2011-07-24

I Survived the Trans Labrador Highway


The end of the road.
But bits of my KLR didn't. ;)

Jiff (Geoff's Islander name) came up with the idea to ride out to the Rock via the Trans Labrador highway, a trip I had in the planning stages, but was content to let sit on the back burner until now, as what better way to face adversity then with good friends?

The group I belong to, www.gtasportriders.com, started to toss the idea around in the touring thread, then we finally threw out a date of the 16th of July and were committed. 265 days seems like a lot of time to prepare for a trip, but as the date drew closer, I seemed to have more and more loose ends that needed tying up, to the point that the weekend prior to the trip I found that my fuel economy needed to improve or the 5litre gas can I was going to be bringing wasn't going to be enough to get me across the longest stretch from Happy Valley Goose Bay to Port Hope Simpson, a distance by road of 410 kilometres.

It's the little things that keep you on your toes. ;)

At any rate, I'm sitting in St. Anthony Newfoundland waiting for the rain to die out before continuing further South to Gros Morne National park.

The Trans Lab is behind us, we've conquered it, and return with our shields. :D

Tracks, Tracks and More Tracks are here:
  1. Garmin GDB of Labrador and Newfoundland
  2. Universal GPS GPX Format

Day 1 - Toronto ON to Baie St. Paul QC - 875km

Day 1 - Toronto ON to Baie St. Paul QC - 875km
Darlene suggested we meet up at the Fifth Wheel in Oshawa at Waverly Road and the 401, but we had to wait for Chris to nail down a time. It was like a game of poker, I'd say 0700, she'd up the ante to 0600 and Chris would suggest 0540. GROAN!
 ** Jul 12 Tue 17:51 **
 Ron   Chris, Darlooney picked a spot to meet up in Oshawa, 401 and Waverley Road, exit 431 the Fifth wheel truck stop. What time did you want to meet us there as you have the farthest to come? I'm good with an early start.
 ** Jul 12 Tue 18:01 **
 darlooney I am flexible with whatever time to meet at the 5th wheel. Since u r coming furthest away chris, let us know
 ** Jul 13 Wed 11:10 **
 Chris Oliver  It looks like that is about 1h35m from me.  I'd like to get an early start as well. 6am is a number that keeps comming to mind to meet.  I will leave home @ 4am.  I would like to get a quick bite there as I will prob just get up and go.  If I sleep @ all. I'm to excited. :D
 ** Jul 13 Wed 11:56 **
 darlooney Ok, so let's meet at the 5th wheel for 6am. If you need to take a nap please let us know. 4am is way to damn early for me!
 ** Jul 13 Wed 12:06 **
 Ron   Damn! I'll have to be in bed early!!! What happened to the all night pre tRip party?!
 ** Jul 13 Wed 12:07 **
 Ron   At least we'll get a lot of road behind us in the cool morning. That sounds about right. Where are we stopping for breakfast? ;)
 ** Jul 13 Wed 12:15 **
 darlooney Breakfast is at 5th wheel. Apparently food is pretty decent there
 ** Jul 13 Wed 12:15 **
 darlooney We'll have to figure out lunch
 ** Jul 13 Wed 12:26 **
 Ron   Lunch will happen about four hours later I'm assuming. :D
 ** Jul 13 Wed 12:28 **
 darlooney For me, eating is every hour...I am a grazer. Might be harder to do when on a bike trip tho. :p
 ** Jul 13 Wed 12:29 **
 Ron   Stuff the helmet with snacks and chew slowly. Listen for my bike and you'll be fine.
 ** Jul 13 Wed 15:54 **
 Chris Oliver  I have also heard 5th wheel breakfast is good.  I would like to eat there.
 ** Jul 13 Wed 15:55 **
 darlooney I might just drag my butt out earlier and grab brekkie with u, then, chris, but don't wait for me!
 ** Jul 13 Wed 15:59 **
 Chris Oliver  Cool. I should be there for 540am
 ** Jul 13 Wed 16:00 **
 Ron   You said 6!!!!
 ** Jul 13 Wed 16:03 **
 Chris Oliver  Yep meet @ 6.  If I leave home @ 4am if all goes well I'll be there @ 540ish. I don't want to slow us for me to eat.
 ** Jul 13 Wed 16:03 **
 Chris Oliver  Unless we are all planning on eating there
 ** Jul 13 Wed 16:04 **
 darlooney That's ok ron, u don't have to eat breakfast there. U can chew on the oats when I attach the oat bag set up onto your helmet...like what u suggested for me! :p
 ** Jul 13 Wed 16:05 **
 Chris Oliver  =))
 ** Jul 13 Wed 16:06 **
 Ron   I'm eating there as well, I guess oatmeal. :(
 ** Jul 13 Wed 16:08 **
 darlooney If u want u can cook up the oatmeal I am bringing along...u have a stove and water! ;)
 ** Jul 13 Wed 16:09 **
 Ron   I'd just use my exhaust. It'll be hot enough at 5:15. :(
 ** Jul 13 Wed 16:11 **
 darlooney Well I am being optimistic about getting there early enough for breakfasst but that may not happen!
 
And now you see what I was dealing with, adversity and humour or was that sarcasm? At any rate I did manage to load up the bike, although I started calling it a freight train around this time...

Overloaded fugly bike

Freight Train

I always take a picture of my start and end odometer reading, it makes the calculation easier.

This is way too early for me!

Breakfast wasn't even memorable. I'm not awake yet.

Darlene and Chris

La Belle Province!

Yep, we're definitely getting closer to Montreal. :P


Traffic was BADDDDDD!!!
 We made Montreal through weekend and construction traffic. Stop and go with 2 KLR's running close to the red temp zone, and I was beginning to worry that I'd soon damage my engine if we didn't get some air moving over the radiator again. Darlene on her BMW F650GS said Chris and I  both blew black smoke when traffic cleared and we rolled on. Remind me to completely avoid this place in future, as I think if we'd looped North of it, I think we'd have made better time, even on the secondary roads. Well, perhaps not, but it would do much for my peace of mind.



This tunnel had become my goal, for I knew I was on the right track for it goes under the river and takes you East of Montreal. It would pretty much be clear sailing after this while en route to Quebec City.


Thankfully it's pretty much a straight line to follow now...

An end is in sight!

Can we really leave civilization behind?
 We should make it past Quebec City if we keep up the pace, but the heat is oppressive, and we've yet to stop for lunch. Quebec has these lovely rest stops along the highway that offer trees for shade, a cantine and restrooms. Just the thing after our battle royale with Montreal traffic.


 We met up with this modded Yamaha R1 at a rest stop on the East side of Montreal at a rest stop along the highway.
I love that front cowl on this Yamaha R1!


Darlene said "I know this place." so we followed her until right here, where a gravel road seemed to make them both nervous? Or was she just taking us on another Adventure by Garmin?

Yes, that's gravel. We have to do a whole bunch of it later on. Why not get a head start?
*sniff* They made me turn back. :(


Success! She found it!

There were a whole bunch more bikers representing Quebec than there are in Toronto.

Poutine and Sand. viande au fume. :D


We crossing the River to the fun side!
As with any ride, as soon as we left the super slab highways behind us, I began to enjoy myself more, and to butterfly watch. We just had to put some kilometres behind us and meet up with Jiff &Vee (Geoff & Viviane) on Sunday night.


Chris was on a mission to find Tin Tin's Rocket in Batiscan QC as we'd be passing close to it on our trip East. We were all looking forward to playing tourist and posing beside it, but alas, it was not meant to be. We rode through Batiscan twice without seeing it, and I think Chris was worried about delaying us too much, so we headed further East in the direction of Quebec City.
The fruitless search for Tin Tin's rocket.
The Adventures of Chris
Destination Batiscan Quebec... 
A Photographer took this on Panaramio and subsequently Google Earth places it at 46.500816, -72.247148 but my Google street view can't locate it there, so if you're in the hood, have a look and if you by chance parlais francais, perhaps you could help us out by refining the Lat and Long? ;)






I didn't turn out as well. :P


We're East of Quebec City, and now the road parallels the St. Lawrence Seaway, sometimes so closely that  but for the guardrail you could ride along the river's edge.

Apple sauce in a convenient squeeze bag! It was very refreshing, although I did feel horrible throwing apple peel into the landfill site. :(

East of Quebec City on Route 138 Est

The bikes! There are so many more here than around the GTA. I love the variety. We even waved at scooters today. 
So, our plans of getting a cheap motel on the East side of Quebec city fell through as they were all "complet", and the campgrounds were stuffed full as well for some local festival. We pushed on thinking that we'd have better luck further away from the city looking for camp grounds or a motel.







Now when you see this in the sky, it's time to look for a place for the night pdq. Especially if you're riding in the hills or mountains, as the sun disappears behind the trees or hills long before it sets on the rest of the world, quickly leaving you in the dark.




We're not in Kansas anymore Toto, the scenery is enthralling, yet I'm losing my light and will have to put the camera away shortly.


He couldn't afford the Chalet either, no doubt.
And so we found ourselves riding for about forty minutes further East towards Baie-St-Paul on 138 and found an off season Ski Chalet that wanted $180 dollars for three people as late check-in! No thanks! 

We headed towards a campground, although they foolishly let me lead with my garmin set to "shortest distance" and of course we ended up on a gravel road in the dusk. AWESOME! The freight train handles well and hooks up really well in the rear, so I'll mind my front tire and enjoy the ride! I suggested a vacant building lot for stealth camping, so we're set for the night! During the planning stage we'd all agreed to carry food with us, and settled for the MRE style of meal, and after pitching our tents in the darkness, sorted out our dinner shortly afterwards. All agreed that food waste should be kept far away from the site, so it's about a 100 feet away under a rock, to take away with us in the morning. The mosquitoes are hardy and the stiff breeze just slows them down. :P

But I did manage to find them this lovely little camping spot out in the middle of nowhere...


Darlene and Chris setting up their tents. :)


An extract from a post to GTAMotorcycle.com:
So... We had a great first day on the road, although we stopped a few times and ate up our travel range, as the heat was getting to us, and all that super slab was mind numbing. 
A bee decided that a helmet might contain pollen, but BCH4 made it unwelcome and it may or may not be on the hives MIA list. 
Tat2 is great to ride with, as you're guaranteed to finish with a clean drivers abstract, but I road raged a bit in Montreal. The traffic there reminded me of downtown Toronto, with fewer exits, although they seem to respect bikes quite a bit more here. 
http://maps.BlackBerry.com?lat=47.39403&lon=-70.57039&z=5&address=150+Boul+Monseigneur-de+Laval&city=Baie-Saint-Paul&region=PQ&country=Canada&postalCode=G3Z 
Our campsite triangulated via cell tower. It looks like we're five hours behind the lead riders Viv and Geoff  who are currentrly toasting Marsh mallows in Baie Comeau. That's what you get for leaving a day later. :P
Sausage patty, hash browns and toaster pastry is on the menu for this one star resort in the hills along the flood plains of the Great St. Lawrence river. 
The scenery east of QC is comparable in parts to the blue ridge parkway. Stunning, along with some great views of the river. We've all really woken up on the hills and curves of 138, and more in store tomorrow! We'll lose cell soon, and will check in when possible. If I haven't already said it, it's going to be a great adventure with some wonderful companions, in fact, the adventure has begun. Cheers!

Day 2 - Baie St. Paul QC to Manic Cinq QC - 529km  

Day 2 - Baie St. Paul QC to Manic Cinq QC - 529km
This is where the roads get FUN FUN FUN!!! A sport touring rider would have really enjoyed them provided he eased up his suspension and watched out for the odd pressure crack in the race line here and there. While not much in the way of knee dragging roads, they are twisty and scenic.


It had been our first night of camping, and it took us a while to get sorted out in the morning, but the meal kits we brought along were great as we only needed to get one pot of water on the boil to cook up for three people. It worked out quite well.




Crappy old tents get put away faster than new fangled ones. :P




We were all packed up and just about ready to turn on the bikes to hit the road when a pick up truck pulled into the lot. An older gentleman asked me a few questions in French, but all I was able to do was reply in English and tell him that we'd spent the night but cleaned up all our garbage. I think he was more surprised that we camped on a rough gravel lot than anything else, and with a smile and a wave reversed back out onto the road and headed off West along the road.

Chris is feeling it this morning too. :)




The ride is fast becoming that adventure we wanted, as we leave Toronto far behind and revel in the scenery and ambience of La Belle Province.





That's the St Lawrence there, and in the distance we can just make out the opposite shoreline. Just.



We three, we happy three.
 




We're fast approaching the ferry across the Saguenay River where it enters the Saint Lawrence Seaway, the Taddoussac - Baie Sainte Cathererine crossing.

Tadoussac–Baie-Sainte-Catherine

There are no tie-downs on this crossing, the bikes were on their kickstands the entire time, and we only really were nervous when the boat was turning and approaching or leaving the landing as well as docking of course. Rougher weather and I think I'd want to strap it just in case. We were waved on as priority and loaded right to the centre up front, and were first off when the ramps were down.


This river scenery is so beautiful that I vowed to come back another day and ride the shore along Route 172 QC north to Saguenay and see more of it.








The road ahead

The road behind

My bike turns 75,000!!!

Snowmobiles? These frenchmen must be mad to ride them in the summer time!
See this sign? It's an indication that the snow banks are so high, that motorists must be warned by tall signs indicating that a snowmobile may be approaching through the plowed snowbanks with the intention of crossing the highway here. That means they regularly expect banks that are taller than say four feet.



What IS this? What are they doing?



I had to. Sorry. 

While in Quebec... Stop at the cantines. 
I think this was may favourite roadside lunch in Quebec, from a tiny little Cantine.



That looks like rain!
If you are a rider, you know what happens when you see skies like this...
Can we get past it?




The answer is no, and we performed a rain dance by the side of the highway once Darlene saw that Chris and I were pulling over to begin the first act. :P
In fact, this rain storm highlighted certain problems with the footwear I'd chosen, as I'd decided that I might be doing a lot of walking and sightseeing while on this trip, so I wore vented Icon Superduty 2 boots which are leather ankle boots that I've been wearing for a few years now, and I find them extremely comfortable, but in no way waterproof by any stretch of the imagination. So I bought boot covers distributed in Canada by Kimpex and sold by GPBikes in Whitby Ontario. While they do their job at keeping your boots dry through, they will eventually, in a hard, long rain let your boots get damp, and trying to mount your pegs while wearing them had me almost face plant into my seat as my foot slipped off the boot cover, which did not slip off the peg, you understand? My boot shifted around inside of them while trying to mount. I still use them, but I'm on the lookout for something better, like the Sidi Adventure waterproof boots.

Kimpex Roadpak boot cover

Ummm. You have to be careful wearing these. I put my foot onto the foot peg to mount up and my leather boot slipped on the rubber sole of the outer boot, and I almost face planted into the dash of the KLR! What an embarrassing moment!

Baie Comeau towards Manic Cinq on 389 Nord. Beautiful roads!
These roads weren't in the best of shape, and later on we would run into ridges and pressure cracks that had me slow down and not be so darned heavy handed on the throttle.

South of the hydro electric damn at Manic Cinq




This was our last stop before meeting up with Jiff & V in Manic Cinq, so when I spotted a gas station just before the dam, we pulled in and fuelled up our bikes, but this motel didn't agree with the GPS coordinates that I'd plugged in earlier, so we agreed to head further up and see where it would lead...

Darlene made it to the top and back down again without mishap. She was happy about that. :)

It is one big dam. This picture doesn't do it justice or give you a good sense of scale.
Dam that thing is huge!




The Garmin GPS indicated that the motel was further ahead, but I was wary of being misled into another Adventure By Garmin™ , as it had us proceed up to the top of the dam, then across the top to the other side, so our RV with Jiff & V must be back at the motel/restaurant/general store back where we'd fuelled up the bikes, so we retraced our route back to the motel, to find their bikes hidden from view on the higher level where the motel had built a new block of rooms. Down in the Parking lot were a few more bikes, a BMW 1200GS with Nova Scotia plates, and a few KLR's of various vintages fully loaded, but they were heading out to a campsite just back and down the way a bit.

That weather is headed this way and the motel is fully booked up! Damn!
The clouds looked dark and angry as they rolled across the top of the man made lake at the top of the damn, and if we were lucky they'd pass right over us, but our luck wasn't with us, and the stray drops became a torrential rain that bucketed down onto our packed bikes and tents while we watched from the doorway of Jiff & V's motel room.


Oh yeah, it's bucketing down out there and windy as heck!
So what do we do? Sit in Geoff and Viv's room and eat chips and wait for it to die out, but it doesn't look like it's ever going to completely stop. Erect tents in the parking lot between cloud bursts and try to ignore the lightning strikes that are the closest I've ever seen in my life. They're  striking in the treeline next to us, possibly hitting the hydro towers in the distance obscured by the trees. The strikes are close, plentiful and noisy, as if to announce the second coming. I had my tent up quickly, as I've had five years practice with it to get it right, and went on to assist Chris, asking him how I could help, and in reply he asked me to assemble an aluminium tent pole, so here I am clutching an aluminium lightning rod when a huge CRACK split the air seemly right over my shoulder! I tossed the pole away as if it were on fire and involuntarily jumped back! Later I sheepishly admitted to Chris my fear of becoming a North Face kebab.

We got the tents up and then went and showered up in Geoff and Viv's room before heading back out and trying to catch some sleep. Chris got some sleep, later on Darlene was heard to say that I snored almost as loudly as Chris, but while I couldn't hear myself, I could sure hear Chris! Picture me with ear plugs in AND my helmet on trying to get to sleep. I must have, for I don't ever remember taking off my helmet. I was a slow starter that morning and we put our tents away sopping wet.





Day 3 - Manic Cinq QC to Labrador City NL - 372km

Day 3 - Manic Cinq QC to Labrador City NL - 372km
Thankfully the sun began to make an appearance after breakfast, and as the rest of the group weren't quite ready, I wandered off to get a couple more pictures.

You end up sharing the highway to quite a few of these trucks...


The top of the dam

Of all the riders in the group, I had the most dirt experience and was elected to lead the way from the top of the dam and down the now gravel road, and it was a blast! I found a happy spot and was just ripping along enjoying the ride when I entered a downhill left hander that had my rear end step out under throttle, and I let it drift the corner, loving it the whole time, that is until I hit the washboard on the exit, and my light front end went into a tank slapper and down I went at about 70 kph into the gravel, straight towards the only man made pit on the entire highway! Thankfully the bike shook to a stop near the edge, but I was a bit leary of tipping it into the ten foot hole, so I opted to wait until the others caught up, so instead checked myself and my gear over to make sure that I wasn't hurt. Just my pride and my ankle, and that boulder that had worked it's way into my ankle boot had to go!

That will buff right out...

My poor fender... 


The boulder has to come out of the shoe.








































We picked up some strays! Apparently adventure riders think of the trans lab as some sort of, well I don't know exactly, perhaps as an adventure? We met a group of KLR riders at the hotel commanded by Scott, and a BMW GS1200 piloted  by Dave and his flight crew Kathy. If you ride all day long in the same direction, you are going to meet up and pass the other groups, especially if your pace is relatively relaxed (especially after my get off). We met them at the gas/lunch stop at Relais-Gabriel, stopped at the side of the road taking a wizz, and again and again. Darlene announced that Kathy would be joining our group, and Dave would receive honorary membership as well, which was fine with the rest of us, as Dave and Kathy were kindred souls, smiled easily and butterfly gazed with the best of us. It probably won't come as a shock to you when I say that I stop for an awful lot of pictures, and some I don't even bother stopping for.







































































































































































Day 3 - Manic Cinq QC to Labrador City NL


I had a tough night of it, as Chris was sawing logs, and at one point I had ear plugs in and my helmet on and still couldn't quite get to sleep, so I gave up and went outside to take a few pictures and wait for people to stir and head for breakfast.
Our campsite at Manic Cing at 0430

The mist is so thick, you felt it like a misty rain.


The moon over the trees. I expected to hear wolves howling in the distance at any moment.


Aviciouscycle.ca my sponsor. ;)





Here begins the test of the Kenda 270's I had mounted for the trip









We assembled at the top of the Dam, and after a few pictures, we're ready to roll!


At the top of the dam, Manic Cinq lies behind, and 389 Nord and Labrador City lies ahead. 
To be honest I was a bit concerned as I've never really gone on a long adventure ride, and as I tend to pack like a pessimist and ride like an optimist, it meant I was carrying a ton of equipment, but riding like I was in Ontario, a cellphone call away from CAA and an ambulance, so I took the lead and began to bury their headlights behind me, confident that my four seasons experience with dirt riding, and knobby tires would see me through...

20km later, I hit this beautiful flat corner doing about 60kph, I let the bike tip in underneath me, got on the throttle and enjoyed the sensation as the rear end stepped out in a bit of a power drift past the apex. I was really beginning to enjoy the ride, and stayed on the throttle. That was when I hit the washboard with the front end, and rear end weight became very apparent as the light front end began to oscillate, and then quickly turned into a tank slapper, and before I could say "This is not good!" I experienced my first gravel get off at speed, and of course my bike was aimed at the ONLY man made pit  on the entire highway! A huge 16'x16' crater that was about 8 or ten feet deep, and now as I picked myself up and ran over to the bike to kill the engine, it was poised on the edge ready to go over. If I tried to pick it up myself, it'd go in for sure, so I waited until the others had found a spot to put there kickstands down and join me. Already a truck had stopped and a couple of people were out, Darlene had quickly got her first aid kit out, but I said to her "Where's your camera? Get pictures!" as Chris and Jiff were now helping me to pull the bike back from the brink...

She's heavy! 

My poor mirror!

You're darned right this is an ADVenture!

What am I going to do with all those lovely stickers now!?

The Ammo cans and Packrack that I'd borrowed off of Dan took the slide and  shrugged it off. A little sandpaper and they'd rattle can right back to pristine. Did I mention they saved my leg? 

Stones made their way into my boot as I slid down the road on my face.

I'm good, the bikes a bit beat but ready to roll with a half of one mirror. An ADVRider salute and I need to get back on this pig and regain my confidence or I'd tuck my tail between my legs and head home now.
Yeah, I'd crashed hard, bruised my knee, my wrist and my ego. Bugger! The first one down, and I was the one with the experience! But obviously not enough brains to take it easy. lol. Well sunshine, now you have to get back on the bike and after a test ride, get it back up to speed, and get it going faster than when you crashed, or you'll lose your nerve and wuss out the rest of the ride. Yeah, the next corner made me nervous, and i didn't drift it, but I kept my speed up and conquered my demons, trying to use my broken half mirror to see if the others were keeping up, so I backed off the throttle and let them rejoin, then just took it easy. It was going to be a long day and I'd remodelled my bike enough, and had to spend the rest of the trip looking at the damage and cursing my stupidity for power drifting a bike that was carrying suck a heavy load over wash boarded road. I need a steering dampener if I want to do that again. ;)




Hello? CAA? How much to tow a bike from the 51st Parallel back to Richmond Hill? What do you mean you don't accept collect calls? Hello? Hello? 

It really is this beautiful. Just go.










Crater Lake. I made it.

The camera just didn't do this shot justice.



Relais-Gabriel


Those KLR riders that I mentioned we'd seen at the hotel at Manic Cinq? There they were again! It seems that if you're all headed the same way, you'll end up leap frogging each other time and time again. :D





We didn't get a lot of sleep in the past couple of nights...
Soon after Relais Gabriel we hit pavement near the abandoned mining town of Gagnon, and you can really fly again, although the pavement is rough in spots, so the eight inches of suspension travel makes for a nice ride. Later on, the pavement ends at a fork in the road where you are encouraged to head towards Fermont/Labrador City. This is where the ride got a nasty, as there is a base of sand with gravel over top of it,  and it curves and winds it's back and forth across some hills as it criss crosses the rail line. In the distance you can see hills, and as you get closer, you see the mine tailings, and the streams and lakes full of iron ore from the filtration process. It turns the waters red with iron oxide.

For the record, the Fire Lake section and later on Port Hope Simpson to Red Bay were the two worst sections of the trip. You'll wish you had full knobs for those two bits, so I'd advise you to take it easy, and yield corners to the tractor trailers, they'll need much of the road to negotiate the tighter corners.











We made it! Mostly in one piece. ;)



Can you guess who this is by the helmet head?



Hair by Shoei

The specs? Those are black flies.


She's battered but still running strong.

These cases and rack are very heavy, but they saved my leg and only need a bit of rattle can to restore to their forner glory.



I put these Paris Dacre Nerf bars on for this trip, and they saved my fairing and radiator reservoir. I'm happy. 

I rode another five thousand kilomters with that broken windshield and half mirror.

We had enough of wet tents, and when someone caved in and suggested we get a motel room split between the four of us, I had visions of a warm shower and a dry bed, but of course I lost the toss and ended up on the floor in Labrador City. :)

Unloading the bikes for the night

We left the room in search of some food and ran in Scott and his fellow KLR riders in front of the variety store, Jubbers, where Scott removed a blue dry sac from the back of his bike and asked us if it were ours, and as he did so, Darlene looked on and said "I have one just like that!" and when she examined the contents, discovered that her tent was inside, and it must have fallen off of the bike some time ago, down the road.

Scott said they'd been stopped by a trucker heading in the opposite direction, who handed them the bag and told them it had fallen off a bike heading towards Labrador City. It made me feel that Labrador was more inviting than certain parts of Ontario, let me tell you.


We can only stay for a minute...
The best part of an adventure like this is the people you meet along the way, and when you run into them time and time again, they become your friends in adversity as you meet up and share your stories and talk about the ride. We ran into Dave and Kathy, the Nova Scotia BMW riders again as they pulled into the hotel, and the group of us went over to Pizza Hut as nothing else was open but for McDonalds.

Arms full and looking forward to a peaceful night.

This is how you get some rest and relax. :)

That screen? It keeps the black flies out. It's a GOOD thing. :)


Day 4 - Labrador City NL to Churchill Falls NL






































What follows is a series of pictures that show two transport trucks passing in the distance, and the dust clouds raised by them. The camera doesn't quite capture how low your visibility is as it passes you...
















































Is that PAVEMENT?!












Tent City in Churchill Falls






Dan made it! And is sleeping like a baby.



Day 5 - Churchill Falls NL to Happy Valley - Goose Bay NL












I was a bit premature here. Haha.











Hi Honey, I miss you. :)


Kenda 270's, although next time I want something with more bite, and I'll buy a new one on Newfoundland. :)




















Day 6 - Happy Valley-Goose Bay NL to Port Hope Simpson NL




Where's Charely and Ewan when you need them to help pick up big bikes?






















































YOU'RE GOING THE WRONG WAY!!!

























Port Hope Simpson is on the other side of the estuary. We made it!













 We made it to Port Hope Simpson with a couple of mishaps, I had a wee get off mid corner on the gravel at about 70kph 20km north of Manic Cinq and modified my front , bruised my wrist, knee and ego. One of these will never recover. We had another rider high side at low speed crossing an eight inch high berm and bruise a couple of her bits. Another toppled in soft sand trying to get the kickstand down. Yet another had a zero speed tip over when he tried climbing a ditch out from in front of the hvgb sign where we'd all posed with our bikes for "THE" shot. One rider has yet to fall off of the five. Tat2! That means you're not pushing the edge and you can go faster! :P The weather is far colder than I was expecting, so I brought a few super light MX shirts instead of heavier ones.It's working out, I'm enjoying the trip and the team it builds while riding. We saw two bears so far, no Caribou at all! And the Moose were in hiding with them. Cheers for now.
Day 7 - Port Hope Simpson to St. Lunaire-Griquet NL


 Heh heh. One of these days I'd love to get out to California and do the PCH and interior BC, but this was the last Eastern Province to scratch off the bucket list and a great ADVRide as well with friends. We conquered the Trans Lab yesterday and rode back onto pavement in Red Bay Labrador, where is was an easy run down to the ferry at Blanc Sablon where we met Paul and Lori who invited us to camp out in their heated Garage in St. Lunaire-Grigoet Newfoundland. We woke up to a home cooked breakfast and then Paul took us out into the bay on his boat where we were able to touch one of the many icebergs in the bay, then we watched his wife lori jigging for cod and come up with three fish in as many minutes, none big enough to keep so they were tossed back.He has a four legged visitor to his property, as moose will come out of the woods and snack on Lori's lilac bushes. In fact we saw two males just off his driveway, then a doe and two calves and the mother crossing the road. Moose were introduced to the island in 1904 as an alternate source of meat, and Newfoundland has the highest moose population in North America as a result. We headed up to L'Anse Aux meadoux to see the Viking settlement and ran into Rob Harris and Jim who are doing the TLH tomorrow on a Yamaha Super tenere and a BMW F800GS counter clockwise. We traded tips over lunch and it was off to find a camping spot until we heard the weather warning for rain. Our tents are still wet from the last rainfall, so we opted for a room for the night. Tomorrow we should be in Gross Morne for a couple of days before heading over to see Tat2 relatives in Badger, then up to Bonavista if we have time before St. John's. Cheers for now from St. Anthony Newfoundland.Re the ego? I'm used to crashing offroad, but a gravel get off was totally my fault for riding as if I were in Ontario on unknown roads in remote Quebec. I learn the hardway. I wonder how many of my students will take their cruisers or sportbikes on the TLH? Should I warn each class?

10 in the morning, 19 in the afternoon, 25 in the sun, although Paul mentioned they'd had a run of rain the past week or two. It's a beautiful place and I've only seen a small portion of it as yet. For whatever reason I can't log into yfrog, picasa or Photobucket, so you'll have to wait for pictures or send me a fb friend request.It's raining at 0630 here, and they're calling for an inch or more of rain, so perhaps we'll make it a late checkout after breakfast. Cheers!Oh, the carriage returns on my blackberry are being ignored when I submit.
Day 8 - St. Lunaire-Griquet NL to St. Anthony NL

Day 9 - St. Anthony NL to Shallow Bay NL
 Tat2 has taken on the role of culinary guide, and I'm determined to sample local cuisine when on a trip, so I had Cod tongues and chips my first night in Goose Bay, and have had bologna with every breakfast as well. I'd a lovely mug up at the Alexis hotel in Port Hope Simpson, and later that night had the cod and chips. Heavenly. They now how to do it right!Yesterday morning I'd a side of Toutons to go with breakfast and shared them round as we had breakfast with Rob Harris and Jim Vernon before they had to make the ferry over to Labrador. They should just be waking up in Red Bay this morning, as we stayed in a motel in St. Anthony last night as they received 35 to 40mm of rain. We'd a late lazy checkout at 1300 and made it down the coast in high winds.The winds were so bad that the bikes were tossed around and I'd a very real fear of being blown into oncoming traffic as did we all, even the GS1200 piloted by Dave and Kathy was having difficulty, while Tat2 and I on KLR's felt as if our front tires were being swept out from beneath us. Thankfully the wind abated further down the coast where we stopped for lunch and I sampled some very fine Chowder and rolls before ordering a side of fries, gravy and dressing. The dressing is seasoned breadcrumbs flavoured similarly to bread stuffing you might find in a turkey, sage, savoury, salt and chives or parsley. My first thought was it was very similar to Colonel's spice blend for his chicken. As Tat2 says, "It sticks to your ribs".There are a very small number of restaurants licensed to serve Moose, and we've yet to run across one yet, although I did have Caribou sausage in Red Bay.The mosquitoes want their breakfast and I need the facilities so I'll leave you for now.Penned from my tent in Gros Morne, near Cow's head.
Day 10 - Shallow Bay NL to Norris Point NL

Day 11 - Norris Point NL to Badger NL
We didn't get far yesterday, we camped at Shallow Bay, had a lazy start and didn't leave the campsite until ten or eleven, got to western brook and hiked in to the lake, but didn't take the lake boat, hiked back out and carried on down the road a bit past Rocky Harbour, but we stopped long enough for me to drop my bike. :P I was taking pictures of the coast and saw a rutted track that led onto the bluff so I followed it until it reached a ditch that was a bit too steep for me to try while riding solo, parked the bike, walked a couple hundred metres further on to snap a couple of shots and turned to find that the kickstand had sunk into the soft earth and was now lying on its side. Lol. I was more worried about the gas leaking from the tank than damage to the bike as it's got crash guards front and heavy ammo can panniers on the rear. Getting up was a bit of a chore while fully loaded, but I managed to right it and get it back onto the asphalt and down to Norris Point where we found a Bread & Breakfast run by an older gentleman, Terry's Place. His name was in fact Terry, with a Yamaha V-Star and a dog named Scrubbs. Terry sent us down the road to his relatives restaurant for dinner where I had some lovely pan fried cod, chips and gravy with dressing. We headed back to Terry's and he told me wear I could best view the sunset over western point. I did a wee bit of off roading to get there, but the view and resulting photo's a re spectacular! I'll add some to this thread when I get to my sister's place on PEI next week. Terry cooked us breakfast, and it was then that I said farewell to Kathy and Dave as they'd decided to play tourist with their final days on the island and stay on the Western side and visit Stephenville, Corner Brook, and make their way down to the Ferry at Port Aux Basque. One of my friends elected to stay with them, while wanted to see the East Coast, St. John's, and Bonavista where I have some relatives, so I packed up and hit the highway to meet up with Tat2. The roads south out of Gros Morne were fun and beautiful as I wound my way towards the Trans Canada and turned towards Badger NL. The bad part is I hit reserve at 269 which was a bit unnerving as a fuel search showed 53km to the next station, but badger was 39km away. I backed off on the gas and took it easy, thinking that I MIGHT have to message Tat2 to meet me on the road with a can of gas, but I made it into the Irving station in Badger, and later on sat down to lunch of toutons, beans and bologna at his Aunts. He's unloaded his bike and road about 20 km of the T'railway round trip and said that it was whooped out by the quads and that 1st and 2nd was fast enough to make him nervous in the deep crushed rocks. He said 50 was the best he got going, but when the front sunk into the deeper gravel he felt like moses parting the red sea. A smaller dirt bike would have had a fun rip. Steak dinner after a walk down to the convenience store for beer and we find ourselves yawning as we plan our ride to St. Johns tomorrow where we'll visit Signal Hill, St. John's harbour and Cape Spear. "Trew de air, oer de ocean, for da first the time, ever" Tat2 has been saying the whole trip. :P After that we overnight in New Harbour on his uncles lawn, then I head up to see what family I have left in Bonavista and he heads south for the Argentia Ferry. I'm booked on Sat from Port Aux Basque where I'll meet up with D, Dave and Kathy.

Map Missing here:

Yesterday Tat2 and I left his Aunts place in Badger and made tracks for St. Johns, but the four and a half hour ride seemed to take forever. We stopped for gas and I realized I'd left my wallet at his Aunt's house and back I went (1.5 kilometres), stopped at the roadside to don rain gear and rode ten kiometres before finding that I'd left my camelbak insecured on top of my canoe bags and it had parted ways with me, so back I went, all the while entertaining visions of pickup and trailer running it over, burst seams and a dark blot of water to mark it's passing only to find it unharmed at the roadside not far from where we'd stopped. We stopped at Gambo, at the overlook and took a few pictures, and who should pull up trailering his bike back to St. Johns but Brian, a Honda CBF1000 rider that we'd met in Rocky Harbour a couple of days ago. There was talk about where to find a Jiggs dinner and an emergency screech in for I've "Come from away" to their beautiful island. The fog and rain closed in once past Clarenville and we rode without music and at times closeted in by the fog so we slowed down to 80 on the TCH East and at the previous pee break I'd donned a highvis vest that I take along for conditions exactly like that so the townies rushing home from vacation don't run me down on the road. The road winds it's way through Terra Nova, then the Avalon Peninsula, up and down hills to our exit of 41A into Mount Pearl and on into St Johns harbour area where we got turned around looking for the road to Cape Spear and ended up back tracking along the highway to an exit three kilometers up the road and took town streets back the way we came until we finally sorted out exactly where Garmin was asking us to make that all-important right turn, leading you away from downtown St. Johns to the South then finally turning East once you crest the hill in the fog to see the park sign. Unfortunately, as we heard from the locals, we'd chosen the one day this week NOT to see the sights, as that fog obscured most of the coastline and had left us cold and miserable, but we were still elated enough to walk out along the boardwalk, ignore the numerous "Danger" signs and get some shots out on the rocks. Credit me with enough intelligence to stand only on the dry rocks well back from the crashing surf. :PIf you had visions of me dipping my tire into the surf, I imagine it could be done with a 150 foot rope, but the rim would have some back up all twisted and broken. A helicopter flew overhead, but for the fog it was invisible. We mounted the bikes again, after deciding that at 1700 we weren't going to see anything from Signal hill, or much of Petty Harbour, and Brian had sent an email saying that I could replace my scratched clear visor at one of the three dealerships on Topsail road (their Yonge Street) that runs from St. Johns through Mount Pearl and on into Paradise where I found that 1745 is fifteen minutes too late for any of them to be open, although I did meet with someone turning the key at the Kawasaki dealer who, if I was around tomorrow, offered to bring in the visor from his RF1100 to see if it would fit for the trip home. I thanked him kindly and said I was on my way west this evening to New Harbour. How can you top generosity like that?!We had dinner after refuelling at the Kozy Kitchen in Paradise, where I'd a Pineapple Crush and a fisherman's platter of two pieces of battered cod, fries, dressing, gravy, onions and peas before donning our rain gear and heading for New Harbour where Tat2 had directions like "turn left at the bridge, and if you end up in the Atlantic and see whales, you've missed us". Well, we missed them, but as soon as we came to a stop, a couple of guys asked where we were to, and soon sorted out that it was Carl we were looking for and needed to go back a ways and turn right when we passed the camper van. Success! Tat2 had his family reunion and I'd a nice hot cuppa and some great conversation before bed. Today Tat2 is leaving for the ferry while I pack up and get a move on to see Bonavista to search out some distantly related family in the area, then I'll head back to Port Aux Basque to meet up with my party who have been enjoying the West coast. Rain and fog and a high of 13 so I'd best get moving before that system hits, as. Port Aux Basque is 884 kilometres from St. Johns. Perhaps I'll camp in Corner Brook or Stephenville tomorrow before riding a section of the Trailway.Oh, check out CMGOnline for the latest from Editor 'Arris and Jim who suffered a setback on the TLH. Cheers from New Harbour (up the road from Dildo NFLD)

Maps Missing again:

I had a cuppa tea and a bowl of cereal with Tat2 before loading my gear on the bike just as it began to rain. I said my goodbyes and hit the road, but I didn't get very far as a sign said "Dildo" with an arrow, so I went down and snapped some pictures of the harbour and town before heading southwest back to the TCH west, but on the way I saw an EAGLE!!! Just sitting on a rock just in the bay, about twenty metres from shore. I made a quick U-turn to go back, and found my aftermarket muffler startled it into flight before I could get anything. I have one crappy cellphone pic of it winging it's way across the harbour as far from my ISD2 Supertrap as it could get. Once on the Trans Canada it was a bit of a slog until I reached the Clarenville area where I turned off the TCH bound for Bonavista. Once out of the town the road became highly entertaining for almost the entire hour it took to get up to the tip of the Peninsula. You pass through towns with names like Trinity Bay, places I'd heard of in stories and songs, and now was seeing in person. The landscape varies incredibly, from rocky lichen covered tundra, to mixed forest, and rocky coastline. I found myself stopping again and again to capture as much as I could with my camera. Bonavista was a bit of an anticlimax, as with many large towns out this way, it's more of a sprawl than a built up city, so the two and three story buildings are the tallest ones you'll see, but the homes are tightly packed together, with few trees, and cover the rolling hills.It was lunchtime and the cereal I had that morning was long gone so I was on the lookout for a local restaurant when I spied a rider on a Honda 250R so I pulled in beside him and we talked the universal language of bikes. What displacement, how do you like the abs etc etc. Cory, a fisherman who'd caught his government allowed qouta yesterday offered to show me the way to Cabot's Landing out on Cape Bonavista, so I followed him out, set the kickstand down, threw on a sweater to take the chill out of the cooler ocean breeze. Cory pointed out some whales in the bay, but I was unable to make them out, confusing a rock in the heaving swell for a minute before giving up. I did see Puffins though, perched on rocks, paddling in the more protected nooks and coves, and winging their way from stony perch to stony perch. The lighthouse on the Cape began to sound it's fog horn, and I watched a bank of fog slowly begin to obscure a grassy island where Cabot had landed sheep and goats to graze on. Newfoundlanders still use similar islands for their sheep, as there are no predators and they don't like to swim, so it makes ideal pasture for them. Cory shook my hand and said farewell after recommending a local restaurant just down the road, the Dairy King, where you could have anything from burgers to scallops. A bacon mushroom melt with fries, dressing and gravy hit the spot, although I noticed that the mushrooms were canned. Perhaps they don't have access to the fresh foods that we do in Ontario, and it's certainly shown in the dearth of farmland I've seen on the island. In Onterrible, when the trees disappear you usually will see cultivated land with fences, tractors, and barns, but for the most part all I've seen are lobster traps, fishing boats and the odd small sheep or dairy farm apart from a few vegetable plots.After lunch I donned my rain gear once more and set off towards the Trans Canada Highway once more to head as far west as I could. The weather turned from foggy drizzle into a harder, cold rain, and by the time I got to the lookout over Gambo, I was cold, damp and miserable, wondering if I'd ever see the sun again. Just after my brief stop in Gambo, I felt water between my legs. My rainpants had sprung a leak right at the crotch and I was subjected to wet balls for the rest of the trip. Gander passed in a wet, cold blur. My heated grips were on high, vinyl rain gloves on, overtop "waterproof" (HAH!) snowmobile gloves and my hands were almost cold, but not quite. Was that a light blue edge to the cloud in the distant horizon?! Was I finally going to leave this rain behind?! Hallelujah! The Sun!!! The roads were drying up and my gear began to dry out so I stopped for fuel in Badger and took the time to don a base layer after shedding my rain gear, as the day was getting on. Just a note about the rain gear I'm using. The Kimpex overboots keep the rain off your boots, but will allow water in over the course of a few hours or longer. I've promised myself to wear my waterproof Alpinestar web gortex next go around. I wore a pair of motorcycle ankleboots that are very comfortable for riding and walking in, but aren't waterproof by any stretch of the imagination. Still, they'd be on my feet for three weeks... My problem with these is my boots will sometimes slip off the rubber soles, and at one point while trying to mount the bike, my boot slipped off the rubber sole, the peg, and I nearly faceplanted into the seat. I was careful with mounts and dismounts afterwards. I rate them a 5/10. They'll perform in a downpour, but there has to be something better. I bought an MSR hydroshell pullover at Royal Distributing at the suggestion of my good friend Willie who rode more off road than anything, and he said his friends used them as they fold up into a small pouch that can be worn on a belt. It has surprisingly good neck and wrist gaiters, is light and can be stowed in a tankbag. It rocks!!! It gets damp on the inside, but not enough to wet my riding jacket as badly as some others I've tried. It's been brilliant! 9/10My venerable Teknic rainpants are a bit snug when worn over my riding pants, and the velcro closures at the cuffs are useless, leaving large wings that flap as I ride along. You might as well use duct tape or cyclists bands in it's stead around your ankles, and the suspenders need to be crossed over your head else they'll slip off and you'll be constantly trying to "shift your bra strap" through three layers of clothing. They do their job, but don't breathe, so if you ride out of the rain need to be removed or else you'll be as wet on the inside as you are on the outside. I tore off both ankle straps through wear and tear, and as mentioned the seam at the crotch gave up, but they are four years old. 7/10 FXR Snowmobile gloves with "Hypora" waterproof lining? Yeah, maybe for thirty minutes. Bring vinyl gloves, they stop the wind and keep your hands dry but for sweat and can be worn under your favourite gloves, and for messy roadside repairs. They saved my bacon this trip. The gloves are a bit thick, awkward, warm and dry until they soak through, although great for riding in temps around the 0 mark, they suck when wet. No wonder they were on sale. 4/10Two days of riding in the cold rain will make you obsessive about gear that works. After Badger, the sun began to sink in the west, and with all the moose warnings, I let a tractor trailer pass me, and got in behind him until we hit Deer Lake where stopped for a meal of Liver and onions and chatted with the staff about her trip from Brampton to "Back home" last week and the two days in montreal she'd spent. While standing in the parking lot, her friend ran out with a tourist brochure to assist me in finding a room for the night. What a lovely gesture! I found a motel for the night. "Found" isn't the best word to use in this case. The GPS told me it was there, and driving around in circles at night did nothing to help matters. Corner Brook has hillsides, one way streets, rivers and a harbour. I had to pull out my crackberry and use google maps to show me that the gps was out by 700 metres and I'd have to crest a hill before the hotel was visible. A room! Who cares that Hotel Corner Brook was just this side of a dive?! It was warm, dry and had a vacancy after the five others I'd tried were full. I laid out my gear to dry, had a shower and crawled into bed.









http://greeneradventures.blogspot.com/


I had a cuppa tea and a bowl of cereal with Tat2 before loading my gear on the bike just as it began to rain. I said my goodbyes and hit the road, but I didn't get very far as a sign said "Dildo" with an arrow, so I went down and snapped some pictures of the harbour and town before heading southwest back to the TCH west, but on the way I saw an EAGLE!!!
 Just sitting on a rock just in the bay, about twenty metres from shore. I made a quick U-turn to go back, and found my aftermarket muffler startled it into flight before I could get anything. I have one crappy cellphone pic of it winging it's way across the harbour as far from my ISD2 Supertrap as it could get. :(

Once on the Trans Canada it was a bit of a slog until I reached the Clarenville area where I turned off the TCH bound for Bonavista. Once out of the town the road became highly entertaining for almost the entire hour it took to get up to the tip of the Peninsula. You pass through towns with names like Trinity Bay, places I'd heard of in stories and songs, and now was seeing in person.

The landscape varies incredibly, from rocky lichen covered tundra, to mixed forest, and rocky coastline. I found myself stopping again and again to capture as much as I could with my camera.

Bonavista was a bit of an anticlimax, as with many large towns out this way, it's more of a sprawl than a built up city, so the two and three story buildings are the tallest ones you'll see, but the homes are tightly packed together, with few trees, and cover the rolling hills.

It was lunchtime and the cereal I had that morning was long gone so I was on the lookout for a local restaurant when I spied a rider on a Honda 250R so I pulled in beside him and we talked the universal language of bikes. What displacement, how do you like the abs etc etc. Cory, a fisherman who'd caught his government allowed qouta yesterday offered to show me the way to Cabot's Landing out on Cape Bonavista, so I followed him out, set the kickstand down, threw on a sweater to take the chill out of the cooler ocean breeze. Cory pointed out some whales in the bay, but I was unable to make them out, confusing a rock in the heaving swell for a minute before giving up. I did see Puffins though, perched on rocks, paddling in the more protected nooks and coves, and winging their way from stony perch to stony perch.

The lighthouse on the Cape began to sound it's fog horn, and I watched a bank of fog slowly begin to obscure a grassy island where Cabot had landed sheep and goats to graze on. Newfoundlanders still use similar islands for their sheep, as there are no predators and they don't like to swim, so it makes ideal pasture for them.

Cory shook my hand and said farewell after recommending a local restaurant just down the road, the Dairy King, where you could have anything from burgers to scallops. A bacon mushroom melt with fries, dressing and gravy hit the spot, although I noticed that the mushrooms were canned. Perhaps they don't have access to the fresh foods that we do in Ontario, and it's certainly shown in the dearth of farmland I've seen on the island. In Onterrible, when the trees disappear you usually will see cultivated land with fences, tractors, and barns, but for the most part all I've seen are lobster traps, fishing boats and the odd small sheep or dairy farm apart from a few vegetable plots.

After lunch I donned my rain gear once more and set off towards the Trans Canada Highway once more to head as far west as I could. The weather turned from foggy drizzle into a harder, cold rain, and by the time I got to the lookout over Gambo, I was cold, damp and miserable, wondering if I'd ever see the sun again.

Just after my brief stop in Gambo, I felt water between my legs. My rainpants had sprung a leak right at the crotch and I was subjected to wet balls for the rest of the trip. Gander passed in a wet, cold blur. My heated grips were on high, vinyl rain gloves on, overtop "waterproof" (HAH!) snowmobile gloves and my hands were almost cold, but not quite.

Was that a light blue edge to the cloud in the distant horizon?! Was I finally going to leave this rain behind?! Hallelujah! The Sun!!! The roads were drying up and my gear began to dry out so I stopped for fuel in Badger and took the time to don a base layer after shedding my rain gear, as the day was getting on.

Just a note about the rain gear I'm using. The Kimpex overboots keep the rain off your boots, but will allow water in over the course of a few hours or longer. I've promised myself to wear my waterproof Alpinestar web gortex next go around. I wore a pair of motorcycle ankleboots that are very comfortable for riding and walking in, but aren't waterproof by any stretch of the imagination. Still, they'd be on my feet for three weeks...  My problem with these is my boots will sometimes slip off the rubber soles, and at one point while trying to mount the bike, my boot slipped off the rubber sole, the peg, and I nearly faceplanted into the seat. I was careful with mounts and dismounts afterwards.  I rate them a 5/10. They'll perform in a downpour, but there has to be something better.

I bought an MSR hydroshell pullover at Royal Distributing at the suggestion of my good friend Willie who rode more off road than anything, and he said his friends used them as they fold up into a small pouch that can be worn on a belt. It has  surprisingly good neck and wrist gaiters, is light and can be stowed in a tankbag. It rocks!!! It gets damp on the inside, but not enough to wet my riding jacket as badly as some others I've tried. It's been brilliant! 9/10

My venerable Teknic rainpants are a bit snug when worn over my riding pants, and the velcro closures at the cuffs are useless, leaving large wings that flap as I ride along. You might as well use duct tape or cyclists bands in it's stead around your ankles, and the suspenders need to be crossed over your head else they'll slip off and you'll be constantly trying to "shift your bra strap" through three layers of clothing. They do their job, but don't breathe, so if you ride out of the rain need to be removed or else you'll be as wet on the inside as you are on the outside. I tore off both ankle straps through wear and tear, and as mentioned the seam at the crotch gave up, but they are four years old. 7/10

FXR Snowmobile gloves with "Hypora" waterproof lining? Yeah, maybe for thirty minutes. Bring vinyl gloves, they stop the wind and keep your hands dry but for sweat and can be worn under your favourite gloves, and for messy roadside repairs. They saved my bacon this trip. The gloves are a bit thick, awkward, warm and dry until they soak through, although great for riding in temps around the 0 mark, they suck when wet. No wonder they were on sale. 4/10

Two days of riding in the cold rain will make you obsessive about gear that works. ;)

After Badger, the sun began to sink in the west, and with all the moose warnings, I let a tractor trailer pass me, and got in behind him until we hit Deer Lake where stopped for a meal of Liver and onions and chatted with the staff about her trip from Brampton to "Back home" last week and the two days in montreal she'd spent.  While standing in the parking lot, her friend ran out with a tourist brochure to assist me in finding a room for the night. What a lovely gesture!

I found a motel for the night. "Found" isn't the best word to use in this case. The GPS told me it was there, and driving around in circles at night did nothing to help matters. Corner Brook has hillsides, one way streets, rivers and a harbour. I had to pull out my crackberry and use google maps to show me that the gps was out by 700 metres and I'd have to crest a hill before the hotel was visible.

A room! Who cares that Hotel Corner Brook was just this side of a dive?! It was warm, dry and had a vacancy after the five others I'd tried were full. I laid out my gear to dry, had a shower and crawled into bed.



I woke up in my hotel room feeling refreshed, and after packing up the bike, decided to visit the Trinity Motorsports dealer to see if they carried any Shoei visors as my spectacular faceplant into the gravel on 389 Nord had done mine no favours. If I tilt my chin up just so, I have a clear spot to look through. No luck, so I thought I'd take Terry's advice (Terry's Place B&B in Norris Point)  and ride out to the coast straight out from Corner Brook on the south shore towards Lark Harbour near Blow-me-down Provincial park.

Close to town the homes line the road and the speeds are slow, but as you get along, it opens up into some lovely twists and turns as it winds it's way along the coast, showing the coastline, with tall craggy hills and a waterfall in the background, I found it hard not to stop and take pictures, so I gave in and stopped when I could. Definitely an entertaining ride along with some beautiful scenery.

At Lark Harbour I stopped for more pictures, then decided a late breakfast of tea and toutons wouldn't be a bad idea, and stopped in at a waterfront cafe to find that the tea would be no trouble but they'd no toutons so I compromised and put molasses on my buttered toast. Yummy! While there I chatted up a couple of young kids who thought my bike was brilliant in all it's battered glory, and spoke of quad trails and dirt bikes in the area.

There was a couple I spoke to as well, we started on an innocent topic, the beautiful weather we were enjoying and as the topic turned to "Where are you to" I noticed Ontario plates on his truck. It turns out he was born on the Rock, but taught in Gravenhurst not far from where my father lives, and his wife was from Huntsville, and they've a retirement home on the Avalon Peninsula. Each trip they load a bit more into the truck to ferry over to the island.

The boys made sure to wave as I rode out past their homes, so I made sure to return the gesture. I saw a parked KLR, '09 perhaps, and considered stopping for an "I hate KLR's chat" that can take any where from a couple of minutes to a couple of days, but thought I'd rather see where that road led to, so made a right and headed further over to yet another cove with it's fishing fleet docked. On the way out you see a group of three or four men sorting the catch, every now and then throwing a juicy bit towards the gulls that flock in their hundreds over the boat stage. Essentially ramps over the beach, perhaps with a small shed at the top end for boat gear. This way the boat stays high and dry yet can be launched or ramped in seconds. I can see from other areas around the island that their fathers must have done the same thing for years if not centuries.

You have to ride out the same way you rode in, but now you know what to expect and can pick up the pace a bit as the camera is away and the Trans Canada south bound to Stephenville Crossing is calling loud and clear. I've got the rest of the afternoon to see Port Aux Ports, along with Long Point, then I'll have to head down to Port Aux Basque to meet up with the others and catch our 4am ferry on Saturday the 31st for Nova Scotia. Best get rocking with a quick stop roadside stop to adjust my gear and the bike for the highway, and we're off!

John Graves Simcoe never left Upper Canada to survey for the Trans Canada Highway, so even that is entertaining and scenic, but when you turn off onto Route 104 heading towards Stephenville, the road climbs, dips and swerves as good as any road in Muskoka. Add in the changing scenery, flora and fauna as you near the coast, and I knew I was in for some entertainment!

Now the whole time we prepped for the TLH, we had in mind doing part of the T'Railway, so a track on my GPS showed that it crisscrossed my path here and there, and then I saw a spur that headed straight towards Stephenville crossing, and although I was by myself, I'd keep my speed down and turn around if it got too knarly, so keeping that in mind I stopped and secured some loose bits, as well as got out the roll of duct tape to secure the last half of my left mirror, the only reflective surface I had left that was now beginning to slide out of it's case on occasion, so I thought I'd cram a roll of duct tape in behind and secure the bottom edge with a strip or two, but in the process I applied too much pressure, and now the mirror had broken in two, giving me two very small and different views. Bugger! Let's do this Trailway thing!