David Edinger - Goose Bay Labrador
On a wet and chilly August 21st, nine of us left Dallas, Texas, for the Peoria TT in Peoria, Illinois. The plan was to get just over 600 miles and just short of St. Louis via the interstate. Left with only about 300 to do the next day we followed the river system and back roads enjoying the ride. Some of us went into Peoria that night for the pre-race festivities. The race the next day was great. It was in a small valley and provided viewer friendly racing. After the races we all sent separate directions. It was already about 4:00 P.M. so I headed toward Indianapolis.
The next day, I went to the American Motorcyclist Association Museum in Pickerington, Ohio, and then headed to Perrysburg, Ohio, in the northern part of the state to visit my brother and his family. The next day was a long hard riding. I left at first light and rode east through Ohio, the corner of Pennsylvania and into eastern New York State. I stopped long enough to spend five minutes at Niagara Falls. The only thing I ate were Energy bars and drank Red Bull Energy Drinks. I had a dinner date with relatives that night and was not sure exactly how long to allow, but was determined not to be late, I was about 45 minutes late.
The next day I headed north along Lake Champlain and later crossed into Canada. They held me up due to some misdemeanors in my past. An hour and a half later, I headed toward Montreal where I hoped to have lunch, but was behind schedule so I glanced over my shoulder at it and proceeded into Quebec City. Now I really liked this city and stayed in the old part of the city. The old fort remains and that part of the city is walled off. The nightlife and ambience is worth going back for.
The next day I headed up the St. Lawrence Waterway, which was beautiful and I got to take my first of six ferry crossings. Outside the city they only speak French. That night I got to Baie Comeau, which is the point where you head due north toward the Trans Labrador Highway (TLH), which is sparsely populated and is 800 miles of gravel roads. That was a turning point because there was a storm system that was going to catch me before the morning. I considered wimping out and staying on the paved roads going east, which ended about 200 miles down the road where I could take a ferry to Newfoundland. I had heard horror stories about the TLH from broken motorcycles to just plain warnings of â€œDonâ€™t do itâ€ . After a few martinis, I made up my mind to stay the course.
After three days and 500 miles of gravel, I made it to Goose Bay Labrador. I planted a Texas flag in the flower garden around the â€œWelcome to Goose Bayâ€ sign, took a picture and proceeded into town, where I had a martini. That had always been the plan; I even told that to the Canadian Border Guards who marked it on my Entry Paperwork, â€œGoing to Goose Bay for a martiniâ€ . At Goose Bay, I boarded another ferry and headed east for 18 hours. Disembarked at the eastern most point of Labrador, which is the town of Cartwright. I then headed another 300 miles south on more gravel. I stopped at a small town for lunch and was the only patron, so I looked out at the bay and was serenaded by classic Hank Williams, Sr. music. Apparently Country & Western is very popular in that neck of the woods. I then found the only gas pump, which was locked in a shed. The next stretch of gravel road was the worst. I really thought I was going down in the last 30 or 50 miles. But I made it and went onto the next ferry, which would take me to Newfoundland, While in line for the ferry a guy in the car behind me asked if I was from Texas, my chest pumped up and I said I was. He asked if I had planted a Texas flag in the Goose Bay garden and I told him I had and that I claimed it for Sam Houston and the country of Texas. Now remember this was 18 hours by ferry and 300 miles of gravel ago. Turns out he was from Dallas on a college road trip to the end of the road also and was quite surprised to see a Texas flag there. The next day, in Newfoundland, I headed south along the coastline where moose were a serious road hazard. In the middle of the province is a national park, which was spectacular.
I had another hurricane system headed north toward me and I pushed to make it to the next ferry on the southern tip before the deluge. I didnâ€™t make it. I was in the middle of nowhere regretting not having stopped in the last town. I also had not put on my rain suit (always the optimist). I saw a sign indicating a town and a hotel, so I took the exit. It turns out it is 25 miles to the west. I made it to town, found the hotel and got instructions to a laundry-mat with a bar. In the bar was a Stevie Ray Vaughan poster. Next thing I know we are playing one of his DVDâ€™s and drinking beer while my clothes dry. Then I headed to a movie since I was having popcorn withdrawals. The next day I made the ferry by 10:00 A.M. and it did not leave until after midnight. I used the time for motorcycle maintenance and beer drinking.
The next day had me in Nova Scotia. I rode the infamous motorcycle road called â€œCabots Trailâ€ , lost my tent and spent the night in a casino/hotel in Halifax. I also came upon a bike night while I was there. Very touristy, Halifax had cobblestone streets, bars and restaurants, etc. The next day I headed out through New Brunswick and took another ferry across to Maine. I made it to Arcadia National Park by dark. I took the park loop in the morning and headed down the Maine coast (this was Labor Day Weekend) then across New Hampshire and stayed on the edge of the White Mountains Recreational Area. The next day I continued west onto Vermont and rode south down another incredible road where I hooked up with a FJR rider and we meandered together. I continued back down into New York State where I stayed in an old hotel that used to be a theater.
The next day, I headed toward Gettysburg, PA, where I spent one day and two nights. This was the first time I had stayed in the same place for two nights. I am a history buff and had looked forward to my return to Gettysburg. I met some Texans who lived there. We ate at an old inn from the 1800â€™s and later went ghost hunting on the battlefield. That was a first and I enjoyed my stay and their company including ghost stories of their own.
The next day as I left I had Hurricane Francis headed straight for me. So I modified my plans for going down the Appalachians and just headed west across it. I rode 340 miles in driving, soaking rain. I was soaked through the rain suit, through the Aero-stitch, through the waterproof boots down to the bone. I found refuge in Ohio at a hotel with a bar and a laundry. Even the carpet in the room was soaked. I think it rained seven inches and the highway was temporarily closed just up the road from where I exited.
From there I made it to just south of St. Louis within 10 miles of our first days stop. Of course I made it home the next evening. It had been just short of 8000 miles and close to three weeks. The only mechanical problem was a burned out head light bulb. I had anticipated that and brought another, but it was the wrong size.
It was the first long trip, I did alone and I liked it very much. EVERYDAY I DID IT DAVEâ€™S WAY.