TransLab in Two Weeks

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by mystery jig, Apr 22, 2018.

  1. mystery jig

    mystery jig Van Gogh's Banjo

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2007
    Oddometer:
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    State 'O' Maine
    [​IMG]

    The plan: Me and my buddy, Dean, will ride from Portland, Maine, north through Quebec, across Labrador, then down Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. To finish, we'll take the Cat ferry from Nova Scotia, back to Portland. Our scheduled departure date is May 25. We've got two weeks to complete the journey. We'll be back in Portland on June 9.

    The Trans Labrador Highway opened more than a decade ago. Now, it's largely paved and not the grand adventure it used to be. I get that. Dean rode the loop (the other way) in 2009. Search the web, you'll find loads of ride reports from the Trans Lab. It's not hard to find pictures of people riding it on Harleys with street tires. It's not that exotic, anymore.

    So, am I too late for adventure? I don't think so.

    I believe adventure can happen anywhere, anytime you step out your front door. It's largely a state of mind, a personal, revelatory experience. It's not particularly tethered or dependent on what other people have done. It's an inward reaction to outward events.

    Adventure is being open to where your path takes you, to what (and who) it reveals.

    I don't feel I need to go to the ends of the Earth to find the experiences I crave. I'm not that into suffering. I just want to see what I haven't seen before. So far, I haven't run out of new roads to ride.

    The Trans Lab will be new to me. That'll be enough.
    #1
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  2. mystery jig

    mystery jig Van Gogh's Banjo

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2007
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    State 'O' Maine
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    I'm no good at hurrying. For me, adventure motorcycling -- or any kind of travel -- always means wandering, sauntering and getting a bit lost. A couple years ago I wrote a little ditty about my two-wheeled travel philosophy. Part of it went like this:

    I'm a back road wanderer, a helmet-wearing ponderer
    Making tracks for only God knows where.
    Handlebars in my hands, I don't really have a plan.
    I just want to say, "I think I've been somewhere near there."


    I've made my living, for the past 20 years, as a newspaper photojournalist. I'm an inveterate gawker, a professional stare-er. I wait and see. I'm not interested in how many miles I can put under my wheels in a day. I'll never be a member of the Iron Butt Association. That kind of thing really gets a lot of folks around here excited (bless their hearts) but not me.

    I'm compelled to slow down and look, to putt. I'm going to take a metric shit ton of photos on this trip. I'm going to wait for the right light. I'm gonna go and stop and start again when I please. This is my vacation, after all.

    I hope my pokiness doesn't annoy my man Dean, too much. We've both expressed a preference for solo riding so we can keep our own pace. We don't need to be attached at the hip. I suspect he'll be moving on ahead without me, here and there. That's fine by me. I'll catch up get where I'm going, eventually.
    #2
  3. Bugzy

    Bugzy 2014 VStrom DL1000a

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2011
    Oddometer:
    225
    Location:
    Delta BC Canada
    Good luck on your journey, post up some pictures when you get back.
    #3
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  4. mystery jig

    mystery jig Van Gogh's Banjo

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2007
    Oddometer:
    205
    Location:
    State 'O' Maine
    [​IMG]

    My original plan for adventure this spring was to take my Ural back to Utah. Had a great time out there a couple years ago. But, sometime after Christmas, I got it in my head to head north, instead.

    Ural-ing in Utah involves trailering the rig out west from here in Maine. That's about three wasted days there and and three wasted days back. That's a significant chunk of my two week window.

    The beauty of doing the Trans Lab loop is that it's all in the saddle of my trusty 2007 KLR650. No trailering required. Plus, I'll be seeing more of what seems like my back yard.

    The old girl turns 11 this year but she's still upright and humming. I did my best to carefully go over the bike this past winter. I checked a whole lotta stuff and added new foot pegs, chain/sprockets, LED aux lights and tires. It's got a 692 piston in it, crash bars and an upgraded seat. My brother is the real mechanic in the family. I'm going to have him look at it in the next couple weeks to see if he notices anything amiss.

    Dean, my partner on this trip, has a late model Triumph Tiger 800XC. So, we're not exactly well-matched. He's got way more oomph and highway capability. I think we'll be OK, though. We're not gonna be hauling ass on a slab.

    One thing just broke — the fly zipper in my riding pants. Came right off in my hand the other day. Gotta call Aerostich in the morning for some advice on what to do.

    T-minus 33 days till departure...
    #4
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  5. dovetailredux

    dovetailredux bakery hound

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2009
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Ottawa
    I think you'll enjoy Labrador, judging by your professed attitude. I never felt so insignificant in the universe as when I was out in the middle of fucking nowhere Labrador, trying to keep my street bike upright on the ballbearing gravel roadbed. It made me a Buddhist, the paradox of letting go to maintain control. Lol.

    You're a good writer; it's going to be a treat to read your account of your journey. Best of luck.
    #5
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  6. Mustang28027

    Mustang28027 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2004
    Oddometer:
    180
    Location:
    Concord, NC
    Good trip. Im doing the same this year. I leave mid May. I'll follow along for as long as I can...
    #6
  7. joenuclear

    joenuclear Still here....

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2007
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    Location:
    Fort Smith, Arkansas
    N!
    #7
  8. mystery jig

    mystery jig Van Gogh's Banjo

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2007
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    State 'O' Maine
    You’re going even earlier. Let us know the snow pack conditions!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    #8
  9. GravelRider

    GravelRider AKA max384 Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    North by South
    Looks like I'll have to wait quite awhile for the ending, but I'm in!
    #9
  10. equyst

    equyst Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2018
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    69
    Location:
    dallas
    Good luck on your journey[​IMG]
    #10
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  11. dksd39

    dksd39 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2013
    Oddometer:
    282
    Location:
    Hollywood, FL
    Will be a great ride but could be bitterly cold. I rode it last summer starting june 9th and "enjoyed" waking up every day below freezing with rain and high winds most days. The road condion was actually better than expected with only a few deep gravel sections. Without the cold and rain it would have been as easy as an remote paved road. Like most adventures its all about the weather :)
    This pic was taken near Red Bay

    Attached Files:

    #11
  12. mystery jig

    mystery jig Van Gogh's Banjo

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2007
    Oddometer:
    205
    Location:
    State 'O' Maine
    I’m OK with cold but windy, cold rain...


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    #12
  13. fastredbike

    fastredbike back on the loose

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Oddometer:
    639
    Location:
    Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada
    I'm definitely in for this. I'm looking forward to your photos and I like the way you put your words together. You're pretty early in the season but that will add to the adventure - blackflies likely won't be a problem for you - I doubt they'll have thawed yet.
    I'm planning to go back to Newf but in July. Going to try to take my time this time - looking to you for inspiration. Good luck!
    #13
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  14. nick949eldo

    nick949eldo Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2010
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    Location:
    Inverary, Ontario, Canada
    Having ridden it in 2012 on my 72 Guzzi Eldorado and driven it last October in the relative luxury of an SUV, I can tell you, even though plenty is now paved it's still a heck of a trip. Have a great time. Take it easy, smell the woods, enjoy yourselves and good luck.

    Nick
    #14
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  15. John F

    John F Been here awhile

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    Oct 21, 2015
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    Location:
    South Windsor, CT
    Mid May? I did it two years ago Memorial Day weekend and most of the lakes were still frozen and I was stopped by snow drifts halfway up the Esker Road. Stay warm.
    #15
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  16. mystery jig

    mystery jig Van Gogh's Banjo

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2007
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    I remember reading your report. I still want an Eldorado!


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    #16
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  17. The Haymaker

    The Haymaker Testing Newtons Laws......

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Cowtipping, USA
    I'm glad you're doing this! We (I?) depart on the 28th to run ccw, as planned.

    See ya there!
    #17
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  18. Mustang28027

    Mustang28027 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2004
    Oddometer:
    180
    Location:
    Concord, NC
    I have about 160 points of interest to hit on my trip. It will take me a while to get to the Canadian line. Will not get there until perhaps mid June! :) If I may ask, what were the temps like at that time? Dave
    #18
  19. John Nash

    John Nash Bluenoser

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2009
    Oddometer:
    281
    Location:
    New Market,MD.
    I'm from Nova Scotia. Take heated cloths. Have a great adventure.
    #19
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  20. Schmokel

    Schmokel Key to Happiness: Low Expectations

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Up. And to the right.
    Yea, I'm in to watch this. Definitely on my bucket list of places to ride.
    #20
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