5 up on two bikes or the long way to the Trans Lab

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by sakurama, Aug 1, 2009.

  1. Badger278

    Badger278 Been here awhile

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    Nov 10, 2004
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    New Yawk City
    And no...I don't thing they can be cloned...I've asked. :)
  2. NickiGS

    NickiGS 09 F650

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    Mar 15, 2008
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    Tassie Girl, Oz
    Awesome!!

    Those that play together, stay together. Great to see :clap
  3. sakurama

    sakurama on an endless build

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,652
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    So Day 12 was the first miles of the Trans Labrador Highway and of course the day dawned with it's own set of troubles which grew throughout the day. It's our karma coming back I suppose.

    This is our cabin and as you can see Gino has noticed that my low profile rear tire has gotten much lower profile over night.

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    This is the culprit.

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    Since Gino had never repaired a flat this seemed like a good opportunity to do a little roadside tutorial on flat repair. My rims are tubeless - something I convert all my bikes to if they run spokes. The how to on that is in Orange Crush if you search for tubeless. Okay, let's repair a flat.

    1. Pull out the offending object with your leatherman - you do have one right?

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    2. Lay out your flat repair kit. The cheap truck stop type tubeless repair kits are the best actually. You want to look for plugs that look sort of ragged or hairy as they work best. Cheaper is better here.

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    3. Use the awl to roughen up the hole and prepare for the plug.

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    4. Thread one of the plug strips through the needle tool. Notice it's split at the end - that's for releasing the plug once it's inserted.

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    5. Coat the plug with the included glue. It's both a glue and a lubricant for the plug.

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    6. Insert the plug so that it goes all the way through and leave about an inch (2.5cm here in Canada) of the tails hanging out. Pull the tool out and it should leave the plug in the tire.

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    7. I keep CO2 because it has the ability to bump a bead up on the rim if you need and it's also quick and easy. I'm lucky as Judiaann works for iSi which is the company in Austria that invented the technology so I get the stuff free. Of course I only brought enough for an emergency which this would qualify for. The threaded CO2 chargers are better and an insertion device with a valve is also nice.

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    8. Now fill the tire with the CO2. You should spit on the plug to check for leaks (I'm omitting that shot for decency) but don't cut the tails yet. You may need to insert more plugs (quite acceptable) to fill a larger hole and the tails make that easier. I've used as many as 5 once.

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    9. Once you're confident it's holding air cut the tails a little proud of the tire.

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    That is it. It may still leak but it will be really slow and will allow you to get where you need to go - like Churchill Falls for instance.

    Next up on the tutorial is how to make an ADV Rider special air pump. Covered before but Gino needed one and I didn't bring mine and we'd need one now since we were going to be pretty far out there from now on. I also add a cigarette socket to my bikes for just this reason.

    1. Go to the hardware store and buy the absolute cheapest mini compressor you can find. This one is $16. They are all the same on the inside and we're going to trash the outside.

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    2. Open it up and get rid of the housing because we don't have that kind of space.

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    3. Cut out the switch since it's useless and just another thing to fail. Put the wires together with an 8 cent wire nut.

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    4. Wrap the cord around the pump to make it compact and there you have it - an ADV Rider air pump.

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    Next up our ride report for Day 12.
  4. toofast4uu

    toofast4uu adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2006
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    978
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    NJ
    Ditto that!!! I was just talking to a friend that leaving on Aug23 for this trip...I said no, but I'm going home tonite and having a conversation the misses....This trip looks amazing....and you've given me the inspiration to shoot for it...

    Keep it coming guys!!!
  5. sakurama

    sakurama on an endless build

    Joined:
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    Portland, OR
    We're sort of dragging today - the road is getting to us finally and we're slow to get going plus there was my flat to repair and the pump to make. It was noon before we hit the actual Trans Labrador - this is the first big lonely stretch.

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    We also saw our first Caribou warning sign.

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    The first 30k of the Trans Lab is actually paved and they're going to do the rest so this is the adventure to do now before pavement makes this just another drive in the woods. Once we hit the gravel we stopped to lower our tire pressure and now, in black fly country, we don't take off the helmets. Judiaann has figured out how to drink with the helmet on.

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    Again, we went down to 24 front and 28 rear. Notice our tires getting thin?

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    The road is different than from Mary's Harbour to Cartwright. Better for sure in some ways as it's more consistent but it is loose. The gravel seems larger and sometimes deeper but it's pretty consistent.

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    The biggest problem, as you'll surely hear when you ride here, is the graders. Graders are death! Everyone we meet has some story about a bike that crosses a ridge of gravel and crashes. We've also heard rumor of a 70 year old guy on a GS who crashed last week and, depending on who you talk to, is either fine with no broken bones or dead. We're going with the former.

    Here's a little clip of passing a grader. Watch the surface change and see how the bikes go loose in the new graded surface. We drop our speed from 60 to 45 in this stuff as it's just really soft.

    <object width="400" height="300"><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><param name="movie" value="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=6080997&amp;server=vimeo.com&amp;show_title=1&amp;show_byline=1&amp;show_portrait=0&amp;color=&amp;fullscreen=1" /><embed src="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=6080997&amp;server=vimeo.com&amp;show_title=1&amp;show_byline=1&amp;show_portrait=0&amp;color=&amp;fullscreen=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" width="400" height="300"></embed></object><p><a href="http://vimeo.com/6080997">grader</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/user2122740">Gregor Halenda</a> on <a href="http://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p>

    After a while we were actually getting sleepy believe it or not. You're concentrating so hard on reading the road and watching for ruts and ridges of gravel that might close off the wheel track you're following that it's very fatiguing after a few hours. I have very little idea of what the scenery is like (ask Judiaann) but I can describe 20 types of gravel to you in great detail. We stopped for a rest a bit past halfway and sat on a steamroller and ate what was left of last nights dinner - radishes and tortilla chips. We didn't bring much water which was a mistake but there's a fair amount of traffic; say a car every 15 minutes or so. A breeze was keeping the flies at bay here.

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    Once back on the road I noticed that Ginos tail section was flopping around and I motioned for him to stop. We found this.

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    It looks like his subframe is broken. We'd been only keeping a gallon in his spare tank but today we filled it since we'd need every drop to make the run to Churchill Falls which is about 185 miles. That one extra gallon and the rough road did us in. We emptied the spare gas into the bike to get rid of that weight and then tried to decide what to do with his dry bag.

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    It's too much weight to put on our bike as I've already got 60lbs of camera on the back and I don't need a broken subframe either so we decided to wait for someone to come along.

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    A bunch of guys from Goosebay stopped in a Jeep and gladly took Gino's stuff into Churchill Falls for us and said they'd leave it at the gas station. We saddled up and took off with Lauren riding as close to Gino as possible to keep weight off the back.

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    In Churchill Falls we found the gear leaning on the side of the gas station and before we even picked it up our friend Ryan (with the guitar from the boat) pulls up to say hi. We tell him of our trouble and he makes a few calls to find a welder and says he'll meet us at the motel in an hour.

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    Ryan takes us to his uncle where we remove the seat only to discover that it's not the subframe but the sub subframe that's broken and it's a small piece that is strangely made of aluminum which his uncle can't weld. He says the power company (Churchill Falls is a company town built to support the hydro electric plant) has an aluminum welding rig and some good welders and promises to pick us up in the morning to get it repaired.

    Stay tuned.
  6. RacerXS

    RacerXS Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2008
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    819
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    Central, NJ
    Great report!

    This is a very cool adventure route for us north east guys (and gals) :thumbup
  7. WY wanderer

    WY wanderer Been here awhile

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    Aug 15, 2008
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    UT
    This just gets better with every day.

    I realize it may not for you as the rider but thanks for all the work you're putting into this RR.
  8. husqvarna

    husqvarna Been here awhile

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    Darkest Efrika
    One of the best reports I've read with great text and brilliant pics. Really impressed by the friendly and helpful people you meet.

    Live and enjoy every minute.
  9. Wildabeast

    Wildabeast Wide Open

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    309
    Location:
    Vermont
    I am loving the IQ on the MK II. Very, very nice. Blowing my 30D out of the water!

    Good things happen to good people riding good motorcycles. I am not surprised at all by your positive experiences with people. I have had many of the very same experiences on my travels.

    It is a pleasure reading and seeing your trip as it progresses!
  10. AirDrive

    AirDrive Terminal No0b

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2009
    Oddometer:
    400
    Location:
    Central California
    They are MUCH better sports and Braver than I imagined!!
    HERE'S TO YA, LADIES..:1drink

    They appear to be having a good time so it probably won't be their last adventure.:clap
  11. kojack

    kojack AMF!

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2007
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    4,887
    Location:
    god's country, AKA. Newfoundland!
    sorry to hear for your troubles with the machines......at least your all ok....i cannot beleive your still getting service for post here...gregor, its awsome that we can still follow.

    take care of all the cargo!
  12. kelamity

    kelamity Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2007
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    103
    Location:
    NYC
    Wow, great ride report and stunning pictures.

    Tell Judiaann to try using a STRAW.
  13. RumRunner

    RumRunner Sit there, turn that

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    Great White North
  14. caffeine

    caffeine Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2006
    Oddometer:
    962
    Location:
    Central, NJ
    My buddy Tom (TomN on here) laughed at me on the translab when I had the 1.99-brought-as-a-joke bug head net thing too!!

    And black flys I'm convinced are going to take over the world. Pull over to pee-pee in the middle of nowhere, and within 3 minutes, there are thousands.

    Safe Travels "Rice Cracker" -- and don't forget to stop at the Relais Gabriel gas station restaurant for some good eats.
  15. Pundy

    Pundy Been here awhile

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    Jul 9, 2007
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    North of North New Portland
    Great report guys! Are you gonna set up a Rev-it ADVrider group buy when you get back stateside! That looks like awesome gear. Keep the rubber side down.
  16. beatsworkin

    beatsworkin Adventurer

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    Apr 6, 2007
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    Location:
    Woodland Hills, CA
    :clap I was up there 1959 and again in 1962. Did not now the base was closed, probably the radar site (DEW) also?

    GREAT set of PICS!! Thanks

    Don
  17. Deuce

    Deuce Crazy Canuck

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2001
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    3,546
    Location:
    Vancouver Island, Bitchin' Columbia, Canada
    Most of the power from Churchill Falls and Manic 5 in Quebec is sold to NY State. So the next time you turn your lights on in the shop, you can say you have been to were that jolt of electricity comes from.

    Great report and photos. :1drink
  18. sakurama

    sakurama on an endless build

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,652
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    It will be hard to describe today but I'll try. It was by far the hardest day we've had and, by almost any account, the hardest day any of us have had in a long time.

    In the morning we found my tire flat again. We aired it up and met up with Ryan who took us to the power plant to see if anyone there could weld Gino's subframe but all the welders were working on a huge transporter trying to meet a deadline and couldn't stop so we were out of luck. Our only option was to try to make Labrador City today and find a welder there. Since Gino couldn't carry anything he went to the gas station to wait for the next Labrador bound car to ask if they'd carry his stuff.

    We packed up and Judiaann and I took Gino's gas can with 1 gallon - the minimum we thought we'd need. My bike can stretch to 200 and Gino's to 150 so that amount should be a safety margin. We hit the road at 10:30 hoping to make Labrador City by noon or 1 depending on the road.

    We stopped at the spectacular Churchill River just above the former falls.

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    This was once a massive river but has been diverted underground to run the hydro electric plant in Churchill Falls. Before you decry this environmental travesty consider that, if you live on the east coast, you more than likely get some of your power from this plant. It all comes from somewhere.

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    The bridge is a really open grate that is a little scary to look through.

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    After about 50 or so miles I noticed my tire was low and we stopped to fill it again - the plug seemed fine but 20 miles later it was flat again and now the plug was leaking. I added two more plugs to the hole and aired up again.

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    We were warned there would be construction but we weren't prepared for how much. We also weren't prepared for the trucks.

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    Some would slow down but when they didn't you were enveloped in a complete white out of dust and you had to pull as far as possible to the shoulder, into the soft stuff and just pray nothing was coming.

    This video may give some idea of what it was like.

    <object width="400" height="300"><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><param name="movie" value="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=6098386&amp;server=vimeo.com&amp;show_title=1&amp;show_byline=1&amp;show_portrait=0&amp;color=&amp;fullscreen=1" /><embed src="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=6098386&amp;server=vimeo.com&amp;show_title=1&amp;show_byline=1&amp;show_portrait=0&amp;color=&amp;fullscreen=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" width="400" height="300"></embed></object><p><a href="http://vimeo.com/6098386">trucks on the Trans Lab</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/user2122740">Gregor Halenda</a> on <a href="http://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p>

    20 miles later my tire was flat again. The plug was holding so I looked for another hole and found it. I plugged this one and aired up again.

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    Now the riding turned brutal. We started hitting huge cross winds that would change from left to right instantly and with no warning. The road was graded and incredibly loose and each wind just pushed the bike sideways as if you were flat tracking. Imagine a massive Kansas crosswind and then imagine trying to ride in it while on ball bearings. Here's another way to get a sense of the crosswinds. My fully loaded and gassed 950 was blown off the sidestand at one point when I was airing the tire. Each time we stopped we had to take turns holding the bikes on their sidestands.

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    Gino and I both have a fair amount of experience but this was insane. Judiaann couldn't stand as she was holding Gino's gas and I was fighting the bike with every ounce of energy I had. I was over the screen and sawing the bars as the bike slid and bucked. This video may give a sense of it but keep in mind that the camera is mounted on my topcase - each wobble is my entire bike weaving. We'd slowed to about 35 or 40 which helped with the crosswinds but made the gravel worse.

    <object width="400" height="300"><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><param name="movie" value="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=6101442&amp;server=vimeo.com&amp;show_title=1&amp;show_byline=1&amp;show_portrait=0&amp;color=&amp;fullscreen=1" /><embed src="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=6101442&amp;server=vimeo.com&amp;show_title=1&amp;show_byline=1&amp;show_portrait=0&amp;color=&amp;fullscreen=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" width="400" height="300"></embed></object><p><a href="http://vimeo.com/6101442">Untitled</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/user2122740">Gregor Halenda</a> on <a href="http://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p>

    Finally I couldn't do it anymore with Judiaann sitting and I needed her to stand with me so I could better muscle the bike as it slid so I signaled to Gino and he pulled over to put the gas in his bike and take the tank. The wind was whipping up dust devils on the road.

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    Like clockwork my tire was flat again in 20 miles and like clockwork I'd find a new hole and plug it. I had three now with 5 plugs in them. Another 20 miles and we'd air up and go flat. Air up and go flat, air up and go flat, air up and go flat. All the while we're fighting this horrendous crosswind and begging for this to be over. And the trucks, the bloody giant trucks with their massive dust clouds that swallow you whole and leave you blind for seconds at time.

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    Finally we stop for air again and the pump is doing nothing. Again I search for holes and find a huge tear in the sidewall. I've never plugged a sidewall and don't even know if it's possible but what are our choices? We air up and it's holding but I'm hearing a hiss. We find another hole just an inch away on the tread. We add a plug to that one and finally the tire airs up.

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    Nine plugs in this tire - a new personal best. As the tire fills we suddenly notice a giant bubble under the tread - the tire is delaminating. We're done. There's no saving this. We flag down a construction truck and ask if anyone has a pickup going back to Labrador City and they say they think so and will be back in an hour.

    We sit down to wait and Gino falls asleep on the road.

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    Everyone is over this - it's not fun and we don't talk.

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    ...okay, some of us still think it's funny...

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    We're completely whipped - we've been doing this seven hours now and we're still 25 miles out. 7 hours to cover 125 miles.

    After trying to flag down a passing pickup that doesn't stop we decide we might as well just ride until the tire blows. It beats sitting. We crawl along at 20-25mph and each time we we hit the super soft sand and the bike plows and wallows I'm convinced the tire is flat and I signal Gino to check. He keeps giving me the thumbs up and I know he's lying to me but I don't care and so we keep going. For over an hour we crawl on the side of the road and into a rainstorm which seems to have no effect on the dust. I watch the GPS tick off the miles and can't believe the tire is holding.

    The rain gets heavier but finally we come to pavement and, miraculously it turns out Gino wasn't lying - the tire still has air. We crawl on the shoulder to town and split at the light. Gino goes to find his bags and I go to get a room at the Two Seasons. We book the rooms and Gino comes back with a kid who says he can take him to a welder who can Tig aluminum. Gino heads off to find the place and I haul bags into the room. The girls are exhausted and sore from fighting the crosswinds.

    It's now 6:30 and we left at 10:30 - eight hours to do 154 miles.

    At 7pm I meet Gino to go to the welder - my tire is flat. I air up again and we drive to a small house and meet a man named Pierre who speaks with a thick French Canadian accent. We explain our predicament and he invites us back to his shop where we take the HP2 apart in the rain.

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    Pierre, it's easy to see, is a genius and we know he'll solve our problem. He's a heavy equipment welder and the man in the town that everyone takes their broken things to. He has a lathe, a mill and a huge amount of metal stock of every dimension and size, "You have to have so much - we're in the middle of nowhere."

    We've heard rumor that there's a Yamaha shop in town and we ask Pierre about it. Does it have sport bikes? Does he know anyone with a BMW motorcycle? He listens patiently and says he knows a young fellow who may be able to help and calls him, "Hello? Is this Young Fellow? Oui. Oui. I have some fellows on motorcycles that need a tire. Oui, oui. Here you go." and he hands the phone to me. John says he knows of a 130 off a KLR. No, I say, too small. What about a street tire? They start at 180. Nothing in between? No. Maybe the shop has something in back or in the dumpster? No, John says, he's the head mechanic at the shop and he knows what they have. Nothing to fit my 5" rim.

    John says he's happy to come over and take me to the shop to look around. We woke John from a nap on his day off but he drives down to Pierre's and meets us. He calls the shop owner who was trying an unconventional tire set up on his bike to see if he has anything that might fit in his garage. He says he has a 140 and a 160. I say I'll take the 160. He says it's a worn out street tire. I ask if it has a delaminated tread and 9 plugs and he laughs.

    We drive out to Gilles Allards place where he said he'd leave the tires in the back of his pickup. It's his day off too so he's having dinner with his family. He calls back to say he found a 150/70-17 and I know it came off a BMW and it had to be a GS - there's hope. On the drive out we see an amazing double rainbow and I'm hoping there's tires at the end.

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    When we get there Gilles comes out to meet us and, yes, it's a TKC80 that came off his neighbors R1150GS. Does he have a worn front he'd sell? No but he'll check. Just then Wayne Tinkler, the owner of the GS pulls into his driveway with his son Phil. Does he have a front? Yes, new and unmounted but he'll swap it so we can have the old one. We pull the GS into Gilles garage and pull the wheel and take his new tire. Wayne won't take any money for the tire.

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    From left our saviors are: Phil, John, Wayne and Gilles.

    The guys tell us that flats are a big problem this year and even trucks with 10 ply tires are getting destroyed. They say that the construction crews are putting down "glass rock" which is incredibly sharp. The graders turn this all up and the points puncture tires until the road has be tamped down by traffic. My tire is proof.

    We head back to Pierre's where Gino and Pierre are finishing up the fabrication.

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    Pierre says it may not look good but it's four times stronger now.

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    It's almost 10 and the restaurants are closing so we agree to finish in the morning so Pierre can have some dinner.

    My tire is flat again and I air up for what I hope is the last time. We let the girls know that they should eat and Gino rides with John in his pickup while I follow back out of town to the shop. Gino learns that John is an endurance snowmachine racer and has won the Cain's Quest twice - arguably the hardest snowmachine race in the world. Impressive.

    John opens the shop and we set about changing the tires.

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    The rear is too narrow and we have to use a ratcheting tie down and brute force to finally get the bead to seat but it does.

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    The front we have to do with tire irons as the machine can't do anything larger than 18" but it goes quick.

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    Gino and I are filthy but happy. Gino happier than me as he got to drive the "Prowler".

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    We didn't think we'd get so lucky. A look inside my rear tire shows we were even luckier than we thought and it was nothing short of a miracle we made it to Labrador City.

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    When I ask John what I owe him he says just the cost of mounting one tire. I hand him a $100 and he recoils "There is no way I'm taking that!" We tell him he's saved our trip and it's 11:30pm on his night off but he refuses." He says the cost of mounting one tire - in NYC it's $35 and we offer $40 and he takes only one $20 to cover the cost of mounting Wayne's new tire.

    Gino and I thank John profusely and tell him he's got a free dinner in NYC whenever he wants. When we finally get back to the motel at midnight we find the girls have saved us steak dinners and beer.

    Nice.
  19. kojack

    kojack AMF!

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2007
    Oddometer:
    4,887
    Location:
    god's country, AKA. Newfoundland!
    wow.....shes gettin rough out there now...glad to see newfoundlanders helpin ya all out!....

    stay positive guys and gals!
  20. smithy1

    smithy1 been here a while

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