2up to Labrador - Another father/son adventure

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

  1. nick949eldo

    nick949eldo Long timer

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    Todd and Dylan - don't despair about the weather. It's Labrador: you didn't come here to go sunbathing.

    I'm enjoying your pictures and observations. Ride safely.

    Nick
    #61
  2. kag

    kag Wander Lust

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    Great so far.....enjoying the trip with you.
    #62
  3. NorWis

    NorWis No longer a "Wanna Be"

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    That was the problem. It's the "little" purchases that were getting their undies in a wad.

    Todd
    #63
  4. NorWis

    NorWis No longer a "Wanna Be"

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    That's VERY true! Didn't get much sun the whole trip but for a patch around my face through the shield! :lol3

    Todd
    #64
  5. henryporter

    henryporter Adventurer

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    This winter?!:rolleyes
    #65
  6. NorWis

    NorWis No longer a "Wanna Be"

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    Day 6 continued

    Yup, we're on route 389. As you can see...in the rain, on the gravel. Oh, well. What's a little adventure, right?

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    We were glad our suits kept the rain out and that we were dressed pretty warm. We learned our lesson in British Columbia that taking layers off to cool off is a LOT easier than trying to dig them out and warm up once chilled. You can see Dylan getting prepped to get back on the bike. Even pulling his buff up high on his face.

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    Damn choice of tires is really starting to haunt me. You can see that there is quite a bit of sand on the road, too. :deal Pay attention to that detail. Not the sand. The choice of tires. It will reappear and you WILL be tested!

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    Heading almost due north. Making good time. We don't race. We're heavy and I'm old. :lol3 Don't want to have to have Dylan put into practice all the things we've talked about. Dad's epi-pen is where? What button do you push on the SPOT if we have a problem? Where's the key to the satellite phone? We had gone over all those things before we left. He's prepped and a smart young man. He can manage in a crisis if we (I) need it.

    We cross the 51st Parallel. These little signs creep up on you!

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    Dust? You are kidding me! The sandy areas dry quick. Gotta ask yourself what's better; A little bit of rain to moisten the road or dry road and dust. I'm going to go with dry.

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    Trees are getting shorter again. Not like the tundra we experienced on the Dalton but noticeably shorter vegetation. You can see for a long way on these straight areas.

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    Why you ask would you take a picture of a gravel road? Well, that's to show people, because you can't "feel" it, so you have to "see" it. Imagine what it would be like walking on a counter top covered with marbles. That's what some portions of 389 were like. Hard pack with fresh gravel kind of floating on top.

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    At one point the back of the bike took a little, ok, big whoopty do, that's one of those technical terms, and Dylan tapped me on the shoulder and said "I almost wet myself". :lol3

    We had many close calls like that and it helped me keep things in check and slowed me down. If you are riding the TLH or 389 this year...be careful.

    Sometimes you felt kind of silly sitting at a stop light and you can plainly see there is nobody coming. In this one there is a vehicle coming through.

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    We needed to get off and rest a bit so we stopped at a "Rest Area" in Relais Gabriel. It had a little pavilion and picnic table. We snacked and drank some water. A gentleman drove up to the bike as we were leaving and was interested in our trip. He said he came up here fishing 20 years ago and never left. He and his wife have a place just a bit south. Told us some history and points to try and look for on our trip. He said he likes talking to the bike riders cause they are so nice and friendly. Very nice guy.

    That's a long straight stretch of road.

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    I couldn't help myself here. I know it's graffiti but it made me chuckle.

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    I know this isn't the "Top of the World" highway. I've been on that! It's close though!!!!

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    OMG, I know some may not agree but I was REALLY glad to hit pavement again. I was tired. This gave both of us a bit of a second wind from having to constantly be on edge. Also gave my "pucker string" a rest....

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    Still a whole lotta road out there in front of us!

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    The terrain was again changing. This is so cool to be able to, up close, witness the environmental changes that were taking place. I have a a great appreciation of our environment and revel in taking it all in.

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    Several areas like this can be found along 389 (and the TLH). I kept being told to "just pull off and camp" but didn't feel comfortable doing that. Had I been alone or didn't have a youth with me I may have.

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    A distant view of Lake Manicouagan. What a spectacular natural resource.

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    The obvious scars of a forest fire. I read a ride report while researching our trip that must have happened during the authors trip. Route 389 had been closed because of smoke, fire, safety, etc.

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    I've never been labeled as being "very smart" and here is proof in this series of photos. :lol3

    As we approached the bridge over Rivière Hart Jaune, I started the Contour helmet cam. I then proceeded to begin taking photos while the camera was "rolling". Dylan was not happy. :eek1

    The video first:

    <iframe frameborder="0" scrolling="no" width="640" height="360" src="http://api.smugmug.com/services/embed/3385537419_G4Zt9Bz?width=640&height=360&albumId=42661737&albumKey=TN4rTr"></iframe>

    Then the photos I took:

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    Yes, it's a wooden bridge. Don't see many of those where I'm from.

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    Taking a digger here would not be cool. :rofl

    The amount of water going by was a bit unsettling.

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    Dyaln was not a happy camper. Too many gotcha moments lately! You've got to give him a lot of credit for hanging in there and being a great passenger! :norton

    We still have a long way to go yet today. We've tried to stop and rest more often so that we can, hopefully, make it to Labrador City.

    Another selfie. I'm getting better, right?

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    More day 6 coming...
    #66
  7. MassiveLee

    MassiveLee Banned

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    On these gravel roads, some TKC80 would be the minimum knobbie tire you'd want. Tourance are indeed too slick for that. The front wheel must have been floating all around. You are brave my friend ;-)
    #67
  8. NorWis

    NorWis No longer a "Wanna Be"

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    Day 6 continued

    Village of Gagnon

    I'm unsure why but I was fascinated by the story of Gagnon. I wanted to camp here but I was so tired and we needed to push on to Lab City. After we went through Dylan said it was kind of "spooky" seeing all the remnants of a city but no buildings or even people. :eek1

    The is a video of the ride through Gagnon. You can see the sewers, the boulevard in the middle of the highway, the curbs. Imagine people living here, shopping, growing up, growing old. Where were you born? Where did you go to school? Oh, well, the town is no longer there....

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    I wanted to spend some time in Gagnon but we really needed to push on. I want to keep this section of day 6 separate from the next part so I'll end it here for now.

    More coming...
    #68
  9. nick949eldo

    nick949eldo Long timer

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    People spend far too much time agonizing over the tyres they think they need for the TLH, as if the tyres alone are going to be the panacea for all their real or imagined troubles. The key is matching road speed to the rider's ability, regardless of the bike or tyres. The K70's on my Eldo were more than adequate. Knobblies are no special help on the kind of surface which one finds on the TLH and 389.

    Nick
    #69
  10. MassiveLee

    MassiveLee Banned

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    Well. You have a point. Never ride faster than your guardian angel. Nonetheless, if instead of riding 30km/h on Tourance rubber, you can ride 70km/h with the same confidence on a better tire, then it's a win win. I've done 4 hours of dirt this Saturday with some okay Tourance. Honestly, they were not confidence-inspiring and had no grip at all. One can use any tire on thin gravel with hard pack base. Add soft sand or a freshly graded surface, and you need to rethink your tire choice.

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    What I should have had for more grip and stability.

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    #70
  11. NorWis

    NorWis No longer a "Wanna Be"

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    I think you are both correct. From my perspective; I was comfortable with the K60's but could not get them in time. I agonized over what would be an option. TKC80's won't last the entire trip and I can't carry another tire. Did not want to ship or buy another tire on the road. Tourances were my best option. In MY opinion. A lot more pavement was going to be ridden on than gravel.

    Next up? What oil did I chose? :lol3

    Just kidding!!!!

    The tire did "ok" on the gravel parts. I slowed waaaayyyy down. This is a BIG bike with LOTS of fuel sitting up high. It's got heavy bags packed for up to 4 weeks with two, not so slim, riders. I did NOT want to pick this beast up. I had not dropped it, yet. On our Alaska trip I dropped the damned thing before we left!!! :lol3

    Stay tuned for WHY the tire choice was not great....lots of hindsight going to take place.

    :lurk
    #71
  12. nick949eldo

    nick949eldo Long timer

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    I don't doubt you're right - for some conditions - but unnecessary for the TLH. The knobblies on my Nuovo Falcone don't make much difference regardless of the road. But................sorry Todd and Dylan, that's enough thread drift from me so I'll shut up.

    Nick

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    #72
  13. NorWis

    NorWis No longer a "Wanna Be"

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    Day 6 continued

    Alas, the asphalt didn't last...

    I have taken my marine biologist hat off and I'm going to put on my geologist hat. Of course I don't have the knowledge to do either. I'm a geek... :deal

    However, I was speculating inside my helmet. Does anyone else do that? Hmmm, I wonder if that's really....?

    Anyway, I was taking a few photos of what I thought "could be" the debris field from the impact crater. You see all of these LARGE boulders around the edges of the crater.

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    I know it's not a great photo but there are lots of big rocks strewn about over a very large area.

    A video of this area:

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    We then began seeing large sections of hills/mountains having strange "blemishes".

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    The further we drove the more the road deteriorated. This was by far the worst section we had seen in quite awhile. I would hate to drive this when wet. Then we began seeing more railroad track and bundles of brand new ties about to be replaced.

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    Still more "blemishes".

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    I don't care what your beliefs or feelings are about mining. Or better yet, open pit mining. If you are an adventure rider you are probably riding to see the beauty of the environment. Well, open pit mining takes that away. I know we need to obtain the resources but we really need to find a better way.

    The next few photos are of the Mont Wright mining operation. They are "moving" the mountain. You approach from one angle and can't see anything then BOOM you round a corner and see this:

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    An almost pure red lake. That's not normal....:cry

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    I was saddened by what I was seeing. The orange flags I had been seeing on pick-up trucks was beginning to make sense.

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    Mont Wright was being mined. Destroyed. Nothing but a hole in the ground now.

    The mining company responsible: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Québec_Cartier_Mining_Company

    A few more photos:

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    The tailings of the previous Mont Wright.

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    Notice the tires? Imagine those on a LARGE truck trying to run a motorcycle over. :lol3

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    A few other videos after Gagnon but before the mining operations:

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    <iframe frameborder="0" scrolling="no" width="640" height="360" src="http://api.smugmug.com/services/embed/3385546709_h5ck3fc?width=640&height=360&albumId=42661737&albumKey=TN4rTr"></iframe>

    Enough of the mining and downer type photos. :puke1

    Next up? Success!!!! We did it! :freaky
    #73
  14. NorWis

    NorWis No longer a "Wanna Be"

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    Day 6 Continued

    The Big Land. What an appropriate name. It's big, it's desolate, it's harsh, it's beautiful, it's unforgiving.

    We made it here :bow

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    Our faithful ride, posing at the border of the Big Land.

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    Since we didn't get a good photo of our entrance into Quebec, we turned around and got one from the Labrador side! :lol3

    OMG! I lost all my hair on this trip! :lol3

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    Can you believe the grin on that boys face? Makes a dad proud.

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    A few photos as we come into Labrador City

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    I work for a hospital so I take photos of healthcare related sites. This is a brand new facility not open yet. The sign says "Not open to the public"

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    We went to the McDonalds to eat and use the Wi-Fi to find a place to camp. That's when we find out that we just went over a time zone and are later than we think. Great. It's now 9pm and we do not have a place to stay. Dylan and I talk about it and also a young girl cleaning up. She says the minimum for a hotel in Lab City is $150. Damn! I don't want to pay that. A trucker who was watching a video on his laptop becomes concerned for us. He offers us some cash to eat or get a place to stay. I told him we were fine and have been camping for a week and will be ok. He offered to put the bike on his truck to get us "out of the mess we were in". We chuckled and assured him we were fine and enjoying the "dilemma" we were win.

    We had seen a campground outside of town and headed back there. We entered the Duley Lake Family Park and thought we had entered anther world. :lol3

    I did not take any photos as we entered the campground. We met Paul and he was rough around the edges. He was an owner and liked to drop F bombs. A lot. OMG those F'in lights (my LED lights) are F'in bright.

    He said I have no F'in water, no F'in outhouses but I can put you up for the night for $10. Sold. He put us on a site that didn't have a camper and had called the guy to make sure he wasn't coming. Dylan get in my F'in truck and ride with me and give your F'in dad a break. I followed him to a site that was empty but lots of other RVs around.

    It was dark as we set our tent up. Dylan wanted some earplugs. Smart move. I put mine in around midnight....gonna be a long "F'in" night.
    #74
  15. c-zulu

    c-zulu Resident Dirt Burner

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    Taking note's

    Great F'in RR..:evil
    #75
  16. NorWis

    NorWis No longer a "Wanna Be"

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    Final day 6

    We had traveled 384 miles today from Baie-Comeau to Labrador City. Most of that was in the rain. Not what I had planned but then again, the adventure changes when it comes to life. :D

    I forgot to add a few photos from around Manic 5.

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    I filled up the bike and then moved the bike out of the way. Went in to pay for the gas and my card was again frozen. I got the sat phone out and called my bank to get this fixed. I always have enough cash on me to get gas if this happens. The lady said that the multiple small purchases are what is triggering the fraud alerts. Even though this is a “gas bar” it came across as a motel charge for less than $40. That raises all kinds of red flags.

    She suggested I use the card as a debit and get cash from ATM’s and use that. Whatever…

    A couple more photos from the Manic 5 area:

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    I think this next photo was the visitor center and where you could get the tour. We were so early in the season (and it was raining) that there wasn’t a soul around.

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    Back to Duley Lake Family Park and day 7!
    #76
  17. NorWis

    NorWis No longer a "Wanna Be"

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    June 14, 2014

    Day 7

    I lay in my sleeping bag most of the night wondering what on earth anyone would need a generator to run for that long for in the middle of the night.

    I finally put my ear plugs in around 2am so I could get a little sleep.

    When I woke up at 5am it was raining again. Great way to start your day.

    I let Dylan sleep while I got up and looked around a bit during daylight hours to see who had the generator running. :dog

    A quick photo of our tent and where it was set up.

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    The generator was in the blue shed with the exhaust down in the lower right corner. You can see the proximity to the tent.

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    Right by the picnic table on the ground it looks like someone had “lost their marbles”. Maybe it was the group with the generator. :lol3

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    I wandered around a bit (in the rain) and took a few more photos of the campground. Right in front of the red pickup truck are all the outhouses. Paul said he had removed them the day before and was going to replace them this weekend. Hence, no toilets and no water either.

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    May have been planning a giant bonfire!

    Quite the little playground, eh?

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    Another shot of the office area. and the pile-o-outhouses. There were a LOT of RV’s here. This was not a small operation. The price was right with nothing more than a patch of ground to pitch a tent.

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    We used the same routine that worked the previous morning in Baie-Comeau with Dylan packing the bags and pads so they stayed dry. The tent would be so cramped and I’m not very nimble anymore so I can’t do it without getting cramped.

    We didn’t take long to pack. Headed to Tim Horton’s in Labrador City for breakfast and some fuel for the bike.

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    Notice the orange flag on that pickup truck. We didn’t have one…I wonder if that could be an issue.

    Then it was time to head toward Happy Valley-Goose Bay!

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    Again the terrain is changing.

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    Another selfie. Digital film is cheap. :wink:

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    Thank goodness these are kilometers and not miles!

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    Pretty nice road surface, eh? You can see for a long way again!

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    This area had most definitely been paved very recently. If you’re wanting to ride the TLH while it’s still got some gravel on it you better hurry!

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    Still some very beautiful lakes and very secluded areas.

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    The rain will just not quit! Next up we hit gravel…again.
    #77
  18. NorWis

    NorWis No longer a "Wanna Be"

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    Day 7 continued

    I was hoping to stop and see Churchill Falls.

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    We drove by the river but I didn’t see any turnout or a sign for the falls. Yes, it was raining and I wasn’t focused too much on that. We proceeded toward Churchill Falls (the city) for fuel and a break.

    Me no likey grated bridges. :eek1

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    We pulled into Churchill Falls and snapped a few photos. Remember this is a “company” town so most of the buildings all look alike.

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    In the gas bar, I asked a conservation warden who was in there how to get to the falls. He said “What’s left of them is back up the road by the bridge.” Crap, I’m not driving back there in the rain.

    Off in the distance you can see all the power lines.

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    A close up.

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    I know it may not seem like we were too fired up to ride the Trans Labrador Highway but we were. It was exciting to finally start it, even though it was raining. When we hit the gravel section it didn’t intimidate us it was more like “oh, well, here we go again”.

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    Not only was it raining but it was cold, too. We kept our helmets on when we stopped just to keep the heat in.

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    Hmmm, maybe it will break up soon. The sky looks like it might!

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    There wasn’t a lot of gravel today but I was really tired. A couple of long days and very little sleep last night with that generator running all night.

    <iframe frameborder="0" scrolling="no" width="640" height="360" src="http://api.smugmug.com/services/embed/3387992430_XsWPT5p?width=640&height=360&albumId=42664994&albumKey=HbBwcP"></iframe>

    As you can see in the videos it’s pretty desolate. That’s what we like. The rain is letting up a bit.

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    Only 234 more kilometers to Happy Valley-Goose Bay!!! You can see the rain still coming down once in awhile in front of the lens. Then my head movement gets the drop of rain off the lens and more shows up!

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    More raindrops on the lens. Couldn’t help it. It seemed that when we hit gravel it rained. Asphalt, it stopped.

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    Here’s the asphalt and it’s dry!

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    I’ve seen clear cuts but this is a bit of an extreme. That giant “lawnmower” got loose and went up over this mountain!

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    My guess, I’ve put my engineering hat on now, is that Hydro Quebec was going to be running some new power lines. In the US this would have met a great deal of opposition. I don’t know if that happens in Canada or not. I do know that some of the mining operations DID meet some opposition in Labrador City.

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    Only 85km!!! :clap

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    Dyl is having fun!

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    Some beautiful rivers. Be the fishing would be great!

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    More recent scars from fire.

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    That "lawnmower" crossed the road and got loose on this side now.

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    Not paying attention again, I almost miss the HV-GB sign!

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    Now I'm seeing all the signs and getting photos of them no matter what they are! :lol3

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    Yup, you guessed it. The hospital. This one is open!

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    A remnant of days gone by. A US plane.

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    After last nights sleeplessness and the fact we are starting to um, smell a bit ripe, I thought after 7 days of camping and the last two or three in the rain that it was time for a hotel/motel. We stopped at the Royal Inn and Suites and got the last room they had. It only had one queen bed but Dylan and I were used to sleeping in a smaller space in our tent anyway! :lol3

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    We unpacked the bike and started the drying process of the tent and any gear that was wet. I started the laundry while Dylan took a shower. Once our showers and laundry were done we went into town. That's when we stopped at that gift shop 5 minutes before it closed. We felt like eating pizza so we went to Pizza Delight. Not bad.

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    We fueled the bike up and headed back to the hotel. Wi-Fi worked well so I could get some email off. I also copied all of our photos onto a micro SD card that I had in a Microsoft Surface Pro 2.

    While I did all that Dylan crashed. We were both pretty tired. All the electronics were getting recharged, so why not us, too! We needed the respite of camping. It was nice not having to unpack and then pack up our sleeping gear and pads. We also had all the clothes we had packed clean! :lol3

    Dylan is already in bed and out like a light

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    The days total mileage was 348 long, wet and cold miles.
    #78
  19. wtmklr

    wtmklr Adventurer

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    Trust me, rain is better than dust on those roads! :1drink
    #79
  20. NorWis

    NorWis No longer a "Wanna Be"

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    Day 8

    We woke to a morning without rain. That in itself helps put you in the mood to do the happy dance! :rilla

    We were up earlier than the breakfast that was provided started so we got ourselves and the bike all prepped. That didn’t take long since we didn’t need to pack a tent or our sleeping bags. We had that process down to a science. If it wasn’t raining we could be dressed, packed and loaded in less than 45 minutes. That’s to “kick stand up”.

    The Royal Inn & Suites was very clean, friendly and had a great place to eat breakfast. The breakfast was your typical continental but was filling and gave us the needed fuel for a long day.

    The office/breakfast nook.

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    A friend of mine and also my wife’s uncle had been stationed at Happy Valley-Goose Bay. It was such a nice morning we couldn’t pass up riding through the base and getting some recent photos.

    On the way to the airbase. Yup, another pic of the hospital! :sick

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    Radio Canada! The CBC.

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    Remember…I was taking sign pictures now!

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    Getting on the base was pretty easy. Too, easy?

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    This base had been used as a landing site for the space shuttle as well as a few of the diverted airliners from 9/11 when airspace in the US was closed.

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    Pretty large area!

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    The Water Bomber.

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    What a ham!

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    The Height Finder Antenna

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    Didn’t know what this one was.

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    Looking head on at the Voodoo Aircraft

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    Lookin purty in front of Air Labrador. All washed off from all the rain we’ve been having. After the Dalton Highway she had a quarter inch of calcium chloride caked all over her that had to get pressure washed off. Don’t know if it ever all came off!

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    After the Dalton:

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    Our first look at the Trans Lab from HV-GB. This was going to be ALL gravel from here until Red Bay. This is the most treacherous and desolate (my opinion) of the TLH. The road is fairly new and is continuously being maintained.

    Does it look like it’s raining to you? Yeah, me too. It was, raining that is…

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    This is also known as the Labrador Coastal Drive.

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    Let’s see; red clay, rain, poor tires, and a grated bridge. Doesn’t give a person a whole lot of good vibes, does it?

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    Story of my life right now. Water on the lens of the camera and my GPS says that we aren’t near a road. Not that it matters. There’s only one…road that is.

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    It was so nice when we left the hotel and HV-GB that Dylan had not put his rain pants on. We stopped when it was pretty apparent that it wasn’t going to just be a sprinkle.

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    Hmmm, looks like it’s breaking up a bit!

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    There’s a whole lot of nothing in front of us. Nice…. It’s peaceful, gives you a chance to contemplate life and just sit back and relax and enjoy the ride. :hmmmmm

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    The ultimate optimists! Sunglasses in the rain! :brow

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    At some point the rain quit and we were then subjected to the dust.
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