one I think is as we were coming up on the seaway. Notice the clouds. Pay attention to this. It will be important later on.

    <iframe frameborder="0" scrolling="no" width="640" height="360" src="http://api.smugmug.com/services/embed/3377265467_WCrjtnz?width=640&height=360&albumId=42660844&albumKey=xdDwfC"></iframe>

    More day 5 later....it starts to get pretty interesting here. The sights begin to to be awe inspiring. The weather begins to play a significant role in how we travel. This is the point where you begin to really feel alone. We have not seen another motorcycle in days. Traffic is pretty scarce. Most of the time we are alone. That's ok. That's what we signed up for.

    In other words...here's where the real adventure begins... :eek1
    #41
  2. MapMaster

    MapMaster Human Compass

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,610
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    The Report is Live, the trip was pre-recorded :lol3
    That's what I've settled on for my reports as well. I did a long trip and created the report as I went and it required too much time away from other stuff I like to do on trips (like bs and drink beer).

    Another thing that waiting til the trip is done allows is crafting a theme that may not be apparent in the early stages.
    I like what Todd is doing here, but after all the foreshadowing he's done, he'd better keep delivering timely updates. :evil
    #42
  3. NorWis

    NorWis No longer a "Wanna Be"

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2009
    Oddometer:
    280
    Location:
    Northern Wisconsin
    It's Memorex... :lol3

    It's nice to play it back in my head so that I can extend the trip in my mind and in my heart. This way it's not over when I get home.

    Todd
    #43
  4. NorWis

    NorWis No longer a "Wanna Be"

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2009
    Oddometer:
    280
    Location:
    Northern Wisconsin
    I don't think I could have done it "live". Traveling with Dylan is great and he is very capable of being self sufficient but if I spent all this time writing and assembling pictures our time together to enjoy the adventure would be minimized.

    I also get to relive it all again.

    My wife, on our first trip to Prudhoe Bay, convinced me to keep a journal each day. That has been wonderful to refer back to. I keep all the little details that I may not remember. Names and places, of people and the correct spelling, etc. How many miles each day. Not a lot of detail but enough to jog the memory.

    This is also a way for Dylan to be able to, after I'm long gone, recall the trip. The photos, the stories, the people. We can also share this with our friends like a book. :deal

    Yes, I plan on doing a bit each night as I can. Being gone for three weeks sure did leave my wife a lot of time to add to the honey-do list. I'm not sure I'll ever get it all done! :rofl

    Thanks for hanging in there!!! :freaky

    Todd
    #44
  5. Mtl_Biker

    Mtl_Biker Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,671
    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    Good idea. That's what I'll end up doing as well. I also have no idea where and how often I'll have a WiFi connection. Plus with my camera(s) I shoot RAW, and there's a lot more processing required and I might not be up to that while on the trip itself.

    Not to mention the BS and beer which I also heartily partake in.

    Cheers!

    #45
  6. TRoberts

    TRoberts Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 23, 2014
    Oddometer:
    39
    Location:
    St. John's, Newfoundland
    Great ride report... leaving myself this evening after work from St. John's riding counter-clockwise on the Trans-Lab... 11-12 days planned. :clap
    #46
  7. Yooper_Bob

    Yooper_Bob Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2005
    Oddometer:
    3,211
    Location:
    Da UP, eh! (Marquette, MI)
    Another great adventure!

    I am jealous...


    BTW....I understand you met some of my friends/neighbors while you were down in St Ignace! :lol3
    #47
  8. NorWis

    NorWis No longer a "Wanna Be"

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2009
    Oddometer:
    280
    Location:
    Northern Wisconsin
    Enjoy and stay safe!! Send an update if you can!! :ear

    Todd
    #48
  9. NorWis

    NorWis No longer a "Wanna Be"

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2009
    Oddometer:
    280
    Location:
    Northern Wisconsin
    Thanks Bob!!!

    Dylan and Sawyer hit it off really well. It was really nice that Dylan good get to hang out with someone his own age rather than the "old man". :lol3

    Going to CADAVR? I missed it last year but am hoping to go this year. Had a business trip the same week. Would have rather been hanging out with you guys! :muutt

    Todd
    #49
  10. NorWis

    NorWis No longer a "Wanna Be"

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2009
    Oddometer:
    280
    Location:
    Northern Wisconsin
    Day 5 continued…

    We had a slight detour in Saguenay (the city) and went down some very narrow and hilly streets because of some construction. Very little traffic thank goodness. We were on the northern side of the Saquenay River. It must have been low tide (I read that the river is impacted by the tidal waters of the St. Lawrence Seaway. If it wasn't low tide the water level sure was! :eek1

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    We were heading southeast on route 172 going through the Saquenay National Park. Beautiful area with lots of areas to pull over and view the river or the mountains.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The twists and turns kept me from taking a lot of photos but I was able to get a few. As you can see it was pretty overcast.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    It was getting pretty exciting because we started to see the signs (and advertising) for whale watching areas. You could rent a kayak, charter a boat, etc. We didn’t have a lot of time to spend out on the water whale watching so we were going to do what Aurelie (young girl from Lebel-sur-Quevillon) had suggested.

    Dylan was pretty excited about seeing the Saint Lawrence Seaway. This was his photo from our first glimpse.

    [​IMG]

    We were both excited about the possibility of seeing some whales! We stopped at a “?” again but it didn’t look open. When we walked in it was pretty evident that they were just gearing up for the season. The young man spoke english and told us to go to Cap de Bon-Desir. It wasn’t open but you could park at the gate and walk in. He said it’s a very large green sign, you can’t miss it.

    [​IMG]

    It was and we didn’t! :eek1

    We walked the mile past the gate to the park entrance. Took some photos from the outside of the buildings since the park wasn’t open. Even the restrooms were closed! There were LOTS of folks doing the same thing we were and also some employees working around so it wasn’t closed, closed.

    A few of the signs around the buildings.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    My wife is really into lighthouses.

    [​IMG]

    Dylan on his way down to the area to watch the whales in the seaway.

    [​IMG]

    This is the business end of the foghorn. I would hate to be standing where Dylan is when that thing went off!

    [​IMG]

    We walked through the forest to get to shore and it was a nice reprieve from the warmer weather we were having. I was actually pretty glad the sun wasn’t out to bake the snot out of us. We had left all of our outerwear on and the bags and helmets on the bike hoping they are there when we get back.

    The view we had as we approached shore. You can see folks off to the right sitting and looking.

    [​IMG]

    The smells from the seaway were just like the ocean. I had forgotten that smell. Dylan wasn’t to fond of it at first but after awhile he was ok with it.

    Some of the puddles holding water and other creatures.

    [​IMG]

    You can see some sea kayakers off in the distant here. Some folks that were watching said a whale had just surfaced and put on a little show about 15 minutes before we got there. They said that the whales are almost showing off and have fun “performing” even thought they are wild.

    [​IMG]

    The kayakers were just casually floating along. We could see in the distant something break the surface and then go back under. My guess was either sea lions or porpoises but I have no idea.

    [​IMG]

    Of course you all wanted to see a close up of my nose and mouth.

    [​IMG]

    You can see the little building off Dylan’s shoulder. It was some kind of an observation area and also had some additional locked restrooms.

    [​IMG]

    Kicking back and relaxing while whale watching.

    [​IMG]

    Joe Cool!

    [​IMG]

    We didn’t get to see any whales but it was just wonderful to even get the opportunity to see one. That was a new experience for me and I think Dylan is starting to realize that these are things that you can come back and experience again. Yes, we are getting a whirlwind tour of Canada, but the wonderful areas you experience and want to spend more time doing can be done on a return trip.

    We left for the long walk, in full riding gear it felt even longer, but it was uphill on the way back. The old fat bald guy was pretty tired. The stairs from the observation area, the walk up the trail, the uphill climb to the bike…I’ll sleep good tonight!

    More scenery as we drove along the Saint Lawrence.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    As we came closer to Baie-Comeau the terrain changed drastically. Now I can see why the rivers are so wild!

    [​IMG]

    I believe these are from Manic-Outardes or Manic 2 which is part of the Hydro Quebec projects of Manicougan and Outardes Rivers.

    [​IMG]

    Bridge over the Outardes River.

    [​IMG]

    We're just outside Baie-Comeau!!! This is where we will turn north on Route 389 to meet up with the Trans Labrador Highway (Route 500/510) in Labrador. :clap
    #50
  11. Mtl_Biker

    Mtl_Biker Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,671
    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    Not to nitpick (at least not too much!)... What you were seeing there was the "Saint Lawrence River". The "Saint Lawrence Seaway" is the system of man-made locks from Montreal going west to the Great Lakes. I don't know what your return route was, but I hope you got a chance to pass by the Seaway and maybe even see one of the Seaway Locks in operation.

    And it's around Saguenay that the St Lawrence River becomes salt water, so it's very much affected by tides, etc. The sea life and vegetation there is quite different from what is in the fresh water sections.

    And the Saguenay River itself, do you know that it's depth reaches 800 FEET (270 meters)! It's quite an interesting area. There is a FREE government ferry running along Route 138 across the Saguenay to Tadoussac and from the ferry you can often see whales.

    Keep those wonderful reports coming!
    #51
  12. Matt-tastic

    Matt-tastic Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2011
    Oddometer:
    65
    Location:
    OKC, OK
    Subscribing for reference, leaving mid August from OKC to do this ride and have been reading as much as I can so we don't miss anything. Thanks!
    #52
  13. nick949eldo

    nick949eldo Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,394
    Location:
    Inverary, Ontario, Canada
    I'm enjoying following along. What a great trip for Dylan. It would be extraordinary to see a sea lion in the St. Lawrence - they're a west coast animal - but hey, it can't hurt to look (or for Grumps either, for that matter).

    Have fun on the way up to Labrador City. It's a great road.

    Nick
    #53
    out rider likes this.
  14. 1MUDDY1

    1MUDDY1 Got a Hose?

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2012
    Oddometer:
    18
    Location:
    Georgia, USA
    Just completed the TLH last week. Went counter clockwise starting in Georgia. Anyway the gift shop in Goose bay was out of the stickers. I know, my cousin bought the last one (pecker head). I had to get mine at the restaurant/ gift shop in Red Bay. The shop is not hard to find, it's the only one. But still, don't miss that gift shop in Goose bay. They have everything there including a museum in the basement. Honestly, from guns to dildos they have it all.
    #54
  15. NorWis

    NorWis No longer a "Wanna Be"

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2009
    Oddometer:
    280
    Location:
    Northern Wisconsin
    There goes my chance at convincing anyone I'm a marine biologist! :lol3

    Glad to get the facts set straight. That's one of the things that I enjoy about riding in areas that I am unfamiliar with; the different cultural, economic, and natural differences from what I am familiar with. Why would you always want to go to what you're familiar with? Step out of that comfort zone!!!

    The Saguenay River and the Saint Lawrence were both absolutely amazing. I live right on Lake Superior and see a large body of water all the time. These two were very different. :eek1

    Thanks for the info!!

    Todd
    #55
  16. NorWis

    NorWis No longer a "Wanna Be"

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2009
    Oddometer:
    280
    Location:
    Northern Wisconsin
    Crap! Anyone know of mail order opportunities?

    Todd
    #56
  17. NorWis

    NorWis No longer a "Wanna Be"

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2009
    Oddometer:
    280
    Location:
    Northern Wisconsin
    Day 5 continued

    We stopped at the "?" in Baie-Comeau and chatted with the folks there about camping in the area. They spoke very good english and were quite helpful. Pointed us in the direction of Camp Boreal.

    Dylan is all over the ski hills and takes photos of all the ones we pass by or hits me to get one. This is the one (I don't know the name) on the way to Camp Boreal.

    [​IMG]

    This area seemed very sandy. Even the gravel road leading up to the campground was more sand than gravel.

    The office at the campground.

    [​IMG]

    We got ourselves a site and needed to get some food and reload on snacks at the local Wal-Mart. Why always Wal-Mart? My wife works there and I get a discount. :wink:

    This was the first Wal-Mart I had seen that was an anchor in a mall.

    [​IMG]

    Dylan looking at skateboards in a sporting goods store in the mall.

    [​IMG]

    I know it as KFC but in Quebec it is known as PFK! :huh

    [​IMG]

    An overall view of the campground.

    [​IMG]

    Another view.

    [​IMG]

    Wait a minute...what the hell is that? A giant chair with a giant marshmallow? Dylan come here and give me a push. Here's the camera, get a picture of this! Get one with my phone too so I can e-mail mom!!! :rofl

    [​IMG]

    Yeah, I have the required goofy pic! :lol3

    Ok, Dylan get up there, you're next!!!

    [​IMG]

    We were in site 82. Great campground with very friendly hosts. Great Wi-Fi! Thank goodness. I got a voice mail from my credit card company that my card was frozen. Great. I even put a travel advisory on the card. Grrr.....!!! :dog

    [​IMG]

    We were exhausted and I couldn't do anything about it until morning.

    It was getting pretty late.

    [​IMG]

    We had done 265 miles today and were pretty tired. We had not had a break at all yet. I didn't know what to expect on the TLH so we kept moving everyday without stopping for a rest yet. I know it's only day 5 but you've got to take a breather once in awhile. The hardest part of the trip was still in front of us! I had three weeks of from work with a "tentative" 4th week if I got desperate. I didn't want to have to sue that card.
    #57
  18. NorWis

    NorWis No longer a "Wanna Be"

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2009
    Oddometer:
    280
    Location:
    Northern Wisconsin
    June 13, 2014

    Day 6

    Yup, Friday the 13th. :eek1 I'm not the kind of person who goes for this type of superstition but when it starts raining cats and dogs in the wee hours of the morning compounded by what is about to be a credit card fiasco, you've got to rethink the superstition, eh?

    Dylan packed up our gear from inside the tent so it didn't get wet. The office was open at 7am (thank goodness). I asked if they had a pay phone, they do not, but the gentleman said I could use his phone since it was an 800 number. Nice!!! The first call they told me it was too early to handle the international issue. Call back in an hour. Great. We're starting our day out right!

    I tried to get the card taken care of online with my iPad. I was standing under the overhang of the bathhouse while the rain came roaring down. This was not going to be a good day. :(:

    Dylan did a great job getting our down bags and pads packed up. The tent, a Big Agnes Copper Spur UL, has NEVER leaked and we've been in a lot of pretty wet weather the last few years.

    I went back to the office and called the credit card company. They said that they have lifted the red flag and I can now begin traveling again. Gee, thanks. I know they are looking out for my well being but it can be quite troublesome.

    Once we got the tent packed up, the fly was soaked but the tent and footprint were dry. We headed toward route 389.

    We stopped for gas and saw this at the start. The boat was on the roof rack of the UTV and the trailer was filled with coolers. While I was taking the photo the driver walked by and pretended to take one of us and laughed at how much we were packing, too. :lol3

    [​IMG]

    Sorry for all the raindrops on the lens, just could not help it. The camera is waterproof but you've got to clean the lens once in awhile. :lol3 I missed all the warning signs at the start of route 389. :cry

    [​IMG]

    Pulled over and stopped to get a photo of the 40,000 on the clock! :thumb

    [​IMG]

    It seemed at this point the weather had sucked the life out of us. We were going through the motions and not really enjoying the ride or scenery. Hard to see anything with all the rain coming down and you had to be careful of the road and animals running onto the road.

    This is Manic 2 (much closer then the previous photo).

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Looking downstream.

    [​IMG]

    The moose warning signs were huge. They should be. We saw a LOT of moose!

    [​IMG]

    Fog, rain, sketchy roads...did I mention it was Friday the 13th? :deal

    [​IMG]

    The rain would let up for a bit but then come roaring right back at us. Unlike later on when you could see the rain coming the road was so narrow and twisty you couldn't see far ahead. :eek1

    [​IMG]

    Manic Cinq (5) straight ahead.

    [​IMG]

    It looked as if it was clearing up! Maybe we wouldn't have a nightmare of a ride once we hit gravel.

    [​IMG]

    Just like riding along the Dalton Highway with the Alaska Pipeline, Route 389 has the power lines. When you don't see them you kind of feel "alone" and that something is missing.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I'm fascinated with engineering marvels. Hyrdo Quebec has MANY!!!

    [​IMG]

    Can you imagine how much "juice" is running through this area?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Our first glimpse of Manic 5!!!

    [​IMG]
    #58
  19. NorWis

    NorWis No longer a "Wanna Be"

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2009
    Oddometer:
    280
    Location:
    Northern Wisconsin
    Day 6 continued

    Then we see the Fermont (the folks we talked to pronounce it Vermont) and Labrador City sign! There's hope! :clap

    [​IMG]

    I had anticipated camping at several spots along 389. I had coordinates for one campsite and then Gagnon was another option to camp. It was still pretty early in the day and we opted to keep riding since it was raining so bad.

    More Manic 5 dam photos. This is where the pavement ends for awhile. Gulp...

    [​IMG]

    My camera battery crapped out on me so I told Dylan to get as many photos as he could of the dam.

    [​IMG]

    Probably wouldn't have done any good to have my camera anyway. This is where the road gets greasy when wet and is also an 18% grade!! :eek1

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    We stop here and I swap my battery and clean my lens off.



    Doesn't take long to get rain drops on it again.

    [​IMG]

    I'm amazed at the dam. I remind Dylan that we are at the Daniel-Johnson dam that is just south of the "Eye of Quebec". He has seen the impact crater several times on our maps and is astounded, as am I, over the size.

    [​IMG]

    Just as we begin the switchbacks my rear tire starts to spin as I give it any throttle. Great, just great. 2up, large loaded bike with an almost all street tire. My decision on tires is not going as planned.

    [​IMG]

    Just before we got to the top and this turnoff there's an oversized load semi filling the road. We are waved to the left side and they motion us to pass. Yeah, right. Give me 3 feet of greasy road on this incline to maneuver! :eek1

    [​IMG]

    Once at the top you see the access road to the dam itself is gated. That would be cool to ride across!

    [​IMG]

    But you do get a good view crossing the bridge.

    [​IMG]

    The we settle back and begin to enjoy the solitude of quietly riding on the gravel. We slow way down and can now enjoy the sights, sounds and even smells along 389! It was still sprinkling but there was hope that it would let up.

    [​IMG]
    #59
  20. Swinefahrt

    Swinefahrt RooteR

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2002
    Oddometer:
    716
    Location:
    Trou Du Cul, Tick's Ass
    I'm enjoying the ride!

    Actually the bank is protecting their interest not yours since you are only on the hook for $50. I've used my card all over the world week after week without a problem. But when I start buying 4 gallons of gas every 2-3 hours it rings alarms at Chase Bank.
    #60