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Thread: TransLab Hwy - How tough is it??

  1. #1
    Kristi from Canada
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    Question TransLab Hwy - How tough is it??

    I'm considering going to NFLD this summer... Although my planning so far is only very preliminary, I've got it in my head that I'd like to ride there along RTE 389 from Baie-Comeau to Lab City. How difficult is this ride? I've heard mixed reviews. How long would it take me? Are there stops on the way?

    About me: No offroad experience (yet), but I've got a sweet 1200GS that is just dying to get dirty!!!

    Any info positive or negative about this ride would be AWESOME!

    Thanks in advance!
    Kristi

  2. #2
    Alps Adventurer GlobalRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by klrobins View Post
    I'd like to ride there along RTE 389 from Baie-Comeau to Lab City. How difficult is this ride? I've heard mixed reviews. How long would it take me? Are there stops on the way?
    Well Lab City is only part way.

    The 389 to the dam at Manic 5 is paved and a fun road.

    Then from there to Red Bay you are looking at 660 miles of gravel. There are a few paved sections between Manic 5 and Labrador City, but the run from there to HV - GB as well as the run from Cartwright to Red Bay is all gravel.

    Give yourself 2 days to get from Baie Comeau to Happy Valley - Goose Bay. I spent the night in Labrador City, on the 12 hour overnight ferry and in Red Bay.

    What you want to do is check the ferry schedules and time your ride accordingly. They're not daily. I think there is a ferry directly from HV - GB to Newfoundland as there was in the past. I took the 12 hour ferry from Cartwright to HV - GB and another from St. Barbe to Blanc Sablon (I came the other way).

    You need at least 180 mile range which is the greatest distance between gas stations and towns.

    Newfoundland-Labrador ferry service: Provincial Ferry Services

    Newfoundland-Nova Scotia ferry service: Marine Atlantic

  3. #3
    Rally Rat RTRandy's Avatar
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    (I posted the below note around the same time Alex, GlobalRider, had already replied so was not trying to upstage his good information)

    No first hand knowledge, but found this post on ADVrider from a guy who rode it on a V-Strom. I'd bet if Bob (Tourunigo ) might see this post, he would have some knowledge being it's closer to his neck of the woods.


    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=86640

  4. #4
    Alps Adventurer GlobalRider's Avatar
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    Kristi,

    Go to the Newfoundland & Labrador Tourism site and have them mail you their free guide and map.

    Unless they've changed since my 2003 tour, their guide is excellent providing lots of info about attractions and accomodations, to name a few. The map is 1st rate as well.

    Here is my 2003 Eastern Canada Motorcycle Tour page.

  5. #5
    Alps Adventurer GlobalRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Statdawg View Post
    The flies will eat you or drive you crazy.
    Which is why I brought a mosquito net along...in case I had to do a roadside tire repair.

    I was there mid August and hardly had a bug splat on my windshield which surprised me. It was partially cloudy and cool, cool to the point I wanted to put my Widder vest on.

    Needless to say, bring the important basics and make sure they are basic and fool proof.

    For example bring a manual tire pump, not some electric thingy. Practice plugging a tire you're about to have replaced.

    Needless to say, bring a well equipped first aid kit.

    If you're really concerned, a sat phone can be signed out at the constabulary with a credit card. Free till you use airtime.

    I could go on and on. Best to ask questions.

  6. #6
    Alps Adventurer GlobalRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Statdawg View Post
    http://www.ridetherock.com/forums/showthread.php?t=998 Here is a list all the fine details by David Noel.
    Note: high test gas was not available at all locations, so bring a coding plug if one is available for your bike. My KLR 650 ran on regular which is all I found in the smaller towns. Labrador City was the biggest town on the entire route.

  7. #7
    Registered User burnszilla's Avatar
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    I'd put some TKC80s on your GS too.
    Stephen Burns - 2007 R1200GS
    BMW MOA Lifetime Member
    www.burnsmoto.com

  8. #8
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    That Sat phone deal is a bargain--I considered renting one for my '03 Alaska trip and it was around $400 for a month.

  9. #9
    Kristi from Canada
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burnszilla View Post
    I'd put some TKC80s on your GS too.
    That was going to be my first question... So I'm coming from ontario, so I though about leaving my michelins on until somewhere in quebec and then getting them changed over (somewhere) to the TKC80's... use through NFLD... take the ferry to NS and get them changed back somewhere in NS or NB??

    Hmm... I'm thinking of going in August... Will it be warm?

    I'm planning to camp.

    I have a 1200GS... will fuel grade be an issue? I can generally get around 400km to a tank.

    What is the acutal ride like? are you doing 50km/hr, 60km/hr, 80+? If there is going to be "loose gravel" or something else, will I see it in time to slow down? A good friend of mine mentioned "tank slappers"... that doesnt sound nice, but maybe he was exagerating? Will I have to stand while I'm riding? (All these questions make me sound a bit clueless eh?? hahaha)

    Basically, I see this trip as my introduction into more adventurous riding... I just want to make sure I'm not biting off more than I can chew. Hopefully thats not too vague.

    Thanks so far for your responses... keep em coming!

  10. #10
    Alps Adventurer GlobalRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burnszilla View Post
    I'd put some TKC80s on your GS too.
    Those won't help on a loose gravel surface.

    Its like driving on marbles, especially if the grader went by recently.

    A GS Adventure rider I came across had the TKC80s and although he may have chosen to ride slower (I don't know), he couldn't keep up. I was on Michelin Anakees.

  11. #11
    Hogaan! testinglogin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by klrobins View Post
    That was going to be my first question... So I'm coming from ontario, so I though about leaving my michelins on until somewhere in quebec and then getting them changed over (somewhere) to the TKC80's... use through NFLD... take the ferry to NS and get them changed back somewhere in NS or NB??

    Hmm... I'm thinking of going in August... Will it be warm?

    I'm planning to camp.

    I have a 1200GS... will fuel grade be an issue? I can generally get around 400km to a tank.

    What is the acutal ride like? are you doing 50km/hr, 60km/hr, 80+? If there is going to be "loose gravel" or something else, will I see it in time to slow down? A good friend of mine mentioned "tank slappers"... that doesnt sound nice, but maybe he was exagerating? Will I have to stand while I'm riding? (All these questions make me sound a bit clueless eh?? hahaha)

    Basically, I see this trip as my introduction into more adventurous riding... I just want to make sure I'm not biting off more than I can chew. Hopefully thats not too vague.

    Thanks so far for your responses... keep em coming!
    I don't think you'd be biting off more than you can chew, at all. I WOULD practice some off-road riding, though. Start out on some gravel roads, then if you're lucky and can find some actual off-road trails somewhere, do that. I'm pretty new to the "GS" thing, myself. I hit some gravel and dirt hills in PA, then I found some trails near home and rode those. They were mostly two-track ATV/dirt bike trails, with big ruts in places. I dropped the bike twice (at about 0-1mph both times). I'm still learning; I go a bit too easy on the throttle. Of course, the type of stuff I was in was probably beyond what you'd find on the TLH. I'm planning on a ride up that way next year, myself.

    I will note I've ridden a fair bit of gravel on my R80/7 with street tires. Nothing really "deep" (well, one unplanned section near Thunder Bay where there was construction and I nearly fell) but otherwise the bike handled OK. It's hard to get used to it being a bit "squirrely" though.

  12. #12
    Kristi from Canada
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    Quote Originally Posted by GlobalRider View Post
    .... I was on Michelin Anakees.
    I have those... so they'll be good enough? Cool!

  13. #13
    Alps Adventurer GlobalRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by klrobins View Post
    I have those... so they'll be good enough? Cool!
    Not so fast.

    It depends on the road surface. Sure, if the TLH was all hard packed, a set of Metzeler Enduro 3s or TKC 80s would work.

    Road conditions change over the length and probably have since I went.

    My usual speed was 80 km/hr indicated with the odd stint at 110 km/hr in the tire tracks of cars that were hard packed with no loose gravel. Sometimes I was down to 50 km/hr when I drove closer to the edge of the road to stay clear of the stones thrown up by on-coming tractor trailers or cars. Same when a grader had just groomed the road for cars.

    Over the length, I almost went down maybe 20 times, usually when trying to sightsee.

    Just remember not to have a death grip on the handlebars. You want feel and you want to last by not being tense. I did HV-GB to Labrador City in one day (525 kms of gravel) and trust me, I was beat. It took me about 7 hours with a gas stop and a few pics along the way. That pizza and beer sure tasted good in Labrador City.

  14. #14
    Ambassador BeerTeam's Avatar
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    Here is a report for you: Labrador

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    Quote Originally Posted by klrobins View Post
    I'm considering going to NFLD this summer... Although my planning so far is only very preliminary, I've got it in my head that I'd like to ride there along RTE 389 from Baie-Comeau to Lab City. How difficult is this ride? I've heard mixed reviews. How long would it take me? Are there stops on the way?

    About me: No offroad experience (yet), but I've got a sweet 1200GS that is just dying to get dirty!!!

    Any info positive or negative about this ride would be AWESOME!

    Thanks in advance!
    Kristi
    Hi Kristi.. I sent you a PM with my personal contact.. I will help you here. Did it three times in winter and many times in summer. No rocket science. All you need is a bike and the time..
    Goof for you to do this..
    Pretty soon it will be all paved and a guy driving a lowered Cadillac will do it easy.

    Iceman
    Last edited by Paul_Iceman_Mondor; 10-11-2013 at 09:38 PM.

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