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Thread: Charley and Ewan - Canada question

  1. #16
    Hogaan! testinglogin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rkasal View Post
    Josh,

    Is that snow or hail? Thanks for steering me back to the plastic fuel container. It'll be ok and lighter weight.

    Regards,


    Randy Kasal
    Randy,

    That's hail in the photo. It was a mix of pea and marble sized, so I was just waiting for it to melt so I could ride away - it's like riding on marbles. I needed the break anyhow; hail while riding in the middle of nowhere it quite a shocking experience. Thankfully, after about a minute some French Canadian miners pulled up (and off to the side) and let me hop into their truck until it stopped a few minutes later.

    Bear spray is totally acceptable in Canada, as long as it's labeled as such, and you are going into an area with bears. I purchased mine from Cabelas; it's "Alaska Guard" brand, which is also one of the strongest I could find. It comes in a large can (you can't bring keychain sized ones into Canada, and it wouldn't help with a bear, anyhow), and it has a picture of a bear on the can. When I crossed into Canada (Grand Portage, MN), the girl asked me if I had any pepper spray, asked me where I was heading to (Northern Quebec), asked if it was labeled for bears, and then sent me on my way. I didn't even have to show it. I also didn't have to use it, but it was nice sleeping with it next to me. I also hiked on a 1.2km "nature trail" off the James Bay road all by myself. It was a little scary (the trail was hardly a trail and had fallen trees across it), but I felt mostly OK making noise (don't sneak up on a bear) and holding the spray in my hand. I DID see two black bears on my trip, but never camping. I kept food to a minimum.

    I carried extra cables with me, but I kept them coiled in the bottom of my tank bag. I don't like the idea of running them next to the current ones; I feel it looks messy, and it exposes a perfectly good cable to the elements. Of course, on my naked Airhead they aren't that hard to change - might be different on different bikes. I also carried the "beadbrakr" from BestRest products; a tire bead breaker and tire irons. I also had a tube patch kit and spare tube. The bike I took has tires with tubes. If yours don't you might be good with a tire plugging kit. Just make sure to carry and air pump and not those CO2 cartridges. Unless the pump breaks you have an unlimited supply of air. Not so with the CO2. I also carried some spare bike parts - alternator rotor, light bulbs, a multitester, a length of wire, duct tape, JB Weld, fuses and of all things which came in extra handy, some of those single-use hand warmers. I almost didn't bring them, but they didn't take up any space. After the hail storm I realized I lost one of my nice insulated gloves in the truck of those French Canadians. The next day it was raining and 39 degrees and I had to ride with a mesh glove on my right hand. Two hand warmers (palm and back of hand) and my silk glove liners made it... somewhat more comfortable.

    I'm too long winded, I think.

  2. #17
    Alps Adventurer GlobalRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rkasal View Post
    I think it a good idea to carry along a spare front and rear tire and it now seems knobbies are imperative due to the gravel. My question is, should I just have a spare set of wheels mounted to the spare knobby tires? That would be simpler particularly if there is bad weather, bad people, or bad bears to quickly get back on the road.
    Although it probably is a good idea to carry a spare set of tires, I chose to install a set of high quality heavy duty MX/Enduro tubes. The OEM tubes I removed were brought along as spares. I brought a tube patch kit, a set of tire irons and a manual tire pump with me. None of the two other motorcycles I saw along the Trans Labrador Highway carried any spare tires.

    Knobby tires are only of use if the ground is hard packed. The TLH was loose gravel and more so where the grader just went by; I passed a few of them and it was like riding on marbles till I got by.

    The best traction was in the tire tracks of cars; where there was no loose gravel. But my suspension worked hard due to that part of the road being rough due to shallow pot holes, which is why I came across graders.

    My speed along the TLH was 50 MPH with the very odd stint at 65 MPH where the road got better, and 30 MPH where the road was like riding on marbles. You don't let ego dictate your speed on a road where you see the odd car every half hour.


    Quote Originally Posted by rkasal View Post
    While on the subject of bad bears and bad people. I assume a reasonable length knife, say six to seven inches and bear spray is ok to carry? And a hatchet?
    I never saw any, but then I didn't camp either. From the night I spent on the Sir Robert Bond (ferry), I drove straight through to a B&B in Labrador City, some 540 kms (335 miles) of gravel road later, only stopping in Churchill Falls for gas. I was short on time and had to get back. I'd suggest talking your time through there and enjoying it. Stop off at the huge Churchill Falls hydro generating plant for a tour.

    Quote Originally Posted by rkasal View Post
    Besides carrying water, fuel, water purifying tablets and equipment as a back-up, camping equipment, food, tools, tire inflator, etc., what am I missing that I should carry?
    You might bring some water if you want (I didn't). There is fresh water all around you. I brought a mosquito net hat in case I needed to fix a tire...I hardly saw any bugs in August.

    You bring tools that fit your bike (if you don't have a 14 mm nut on it, you don't bring a 14 mm wrench).

    Don't bring the kitchen sink like Ewan and Charlie did...99% of travellers over-pack.

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by GlobalRider View Post

    Knobby tires are only of use if the ground is hard packed. The TLH was loose gravel and more so where the grader just went by; I passed a few of them and it was like riding on marbles till I got by.
    .
    I'm puzzled, then. When I take either bike to the lake, the street tires tend to float on the gravel road at the lake. This last summer when they put in new gravel on one of the roads and there were no car tire ruts to ride on, the bikes really floated. I mean 10mph was too fast. It wouldn't be much fun to be 100 miles into a gravel road and have the gravel get too thick and then decide whether to continue or turn around.

    I've not been on knobby tires and a gravel road since I was a kid. If a knobby tire isn't a good idea for gravel, what do you suggest?

    Thanks a lot.

    Regards,


    Randy Kasal

  4. #19
    Alps Adventurer GlobalRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rkasal View Post
    I've not been on knobby tires and a gravel road since I was a kid. If a knobby tire isn't a good idea for gravel, what do you suggest?
    Knobbies are only of use if they "dig" into something like soft soil. Sort of like having sprockets for tires and a chain for a road. If you have nothing but loose gravel, your tires have nothing to grab onto....so its like riding on marbles.

    I had Michelin Anakees on my KLR 650; a 90% street, 10% off road tire...like the Metzeler Tourance, etc. A rider on a GS Adventure I came across had knobbies. He couldn't go any faster.

    Just settle for a lower speed and enjoy the ride and do it in stages. Its only 660 miles of gravel in total. I have the breakdown of gravel and pavement in my travel log if you're interested.

    Its not as bad as you think...


    The car's tire tracks are clearly visable...

  5. #20
    Registered User tourunigo's Avatar
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    ... see our referral to thebigbiketrip.com and send note to Robyn. They are currently in Mexico but they left Halifax and went through Nfld and Lab and then down through Quebec about 1.5 years ago. Robyn very good at commun. so email if interested. -Bob
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