Going to the Dogs, chasing my tale through Labrador and Newfoundland

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by MapMaster, Sep 28, 2014.

  1. MapMaster

    MapMaster Human Compass

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    8/28/14 Hawke's Bay - Englee - Cape Onion - Green Island Cove - 287 miles

    This would be my last full day on the island and time was running out on my quest. I had not seen a Newfoundland goggie in the slobbering flesh and I was going to be in deep doggie doo-doo if I failed to fulfill Clare's request. The motel had a postcard rack and as a contingency plan, I got one with the subject hound pictured on a bit of rocky shore (go figure [​IMG])

    It was cold when I started rolling and pretty much stayed that way. Electric vest and rain jacket, as an additional windbreak, were in use almost all day.
    North, then east to Roddickton, the Moose Capital of the World. I saw no wayward wandering Bullwinkles, but at the Green Moose Interpretive Center there was one whose wandering days were long past:

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    They had a nice one room presentation of the history of the town. The "Moose Capital of the World" was self proclaimed in 1994, but with 6 per square km I'd say they've got a pretty strong case.

    A polar bear was also in residence:
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    The center served as a nice little warm-up break and local history lesson. Well worth the stop.

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    This was another non-moving fixture across the road from the center:
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    From there it was down to Englee for a look see at the end of the road. I ventured far enough up the stairs to get the views of the town and inlet, but did not hike up to the top of the hill:
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    Stopped at the post office to mail the post card and chatted with the postmistress. She said the family put 3000 km on their snowmobile this past winter. Seems like more than enough to me.

    On the way out of Englee I spotted yet another stationary artifact that in real life had been much more mobile:
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    The detail on it was very good:

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    Gassed at Roddickton coming back and the Motohio plate holder prompted a chap to ask if I had come from Columbus. Said he knew a fellow from Akron and when I told him that that's where I was born he said his friend's name was Jeff Jones. My family moved from there when I was 7, but rather than disappoint him, I said that I had met Jeffs and Joneses a plenty, but not that particular bloke.

    On to the very northern portion of the Northern Peninsula. Ship Cove and Cape Onion:
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    Quaint little village:
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    Emphasis on the little: [​IMG]
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    The northernmost point of the island (as far as the roads go):
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    So I covered 3/4's of the compass rose, hitting the east, south, and north points. The western most point got lost when I decided to allocate an extra day for the return. Another compelling reason for a return visit.

    Near Ha Ha Bay:
    [​IMG]

    There was not enough time to check out L'Anse au Meadows, but I did make it to St. Lunaire-Griquet where the Dark Tickle company store/museum/café turned out to be a major score. I had seen their products all over the island and when I stopped at the info center at the 430/436 junction, the lady had told another couple about the place. Signs for it were along the way as well.
    www.darktickle.com

    There are tacky souvenir shops that are fit for purpose if all you want is a magnet, T-shirt, or postcard; and then there are very good gift shops that have all that, plus books, better quality clothing, artwork, exhibits, and if you're lucky, good food. Check, check, check, check, check, check, check, and check. They even had patches! [​IMG] (I had given up hope.)
    Kier (Norwegian name - his grandfather's) was tending the shop and commented that he had read the book about NL history that I was checking out and said he enjoyed it. Added that to the cart. Then I found a 'Rock" t-shirt with the island outline. An interesting display on Granchain, the French captain of the Nymphe who surveyed the island in 1784, was next. Then it was time for a very good bowl of cod chowder (so-so cup of bakeapple flavored coffee). That was followed up by a chat with Kier about bikes (he's a late 90's Ninja rider with an interest in the new VFR. And he's going to the Isle of Mann next year - spectator - lucky dog!)
    I used the facilities to change to the turtleneck and heavy sox for the run toward St Barbe and just before heading out the door I complimented Kier on what a great stop this had been. And then inspiration struck. I said that the one thing that would make it a solid, four-star gold, all time road magic, best stop of all stops; would be if he could tell me if there was a Newfoundland dog anywhere heading west.
    "I have two of them, but I live about 2km that way" (motioning east)

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    "Close enough!" (I had forgotten how close to the end of the road I was.)
    He took a break, saying he needed to get some propane anyway, and led me to his place. Right after I parked, his wife Tracy pulled in.
    And I met Nieves and Sebastien, 125 and 105 pound, 5 year old Newfoundland littermates.

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    They were real sweethearts, if not particularly mindful of commands like 'sit' and 'stay'.
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    Being siblings didn't stop Sebastian from trying to hump Neavis a few times (incest is best). :lol3
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    I passed my camera to Kier and got down and slobbery with the 'wee beasties':
     
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    They had a white cat in residence as well. Kier and Tracy were the cat's 'staff', it was Sebastien's cat.

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    Turned out that they lived next to the Dark Tickle and that his parents lived next door and started the company (a tickle is a small narrow straight joining to bays/coves). It's called the Dark Tickle because the hills on both side keep it in shadow mornings and evenings.

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    His folks, Steve and Gwen were picking raspberries across the bridge, so I went and chatted with them, getting pictures of the tickle from the bridge.
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    A parting pet pic:
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    Such a fabulous day was only mildly spoiled by an RMCP washout driving a construction front loader down the road who felt that is was his solemn duty to enforce traffic safety by blocking my signaled pass of him as he plodded along with a broken brake light.
    I stifled the urge to commit gross acts of violence and zapped by when there was plenty of shoulder to use if needed.

    An hours run got me to the west coast and a sign for a B&B in Green Island Cove beckoned. I stopped for gas and checked the guide book. Only $60 and I'm only 30 minutes from the ferry. Called to see if they had a room and when the answer was yes, a guy who had gassed up his ATV (per Len, they call them trikes here, even if they are quads. Old three wheelers are abundant as well) said he would lead me there. He was riding with his dog, so I got a pic of my guide dog before they pulled out.

    [​IMG]

    I checked in and found kitchen facilities available. Restaurant options were limited, so I went back to the mini-mart and got some Chunky beef soup and potato-stix for dinner.
    #81
  2. MapMaster

    MapMaster Human Compass

    Joined:
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    SOD: "Eye of The Tiger" - Survivor

    Day 28 - 8/29/14 - Green Island Cove to CJHMDRS - 350 miles

    (Time to get this stalled report back into gear)

    As a mode of transportation, a motorcycle is not a rational choice. It is an emotional one, and today's ride really stoked my emotions. From, "HOLY SHITE! I can't believe how bad this road SUCKS!", to "Now THAT's effing FUN!"

    And quite often those reactions were simultaneous!

    The Song of the Day arose because at one point, the beat of the road beatings were perfectly in sync with the percussion track at the start of that tune.


    The beginning:
    The "Coziest B&B" maybe, smallest rooms certainly. But no one else was staying the night, so laying suit, helmet, and bags out in the common area was not an issue. Had a nice chat with Rosie during breakfast.

    Gorgeous day - cold on the run to the ferry, plenty of sunshine once the morning marine layer burned off.

    There were no problems with space on today's ferry run, but I was glad I had the reservation. It let me sleep an extra hour.

    My ship comes in:
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    And opens up:
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    I was the sole warmed up motorcycle in the ferry queue, a pickup was hauling a KLR.
    An RCMP SUV was also lined up and I asked what "GRC" stood for:
    "Gravel Road Cop" (Gendarmerie Royale du Canada actually). I had a good chuckle and John was happy to make someone laugh. We talked some during the crossing - they get stationed all over - Yukon, BC, Alberta, NL in his case.
    [​IMG]

    Underway I grabbed a cinnamon roll and a coffee and joined John and fellow Mountie Mathew for some gab. Then I went forward to whale watch. Thar' she blows! Based on size I'll add the Minke whale to the observed-in-the-wild list (currently: Humpback, Fin, Right, Minke - positive IDs on the others courtesy of the crew of the excursion boat that Clare and I rode a few years ago.)

    [​IMG]

    Spot the spout:
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    Company in port:
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    Back on the mainland, I rode the eastern segment of QC 138 to its western conclusion. If they ever link up the two parts, I'll do a MacArthur. Great road, very sweepish and scenic.
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    I learned a new occupation:
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    Old Fort says the sign coming into what the map labels Vieux-Fort, it may be Quebec, but English predominates at the eastern end.


    Stopped in River St Pierre at the Whiteley Museum. Met Lori (café baker and tour guide) and Jessica. They explained that many have summer and winter cottages, and corrected my French pronunciation of poutine; it's "puts-in, not pu-teen". Not that I was trying to order any at that point from the English speaking lasses, you just never know what turns a conversation will take.


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    On the way back to Blanc Sablon:
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    TLH 510 again - North this time.
    Met an Ontario rider mounted on a Suzuki cruiser at an overlook above L'Anse au Clair. He had taken the long ferry run from Rimouski on the south shore to get to Blanc Sablon and was planning on going to Newfoundland in a day or two. He was hoping to go to Battle Harbour today. When I hit that stretch of road, I started wishing him lots of luck, or the good sense to quickly turn around. The road through the construction zone was much more treacherous this time around. Lots of loose material on the shoulders, which was where traffic was being directed to around the rollers compacting the newly dumped gravel in the center section.

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    Above Lanse au Clair (I think):
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    One for the road signs thread:
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    After nearly being beaten to submission, I cleared the construction zone and made a stop in Lodge Bay for gas, Monster, and Tylenol. All very much needed at that point. I wasn't that low on gas yet, but needed the topper to allow for my next diversion - Saint Lewis. I also found a nice Labrador t-shirt.
    I stated earlier in this account that Saint Lewis is the furthest east point on the mainland of the North American continent. That's not correct without a qualifier. It's claimed as being the easternmost point that you can "drive" too. Close enough for my predilection to include geographically based destinations in my travels. So when the left turn onto route 513, aka "Iceberg Alley" came along, I took it. (Don't worry, I put it back when I was done).
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    This was another rough piece of road, even without any icebergs (too late in the season even up here). For those of you worried that there won't be any gravel left to make the TLH worth a trip in the future, allow time for the side spurs and you'll get a generous serving.

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    Bollards marked the entry to town:
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    To actually get as far east as possible requires riding up American Hill to the site of an abandoned Pinetree radar site. The assessment I made of the TLH on the outward bound side of this travellogue was that my VFR could have made it, and I think that would still be true on the return leg through the construction area earlier today, though it would have been extremely tetchy and much slower.
    For this final leg, I don't think the VFR would have made it any speed w/o damage (at least in my hands).

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    Foundations of the radar site:
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    Furthest east you can drive in mainland NA says the sign - how far does this 'lane' beyond the sign go? A mystery that had to be solved.
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    As it turned out, not far at all, but still it was even further east and then it was truly the end of the road. Any further would require a trials bike.
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    The return on Iceberg (free) Alley was into the setting sun and that led to a further discovery of the Tiger's capabilities. I found that standing on the pegs let me look down, avoiding the worst of the glare, and still see enough of the road immediately ahead to travel safely.

    I'm impressed with how well the Tiger handled all that the roads threw at it.
    Conclusions:
    Precise directional control is overrated
    So is pothole avoidance
    So is being able to see the road

    North to Port Hope Simpson and though the daylight was done when I arrived there, my day wasn't. Knowing that worst of the road was behind me, I decided to do another nighttime leg and head for the CJHWMDRS.

    Grabbed a dinner of sorts at P&K Sports, got an empty windshield washer fluid bottle at the other gas station in town (not P&K Sports) to serve as the extra gas supply, and pushed on.

    Wallace and Glen were still up to welcome me back when I arrived and Bob, the essential go-between in arranging my tube delivery earlier) pulled in a bit later, with a grader this time.

    I put Tim's campgear to use and was soon in the land of Nod.
    #82
  3. damurph

    damurph Cold Adventurer

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    I have only known of a very few people doing a double Trans Lab. The 138 to Old Fort is quite scenic and the grades and twisties make it a great sideroad.

    Merry Christmas.
    #83
  4. toy4fun

    toy4fun GET out of the way

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Beautiful downtown Roy, WA
    Took one more break just off the road:
    [​IMG]

    I did the math that's not gonna fit on the bike:lol3
    #84
  5. damurph

    damurph Cold Adventurer

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    NOBODY touches another mans firewood here. Your wife, your quad, your liquor are all up for debate but you can leave your firewood on the side of the road.
    #85
  6. MapMaster

    MapMaster Human Compass

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    Deed it was!
    And a Merry Christmas back at you and yours
    #86
  7. MapMaster

    MapMaster Human Compass

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    Rules to live by :nod
    #87
  8. MapMaster

    MapMaster Human Compass

    Joined:
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    SOD: "We May Never Pass This Way (Again)" - Seals & Croft

    8/30/14 CJHMDRS to Churchill - 421 miles

    Coffeenated, a cinnamon roll that I had picked up last evening, and a couple hard boiled eggs with Bob set me up very well this morning.

    Bob's line: "What do you want with your egg? ... Another egg." (One egg breakfasts are common round here).

    Rolling at 9 (I'm still working on NF time even though the time zone marker was passed last night).

    One of the saddest moments of the trip came as I rolled north. A lump in the road ahead evolved into a small black bear that had been hit. Though inert, it was not dead. It was twitching every so often, I hated to see it suffering.

    Bob came rolling up as I was checking it out. Unfortunately, he had no sat phone to call to have someone come and put it out of its misery.

    Next I encountered 3 ADV types southbound riding abreast - that's one way to avoid each other's dust. Since I saw them as we crested a rise, there wasn't time to stop and have a chat. The suddenness of their appearance gave me pause, I hoped they were leaving enough of a stagger to deal with a similarly timed appearance of much larger trucks.

    Given the long straights over a pretty good surface, I decided to try my hand at on the fly photos. Some of the pics came out okay, but I happened to pick stretches were the dust refused to cooperate. My wake is a bit subdued compared to other sections.

    Some ghostly gray dust:
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    Some rusty red dust
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    Bob kept turning up like a bad penny.
    I stopped at a pullout about 15 klicks from the end of 510, and he pulled in with his southbound load, a backhoe this time.
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    He was heading back to Cooks Lake - another Maintenance Depot and the staging ground for the power line for the Muskrat Falls project, it will leave the road and cut overland directly to Forteau from there.


    My last Labrador spur from the main route was to North West River and the Interpretive Center that Pete, in Cartwright, had told me about. The touted caribou hunting robe/jacket was long gone (it was only a temporary display), but it was good stop anyway. I gained a better understanding of the different native peoples and the evolvement of the population in the province.

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    A couple pieces that
    A - caught my eye (there were lots of those)
    B - came out well enough to be recognizable (not too many):
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    It started raining when I left the center, so I checked out a a couple lodging options on my back through HVGB and came up dry. Over dinner at Timmies the forecast check showed that the rain was supposed to clear out to the west this evening. This brought camping in or near Churchill Falls into focus for my aim point. 180 miles, 120 of it paved. It would mean another night time finish, but I was fine with that and off I went.

    A fast, uneventful ride until I hit the last gravel section. Another band of rain hit at the same time which hampered visibility a bit and meant a later finish.

    I caught the ladies at the gas station as they were closing up. I could have waited for the morning, but they let me pump anyway. It was nice having that need addressed.

    I remembered something from other ride reports about camping in town, so I asked what the options were. The girl told me that I could camp anywhere, but that lots of people camped next to the church. That's where I headed, the sole occupant tonight. I had originally intended to camp at the rest area at the river crossing, but the amount of garbage that gets dumped at the road pull-offs had got me worrying about bears.
    #88
  9. Hollyr

    Hollyr Vesterislendingur Supporter

    Joined:
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    Yeah, more posts--a great Christmas present. Thanks. Merry Christmas to you and yours.
    #89
  10. MapMaster

    MapMaster Human Compass

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    Thank you.
    Return wishes for a warm and wonderful Christmas to you and the whole fam damily. :D
    #90
  11. MapMaster

    MapMaster Human Compass

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    SOD: "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" *

    Churchill Falls to Baie Comeau, 519 miles

    Oh WOW!
    From a purely motorcycling standpoint, today was one of the all time personal greats.

    * Song of the Day notes:
    Written by Solomon Linda, covered by many. I'm partial to Ladysmith Black Mambazo's take (not an especially obscure group if you're a Paul Simon fan).
    Chosen only because "Eye of the Tiger" was already used and nothing about a lynx or bobcat came to mind (and this little boys and girls, is what dem fancy writers call foreshadowing)


    Up just after 7, broke camp and went to the Midway Motel/Restaurant for breakfast.
    It took a bit of searching to find the place because it's inside the community building with nary a sign anywhere. I guess when you're the only place in town, you don't need an advertising budget.
    Even their coffee mugs only say "Midway Restaurant, Labrador", no mention of CF. Stealth mode indeed.

    Breakfast was good, but the misuse and abuse of the word 'hash browns' has got to stop! :becca (this is not an exclusively Canadian fault)
    Hash browns are "shredded" potatoes, cooked on a grill! Not deep fried potato cubes of dubious texture and taste, nor a frozen patty of potato shards also deep fried. And 'home fries' are also something that can only come from a grill top, preferably slices of potato with grilled onions.
    Okay, Rant off - I feel better now.


    Broken clouds in the morning gave way to a very sunny day. Cool throughout most of it, kept the electric vest and thermal underwear on all day, was able to shed the sweater for awhile in the afternoon.


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    In addition to seeing enough boreal forest, bogs, and tundra landscape to last me a good long while, I'll add: mine spoil piles and litter.
    I don't mind the mine waste (as long as they don't contaminate the water), it's a big enough country to sacrifice some of the aforementioned bog, tundra, and forest to meet the incessant demands of an industrialized planet of 7 billion.

    This stretch of the TLH may no longer be gravel, to the regret of many, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Smooth, great sight lines, not especially twisty, but some curves to beak up the monotony, and very little traffic. All of these factors combined resulted in a highly inflationary rate of displacement. Which resulted in another chat with an officer of the law, this time in a professional setting (at least at the start). A Constable of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary lit me up as I neared Labrador City and then lit up his eastbound, unmarked, sedan. I slowed and acknowledge the lights immediately so he wouldn't feel like he needed to do high speed rundown after he turned around. A few kilometers did have to pass before I saw a spot on the opposite side of the road that I could pull off to.

    I caught a good vibe when in the process of dismounting and starting to get gear off, he said 'take your time' so as I wouldn't be flustered dealing with the helmet, gloves, ear plugs etc.
    Didn't even write a warning (don't know if they do that here). After checking the documents, he did caution me to be careful, but after much other chit chat about his travels and mine (he'd just been to see relatives in Philly) he admitted that sometimes on a good ride, he'd been a few clicks over the limit too. Said he had a Sportster earlier in the chat, this was not a good time to start any Hardley Ableson jokes. :evil
    Gave me his card and said if I ran into any troubles, call and they could look up stuff on the internet for me to help me out.


    Into Lab City shortly thereafter, but first I had another quick stop to make to snag a picture of this sign that I first noted on the way east. I knew I wanted to tag it for the road signs thread, but by the time the, 'does that say what I think it says?' process had completed and the 'affirmative' answer was obtained, it was too late. The expected later opportunities never appeared, so I grabbed this first, last chance:
    [​IMG]


    Pitted at McD's for a late morning coffee, cookies, and a chain lube. Got help from guy holding the back of the bike up while I had it on the center stand. Saved me from unstrapping all of the gear that was making it butt heavy on the pivot point.
    A mini-store across the road (Jubbers?) had souvenirs, some very nice carvings that were tempting, but most importantly, a Labrador patch! Okay, the trip is done, I can go home now.

    Though now that I'm home and contemplating the patch blanket, I don't have a Quebec patch. I thought I'd had one from a trip to the Gaspe Peninsula some years back. I'll have to rectify that on a ride to James Bay that I hope to do soon.
    [​IMG]

    Anyway, from there is was on to Mount Wright and the gravel again. Dayum it was even more fun this time! Heavy wash-boarding at the start and towards the end, but good running for the most part, and being chased by a train added to the amusement. I counted 12 crossings between Mount Wright and Fire Lake and it was not far behind at several of them. At three of the crossings the lights started flashing just as I arrived. I stopped after the last one at a siding. Another train was waiting on the mainline and my pursuer came around and pulled into the siding where a few front loaders began filling it with ore.

    My pursuer:
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    It's destination:
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    The other train moves out:
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    The loading begins:
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    This notice had me chuckling, but I have to relate a tale from Navy days to explain.
    (The difference between a fairy tale and a sea story is that a fairy tale starts with 'once upon a time'. A sea story starts with, 'This ain't no shit!')
    A vivid description that has stuck with me over the years was in regards to one crewmember's dedicated skirt chasing; "He's so horny, he'd :viking a rock pile if he thought there was a snake in it!" So this one's for you Doug:
    [​IMG]


    Next was about 100 miles of pavement, bumpy but not speed inhibiting, to Relais Gabriel and then another 60 miles of gravel to Manic 5. Good running there as well, not too much dust, but I could have done without back-to-back semis in a left-hander with really heavy washboard on the right hand side where I bailed to. I couldn't see anything but what was directly under my tire for a moment.

    3 other ADV types from VT were aimed northbound as I came through a timed construction zone just south of RG. We had a quick chat bike to bike.
    They were only going to HVGB and then coming back. I had to wonder why, from Lab City to HVGB is boring!

    Beautiful country side south of RG - mountains, streams and glimpses of the reservoir - 'The Eye' - Manicouagan Crater - that the Manic 5 dam has filled in. That was one big ass meteor!

    Gas was still 1.70 at RG, but had jumped to 1.69 at Manic 5 - holiday rate hike?!
    Plenty of rooms were available at the Manic 5 motel and evening was coming on, so I considered stopping, but the good weather was still with me and after a fudgesicle and coffee, the die was cast to press on. I was so very glad I did as I saw a lynx, or bobcat, walking on the side of the road w/in a half mile of pulling out. It went off into the brush, but hung around a small clearing long enough for me to get several sucky pictures.

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    The 134 miles from Manic 5 to Baie Comeau is a quarter scale replica of the Blue Ridge Parkway. I had a very spirited blast for the first hour, from 6:15 to 7:15 I covered 67 miles, including the Lynx layover. The pace moderated slightly in the gloaming for the next half hour (31 miles more). I was singing, yelling, and having great conversations within my helmeted world. Only one car to dispatch on the entire stretch. Tendrils of mist started forming, trying to ensnare me, but I fled from the grasp of the malevolent forces seeking to capture me (yes, the imagination was running hard too).
    But the forces of darkness and mist maidens relentlessly stole away the needed visibility for the shenanigans I was engaged in and I grudgingly surrendered, stopping to wave the white flag and add a layer. The fog became really dense and the face shield was fogging over as well. Crept through a few construction zones, one with over a 400 second timer. Nasty ground to crawl over, washouts from rain? This stretch of road south of Manic 2 was in perfect shape 3 weeks ago. Got into BC a bit after 9.


    Called the Manic 2000 motel (guide book listing, cheap option at $70).
    Shahtah (no idea of the spelling) knew enough English to say they had a room, but couldn't manage directions.
    Called Clare to look it up for me and got there by 10 with a stop for food and drink to stuff in the bag from a mini-mart.
    Checked in with no problems. Older place but clean. Cute puppy (golden retriever and something mix).
    Got to the room and started laughing my ass off. Thought it was a massage bed, but the box for quarters was for the TV. It had a toggle switch with "TV" and "Pay TV" options. Had I not been so tired, and had it not been 'hors service', I would have ventured a coin or two to see if French-Canadian porn was any different than the good ol' U.S. of A. variety.


    My 'dinner' turn out to be the grail in a 'quest' that has taken years. I finally stumbled on an equivalent to the doGawful hockey puck of a burger with 'processed cheese product' that riding buddy Dan T got at the 'jail' station across from the Big Walker Mountain Motel in Bland, VA on a ride many moons ago. I choked down a 'sandwich jambon fromage'. I think the cheese came from the same vat as Dan's burger. I'd hate to think that there was more than one such toxic waste facility on the continent.


    The guidebook said the motel had a 'washer/dryer' available and the last time my duds had seen suds was during my stay with Len, so it was time to lighten the load of aroma I was carrying. Turned out that they had a laundry service for $7 a load. PERFECT! I delivered the goods, said that I'd be up for a while yet (working on the journal notes for the past couple of days) so Shahtah washed and returned my clean and folded threads to the room.
    At that point it was beddy-bye time.
    I was exhausted, but stoked from a really, realllly, reeeallllly, GREAT day on the bike!
    While I don't anticipate riding across central Labrador again, if they ever complete 138 along the shore, I will definitely take a Manic 5 detour on that trip.


    It's impossible for me to pick a single event from this trip as the best one, I still get a thrill whenever I think back to the experiences and sensations the last 3 days served up.
    #91
  12. MapMaster

    MapMaster Human Compass

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,754
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    SOD: Some relaxed country tune. Pick one, any one :lol3

    9/1/14 - Baie Comeau to Saguenay - 226 miles

    An easy day of it, needed to recover from the last several hard ones. The back was complaining a bit, I have no idea why. :wink:
    More journal updating in the morning before finally packing up and rolling out just after 11.

    While I still had a couple days to explore new territory and a full week on the road ahead of me with new friends to meet, and old friends to meet again, it felt like the trip was done. And I wasn't even homeward bound yet. Debatable whether this was the reason for a lack of energy this morning, or because of it.

    A couple snaps of the room, to capture the pay TV box that I thought was a massage bed control initially:
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    Several stops for pictures of the coast and some road art and oddities along 138:
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    The coast at Rageuneau:
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    Another whale sighting:
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    Another stop for gas
    Another to air up the tires
    Another at a visitor center where I broke down and actually bought(!) a QC map (they ought to be free at a place like that) - it had more detail on some dirt roads that were going to be a possibility tomorrow, but the forecast check in the evening washed that plan away.

    Lots of bikes out today. Lots of traffic too - the last few days of next to none have spoiled me. One of the telltales of a good trip is when I get a, "shit, there's a lot of people and traffic around here" reaction. Today was the wake up call, I'm not in OZ anymore and I had to dial up the paranoia defenses. (Yes, all those bastidges are trying to kill me! - Intentions to do so on their part are not a requirement.)

    It was an hour long wait for the ferry at Tadoussac, time was passed pleasantly talking to different folks as the stop-and-go lane queues crept along at variable intervals.
    Three ferries were running the short crossing of the mouth of the Saguenay Fjord. Waiting for the other ferry to pull away as we approach resulted in an interesting docking pirouette.


    Underway at last:
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    Full Load:
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    Sister Ship:
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    The destination:
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    A third sister:
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    I never like to travel in a straight line:
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    More traffic (busy waters):
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    Get out of the weigh:
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    Open sesame:
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    Once off the ferry the junction with 170 was soon reached and the road north rapidly cured me of any feelings that the trip was all but over. It was a very nice route, some sweepers, but the scenery was its strong suit. The country around here was much more mountainous than I expected.

    At one roadside scenic rest stop in a small town:
    [​IMG]


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    A Mustang car club on an outing pulled in across the street. 6 or 7 of them carefully lined up. Heavy metal indeed, I was glad they weren't going to be in my way.

    More views:
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    [​IMG]


    I reached the visitor center in Saguenay before 6 and and with the help of Yan, I lined up a gite (B&B) for the night. Dinner was going to be in town at a restaurant Yan had recommended, but it was closed. So I opted for a couple of hot dogs and fries at the gas stop before heading up the hill out of town for the b&b. Got one beer for the evening as well, a 710ml can of Canadian. They make 'em big around here.


    Played peekaboo at the visitor center:
    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    Good thing Yan at the info center called to check on availability. The lady didn't speak a lick of English, but kept telling me things in French that I had no clue about. Eventually figured out that she was offering me the choice of which bed to use. One of three in a re-finished basement with low ceilings, or one of several in a converted attic. All very fine, but a better place for a close group of friends as there are no separate rooms. Not an issue tonight since I was the only guest.

    Use of the garage for the bike was offered as well. Declined, the expected rain certainly isn't going to hurt it, and there's several days worth of bugs to be rinsed off the windscreen.

    The setting was beautiful:
    [​IMG]


    And a bit gnomish:
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    The weather forecast indicated that a border crossing tomorrow would be in order. It would be a wet day regardless, but after that things were predicted to be drier to the south.
    #92
  13. RumRunner

    RumRunner Sit there, turn that

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2001
    Oddometer:
    6,488
    Location:
    Great White North
    So glad to be along for the last leg home :thumb

    DW
    #93
  14. MapMaster

    MapMaster Human Compass

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,754
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    9/2/14 - Saguenay, QC to Sutton, VT - 349 miles

    Good Morning World!:
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    The starting routes were pretty direct, QC 381 south to... (you'll never guess)....
    138! :lol3

    I'm a sucker for covered bridges, especially funny ones:
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    My fractured French translated the first part of this as, "Chain Lassie"
    Obviously not exactly accurate, but correct in essence :deal
    [​IMG]


    Stopped for the picture, but got no kicks from this as it started raining on my parade:
    [​IMG]



    In retrospect, the exit sign marking this street would have been the better pic:
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    Rather than slabbing entirely around it, I rode through Quebec City, but saw nothing that I had to stop for. Today was one of those where I had plenty of time to make it a relaxed run, but not enough to stop to seriously examine; a museum, antique store, café menu, or other such roadside attraction. It was straight through town on the surface streets, very focused on the traffic, so I didn't even get that much of an impression of the cityscape, but it seemed like a pretty place. I did notice several cute girls on the buses (strictly as part of the good observational practices necessary for survival on the mean streets :evil)


    The border crossing at Norton, VT involved no grilling at all.
    Finished with less than 1$ in Canadian coin.


    I took a lot of sign pictures today, but there was one I didn't stop for that I regret now.
    It was a standard VT moose pictogram with the caution, "next 1500 feet". As laughter echoed in my helmet I wondered, "What's his name?"


    Back in the USA, good to know that civil political discourse still reigns:
    [​IMG]


    Today's destination was Canuman's place in the North East Kingdom.
    I returned his camping gear, and had another sleeping bag and pad forced on me.
    (Thanks Tim :wave)


    I met Tim's friend and fellow ADV inmate, Barbsironbutt. She was the end receiver when I dropped Tim off at the airport in Deer Lake last week. The flight experience was far from a pleasant and direct one, but that's another story. She collected him in Montreal and they actually let Tim back in the country, so he was finally able to get back on his home turf to commune with nature and commence knitting, a process that was helped out by an orthopedic surgeon later in the month. Last I heard he was doing well.

    A sidebar to Tim's experience:
    He had entered Canada with a passport card. It's a cheaper option than getting a passport book and it's good for driving and cruise ships, but not air travel. (A passport is not required when you're flying within Canada)
    In Tim's case, Montreal was the best airport to fly to any way, but had he wanted to fly to the states, he would not have been able too (at least not without jumping through several as yet uncharted bureaucratic hoops).
    Something to keep in mind if you're debating one or the other. I would recommended the full passport book even if your only intention is an occasional ride to the Great White North. It would be good to have the flexibility to fly back if the bike breaks down, or a family emergency arises.


    Tim's mom, Marie, was also visiting, so I got to meet her and Willie, a friendly Swedish Vallhund (forgot to get a picture of the ferocious beastie).:doh
    #94
  15. MapMaster

    MapMaster Human Compass

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,754
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    Pittsburgh, PA
    Glad to have you still following along with me. We'll get there, .....

    eventually :D
    #95
  16. jackalsour

    jackalsour Xennial

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2010
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    1,091
    Location:
    Transient
    Judging by the little island to the left I think my house is between you and the fjord, just behind those trees! I was away that week though in Montreal

    I'm glad to see you took the 170 and 381 as the majority seem to take the straighter 4 lane (175) There is a short bit of twisty scenic road that everyone misses though called "Vieux-chemin" or "chemin de la Batture" in case anyone is planning

    There is a little "gas station" shop not far from that cruise ship dock that sells the best poutine in Canada. Actually people drive across Québec for the squeaky cheese curds here (Boivin fromagerie is just over that hill behind the dock)

    Hmm now I'm craving squeaky cheese curds.. and motorcycling! Only ski doos and ice fishing here now :lol3 I need to do th TLH someday myself :deal
    #96
  17. Hollyr

    Hollyr Vesterislendingur Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,372
    Location:
    New Westminster, BC
    I had the same experience in reverse when I dropped my bike and broke some ribs in Virginia. Air Canada assured me that I could board with the card rather than a passport, but I checked with the airport and they weren't up-to-date on the rules and said no way. So I got to take Amtrak home. I usually bring the passport as well as the card now when I travel. The card is so worth it though, especially if you are riding an airhead and don't want to cook the engine in the lines at the border.

    You passed through Quebec city and didn't stop????? You have to go back and explore it. The only "old world" walled city in North America.
    #97
  18. MapMaster

    MapMaster Human Compass

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    2,754
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Quote:

    Judging by the little island to the left I think my house is between you and the fjord, just behind those trees! I was away that week though in Montreal

    One for the small world files.


    I'm glad to see you took the 170 and 381 as the majority seem to take the straighter 4 lane (175) There is a short bit of twisty scenic road that everyone misses though called "Vieux-chemin" or "chemin de la Batture" in case anyone is planning

    The only way I was going to see 175 under my wheels on this trip was if the weather cooperated. I would have used it to link some dirt/gravel bits on both sides.


    There is a little "gas station" shop not far from that cruise ship dock that sells the best poutine in Canada. Actually people drive across Québec for the squeaky cheese curds here (Boivin fromagerie is just over that hill behind the dock)

    Okay, because I generally do reports post trip, I can live with missed connections, but missing out on the best poutine in Canada really leaves me disconsolate. :becca
    Next road trip I'll kick off a thread in-progress. :deal


    Hmm now I'm craving squeaky cheese curds.. and motorcycling! Only ski doos and ice fishing here now I need to do th TLH someday myself

    You won't regret it.
    #98
  19. MapMaster

    MapMaster Human Compass

    Joined:
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    In other travel modes, I'd thoroughly enjoy a visit there. I just don't like playing tourist in city environs when burdened by gear and worrying about how secure the bike is. :nah
    #99
  20. vtwin

    vtwin Air cooled runnin' mon

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2005
    Oddometer:
    9,203
    Location:
    NorCal
    Thanks for the ride, some day I plan on going there. Most likely in a cage, since I'll be retired and traveling with the wife. Unless I can convince her to ride in a sidecar.:lol3