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Discussion in 'Canada' started by gregman_1, Feb 3, 2014.
I think he means Goose and Manic 5 dam.
It's true that any bike will do it. I to, came across an older Asian gent on his shinny 1200RT (well not shinny at that time). It was mid August and he had no choice but to cross the TLH because the ferry problems at that time ment he was stuck in Newfoundland for 12 days and he had to get back to the mainland (another story).
Now, would I take a road bike there ? Hell no. I did the clockwise route and like everyone here I will say that weather up there change very quickly. On the dry days and hard packed road i could ride 85km/h no problem. But the graders up there and the rain will change the situation from fun to not so fun.
I did the Happy Valley to port hope (the 420km gas less strip) thinking it would take me 5 hours. Well blinding rain, a 1h long hail storm and roads so covered in water you barely see it anymore made it a 8.5h day on the pegs.
If the road bike is all you got then put 50/50's on and lower the pressure, then ride slow. It is a place that you need to visit before it is paved and it get too many tourists (imho).
If you are camping, I'm pretty sure i have the gps locations for some very nice places in happy valley and réservoir manicouagan. feel free to pm me.
Have fun and be safe
You have the desire to do the Translab. So do it. If all u got is a Concours or a Buell then make them work for a rough haul road. You will be forced to go slow with these bikes. So what. You will need some protection for the underside and if not knobbies then some rugged tires that can survive rock cuts. I recommend searching for ride reports by member "Tree" who has done this on a street BMW with gnarlier rubber.
I agree with take your time and see what it is you are blasting through.....we did just that blasted right through and now I am thinking of doing it again but at a snails pace....just to see what I should have seen the first time. Yes it is being paved faster than you could imagine......so what, OK, it would be much better if it were a dirt road but still, if you like being in an area totally alone it's the place for you. I hear there are many off shoots to explore and see, plenty of natural beauty spots we didn't see because we were too worried about getting to a ferry in time etc. IF you are doing the round trip adventure, do it anti clockwise so the only inportant ferry crossing is out of your way while you are on the best section of the ride. Riding through NFLD and Labrador....or you will be like us.....continually worried about mising that frig'in ferry. I'm pretty sure it won't matter which way you ride it to see it the best so to speak, just do it at a relaxed speed.....you will thank us for it if you do. There are many threads that give detailed info on the what to see if you have the time and not blasting through....search them out.....I have found plenty I missed and want to back to see.
The ride is what you make it and what you want from it.......some just want to actual riding experience where as others what to experience the area.
The route "plan" (I've done enough trips to put "plan" in quotations) includes 2 days Port Hope Simpson-Happy Valley, basically we're planning on averaging 15 mph or so (maybe 25kph) in the gravel so if it's nice we'll be ahead, rather than the opposite. I'm still looking for 50/50s for the Connies (1st gens have weird rear sizes), but we'll get that sorted. I'd love those GPS locations, the three of us prefer to camp anyways. We are also super excited about Manicougan (I'm a huge nerd and love that it's a giant meteor crater).
Thanks for the encouragement guys, as some have said, usually desire, experience and preparedness can trump poor conditions most days, and we do want to do this before it's all paved (then I guess we'll do the Dalton lol).
A few of us went a couple of years ago mid-summer... It got included in Ted's epic cross canada trail post, but look at pages 11,12,13 for some good Translab pix
In short we had
Hot sunny weather 30c plus and Cold pouring rain 5c miserable for days...
The gravel roads changed from hard and smooth, loose marbles, very soft sections especially shoulders, giant potholes and puddles, washboard, slick mud, crazy crosswinds, and plenty of blackflies to tickle you if you stopped.
What took me down was hard smooth gravel with very deep soft sections that jumped out and bit.
Martin was grabbed by very sloppy soft mud and put on his ass. We all had pucker moments. We also had a schedule to keep and kept the speeds up.. Us GS's were in front and we had the KTMs coming for us...
Do it, have fun, keep an open mind :)
What will everyone talk about once it's all paved ?
Have a great trip, completely doable on any bike but there are sections that will be more difficult as others have stated.
As far as the speeds it seems every bike had a different speed that it was happy to cruise at on the loose stuff. I found on my bike that below 70km/h was unstable, bike wallowed in the gravel. At +140km/h my passenger got upset So 80-100km/h worked for me except around Fire Lake, lots of twists, loose sandy gravel. Didn't love that section.
Loved the TransLab! Have a great ride - I would go back in a heartbeat....
The plan from the start has been anti clockwise specifically for the reason you mentioned (ferry scheduling). I know the ferries into and out of NFLD can be packed and reservations are a good idea, so we put them after four or five days of pavement riding to keep the schedule.
Also, doing some reading, it looks like Phase I (Goose Bay-Lab City) is supposed to be completely paved by the time we get there.
I also want do this ride at some point; since the road from Happy Valley-Goose Bay to Cartwright ( I think) was completed, does this mean that the only (necessary) ferry would be crossing over to Newfoundland?
edit. I see that the ferry from HVGB to Cartwright was taken out of service at the end of 2010.
There is a short ferry ride from the island of NFLD. to Que.(Labrador). It is up on the northern Peninsula. It isn't really necessary to make reservations I don't think for a bike.
I did the Trans Lab back in 2010 on the KLR. I said that the next trip would be on the FJR..............that's happening this August. The only mod I plan to make is mounting up a set of TKC-80s. Looking forward to seeing some of you up there this summer.
Not sure if your read this RR http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=620129
I did it back in 2010 on my VStrom with Metzler Tourances and had no major issues. Feel free to read my post for any details:
I was lucky to have FABULOUS weather - no rain - so no real challenges in the gravel. Also going in September (later in season) also made it not too bad - gravel was not thick most of the time.
A few pucker moments with some downhills and turns - not a lot of road signs - sometimes the turns are sharper than you think as you approach them, and puckering at 80 km/h around a gravel turn without trying to lean, and ABS (which you can't really turn off on a VStrom) not slowing you down much - can be a moment of real fun!
Hey Gregman, what border crossing(s) are you going to go thru for this trip?
That looks familiar
My $0.02 .... get a steering damper and have fun
Oh, and weight is your enemy pack as light as you can.
Last translab report I read with FJRs, all had blown fork seals by the time they came out of it.
Any chance you can post a link to those FJR ride reports.