Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: or How I learned to stop worrying and love the road

Day 5 July 11.
The skies cleared the night before and sunny days were upon us.  finally.  I woke up warm to the point of almost uncomfortable.  up i went at 7 o something in the morning.  Not sure what time as my phone died.

I'm a bonehead and didn't take pictures the night before.

Here's looking outside my tent. awesome.
Where i set up

see how close i am to the edge of the cliff?

Tony and Todd's camp. Notice some random work truck showing up. Actually a relative of Tony I believe. They had a SPOT locator as well, so relatives checked in.

I went for a short walk, looking for wood and to see what's around.  I found something interesting.

more views from the campsite. the pics don't do it justice.

camp from a different vantage point

This truly was a great spot to camp.  These are the best types of places to go.

The good.  Camping at Muskrat Falls.

I was pretty hungry as the last thing I ate was a sweet and salty nut bar before bed.  before that, nothing since 2pm.

My kitchen
Todd's kitchen (t-bone steaks and pasta cooked over the fire. admittedly, their meal looked better

Today's 10 minute meal will be Beef Stroganoff, Chicken Stew and coffee.

First up, Beef Stroganoff

This was actually pretty good for a freeze dried meal.  Would eat again and was quite filling.  Mountain house makes some pretty good (although expensive) meals.

second up, the Chicken Stew.

I would not feed this to an enemy.  I'd think it would be a horror if a random dog ate it.  This is garbage.  Fake yellow chicken stock, all salt and the taste was just horrid.  I took two bites and through the whole thing in the fire.  Burn in hell Chicken Stew made by Bauly, burn in hell.

I packed up everything as did Todd and Tony and while they were bringing their kayaks down to the water, i went for a walk to go look for the falls. 
Sadly, i would not wish them farewell.  May the wind be at your backs.
Also, seems i can't take a picture without my monkey fingers getting in the way.

There were some tourists in the area also looking for them.  After a brief hike down some trails that looked like this (and worse)

I gave up.  I did catch a slight glimpse of it though

meh.  My legs were already hurting and my back sore, so i turned around.  I was already pooped!
exhaling while making motorboat sounds makes for an interesting picture.

I got on the bike and headed into Happy Valley and my first stop was the info booth.  I wanted to know about gas locations, camping locations, etc.  I spoke to the girl there for a long time, swapping stories and told her i camped out at Muskrat Falls and how I found out about it through the Ontario guy(from north bay) and daughter with the blown tire.  They had just come in a few hours earlier and seems they camped out at muskrat falls after all!  guess they didn't get the good spot.  A shame as it would have been interesting chatting with him.  I'm sure i'll meet up with him later as we're all going the same way. For all i know he's right around the corner.
I asked her for Labrador stickers, and there was a shop right next door.  Score 3 for the panniers!

she also mentioned that a biker came from the direction of Port Hope Simpson and was in a crash.  He had gone to the hospital, but he was ok.   Reminder.  If i crash, i'm pretty well boned.

Off I went in search of the elusive coffee, for i will need it in the coming hours.  Seems there is NO gas stop between Happy Valley Goose Bay and Port Hope Simpson.  That's 410kms.  Will the KLR do 410km on a tank of gas? we shall see.

Having a coffee at Tim's, a gentleman approached me (and his son was taking pics of the zombie sticker, lol) and we chatted.  
seems that's what i do best, isn't it?  yes, i know i talk too much.  i also write too much. meh.

Anyhow, everyone is telling me the road from HVGB and Port Hope Simpson is great, not to worry... except him.  He says it's crappy with the deep gravel in spots and all the speeding. ah.  finally a word of truth.

I fueled up and checked with the gas station where the next fuel stop would be.  confirmed 410 km. ouch.  I was thinking about buying a jerry-can and strapping it on but decided to risk it and maybe i'll have to wait on the side of the road to buy some gas off a stranger.

The bad.  This road is hell.  As it is new it hasn't had the time to be really packed in, so there's a lot of loose gravel.  There were some delicate words said along this road.  The only thing that kept me from crapping my pants is having my sphincer shut tightly by fear. 

Going that way

Came from this way (hard to tell which is which, i know)
the gravel up close

obligatory bike pic

me thinking "fuck it, what's the worst thing that can happen"

at one point a caravan of 3 RV's pulled near at one of the only places you can get off the road.  We chatted a little bit and they offered to give me gas, but i declined.  They suggested i go ahead of them in case i run out. 3 couples (2 RV's and a fifth wheel) taking the same tour i'm on.  I'm sure to see them again as well.

I left before them, but i let them pass as i couldn't get my speed past 60 kph.  I just couldn't get into a groove.
random road shots.

It's hard to tell which way i'm coming or going on this road.  it's a road. with trees.  with no pullouts. with no services and few travellers.

what it does have is dust.  lots of dust.

At 330km, my GPS kept telling me that i'm out of gas, yet I hadn't hit the reserve yet nor gone to the 1litre of fuel I stored.  At about 360kms, I ran into the caravan in front of me again, and there was dust.  So much dust that at times i would close my eyes for a second and hope for the best and essentially ride the bike by  feel.  zero visibility.

at 410km, I got to the gas station/hunting/powersports/hardware store without even putting my tank in reserve.  not bad.  I wonder how far i could really go on a tank.  I best not push it.

The Ugly.

Port Hope Simpson

I actually had to dust myself off like they do in movies before going into the store.  It was bad and i needed a shower as well.
I noticed that at some point that I lost a bolt for the side panel (plastic piece) and needed it replaced.  found a bolt that would fit and bought that and a washer for 17 cents. one less worry.  Now the big worry is the top case brackets seem to be destroying themselves. I may have to go and figure something out at the hardware store tomorrow.

I went to the only Hotel in town (there's also a B&B) and looked for a room.  There's a room but it came with a price.  $90 for a single bed, small room.  No cell in town, but luckily there's wifi in the hotel! woot.
Since I only got into town after 8pm, My choices were limited.  Eat a nut bar again, or nothing.  Luckily, the hotel restaurant was still open.  Since it's one person running the show (cook, waitress, front desk) she kept it open for a while longer.

Hunger set upon me and I ordered a Soup of the day and a Rib Steak.
I know... i know... Never order a steak from a place like this.  I could hear the mircowave beeping.  I'm sure it's or me as i'm the only person in the restaurant.  Must be the steak defrosting? (makes sense as a small community doesn't get much traffic, and hench it would be frozen)

my dining room

My View

The soup, a hearty beef vegetable.  Was one of the best soups i've had in a recent memory.  
Maybe she was nuking the soup?  perhaps...

And the main course.

Homemade cut fries, coleslaw and a nice medium rare steak.  Cooked properly and was very good.  Better than i had hoped.

Went out and took a few more pictures, but getting too dark.

It's been a long day indeed.

On the plus side, there's less than 150km of dirt road until the old paved section which will take me to the ferry. Wonder what tomorrow brings.

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