Trans-Labrador Highway

We finally leave for our first "shakedown" ride.  Monday June 18th, 2012 we are headed to Maine, then Quebec to ride the Trans-Labrador Highway.  Somewhere in there is the kitchen sink!!!

I will endeavor to get a few pictures posted as we travel.  Follow us on my spot page at Joe's Trans-Labrador Trip.

Well, that didn't work so well! :-)  We're back.  It was a great ride, that I will try to recap with a little commentary and a few pictures.

What worked well for me;
the bike, not one bike related problem, it ran like a scalded cat and was very good on the bumpier stuff.
the extra gas tanks and the racks to hold them (great job Chuck),
the Spots (although they were a little spotty due to power related problems) see tracks in the link above,
the seats (thank GOD!!!), the Renazco's were great, I think I would have committed "sewer pipe" had I been on that stock KTM seat.
some of the pre-planning for stops,
the Hidenau K60's, no issues, great grip and seemingly good wear characteristics.

What didn't work so well for me;
my rain gear, I was soaked, in what I would not consider a deluge.
my boots, they did not make the trip back to Houston with me, they were soaked clean through and stunk.  Chuck was gracious in dealing with the odor as I tried to dry them with the hair dryer in the ferry cabin.
My rain proof gloves NOT!  They were sold to me as rain proof and this was the first time I used them.  They were not even close.  I ended up using my thin layer leather gloves which actually offered more protection.
The communication connection (CB's).  We first notice a problem as we left on the bikes, Chuck was getting a lot of static through his system, we ended up leaving them off for the entire trip.

Chuck and I met on Monday June 18th at 5:30a at a filling station east of Houston.  We loaded my bike on the trailer and we were off, after having a little breakfast.  Since there were two of us, we decided to drive straight through.  Needless to say, 2,200 miles and 36 hours of driving took its toll.  And we didn't get a lot of pictures (like none!).  We couldn't even remember where we ate after we got settled in Houlton, ME.  We decided we wouldn't do that again on our drive back to Houston when we returned.

By the way, if anyone is contemplating trailering to Maine then crossing on bikes, there is a great little hotel in Houlton, ME named the Shiretown Inn (ask for Ann), who will let you leave your bike trailer there in order to cross into Canada without the complication of trailering motorcycles.

The following morning we got saddled up, turned on our CB's and found the would not broadcast more then a couple hundred feet.  Chuck also had a terrible static in his.  He had mentioned that his CB had come on without even attaching the ground.  The conclusion was that Chuck needed to do some work on his wiring.  Chuck also believes I have problem, but I am not sure he reached this conclusion.  I will test mine with my Goldwing sometime soon.

Another border crossing, Maine into Canada.  We decided to use a smaller, less busy entry into Canada to reduce the time spent waiting in traffic.  Well, that's not how it turned out.  Word of advice, being in a lot of backed up traffic at a border crossing is sometimes a good thing.  The border guard was evidently, ummm bored?  After taking our passports he signaled us to pull over for inspection.  Normally this is not the rule, they check your passports, ask a few questions and BAM! you're in.

Usually I am the one that gets singled out and busted for something.  But after asking for all of our states of residence, another guard asked "Mr. Thrall" to come with her.  Under brutal questioning, Chuck was forced to come clean about his past history.  Seems he had a run in with the gendarme back in the ' 70's and the paperwork had turned up on the background check the Canadians ran.  There is a lot more to this story, but eventually, using all his charm, Chuck was able to sweet talk the border guard into letting him in this one time.  But, I am thinking his debonair and suave ways will not translate well into OkaSpanish when we get to South America.

Due to the misfortune of the holdup at the border we arrived in Matane, NB just in time to see the ferry pull away from the dock.  Pretty sight, but it would have been prettier had we been on the ferry looking back at the dock.  Oh well, it's adventure right?  We had a nice meal overlooking the St. Lawrence Seaway and a nice sunset view from our "cheap" hotel (nothing, I mean nothing is cheap in Canada!).

A nice meal in Matane, NB

Sunset from cheap Hotel

We were up a sunrise to catch the 5:30a ferry to Godbout, QE.  It was a nice cruise with beautiful weather.  We got sandwiched in at the last minute and Chuck was concerned he was going to have to make the entire ride sitting on his bike.
Ferry to Godbout from Matane

We arrived at Godbout, which really began our journey on the Trans Labrador Highway (TLH).

Arriving in Godbout

A fellow came out from a little store to ask about our bikes and we imposed on him to snap a picture in front of the ferry we had just arrived on.

The road up to Manic 5

Manic 5 the big dam on the Manicouagan River.  Quebec has a lot of power needs.

First Station on the TLH
Two riders we met going the other way
Could speak some English
No English at all but he rode a 990 Adventure that was all the common language we needed!
Kilometers vs Mile Per Hour
One of many stops along the TLH.  Note the time remaining under the  light.
A mountain created from tailings from iron mining.
Churchhill River
Churchhill Falls Gas Station
Typical road, crusty and about 1 to 2 inches of soft top layer.
And SOOOO much dust.  Dust everywhere from everything.
Taking a break along the road.  Not many turnouts.
Proof that I didn't always ride in front of Chuck.
Part of the dock at Blanc-Sablon waiting for Ferry to St. Barbe
Waiting for St. Barbe Ferry.  Gentleman on the right told us about the Viking  Encampment  on Newfoundland.
Blanc Sablon to St. Barbe ferry
Iceberg in bay at L'anse aux Meadows (Viking Encampment)
Chuck working the iron
Not Sure what Joe is doing?
Camping at Gros Moore Nat Park, Cowhead campground
Silent Witness Memorial in Gander NF
Silent Witness Memorial
Cape Spear furthest point east in North America
Cape Spear
Port aux Basque to Sydney Ferry
Who is this d'Or person?
Igonish, Cape Briton, Nova Scotia

Stopping for some Chili, not real Texas chili though


  1. Joe, good idea to do a test run. My rain gear worked at first, but then after use started to allow water in. It serves as a reminder to me to not ride in the rain. Otherwise, I grin and bear it. I've found a good way to dry my boots is to stuff newspaper in them and turn them upside down. The newspaper absorbs all the water. They dry within 12-24 hours. I bought some Alpinestar waterproof gloves and they've been great...waterproof and comfortable. All the best.

  2. Planning this trip for 2015 with my KTM950! Last year did a cross America trip from Quebec to Vancouver doing the US side first then back through Canada doing all the mountain passes I could fit in! Awesome ride of almost 8000 miles! My question is why didn't you invest in Goretex garments then you do not need rainwear.,expensive but worth it! Also was wondering about premium gas availability since my bike really needs high octane fuel to run well. I assume I could bring octane boost with me. Looks like you had a great ride that I am looking forward too!! Good travels!

    1. I had just bought a Motoport Kevlar jacket and felt the extra protection was the way to go. In retrospect a good breathable Goretex would have been lighter and less packing, but a little warmer, since the Motoport is mesh but it does requires a liner for rain. The KTM's had no significant problems with the gas in Canada, they ran fine on the lower octane, but we did have to take extra gas from Goose Bay to Fort Hope, because there is nothing in-between. It was a little over 300 miles if I remember correctly. Mine hit the reserve at 172 and ran out at 222 miles. YMMV :-)

      They were busy as beavers paving the TransLab when we went, by the time you get there it will be interesting to know how much dirt is left. Drop a line when you get there.

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