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Photo by Igor Djokovic, camping above San Juan river, Arizona USA

I haven't been everywhere...
but it's on my list!


Photo by Igor Djokovic,
camping above San Juan river,
Arizona USA



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  #1  
Old 23 Jan 2023
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Trans-Labrador

Good day,
My wife and I are starting Chapter 1 of our Journey. We live in St. Johns and heading to Labrador, to Fermont Quebec down to Manic Cinq and to Baie Comeau.
We ride 750 and 850GS' respectively.
I think we have a good plan, but looking for advice on MUST SEE stuff. We've doing only once and hate to miss an opportunity.

Appreciate all the help.

Also find us on Insta and YT.

Thanks
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  #2  
Old 23 Jan 2023
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Watching - no help I'm afraid however we plan to travel this route later this year so looking forward to insights.
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  #3  
Old 24 Jan 2023
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I rode to and from Labrador just after the road opened, but long before it was extended as far as it is now. For me, there were no real “MUST SEE” sights; mainly a lot of muskeg, not so different from the many thousands of miles of muskeg west of there almost until you hit the Pacific Ocean. The aurora was spectacular whenever it wasn’t cloudy (which it was a lot of the time), but aside from that the highlight for me was flying north to Nain, then taking off on foot with my backpack. There are interesting intersections of cultures (Inuit, Cree, Anglo), interesting post-glacial landscapes, interesting wildlife (a HUGE herd of migratory caribou), and more like that…but it’s not like you go someplace to view this stuff. Mostly it just happens to you while your mind is on other things.

I regret not taking a tour of the hydro facility at Churchill Falls, but I was too restless. I regret not accepting the offer of a job helping the helicopter pilot who was flying around servicing the decommissioning crews on the DEW line stations, but I’d driven from New England and had to get back to my (self-employed) work. Staying more open to chance encounters and experiences would have improved my trip hugely, so that’s what I usually suggest.

Oh, and I sure wished I’d taken more precautions against black flies and mosquitos—the former in particular. Worst I’ve ever experienced anywhere, including Alaska, The Yukon, Churchill, Greenland, the European Arctic.

Hope that’s helpful.

Mark
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  #4  
Old 24 Jan 2023
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Hi Mark,
Thanks for that information. We will plan to take the tour of CF.
As for flies, we hope that end of June will be "pre-season". Fingers crossed.
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  #5  
Old 24 Jan 2023
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The black flies didn’t seem responsive to repellants—only to robust physical barriers, i.e., thick, tight clothing without any points of entry. They specialized in finding the tiniest of gaps, which meant that even while I sweated profusely in too many clothes, my wrists ended up a mass of bloody welts. Pants I tucked into socks; collars done up tight, with neck gaiter and netting head-dress mandatory.

Maybe I hit the worst possible time—hard to say. I remember trying to take a quick selfie (before that word existed) but becoming so frantic I couldn’t hold the camera steady. Out in the bush I learned to stay high on the scoured bedrock, above the sparse stands of timber below, and to endeavor to always face the breeze—mosquitoes and black flies both hover and attack from downwind.

Funny to hear my own descriptions! I’ve always heard similar from people about Alaska but never found it that bad myself. Probably there’s a lot of dumb luck—or absence thereof—involved. Have fun and report back here!
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Old 24 Jan 2023
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Markharf: Thanks for the insight on black flies/mosquitoes. We're usually not badly affected, and always use repellent/have long sleeves etc. All the same it's good to be prepared.

OurGSJourney: I suspect that late June is not early enough to avoid them. We were in NWT last year; had few insects on our way north in early June, however on our way south they showed up in force on the day we crossed the Arctic Circle, which was June 17th. I'd guess (and it is a guess) that they're going to be out in mid-June in Labrador too.
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  #7  
Old 25 Jan 2023
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OurGSJourney- I concur with Alanymarce (who I might have met in the Yukon) about the black flies in late June. My brother and I were on the Dempster Hwy June 16 - 21 +/-. Blackflies were bad on our way back along the AlCan and Campbell Hwys. It was a late northern Canada spring last year. High concentration deet and a headnet are in order.
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  #8  
Old 25 Jan 2023
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Best advice is to take it slow. It's a beautiful ride. Only downside that there less and less gravel road an more paved highway each year.
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  #9  
Old 30 Jan 2023
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June will definitely be black fly season but that can be managed with the head net , snug clothing and staying in the wind if available . When you stop it will take a minute or more before they zero in on you so make the photo quickly and cover up again . Carry DEET repellent .

Yes Labrador has a good amount of tundra , but that IS part of why we go to see it , isn't it ? Pay attention to it while riding sedately and you will be able to appreciate it and catch the nuances of the repeating ridges and water channels in the ' bogs . Have a close look at the plant life , the wild flowers .
Be sure to stop and walk around a bit in the Churchill River valley lower level , below Muskrat Falls where the sandy ground is covered with reindeer moss ,poplar and birch , compared to the plateau a totally contrasting biome .
Get the Nordic architectural vibe of the new towns of Churchill Falls and Lab City , and Fermont
Visit the little fishing towns at the ends of the gravel side roads , like St Lewis, Charlottetown,Pinsent Arm ,and south the old towns are on the main highway as at Mary's Harbour, . Red Bay has the Basque Whaling Museum .

In Quebec do time your ride to take in the guided tour of the Manic Cinq hydro electric dam where you get to see the inside of the actual dam structure as well as the generator halls built into the solid bedrock .
Be sure to fill your tank at Relais Gabriel and if need be , stay the night in a comfy room there .
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  #10  
Old 1 Feb 2023
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Gov. Guide...

Sjoered,

This guide is about 11 years old but I found it helpful on my trip in Fall of 2022.

https://www.airfieldresearchgroup.or...e_may_2012.pdf

It's time to travel. Be safe, not scared.
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  #11  
Old 5 Feb 2023
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Just came across this photo of the Trans-Labrador Highway a few weeks after it opened, approx. 1991. Chances are no better than 50% it'll actually post....

[IMG][/IMG]
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  #12  
Old 13 Feb 2023
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http://[IMG][/IMG][/IMG]horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/members/sjoerd-bakker-albums-travel-pictures-labrador-1994-picture3953-pict0038-building-first-order-still.jpg
Well that didn’t work . Try again
travel-pictures-labrador-1994-picture3952-pict0037.jpg[/IMG]

[/IMG]


IT WORKED YAAAAAY !!! < Now lets see if I can repeat that magical feat.Both pictures were taken in August 1994 in the new section of the Trans Lab roadwhich had opended two or so years before to connect Labrador Falls through to Happy Valley Goose Bay .It was completed on the BMW Boxer r100 on street tires with no problems , just going slowly .
Just looking at my top photo and the photo Markharf has in his post I am struck by the similarity. It may well be that my photo is of the same bit of the new road only a little farther east than in Mark’s .
Mark , is that a picture you took or is it a found image ? By the look of the roadside with all the alder and willow brush growth to the road edge your estimated 1991 image would suggest a few years more after the opening .
In my photo the roadsides are still the raw and bare bulldozed earth where the new growth has not yet begun filling it .





Incredible TWO for TWO ! after only hours of attempts . Trouble is I need to switch back and forth to"my album " here on HU to copy the " BB code number " for each picture and it winds up posting at the top above the earlier posted image . Hold my breath and going for another dive for another photo

[/IMG]

NOPE . did not work THIS time What gives !!!!!!
Back for another edit later
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Last edited by Sjoerd Bakker; 16 Feb 2023 at 20:06. Reason: Way too many steps for getting a picture to show
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  #13  
Old 19 Feb 2023
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[/IMG][IMG]
Quote:
http://
[/IMG]

: Okay , so this is a picture of the streetbike which conquered the PrimalTLH ,east of Lab Falls in August 1994.
As I was working with a 35mm camera and colour slide film I lost some of the image colour and crispness . .Also being a buck a shot I was not very generous in the number of pictures taken as compared to the present digital camera age where on takes hundreds , then saves only the best ones .

oops2: after some cooling down days I came back to give another try at posting pictures on HU . Still, it is way far too complicated a process. For instance I now want to post a second image and without a step by step printed set of instructions I am reduced to lameness . If I hit the small picto-icon above I get sent to the box asking for the BB code which I do not have until ten steps later I may manage finding it . Then another ten steps to stick the BB thing in the box which makes a string of code appear in the edit page but no photo show up at all,in the saved post . Bah !
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  #14  
Old 19 Feb 2023
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sjoerd Bakker View Post
Bah !
But worth it for the rest of us; nice photos! Like you, I took very few, motivated by expensive processing costs and (notably) unwillingness to feed my lifeblood to the mosquitos and black flies which attacked en masse as soon as I was stationary.

Edit to add: I was driving a little Plymouth Horizon econobox with tiny tires, having wandered all the way up there without guidance based on a vague memory of having once seen a line on a map extending up through Quebec as far as Labrador. It turned out I arrived within weeks of the highway opening past the section which had previously required a train ride.

I had no idea whether at any point I'd run into a dead end or get stuck with my 13 inch tires and minimal ground clearance, and since the road ended at Goose Bay (with no ferry to Newfoundland), I had no choice but to drive back the way I came after my jaunt up north. Fortunately, I was so taken by the northern lights that I drove through the night and the following day.

I believe I was younger and more resilient at the time, but this might be a fantasy.
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  #15  
Old 21 Feb 2023
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The straight bit of the primal TLH east of Muskrat Falls where it descends to the valley with a milder climate and lush forest .

If I succeed with the preceding image it will be amazing . Edit PS Nope No such luck what gives - I had the BB code nicely pasted in and it showed in the content , even now as I edit this sentence .Fourth edit : I managed to get the BB code copied and pasted for TWO photos !!!! But they showed up below .
When I did it the Primal TLH road construction was still ongoing . There was a big motorhome with a retired couple in their 70's and 80s doing the trip and I had tea with them during a short rain shower .There was also a small Plymouth hatchback (with the VW engine like Your Horizon !) loaded with four retired Quebecois lads having a fun trip . We all made it to Happy Valley Goose Bay and caught the next day's run of the MV Robert Bond ferry, a two day trip to Lewisporte on the north coast of Newfoundland . The ferry ran south twice a week and I was lucky with the timing for the Wednesday sailing . It left the harbour north of Happy Valley after sunset and by breakfast time it was stopped at the port of Rigolet still at the outlet of Lake Melville . After that it entered the real ocean , with a goodly sea .

The pictures are showing a pretty convoluted trail . All of those kinks were removed later in the complete re-engineering of the road to its current paved state , In later trips I kept noticing a few gravel side roads at sharp angles which are obviously the remnants of the trail you and I followed. Anyone pining for gravel riding can still go in and explore those sections , although the first wooden bridges are now probably collapsed . or may have snowmobile trail s now .




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Last edited by Sjoerd Bakker; 22 Feb 2023 at 18:50.
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