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Thread: Trans-Labrador Highway

  1. #11
    Senior Member Trans-Labrador Highway ld_rider's Avatar
    Bike: 2014 Black ABS/DCT
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    Quote Originally Posted by StratTuner View Post
    Wow...thank you for that. I presume dirt tires are REQUIRED, and that the best month to repeat that loop is July?
    I connected with a rider on the GL1800 forum while I was planning an Alaskan adventure a bunch of years ago. He had ridden the GL there from New England (as I was planning to), and gave me some tips and some photos that were motivating.


    About 5 o 6 years ago he did that loop ^^^^ (!) On the Goldwing 1800.

    He rode the 'Wing on street tires since well, there aren't any dirt tires for the 1.8 liter, 6 cyl, half-ton Hondapottamus ;-)

    If IIRC he sent me a few pics of the GL on its side in the middle of nowhere. If I ever do it, (and I might this summer) it would be on something like a 250 dual sport or if I can find a used one, a Kawasaki 300. I can get away with a small bike like that since I'm near the Canadian border.

    I find the itty-bitty 17 inch front wheel on the NC a little too sketchy in anything other than hardpacked dirt trails or packed gravel. Thinking about soft, deep, pea-sized gravel gives me the shivers..toss in little moisture and I'm white-knuckling it ;-)

    If the grooming/construction/weather/etc holds out I think it could be a fun trip...Certainly a challenge and a bucket list ride!
    Last edited by ld_rider; 15th June 2018 at 15:59.
    Rob in New England
    IBA# 540

  2. #12
    Super Moderator Trans-Labrador Highway 670cc's Avatar
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    I don’t know the geography up that way enough to know if this snow is a factor on your trip, but this article caught my eye: News - 6 feet of snow in Labrador 'unprecedented' this late in June - The Weather Network
    Greg
    GWRRA Member
    AMA Life Member
    "230,000 Mile Club"

    NanCyX . . . . . . . . . . The 250

  3. #13
    Junior Member cedavis82's Avatar
    Bike: 2012 Honda NC700SA
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    Hi All,

    I've been back for a week now. What a great time! I'm still editing the videos / grabbing screen shots off my GoPro as photos. I will still post a comprehensive write up about my experience for all of you! I just wanted you all to know that I didn't hit a moose or get eaten my a bear!
    Chris

    Motorcycle History:
    1982 Honda CM450e
    1974 Yamaha RD350A
    1984 Honda VF750C (Magna V45)
    2012 Honda NC700SA

    Provinces and States on the NC:


  4. #14
    Junior Member
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    Awesome! Glad you made it! I'm very interested in hearing your story as that ride is on my list but in the opposite direction.

  5. #15
    Junior Member cedavis82's Avatar
    Bike: 2012 Honda NC700SA
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    Before the ride... preparations

    There are lots of things to consider.

    Time, and timing.
    - I was travelling with a buddy (actually, 2 buddies on the island of Newfoundland, only one could get the necessary time off for the whole trip). Time restrictions and dates of travel will dictate your route more than you think due to ferry timings. I was route planning under the following constraints: We only had a week to do the trip; and we were leaving from 3 different places in Nova Scotia on Thursday morning. I counted out the reasonable distances we could travel each day and where that would put us to see how it would line up with the ferry schedules. That is the reason we went counter-clockwise.

    June 2018 - The Great Circle (actual route) - Google My Maps

    ...about the ferries...
    The route includes three ferries. The North Sydney, Nova Scotia to Channel Port aux Basques, Newfoundland ferry (operated by Marine Atlantic; Marine Atlantic | Home). I've been on this ferry several times. They operate many vessels, so their scheduling this ferry in to meet your travel plans should be easy. I highly recommend booking a berth cabin (room) if you take the overnight ferry. Taking the ferry at night can help you save a the day for riding, and you should be able to sleep the whole night and arrive in port rested and ready to ride. Keep in mind you must arrive 2 hours before departure time.

    You will have to strap your bike down (all 4 corners). They do provide ropes and ratchet straps if you do not have your own. I used their gear the first time I went to Newfoundland in 2014 with the NC (photo below). If you have your own gear (rope or soft loops and ratchet straps), even better.

    Trans-Labrador Highway-aug-2014-dl-259-jpg

    The other two ferry routes; St. Barbe Newfoundland to Blanc Sablon, Quebec (on the border with Labrador) and Baie Comeau to Matane Quebec, the operators (Labrador Marine Labrador Marine Inc and Société des traversiers du Québec (STQ) Home - Societe des traversiers du Quebec respectively) only one one vessel each. Check-in for these ferries are 1 hour before and 30 minutes before respectively. Both of these crossings are about 90 minutes. This is where their schedule may present you with limitations. Read the schedules carefully, they change depending on the day of the week and the season. Both of these crossings are about 90 minutes. Also note that you have to strap down the bike again for Newfoundland to Labrador, but not this is not required for the Quebec ferry.

    ... about the bike...

    So I ride the NC700SA. I notice that the majority of people on the forum seem to have the NC700X. Honestly, there's not much difference in the two other than the plastics, but the plastics give the S version a much more "street" look. That didn't stop me from outfitting it with a skid plate, knobby tires, and fuel tanks like an adventure bike rider. See below for the pics. Also, I strapped an extra tire on. It just so happens that the NC and my buddy's BMW F650CS use the same size tires (dimensions slightly adjusted to match Shinko's size availability in the TrailMaster705s). I carried the rear, and he carried the front.

    Trans-Labrador Highway-img_4226-jpg
    Trans-Labrador Ready!

    Trans-Labrador Highway-img_4227-jpg
    Removed the passenger seat for easier fuelling. Tire strapped on using heavy duty zip ties and pool noodles to protect the bead.

    Trans-Labrador Highway-img_4228-jpg
    Fuel bottle (one on each side). 0.9L each.

    Trans-Labrador Highway-img_4246-jpg
    Bear spray container. This was a last minute addition, but it was good for piece of mind given it was June and bears were still hungry from the long winter...

    Trans-Labrador Highway-img_3696-jpg
    And, from last fall, the skid plate I added. This SW-Motech is the real deal.

    Also previously installed but not pictured: R&G rad guard.
    Last edited by cedavis82; 10th July 2018 at 18:38.
    Chris

    Motorcycle History:
    1982 Honda CM450e
    1974 Yamaha RD350A
    1984 Honda VF750C (Magna V45)
    2012 Honda NC700SA

    Provinces and States on the NC:


  6. #16
    Junior Member cedavis82's Avatar
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    Day 1 and 2... Just getting there can be an adventure

    Sorry for keeping you guys waiting so long on between updates. So for me, Day 1 and Day 2 were spent "just getting there". I live in Halifax, so I get to ride most of the best coastal roads in Eastern Canada anytime I want. For example, I ride the Cabot Trail at least once per year, so my route to Labrador was purely function. I'll give you my update, then I will supplement that with roads I would recommend for anyone who is looking for some of the best roads I would recommend for anyone touring the area for the first time on their way to Labrador.

    Day 1 - June 14, 2018: Halifax, Nova Scotia to North Sydney, Nova Scotia
    June 2018 - The Great Circle (actual route) – Google My Maps

    - Depart: from home, and stopping in Truro, Nova Scotia to join up with my two riding buddies for the trip.

    - Destination: the ferry to the island of Newfoundland.

    - Distance travelled on my selected route: 425km (264miles)

    - Actual time in saddle: Google says 5 hours and 5 minutes. That is more or less accurate.

    - Weather: Rain, and about 6 degrees C (43 degrees F).

    - Road conditions:
    - Halifax to Truro on NS Hwy 102: Multi-lane divided highway
    - Truro to Westville on NS Hwy 4: Two lane secondary road (parallel to Hwy 104 which is the multi-lane divided)
    - Westville to Cape Breton Island on Hwy 104: Multi-lane divided highway until just east of New Glasgow, divided again for a section near Antigonish, but mostly a two lane highway (main highway in this area.)
    - Port Hastings (Cape Breton Island) to Sydney (Cape Breton Island) on Hwy 4: Two lane highway. I would say it's the "scenic route", but in Cape Breton, every road is the scenic route. Hwy 4 has mostly been paved from end to end over the past 3 - 5 years, and is full of views of the Bras-D'or Lakes to the left, occasional glimpses of the Atlantic Ocean on the right. Unfortunately most of the really tight corners we smoothed out, but that's not all bad. There are plenty of long sweepers
    - Sydney to North Sydney on NS Hwy 125 and Hwy 105... boring twinned "just getting there" roads.

    - Boring video that will make you cold just by watching it: Trans-Labrador Highway Trip - Day 1- Halifax to North Sydney - YouTube

    - Notes: We took Hwy 4 from Truro to Westville to get off the main road due to the unseasonably cold weather that was making the rain totally unbearable. We hung out gear to dry when we stopped for lunch at the Irving / Dairy Queen in Westville at the highway exit (see video). We left a huge puddle around our table. What a great start to the trip... it was only slightly warmer in the afternoon, and the rain was less torrential. So that was good. I also picked Hwy 4 rather than Hwy 105 because there is generally less traffic, and certainly less transport trucks. Some say it's more scenic. I think 4 and 105 are both really nice. If you've never been to the Cape Breton, I would suggest 105 though, as there are way more options for side trips. But that's a for another post. We ate at the Old Triangle in downtown Sydney (good pub; great patio). Then we stopped at Breton Brewing for a few cans of beer to bring on the ferry. We were on the overnight ferry to Newfoundland. I think I mentioned this in my other post, but you need to be there 2 hours before departure. Motorcycles load first, so don't be late. If you plan to ride the next day, get a cabin.


    Day 2 - June 15, 2018: Port aux Basques, Newfoundland to St Barbe, Newfoundland
    June 2018 - The Great Circle (actual route) – Google My Maps

    - Depart: the ferry terminal in Newfoundland.

    - Destination: the Dockside Hotel (the ticket office for the Labrador ferry shares a building with the hotel).

    - Distance travelled on my selected route: 565km (350miles)

    - Actual time in saddle: Google says 6 hours and 6 minutes. That is more or less accurate.

    - Weather: Glorious sunshine, and about 10 degrees C ( 50 degrees F). So happy for double digit temps. This would be the last "warm" day for a while.

    - Road conditions:
    - Port aux Basques to Deer Lake on NL Hwy 1 (Trans-Canada Highway): Some Multi-lane divided highway, but mostly two lane highway with frequent passing lanes.
    - Deer Lake to St Barbe on NL Hwy 430 (Viking Trail: Two lane road.

    - Video that will make you want to live in Atlantic Canada; these are the main highways!: Trans-Labrador Highway Trip - Day 2 - Port aux Basques to St. Barbe - YouTube

    - Notes: Watch the video. We travel on the main highway through Corner Brook and turn off at Deer Lake. The Viking Trail takes us north through Gros Morne National Park. We stopped at "The Arches", which is directly out of a tourism commercial. This was unfortunately the place where one of my travelling buddies had to turn around. The two of us continued north. Ice and snow lined the tops of the mountains. We encountered 3 moose that day; only one was captured on the GoPro. Again, there is plenty to see and do in western Newfoundland, and I highly recommend adding a day or two to your trip to explore. More on that in another post.

    Coming soon: Day 3, Labrador...
    Last edited by cedavis82; 3rd August 2018 at 04:53.
    Chris

    Motorcycle History:
    1982 Honda CM450e
    1974 Yamaha RD350A
    1984 Honda VF750C (Magna V45)
    2012 Honda NC700SA

    Provinces and States on the NC:


  7. #17
    Junior Member cedavis82's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 670cc View Post
    I don’t know the geography up that way enough to know if this snow is a factor on your trip, but this article caught my eye: News - 6 feet of snow in Labrador 'unprecedented' this late in June - The Weather Network
    Yeah, we were expecting 10 to 12 degree C daytime temps. It was unseasonably cool this June, and we definitely had cool (nearly frosty) days. We didn't get delayed by accumulating snowfall, but it did snow the week before and the week after we were there.
    Chris

    Motorcycle History:
    1982 Honda CM450e
    1974 Yamaha RD350A
    1984 Honda VF750C (Magna V45)
    2012 Honda NC700SA

    Provinces and States on the NC:


  8. #18
    Junior Member cedavis82's Avatar
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    Day 3 - June 16, 2018: St. Barbe Newfoundland to Port Hope Simpson Labrador

    June 2018 - The Great Circle (actual route) – Google My Maps

    - Depart: from the Dockside Hotel / ferry terminal for Labrador Marine

    - Intended Destination: Cartwright, Labrador
    - Actual Destination: Port Hope Simpson, Labrador

    - Distance travelled on my intended route: 414km (257miles)
    - Distance travelled on my actual route: 215km (134miles)

    - Actual time in saddle: Well... ready to roll at the ferry terminal at 7AM, loaded and departed on ferry by 8AM, in Labrador by 10AM. We made several stops attempting to find one of the satellite phones (Emergency Satellite Phone Service Extended Along Trans Labrador Highway), which actually proved to be more difficult than I thought it would be. After several stops, we found one at our lunch spot in Mary's Harbour. The problem was that we were quite behind schedule due in part to all the stops. The original intended route should have taken 5hrs 47mins according to Google, but we stopped at Port Hope Simpson (PHS) instead because it was already 3:30PM when we got there, and the road conditions were terrible. Google says 3hrs 3 mins from Blanc Sablon to PHS. Actual in saddle time I would estimate to be more like 3hrs 30min or maybe a bit longer, but with a lunch stop and other stops for sat phones it took us from a total of 5 1/2 hrs to get to PHS.

    - Weather: Mostly Sunny and about 6 degrees C (43 degrees F).

    - Road conditions:
    - Blanc Sablon to Red Bay on NL Hwy 510: Two Lane highway, paved. Asphalt is some of the worst I've ever seen in 13 years of riding.
    - Red Bay to Mary's Harbour on NL Hwy 510: Two lane highway, paved. Excellent condition.
    - Mary's Harbour to Port Hope Simpson on NL Hwy 510: Two lane highway, gravel. There is a lot of construction on this section, as it will be the next area to be paved. As a result, there is a lot of loose gravel from graders passing and leveling. Large, round, not compacted rock is common. There were sections that we could only ride at ~35km/h (~20mph).

    - Video: Trans-Labrador Highway Trip - Day 3 - Blanc Sablon to Port Hope Simpson - YouTube

    - Notes: Video is longer than I would have liked it to be... but I kept a lot of the rough section in for the readers of this forum. I thought it would be important for you to know how rough the road actually is. After the rough paved section, the part from Rad Bay to Mary's Harbour was beautiful. The video does not do it justice. Also, it was very cold on that section; only about 2 degrees C at the time we passed through there. Note the still frozen lake! I described the gravel road conditions above, no need to go into it any more than that.
    Chris

    Motorcycle History:
    1982 Honda CM450e
    1974 Yamaha RD350A
    1984 Honda VF750C (Magna V45)
    2012 Honda NC700SA

    Provinces and States on the NC:


  9. #19
    Junior Member
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    Have you done any modifications to your seat to improve comfort? That ride has some serious seat time

  10. #20
    Junior Member cedavis82's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fore4runner View Post
    Have you done any modifications to your seat to improve comfort? That ride has some serious seat time
    None. I'm still sitting on the stock seat and have nearly 60,000kms on the odo.

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