Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Rain Bringer and an end to gravel

Day 6, July 12th.

I think I finally fell asleep at 2:30am.  Maybe it was 3.  I never know what time it is due to the NFLD timezone.  Parts of Labrador are in the NFLD timezone, others aren't.  It's actually hard to figure out what day of the week it is without looking at my phone or my laptop. When the road looks all the same, the days meld together.

Woke up at 8:30 and looked at the weather network.  Sunny and 15 it says.  Went outside to look at how the day would unfold.
Rain. again.  Thank you Weather Network.

oh well, the boots weren't fully dry anyhow so a bit more rain won't hurt.

Supper was good, but I was hungry again.
Breakfast served.

The kiwi was a nice touch... A little surprising though.  Speaking to a hotel staff they say they haven't had much rain this year at all and need more rain.  Funny how the rain follows me all the time like PigPen's dust cloud follows him.

I asked how the road was ahead and everyone says it's in good shape and better than the road to Happy Valley.
I took down the ferry times for Blanc Sablon.  10:30 and 3:30.  Then i looked again to check and i had made a mistake as the times were 8am, 1pm and 6pm.  I don't want to rush and crash on the gravel road, so right now my options are 6pm tonight or stay over and camp for the night. The maps i have say there's tent camping in L'Anse-aux-Clair (which the various info people have told me too).

My hands are a little stiff today, but it's regular hard riding stiffness.  Not the hives I had not long ago.  At least that's a positive.  The Negative is that my shoulders and upper back are killing me due to the road being intense and sleeping in tents.

Due to rain, no pictures this morning.  I got the go pro going, but unsure of the results as the window was fogging up (again, due to rain).

The ride was slow going due to light showers, but mostly due to the horrible road conditions.  Hotel staff are liars!
I suspect that most people just don't understand what a rider calls a good or bad road.  On a KLR, washboard, potholes and big rocks aren't a problem.  Those little obstacles are easy to get over but deep gravel... deep gravel is my enemy.  What complicated things on this particular stretch was the wind.

only 150kms between Port Hope Simpson and Red Bay where the pavement begins.  They tell me that the pavement there is horrible and not very good.  I'm pretty sure bad pavement is better than gravel any day...

Between Lodge Bay and Red bay, the winds kept pushing me into the deep gravel and i nearly lost control many times.  As the bike rides like an overweight pregnant sow wearing teflon boots on ice,  it just wasn't fun. I slowed down for the most part (40-50km/hr) instead of the posted 70km/hr.

Saw two riders (both on KLRs) coming from the Red Bay direction, starting out on the trans lab counter clockwise... good luck gents, big air high fives.

The closer I got to Red Bay, the worst the crosswinds were and the deeper the gravel got.  I swear the trans lab wants to kill me.

I was ecstatic once I hit red bay.  NO MORE GRAVEL ROADS.   I lived with no damage to me or mine and survived the Trans Lab.

I went to the Whaler's restaurant in Red Bay and go some real East coast, whaling type of food.

view from the table

Looks empty, but one tour group just left

Club sandwich and fries.  Was good.  If you screw up a club and fries, you shouldn't be in business.  it's a main staple of road food.

guess that's not going anywhere for a while

The one problem with no more dirt/gravel road is accessibility.  That means every 'tourist' now get in their cars, tour vans or tour buses and flood the towns.  The raw beauty of Labrador is now gone.  Here come the tourists and the associated dangers that come with that (bad drivers)

I perused the gift shop and spotted a "I survived the Trans Labrador Highway".  SCORE!

I kept making my way down the coast towards L'Anse-aux-Clair to see about camping for the night or taking the ferry.

As per the info person in L'Anse-aux-Clair, I had already missed the last ferry as it  was at 3pm, not 6.  My days are all screwed up.

Oh well, camp it is.  Info says no camping in town for tents.  dammit.  Guess that leaves ninja camping (either on the beach or back 30km at a lighthouse) or hotel for the night.  walked out of the info hut to rain.  Well that choice was easy to make.
Bonus as they have a washer and dryer so i can do laundry.

Northern Lights Inn

I went to the corner store, alas no single packs of laundry detergent.  Must remember to bring some next trip.
The hotel is situated on a hill with a nice view of the beach while the ocean surf crashes.

Unfortunately, the view from my room is somewhat different.


I had no soap and hoped the hot water would clean the clothing well enough alone.  In the 'laundry room' there was an empty bottle of detergent.  After rinsing the bottle out a few times I had enough residual soap to make some bubbles.  success.

once laundry was done I went to the hotel restaurant. I wanted to keep with the east coast Labrador flavor of things so i ordered this:
The 12" Superworks Pizza

Thin Crust, loaded with pepperoni, bacon, ground beef, donair meat green pepper and onion.  delicious.  loved it.  Ate all  but one piece.  i'm such a pig.

I guess I could have ordered a Jiggers stew at some point in labrador... It's salt beef, boiled, then drained, then cooked again with potatoes, carrots, etc...  traditional food they say.

The restaurant was packed when I got there and had about 50-60 people in about that age range too.  Tour buses.  tourists... bah.  At least I was the youngest in the restaurant. 

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