Creating a Cross Canada Overland Route

deadly99

Explorer
I started this thread over on advrider. Initially the route was just going to be for travel enduro bikes but as things have evolved it would appear as if we are going to include 4 wheel vechicles as well. I am going to cross post this thread over here at Expedition Portal as I believe some of the folks here may be interested in this project? Enjoy the read, as stated it started out just for bikes but as the thread progresses over the next year or three you will start to see some vechicles you'll be more familiar with start to show up.

Ever wished there was a route across Canada? A group of us from www.ADVCanada.com have decided to do just that. Seems simple, or so we thought. I've started this thread to chronicle the making of a cross country route.

I hope you enjoy reading about our "making of" story as it unfolds.
Where to begin? Canada is huge.....9.9 million square kilometers! The population of Canada is only about 31 million and the bulk of that is spread across the southern strip of the country that borders the United States. What does that mean to us? There is a whole lot of wilderness up here and some damn fine riding. Given the scope of this project and the reason I suspect it hasn't already been done is that taking on a project like this is.... well a bit overwhelming. We've decided to take this project on in two phases. Phase one will be the Eastern half of the country. Our goal is to have this half completed by the fall of 2011 (yikes that less than a year and a half away). The other reason to start this thread is as a motivator. It will make it much more embarrassing and shameful to back out now that we've made it public knowledge :)

The goal: To make a route across Canada that can be ridden by dual sport bikes that are loaded with gear.
The route will primarily be gravel back roads. Some days will have sections of off roading and some will have sections of pavement. Wherever possible we are trying to have as little pavement as possible but it becomes unavoidable at times.


 

deadly99

Explorer
Where to begin? We've been working on this route now for the better part of a year. Good progress has been made. I apologize ahead of time as the posts I make will not be in the same order as the route will eventually follow. Also some of the posts and sections of the route will be done heading the wrong direction from the intended route. Just the way things have worked out as we explore new area's.

Lets start with the province of Labrador.
NOTE: this being cross posted so it's not in real time.....until I catch up to this thread :smiley_drive:
 

deadly99

Explorer
Looks like there are about 8 of us who will be riding together for the next week or two. A couple of guys from south of the border that I haven't met yet and are on their way north to meet us Thursday in Ottawa Our plan is fairly loose but riding the Trans Labrador Highway is the first "tick" on the list. The TLH will more than likely be a part of T-Cat . Our thoughts are that having a nice "relaxing" 3-4 days of long gravel with little too no navagation will make for a nice break between Newfoundland and the Quebec/Ontario sections of the route. The TLH works with what we want this route to become, remote wilderness. Aside from a few towns there's not much up there

After the TLH we plan to take a ferry over to the island of Newfoundland. There are a few trails that we have researched and look forward to trying out. Newfoundland has a bunch of double track old rail lines on it. From what we can tell a few of these will make up a part of the T-Cat. Skibum69 will ultimately be creating this section of the route but we're hoping to ride as many of the possible sections he plans to add to it. The main rail trail is called the T'Rail and runs for about 900 km's across the middle of the island. We have a few other trails to try out (Burin ATV trail and a couple of other rail trails) while we're over there. Throw in some touristy stuff and some "pubbing" and it looks like a fun 17 day ride

Here's our proposed route for the next few weeks.





In typical fashion I'm scrambelling to get the bike and gear ready. While changing my oil the other day the threads to the oil resorvoir came out with the drain plug. I tried a self tapping oil drain screw but couldn't get it to catch. I've now inserted a helicoil in it but it's still leaking (didnt get the hole drilled exactly straight ). Dan's coming over tonight and we'll try adding one or two brass crush washers and maybe some jbweld to try and seal it. New tires need to get spooned on then we're off. I had a bunch of other maintenance task scheduled for the bike (wheel and steering head bearings, wire in a usb charger and an inverter, etc) but it looks they'll have to wait until August when we get back along with the wife's never ending honey do list.

Last minute email are flying around in typical fashion. Who's bring what, where and when to meet, which route to take out of the city, etc The weather looks ...well ....not bad. Rain is a part of the scenery on the Atlantic coast and I'm sure we'll get our fair share

One of the things I'm looking forward to seeing is how Pelvis (Brian)makes out with his hammock From what I've seen in the north country the tree's are SMALL and we plan on cowboy camping for the most part. How the heck does someone use a hammock in a gravel pit? This could have a few funny stories. Quotes like " no I read on the web you can string it up between two ski poles " just makes me laugh. A 200 lb + guy who likes to sleep on his side, has back pain currently, heading out for 17 days of camping with a hammock. I can almost guarantee this will be good for a few laughs

I won't be updating the this report while we're gone (I hate the idea of sitting with a laptop while on "vacation" instead of meeting the locals and being in the moment and just enjoying where I am. Kudo's to those who do update their ride reports while on the road, but it's not for me). I will however do my best to take as many photo's as possible and update this thread when we get back.
 

deadly99

Explorer
Well here I sit at work in my cubicle instead of hitting the road with the other 7 guys for the two week trip A series of mechanical mishaps have delayed me.

Had surgery two weeks ago which prevented me from working on my bike for a week and half (drugged and flat on my back). Started late last week to work and prep my bike. While doing an oil change I removed the drain bolt from the oil resorvoir and the threads from the resorvoir came out. Tried a few approaches over a few days and finally got it to work 3 days later (keep in mind I was/am still in some considerable discomfort and have a full time job and a crazy honey do list I promised to take care of before leaving on "another damn bike trip" ). A heli coil and a couple of crush washers combined with ALOT of loctite and finally got the drain plug to stop leaking. A quick test ride revealed that the countersprocket bolt was stripped and loose and the washer (with inside teeth?) was bent way out of shape and missing half the teeth. Jerry rigged something and got into town all packed up this morning and dropped by a fastner shop and got a new nut for the counter sprocket, yehaa I'll be good to go after working on the bike during my lunch break at work and ready to leave work early to meet the guys for our pre arranged meeting at 5 pm. But no! Rear tire is flat Okay I can deal with this ........ got the new nut on after bending the washer this way and that to get a couple of the teeth to stick (less than ideal but heck it's only got to work for 9000 km's). Got bike into a local shop to look at the back tire. Whats that weird grinding noise ? Damn I have no front brake pads left and the last bit just wore threw and is now grinding my rotor Callled local dealer and yes they have them in stock, Dan picks me up and we drive across the city where the cute young girl says oh I thought you said rear pads, we don't have front pads in stock, ARG ordered them and "guaranteed" they will be in tomorrow.

Emailed the group of guys that I will be a day behind and will catch up on Sunday in Churchill Falls (half way up the Trans Lab). Looks like a couple of long iron butt days for me (and Dan, thanks Dan ). Haven't heard back from them ..... hope they get my emails and don't wait around too long waiting for me


My fault? YEP To be honest I had written down and planned on some extensive maintenance on the bike, and was to do it 3 weeks before leaving so I didn't run into this kind of a situation. But being flat out on my back up until a week ago and under some crazy oxy cotton pills for a week and a half kind of phased me out a bit. Sorry ahead of time to the lads, I WILL be catching up and WILL be in Churchill Falls on Sunday at 6pm at the gas with Dan. So a couple of long days in the saddle ahead of me...gonna hurt like hell, still open wound from the surgery (still changing the dressing on it every 4 hours).

So...the adventure begins. A case of MANY very COLD beers tonight, a leisurely start tomorrow then ride like hell for a few days. Anyone ever done the Trans Lab rally style

Vroom vroom !
Wish me luck
 

deadly99

Explorer
Back home a week early. Pelvis and myself came back with our bikes in a Uhaul (long story and it'll get told:) ) Martin, Chris and Renauld are on their way back now (scheduled, they were only going to be doing a week), heard from Dan last night by telephone. He's stuck in Corner Brook New Foundland. 6 fuel pumps later and he says he thinks he has the issue resolved. He made the earliest ferry reservation he could get (10 day wait) and is going to head to St Johns for the music festival.

The Trans Labrador Highway did not disappoint. A great ride, lot's of stories to tell and several pictures to show. This road will make a great addition to the route !

Give me a day or two to unpack, tie up some loose ends, upload some pics then I'll post a recap of the trip.

Teaser

Lost rad cap in engine
Lost all electricals on bike
Broke key in half unlocking seat to get at tools
Fuel pump blows
Exhaust pipe brakes in half near rear cyclinder
4 sets of rear brake pads wear threw
Crash resulting in no headlight, no more master cyclinder for front brakes, turn signals and a busted up front fairing
Another crash resulting in some cracks and scratches
A Chain streched beyond useable
A few tip overs
A case of mild hypothermia
Eatin alive by blackflies
Several rewarding cold beers
Flirting with a gay guy in order to get on a ferry
Rain, sun, wind, good people, fun road, great riding .....
 

deadly99

Explorer
And another chapter begins in creating this route; a group of us had been planning this trip for some time. Every year a groups of us from Ottawa do an expedition type trip on our bikes. This yearly trip gets organized through our web site advcanada.com. Last year we went up into Northern Quebec and rode the Rue Du Nord and the Trans Taiga Highway. We had a great time and it was kind of decided that this year we would go and ride the Trans Labrador Highway across Quebec/Labrador. We've been waiting a few years for the road to get completed and it looked promising for 2010 to be that year. After committing to creating a route across the country this trip just sort of worked out two fold. One for our yearly trip and two to be a recon trip to see if the Trans Lab would work for the route. I was a bit sceptical due to the long paved sections before, during and after the TLH that would have to become a part of the route.

8 months of emails, a couple of pub meets and the group was finally made up. A handful of folks wanted to come, new job won't let me get away, family commitments and health issues prevented some familiar faces from joining us. Next time guys Half the folks who were coming were going to make a one week trip out of it and three of us intended to spend an extra week riding some trails around Newfoundland. Some guys from a local NFLD dualsport forum ( www.ridetherock.com ) helped us out with some route suggestions for the island. Kudo's to the members of this forum, a very helpful group of people who seem very passionate about sharing their part of the world. A great resource for anyone heading to NFLD. Because we intended to ride lot's of double track this had some impact of how our bikes would get loaded. Fast and light became the buzzword for the three of us as we planned our different packing strategies. Soft luggage for Dan and myself and scrapping a sleeping pad and tent for a hammock for Pelvis. What don't we need or what can we split and share between us became the topic of more than a few emails and pints over the winter months.
I choose a Gaint Loop system for my bike. A Great Basin bag and Fandango tank bag. The concept of keeping heavy items low and snug seemed wise. The narrow profile also was a huge draw for me, I've caught panniers on tree's, etc while riding double track and trails before and choose not to do that again. Nothing like having your bike ripped around 180 degree's while you take a header into the ruhbarb. The added bonus of no luggage rack (weight) and their products being waterproof made it a done deal for me. Dan choose a Giant Loop tank bag and a Wolfman setup for his bike. He wanted the luggage racks to help distribute weight off of the subframe of his ktm 950 se, this bike has a known weak subframe. Brian choose to go with hard panniers for his 800 gs but kept his weight down by minimizing his gear. I'll let them speak to how their setups worked out for them as the report gets going.

The other three members of our group were all riding 1200 gs's. Chris I know from several local rides as well as from last years trip to Northern Quebec. Renuad I had only just met while planning this trip. Martin hails from Toronto, bought a 12gs adv last Novemeber and had never ridden on gravel before. So there we are, 6 of us with different bikes/setups and varying degrees of riding skills and experience. To say everyone was keen/excited/nervous to get going is probably an understatement. We all have jobs, families, etc and are just working type folk. Getting a week or two off from our lives is not always an easy task as I'm sure most readers of this forum can relate to.

Day one had me and Dan driving around town doing last minute preps to our bikes and gear. Sadly after crossing many obstacles to leave on time my brake pads were not going to be in until early afternoon the next day. Bummer! Last minute emails and the result was Dan and myself would leave a day later than the other four guys and we'd catch up along the way. I like to ride fast and so does Dan so this didn't seem like it would be an issue. Fast you say? Ya I know it's not for everyone but it's the way I ride. I love the enjoyment of being "in the zone". Riding gravel roads requires concentration, add speed and it demands more concentration. This is what I find relaxing oddly enough. One thing to focus on, what's in front of you. Your movements become automatic, 4,5,6,5,6,5,4th gear becomes reflex. No thoughts of home, job, kids, etc. Some folks ride bikes as a means to explore and see new places, I ride bikes because I love riding bikes. I enjoy the road as much as the scenery and people. Sounds odd to write but heck it needs explaining I think. When I see something out of my pheripheral vision I stop and enjoy the moment. I don't race to get places, more like I ride fast between breaks. I'd rather sit with my bike off and enjoy the silence that the wilderness has to offer and then giver like crap to the next place that grabs my attention. I don't think one way is better than another, just preference and personality that decides how we ride. So the four guys headed out while Dan and myself enojyed a few cold beers and one more night in town. After all of the stress of trying to get my bike up and running over the last few days, a good nights sleep might be just what the doctor ordered.

I got an email that night from Pelvis that they covered a few hundred km's that evening and had setup camp East of Montreal amd that all was good with them
 

deadly99

Explorer
Well it was day two of the trip and I'de yet to twist the throttle. I drove my car into the city and meet Dan and we loaded up our bikes, again.










"They'd better have my damned brake pads in or I'm going to freak" kind of mentality going on. Thought I'd get a bomber sleep the night before, instead I lied in bed worrying that I'd get delayed again. A quick call to the dealership ( Wheelsport in Orleans, Ottawa) and they said they were sitting on the counter, yehaa !!! We hauled over to their shop, and changed the pads in their parking lot. Like anytime you have a fully loaded bike in a public place, we answered some questions from folks going and coming to the dealership. "Where to","where from", etc






Dan and myself finally hit the road at 1:30 pm. The forecast showed rain behind us but blue skies where we were headed.





Following the Ottawa river on our left for a while. It felt REAL good to finally be on the road. Bike was running well, we were both smiling and it finally sunk in, we're off ! Cranked the beatles in my mp3 and started to put some miles down. Damn hard not to be cheerful with Paul McCartney singing about yellow submarines. The Fab Four go down for me as the best sing along, happy go lucky road tunes.




A quick stop jusy before crossing the border into Quebec. Of course at a Tim Hortons for a quick shot of the bean. Ask any Canadian, they must put something in there because it IS addictive.





Not much to say about the afternoon. We were flying. Rode past Montreal and Quebec City, dodged some traffic, applied the "any road is twisty, some just need more speed" philosophy. Once past Quebec the scenery improved dramatically. For me Quebec has a very European flare to it, every town seems to have a beauty of an old church in it, streets are narrow and of course everyone is speaking a language I know nothing about except a one liner "many large beers please". This is the same line I know in spanish and both have done me well over the years. More than one fun experience and a good story have been the result of knocking on a door and presenting the person on the other side with a large goofy looking white guy repeating his "line" and smiling. Maybe another time I'll take a trip down memory lane and share one of these experiences, lol










About 100 km's short of Tadasoucac we stopped at a campground. It was about 7 pm, we'd made about 650 km's, good start for our first day. The campground was a petting zoo slash campground. All sorts of odd animals, deers of various sorts, lama's and a bunch of ones I have no name for. I have REAL mixed thoughts about caging up a wild animal but I'll spare you my thoughts ;) Got our tents setup, lit a fire, drank some beers and wine and just enjoyed being underway. Spirits were high, it was a warm night, zero bugs and things were going well. A great day on the bikes :)







The Quebec flag "fleurdelisé". Folks from Quebec, for the most part, seem real proud of their heritage. By the time you get out here it's not uncommon for people to speak zero english. Most Canadians speak rudamentary french, if you don't a french/english dictionary may make your stay more pleasant. It's always more enjoyable when you can converse with the locals.






We setup camp in the sunlight and got everything put together just before dark. I always prefer to get off the bike at least an hour before dark. Setting up camp, cooking dinner, getting a fire going, etc just plain sucks for me if it's already dark out.






The tent I am using in the Tenere from Nomad Tents. It's freaking fantastic It weighs in at about 11 pounds so it is certainly a bit more weight than I am used to for a tent. It does pack small though, I store it in the grey dry bag on my rear rack. I'm 6'2 and it's just....well....humane to be able to stand in a tent. The vestibule is big enough for others to hang out in during inclement weather or to work on your bike. Can't say enough good things about this product. If you have a bike with good suspension then a few extra pounds doesn't become noticeable.






A few pints and a bottle of wine later and the day ended. We got an email from Pelvis and the gang. They were camped out at the Manic 2 dam along the Trans Labrador/Quebec Highway. Yehaa, they are within striking distance Maybe we'll catch up tomorrow.




 

deadly99

Explorer
Day three began uneventful...for me. The showers were about 2 km's up the road, no way was I walking first thing in the morning. I tried, I even pushed my bike down the hill to avoid starting it near our camp spot. I guess an uncorked Akrpovic's sound carries. Sorry Dan





Bikes packed and ready to hit the road. The weather report looked decent for the day. A few showers but nothing crazy.





Today would be another day of pavement. I'm usually not too keen on riding slab, especially watching my new tires get chewed BUT today the scenery more than made up for the lack of gravel. Following the North coast of the St Lawrence river there was always something to keep the mind occuppied. The hills got bigger, great views of the water and the small towns were right out of a postcard.

















In the photo below can you read Dan's lips? I think they are saying something like "stop taking photo's dumbass this truck is about to ram me"





 

deadly99

Explorer
Did I mention the nice scenery today? This area of Quebec is called the Charlevoix region. Highway 138 (which these pics are from) follow the north shore of the St Lawrence River. This wasn't the first time I'd been up this road but the scenery doesn't get boring. If you have the time there are a few cool things to do along this road. Some of the towns make for nice stops, there's whale watching trips, tons of art galleries and so on.

















In the above photo you can see a ferry. It cuts across to the Gaspe Bay area and makes for a different approach to this area. If I'm not mistaken there is also a ferry from Baie Comeaux over to the Gaspe. Depending on which direction you are coming from or heading too these ferries might make sense to take.







Along this road there is a "free" ferry, well I suppose our tax dollars pay for it, you must take. It drops you off in the small town of Tadoussac. This town has a few small restaurants and a gas station. Worth the stop in my opinion, pretty cool little town.










It was in Tadoussac that I decided to check the level of coolant in my bike. Red lights, etc had been causing the bike's heat to sky rocket. Well this is normally a 2 second procedure. Remove cap from coolant resorvoir, check level and fill if needed. Well it needed but my butter fingers screwed me again. The freaking cap goes flying off my "nub" and into the fairing somewhere with an obvious "ping" sound. Nub? Ya I'm missing a finger and I'm going to use it as an excuse. I don't get a handicap sticker to park or any other perks from it so I'm going to use it now as an excuse. Well there is one added benefit to only having half an index finger, when using a drive through I balance a dollar or two dollar coin (loonie or toonie for those non Canucks) on the nub and put my hand out the window. Each and every employee go for the grab then pull back, then go for the grab again then pull back again. Small things amuse me So we thought the cap was in the upper fairing, took it off and no dice. Behind the gas tank...nope Then Dan spots it, I get a skinny little stick and almost reach it.....then `ping` off it goes and you can here it ricochetting around the inside of the bike. Finally found it in the sump guard. Unneeded BS. Always happens during the hottest part of the day, and ALWAYS with a crowd watching.







I think during this next stretch both Dan and myself hit the wall. I was trying real hard not to fall asleep at the bars. Maybe the build up of the last week, the high speeds yesterday that came to a crawl today with having to go through small towns and red lights Who knows but we made Baie Comeaux and we were both beat. Energy drinks and coffee, that`s what was needed before heading north up the Trans Lab






And finally what we came for. The first 200 km's of the Trans Lab is paved sadly...BUT it is some seriously fun twisty roads. A great ride from the beginning to the Manic 5 dam where the gravel begins













Manic Two dam. This is where the other guys had camped the night before. Our goal was to make Lab City today and potentially catch up to them. The sun was shining and we were making good time, enjoying the scenery and really enjoying leaning the bikes over. Very little traffic and 200 km's of twisty roads.







The land of electricity. The reason for most of these northern roads





Starting to feel like your getting somewhere when you see these signs






Made it to Manic Five dam around 5 pm and decided to call it a day. Rain was just around the corner and the temps began to drop. 300+ km's of gravel just wasn't on the plate for the evening, heck this is supposed to be a vacation. Asked the lady at the pump where the camp ground was and she pointed to a field Then she says for an extra 20 bucks each we could have a room Room it was, hot shower and some good eats.













I decided to take the sheepskin of the bike to keep it dry. Well...the key broke in half in the lock My spare key is twisted on a 45 degree angle and barely fits into the ignition and the key is butter soft, no biggy except i need to take it out to open both of the gas tanks every time I'll need fuel. What are the chances of this key not breaking ? Really? ANother dam issue to worry about. Can a locksmith even copy a key that's this bent out of shape.....
 

deadly99

Explorer
Woke up to rain We knew it was coming and here it is. Ah well, less dust right. Today the gravel starts...finally I've been looking forward to this road for a few years now, seems like every year they were saying that this is the year the road gets completed, well 2010 and it's finished.

Just around the corner from our motel is the Manic 5 dam. It's BIG















It always seems odd to be in the middle of nowhere and then to see something man made. Mines or dams.....the scale of these operations in the north country always blows me away.

Hit the road and it wasn't dissapointing. Fast and fun. The rain would come and go. One valley would be dry then the next one would be hammering rain. Every time you'd come over a rise you'd be crossing your fingers.





The shoulders were VERY soft. Almost got caught a few times hugging the inside corners of some turns. Took a while to break the habit.








About 50 km's in I had a HUGE pucker moment. Coming down into one of the dips (valleys) I just about went down at speed. The sand builds up deep in the dips. The water then turns the sand into very thick concrete like stuff. The bars got yanked left and right a few times before finally getting stuck at the stop on the right side while the bike kept going straight, front wheel plowing through the stuff. I had to stop and let the old ticker slow down.









Approximately a 100 km's from manic 5 is a middle of nowhere gas station. We stopped to fill up and have a quick coffee. Spirits were high, we'd learned to slow down in the "dips" and Dan had himself a religious moment. He cranked his new to him steering dampner up and was nothing but grins. I NEED to get one of those. He'd just straight track right through the stuff that was trying to rip the bars from my hands, I was very jealous.





Filled up, helmets on and ready to go. Turn my key, everything lights up, hit the start button and hear a whiz, pop, whiz, zap then everything goes dark. WTF !. Turn the key again and nothing. Wave Dan down and explain I'll need his tools as mine are "locked" away under my seat with a broken key stuff in the lock. I take the skidplate off and get access to the battery (please keep in mind this is in the rain, lieing in the mud ). Tighten up the terminal post nuts and a few other odd's and end's. Reach up, turn the key and everything lights up, yehaa, something must of been loose. So we repack the bikes, get geared up, high five and jump on the bikes to leave. Turn the key, everything normal, hit the start button and whiz, pop, whiz, zap again. ARG! take off gear, remove gear, get Dan's tools, remove skid plate, get acess to the battery and sit and stare....hmmmmm.....I'm no electrician and I'm not really sure what to do. My gps is hard wired to the battery, it's the only electrical item not being run through the bikes charging system. Remove the battery leads and gps wires and the bike starts right up. I suspect a wire got rubbed one too many times and was exposed and coming into contact with something metal somewhere. Who cares, bike is back up and running. Bit of a pisser as I was hopeing to make a nice gpx file for the route but that can be done after the fact I suppose. When the weather gets better I'll take a few hours and try to properly find the issue and rewire the gps.

Back on the road. The weather was adding a cool factor to this part of thre road. The clouds were hanging down real low. As you'd cross a "mountain" you'd be up in the clouds, coming down the other side you'd either break free from the clouds or have a valley that was pissing rain.







Quick rest stops in area's where it wasn't raining. Drying gloves off One more advantage to an uncorked exhaust.











Out in the middle of nowhere we were surprised to find a beauty of a stretch of smooth pavement. Normally I'd be dissappointed but in today's rain it was a nice welcome relief. If memory serves it was about 80+ km's long. The sun even came out at one point, weird weather.






The section after the pavement leading to Labrador City was a fun ride. The road criss crosses the railroad tracks and the road was FUN. Up, down and side to side.


















And we made it, finally out of Quebec and into the province of Labrador. A first for me and Dan. There's always something exciting about getting somewhere new.





A classic :victory:


 

deadly99

Explorer
I a'm not going to cross post all the dribble and whatnot from advrider but if your bored there is a bunch more info on our thread over there, as well as posts from other folks who were along for each ride. Once I catch up to real time with this thread I'll begin to include some of their stuff as I post into this thread.

I will include some of their photo's though as they were having there own ride which nincluded some memorable moments for them. Some good some scary.













Chriss does an endo and crashes at 50 mph :Wow1:

















Flat tires, black flies, tons of rain and a couple of crashes. The fellows ahead of us were having a great time :ylsmoke:






 
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deadly99

Explorer
Rolled into Lab City and fueled up the bikes and went searching for somewhere to have lunch. Somewhere with real food, you know the type, something hearty and healthy, fuel for the body type of food.







After a couple of quick cell phone calls to our families and friends we hit the road again. On a side note, only Bell phones work in Labrador, Newfoundland and northern Quebec. Fido, Rogers, etc get zero coverage.


The ride from Lab City to Churchill Falls is approximately 300 km's. The 50 km's outside of Lab City are paved and the rest was a nice fast and fun gravel section. We made short work of this section, really flying along, foot out around the corners type of riding. I had a blast The rain was intemittant and the low clouds and fog made the scenery kind of spooky.
























We were to meet the rest of the group at the gas station in town at 6 pm. We were half an hour early and went and explored the town. No offence meant but Churchill Falls is ****. Compared to Lab City with it's clean look and facilities Churchill has nothing. One crappy gas station, one over priced hotel, one bar that was empty, etc This town only exists to house people who work on the hydro facility. If you have the choice stay in Lab City or Goose Bay and only use this as a gas stop. Anyways.......we waited and the guys didnt show up, it started raining hard so we checked into the local hotel and looked forward to a warm meal and a couple of cold beers. The restaurant doesn't sell alcohol SO a hot meal and wet ride down to the gas staion for a six pack and we retired to our room. Got an email from the other guys saying they were making real slow progress and had pushed on to Goose Bay. no worries we'll catchup tomorrow sometime.





The gas station runs an accomodation business. 88$ for an apartment, beds for two but you can crowd in and the rate stays the same. Maybe a good option for larger groups?






We drove around in the rain but couldn't find thids place but might be worth looking into if you plan on spending a night here. No campgrounds in town but you can camp out on the church grounds. Didn't look appealing to us in the pouring rain though.






Well that finishes off day four of this ride. Roads were fun and demanded concentration. Scenery was excellent and all in all we had a great day, made good mileage and had a few good laughs and a few moments of frustration as well.
 

Christian P.

Expedition Leader
Staff member
Wow. Thank you so much for doing this.

I am originally from Quebec and use to ride my dual purpose all over Northern Quebec. Now I have to go back!
 

deadly99

Explorer
Wow. Thank you so much for doing this.

I am originally from Quebec and use to ride my dual purpose all over Northern Quebec. Now I have to go back!

No worries, lot's of good stuff to come. The name of our website (currently advcanada.com) is going to change and the site is going to be upgraded and changed to reflect a more "overlanding" type of theme as opposed to just bikes.

This route is certainly not a 4x4 hardcore offroad route, but rather a primarily gravel road route across the country. There are a few technical (optional) sections mind you that shouold throw some excitement in for folks who'd like that. Our goal is that a stock suv (awd) could complete the route. Might want some good AT tires, etc In total the route is shaping up to be about 15, 000 km's.....thats a bloddy long drive. So realistically if you want your vechicle to still be driving after you finish the terrain has to be somewhat tame.

Anyways, thanks for the kudo's :26_7_2:
 

deadly99

Explorer
Woke up early the next morning and eager to hit the roads. The rain was still coming down with moments of only drizzle and fog. Stopped by the gas station and filled up my aux fuel solution. I had a 10 liter Dromedary bag with me. The next stretch was to Goose Bay and was approximately 300 km's. We were hoping to get there by 11, have a Tim's lunch then push on down the new section of road. Plans never work do they

Today we had planned to ride a gravel road up to the top of the Smallwood Resorvoir (280 km return) and see how far north we could get up some atv trails we had heard about.

I was a bit bummed the guys hadn't waited for us in Churchill, but on the other hand given the weather, atv trails would probably not of been a good idea in the middle of nowhere with loaded bikes. Dan and I discussed why they wouldn't have stopped. At first I was a bit pissed off, heck we'd just busted our butts to make the meeting time, stood around in the rain for an hour waiting and all that crap. After a warm shower, hot food and a cold beer the frustration had disappeared. Maybe they are really struggelling with the road conditions and or weather. Better safe than sorry I suppose, if they were having a hard time with the main road (TLH) perhaps a day of backroad exploration wouldn't be a wise choice. I tried to put myself into their shoes and came to the understanding that they most have known we would be disappointed but thought it was still the better choice to push on and try to make the ferry in Blanc Sablon. Turns out they did make the good choice.

So dan and I headed off down the TLH hoping to make quick work of this section and both mumbeling about the Tim's that is three hours away.

Well after about 70 km's I catch up to Dan and he is coasting and hitting the start button on his bike, clutch in. He comes to a stop and I ask what's going on. He shrugs......I can tell he looks pissed off and grumpy...hmmm....







We try to start his bike but it won't catch, well it does once, idels real low then stalls. I notice dan was driving with his choke part way on. Hmmmm...does this mean it would have flooded or ? Well we decide it's flooded, so what to do? We try the regular approach to a flooded bike, twist throttle hit starter for a few seconds, then release throttle and let it turn over until it catches. Well it doesn't catch. We should pull the plugs to see if they are fowled. Dan has a spark plug wrench (CJ Designs I believe) but we don't have a socket wrench to fit it We try using vise grips and other odd contraptions to get it to work but no go. A few more tries of the start button and the battery fails. Cables? nope

So we wait, and wait and wait. A nice drizzle to keep us company. Black flies are out in full force and they seem very pissed off. Not much traffic at this time of the day. We take turns flagging down the vechicles as they pass asking for a boost, no one has cable or won't admit they have cables. One dude in a truck says "ya but they are buried in the back and it would be an inconvience to get them" and burns off leaving us in a spray of gravel


I'm not sure how long we sat there for, a couple of hours at least. I spent alot of that time with my jacket pulled up over my head, lieing in the ditch and waiting. I must have left an ear exposed at one point because it got bitten to heck. Swelled right up nice and puffy. Black flies EVERYWHERE, in your ears, nose, etc. I will NEVER live somewhere with blackflies like this.....EVER!

Finally an older guy pulls over and says he doesn't have cables but can help us out. Says he will be back in a bit and takes off up the road. About 20 minutes later he shows up, with no cables....BUT says he told his mechanic to come see us with his tool truck The guy must have been a big wig on the road crew to have pulled that off. I forgot his name but cheers to you man

The tool guy shows up and we discuss what's been happening. He let's us use his tools and we get the spark plug off and were very surprised to see it was bone dry. WTF not what we were expecting to see. Hmmm....so starved of fuel. We charge the battery and turn the key, hold on I didn't hear the fuel pump pressurizing. Sweet! Dan has a spare fuel pump he got for free from someone on the web just for such an occassion. Hells Bells baby we're back in business

















Me...sick of the black flies and tired out and we have barely gotten going.






I had a nice chat with the mechanic. 35 years old and having a tough go of life. He's from Newfoundland and says there isnt much work there. Alot of his buddies went of to work in the oil patches in Alberta and all but one came home broke and with a mean drug habit, he says he'd rather live on welfare than go that route. I can't blame him. Keep in mind this fellow is a master mechanic, licensed and all that other stuff. He works 28 days on, 6 days off. They charge an arm and a leg for him to share a trailer with a bunch of other road crew guys. no tv, no staellite reception, no phones, etc He's married and has a kid and doesn't get to keep in touch for a month at a time. They work 16 hours a day for 6 days a week. Sunday is a rest day, you only work an 8 hour shift. CRAZY His take home pay is just under a 1000 bucks a week. He tell's me his wife told him just before leaving for this "tour of duty" that she is leaving him and taking the kid. Imagine that brewing in your head for 28 days. I guess the fellows that don't work and sit around on welfare scoop up the other guys wives while they are away. My freaking heart was going out to this guy....BIG TIME. Through all that he was happy and chiper. He wasn't complaining just telling me the way it is up there. The guy even gave us a few tools fwe might need from his truck....solid guy indeed. Dan gave him a bit of green backs to have a pint or twenty that night and we bid him bon voyage and hit the road again.



 
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