Apr 9, 2009

Taking The Road Less Traveled - Trans Labrador Highway





New roads are built all the time. Some times, roads are built to replace old roads, such as the new four-lane TCH in New Brunswick. Some roads are built to service planned new construction of communities or suburbs. But in Labrador, they do things a little differently. In the summer of 2003, they put the finishing touches on a road to service communities that have been inhabited for decades. All of a sudden, Labrador's highway system has been lengthened by over 60%!

With that in mind, the Trans-Labrador highway is something of a misnomer. Dirt and gravel from end to end, it's in worse condition than some roads I've been on in Ontario that don't even make it onto some maps. But a highway it is, and to many communities on Labrador's East Coast, it's brought fundamental changes to commerce and to their very way of life. No longer stockpiled for the winter when the ferries can't run through the ice, goods now arrive in a timely fashion via trucks. Travel no longer requires waiting for the occasional ferries which take days to reach civilization.

Yet despite the completion of highway 510, one cannot yet ride all the way through Labrador. A twelve hour long ferry runs between Happy Valley-Goose Bay and Cartwright. The government of Newfoundland and Labrador eventually plan on completing this section. This new highway also does not serve all of the communities along the east coast. Some remain isolated by ferry travel alone, creating the potential for a new definition of “lane envy.”

A new frontier has been created for the adventurous traveler. Those most likely to gravitate to the canned vacations of cruise lines and theme parks need not apply. Some folks, like me, would prefer to roll our own and see what there is to see in the nooks and crannies of this great land. And perhaps increased tourist traffic will help to alleviate the negative effects of the declining fishery.

Labrador is definitely not on the radar screens of most potential tourists. Heck, prior to this trip, I didn't know that it has its own flag, distinct from that of Newfoundland the Island. So this year, after my purchase of the dual purpose (or what they used to call street and trail) Kawasaki KLR 650, I could not refuse the beckoning of this new Canadian frontier.

This is how I found myself in Moncton watching a great mass of stationary weather raining down upon my planned route through Nova Scotia and Newfoundland on my way to Labrador. I wanted to leave from Red Bay, and ride the glory trail to road's end in Cartwright. It only seemed fitting. The weatherman was telling me otherwise, for if I could just escape New Brunswick's rain clouds, I had clear skies north through Quebec to Labrador. So I reversed my planned route and off I went northbound in the driving rain.

Somewhere between Campbellton, New Brunswick, and Matane, Quebec it finally did stop raining. On this Friday morning in early August, I gladly left behind what turned out to be the last rain I would encounter as I made my way through the rugged Gaspe Peninsula. The ferry from Matane to Baie-Comeau is the first of four ferries I would take on this trip. In the waiting, I had lost several days so I was glad to finally be on the move.

Much like the small town of Shawinigan downriver, Baie-Comeau spawned one of Canada's Prime Ministers. But instead of looking for the yellow brick road (or mega-dollar patronage handouts as the case may be), I opted to gas up and immediately head north into the hurricane of route 389. While the hurricane metaphor might be stretching it a bit, I was definitely no longer in Kansas, Toto. Highway 389 presented a tilt-a-whirl ride of elevation and directional changes as it romped over heavily wooded hills and around deep blue lakes and rivers.

The KLR is known as a reasonably capable off-road bike. One of its unsung virtues is its capabilities as a back road burner. While highway 389 is mostly gravel, the first two hundred kilometers north from Baie-Comeau is paved. The KLR, despite its tall perch and dual sport tires, was capable of coaxing wide grins. The soft suspension soaked up the numerous frost-heaved and poorly patched sections while admirably holding a line through the corners.

My arrival at Manic-5 signaled the end of paved roads, and the start of 1200 kilometers of gravel and dirt. The site of a positively massive hydro development, this is also one of only two gas stations on this 600 km stretch. Tours can be arranged at this site, the largest multiple arch-and-buttress dam in the world. I held off, as the underground hydro station in Labrador held greater fascination.

The next gas station, the Relais Gabriel, is further north, snuggled up against a crater known as Reservoir Manicougan. Created by a meteorite strike over 200 million years ago, at 60 miles, it is tied for the fifth largest meteorite crater in the world. This large round eye, complete with lashes, stared back at me from my GPS screen as I rode further north. I refueled here, eyeing a tanker delivering fuel - usually a recipe for bad gas as this can stir up dirt and moisture in the underground tanks. For the next 250km, you will see moderate sized mountains covered with endless tracts of evergreens, and little else.

It had been a long ride in partial rain up 'till then. After refueling, I began to look for a place to set up my tent as the sun would soon disappear over the crater. Finding flat ground in this rocky expanse proved difficult, but I finally found what I was looking for in the form of a gravel pit. I slept well despite the fact that my Canadian Tire tent apparently did not sport the no-see-um mesh that higher quality tents usually do. I felt safe, though. What were the chances of another meteorite striking the same place?

Saturday morning greeted me with yet more gravel, but the skies were clearer and I could feel the heat of the sun for the first time in over a week. Road conditions seemed to be deteriorating the further north I went. The former town of Gagnon provided brief respite from both the gravel and the rolling hills of spruce and occasional pine. This former mining town was literally disassembled and moved away. All that is left are the empty streets, complete with curbs. Not one single structure was left behind, an eerie sight.

The last stretch of highway 389 to Fermont, Quebec, and the Labrador border, about 150km, was simply horrid. Large rocks were scattered loosely amongst copious ruts, robbing me of the confidence to ride at reasonable speeds. Relentless washboard hammered the KLR's chassis, and the road repeatedly criss-crossed the rail line, leaving large gaps big enough to swallow a motorcycle tire. If this wasn't bad enough, my fears of bad gas seemed to come true when the bike began to hesitate occasionally. The pavement resumed just before the Labrador border.



A friend who formerly lived in Labrador City had warned that the roads I would ride in Labrador were some of the worst I was ever likely to encounter. The fact that the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary instituted a program to loan out emergency satellite phones to tourists driving through from Lab City to Goose Bay seemed to provide further evidence of road conditions; the dearth of services and traffic on these roads also being a factor.

I pulled into the police station in Lab City to inquire about the sat phone loaner program. While it did provide peace of mind, the gee whiz factor of the phone was too large to ignore. Though the phones were actually at the hotels, the road information provided by the officers was invaluable.

Pulling away from the cop shop, the engine was revving higher than expected. The clutch was slipping due to what seemed to be a sticking clutch cable. The handle became difficult to operate and a broken cable became an imminent possibility. In need of emergency lubrication, I sought out a motorcycle shop - any motorcycle shop - and was happy to find the Polaris/Yamaha dealer in neighboring Wabush. My sticking cable turned out to be a lever pivot in need of lubrication. This was a relief, but I lubed the cable anyway. I was still worried about my engine hesitation problem

I found a restaurant late on this hot and sunny Saturday afternoon and had a tasty seafood platter as I contemplated my next move. I felt like staying in this nice town and maybe touring the Wabush mine. The Labrador City mine is the largest open pit iron ore mine in the world, and the Wabush mine is not much smaller.

I looked at the Goose Bay ferry schedule. The next departure was Sunday evening at 7, followed by another Tuesday, also at 7PM. A Tuesday ferry seemed too late as this was a 12 hour journey and I still had to ride highway 510 to Red Bay, take a ferry to Newfoundland, and eventually another ferry to the mainland on my way back to Moncton and eventually Ontario. I had to do all this in what was my last week off. Catching that ferry from Goose Bay to Cartwright Sunday at 7PM seemed the best solution.

I booked a room down the road at the hotel in Churchill Falls for Saturday night as I was in desperate need of a shower. I would have all day Sunday to ride the 300 kilometers from there to Goose Bay. After filling up, I hoped I had seen the last of the hesitation. With my satellite phone packed away in a saddlebag I headed out into the moonscape of the Labrador interior.

While not particularly far north, latitudes are similar to those of Edmonton in the west, winters are cold and snowfall exceeds 15 feet. Geography is flat rock and low trees, with few lakes or rivers to break up the monotony. The road was very straight and boring and its surface remained washboard, loose rock, and ruts. Embedded rocks jutting out into my intended wheel path demanded constant attention. To make matters worse, the engine continued its misbehavin' ways, cutting out half a dozen times.

On top of the hazards presented by the road itself, the presence of other road users dictated constant scanning of the mirrors and road ahead. I seemed to be the only one bothered by the atrocious road conditions. Cars, pickups, campers, and tractor trailers all sailed by me at very 401-like speeds. Getting pelted with rocks was a regular occurrence. I always made sure my helmet visor was closed. Labrador had not seen recent rain, and the dust stirred up by a passing vehicle was positively blinding. Occasionally, a breeze carried off the cloud in a reasonable time, but more often than not, I was left blind for a minute or more. Imagine the carnage should a second truck not see me in the ensuing hurricane of dust. I began to pull over to let other vehicles go by, jogging along at the edge of the road until I could see. This 250 km section took almost five hours and I was wiped by the end.

Churchill Falls is a true company town, with all services and homes owned by the crown corporation Churchill Falls Labrador Inc. When employees retire, they must move out. The falls are no longer anything to look at, all water being diverted to this massive generating station. You can't come to Labrador without taking a tour of this amazing underground facility. The entire station, over 5000 megawatts worth, is cut into solid granite over 1000 feet below the surface. After my Sunday morning tour, I checked out of the hotel, signing out another sat phone.

While gassing up to leave, I discovered that the rubber mounting trim around my left hand mirror had worked loose on the road to town. I attempted in vain to return it to position, hoping it would not work completely loose, as the mirror would fall out. My trim was not the only casualty of the rough roads. A family with a camper was at the gas station looking to buy a trailer tire. They had a flat, installed the spare, and then the other tire went flat. The flat mounted on the rear of the trailer looked like two ragged discs, the tread completely gone. Still full of wonderment from the tour, it was high noon on Sunday when I left Churchill Falls behind.

The engine didn't run any better with new gas, but then it didn't get any worse either, and I wanted to make that ferry. Fortunately, the 300 km section from Churchill Falls to Happy Valley-Goose Bay was the smoothest section of the whole Trans Labrador highway.



After returning the phone to the hotel in Goose Bay, I headed for the ferry. As I inched forward in line, another problem with the bike surfaced. The forks had acquired a great deal of “stiction.” Braking to a halt behind the car in front, the forks would dive and stay down. Getting back on the gas to move forward again, the forks would pop up and stay up. This up and down cycle repeated itself every time I moved forward. Compounding the stress, as I rode onto the ferry ramp, the engine hesitated for an even longer duration than usual. This time, I happened to be glancing at the gauges. I saw the tachometer drop down to zero. It seemed my problem was electrical, and not the engine after all. I had to while away my 12 hour ferry ride thinking about the problem, unable to work on it down on the vehicle deck. I brought my sleeping bag and pillow up to the lounge to get some rest.

As the ferry left Goose Bay, a dozen or more young men on personal watercraft played in and around the wake left by the ferry. Squid is a term often used to describe hotshots on sportbikes, but never did the term apply so well as to these guys. They would speed toward the two meter-high wake, getting huge air as they ramped over. Some were obviously well-practiced, landing properly, their legs absorbing the shock and momentum of the landing. Others not so, even landing upside down in a frothy spray. While quite alarming to witness, they always rolled over and were going again very quickly.

I went down to the bike to retrieve my cameras, but by the time I got back, they were all gone. A large crowd of people had gathered on deck to watch them, and I asked one fellow why the squids had left. He explained that after someone had ramped over the boat's wake, he was left floating on the water unconscious after his jet ski landed on top of him. At least they all had the sense to wear flotation devices.

Once the sun went down, in turns I spent time sleeping in a recliner, and walking the decks. It was a mild night, with a clear sky. I noted with much satisfaction that this was the first time since coming to Labrador that I could go outside without being swarmed by blackflies. I had hoped to see the northern lights, but it was the wrong time of year for that.

I arrived at Cartwright on a sunny Monday morning. Expecting a rugged and rocky coastline, I was pleasantly surprised by the rolling olive hills of the mainland and surrounding islands. With a sense of reverence, I rode down the ramp to a place where few North Americans have visited. I looked for any evidence of changes made to accommodate the new traffic they would be expecting. Most of the street signs appeared new. It was obvious from the layout and grading of roads that much work had been done in recent months. Although the area near the dock was paved to facilitate fork truck traffic, not a single road was paved in town, all sporting fresh gravel. I glimpsed a hardware store on aptly named “Back Road” and stopped there to investigate my hesitating engine.

Removing the saddlebags, I noticed the tremendous scuffing they had inflicted upon the decals on the sidecovers, victims of the washboard surfaces. Removing them and the seat allowed access to the bike's electrical guts. I cleaned various connectors, and replaced the two glass fuses with new ones purchased from the hardware store. Looking around further, I decided to check the fuse I added in the line feeding my heated clothing. It was blown. The splice where I lengthened this wire had worn through and had shorted this fuse out. Could this be what was causing my hesitation? Was that last final hesitation riding up onto the ferry what finally blew this fuse? I sure hoped so. I repaired the frayed wire and put the bike back together.

After stopping to mail some postcards, I waved farewell to this town, wishing it well on its joining the network of roads that will bring with it much change. I headed out with eager anticipation of the spanking new highway.

There's good news and bad news about highway 510. The good news is that the surface is not washboard and rutted like other sections of the Trans Labrador highway. The bad news is that there are still pockets of ongoing road construction. There were large areas of loose sand and gravel. Running into these sections at normal riding speeds was a puckering experience. I was fortunate for the lack of traffic as I swerved wildly at times, powering through on the gas.

The road runs inland, not towards nearby coastal communities south of Cartwright as you would expect. The first few hundred kilometers showcased more trees and rock, enough to last a lifetime. Subtle changes in the colour of the road surface reflected the hills surrounding it. Whenever I detected a transition of texture or hue, I would invariably see the source of this new material in a nearby excavation site.

Much like other sections of gravel road in Labrador, dust was a major problem. I stopped near Port Hope Simpson to refill. Walking in to the store for a stick of Caribou jerky, I did a convincing impression of Pig Pen of the cartoon Peanuts. Wherever I walked, clouds of dust billowed to fill the air around me. Every surface of both bike and rider were covered in a patina of light brown filth.

Soon, trees became shrub and moss as the craggy south coast of Labrador neared. I found myself at the end of my gravel travel and in the village of Red Bay. With plenty of daylight left, I cruised up to the Parks Canada interpretation center in full tourist mode. Red Bay is the site where 500 years before, the Basque people of what is now the Spanish and French coast opened up shop. Considered to be the first industrial operation in North America, they processed whales for oil.

Locating a local B&B, I checked in and then went for some supper. On my way, I regretted leaving my riding pants behind. Storm clouds quickly obscured the sun, and I was soaked in a manner of minutes. I dined on more excellent local seafood. Leaving the restaurant afterwards, I partook of one of my favourite pastimes - license plate patrol. Besides my own Ontario plate, there were examples from Alberta and Arizona. In my absence, two couples had also checked in to the B&B. During the commercial breaks of a particularly gory episode of CSI Miami on satellite, they explained that they were retired and full time RVers. What a life.

Tuesday morning dawn brought with it more glorious sunshine, the promise of warm weather was in the air and on the satellite TV weather channel. After a breakfast of bacon, and local partridgeberry jam on home made toast, I was off.

Funny as it seems, the south coast of Labrador is completely dependant upon its neighbor, Quebec, for basic services. With all the power being generated to the north, this section is supplied by Hydro Quebec, and is known by locals to be quite unreliable. Worse still, to get from Labrador to the island of Newfoundland, you have to drive to Quebec to take the ferry.

But what a ride it is. This one hour romp hugs the coast with a sinewy ribbon of excellent blacktop that by itself would have made the whole trip worthwhile. It was still very early. To my left, the low sun and its blinding reflection off the calm waters of the Straight of Belle Isle plunged me into near total darkness as I rode into the shadows of the numerous rock cuts surrounding the road. The curvy paths up to teetering cliffs and the inevitable dizzying plunges back down to sea level left me yelling and swearing epithets the whole way. I could have ridden back and forth over this road all day.

All too soon, I had crossed the border back into Quebec, and waited in line for my third ferry ride. I lined up next to the K1200LT of a Tennessean who had taken this same ferry over from Newfoundland the day before. He lamented not riding further into Labrador, but I assured him his bike was wholly unsuited for the task.

Calculating ferry times was confusing. Since leaving New Brunswick, I had crossed through half a dozen time zones. New Brunswick operated in Atlantic time, Quebec on Eastern time. Western Labrador was back on Atlantic time, but after getting off the Goose Bay-Cartwright ferry, the eastern shores of Labrador were in the Newfoundland time zone. To make matters worse, Blanc-Sablon, where the ferry left Quebec for Newfoundland, was back on Eastern time like the rest of Quebec - but the ferry operated on Newfoundland time! I had been asking folks what time it was for days, setting and resetting my watch and GPS.

On the island, the wind seemed to be quite brisk. Leaving the small town of St. Barbe, I was suddenly faced with something I had not had in well over a thousand kilometers: choice. I could head south on highway 430 towards Gros Morne park and Corner Brook, or I could go north. I chose north and the Viking ruins of L'Anse aux Meadows. Along the way, I risked a blowout on the sharp coastal rocks as I attempted to get down to a rocky “beach” for a few pictures. This activity proved occasionally frightening as the fragile piles of rock shifted and broke beneath me. Once a tourist, always a tourist.

L'Anse aux Meadows is an interesting site for history buffs. The Viking folks were here fishing the abundant waters a millennium ago, 500 hundred years before the Basque. The pillaging of the local sea life seems to have always been a fact of life - cod fish anyone?

While at the museum, I thought I would do something quite uncharacteristic; I called ahead to Marine Atlantic to book a ferry out of Port aux Basques. To my surprise, they were all booked up until Friday morning, but I booked anyway. This worried me as I was hoping to cross much earlier.

I camped in nearby Viking RV Park that night. Almost everything for miles has the word Viking in it, even the road. I packed up and set out on a sunny but even more windy Wednesday morning for parts south. The rain and cloud of the previous week was seemingly long gone, replaced by a relentless gale. There were times that the wind off the water threatened to blow me into the weeds. I met up with my Tennessean friend yet again and we shared a breakfast table, watching as his bike tottered alarmingly in the wind. We separated again and I continued on toward Gros Morne National Park.

The road along the coast held fascination. Fenced off vegetable gardens were visible along the roadside. Arable land being in short supply, locals have taken to claiming sections near the roads, fencing them off and decorating the posts with plastic bags to ward off moose and other potential raiders. I also saw my one and only iceberg along this route.

When the coffee came a callin', I stopped and went down over an embankment to do my bit to raise the global oceanic levels. Returning to the bike, I thought I would take the opportunity to lube the chain. To my dismay, the wind had not only claimed the piece of wood I was using to prop underneath my swingarm, but also a rag I had tied to the gas can. I looked around and found a weathered old piece of wood that could have been pre-war - WW I that is - to raise the rear tire for lubing purposes.

I spent a bit of time looking over the bike right on the shoulder of the TCH, and noted with satisfaction that my engine hesitation had ceased.

I arrived to calmer winds and eye catching mountains in Gros Morne National Park. Tooling around in Rocky Harbour, I discovered a dirt trail that invited. I followed it in several kilometers, dodging rocks and deep water-filled holes along the way to the local water supply reservoir. A fun little side trip I would never have attempted on my larger Honda ST1100.

The sun had meanwhile advanced across the sky, and I pondered my next move. I thought about camping in the park that night, exploring the old rocks of the Tablelands, and then sampling the trails of the T-Railway Provincial Park on my way south to the ferry on Thursday. Not really a park at all, this abandoned railway bed has been converted to a multi-use resource. I had been interested in riding this thousand kilometer trail ever since I bought the KLR.

I had hoped to get back to the mainland Thursday so that I had lots of time to get back to Ontario by the end of the week. Leaving Port aux Basques on a six hour ferry late Thursday or Friday morning would leave me with little time to spare. I opted to try to catch the midnight sailing to North Sydney, Nova Scotia, on Wednesday night. I would have to come back to the old railway bed on another trip.

Lining up, I chatted to a young couple from British Columbia on two Yamaha cruisers who were on their trip of a lifetime. They seemed to be enjoying themselves fully, despite being somewhat frustrated by the limited sailing times and poor information offered by the telephone operators at Marine Atlantic.

My fourth and final ferry offered up a duo in the lounge performing traditional Newfoundland music, and during the all night excursion, a happy, festive atmosphere reigned- at least until folks retired to their sleeping quarters. As this was essentially the terminus of my own trip, I lingered over an adult beverage while the music lulled me into a pleasantly drowsy state. I capped off the night with a few winks in a lounge chair, my Aerostich jacket keeping me warm doing blanket duty.

Once again sunny, Thursday morning carried me through the lovely Cape Breton interior. I wasn't ready to end my vacation just yet, though. I detoured north at Antigonish and rode the Sunrise Trail on routes 337 and 245. Known as the Mini Cabot Trail, it is an exceptional example of the great riding available in Nova Scotia. It was here I spotted the home of yet another former Prime Minister of Canada.

Well, sort of. I snapped off a picture of the mailbox at the home of none other than John A. MacDonald himself (Canada'a first Prime Minister), a fitting end to my uniquely Canadian discovery tour.



Afterword

The entire Trans Labrador highway is scheduled to be complete in 2009, eliminating the need to take the ferry from Goose Bay to Cartwright.

38 comments:

  1. Thane, another wonderful and detailed story detailing a motorcyclists' experiences on the Trans Labrador Route.
    My wife and I visited Red Bay last October on the ST1300 and just didn't have the guts go further on routes 500, 510 and 389 on the ST two up.
    SO, this June a small band of us are going the same route you did. Again, like the RR Trail story, we've learned a lot from you and enjoyed your retelling. You write a good story!
    Frank
    Omaha

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  2. Hopefully, by the time you attempt your ride, the last phase of the Trans Lab will be complete between Goose Bay and Cartwrigfht!

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  3. If you drive a car with diesel can you find places along to fill up?

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  4. Thanks for the detailed account. It has been very useful in planning my own, similar, trip. Much obliged!

    timothyscole@gmail.com

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  5. Really interesting - thank you for posting!

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  6. An excellent and informative piece - the phrase "lane envy" will stay with me for some time!
    Lisa B

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  7. Thane, Thanks for allowing me to take the trip in words. I went to Red Bay a few years ago in my mustang Cobra. As you described it was a thrill ride from the Ferry to Red Bay and back. As I looked at the dirt road that headed north from Red Bay I knew I could not go further in Cobra but wanted to know if I could take my V-Star 1300T someday. It appears not, but I may just give it try next summer. That's what adventure is all about! Jeff Daigle

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  8. Hi I lived in Happy valley Goose Bay I found your post very interesting They just opened the road from Goose Bay to Blanc-Sablon on Dec 17/09
    My wife and Colleen have travelled the road from Cartwright to Blanc-sablon a few times and taken the ferry Sir Robert Bond and the Appolio
    We are looking forward to travel that new road from our driveway to Blanc-sablon this summer 2010

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  9. Look us up in happy valley when you come again

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  10. Randy, Let us know how what the condition of the road is and how far between gas stations. If I take the bike that can be critical. And if I get there, I'll be sure to stop by and say hello. Jeff

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  11. Another God Damn Road to nowwhere

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  12. ANONYMOUS should get some manners It goes to a place that provides a lot of hydro to the eastern seaboard of the US I hate ignorant comments

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  13. Hi Thane....read every word of your very interesting adventure....and enjoyed it thoroughly too....tempted to take this wonderful journey myself in summer 2010.....thanks very much for all the detailed info.

    Aziz

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  14. I wrote a blog on the Trans Labrador that may be of interest to you Randy
    http://randywhitehornesblogs.blogspot.com/

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  15. Thank you for posting, you write very well. I also did this route solo on a motorbike, a BMW 650 gs. I had a great time, and I am going back this summer to ride the newly completed Phase III of the road out of Goose Bay. I can't wait.

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  16. When are you planning your trip ? You can look us up when you come. I will be gone out of town from June 2 to June 29 th Give us a call 709 896 3144
    Thank you for your comments on my writing I am an Ezine Article writer Here is an article I wrote on the trans Labrador Highway
    http://ezinearticles.com/?Our-Trip-Up-to-Churchill-Falls-and-Labrador-City-Over-the-Trans-Labrador-Highway&id=375621

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  17. Look me up. Please view this blog and post a comment http://randywhitehorne.com

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  18. My Family & I are going to travel the entire TLH this August. We are driving a Diesel Van . Any tips on Diesel filling stations along the way? I have a range of about 700 miles (1100kms) with my tanks. But this is under ideal 55mph driving. Also what are the roads like, I hear from some it is quite a rough ride.

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  19. Nice Read, Well Done and Thank-You, Very Informative

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  20. Randy........ If I started at Labrador city, to Churchill Falls, Happy Valley - Goose Bay, ....then take the best route to Red Bay, would there be any stretch that is longer than 330km's? My bike has a range of that and no more. Also, would I go thru Cartwright to eventually get to Red Bay?

    Jeff

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  21. Jeff, you will need a range of about 400 kms to make it from Port Hope-Simpson to Goose Bay.

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  22. I drove from Happy Valley Goose bay to Quebec twice in November 2010 It is a little less than 600 kms to Blanc Sablon to catch the ferry. The road was bad .It took us 8 hrs out and 10 hrs back. When the road is good you can do it between 6 and 7 hrs, I came from Blanc Salbon in 7 hrs this summer. That was the last of August. Some people are doing it faster but they are driving too fast

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  23. Guys I appreciate the drive time info. I'm afraid I won;t be taking my bike on this trip. It will have to be the SUV when I do it. Thanks Jeff

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  24. They have 80 kl paved from out from Goose Bay and another 40 or so outside Lab City now and tenders are coming out for 80 more kl this spring That will be 300 kl less on a dirt rd I drove the other way a few time s in route to Corner Brook
    Crossed over on th Appollo

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  25. Nice article

    I drove from Quebec to Happy Valley, in May 2009 (no bugs), had to go back the same route, as the bay was still frozen, and the ferry was not running to Cartwright. (I knew that at the time). The section from around fermont was the best part. I was using a 4Runner, so a bit different. The year before I was on the Red Bay side, came over from Newfoundland. The highway between Cartwrigth and Happy Valley is now complete. I am thinking of doing the trip again, amazing place and experiance - stop the vehicle and step outside and you are absorbed by the isolation. Cheers

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  26. Looked me up when you come to Happy Valley Goose Bay

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  27. I was anticipating doing the trip in a 36foot motor home but now I do not think it would be a good trip. Coming from Australia May 2012.

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  28. Hey A guy from Australia just bought a house across the street

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  29. The pavement between Labrador City and Goose Bay will be completed this year They have 70 kl of pavemnet left out of the 535 kl. The rd from Goose Bay to Red Bay is is very poor condition.Pavement is suppose to begin in 2014 when the highway between Goose and Lab City is completed You can easily drive to Labrador City to Goose in 6 hrs

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  30. This has been great to read - thanks! My husband and I are driving (from Ontario) north on 389 - through Labrador and into NFLD - Cape Breton and home... looking forward to that this summer!

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  31. A trailer is largely a tiny house this is pre-constructed. there is no want to spend months making plans and designing, it is already done.

    in case you need to recognise greater, you can go to:- retirement trailer park

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  32. The Highway between Labrador City and Goose Bay is Paved 535 kl
    And another 80 kl towards the Ferry is completed

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  33. Can you tell me approximately how much of the road is still U paved,my wife and I are planning to do the complete circle this July , in a suv.
    Thanks Ron

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  34. How much of hyw 510 is still unpaved?

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  35. Which Direction Were you planing to travel from ? From Baie Comeau Quebec to to Labrador City which is approx 600 kl you have 200 kl of dirt rd... Form Labrador City to Goose Bay 535 KL All Payment Goose Bay to Blanc Sablon Quebec It s 635 kls 160 KL Paved

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  36. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  37. Should not be a problem with a suv

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  38. Just talking to my brother who drove from Toronto to Here Happy Valley Goose Bay and back in June. Like I said approx 193 kl of dirt rd from Baie Comeau to Labrador City. All paved from Lab City to here. My Brother was driving a dodge caravan so SUV should not be a problem

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