Early Season Trans Labrador - Solo

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by MZcountryboy, Jun 7, 2009.

  1. MZcountryboy

    MZcountryboy Long timer

    Joined:
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    took off yesterday (saturday morning) for Labrador, now (sunday night) sitting here in my hotel room in Labrador City, drying out my camping gear. Let's cover day one first.

    Leaving home, note the extra light packing job, yes I have cooking gear and camping stuff! Gotta be light on a single!

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    Up through VT cross the border at Norton, no troubles, up through Thetford Mines, Quebec City, onto the RTE 138 on the North side of the St Lawrence Seaway.

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    First ferry crossing is on the 138 @ Tadoussac It's a nice day so far

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    This connects the 138 w/o a bridge, free ferry - cool only takes a few minutes.

    View of the sister ship (they run two boats even!)

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    After reaching the other side, you see this not too far out, note the kickin' knobby tires.

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    Quebec has lots of pull offs/rest areas along the shoreline, some even have running water + flush toilets. FREE. In the states, you'd be paying, or blocked by "private" signs. Here's another with a sandy beach.

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    Note the rain-spotted pavement, a sign of things to come......

    At the next pulloff, near Ragueneau, there was some really nice views, and some cool stuff.

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    There is a HUGE obelisk there, and some ce-ment dinosaurs!

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    Next stop, Baie Comeau, start of the Quebec 389 north.

    On the way, Manic - 1 Hydo dam

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    The backside -

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    Entering into Baie Comeau, they have a sweet Metal scuplture in the middle of a roundabout


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    A quick out back poach of some hotel wi-fi to check in with the Missus, and I hang the left onto the 389 N

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    It's about 6:30 pm at this point, but nice out, so I keep on keepin' on -

    Hydro dam Manic 2 is on the way -

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    After this it's find a rambo-camping spot in the bush.

    In between, I encounter horrific lightning, rain, hail, and wind. Now I'm wet. Dammit.

    I decide to ride through the cloudburst (can see brightspots on the other side of the cloud)

    I make it through, and find a place to camp. Those clouds are the real deal.

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    570 miles for the day, I actually managed to get set up without it raining on me.

    More soon, don't want to lose it all with one wrong keystroke!
    #1
  2. GB

    GB . Administrator

    Joined:
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    Great start!! And your X Challenge is perfectly setup for long distance touring :thumb

    Looking forward to your updates :thumb

    :lurk
    #2
  3. MZcountryboy

    MZcountryboy Long timer

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    Morning dawns, clear - a nice change from the rain. It was cold, so I pack up quick and get rolling at around 4:45am. Some fog + still water early...

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    Went to the relais just south of Manic - 5. Met these guys who tell me the Goose Bay - Cartwright ferry is canceled for tuesday the 9th, due to sea ice + icebergs. I have reservations for the 9th, crap. That wil blow my ferry reservations on the 13th from Port-aux-Basques NL, back to the mainland of North America. Bummer.

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    Oh well - I'll make the run to HVGB and double back, with a reason to come back another time. Off to Labrador City.

    Manic -5 after a hot cup of coffee, fuel, and a hot breakfast.

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    Then the pavement is over for a while

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    Still snow in them there hills

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    I dropped my bike here, getting off for the photo op - one mirror gone, pride destroyed.

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    Raging river

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    The town of Gagnon, south of Fermont has been removed. Divided road + sidewalks are all that remain. Really eerie, as you've ridded 200km of gravel, then it's paved again, with curbs + sidewalks, but NOTHING else. Weird.

    The old mine there

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    Iron Mine north of Fermont, look at the pink water + tailings! to the left

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    Note how freshly graded the road is, GAS ON!

    Finally to the end of the 389 and my days ride.

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    330 miles today, the majority gravel. Ended early, due to cold + shopping needs (warmer stuff!)

    GPS sez overall average for the trip so far is 46 mph, with a high of 80.
    #3
  4. GreenMtnThumper

    GreenMtnThumper Adventure Commuter

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    Lookin' good :thumb


    Ride safe.
    #4
  5. BubbaZanetti

    BubbaZanetti for a corrector life

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    cool, always been fascinated with those northern canadian roads
    #5
  6. Pierregy

    Pierregy Adventurer

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    Downtown Toronto
    I am following this with great interest. Fine work on the photos and comentary.

    Did you take a satellite phone? Someone told me that on that road they made you rent one.

    Cheers,
    Pierregy
    #6
  7. MZcountryboy

    MZcountryboy Long timer

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    Thanks - I haven't been made to carry a satt phone yet, I have heard they are available on loan, I'll know more after today, planning on reaching Goose Bay today. I'm not carrying a phone, only the mini laptop, and wifi seems to be prevalent most places. Canada is light years ahead in that department!

    Weather is 2c and overcast, Brrr.... Supposed to warm up to 10c tomorrow.
    #7
  8. MZcountryboy

    MZcountryboy Long timer

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    Update -

    Loading up the bike to leave, it's snowing outside.
    :eek1

    The ural crew is at the same Hotel, one of their crew holed both pistons on his engine yesterday, but managed to get family w/van and trailer to save him. He's leaving the rig here, and chasing the rest of the Ural crew in the van to HVGB today. Seems in good spirits anyways, whatcha gonna do.

    I'm off!
    #8
  9. GB

    GB . Administrator

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    Snowing? :(:
    Well, it is early in the season to be heading that far north!

    Keep up posted and good luck :thumb

    :lurk
    #9
  10. Questor

    Questor More Undestructable

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    MZ.

    Great Ride Report! :clap

    I want to get up there and check out that part of the world soon.
    Looks awesome.

    So what heppened as a result of the ferry schedule changes?

    Q~

    P.S. Nice bike. :thumb
    #10
  11. markbvt

    markbvt Long timer

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    Awesome, MZcb!

    Questor and I are doing the full Trans-Lab/Newfoundland/Nova Scotia loop at the end of August/early September. We've got one other rider plus my friend James, who's driving his Jeep and carrying our gear for us. PM me if you're interested in coming with.

    Can't wait to read the rest of your RR!

    --mark
    #11
  12. MZcountryboy

    MZcountryboy Long timer

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    If riding gravel all day at 70mph is your bag, this is the place.

    Having Lunch in Churchill Falls right now, man it's cold.

    Left here this morning, in the snow for about an hour.

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    Railfans, check it out, you won't see this at home:

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    He tooted the horn as he saw me taking the pic

    Like I said, the ice is not gone up here yet

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    traffic on the Rte 500 can be a real bear.

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    the snow on the ground is fresh last night.
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    The remains of the Churchill river

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    at this point, I'm ready for a hot meal + a warm-up break

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    Made it to town.

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    Bad focus - good food - hot coffee

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    #12
  13. MZcountryboy

    MZcountryboy Long timer

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    Ferry changes mean I have to double back, I'm not waiting around in Goose bay till the 14th.

    The bike is kicking some major ass. 61 mpg average so far, loaded up + not going real slow. As a matter of fact, I can't think of a better description of how the bike is doing than this:

    :super :drums :dj :super


    Lunch break is done, off to Goose Bay!
    #13
  14. markbvt

    markbvt Long timer

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    Damn. How the hell did Honda manage to make the XR650L get only 45mpg? I think I need to change bikes. The thing's not exactly comfortable either, even with a Renazco seat.

    It's a shame your weather's sucking so bad. How are the road conditions? I keep hearing that the section between Churchill Falls and HVGB is the least user-friendly, so I'll be interested to read tonight's installment.

    --mark
    #14
  15. Junkyard

    Junkyard Been here awhile

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    Moretown Vermont
    Sounds like just what you need. :clap

    Keeping tabs on ya.
    Junkyard
    #15
  16. pookiebear

    pookiebear Soylent Mayhem

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    Cool pics. How does the bike handle with the huge tank on there? And all the other accessories? The cheese fries in the last pic makes me want to raid my fridge.
    #16
  17. GreenMtnThumper

    GreenMtnThumper Adventure Commuter

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    Cambridge, VT
    Yep. Sounds like yer gettin' what need. Snow, canceled ferries, bears... an adventure indeed.:clap

    :lurk
    GMT
    #17
  18. selkins

    selkins No hay banda!

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    Nice report. I'm heading that way soon, and should be at Churchill Falls just about 2 1/2 weeks from now. I'll hope for at least a bit warmer weather :norton
    #18
  19. EvilClown

    EvilClown Reality show stunt double Super Moderator

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    Location:
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    Two seasons? 'Winter' and 'poor skiing'?:dunno :lol3

    Sorry you're still getting snow but it sounds like a great adventure. Be safe.



    Keep it coming!


    :lurk
    #19
  20. MZcountryboy

    MZcountryboy Long timer

    Joined:
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    I have no complaints about the bike at this point, even on the stock seat, I am pretty comfy. No numbness in my hands, the wind protection is really good, and the suspension is ultra-plush with a load on. The real kicker is I am getting that great mileage, and likely have at least 10 hp on the XRL. :evil

    eh - the weather is what it is. Supposed to be sunny and 11c tomorrow, that will be a nice change. It warmed up as I got closer to HVGB, but damn, I'm glad I have heated grips, they were on all day today.

    The section between Churchill Falls and HVGB is rough. They are doing lots of construction on the HVGB end, and the road surface is made of 1.5" crushed stone, with no filler. Pretty sketchy for 50-60 miles. There is another section about 1/2 way (in the middle) that is under construction as well, and it is just rough + bumpy - but is packed well. Again, the freshly graded portions are the worst. I had no issues, but I get to try again tomorrow......

    :lol3
    #20