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Thread: Trans Labrador Expedition of 2015 Aug 8 - Aug 15

  1. #1

    Trans Labrador Highway Expedition of 2015 Aug 8 - Aug 15

    Trans Labrador Highway Expedition 2015 Trip plan:

    Aug 8 - Leave Providence, RI early in the morning and meet with the rest of the gang in Thetfor Mines, CA.

    Aug 9 - Thetford Mines to Baie-Comeau via Tadoussac Ferry over Quebec city and 138

    Aug 10 - Baie-Comeau to Labrador City via 389N

    Aug 11 - continue clockwise through Goose Bay and south and spend many more days… but we couldn't get to that part )

    Executive summary: We started as 4 bikes, one left to do another trip (as was pre-planned) and one had an accident 70 miles to Fermont and we stayed in Fermont one night and another in Wabush Hotel and sent the rider back home via air.

    The accident was due to unforeseen consequences of an uncontrollable wobble that developed all of a sudden and sent the bike skidding on the road. The rider was my partner in life, and she did an amazing job of slowing down and holding on long enough so that she can land on the gravel, rather than pavement. Bike is totaled, she has a big bruise on her left elbow but nothing broken, no injuries.

    Lessons learned: BMW makes amazing, amazing gear. Arai helmets are amazing. Personal Locator Beacon is the best; I am sorry, but I won't even discuss or accept an argument or a posting about Spot - we had a gen2 and PLB hands down saved us. Spot's latency was/is appalling. Even the two phone calls from the S.O.S. phones 2km away were slower than PLB's response team's amazing job. I am NOT leaving home for any long trip without a PLB, worth every, every penny.

    We loaded everything from the defunct bike to my bike and I came back in two days. So, in my book, from Prov, RI to Lab City is two days! hahaha. Monkey butt blisters on my butt are still hurting!

    Bulletpoints:
    • 389N is an amazing road when it is sunny, just breathtaking. When it is raining, foggy or NOT sunny, it's dreadful, boring and just plain... boring...
    • Quebec sucks monkey balls
    • 138 is nothing spectacular. I would avoid it next time
    • Ferry between Baie-Sainte-Catherine and Tadoussac is fun
    • Tadoussac is crowded
    • 389N still has long dirt stretches that are pretty fast, unless:
      • they have baked under the sun for a week - then they are very dusty;
      • the grader had a chance to roll over the parts - then they are a hazard, especially after or during the rain
    • 389N has at least 10 construction zones that are not a big deal at all, unless:
      • Right after, or during the rain some become mud pits. My bike was over-loaded and I was having an ice-skating day on one of them; I swore I almost dropped the bike when it slid two feet to the left all of a sudden (watch video, pls)
    • The last 70 miles to Fermont are "alive" on that damned road.
      • If the sun baked it for a week, that section is a sand pit with gravel on top, dust thrown on your face by 18 wheelers, can't see ****, every sharp turn is a slide
      • If after or during the rain then it turns into hard packed dirt that you can ride as fast you like pending crazy pot-holes and graders - damn graders, they turn that hard packed dirt into soft mud
    • Quebec police outside of Quebec are the nicest people on the planet. They helped us so much with the aftermath of the crash
    • Fermont is a fun little town, one gas station, one tow truck (or two, but just one company) and one hospital and one bar/restaurant. I spent two fun days there with the locals.
    • As soon as you cross from Quebec territory to New Foundland it's as if you came back to the States. Even Hotel Wabush is run by Chinese. The roads are pristine, and the road from Labrador City to Goose Bay is paved!
    • We didn't have to use the gas canisters on the way out because we didn't hit that 300 mile stretch of nothingness. But we did gas up at every opportunity, especially gassing up at Manic2 is the key to a comfortable ride up to Relais-Gabriel and after a full tank (I have 220 range on BB, the F800GS and the F700GS seem to be just shy of 200 miles with their tanks) On our way back we didn't "top off" in Fermont and the F800GS had 5 miles left and we had ~15 miles to Relais-Gabriel so we gassed up by the side of the road.


    Now onto the pictures and videos. I have videos of the same sections before the rain and during the rain and man, what a difference. Now I understand how some people, if they did that section right after the rain go like "what sand, what gravel?" and others go "that was crazy dangerous!"

    I speak pigeon French and found it very, very useful

    We will complete the trip next year.

    Link to the complete pictures on Google+ (there are more pictures, 110)
    https://plus.google.com/photos/11464...CMSzy4DfuI6UBA

    Link to the video playlist on YouTube (there are more videos than I posted on this page)
    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...1OPFj2D0H35EwC

    The entire collection in Google+ (I am missing some pictures from other participants)
    https://plus.google.com/collection/ch_-_


    {begin visually appealing part}

    First day, me and my lady's bikes are loaded. I have a Tiger Explorer 1200 (2013 40K miles) she has a BMW F700GS (at 10K miles) we are both running Mitas E07's. Amazing tires on and off the road. From the looks of it, I may get 10K out of them. BB (TEX) has Givi Trekker Outback cases and Donkey R.I.P (BMW) has Trax cases.

    WP_20150808_09_27_49_Pro.jpg
    by I.C., on Flickr

    By the Motel in Thetford Mines


    WP_20150809_07_54_37_Pro.jpg

    by I.C., on Flickr

    First breakfast early Sunday morning by some joint in Thetford Mines


    WP_20150809_08_05_01_Pro.jpg

    by I.C., on Flickr

    Somewhere on the south shore (not 138) to Baie-Sainte-Catherine. I would recommend sticking to that road instead of taking 138, the south shore road is much, much more fun.


    WP_20150809_12_40_00_Pro.jpg

    by I.C., on Flickr


    WP_20150809_12_41_07_Pro.jpg

    by I.C., on Flickr

    Definite picture spot before the ferry


    WP_20150809_14_27_34_Pro.jpg

    by I.C., on Flickr

    Definite picture spot on Tadoussac


    WP_20150809_15_15_46_Pro.jpg

    by I.C., on Flickr

    Few videos from 389N showing its, ahem, "diversity" Camera is a Virb Elite mounted on my left fog light protector, controlled remotely via my Zumo 590LM. That's how I take pictures as well.

    https://youtu.be//spvZKzUwmuQ

    https://youtu.be/ZlVWaKYhiq0

    Manic 5 is magnificent


    WP_20150810_12_11_32_Pro.jpg

    by I.C., on Flickr

    https://youtu.be/nIWJiEjP0oU

    https://youtu.be/_vVqxvvvgLY

    It's a relief to reach Relais-Gabriel


    Relais-Gabriel: Gas Stop Life Saver on 389N

    by I.C., on Flickr


    Relais-Gabriel: Gas Stop Life Saver on 389N

    by I.C., on Flickr

    Same road, three days apart


    389N-WhenItShines

    by I.C., on Flickr


    389N-WhenItRains

    by I.C., on Flickr
    Last edited by icy_; 08-31-2015 at 10:54 PM.

  2. #2

    ... continued because I cannot put more than 20 images in one post...

    Pee break!


    WP_20150810_09_38_51_Pro.jpg

    by I.C., on Flickr

    That mess of a road 70 miles to Fermont (approaching from South)

    https://youtu.be/CI8qv9NXQ48

    The same road during the rain on our way back for comparison

    https://youtu.be/1VIsYMJ5jzA

    Train made a welcome pass. I have no idea why that road cris-crosses over the railroad tracks like 10 times. Why, oh why?

    https://youtu.be/qRv6Vn4khpo

    And you have these one lane wooden bridges on that road too! I mean 18 wheelers pass on this thing?!?

    https://youtu.be/CO7Y0BvDS20

    Parking space in Fermont (a tiny mining colony 20 miles south of Labrador City)


    Fermont, Quebec (Canada)

    by I.C., on Flickr

    "the wall" in Fermont. I am an architect by education so this structure is amazing to me. It literally is a wall, creating an inner-sanctum blocking the harsh winter winds. The lake is to the right. The wall has tiny windows on the other "outer" side, but this side has balconies with bbq and chezlongs and the structures to the left are lower to the ground letting the cold winter blast fly over them. The hospital is to my 5 o'clock. The wall is shaped like a 30 degree broken straight and in the center is the mall, to which you can access via a common corridor inside the wall, to which there is a door every 100 yards or so (the blue colored sections). Brilliant purposeful design.


    Fermont, Quebec (Canada)

    by I.C., on Flickr

    Setting it up for the way back home in Hotel Wabush


    WP_20150813_08_34_59_Pro.jpg

    by I.C., on Flickr


    WP_20150813_08_35_13_Pro.jpg

    by I.C., on Flickr

    Mission half accomplished picture. We will live to fight another day!


    WP_20150813_09_04_53_Pro.jpg

    by I.C., on Flickr

    That construction site which was not even a "Thing" on our way in turned into this on our way out. Notice that I am NOT maneuvering the bike around, the bike is slipping and I am just correcting attitude. The bike was way too heavy and kept sliding on that soapy mud!

    https://youtu.be/7kodXEv55LY

    The next construction site is not muddy though. It's hit and miss with this mud thing on 389 constructions

    https://youtu.be/DEY-fjoo4RQ

    Compared to the sunny and awesome day we rode in, this rainy and foggy version just sucks monkey balls!

    https://youtu.be/JRn16FM3Dv8

    By Manic5


    WP_20150813_14_33_56_Pro.jpg

    by I.C., on Flickr


    WP_20150813_14_34_03_Pro.jpg

    by I.C., on Flickr

    ***

    This concludes my "after the ride" ride report. I think writing these reports every day would be a much, much better idea. Now I am pretty much rushing through it in a Starbucks in Prov. all relaxed and whatnot. But it would've been much different had I wrote them on the field like most other good members. Oh well, next time

    All in all, I would do the trip just to complete it. There really is nothing spectacular on this road. But that isolation, desolation and the accident and the PLB blinking and passerbys and black-flies (deet is the only thing that works, don't even try anything else) … those changed me, that's for sure and for the better.

    Also, for the planners, try to arrange so that you do the dirt / mud / hard parts at the beginning of the day, not the end. When you get hit by dirt and dust and sand after riding 300 miles it's really annoying and frustrating and just plain not fun. The parts that felt like forever and boring and wtf felt like nothing on our way back because we did them early on in the day.

    Be safe

    Icy

    Day 01

    Day 01 - Stats

    by I.C., on Flickr

    Day 01 - Route

    by I.C., on Flickr

    Day 02

    Day 02 - Stats

    by I.C., on Flickr

    Day 02 - Route

    by I.C., on Flickr

    Day 03

    Day 03 - Stats

    by I.C., on Flickr

    Day 03 - Route

    by I.C., on Flickr

    Day 05 - Fermont to Wabush

    Day 04 - Route

    by I.C., on Flickr

    Day 7 was Day 3 in reverse.
    Day 8 was Day 2 & 1 in reverse

    Details of the accident which forced us to halt the expedition and return back home after Labrador City can be found on this thread: http://forums.bmwmoa.org/showthread....od-BMW-gear-is

  3. #3
    not so retired henzilla's Avatar
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    Great report w/pics Have ridden some of that last summer

    I have tried to do a daily log entry to keep things in order... after about day three it just doesn't happen.
    Steve Henson-Mod Team

    No one gets out alive, Live accordingly!

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