Yet another Translab report... Owen and Mark do Labrador

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by 4badboyz, Aug 27, 2011.

  1. 4badboyz

    4badboyz Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    Oddometer:
    601
    Location:
    Oakville.
    I've heard it said "the greatest adventures start with piss poor planning", so I'm doing my best to prepare for this ride, sweating the details.
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    On the other hand, I'm told "weight is the enemy" so I'm trying to keep the list to just the essentials required for this two week ride. How am I doing so far?
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    No matter what I do to shave weight, there's still not enough room for all my "essential" gear.

    I've been planning do do this ride for a year now and we're down to the wire. Tomorrow morning we depart from Toronto, heading for Quebec and wouldn't you know it, just my luck:huh

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    the hurricane decides to arrive the same day we do :freaky
    oh well, I could think of worse places to hunker down for a day or two... stay tuned:evil
    #1
  2. nick949eldo

    nick949eldo Long timer

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    Once you hit gravel, gas up at every opportunity. Keep your speed down. Don't try to ride at the same speed as the trucks - just move over a bit and let them go by. Keep your speed down. Have fun. Oh yes - did I mention, keep your speed down.

    Nick
    #2
  3. 4badboyz

    4badboyz Been here awhile

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    Owen and I met up Sunday morning in Mississauga at the alter to caffein. Quick stop for gas and we were on the way.Let the fun begin:clap
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    3 hours later, we were into the tailwind of hurricane Irene. What started out as irritating buffeting wind soon turned into menacing blasts trying to rip the helmet right off your head. At times the bike was heeled over as if making a hard left turn but for miles on end.
    By the time we hit Montreal, the storm was in full force. We rode right through 50-100mm of rain and wind gusts of 60-100kmh. At times it was down right scary:eek1
    One kind young French Canadian driver gestured to me from his car, tapping his temple with his index finger:huh ... no idea what he meant.
    So we made it to Berthierville, just east of Montreal, but well short of our goal of Quebec City before calling it quits. I've had enough of this fun for today:wink:
    Tomorrow we take a look at the weather forecast before we head out.

    This pic doesn't do the storm any justice, but when the bullrushes are lying horiziontal, you get the idea.
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    #3
  4. DID

    DID n00b

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    Mark you're awesome and maybe a little nuts.
    Hopefully the worst of the weather is behind you and you're on your way.:clap
    Best of luck. I'll be checking in daily to watch for your report.
    ---David
    #4
  5. drmacaulay

    drmacaulay letsrun.com

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2010
    Oddometer:
    93
    Location:
    Goderich, Ontario
    Good luck fellers,

    The same bit of bad luck hit me last September on my Trans Lab trip. It was Hurricane Ivan or Earl - I can't remember. I had some very poor weather driving up through Quebec like you two, it was beautiful through Labrador and NFLD for the most part, but I got socked off the ferry in Sydney and most of the whole way home. Stay safe.

    You probably won't need that spare tire on the BMW.... I hope you won't need it anyway.

    My ride report is attached to my blog which is linked.... September of 2010.
    #5
  6. 4badboyz

    4badboyz Been here awhile

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    Location:
    Oakville.
    This morning I pulled back the drapes and couldn't believe my eyes. Clear blue skies:clap A picture perfect day for a ride.
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    We loaded up and head east with the hope of making Baie Comeau for dinner. The ride to Quebec City was an absolute joy in comparison to what we had endured the previous day, but the real surprise was the drive along the 138 on the north shore, east of Quebec. This area is so pretty it's a worthwhile destination all in itself. Rolling hills with elevation changes and beautiful shoreline villages with colourfully painted cape cod homes. We were in heaven.

    Quebec City
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    About 30km from the ferry at Tadoussac, we arrived in a little town called Saint Simeon. There was a roadblock up ahead. I figured it was another cleanup crew removing downed trees from the road. Unfortunately not so. The hurricane has washed out the road in two spots and will not be repaired until tomorrow at the earliest:huh. The town also has no hydro. 100,000 people on the north shore are without power.
    The alternative route would be for us to head northwest 125kms to Saguenay where we could cross the Fjord, then back across to Tadousac another 125kms, but that road is washed out too. If the road isn't ready to open, we will have to take the ferry south across the St Lawrence to Riviere du Luop, then east up the shore to Matane where we can ferry north across the St Lawrence again to Baie Comeau. Two days on the road and already we're a day behind schedule.
    Our concern is that if there is this much damage here, what's it going to be like in Labrador?
    On a positive note, we couldn't be stranded in a more beautiful setting. We rented a cabin overlooking the St Lawrence and sat on the porch with a pint watching dozens of whales swimming up the river. What a fabulous surprise:D
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    Baie St Paul Cathedral. every little town has at least one of these.

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    Lunch in Baie St Paul. the best pannini sandwich ever! curried chicken with cumin and raisins.
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    view from the front porch Saint Simeon, gorgeous.
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    We watched a couple of dozen beluga whales work their way up the St Lawrence from the front porch.
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    chef Owen at work.
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    #6
  7. 4badboyz

    4badboyz Been here awhile

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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Oakville.
    The roads crew worked on the washouts all night and by the morning had 1 lane open. We waited our turn to get through the construction and were on our way. Half an hour later we were at the Tadoussac Ferry.
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    Saguenay Fjord
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    we continued on to Baie Comeau then north to Manic 5 Hydro Electric dam. Unfortunately the road had suffered some serious erosion damage from the storm and washed out in half a dozen or more spots. The wait at each repair section wass painful. Pull up, shut the bikes off and wait. By the time we got to Manic 5 the day was done:huh

    the obligatory Manic 5 pic.
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    we stayed at the workers quarters at Manic5. 12 rooms, 1 bathroom, small but clean, good deal
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    Owen swaps out the rear tire in preparation for the dirt ahead
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    When I gassed up at Manic5, I met BostonGS. He did the route counterclockwise and had a nasty crash just outside of Port Hope Simpson. He hit the grader berm at 100kmh and went down really hard. He was knocked out cold and has some nasty rash on his back. The bike suffered a broken handlebar, windshield, gauges and pannier. He had it towed to a shop in Port Hope and had it welded back together and soldiered on. Hope you're feelin better Boston. Nice to meet you!

    Relais Gabriel gas stop. We met this group of atv riders from Mont Tremblant on their way to Fermont via fire roads and snowmobile trails.
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    breathtaking scenery up here!
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    Iron ore mines in Fermont, the entire lake is stained red from the ore tillings.
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    proof shots
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    endless views on the translab
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    Quebec hydro has reduced the mighty Churchill river to a mere trickle.
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    We had a fantastic day today, riding from Manic5 to Churchill Falls. The gravel sections of the road are in great shape. We were able to run 95-100kmh for most of the day. WHAT A BLAST!!!
    #7
  8. sailer

    sailer trained Cirus Bear

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    please keep posting on road conditions from storm. I leave in 7 days for my run at the tras-lab
    #8
  9. 4badboyz

    4badboyz Been here awhile

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    you will be fine next week. The roads are being repaired 24-7.
    On the translab, just watch out for the grader berms, if you hit one on an angle, it will take the front wheel out from underneath you:eek1
    #9
  10. 2twisted

    2twisted NRTHJSTNRTH

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    :lurk

    Keep it coming. :clap
    #10
  11. Deadly99

    Deadly99 Fast and Far

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    Location:
    Merrickville, Canada
    :wave



    :lurk
    #11
  12. C-Stain

    C-Stain Long timer

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    The important thing to remember is to slow down before you cross the berm! Trying to do them at speed is asking for a get off.

    Great report and pics so far. Waiting for more. :lurk


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    #12
  13. 4badboyz

    4badboyz Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Oakville.
    today was an absolutely beautiful day for a ride. 12c in the morning, 23c in the afternoon, and for once, a TAILWIND:D
    Our plan was a half day ride from Churchill to Goose (286kms) with a little sightseeing along the way.
    We crossed paths with 4 other riders going counter clockwise today.
    The road is in great shape and we were able to stand up and bomb it at 100-110kmh for long stretches at a time. There are a couple of sections with deep marbles that demanded your full attention, so just be careful:wink:
    At one point, probably at the halfway mark, I thought I had a front flat. I was standing on the pegs doing 110kmh when the front end went into a wobble. I slowly backed off the gas and the wobble got worse. The bike wouldn't turn and I quickly found myself on the wrong side of the road. I pulled over to the other side and stopped expecting a flat, but no flat... the gravel is sitting on top of 2-3 inches of soft sand:eek1. For the most part, the road is in great condition, but this was one small reminder that you need to be careful and pay attention ALL the time or it will bite you!!!
    Owen being the veteran of Patagonia, New Zealand, Thailand etc, gave me a simple tip that allowed me to stand up for much longer periods of time without getting sore feet or tiring. He told me to fold down the passenger pegs and stagger my stance one foot on a rider peg and the other on a passenger peg. Great tip, I was able to stand for half an hour at a time before having to reposition:1drink

    another of the dozens of rivers that cross the translab
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    these little road crew towns are everywhere. unfortunately, the translab will be asphalt from one end to the other in a few years.
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    here's where I had the flat that wasn't a flat. Turned out the road surface changed to 2-3" of silty soft sand/gravel... watch out!
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    They don't call this place "The Big Land" for nothing
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    92kms west of Goose, the gravel ends.
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    Muskrat falls scenic lookout. a great place to free camp outside of Goose.
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    Muskrat falls. 10 minutes off the highway and a 10 minute walk through the bush. well worth the effort!
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    better get up there soon if you want to see the falls Quebec Hydro has plans to dam this one next.

    the wish you were here postcard
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    robocop hiding from his creditors
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    Happy Valley is a complete shithole. We weren't in town for 30 seconds before the first native asked us to buy him a coffree followed by money for lunch. In the morning the same guy btracked us down to the hotel and was waiting outside for a handout.
    Seemed like every girl nover the age of 12 was pushing a stroller.
    Can't get outa here fast enough.

    Tomorrow is a long day Goose to Port Hope Simpson, Over 400kms, hope the Orange pig can do it, she likes her petrol.
    #13
  14. jeaggerfairy

    jeaggerfairy lost in transit

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    Hey Mark, glad to see you two are having a great time. All your employees at the shop are having a relaxing time off while you are away, lol. Just kidding. How are the Kenda tires working for you? I am having mine installed at work later today. Looking forward to seeing more great pics from your adventure, stay safe buddy.
    #14
  15. 4badboyz

    4badboyz Been here awhile

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    hey Robb, sup? 2500kms in and the kendas are half done. I'll try and make it home on them, but may have to pickup a rear along the way:1drink
    cheers!
    #15
  16. 4badboyz

    4badboyz Been here awhile

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    we left Goose around 8 this morning and made Port Hope Simpson in 5 hrs. Not bad for 406kms including lunch and photo stops.A hard tailwind helped conserve fuel so we only had to top up with a couple of litres each. Had a quick lunch in PHS, gassed up and hit the road for the186kms to Blanc Sablon where we hope to get the ferry to Newf in the am. This part of the road would turn out to be the most challenging leg of the route yet. One section of about 25 kms is in poor shape with deep potholes, and most of the remainder is deep gravel. Never ending slow wobbles were the order of the day. Stand up and stay on the gas and let the bike do it's thing. The closer we got to the south shore, the stronger the wind got and the harder it was to keep the bike going in a straight line. A couple of times the bikes were blown from one side of the road to the other. It was a VERY tiring day and we are completly exhausted. We made Blanc Sablon just before dark. Turns out the winds were so bad today that the ferry didn't run because it couldnt dock in the wind. Tomorow the ferry should be busy. hope we can get on board.

    about as far away from anywhere as you can get by road
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    and the closest Timmys is...
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    Port Hope Simpson fine dining...
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    you know you're up north when the biggest tree is...
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    view to the coast
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    Red Bay and the end of the gravel
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    windy day in Blanc Sablon
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    tomorrow, we're off to Newfoundland.
    #16
  17. 4badboyz

    4badboyz Been here awhile

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    day 7

    once again, the weather dictates the pace of our progress. The wind is so strong, the ferry boat can't get in to dock. They tried to tie up, but the wind takes the boat away from the dock and they can't get a line to shore:huh We're sitting in the ferry office waiting for the wind to die down so they can try again. If not, we're here for the night.:freaky
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    #17
  18. 4badboyz

    4badboyz Been here awhile

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    so the ferry anchored a mile offshore and waited until 3:00pm to try docking again. by 4:30, we were loaded up and headed for the rock. In anticipation of a rough crossing, Owen and I took a couple of gravol. Smartest move so far:wink: people were hurling everywhere. Dishes were crashing in the kitchen and we had to chase our lunch all over the table, what a hoot:lol3

    strapped down in the hold
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    rough crossing.
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    so by 6pm we were on the rock!
    time spent in riding gear 11 hours, distance ridden.... 10kms:huh
    #18
  19. C-Stain

    C-Stain Long timer

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    This is one of the funniest posts ever. :rofl

    Glad you guys made it to the rock. Where to next????
    #19
  20. nick949eldo

    nick949eldo Long timer

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    Too bad you bothered with this snap-judgement. It tarnished an otherwise enjoyable trip report.

    Happy Valley is no more a shithole than a million other places on the planet. You had an unfortunately experience with one individual. Its irrational and a bit sad to let one person cloud your judgement of a place. My experience of Happy Valley was quite the opposite - everyone I met was friendly and helpful.

    Perhaps you need to experience a few more northern Canada settlements before voicing this kind of opinion. Happy Valley stacks up pretty well.

    Nick
    #20