Author Topic: Trans Labrador Highway  (Read 237 times)

Offline Traveler

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Trans Labrador Highway
« on: September 29, 2019, 11:02:05 PM »
The Trans Labrador Highway. Get it while it's still  there. Labrador is paving this Provencal 'artery' (actually the Only road in Labrador) just as fast as they can. Right now, this is probably the last great adventure ride left in North America . . . what the Alaska Highway only used to be.

This epic journey started in Los Angles, via the Trans Canadian Highway to Baie Comeau, Quebec. From that kick-off point it continued north to Labrador City. The 1st 75 miles are paved then it's 'good gravel' (at best) to Labrador City. Then it's a paved run to Happy Valley / Goose Bay. From there it's back to 'good gravel' (or worse!) for the final run down to Red Bay on the Labrador coast.  That's best done as a 2-day'r with a stop in Port Hope Simpson. From there, the only way off the Labrador coast is by ferry to Newfoundland . . . paradise of pavement and civilization.

One more ferry ride back to Canada's Nova Scotia mainland then a Trans-US run finished up 2 month, 20,000 adventure on my second 1983 V45 Magna. Home again, and at 125,000, it's still purring like the big happy cat it is
« Last Edit: November 06, 2019, 11:33:44 AM by Traveler »
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Offline FromMaine

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Re: Trans Labrador Highway
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2020, 09:20:12 PM »
What a great ride, somehow I missed this.

Just riding up either side of the St. Lawrence is a nice ride.

In 1983 I tried a similar ride, though I planned on turning back at Goose Bay. About 50-60 kilometers on 389 quickly challenged the merits of trying it on my 78 CX500, so I turned back.

I ended following 138 back to Quebec City and crossing The St Lawrence and circumnavigating the Gaspe on 132 then taking 11 to Mirimachi and following 108 back to Presque isle then home. This was a better move as I seriously doubt I would have made it back to the boat I worked that was leaving on a certain date otherwise.
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Offline luv2fly

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Re: Trans Labrador Highway
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2020, 07:29:08 PM »
Road trip/report anywhere?  PICS!!!!! :)

sabma

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Re: Trans Labrador Highway
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2020, 06:29:15 AM »
So, now that we're can't create any new adventures, it might be a good time to remember the old. Here's a link to a couple of pics taken during my Trans-Labrador highway adventure.

https://link.shutterfly.com/aInbwA8214

@ FromMaine "Just riding up either side of the St. Lawrence is a nice ride." I've been up both sides now but the 138 on the north side is spectacular. For my 1st big adventure, I took the south side, then pealed off at the 85 (Canada 2) for a run over the Nova Scotia. My turn-around was at Cape Breton's  Meat Cove. I thought I had reached the most easterly edge of North America. But the locals said "No way! Cape Spear in Newfoundland is the Real Deal." So I went back via the Trans Labrador Highway. I started my coast to coast run in Prince Rupert, BC with my final destination as Cape Spear (with a short detour to Yellowknife, NT).

One day I want to run the New Brunswick coast all the way up to Gaspe then all the way over the top. PEI is always a wonderful destination. From LA, my ingress to the area has always been straight north to Canada, then via the Trans Canada highway (Canada 1 or 16), then along the Canadian north shore of the Great Lakes. 1st the Rocky Mountains, then the great plains, then the forests . . . That's a magnificent run too.

"In 1983 I tried a similar ride, though I planned on turning back at Goose Bay. About 50-60 kilometers on 389 quickly challenged the merits of trying it on my 78 CX500, so I turned back."

Did you get to the Motel Energie? That's about where the pavement ends. The Manic 2 dam may have been your turnaround. Locals say Quebec will Never pave the 389 to Lab City cuz it's serving a city in Labrador. However, it's the closest, most direct lifeline to the Lab City and Happy Valley. Otherwise, tomatoes to toothbrushes must ferry from Nova Scotia to Newfoundland, then ferry again from Newfoundland to Labrador, then endure miles of dirt road to get up into Labrador.

About 30 miles north of EOP (end of pavement) above the Manic 5 dam the road turns into a muddy hole for about 100 yards. At that point I paused and thought 'How bad do you want this?" I continued but about half way across an 18 wheeler passed close enough for me to reach out and touch his lug nuts . . . then another came blasting by. My concentration was so intense I just carried on. As I came out of the mud hole, I noticed one of the trucks stopped on the road about 1/4 mile ahead. He had stopped to make sure I got out. When I got to Lab City, I discovered the main coffee shop was the single McDonalds in town. As I rolled in and sat down a guy came over and said "You were that bike with that orange tail bag, weren't you?" It was one of the truck drivers.

He said the mud hole was a known hazard for the rig drivers and the only way for an 18 wheeler to get through it was to to get up a full head of steam and just plow in. He said his truck got loose in the muck and he had to 'back off' to let it settle into the hard-pack still not soaked though . . . I guess just as he was passing me! That orange tail bag turned into my Lab Highway I.D. I was often approached on the road "You're the bike with that orange pack."  Even more often I was approached by folks wanting to relive the days, 30 years ago, when they had their own Gen-1 V4. That bike still has a lot of fans including me.

The trip was in late September: The northland's Fall sweet spot. For we southerners, the Labrador wilderness is a whole new world. I saw a bit of this on my northbound trip to Yellowknife, but nothing compared to the fall colors on the leg from Happy Valley / Goose Bay to Red Bay. The pics tell the story.

It looks like it's gonna be a while, so for now I'm just enjoying the memories.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2020, 07:29:09 PM by Traveler »
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Offline OnionDumper

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Re: Trans Labrador Highway
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2020, 04:07:43 PM »
nice trip and the photos are great... :thumb
1977 Honda 400-4, 1983 V65 Magna and 1987 Yamaha Venture Royale.....Oswego, N.Y.

Offline TarHeelV4Rider

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Re: Trans Labrador Highway
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2020, 01:13:41 AM »
Awesome on and off road trip!! tenof10
V4's are fun!

Offline luv2fly

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Re: Trans Labrador Highway
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2020, 10:25:03 AM »
Thanks for sharing your trip Traveler!  Sitting home sick (not C-19) and "catching up on my correspondence".  Your trip report was just what I needed.  Looked at every one of your pics.  Really liked the childs burial mound.  Its the little local sites like that you'll never get on a group trip who would roll right past it.  The scenery, LOVED the pic of your bike sitting between the paved and crushed rock transition.

I took a week or so and went up through Port Huron, MI, north and west shores into Minnesota, and back down through WI on my big Sabre.  I had a Hondaline fairing on mine.  The fact you did this on a V30 with a Plexishield, you've got my respect.  I heard over and over again 'men' saying how they needed a new Street Glide or a bike with a minimum of 1000cc to make any kind of a trip more than 50 miles from home. You read on ADVrider how some guys rode the TransCan on a CX500 40 years ago with no windshield and a leather jacket.

I'm curious how those plastic fuel tanks held up?  Especially laying on their side strapped up on those rough roads?  Obviously it worked for you, but it looks sketchy.  I'm surprised the plastic held up for you and didn't leak.

Anyway, really appreciate you sharing.  I haven't been on a long trip like that in a few years now and I'm long overdue.  Seeing yours on a V30 just pokes the bear in me a bit.  I gotta get out there!

sabma

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Re: Trans Labrador Highway
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2020, 05:53:37 AM »
@ luv2fly: Thanks for the response. Are you a pilot? If so, me too. But given the choice for big trans-continental trips, I keep choosing my bike. It's a V45 but I have no doubt a V30 could have done the  job.

Actually the gas containers worked out perfectly. Canadian Walmarts stock top quality equipment cuz gas is serious business up there. Those are ~2.5 gallon cans. My V45 has a a 3.5 gallon tank with a non-reserve range of 120 miles. Multi-hundred mile legs with out gas are common . . . and then it can be an above ground tank with a credit card reader. Fuel planning was critical. I sat behind a school bus one time waiting for my turn at the tank. It's a way of life up there. For this trip's initial run up to Yellowknife, I had 3 containers. I always planned to have one container as a reserve. Nothing ever leaked and I never had to use the reserve. Mechanically, especially with critically stable gas mileage, that V45 was flawless.

It's an amazing view from 10,000 feet in a little 172 but even better from 10 feet. It's always fascinating to stumble on reminders of the deep history of this planet. I would have never spotted that ancient burial site while cruzing by in a little plane . . . . hoping the next airport would let me camp under my wing . . . and have food!

The adventure continued in Newfoundland. They have one east-west highway. At the east end is Newfoundland's capital St. John's. A couple miles east of town is Cape Spear,  my turn-around point: The most easterly point in North America. Google calculated it was 1500 miles to Ireland but 3500 mile back to LA. 

But just south down the coast is one of UNESCO's newest inductees "Mistaken Point." A coastal outcropping of rock was discovered to have the oldest known fossils of multi-cell life. That major event in the evolution of life took hold 600 million years ago during the Cambrian period. It was the genesis of All plant and All animal life. There is a raging debate among the scientists if these fossils are plant or animal. The truth is probably neither because the plant and animal kingdoms had not yet separated.

The tour led a caravan down 5 miles of dirt road, then a mile hike to the coast. We put on our booties and were allowed to walk around on that horizontal surface. With North Atlantic icy waves crashing on the edge of this outcropping just feet away, a misty fog settled over my group. We were then given a guide sheet so we could identify the fossils that we were admonished not to step on. 600 million year of history at our feet. Just another mile down that dirt road was the Marconi radio site that picked up the 1st distress signals from the Titanic. Get that from 10,000 feet! The wonders just would not end . .

On the west side of the island is Gros Morne National Park. It has a totally baron hilly range that is entirely composed of remnants of Earth's original crust from 4.5 Billion years ago. Remember Earth was originally a fiery ball of magma that finally cooled off. It's the only confirmed (scientifically dated) example of the initially cooled magma (basalt) that once was that original fireball of a young Earth.   

Then back to the northwest side, up by St. Anthony was the site of the 1st European landfall on North America 500 years before Columbus: Leif Erkson and his Nordic pals. Maybe I'll post a trip report about that  . . . But I'll never forget Tofino BC on the opposite side of the Canadian continent. It's a surfing mecca! . . . or Jasper National Park in the Rockies. . . or the Canadian great plains.

Life on a gen-1 V4. It can't be beat.
1983 V45 Magna (Retired at 200K)
1983 V45 Magna (Active / Black)
1984 V65 Magna (Active / Black