Visiting the Canucks again....solo from Virginia to Labrador and Newfoundland

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Brett737cap, Jul 23, 2019.

  1. Brett737cap

    Brett737cap Life is short... leave with no regrets. Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2002
    Oddometer:
    854
    Location:
    Colonial Beach, VA
    For the third summer in a row I’m hitting Canada. Year one was the Gaspe Peninsula, year two was 2-up with my wife to the Maritimes, NS & PEI. Both of those were on my Africa Twin. This year it would be a GS Rallye I bought last year and which served me well in May on the MABDR. My wife elected to sit this one out and fly into St. John’s NF to meet me for a few days this year.

    You would think they would’ve learned not to let me in by now. And maybe they won’t, we shall see. The loose plan (except for ferry reservations which seem to be essential if you want to get on, so I had to plan those at least) is to leave Virginia and head North to Quebec and then on to do the Trans Labrador Highway clockwise to Newfoundland, over to St Johns to meet my wife, then the ferry to NS after she leaves, making my way home from there. Other than that very general itinerary , my plans are laid in sand at low tide.

    After packing and re-packing several times (you would think I would have it down after all these years) I decided to use my Mosko bags and not the hard cases. I just like them better.
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    I left just before sunrise to beat the brutal heatwave which had been baking the mid-atlantic states. Even so, it was 92 by 11am as I headed North through Maryland, Delaware, and NJ making quick time on the Interstates. I just wanted to get north to the cooler weather. Be careful what you wish for.

    A few hours into the trip I noticed one of the straps which holds the end of the Mosko pannier roll top was completely missing. It had torn off somehow at the attachment point. I have no idea how. I probably never fastened it and it got ripped off. Luckily I keep a couple of small straps attaching things to my duffle and was able to use one to cinch down the pannier top. Hopefully I can get it repaired somehow after the trip. If anybody knows how I’m open to suggestions.

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    By early afternoon I was in NY and encountered steady downpours for my last 3 hours of riding. I’ve always been happy with my Klim gear, but even it was no match for the steady rain, heavy at times, 75mph speeds, and road spray. The new waterproof
    Gloves I had bought just prior to the trip proved useless as I couldn’t get them onto my already wet hands.
    I had to ride with my short summer gloves, water making its way up my arms as I rode. The temp dropped to about 63 and soon I had water on my shirt, in my helmet, and in my boots and was feeling a bit cold. Thank god for heated grips. I stopped at the only motorcycle shop I passed and looked for new gloves but they didn’t have many waterproof ones and none that fit me. It was a Harley shop and they all came out to see the GS and the crazy dude riding in pouring rain. Everyone was super nice and they apologized for not being able to help me. The sales lady told me “Harley riders don’t ride in the rain much, so we don’t stock those gloves.” True story.

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    I reached my friend’s house in Manchester VT around 5pm, soaked to the bone and shivering. 491 miles for the day. After changing out of my wet gear we enjoyed a salmon dinner and the bottle of wine I picked up in town. Hopefully day 2 would be a little drier.
    #1
  2. StayFrosty

    StayFrosty Mid Life Crisis -Wish it happened 20 yrs ago Supporter

    Joined:
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    Love the start. An adventure right out of the gate. Can’t ask for much more! Safe travels and look forward to more!

    SF
    #2
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  3. Brett737cap

    Brett737cap Life is short... leave with no regrets. Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2002
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Colonial Beach, VA
    Day 2: Manchester Vt to the Quebec City suburbs just NW of the city.

    I hung out with my friends in the morning for a few hours while waiting for the rain to stop. I just didn’t want to get soaked again and it was raining pretty hard when I woke at 6am. I had dried the pants, jacket, and gloves in their dryer but couldn’t do anything about the wet helmet liner and boots. The rain stopped about 10am and I was packed and ready to go by 11.

    I headed North out of Manchester through the small town of Dorset, stopping at the country store for a photo op and some deviled eggs.

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    As I headed North on Rte 22a the weather was close to perfect. 70 degrees and partly sunny skies. The roads were drying nicely and I pushed Vermont’s 50mph statewide speed limit (wtf Vermont....50?!). Vermont is a beautiful state with awesome riding, which is why my wife and I are selling our house in Virginia and looking for a place in Vermont.

    I was trying to make good time and needed to make a stop at the Frank’s BMW outside of Burlington, so I didn’t stop except for this one pic by an old bridge. I had to ride between some big rocks and down the footpath to get the pic. While I was down there a cop passed by and I thought for sure he would get onto me for riding down there, but he didn't seem to care.
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    I arrived at the BMW dealer around 2pm. My old waterproof gloves had finally worn out and I bought some nice new Klim gloves prior to leaving. They had fit perfectly in the showroom, but when I tried to put them on after it started raining yesterday, I found that I could not get my wet hand in them no matter how hard I tried. Brain surgeon that I am, I forgot to get them a little big so that my hands could slip in. As such, I now had no warm waterproof gloves for Labrador. So I was on a mission to find some. Thankfully the BMW had a much better selection than the Harley dealer yesterday and I found some that would work.
    #3
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  4. Manrider218

    Manrider218 Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
    USA
    Very Nice
    [​IMG]
    #4
  5. Brett737cap

    Brett737cap Life is short... leave with no regrets. Supporter

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Colonial Beach, VA
    I stared into the faceless camera as a disembodied voice asked, in a French accent, “Why did you chose this very small border crossing instead of the main one on the highway?” Clearly they thought I was suspicious. I looked into the camera and spoke to the unseen agent, “Ummm, because I don’t like big border stations, I find them impersonal and I like the interaction with people, plus I don’t like waiting in line.” Yeah, so much for that here. Well, at least there had been no line.

    Ok, I’ll backtrack a little....After I left Burlington I stopped and looked at the map to find a small border crossing not too far out of my way. I really do like small stations better. There is usually a line of cars at the ones on the interstate, plus the agents at the big stations are overworked and have attitude sometimes. They are just nicer at the small stations. I found one just a little east of the interstate at a place called Morses line. As I pulled up the place had a gate down, and then past that a building that looked like the service garage at a car dealer.

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    I was a little worried they would not like me taking pics of their crossing, but nobody said a thing. I expected the gate would raise as I pulled up but nothing happened. Was I at a commercial vehicle only crossing? Or maybe it was closed. I looked around and saw a call box with a button and a sign that said push for assistance. I pushed it and someone answered and told me the gate and garage door would open in 30 seconds and to pull my bike in.

    I pulled in and up to the window and shut my bike down, removed my helmet, and got my passport out. Nobody showed up. Then, through my earplugs I heard someone behind me saying “ ‘Ello, ‘Ello Monsieur, behind you please step up to the camera”. I turned and saw a camera and passport scanner behind me. I had pulled up close to the window, not expecting to get off the bike, so I had to do my best Cirque du Soleil contortionist imitation to get off and squeeze between the bike and the wall.

    And we are back at where this part started..... the agent explained that the station personnel are off at 4pm, after which it operates as a remote station. Weird. I’ve never heard of a remotely-operated border station. He gave me the 3rd degree about why, how long, if I had weapons or drugs, and all the other stuff, but strangely he never had me scan my passport. Once he was satisfied I wasn’t a terrorist or drug smuggler he told me the other door would open and I could continue. Strangest border crossing I’ve ever had.

    After leaving the border I wound my way down the small roads of rural Quebec, passing farms and small towns until I Found what I was in search of....Poutine, the roadside eatery provincial pride of Quebec. I love Poutine. I mean, what’s not to love. It’s French Fries, gravy, and cheese curds. Other than two deviled eggs, I hadn’t eaten all day so that I could have a guilt-free poutine. I ordered a small order at a roadside cantina and enjoyed every last bite.

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    While I was eating my fat bomb, err, Poutine, I looked over at my bike and noticed something with a beak on the beak of the GS. It wasn’t moving. That explained the feathers. After leaving Burlington I had been cruising along and all the sudden feathers flew up from where the forks go through the frame. I just figured there had been some in the air or on the ground that wafted up. No. There was a small bird lying on my beak. Somehow I never saw him when he hit me, and then he stayed there all the way to Poutine land. Poor little bugger. I guess I wasn’t exactly correct when I told the customs officer I wasn’t bringing any animals in with me.
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    The rest of the day was uneventful and uninteresting. I made my way back to the Interstate and rode the super slab to make good time and make it just north of Quebec City to be in a good position to head to Labrador.

    Btw, did you know that the fancy TFT screen on the GS will not display KPH. Yep...you go to settings and Units, and there is no way to change the speedo to KPH. It’ll Change gallons to liters, and F to C, but not MPH to KPH. I verified that online too. The American market bikes won’t do it, but you lucky Canucks can change yours back and forth. What a load of crap. It’s not like these things were designed to travel or anything....
    #5
  6. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2017
    Oddometer:
    601
    A cheapo VStrom changes back and forth between MPH and KPH quite easily. BMW would have had to charge you extra for that. ;)
    #6
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  7. Brett737cap

    Brett737cap Life is short... leave with no regrets. Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2002
    Oddometer:
    854
    Location:
    Colonial Beach, VA
    My old Africa Twin changed quite easily too. I don’t know why BMW does not. I talked to my dealer today and they can do it for free but it has to be brought in to change it and then change it back. What a load of BS. :hair
    #7
  8. Brett737cap

    Brett737cap Life is short... leave with no regrets. Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2002
    Oddometer:
    854
    Location:
    Colonial Beach, VA
    Day 3: 256 miles, Quebec City to Baie-Comeau.

    I slept in today. I needed it. I had only gotten about 4-5 hours sleep the last two nights and was feeling the fatigue. The problem with sleeping in is it cuts into your riding when you have a longer day planned. I woke up about 8:30 but then I dawdled, got some coffee, and found an ATM. By the time I was actually on the road it was almost 11am. I was planning to go all the way to Manic-Cinq and that was almost 400 miles on slower roads. According to google I had time before sunset.

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    The day was beautiful for riding. Temps varied between 60 and 72 all day and there were just a few clouds. As I headed North along the St Lawrence River, traffic was Busy. There were a lot of trucks, cars, RVs, and quite a few other riders. The views along the River were gorgeous and the road would parallel the river for a while then go inland and wind its way over the forested hills.

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    As I continued north the traffic lightened up, thankfully, but it remained a steady stream of vehicles going both north and south. There was quite a bit of construction which slowed things down enough for me to start worrying about making my destination before sunset. I kept my stops to a minimum to stay on time, but had to take a few of the gorgeous scenery.

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    At the Saguenay River there is no bridge for some reason. So you have to take a free ferry across that runs continuously. As I pulled up to the Line of cars waiting to get on I decided to go to the front. One of the advantages of a bike! As I came up on other bikers I stopped and told them “Bikes go to the front” and like the pied piper they all followed me. I figured the ferry staff wouldn’t turn us all back, and I was right. Better to ask forgiveness than permission! We got on first and off first.

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    I headed north, getting hungry now but not wanting waste time by stopping for food, so I compromised with myself and stopped for a quick power bar. That was all I had eaten all day and it was 4 already.

    I was following my GPS and it turned me onto the road that I thought was route 389 which would take me towards Labrador. The road quickly turned to Gravel and I thought, “that was quick”. I switched to enduro mode and plowed on.

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    The road then turned and started getting kind of rocky and rutty, but I just figured maybe it was a temporary detour. The the road started narrowing and mud holes were appearing. Strange.

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    But I stupidly continued on, figuring it was just temporary as I splashed through the mud and bumped over the rocks and holes. Good thing I had fairly new TKC-80s as it was pretty muddy in spots. Finally I came to a place where the road was no wider than a Jeep trail and water extensively covered the whole road, and I could see more water in the distance. Ok, I’m not always the brightest bulb, but I knew this was not right. Hadn’t I read that 18-wheelers traverse the Trans-Lab? No way an 18-wheeler was going this way! I decided my GPS had led me astray and, with a sigh, turned around and backtracked.

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    I then found the real Highway 389 and started down it towards my day’s destination. But then I realized that the wrong-way detour had cost me. I was going to arrive a half-hour last sunset. I’m not afraid of the dark. But I don’t want to ride a winding road in moose country at night. So, reluctantly, I made the smart decision and turned around and headed back towards Baie-Comeau. I searched the net and found a cheap motel to spend the night. Now I have to decide...do I do a long day to Labrador City tomorrow or do I just do a short day to where I was going to go today and take an extra day doing the ride to Newfoundland? I’ll probably do the latter and just enjoy a slow day.

    Attached Files:

    #8
  9. sc00tertrash

    sc00tertrash Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2013
    Oddometer:
    27
    Location:
    Porland, OR
    Subscribed! Beautiful bike and great story!:clap:clap:clap
    #9
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  10. Brett737cap

    Brett737cap Life is short... leave with no regrets. Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2002
    Oddometer:
    854
    Location:
    Colonial Beach, VA
    Why thank you kind sir! Depending on internet availability, updates may not be every day the next few days....
    #10
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  11. Brett737cap

    Brett737cap Life is short... leave with no regrets. Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2002
    Oddometer:
    854
    Location:
    Colonial Beach, VA
    Days 4- 208 Miles, Baie-Comaeu to Station Uapishka

    I got out of Baie-Comaeu fairly early on day four, and decided to head to a place North of Manic-Cinq, called Station Uapishka. It is basically a lodge for snowmobilers and in the summer they host anglers and tourists.

    I stopped by the local Tim Hortons for a coffee, where they gave me a Frappacino cold drink instead of a cappuccino hot drink that I ordered and then tried to charge me for the hot drink as well as the cold drink, which I had already paid for, even though it was their mistake. After a few second Mexican standoff where I said I wasn’t paying again, they gave in. Tim Hortons is ok, but I honestly don’t see why people line up for the place. The coffee is Meh, the food is Meh, and the service is slow. I only go because it’s a Canadian institution. A Canadian friend once joked to me that they make the Canadians who don’t like Tim’s disappear, never to be heard of again, and tell their friends and neighbors that they moved to the US. Outside of Tims was another GS with a cooler strapped to the rear seat. I guess that’s one way to carry more.
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    I stopped by the local supermarket for some food for camping. They have snails in a can there. I’ve had Escargot in France but I can’t imagine eating them from a can. I didn’t buy any.

    The day was a perfect riding day. Temps in the 60s to low 70s and mostly sunny. As I headed North on Rte 389 I quickly left all the traffic of the coastal road behind. The road was beautiful ribbon of asphalt which undulated up and down over wooded hills and snakes it’s way between numerous picturesque lakes and mountains. It was truly a wonderful road. There were a few patches of gravel where it was under repair, but ample warning was given. There were also a few longish one-way construction zones, but the wait wasn’t long, and I just go past the line on the right, to the front. Nobody seems to care. Is that asshole-ish? I figure as long as I don’t hold anyone up after bypassing them all, it’s ok.

    I like to hydrate well in the morning and I drink about a liter of water when I wake. The bad thing is that, at 52 years, and after a coffee as well, my bladder doesn’t last long any more. So then I’m trying to jump off, piss in the bushes, and get going again before any of the cars I passed catch up to me. It was like that the whole first 2 hours.

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    Near the Manic-Cinq dam, the largest Buttressed dam in the world, I stopped for gas and Poutine at the Hotel L’energie, which was originally to be my night’s stay the previous night. After leaving there I stopped briefly at the visitors center for the damn but opted not to take the 2-hour tour after hearing that the next one was in an hour. I didn’t want to spend 3 hours there, so I did the photo ops and continued on.
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    Heading up the hill around the dam the road turned to dirt and gravel and continued that way for 60 miles to Relais-Gabriel. It was what I would call a good dirt road. The riding was easy and fast and I was doing 44-50mph most of the way. Initially there was some construction where there were a lot of sharp curves and hills, but then it straightened out and you could see a mile or two down the road. There was very little traffic, just the occasional 18-wheeler or pickup passing me in the opposite direction. The solitude was heaven. I did get passed once, by a passenger bus going like a bat out of hell. He passed me going at least 20mph faster and I swear he was drifting around the next corner. Glad I wasn’t on that bus. I only passed two other riders the whole time on the dirt and they were on full-dress Harley’s. Respect!

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    I came to Station Uapishka and turned down their gravel road. When I pulled up, the place looked brand new and it looked like they were still building. There was one tractor moving dirt around but he stopped to talk to me. It turned out he was the Manager, David, and yes, they were open. This was their new building, just finished this year. He offered me a room but I wanted to camp on the lake, so he showed me how to get down there. It was only $10 to camp. The campsite was on the Manicouagan Reservoir, sometimes called the Eye of Quebec because it resembles a large eye when seen from the air. It is so large it can be seen from space. The reservoir was created when the Manic Cinq dam was completed. It filled in a meteor crater created 214 million years ago (for
    Those of you that believe in creation, 7000 years ago when God made it) and has a huge island in the middle.
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    I had to take the road back out and turn down the road towards their old facility. I headed out onto the beach he had pointed out and made the mistake of going a little too far. The sand got loose and soft and the rear tire dug in. I decided to turn around, but dropped the bike executing a U-turn in the soft sand. Sigh. Off came the bags to lighten the bike, and the helmet and jacket since it was a little warm. The black flies and mosquitoes swarmed me immediately. I lifted her up, jumped back on the bike and gave her a little throttle. The TKCs bit and I was able to get her out and turned around into firmer ground.

    I walked back to get my stuff and realized I’m and idiot. I had set the bags, helmet, and jacket down about 5 feet behind the bike. They were covered with sand, as I had roosted the bike out and sprayed the sand all over my stuff. One of these days I’ll develop some common sense.

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    As I was picking up my stuff I noticed something in the sand. I started seeing more and more of them. Bear tracks. Lots of them. Small and large. Clearly this was their watering hole. That was strike 3. The sand was the first strike. It gets in your tent and bag no matter how careful you are. I could live with that. Bugs, strike 2. Still not out. A bear congregation area? Strike 3. I loaded up the stuff and went back to the lodge and told David I would do a room after all. I got a small single room. The place had bathrooms down the hall. Dinner was $35 and was excellent, done dining hall style with the other guests. David was not only the manager, but the chef as well. He did a 15 on/15 off schedule and was working in his masters degree in project management when he wasn’t managing the lodge.

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    While there I met another rider on an old, highly modified, KLR650. I wish I remembered his name. Interesting guy. He was retired and had ridden that KLR, nicknamed “Tink” from Arkansas to Alaska and back over here to Newfoundland and was going the opposite way as me. He had custom racks with dry bags on them, a custom fairing, and an 11 gallon tank. Fascinating guy.
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    I went to sleep at 8:30 and slept soundly until the sun came up, about 4:30 am .
    #11
  12. 'Bob'

    'Bob' Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2015
    Oddometer:
    230
    Location:
    Newfoundland
    Nice report and pics! Thanks for taking the time to do this while on the road. :-)
    #12
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  13. nuvi2595

    nuvi2595 n00b

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1
    "but couldn’t do anything about the wet helmet liner and boots. " Use a fan blowing on the items ALL night. The moving air will usually do it. At a hotel ask the front desk,there is usually one in the kitchen/breakfast room that they will let you use at night.
    #13
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  14. Brett737cap

    Brett737cap Life is short... leave with no regrets. Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2002
    Oddometer:
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    Colonial Beach, VA
    Thanks! Gives me something to do at night before bed. Tomorrow is Goose to Port Hope Simpson. I’ll be at the limits of my range, even with extra gas.
    #14
  15. Brett737cap

    Brett737cap Life is short... leave with no regrets. Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2002
    Oddometer:
    854
    Location:
    Colonial Beach, VA
    Day 5: Station Uapishka to Labrador City, 157 miles.

    The sun comes up early this far North. I think I started seeing first light at about 4am. I was able to roll over and sleep until 0630 but then my body said “nope”. I got up to no electricity at the lodge. It had gone out and the backup generator hadn’t started, apparently. No big deal though, who needs electricity? I planned on leaving early anyhow, and don’t usually eat breakfast early. I packed and rolled out at about 0730. The day was beautiful as I turned onto 389 towards Labrador City.

    The road was more of the same paved stuff from the day before. The asphalt ribbon flowed over hills and around gentle curves. The scenery became more Tundra-like as I progressed North, with both small and large lakes every mile or two, pine trees and far as the eye could see, and marshy wetlands. I kept my eyes peeled for moose or others critters but I never did see any. Solitude was plentiful though, and I encountered very little traffic.

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    Not too far North I encountered an area where the road split into divided lanes and crosswalks crossed the road. This was the town of Gagnon. I was to find out later in the day that Gagnon was a mining ghost town. In its heyday it had 4000 residents and it boasted an airport (the highway was not yet built so it was accessible only by air), hospital, shops, schools, churches, and an arena. Following the Iron Ore crisis of 1982, the mines were closed and the town was dismantled. The residential streets and airport runway are all that remain. The Main Street became part of Highway 389....hence the divided road.

    I found a dirt road that looked like it went to the airport so I decided to try it out. As I was only doing 157 miles that day, fuel was not a concern, so a detour was ok. The road was pretty rocky and had a few stagnant water crossings but the GS handled it well despite the load she was carrying. I came out on the old runway and stopped for some pics before returning to the highway.

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    I continued up the highway and soon came to Fire Lake, another large Iron Ore mine. The road turned back to dirt at Fire Lake and continued that way for 54 miles until reaching the mine at Fermont. It was more fast hard-packed dirt and I was able to get up to 60mph on the straight stretches. However, the road was NOT straight. It followed the railroad, cris-crossing the tracks multiple times and going around many curves. I saw a few other riders on adventure bikes going the other way. I stopped for a quick chicken salad and cracker lunch on the side of the road, and then continued on, stopping to take a quick pic near the mine.

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    I stopped in the mining town of Fermont for gas and a photo op at the monster Tonka Truck. There was a huge building which showed as the Hotel Fermont on google maps. It was massive and I just figured it was a huge hotel to house mine workers. I found out later that evening that it is called “The Wall” and it is a housing structure built in the 60s. (https://www.houseporn.ca/landscape/article/the_wall_housing_structure_in_fermont_quebec ) It contains everything one could need without ever going outside into the harsh winter environment. Hospital, nightclub, bars, shopping, housing, all in one building. It reminded me of some futuristic moon base.

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    After leaving Fermont I officially entered Labrador and headed to Labrador City.

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    I needed a book to read at night so that I didn’t while away my time drinking beer and getting fat, so I stopped at the Walmart and Canadian Tire there as you enter the town. They were closed. The whole mall was shut down, and it wasn’t a holiday nor a Sunday. It was Friday afternoon. Wtf?! There were no signs saying anything about closing. An older couple pulled up in an RV and started walking to the door as I was standing outside, so I told them it was closed and asked if they knew why. They had no clue. Like me, they were from Virginia and doing the TLH, but in the opposite direction. We talked for a bit and I mentioned needing a book. Turns out they had a bunch of books they were going to dump at a library, so they let me browse their selection and pick a book. The kindness of strangers.

    After leaving the Wal-Mart I stopped for gas and asked the clerk why the mall was closed. Turns out there was a big rowing regatta going on in nearby Wabush and everyone was down there for Regatta Day. I decided to go have a look, as it was only a couple of miles away. It was a community festival with food and games and music, as well as the rowing. I enjoyed some Vietnamese spring rolls and pork skewers while observing the activities.
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    As I headed back to Labrador City I had to check out the airport because I always have to check out airports. There was a corporate BAE-Jetstream 32 there, the same plane which I had my first command in at the commuter airlines. Not many of those around any more. They were a POS.

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    I checked into the 2-Seasons Inn in Labrador and the went for a run around the residential streets. After cleaning up I went for dinner across the street at a BBQ joint, Baba-Qs.

    If you are ever in Labrador City, I highly recommend you go to Baba-Qs. I met the owner and his wife, Chris and Denise, and they were very welcoming. Chris is a rider too and knew all about my GS and riding the TLH. He is the one who told me about Gagnon, Fire Lake, and The Wall in Fermont. He was a wealth of local knowledge. He has travelled extensively and discovered Southern BBQ while in the States and fell in love with it, so he opened his place a year ago. The food was amazing! Real smoked meats, done properly. No fake liquid smoke. He takes pride in his BBQ and gets different wood to smoke it with to change the flavors. Plus the bar has a great beer selection and good ambiance. I was so glad I went there. With a belly full of good beer and BBQ, I slept well.

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    #15
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  16. psd96

    psd96 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2014
    Oddometer:
    47
    Location:
    Central North Carolina
    Great writing and enjoyable to read. I'm leaving 5 August headed to NS, but I might just change course and follow the same route you are doing. Thanks for all the good info in your reports.
    #16
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  17. Brett737cap

    Brett737cap Life is short... leave with no regrets. Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2002
    Oddometer:
    854
    Location:
    Colonial Beach, VA
    Day 6: Labrador City to Goose Bay, 329 miles.

    Every day I think “it can’t get more desolate than this” and every day I’m proved wrong. This truly was the loneliest leg. It was a loooong time between seeing other vehicles. Long enough that I could park in the middle of the highway with no worries that another vehicle would be along anytime soon (mind you, I still kept an eye out).

    I left Labrador City under cloudy skies with a threat of rain, but the temps were pleasant at least. Around 70 degrees. First leg was up to Churchill Falls for some gas and then on to Goose Bay. The entire route was paved so it would be easy riding. I set the cruise control at 20 KMH over the limit and just cruised. I never saw a single police car. In fact, I have not seen any since leaving Baie-Comeau.

    The scenery was Tundra, lakes, and first for the next 329 miles. It was beautiful, and the isolation was perfect for someone who is a little bit of an introvert.

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    I don’t have a lot to report for this day. It was all Cruise-control on, easy and pleasant riding. It started raining on me about an hour out of Churchill Falls. It was not the pouring wet, water gets down everything, kind of rain. It was more of a light drizzly rain that was not unpleasant to ride in and I was able to stay dry underneath my gear. I switched to rain mode, covered my tank bag to protect my camera, and pressed on. I looked for critters again all day today but, alas, saw none.

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    I entered Churchill Falls just after noon for gas and a quick lunch of crackers and canned tuna salad. The town is pretty much all workers for the local Hydroelectric power station, which is the 10th largest in the world. I was told that it supplies power for much of the US Eastern Seaboard. Rather than a large single dam, it consists of 88 dykes the stretch 64km in length. It’s power station is 300M underground and is as large as a 15 store building. Apparently you can take a tour but I didn’t want to spend the time for that. I’m not much on guided tours. So I got gas at the towns only station and headed on.
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    The ride to Goose Bay was about another 180 miles and was more of the same. The terrain gradually became more hilly and mountainous and I descended back towards sea level. I had to stop and take a pic parked in the middle of the highway because, when do you ever get to do that?

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    Goose Bay (8100 population) is a dusty little town with a huge airport and Canadian Air Force Bay. To me Goose is significant because it is one of the enroute alternate airports we use when I fly to and from Europe all the time. We are always checking weather at Goose Bay (CYYR) in case we have a problem that necessitates a diversion there. It was also a Space Shuttle alternate landing field. It was neat to finally see, at eye level, the place that I’ve studied and talked about for so many years of flying the Atlantic routes in airliners. I rode to the airport and took a few pics before heading to my hotel, Hotel North two, for the night. They had a few cool old planes at the airport entrance....one is the Vulcan bomber, one of my favorites and a cool looking plane if ever there was one. The PBY Catalina there is also a favorite of mine. I would love to have one and tour the world in it.

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    Day 7 will be the the dicier day. It will be 250ish miles of gravel, which other travelers coming the opposite direction tell me is recently laid so it’s a little deep and loose. That doesn’t really worry me though. What I’m a little apprehensive about is that it’s 251 miles to the next fuel stop and I have about a 200-225 mile tank. I have 4 extra 1-liter fuel bottles with me, and that’s all I have room for, so it will have to be enough. On pavement I was getting about 42-47mpg, but on gravel I’m not sure. I’ll have to really watch my throttle control and no detours at all off the road. I should have just enough range to get there with maybe a liter of gas left. It’ll be tight!
    #17
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  18. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,189
    Nice rr .. pity though that you were on the cruise control so much that you didn't savour some a few more picturesque stops(at least no picture or mention made ) ; you are not piloting an airplane now so you can afford the time ..You missed out on some excellent scenery - Each time I pass through I cant resist parking the bike and going for a short walk in places like this ...

    DSC06495.JPG ...along the stretch of highway as it desecnds from the tundra/taiga plateau into the valley near Muskrat Falls Falls and the sandy hills are covered with aspen and poplar forest with a carpet of reindeer moss ;look down and you can get close to the landscape and see stuff you won't notice if whizzing by at 140km/h.
    After fueling up at Port Hope Simpson take side roads to the coast villages . there are also scenes worth investigating from PSH southward - dont fly-over .
    You ought not be in a mad rush to catch a reserved ferry at Blanc Sablon , you will always get across that strait , even if it means a few hours wait to get on the next run of the ferry .
    Reserving the ferry ( either one ) from the island to North Sydney is recommended but you can do that by phone a day ahead , when in Newfoundland when you know for sure which day you want to get aboard .

    Attached Files:

    #18
  19. psd96

    psd96 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2014
    Oddometer:
    47
    Location:
    Central North Carolina
    I remember when the Vulcans were still flying, they were almost stealthy on Radar, almost. They were loud with a 2 level cabin configuration. Looking forward to your day 7 report.
    #19
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  20. Brett737cap

    Brett737cap Life is short... leave with no regrets. Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2002
    Oddometer:
    854
    Location:
    Colonial Beach, VA
    Thanks for the reminder to slow down. I’m not a good tourist. I always want to stop but then I think I better get there and get a place for the night. I also often try to cram too much into my available time so that I’m just riding riding riding every day with no time to stop and look at stuff. I did stop at Mary’s Harbor, red bay, and the lighthouse today..... plus I explored the tundra on foot a little bit.
    #20
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