I stayed up late last night asking other motorcyclists (on reddit) and searching for a better way to ride this road. Seems there's 3 things wrong, causing problems with my ride. Main problem, tires. I just don't have the right tires for the ride. The bike is heavier in the rear, causing problems, and the bike is heavier in general. Can't do much about that, so when in doubt, throttle out.
Went down to the Two Seasons restaurant for breakfast...not sure what I wanted. Eggs and bacon with homefries? maybe Sausage?
No. I got this.
I didn't have a choice in the matter as there was a fan problem in the kitchen and they couldn't cook anything hot. oh well, time for a bit of health food. I wonder how much a regular breakfast would cost as this cost me $7. ouch.
Checked my tire pressure and it was at 10lbs. sure, it's best to ride with a little low air in the tires but 10 lbs is crazy low. I pumped it up to 18 and hoped it would hold for a little while. I suspect my tube is leaking.
Rain again today. I went and filled up the bike and a young lad was working the pumps. His question; "Do you really believe in Zombies?". hah. I asked him how the road was to Happy Valley Goose Bay (HVGB). He said it was really good but I won't find a place to stay in HVGB and that I should stop in Churchill Falls.
Nice kid, but a liar! (see below)
I went to Tim's for a coffee and to mull things over. Ride to Churchill Falls and stay the night or push my luck and go to HVGB? Happy Valley is 532km from Lab City and I'm not certain the bike nor my body can take that much pounding in a day.
Off I went towards Churchill Falls, 219 km away. Wow. The road as the kid described is NOT good at all. Slimy, potholed, slippery gravel snake. With rain and truck spray and that rain fogging up my helmet, which has a mirrored visor, I couldn't see anything. My feet were soaked in minutes.
I should note that there's about 90km of it paved leaving Lab city. The rest is gravel, except for the portion nearest Churchill Falls (right after the river) where there's massive construction and it's pretty much a 4x4 trail of sand with boulders in the road. potholes here would (and did) damage smaller vehicles. The pickup in front of me kept bottoming out.
I Finally got to Churchill Falls at 2pm and went to look for a place to stay, as per the kid's recommendations. The black spruce inn was fully booked until November. NOVEMBER. I asked for a campground, to which they said, "camp wherever there's grass, no one minds"
They said to try the other place in Town. I drove around town before and didn't see it. Seems that the School/ Municipal / shopping center / restaurant /other businesses are all in one big building. odd.
They were booked as well. I asked if there was a good place to camp and they said the Church. Knowing my luck, i'd camp at the church and zombies would rise from the dead.
I ordered some Lunch. Nachos. know why they're called Nachos? cuz they're mine, Nachos! they were meh, but at least all the chips had cheese on them and weren't soggy. come to think of it, they weren't that bad (albeit plain).
something caught my eye on the menu. Supreme Donair. ahh... what the hell, why not.
It's essentially a pizza, but different. Pita crust with Halifax Donair sauce, Donair meat, pepperoni, cheese then topped with lettuce and tomatoes with more sauce on top. quite delicious.
View from the restaurant. It didn't get any better than this.
Left the restaurant to get gas and go. I had decided on pushing on towards HVGB, even though I was cold, tired and sore.
I was getting my things settled on the bike in the complex parking lot and was approached by an Ontario man travelling with his daughter to Gander, the long way around. Coming into Churchill Falls, he blew a tire on the construction road. As luck would have it, he found a tire in wabush, but no way to get it to him. Luckily for him, the hotel manager had a truck coming in from Wabush and told the driver to pick up the tire for him. Only in Labrador!
He mentioned that he may stay in town and camp at the church, but told me about a nice spot to Ninja Camp (ie: no pay) at Muskrat Falls, 30 km before HVGB.
Off I went in search of the infamous Muskrat Falls.
Again the road was crap but less traffic here after Churchill Falls.
same road, a little later.
road conditions. I lightly moved my foot across the road. nasty stuff.
While having a smoke break, a guy in a truck stopped to make sure all was well. He told me the gravel ended 50km later and it was all new pavement. Sweet. but still 50 km to go.
Once I hit pavement I was finally relieved. phew. waitaminute... something's not right. The front was bouncing around a lot. should check tire pressure later.
I spotted and overturned, crashed chevy sunbird in the ditch. I guess it's cheaper to just leave it there than ... than what? is there even a wreck yard in Labrador?
I found Churchill Falls area and kept going to the furthest point i could go... A fire? people? nice! i can't get into trouble if others are here. Actually, it's Labrador... no one cares. The view there is incredible.
Here I met Todd and Tony who were on a 10 day Kayak portage trip.
I pitched my tent on a moss bed, fighting with the blackflies. Deet 98% to the rescue! that stuff works well but probably gives you cancer. I wore a mesh bug shirt and it seemed to keep most of them at bay.
Todd, Tony and I sat around the campfire. I was too tired to eat and didn't feel like making food. We chatted for a while, Tony works at the IOC mine in Lab city, and Todd works for a geo-stabilization firm outside of Dorion. Both are Lab natives and have relatives in the area. Those relatives brought them a lot of beer. After 3-4 times asking if i wanted a beer, I gave in. I gave in more than a few times.
Good times were had around the fire by all. We were all exhausted, them by kayak, me by bike and we sat and stared into the wonderful fire. Turns out that they are developing the Muskrat falls area for a hydro dam and the area we were in will not be available to the public later this year. SCORE! I'm happy that guy from Ontario told me about this spot.
Bunking for the night and looking through my tank bag, it seems that my can of diet coke somehow exploded inside the bag. yay. now in retrospect i can understand why my crotch felt suddenly cold and wet during the day.
cold and falling asleep all I could here was the wind making my tent flap and little scurrying animals. There were some bigger sounding animals, so i'll suspect and hope it was deer.