Labrador Loop

96Delica

Adventurer
Alright, I’ve been home for awhile and finally uploaded all my pictures. For some reason Flickr won’t recognize my iPhone photos this time, so there’s some good pictures I can’t share.

Left Aug 23, Returned Sept 4. 13 days. That was driving every day except for two. We planned for more time but the weather was crap so we cut the trip short.

Total KM: 6,200
Avg consumption: 12.47 L/100km
Total spent on fuel (diesel): $1,200
Most paid for fuel: $1.66 in Quebec at Manic 5 Dam
Average fuel price: $1.40

If it's a trip you're thinking of doing, do it! Within 5 years or so, Labrador is planning on having their whole section paved, I'm sure Quebec will follow. It's pretty neat driving such an isolated part of the country on dirt roads. We did see all manners of vehicles from cars to small RV's, they just had to go very slow. I'm glad I did in the Delica.

Without having a vehicle you can actually sleep INSIDE it would be a heck of a lot tougher. We can camp anywhere and at any time which is a huge plus. There's not as much opportunity for roadside camping on the Trans-Labrador as I expected. I read about that being a problem though. Most of the road is elevated considerably from the land around it. That being said, everywhere we slept a tent could have been set up easily.

I’ll try and keep this as short as possible while also sharing as much info as I can, but it was a long trip! If anyone is planning on doing this, let me know and I can try and give you exact locations of where we stayed.

For those that don’t know, the Trans-Labrador highway is one of the few remote long-distance gravel and dirt highways left in Canada. It is the only land route through one of the most unreachable parts of the country. It begins in Quebec in Baie-Comeau and ends in Blanc-Sablon, also in Quebec, oddly enough. The total distance is about 1,700 km, most of which is still dirt.

The road isn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It was pretty dusty until we got some rain, if it was dry the whole way it would be way worse I think. Near the end of the Quebec side there’s some windy parts that would be fun on a bike. There are some potholes and soft spots to worry about, but if you’re used to driving FSRs it won’t be a huge problem. Everywhere we slept, you could have set up a tent. The guys that do this trip on a bike have to make it from town to town, which would be quite an adventure. Especially since there’s one section that’s about 450km between fuel.

Entering Labrador you hit Lab City and the accent starts right away! Seems like a nice enough town and has everything. After that you have Churchill Falls and Happy Valley/Goose Bay. What can I say about these places….. I’m sure there’s some nice people there, but for the most part, don’t linger. I felt like I was in the twilight zone. We did drive around HV and came across the old decommissioned WW2 air force base though and you can drive right up to everything. Pretty cool.

The coast of Labrador is really nice, and once we got to nfld we read some great pamphlets that outlined all the fun things to do in Labrador. None of which is posted anywhere along the highway, so, look it all up before you go!!!

Newfoundland blew me away. Even in the weather we had it was amazing. The changes in scenery from north to south is spectacular. There are little dual tracks leading off the highway everywhere. I can’t wait to get back and do a little more exploring.

By the time we got home I was exhausted, 6200km in 13 or so days with only 2 days of no driving. Time to grease everything in the van and do a full filter change. I’ll post a picture later of what the gravel did to my paint job…. Let’s just say, fender flares are a good idea if you have aftermarket tires.



We drove the first night to Montreal and left from there to head to Baie Comeau the next day.

Just before Colombier we saw a nice rest stop on the side of the road and pulled into it, turns out there was a hidden little spot from the highway with a fire pit right on the Gulf. It was a great way to start the trip.



The next day we headed toward Labrador! Along the way there are a few pretty amazing hydro dams. The most amazing of which is the Manic 5. Note the schoolbus on top!

 

96Delica

Adventurer
Manic 5 is also the beginning of the dirt for awhile while you skirt the Manicougan Reservoir. It was created when they built the dam and is in a 210 million year old crater. It’s something I’ve always wanted to see and now I’ve been there!




Second night camping, this was just a pull off from the highway. Looks like it used to be a staging area. We were a couple hundred feet away.


Along the way you pass the 51st and 52nd parallels, which is pretty cool. The terrain also goes through an incredible transformation. The coast of Labrador is like nothing I’ve ever seen.
Traffic on the trans lab! This was outside Happy Valley/Goose Bay, they’re building a huge hydro dam somewhere up in the bush.


We didn’t want to stay anywhere near HV/GB so we kept on and luckily found this rest stop. It was only a couple years old but there’s already garbage and shotgun shells everywhere.


We had a bath before we left… It was cold.


Getting close to the coast of Labrador! From here until the ferry to NFLD the roads are really bad. It’s almost like they were paved once. Many, many years ago. I didn’t think of it before hand, fuel cans (jerry cans) are NOT allowed on the ferry. I had mine on the roof racks and I couldn’t bring them on. I had to empty them into my tank and leave them behind while everyone in the line waited for me.


Viking poses at L’Anse aux Meadows


Oh yeah, did I mention it was bloody cold??

Summer on the Rock!


One full day in Gros Morne and it was BEAUTIFUL!! We are going to be back next year for sure. The camping was excellent and the facilities were the best anywhere. Free showers!





Left Gros Morne and headed south, miserable weather again so decided to cut the trip short and head back a few days early. Had one more night, while driving around we pulled in to a very non-descript park to find it had FREE camping and fire pits right on the coast. Very, very beautiful. They will have 18 sites by next summer! Also, invest in a pie iron. What a fantastic thing.



 

96Delica

Adventurer
Caught the midnight sailing after spending the day exploring. BC ferries is nothing compared to these boats!! Everything inside was polished steel, wood, and glass. Big screen TV’s everywhere too. Sleeping a reclining seat is nearly impossible though. Next time, I’m getting a berth.







Once we got to the mainland we drove to Sherbrooke through Maine. Stopped at the border of course, they were pretty pleasant though. I don’t think they searched the van too thoroughly, probably because it stank of feet and armpits.

The trans-lab was a great experience. Not one I need to do twice in the same vehicle though. It’s a big country out there and being on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere and it’s called a highway really drives that home.
 

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evaliquette

Observer
Wow! Awesome write up! Being from Montreal, I would love to do this trip. Especially Gros Morne. Hope you liked our neck of the woods
 

WxMan

Adventurer
I enjoyed the photos and trip report. Thanks for posting. This is certainly on my list of routes to explore. Being that I live on the west coast it will be one hell of a trip when I finally get around to it.

I discovered a jerry can rule in a ferry line as well. It was a ferry between Graham Island and Moresby Island on Haida Gwaii. I had two 20L cans on my Adventure trailer. Apparently boat trailers can carry two. RV's just one. Fortunately the attendant took a second look at my trailer, smiled, and said "that looks like a boat trailer to me."

Russ.
 

96Delica

Adventurer
I enjoyed the photos and trip report. Thanks for posting. This is certainly on my list of routes to explore. Being that I live on the west coast it will be one hell of a trip when I finally get around to it.

I discovered a jerry can rule in a ferry line as well. It was a ferry between Graham Island and Moresby Island on Haida Gwaii. I had two 20L cans on my Adventure trailer. Apparently boat trailers can carry two. RV's just one. Fortunately the attendant took a second look at my trailer, smiled, and said "that looks like a boat trailer to me."

Russ.
I understand why the rule is there I guess.... But there were a whole bunch of vehicles towing boats and ATV's and whatnot. They're full of fuel, so what's the difference?? Now that I know I'll just put them inside for the ferry ride.
 

WxMan

Adventurer
I feel for you about that rock damage. I drove from Edmonton to Inuvik and back a few years ago and that 1500km return Dempster gravel highway took it's toll. The truck was throwing rocks at my trailer and the trailer was throwing them back at my truck. So much paint was stripped off the trailer I had to get it sprayed with Line-X when I got back. The rocks also destroyed the cover on my emergency trailer brake and cracked my trailer electrical plug. You could try some good mud flaps. They will help a little although I still managed to do quite a bit of damage despite having them front and back.
 

gmoneyluv

New member
Great trip report! Where are you guys based in Toronto? We're downtown (Dundas and Ossington area) and see a few Delicas - although I don't think I recognize yours.
 

96Delica

Adventurer
I feel for you about that rock damage. I drove from Edmonton to Inuvik and back a few years ago and that 1500km return Dempster gravel highway took it's toll. The truck was throwing rocks at my trailer and the trailer was throwing them back at my truck. So much paint was stripped off the trailer I had to get it sprayed with Line-X when I got back. The rocks also destroyed the cover on my emergency trailer brake and cracked my trailer electrical plug. You could try some good mud flaps. They will help a little although I still managed to do quite a bit of damage despite having them front and back.
Yeah I need some flares as well as my new tires stick out about an inch or so on either side. This trip has highlighted that as more of a priority now!
 

96Delica

Adventurer
Great trip report! Where are you guys based in Toronto? We're downtown (Dundas and Ossington area) and see a few Delicas - although I don't think I recognize yours.
I've only seen a couple Delicas in the two years I've lived here, where are the rest hiding?? I'm in the east end, Coxwell and Danforth area. I'm always all over the place for work, the only other Delica I see though is a white L300 from time to time. She didn't seem quite as excited to see another one as I was though.... If you ever see me, come say hi!
This is my plan in a couple years aswell. Thank you very much for the report.
No problem! When you go, PM me and I can give you more detailed info on where we camped if you would like!
 

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96Delica

Adventurer
Great write-up. Our Labrador/Newfoundland trip has been my favorite to date. Manic 5 is super cool.
I wish I had've been able to take a bit of a tour of it. Seeing the size of the trucks outside HV/GB, I think they're building something even bigger up there. It was such a crazy trip, most people don't even realize there's a road up there!! Did you guys stay in the towns? Churchill Falls and HV/GB creeped me right out, I didn't want to stay anywhere near them! We did come across the old WW2 airport in HV though, that was pretty cool to see!
 
I wish I had've been able to take a bit of a tour of it. Seeing the size of the trucks outside HV/GB, I think they're building something even bigger up there. It was such a crazy trip, most people don't even realize there's a road up there!! Did you guys stay in the towns? Churchill Falls and HV/GB creeped me right out, I didn't want to stay anywhere near them! We did come across the old WW2 airport in HV though, that was pretty cool to see!
We camped out up on the Orma Lake Rd. Check out my report. Trans Labrador Highway and other places of interest 2010
 
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