Ok, we decided, It's the Trans-Lab I say! Many questions though

Discussion in 'Canada' started by hammerhoot, Nov 18, 2012.

  1. hammerhoot

    hammerhoot dual season rider

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    Ok, summer 2013, we will be leaving Pennsylvania for 16 days to do the Trans-Lab.

    Bikes on trip - 2

    2009 R 1200 GS

    2011 R 1200 GS Adventure

    My first question is, will my Adventure be able to make all of the necessary fuel stops without the need for me to carry extra fuel? 9 gallon fuel tank.

    Will my other riding buddy be able to make the necessary fuel stops with his standard GS without carrying spare fuel? 5.2 gallon tank.

    We will be coming up through the Gaspe' and grabbing the Ferry at Matane. Then running to the end, taking a ferry to Newfoundland, running the coast, then grabbing a ferry to Nova Scotia and on back to the states. Are reservations on those ferries mandatory and or recommended? I assume Manic 5 is a stop for sure to take a tour if possible and stay there. Any other stops on way to Churchill Falls that are worth stopping at? We will be doing the tour at Churchill for sure. Will be camping out as much as possible as long as the weather holds. How long would it take from Manic 5 to the end to grab the ferry to Newfoundland assuming good weather? And finally, tires, we both believe that a fresh set of Heidenau K-60 Scout's would be a good choice for this trip. Anybody agree of disagree with our choice? Again, this seems like a serious trip that needs planned out and time needs to be taken to prepare. Food and the possible need for medical supplies are a must that should be taken into consideration. Does the Canadian Government or private radio stations broadcast weather reports on the AM band? We have portable radio's that can run on batteries and a self contained hand crank power supply, or is this something that is not needed as the area seems to be extremely desolate and probably not many radio broadcasts anyhow. As many thoughts and opinions would be sincerely appreciated!!!
    #1
  2. tat2

    tat2 where's ya too?

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    Some friends and I did the trip (from the Toronto area) last summer. We took our time and did the following.

    Day 1 - Toronto -> Quebec City (ok this was a long slab day)
    Day 2 - Quebec City -> Manic 5
    Day 3 - Manic 5 -> Labrador City
    Day 4 - Labrador City -> Churchill Falls (we arrived early enough for the tour that after noon)
    Day 5 - Churchill Falls -> Happy Valley-Goose Bay
    Day 6 - HV-GB -> Port Hope Simpson
    Day 7 - Port Hope Simpson -> Saint Barbe (This included the Ferry to island)
    Day 8 - St. Anthony area for the Day.
    Day 9 - St. Anthony -> Gros Mourne Park.
    Day 10 - From here we split up, I went acorss the island to see family, the rest did a day here and then south to the ferry.

    Notes:
    - Don't ride @ night on island.
    - Reservations are a nice but not needed for the Labrador to Newfoundland ferry. Make them anyway, easily moved if you miss it. Good to have if you arrive in time. http://www.tw.gov.nl.ca/ferryservices/schedules/j_pollo.html
    - Reservations are a must for the Newfoundland to Nova Scotia ferry. http://marine-atlantic.ca
    - Don't Ride at night on island.
    - Fresh Heidenau's should be good, two people on our trip ran them. I liked my Heidenau rear/TKC front combo better for the times we did have loose gravel and the sand/gravel of fire lake rd.
    - Didn't worry about weather to much, we looked just before we went and it looked ok. We just dealt with what we got, a nice mix of sunny days and soaking days.
    - Longest between fuel stops was 404km (HV-GB to Port Hope Simpson) I did bring 5L spare and I would have jsut make it without it. There was one 1200GS with us (2up) and he made the whole stretch just fine. Personally I would rather bring it just in case.

    Any of the ride reports here are excellent resources, we used them lots when planning the trip.

    Have fun!
    #2
  3. CanadianX

    CanadianX Oh!? That is deep.

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    Tat2 pretty much covered it. (Tat2 - Chris is that you?)

    Do book a room at the electric hotel at Manic 5. Rooms are in atco trailers but clean and it is a nice point to stop take the tour and then get on the gravel the next day. My wife and I went last year riding two up with about 100lbs of gear and found anything above 70km/h was better for the loose gravel, the exception being the sand gravel mix and twisting cow path around fire lake. Shoulders of the gravel will be soft avoid these in the wet. The grader berms don't pose much of an issue, just plow through them. Big rigs are pretty damn considerate and slow down for bikes so you don't get dusted out to badly. The smaller SUVs and pick ups are less so but if you pull over for lunch or pictures you can pretty much guarantee ever vehicle will stop to make sure you are ok. In Church Hill Falls you camp on the lawn of the church, though there is a small hotel. CHF is a company town but pleasant enough, even has a little bar to have a pint. The dam tour is pretty cool too.

    Not sure how far the GS can go but my GSA had no fuel issues. We ended up linking in with a group of KLR riders and a BMW 650GS and all of them made it without issues.

    The trip is mostly about the road as there isn't a lot else to see, but we made a point of hauling over at rivers and lakes for pics and to get off the bike for a bit and enjoy the area. Bring a bug jacket BTW with bug hat, the flies are thick. People are more reserved in Lab while in ND they are outgoing and friendly, meeting all the rumours you hear about people from the rock being some of the most colorful characters and friendliest folks in Canada.

    We met a couple on the Lab side of the Lab - ND ferry. They were in a day trip on their Goldwing and when we asked about camping on the other side as we did not want to ride at night (don't ride at night) in the end we ended up riding at night but behind his GW, followed by 7 of us. He and his wife put all of us up for the night, made breakfast and then took us out for a few hours of iceburg watching on their boat. Would not take anything more than thank you for their kindness.

    I ran TKCs front and rear and although the rear was well worn out when we returned to Halifax (start point) it was nice (but not necessary) to have the knobs on the dirt part.

    Final thought, "when in doubt gas it out" proved to be the best way to deal with any wobbles on the dirt, If the front starts to wobble around and go for a tank slapper roll on the throttle. Conditions very considerably and although any one stretch is not hard core riding by any means, the distances demand you stay alert and pay attention. People of all riding skill get hurt and killed on this road every year.

    BTW 120km/h is about right for the GSA, nice and stable, even faster might be too but my pillion didn't like it. :lol3
    I guess an off at 80km/h is much different than one at 120 + km/h :huh

    I want to take my KTM there with a chase vehicle and have a go :evil
    #3
  4. C-Stain

    C-Stain Accredited Nincompoop

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    I rode my 07 V-Strom 1000 around the TLH. I took a 2.5 gallon Jerry can and used it twice. Once, because my riding partner blew past Relais Gabriel like his arse was on fire and the second because the stretch between Goose Bay and Port Hope Simpson is like 490Km. My Vee can manage 340-350 if I'm babying the throttle. And I wasn't. Its best to know the range on your machine, fully loaded, in the dirt.

    For your tire choice, I'd consider the K60 Rear and TKC80 front combo. Fastredbike did the trip on his GSA this summer and did not like the K60 front tire. When I met him in September at the Atlantic ADV Rally, he had switched back to the TKC front and rear. Many find the K60 front to be a bit squirrelly on the gravel. I run the K60/TKC80 combo on my Vee currently and its the cat's ass. It'll give you more wear and control than you'll need on the TLH.

    There are radio stations in Lab City and Goose Bay. I just don't remember if they were AM or not. If you have an NOAA Weather Band Radio, you should be fine. Alternatively, there is lots of WiFi in Labrador when you stop, so Internet Weather Reports should be no problem.

    As far as your supplies and such go...There is Ambulance Service in Churchill Falls, Goose Bay and Lab City. Remember, there are long stretches so a properly appointed First Aid Kit would be strongly advised. Food and such should be available every day as you pass through the different communities along the route. While it looks huge, the TLH is really not all that long. Consider the Sat Phone sign out in Lab City or make sure you have a SPOT Tracker that you can use to summon help.

    C
    #4
  5. tat2

    tat2 where's ya too?

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    Yep, it's me. :wave

    I was a little nervous with that ride. I was second last in line & only saw 2.5 moose (one was half back in the bush by the time I passed). I think he said there were 10 on the entire trip from ferry to his home. Thank god he had all those lights on the Goldwing. I didn't tell any family I did ride at night, didn't want to get scolded. :D
    #5
  6. hammerhoot

    hammerhoot dual season rider

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    I'm inclined to go with the Hiedenaus front and rear. Simply because we are starting out in Pennsylvania, and I don't want to have to change tires, I know the Heide's will make the whole trip.
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  7. C-Stain

    C-Stain Accredited Nincompoop

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    I don't think you'd have to change. I'm still running the TKC80 from last summer on my Vee. Mind you, I've changed tires a couple of times for different trips, but it should more than get you around the complete loop. Mine has in excess of 8 or 9K on it now.
    #7
  8. hammerhoot

    hammerhoot dual season rider

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    If you think a TKC up front would make it from Pennsylvania all the way up there and back, I would do it. I would still run the Heidi in the back. I'm estimating a 4500-5500 mile round trip.
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  9. tat2

    tat2 where's ya too?

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    I ran a fresh TKC front (Heidi rear) from Hamilton, ON out to the TLH & St. John's and back via ME, NH, VT, NY, then slab back and forth to work every day for a month (82miles round trip) and still didn't change it till spring. That was on a smaller KLR, but I'm sure you can make it from PA and back. That is unless you bike eats front tires.
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  10. hammerhoot

    hammerhoot dual season rider

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    You're making me rethink my decision now, maybe I will go with the Heidi in the rear and a TKC upfront
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  11. C-Stain

    C-Stain Accredited Nincompoop

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    Do it and you'll still have tires left to go to CroMag. My K60 rear has to have 5000-6000 miles on it now and still has at least another 5000 in it and my TKC80 has at least 8000km or more on it - and still going strong.
    #11
  12. hammerhoot

    hammerhoot dual season rider

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    good deal! I enjoy your ride reports!
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  13. hammerhoot

    hammerhoot dual season rider

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    Anybody have any cofrontations with bears while camping on the TLH?
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  14. damurph

    damurph Cold Adventurer

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    Never had any confrontations but obvious bear precautions should be taken. When i wanted to camp on the outskirts of Blanc Sablon (early morning ferry with no reservations) in a perfect spot the lady at the take out insisted i set up camp on her front lawn because of the wolves around town.
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  15. C-Stain

    C-Stain Accredited Nincompoop

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    I never saw any bears, but did encounter a very large wolf between Lab City and Churchill Falls. I thought it was a baby moose on the road. I was reaching for the camera when I realized what it was and got out of there in a hurry.

    When we did the trip, we were not equipped with any bear deterrents.
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  16. JimmieA

    JimmieA Long timer

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    You can buy a mesh jacket that has an enclosed hood and long arms that is great for bugs. Your upper body is totally covered/protected from bugs. I just stopped in spots where it was windy and I was fine. I did not camp though. The island of NFLD is thick with moose and they are active at night so that is why people say to not ride at night. For fun count how many times you cross the RRtrack on the last stretch of Quebec road(I use the term loosely) before Labrador border. I would recommend bring gear to be able to patch a puncture in the tire as the rocks can be trouble. I would not pack too heavy on the bike due to the gravel, sand etc your going to ride through. Lighter bike is better. I saw bears on the trip, almost ran over one sleeping on a bridge. Make reservations for the NFLD to N.S. ferry they can be kind of anal but give bikes a break some times. As far as scenery there isn't a lot to see in the Quebec/ Lab part of the trip so you could consider saving time for the island portion and the Cabot Trail portion.
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  17. hammerhoot

    hammerhoot dual season rider

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    yeah, we did the cabot trail this past summer. didn't have much time though, would like to spend more time in that area. So you guys believe as long as I make reservations on the ferry (NL-NS), I should be fine?, but not that important if I dont? I believe the one from Matane to the north shore, I can just show up ahead of time, (we were ok that way on our snowmobiles). And as far as the one from Labrador to Newfoundland, just show up early enough and we should be fine?
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  18. C-Stain

    C-Stain Accredited Nincompoop

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    We didn't have a reservation for the Ferry coming home. We didn't get on the first boat of the day, but we did make the second one. No problem.
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  19. hammerhoot

    hammerhoot dual season rider

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    Did you spend anytime in the Gros Morne National park? If so, what did you think? Worthwhile setting a whole day aside just to spend it there?
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  20. C-Stain

    C-Stain Accredited Nincompoop

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    Actually - I didn't. I sped by Gros Morne in the passenger seat of a Toyota while my V-Strom occupied the bed of a Ford Pickup. I needed to get to Deer Lake to find a tire...
    #20