Saturday, 30 June 2012

August 26th-27th, 2010

We had an early start today in order to secure a spot on the ferry.  People without a reservation has to purchase their ticket at the kiosk an hour and a half or so before departure; even that doesn’t guarantee a spot because they set aside a few spots for those who don’t have a reservation on a first come first serve basis.  Overcast this morning; looks like it might even rain.  Blue berries didn’t work; got a bit of a headache, a sore throat and a cough to go with it.  Hopefully we can get a spot on the ferry so I can lie down and rest.

I guess this would be the start of the TLH if one were to begin from this end

They packed all the cars and trucks onto the ferry first and we noticed there were still a few cars ahead of us.  This doesn’t look good.  Finally someone signaled us to come aboard and we ended up being the last ones.  Why all the suspense?  The rest of the people travelling by car weren’t that lucky and had to wait for the next ferry. 

So that’s a wrap on the Trans Labrador Highway; much fun was had.  So long Labrador, we’ll miss you.

Time for some much needed rest.  Good thing the waters weren’t too choppy, sea sickness is another weakness of mine and Amanda.  Remember Key West? 

The island of Newfoundland up ahead

Touching down in Newfoundland means my bike and I have ridden through all the provinces and territories in Canada with the exception of Nunavut.  Is there a back road into Nunavut?  I wonder.  Amanda and her bike will do the same once we ride through Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick. 

We picked up a few brochures on Newfoundland and decided to see some Viking artifacts in L’Anse aux Meadows.  We also picked up a snowmobile brochure that had a map detailing all the trails on the island.  The legend pointed out rustic cabins along the trails that are free to use; might come in handy if we can’t find a place to pitch our tent.  One of the cabins is not too far off from the highway on our way to L’Anse aux Meadows so we decided to check it out.  After searching for about an hour or so, the cabin was nowhere to be found.  Maybe they take them down in the off season; who knows? 

We ran into Dominique and John by chance in St. Anthony where we stocked up on food and supplies.  They were coming back from L’Anse aux Meadows and gave us directions to a place where we can potentially stealth camp.

The place ended up being way too much out in the open so we decided to look elsewhere.  We ended up finding a spot behind a pile of chopped wood, which is one of the things we noticed upon landing in Newfoundland.  Piles of chopped wood would randomly appear off to the side of the highway.  It’s important to have some cover, especially for Amanda, to do our business when we need to…

…like this animal for instance.  Not sure if this is moose or bear dung.  Better keep the bear spray close by. 

The next day was raining and windy so we decided to stay put.  I was feeling like crap and needed to rest anyway. 

Amanda went out and bought Newfoundland treats to lift our spirits.  Oddly enough she saw a man dressed as a Viking at the convenience store; probably just got off work from the park. 

194 km

So long Labrador.

Dang, must’ve caught the flu bug.

Welcome to “The Rock”. 

Friday, 29 June 2012

August 25th, 2010

Clear skies and lots of sun; another great day for riding on the Trans Labrador Highway.  After a quick breakfast of the usual raw oats with peanut butter chips mixed in, we were on the road again.  It didn’t take long before the unexpected happened; Amanda’s bike ran out of fuel.  She usually gets around 450 km to a tank, but for some reason she was a bit thirstier than usual; could it be bad fuel?   It could be a while before someone comes along to rescue us.  

Not to worry!  Luckily we have our trusty siphon DeerslayR gave us back in New Jersey.  Besides the one time we had to use it to get DeerslayR out of a jam, this will be the first time we had to use it on our trip.  I’ve wondered whether or not we’ll use it at some point. 

With my IMS aftermarket fuel tank, I can average around 600 km to a tank; plenty to go around in times like these.  Only problem is in order to get the fuel running out through the siphon, we needed a container placed lower than my fuel tank.  Hopefully this Zip-Lock bag does the trick.

Not sure how much fuel to transfer in, we poured only a little at a time.  As a result, Amanda ran empty 3 times and we repeated the whole process.  We even did the ol’ tipping of the bike on its left side to salvage whatever fuel that was remaining in the tank.  It was a tedious process since our Zip-Lock bag could only carry so much fuel at one time; what I didn’t want to end up happening was having the both of us stranded without any fuel.  Slowly, but surely we made it to Port Hope Simpson and refueled. 

We were interested in taking the ferry to Battle Harbour, but the price was not in our budget.

If I were to pick the sketchiest section of the TLH, my vote would have to be the section right before Red Bay.  Construction crews probably laid fresh gravel over the road because it felt almost like riding in sand.  Amanda remembers having a holy $#*! moment when she nearly hit an oncoming truck head on.  The soft gravel had her slipping and sliding to the other side of the road until instinct and experience told her to add a little more throttle to correct the bike’s position.  The driver of the truck also helped when he noticed Amanda swerving and decided to slow down almost to a complete stop.  Phew; another close call. 

We stopped at the visitor’s centre in Red Bay to get information on the ferry in Blanc Sablon to Newfoundland.  A reservation is necessary if travelling by car, but not so much on a motorcycle.

We stopped at a convenience store to top off on fuel and started chatting with the lady working there.  She had mini pizzas on sale for cheap and we decided to have dinner there.  One thing led to the next and before we knew it, she gave us directions to the perfect spot to pitch our tent…

…next to Point Amour Lighthouse

It was quite windy along the coast so we set up our tent next to an abandoned warehouse close by to shelter us from the wind

It was my turn to start feeling a little under the weather so Amanda went out to pick blue berries for much needed vitamin C.  What a gal!

Hopefully this will help my body to recover…we shall see. 

259 km

No fuel in the boons.

Almost run over by truck.

A lot in one day.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

August 24th, 2010

We rode back into town to top off on fuel and met an entourage of adventure riders with support vehicle in tow.  PavementPounder offered to put us up for a night when we pass by in New Brunswick.

And we’re off!  The newly made Phase III of the Trans Labrador Highway. 

392 km till the next fuel station?  No problem. 

How many motorcyclists have ridden this stretch of highway before us?  I would guess at least a hundred. 

Lunch break by the river, but at an irritating cost.  Once again these little black flies that seem to be everywhere know exactly where to pinpoint despite being covered up.

Not many humans have ventured into these parts; not yet at least.  The gravel road was nicely made; a few soft spots here and there, but nothing us novices couldn’t handle. 

We rode just shy of reaching the end of the new section and camped at a pullout near Cartwright Junction.  It looked like it was going to rain so we thought we better quit while we’re still ahead.

The version of Microsoft Streets & Trips I have on my laptop doesn’t have the new section mapped out, but this would be the route one would have to take prior to December 16 of 2009.

Brand new gravel road.

Cartwright will be a ghost town.

Trans Lab is complete. 

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

August 23rd, 2010 pt.2

After we helped the lady change her flat tire, we continued riding along the TLH and came across a paved section as we drew closer to Happy Valley-Goose Bay.  Judging by the color, it looks like the road was paved very recently.  Is that it for the TLH?  Tell me it ain’t so!

Pavement didn’t last too long, but it’s only a matter of time the whole highway will be paved.  We stopped at the local grocery store and stocked up on food.

We met this fella at the grocery store and he followed us on his bicycle to the visitor’s centre where we had lunch.  As we were pulling out from the store, the kid was frantically trying to keep up with us, but wiped out in the process.  He was alright though. 

We asked the lady working at the visitor centre if there’s a free place to camp near town and she directed us to Gosling Park, a former campground that’s been abandoned.

After scoping out a few sites, the best spot ended up being the gazebo by the lake; saves me from unpacking the rainfly. 

I think this might be the second or third time Amanda brought out her tape recorder since she bought it back in Washington D.C.

We blew a few bubbles for entertainment…

…watched the sunset…

…had an apple for dessert…

…and watched the moon rise.

280 km

Large sandy plateau.

Former U.S. air force base.

A beautiful night.


Tuesday, 26 June 2012

August 23rd, 2010 pt.1

Visibility was very poor due to foggy conditions as I took a quick peek outside this morning; looks like we’re sleeping in then.  The fog started to clear as the sun rose higher in the sky later on in the day.

The guy with the BMW GS who camped near us ended up being ADV inmate 2kool2be4gotten; one of the guys we met at an ADV meet in the Kitchener/Waterloo area at Moose Winooski’s.  He’s on vacation and just happened to cross paths with us once again.  He was on a bit of a time schedule to catch the ferry so he rode ahead. 

We met up with another pair of riders from New York named Mike & John

Looks like this poor fella got the crappy end of the stick.  If this was a fresh kill, I would definitely consider eating it. 

We continued riding along the TLH towards Happy Valley-Goose Bay and came across a few construction crews…

…and came face to face with a life sized Tonka truck

We passed a pickup truck that had blown a tire and decided to turn back to help out

Turns out the lady had no clue she had a flat and had been driving with the flat for some time now

It was hot and the little black flies were relentless, but we managed to get the spare tire on for her.

Of low-lying cloud.

A long way from Waterloo.

Need an extra hand?