The Adventures of CK, Tigger, and the Millennial Falcon across the Big Land

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by markbvt, Feb 6, 2017.

  1. markbvt

    markbvt Long timer

    Joined:
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    Prologue

    "I'm not usually into the bike-naming thing," I said as daylight faded across the lake behind Relais Gabriel, "but the Africa Twin seems to be acquiring one on its own. It's already taken out several small animals in the few months I've owned it. I barely had it any time at all before it killed a bird that somehow got nailed by the right handguard -- I felt bad enough about that one that I turned around and went back to see if I could find it. I did. Dead as a doornail. And then today there was that critter on 389. What was that, a frigging groundhog or something? So this bike shall henceforth be known as the Critter Killer. CK for short."

    "Awesome," said David, who as the baby of our group at 29 took a lot of ribbing for his generational affiliation. "Mine's got me as captain and Chewbacca as copilot, so of course it has to be the Millennial Falcon." (He did indeed have a small Chewbacca action figure riding shotgun.)

    "My Tiger is orange and bouncy. Tigger, obviously," said Mark.

    And so it came to be that three guys who usually laugh at people who name their bikes found themselves swallowing their pride.

    This trip had come together almost as organically as our bikes acquired their names. David and I had both bought Honda Africa Twins over the summer and were dying to try them out somewhere remote and gravelly. Mark had traded his Tiger 800 roadie for a Tiger 800 XC after last year's adventure and also wanted to get out there. David and I had been to Labrador and Newfoundland before (three times in my case), but not in four years, and Mark had never been but wanted to go. Riding up north through Gaspé and along the St Lawrence last year had put the desire in both of us to head up to Labrador, and frankly, that route never gets boring. So this trip was kind of a no-brainer.
    #1
  2. markbvt

    markbvt Long timer

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
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    Prep

    Being a new bike, the Africa Twin needed all the mods and farkles I'd already gotten out of the way on my Tiger. Over the summer I installed grip heaters, crash bars, SW Motech quick-detachable luggage racks, and sturdier handguards, and cut down the stock windshield because in its original form it generated so much helmet buffeting that it actually blurred my vision.

    For years I've been using Wolfman Expedition Dry panniers on my Tiger, but finally decided it would be nice to have something bigger. So I hemmed and hawed, and almost threw down for the Mosko Moto Backcountry panniers. They're fantastic bags, but expensive, and I finally decided to go with the Wolfman Rocky Mountain panniers instead, which are also excellent bags but a bit more reasonably priced -- plus I liked the slightly longer, lower shape of the Wolfman bags, and the fact that their design easily accommodates strapping another bag on top.

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    As far as a tail bag was concerned, I'd be using the Twisted Throttle DrySpec bag that had served me well many times previously, but the Africa Twin has a pretty minimalist tail section that doesn't offer a lot of strap attachment points. Plus, I'd be needing to carry extra fuel for the 260-mile Phase III section of the Trans-Labrador Highway, so needed something to mount my Rotopax gas can to. For years I've been using a CJ Designs tail rack on my Tiger and love the thing, so I wanted one for the Africa Twin too.

    Just one problem: CJ Designs wasn't making one yet! I contacted them and heard back from Craig, the owner. He was nice enough to send me a blank rack to use for the trip, which I'd ship back to him after along with my comments for improvements. I marked mounting hole positions, and my friend Ed helped me drill and countersink the holes (I don't have a drill press; he does). Rotopax mount went on, then the rack went on the bike. Due to the Africa Twin's stock tail mount being made of plastic, I figured the safest way to mount the rack would be directly against the tail mount's surface rather than raised on four spacers; at least this way the forces would be spread out instead of concentrated on those four small (plastic) mounting points.

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    Final question was tires. My initial thought was to run an IRC TR8 front tire like I had on the Tiger four years ago, and probably a TKC-80 rear. But then it occurred to me that it was maybe a little unnecessary to run such knobby tires on this trip, since the amount of gravel was dwindling and there'd be a lot of pavement (including some pretty nice corners). I ultimately decided to run a Shinko 700 semi-knobby front (which I'd used before on the Tiger and liked a lot on gravel) and a Pirelli MT-90 rear (the stock tire on the KTM 990 Adventure, for which I'd heard a lot of praise).

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    #2
  3. markbvt

    markbvt Long timer

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    August 27, 2016: Georgia, VT, to Tadoussac, Quebec, 366 miles

    Mark had ridden up to my place the previous evening. We planned to meet David and his girlfriend Alex for breakfast in the morning and set out from there. So at 7am, Mark and I were ready to roll.

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    We rode to Jeffersonville, VT, where we breakfasted with David and Alex at 158 Main, which has been mentioned in previous ride reports. Delicious food. Bellies full, David kissed Alex goodbye, and off we went.

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    It was a beautiful morning, and we enjoyed the roads and landscape even though they were entirely familiar.

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    We crossed into Canada and continued.

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    Approaching Thetford Mines.

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    Mark and David.

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    Beautiful countryside, getting closer to the St Lawrence.

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    Along the St Lawrence's northern shore.

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    At the mouth of the Saguenay Fjord, we boarded a ferry to get across to Tadoussac, our destination for the night.

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    We set up camp at Camping Tadoussac and headed into town for dinner. Mark and I were anxious to get back to Café Bohème, where we'd had the best breakfast of the trip last year. Dinner there this year did not disappoint.

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    Stats for the day:
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    Day's route:
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    #3
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  4. markbvt

    markbvt Long timer

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    August 28, 2016: Tadoussac to Relais Gabriel, Quebec, 319 miles

    The weather the next morning was not spectacular; we grabbed breakfast at Café Bohème (of course), then set off and hightailed it to Baie-Comeau and then north on Rt 389. Didn't bother to stop for photos till we made it to Manic 5.

    First we gassed up and took a short break before hitting the gravel.

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    Then of course we had to stop for photos at the Manic 5 dam itself.

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    The gravel begins.

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    To our dismay, these trucks came up the hill as we were still standing around with helmets off. They'd prove to be a major annoyance to us for a long time.

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    Knowing the trucks would be generating a lot of dust, we waited a while before setting off again. That winding road up the hill eventually straightens out into this.

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    So far so good.

    Unfortunately, Africa Twins and Tigers are a lot faster up here than trucks are, and it wasn't long before we were eating their dust. We got into clouds of the stuff before we could even see the trucks ahead of us because it just lingered in the air. Then we'd come to an area where the road surface was damp and didn't generate as much dust, and we'd gain on the trucks hoping to be able to pass them... and then all of a sudden the road surface would dry out again and we were in choking whiteout conditions. It was Unpleasant. But we rode carefully, keeping a close eye on the road ahead of us, and eventually managed to make it past the trucks.

    And then before long we made it to the pavement. When David and I had been here in 2012, crews were actively paving the road. At the rate they were going, we figured they'd be done with this whole section of 389 by season's end. But for some reason they stopped a mile or so south of Relais Gabriel, and never resumed. So that stretch from Manic 5 to (nearly) Relais Gabriel remains gravel. It would actually be a fun ride without trucks ahead creating massive dust clouds.

    We pulled off the road at Relais Gabriel and checked in to see if we could set up camp for the night down by the lake behind. Our request was approved. I love this spot.

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    Stats for the day:
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    Day's route:
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    #4
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  5. markbvt

    markbvt Long timer

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    August 29, 2016: Relais Gabriel, Quebec, to Churchill Falls, Labrador, 322 miles

    We awoke to a grey and very damp morning.

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    At least there were hints of improvement above.

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    We ate breakfast at Relais Gabriel, hoping the blue in the sky would spread, and I took a shower while I still could (availability would be quite sparse for the next few days). As we hit the road, it was still unpleasant out, and unfortunately that blue patch seemed to be moving south, not north, but we had pavement and good traction all the way up to Fire Lake.

    At the cleared-away company town of Gagnon, the weather still wasn't great, but at least it wasn't raining.

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    At Fire Lake, where the pavement ends and the twisty gravel section known as the Mini Trail begins, we met another group of riders who were heading the opposite direction.

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    They reported drier conditions to the north, and we disappointed them by reporting wetter ones to the south.

    Their report proved true. As we headed north on the Mini Trail, the weather improved, and this twisty gravel road was where the Africa Twin really began to shine.

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    I had more fun on that section than I ever had on previous trips; the Critter Killer was in its element here. David felt the same about his Millennial Falcon; we set a pace that was more enthusiastic than Mark was interested in, and he soon fell behind (and we pulled over from time to time so he could catch up). Mark was being smart, riding at a pace that was comfortable for him; the XC was still fairly new to him, and he didn't want to take any chances so far from home. I typically do exactly the same thing, but CK was inspiring confidence. That geometry and low center of gravity and good suspension add up to a very competent ride. And the tires I'd chosen were working great for these conditions too.

    Before long we made it to the mine just before Fermont.

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    And then there we were, at the Quebec/Labrador border.

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    We stopped briefly in Labrador City to gas up and eat lunch, then continued onto Rt 500, the Trans Labrador Highway. Paving of this Phase I section had been completed since the last time David and I were here, so it was an easy, comfortable afternoon ride during which I was able to look around at the beautiful, desolate landscape instead of staring intently at the road ahead of me -- and also get some photos while riding.

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    We pulled off the road at the site David and I had camped at on our 2012 trip, and we considered camping there again. But it was still so early, and the weather so nice, that we decided to just push on to Churchill Falls instead.

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    Unfortunately for us, that plan backfired. The weather was nice most of the way to Churchill Falls, but shortly before we got there we rode right into more rain. That prompted us to give up looking for a good spot to camp off the road and instead head into town. We set up on the lawn of the town's church, where numerous people have camped before according to older ride reports. The rain we'd ridden into blew past, but the sky kept looking forbidding. We took advantage of the momentary dryness to try to dry out our tents a bit, which were still wet from the previous night.

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    The sky at least put on a bit of a show for us as we set up.

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    Stats for the day:
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    Day's route:
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    #5
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  6. markbvt

    markbvt Long timer

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    August 30, 2016: Churchill Falls to Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador, 191 miles

    It was not a very pleasant night, and with a short day ahead, we took our time getting going in the morning. We had breakfast at the restaurant in Churchill Falls, then walked back to our bikes, finished packing up, and headed out. The weather was once again grey and chilly, but at least it was dry.

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    A short distance before Happy Valley-Goose Bay, we rode through an area that had obviously been burned out not too long before.

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    And then we made it to the end of Phase I of the Trans Labrador Highway.

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    We considered camping for the night at the campground David and I had stayed at on our last trip (largely because it had showers), but it turned out it had closed down. So we headed up to the abandoned park I'd camped at on my first two trips up here.

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    It turned out the tourist information office in Happy Valley-Goose Bay was directing everyone here who asked about camping. So before long, a few other people showed up.

    While there were no working facilities here, the advantage of an abandoned park is that no one cares if you make a bonfire on the beach. So we went off and collected a good-sized pile of wood, and once darkness began to settle, we lit it up. We were soon joined by one of the other campers, an older gent who was traveling roads far and wide in his pickup truck. We had a great chat, and would end up seeing him occasionally for the next few days.

    Stats for the day:
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    Day's route:
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    #6
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  7. markbvt

    markbvt Long timer

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    August 31, 2016: Happy Valley-Goose Bay to Port Hope Simpson, Labrador, 267 miles

    Morning broke grey and chilly, as we'd grown used to on this trip.

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    We packed up, headed into town, and had a quick breakfast at Tim Horton's. Then we set off for the many miles of gravel to Port Hope Simpson.

    The initial stretch of the Phase III section of the TLH has been paved, but soon enough that pavement ended and we were on the gravel. It was pleasant enough going for a short while, but the recent weather had been very wet, and there's a fair amount of heavy truck traffic on this road. It wasn't long before the road looked like it had been shelled by naval artillery. The potholes were big, and they were everywhere. It was impossible to avoid them. Worse, most of them were still filled with water, so there was no telling how deep they were. And along some stretches the potholes' sides were muddy, so it was not uncommon when hitting a pothole off center to feel the rear tire slip down into it, making the bike fishtail slightly. It was not a fun ride. And the constant hits made all three of us worry about blowing fork or shock seals.

    At one point the road smoothed out a little, and we pulled over to take a rest.

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    David and I spent a while waiting for Mark; one of the main things the Africa Twin has going for it over the Tiger 800 XC is better (and fully-adjustable) suspension. So we'd been able to maintain a faster pace over the Swiss cheese road surface. But before long Mark joined us.

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    Unfortunately this smoother section of road was misleading, and soon the suspension abuse resumed. It kept up nearly all the way to Port Hope Simpson.

    When we finally made it there, we discovered that the little RV campground we'd stayed at previously was now an overgrown mess and obviously no longer in business. Also, occasional rain showers had been moving through all day, and one seemed to be threatening now (and it soon made good on its threat). David wanted to camp anyway, but Mark and I overruled him, and the three of us got a hotel room for the night. Once he'd had a chance to shower and eat a hot meal, David agreed that maybe the hotel had been the right choice this time.

    Stats for the day:
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    Day's route:
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    #7
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  8. markbvt

    markbvt Long timer

    Joined:
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    September 1, 2016: Port Hope Simpson, Labrador, to Mistaken Cove, Newfoundland, 192 miles

    Next morning I enjoyed the luxury of being able to shower again less than 12 hours after my previous shower. We ate breakfast and slowly got ourselves together. We all checked in on our electronic lives while we had wifi access.

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    Then we once again packed up the bikes and prepared to head out. CK was getting fairly filthy after yesterday's muddy potholes.

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    Thankfully, as we headed toward the coast, the road smoothed out some, making for far more pleasant riding. And the sky cleared up a bit, which also helped!

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    Approaching the coast, the landscape grows increasingly desolate.

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    David and I occasionally leapfrogged each other, one of us pulling ahead while the other hung back a bit to wait for Mark. Eventually I made it to the end of the gravel at Red Bay, and pulled over to wait for them both.

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    It was a long enough wait that I was starting to wonder if I should get back on the bike and go search for them, but then David appeared. And not long after, Mark did too. They had stopped for photos, of course.

    With the gravel now behind us, I reflected for a moment on my tire choice. They'd done far better than I expected them to, feeling stable and solid on the gravel, and they were wearing well.

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    The bike overall had done great. The Tiger was a joy on the Trans-Lab when I rode it in 2012, but the Africa Twin made it just a little bit easier.

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    From Red Bay, we rode toward Blanc Sablon, where we were to catch an afternoon ferry to Newfoundland. Fun pavement and great scenery along the way, and the weather had finally gotten nice again.

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    We made it to the ferry dock in Blanc Sablon with plenty of time to spare, and found already waiting there a group of guys we'd encountered at various points along the trip previously. Standing there, I noticed how small the world is -- one of the guys had a MotoVermont sticker on his pannier!

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    MotoVermont is my friend Eric's company; turned out these guys knew him!

    Eventually we boarded the ferry and began strapping our bikes down.

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    Then we went up on deck for our crossing to Newfoundland.

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    Almost there!

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    From the ferry dock, we headed north along the coast to a spot I've camped at previously. It's off the main road, down a gravel road and close to the shore, so even though it's basically a gravel pit, it's a picturesque and private spot.

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    As we were setting up, we heard a sound in the distance and looked out to sea. Whales!

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    Rocky Newfoundland coastline.

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    Besides getting to watch whales breeching just offshore, we were also treated to a beautiful sunset.

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    As the light faded, we cooked a delicious dinner...

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    ...and continued to enjoy the sunset.

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    Stats for the day:
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    Day's route:
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    #8
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  9. markbvt

    markbvt Long timer

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    September 2, 2016: Mistaken Cove to Gros Morne, Newfoundland, 324 miles

    We awoke next morning to sunshine, which we weren't used to on this trip! We'd brought along supplies for breakfast, so David busied himself cooking.

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    After a tasty camp breakfast, we packed up the bikes and headed out.

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    We rode north to L'Anse aux Meadows, at the northern tip of Newfoundland.

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    Of course we had to go look at the recreated Viking settlement. Actually a pretty cozy-looking bedroom!

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    And it has a great view...

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    From L'Anse aux Meadows, we rode south again to Gros Morne National Park, where we set up camp at the Green Point campground. This is always a beautiful spot.

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    Stats for the day:
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    #9
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  10. markbvt

    markbvt Long timer

    Joined:
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    September 3, 2016: Gros Morne to Twillingate, Newfoundland, 282 miles

    Next morning we were once again greeted with nice weather, and we stopped off in Rocky Harbour for breakfast.

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    Our route for the morning took us through the dramatic landscape of Gros Morne.

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    Unfortunately that was followed by a lengthy slog on Highway 1. But then we turned north toward Twillingate, and the beautiful scenery resumed.

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    We stopped off in Twillingate for a delicious dinner of fish and chips, and took in the scenery of this fishing town.

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    Then we resumed our northward journey and set up camp at Sleepy Cove, the same spectacular location David and I had camped at on our trip four years ago.

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    Stats for the day:
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    #10
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  11. markbvt

    markbvt Long timer

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    September 4, 2016: Twillingate to Chance Cove Provincial Park, Newfoundland, 296 miles

    The next morning was chilly and grey. Surprise surprise.

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    We packed up, stopped in Twillingate for breakfast, then had a lengthy slog along Highway 1 en route to the Avalon Peninsula.

    Eventually we made it to Rt 10 along the eastern coast, which features small towns tucked along rocky coves.

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    We continued south to Chance Cove Provincial Park, which we found surprisingly full of RVs (it was Labor Day weekend, which we hadn't considered). Thankfully campsites were still plentiful, and as seems to be typical of Canadians everywhere, the RVers were extremely nice and invited us to share in some of their food and firewood.

    The biggest drawback to it being a busy weekend: the latrine-style toilet was beyond disgusting. It smelled so bad in that little outhouse that I could actually taste it. I gave up trying to use it, stumbled outside and spat repeatedly on the ground, and found a tree to pee on instead. Vile.

    Stats for the day:
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    Day's route (GPS shut off for a bit, hence the gap in the middle):
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    #11
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  12. markbvt

    markbvt Long timer

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    September 5, 2016: Chance Cove CC to Gander, Newfoundland, 344 miles

    Perhaps to make up for the nasty outhouse, Chance Cove treated us to a gorgeous morning.

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    We got ourselves moving and stopped off in Trepassey for a delicious breakfast, then enjoyed the coastal road.

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    All along this route, David and Mark had been occasionally switching places; in Placentia, David pulled ahead of Mark, and we soon found ourselves on a gravel road that formed a shortcut around town. From here we pulled onto the main road and followed it a good 20 or 30 miles to Highway 1. At that intersection, we stopped for gas, and it was here that Mark made a discovery: one of his bags was missing. A big Wolfman waterproof duffel that contained all his camping gear (and a large bottle of rye we'd all been enjoying in camp in the evenings) had somehow wiggled free of its straps and fallen off the back of the bike. Clearly this had happened somewhere since Placentia, since David had been behind Mark prior to that and would have noticed a large bag suddenly appearing in his path.

    David and I parked our bikes while Mark retraced the route to try to find his bag. We waited. And we waited. We began to wonder if we should go search for him, but of course one of us should stay in case he came back... but splitting up the group completely was probably a bad idea. So we continued to wait.

    Finally, several hours later, Mark reappeared. Without his bag. It was nowhere to be found. He was, understandably, not happy.

    By this point it was late afternoon, and Mark no longer had camping gear, so we decided to just aim west along Highway 1 and get a motel room somewhere. After pulling over at one hotel en route to confer, we decided screw it, let's just haul ass to Gander and get something there. So we did.

    We arrived in Gander after dark and pulled into one of the first motels we found, a spectacularly '60s-looking place called the Albatross. We got a room and found this on the hallway wall:

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    David, being an itty bitty millennial, had never even experienced such a thing, and Gen-X Mark and I had to explain to him that people used to be allowed to smoke in public places like hotel hallways, and hospitality-oriented establishments like this used to cater to such behavior. Apparently the Albatross was about 30 years overdue for renovation, though as we rounded a corner we discovered that it had begun in at least one stairwell.

    We dropped our gear in our room, then went next door for dinner at Jungle Jim's, a peculiar Newfoundland chain that's sort of like TGI Friday's crossed with a tiki bar. In Newfoundland. Yes, it's as weird as it sounds. Food was decent though, so we couldn't complain.

    Reentering our hotel, I noticed this 1973-dated painting of the Albatross in its former mid-century glory.

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    I found myself a little disappointed that the dining lounge in the central hub (which still featured white tablecloths) was devoid of snappily-dressed businessmen and sharp airline crews devouring prime rib and martinis. The place felt a little lost in time, like it was still holding out for the return of that jetset golden age.

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    #12
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  13. markbvt

    markbvt Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    Oddometer:
    4,454
    Location:
    Georgia, Vermont (that's one town, not two states)
    September 6, 2016: Gander to JT Cheeseman Provicial Park, Newfoundland, 368 miles

    We did visit that lonely central lounge the next morning for breakfast, then beat a retreat to our bikes and took off down Highway 1. We stopped in Lewisporte, which featured what we were told was the largest outdoor-gear store in Newfoundland, so Mark could replace his camping gear. Numerous comments made the rounds about how insane/hilarious/not-really-funny it was that this was now the third major Canadian trip in a row that had necessitated replacement camping gear.

    He bought most of what he needed there but couldn't find everything, so we stopped off again in Corner Brook for the rest. Then we continued down Highway 1, which is fairly featureless and boring (after some of the spectacular roads we'd ridden on this trip) until you get far south, where it quickly gets interesting again.

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    We set up camp for the night in JT Cheeseman Provincial Park, where we marveled at the color of Mark's new tent.

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    We cooked dinner and tried to turn in early because we'd have to get up at a ridiculous hour the next morning for our ferry to Cape Breton.

    Stats for the day:
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    #13
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  14. markbvt

    markbvt Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    Oddometer:
    4,454
    Location:
    Georgia, Vermont (that's one town, not two states)
    September 7, 2016: Cheeseman PP to Meat Cove, NS, 129 miles

    Our phone alarms woke us at the appointed ridiculous hour, at which time we discovered that everything outside our tents was soaked due to a sort-of-mist, sort-of-rain that had taken hold. We packed up our wet tents in the dark and headed off to the ferry dock in Port-aux-Basques a few miles down the road. We got in line with the other vehicles, and then we waited. In the dark.

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    David thought he might try drying out his rain fly.

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    Then David decided it was time for coffee.

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    Eventually we boarded the ferry, and after strapping down our bikes, we proceeded up to the lounge with its profoundly outdated color scheme.

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    The crossing to Cape Breton takes about five hours, but as we approached the harbor, the weather had improved. We passed one of the other ferries and eventually docked.

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    We collected our bikes, disembarked, and made for the Cabot Trail. We headed up the eastern side, then continued north toward Meat Cove, passing the picturesque village of Capstick along the way.

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    I'll never get tired of camping at Meat Cove.

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    After setting up and relaxing for a while, we ate a delicious dinner at Meat Cove's Chowder Hut, then enjoyed a colorful sunset.

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    Stats for the day:
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    Day's route:
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    #14
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  15. markbvt

    markbvt Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    Oddometer:
    4,454
    Location:
    Georgia, Vermont (that's one town, not two states)
    September 8, 2016: Meat Cove to Five Islands Provincial Park, NS, 310 miles

    Thankfully our stay at Meat Cove this time did not result in any tent loss/destruction (that task having already been accomplished by Newfoundland), and we rolled out the next morning with all our gear intact. We enjoyed the scenery on the ride out of Meat Cove...

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    ...and along the Cabot Trail.

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    We had breakfast in Cheticamp, then headed for the mainland. We'd all been this way before, so we didn't stop much. Also, the weather got damp again.

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    We set up camp in the evening at Five Islands Provincial Park, and David dutifully avoided trails through the woods (see the 2012 trip's ride report to see how that ended for him on our last visit).

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    Stats for the day:
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    Day's route:
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    #15
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  16. markbvt

    markbvt Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    Oddometer:
    4,454
    Location:
    Georgia, Vermont (that's one town, not two states)
    September 9, 2016: Five Islands PP, NS, to Gouldsboro, ME, 409 miles

    Today was going to be a slog day heading homewards, so we didn't take much time to get moving. We stopped for breakfast at a Tim Horton's in a small town along the way, where we were bemused to watch a fight break out between a few locals in the parking lot, then we made for Moncton. I couldn't face a droning slog down the highway, so we looped through the countryside toward Fundy National Park and stopped in Alma to marvel (again) at the extreme tides.

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    From there we rode through the park, then got back on the highway, crossed into the US, and headed along the coast on Rt 1, aiming for Gouldsboro, ME, where David's aunt and uncle live. We'd be eating lobster and sleeping indoors this evening!

    We arrived soon enough, and David's aunt and uncle graciously welcomed us. Some other guests were staying the night as well, and after cleaning ourselves up a little, we enjoyed a delicious dinner and a pleasant evening of conversation. Then I slept like the dead.

    Stats for the day:
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    #16
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  17. markbvt

    markbvt Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    Oddometer:
    4,454
    Location:
    Georgia, Vermont (that's one town, not two states)
    September 10, 2016: Gouldsboro, ME, to Georgia, VT, 332 miles

    David's family's hospitality continued the next morning with a delicious breakfast. I also had the chance to get a better look at this beautiful place we were staying.

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    Soon we said goodbye to our generous hosts and set out on the last stretch home. Mark split off to head back toward Boston, and David and I headed west. I made it home late afternoon, another fantastic trip in the bag. CK the Africa Twin did great, and had really grown on me during this trip.

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    And the tires wore very well -- I'll definitely choose these again.

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    Final trip mileage:

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    Stats for the day:
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    #17
  18. markbvt

    markbvt Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    Oddometer:
    4,454
    Location:
    Georgia, Vermont (that's one town, not two states)
    Epilogue

    Yeah, I feel a little lame for doing the same basic trip for the fourth time. But it had been four years since my last visit, and frankly, Labrador is a different experience every time. This time around, it was actually kind of nice to kick back on Phase I and be able to look around at the countryside. It's beautiful up there.

    I was very pleased with the bike and with all my gear. The Africa Twin is an excellent machine for a trip like this. Compared with my Tiger, it's a little cushier and more comfortable for the long gravel hauls, and inspires a lot of confidence -- though that said, on twisty pavement, the AT doesn't handle as well as the Tiger.

    It was a pleasure to do another trip with David and Mark, and it was great meeting people along the way.

    And special thanks again to Craig Johnson/CJ Designs for sending me a prototype tail rack to try out. It worked beautifully, and did its job so well that I had trouble coming up with any improvements to suggest. I'm not sure when Craig is planning to start putting these into production, but I would imagine it shouldn't be much longer.

    Bike:
    2016 Honda Africa Twin
    Shinko 700 (front) and Pirelli MT-90 (rear) tires
    SW Motech side racks
    Wolfman Rocky Mountain panniers
    Prototype CJ Designs tail rack
    Twisted Throttle DrySpec D66 tail luggage system
    Rotopax 2-gallon gas can
    Dowco Fastrax Extreme tank bag
    Garmin Montana 600

    Riding gear:
    Aerostich Transit 2 suit
    Aerostich Elkskin Roper gloves
    Tourmaster Synergy heated vest
    Sidi Discovery boots
    Shark Vision-R helmet
    Assorted fleece/etc to go under the Transit suit for insulation

    Camping:
    Eureka Inntorest 2 tent
    Snugpak Kestrel sleeping bag
    Big Agnes sleeping pad
    Big Agnes inflatable pillow
    Alite Monarch chair

    Cameras:
    Canon EOS 6D with 50mm f/1.4 lens (most off-bike shots)
    Panasonic Lumix GF-1 with 20mm f/1.7 lens (on-bike shots)
    There are also a number of photos from my iPhone 6 in this ride report.
    #18
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  19. MapMaster

    MapMaster Human Compass

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,866
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Having covered most of the same ground in 2014, I was expecting a lot of 'yeah, I did that too' thoughts from your latest sojourn.
    But the deja vu meter really pegged out on the bag separation incident.

    An alternative history for the origin of the island's name:
    "Yo mate, look at this new gear I found on the land!" :lol2

    Thanks for taking us along.
    #19
  20. fastredbike

    fastredbike locked-down tight

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Oddometer:
    641
    Location:
    Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada
    that's a great report! Entertaining, informative, just great.
    #20