nfld + labrador via austin and boston

Discussion in 'Newfoundland & Labrador Travel Information' started by hotwheels22, May 23, 2017.

  1. hotwheels22

    hotwheels22 New Member

    hi all,

    new member here. i'm in boston spending time with older parents and trailered the r100gs from austin. i just couldn't resist the opportunity to get north.

    riding an 93 r100gs.

    i'm currently working on getting the front end sorted after upgrading to 320 mm rotor. bike is well sorted but i am a relatively new rider. i'd say intermediate on slab and new on dirt. i've been wrenching on the bike for two years and expect to be well provisioned.

    hoping to lean on the list for a couple of things (researching other threads day by day):

    1. any good map for labrador? AAA maps here in the states suck for this area.
    2. can i go through the west route by land to labrador and do the remote wilderness first and head east then south though nfld then nova scotia and then back to the states?! i normally do a crap load of research but i'd like to head out when the weather looks good and not be tied into a ferry crossing reservation.
    3. anyone have gps waypoints (i'm a gps newbie) for gas stations and emergency services of mechanics/MC shops?
    4. i'm not as limber as i used to be (read getting off the ground sucks) and i'm traveling with a bedroom sized PAP machine as i couldn't get the travel PAP sorted in time. any good suggestions on cheap lodging with electrical outlet and a bathroom/shower? i'm also hearing that lodging on nfld is clocking in at $100 is per night. so- sleeping on the floor works fine but getting that full night sleep with an electrical outlet is important these days!
    thanks for any advice. i am trying to make time for epic trips as i get older and labrador and newfoundland certainly fall in that category...
    - jon
  2. murph

    murph Well-Known Member

    NL Govt maps are free at any info Kiosks or they will send you a copy with tourist materials.
    Baie Comeau and hang a left. One road through Labrador and get ona boat at Blanc Sablon. land at St Barbe and leave Newfoundland through Argentia. Find your way south from North Sydney. Routing is your option.
    Hotels are not cheap but your dollar is worth more. 100 is really just 75 of your dollars.
    hotwheels22 likes this.
  3. gnurob

    gnurob Member

    Gas stations from west to east. The ones that are a long stretch are noted.

    Route 389
    Manic-Cinq (Manic Five... look out for language differences, depending on your map)
    Fermont (this is a quick gas top-up to help make it from R-G to Lab City)

    Route 500
    Labrador City
    Churchill Falls (my 800GS needed a gas can top up)
    Happy-Valley Goosebay (400 km to PHS, gas can 1/2 way)

    Route 510
    Port Hope Simpson
    Red Bay
    (possibly some other small towns with stations)

    Route 430
    Reefs Harbour
    (possibly one other gas station between)
    Rocky Harbour

    I drew you a map. It's fairly accurate, especially the northern part of 389, enjoy! All you have to do is not turn left towards Cartwright.


    A few riders have lost their lives on this road. I had a couple thousand kilometers to think about it, and the details locals gave, and it seems that it is mostly due to taking chances passing in dust clouds. You literally can't see, and it could be someone else passing versus your own fault. Motorcycles are hard to see on this road. Here's my best advise:
    1. keep to the right when approaching traffic in the opposite direction;
    2. keep to the center line when passing;
    3. before passing, pay attention to traffic and dust clouds ahead for clues as to other vehicle locations;
    4. leave the high beam on, and clean it at every gas fill;
    5. wear goggles, or don't follow closely behind other vehicles or your face shield with dust over on the inside;
    6. bring glass cleaner and wipes; and
    7. stand up when the gravel is loose.

    hotwheels22 likes this.
  4. hotwheels22

    hotwheels22 New Member

    oof. man. THANKS

    i tend to be a rather cautious rider and i'm sporting a pair of clearwater something or others with massive high beams. hopefully this means i can focus on getting some dirt/gravel skills perfected. going to take it slow.

    so just quickly - this route is north to south or south to north? <edit: i guess it is west to east which is basically top to bottom. bit of course the distances will be the same either way i suppose....>

    also, i know there is a very somewhere but is the green mine at the bottom that is not on land a road route or a ferry route...?

    also, does it make sense to you to go up rebought canada to labrador as opposed to heading up straight through the islands and then going west?!

  5. gnurob

    gnurob Member

    They're in order, just type each city/town into Google maps and it will plot your route. That list was written in terms of driving from Quebec to Newfoundland, which is west to east, and south to north to south again.

    Ah, I goofed the map. It was meant to look like a crude drawing, and I forgot to delete the map I used to trace it. Rush job.

    There is a ferry to the Northern Peninsula on the island, which is the "Newfoundland" part of Newfoundland and Labrador. It departs from Blanc-Sablon, QC, and arrives in Reef Harbour, NL.

    Take your pick for which way to travel. Some may say west to east is better because it gives the colder Labrador coast a few more days to warm up. I think ferry schedules will decide for you.
    hotwheels22 likes this.
  6. hotwheels22

    hotwheels22 New Member

    thanks a ton.

    i had a look today and had a bit of a time trying to find the ferries on my phone despite all my web bookmarks. seems like there are a lot and not in one place?!

    i have to get on my laptop. i REALLY appreciate the help. sort of a one time trip for me i think so i am really hoping to do it. i think going the land route will keep me flexible on leaving and also be a better trip somehow. i can sleep on the ferry coming back.

    i will say it took me forever to find the route from mainland canada through labrador. for some dumb reason i kept expecting the route to run up the southeast coast....


  7. hotwheels22

    hotwheels22 New Member

    hey man.
    so, my map says " "the road goes from there (goose bay to cartwright), where one continues on an adventuresome dirt 'road' to the ferry crossing ... at red bay".

    but you don't actually take a left to go to cartwright if you are going to red bay from goose bay do you?

    also, what was your point about not taking a right (?) at cartwright?

  8. Wayne

    Wayne Well-Known Member

    A few years ago, Cartwright and Goosebay were only connected by a ferry. But now you can bypass Cartwright and the ferry and drive :)
    hotwheels22 likes this.
  9. hotwheels22

    hotwheels22 New Member

    hey man. so i am doing this solo if i get to do it. dirt is not my specialty and i'd like to be as prepared as possible. i don't like freaking out in the middle of nowhere and not having a metal map of my "outs". i've put together a route with stops possibly in montpelier as i shake down the bike and in montreal and/or quebec. then it is off from baie-comeau.

    1. do you mind eyeballing the available GAS as noted? is there gas in CHURCHILL FALLS? or did you carry gas for the

    LAB CITY > HAPPY VALLEY GOOSE BAY, then fill up and also carry gas for
    HAPPY VALLEY GOOSE BAY > well not sure where next gas is on the east coast.

    2. i see a fox harbour on my map with gas on the east coast but in google maps it looks like it is called SAINT LOUIS?

    3. where is reefs harbour or rocky harbour?

    4. any way for you to give me an idea if the TIMES look realistic? i'm not a speed demon and i'm not great on the dirt so i think taking things slow and careful will be my M.O.

    5. can you give me a note or two on the pea gravel or any other conditions so i can be alert for it??



    boston labrador trip
    (mileage and /times/ are from google maps)

    BOSTON, MA > MONTREAL [307 mi] GAS
    5 hr / paved

    • BOSTON > MONTPELIER, VT [ 180 mi] GAS
    2 hr 50 min / paved

    2 hr 15 min / paved

    MONTREAL > QUEBEC CITY [158 mi (255 km)] GAS
    2 hr 44 min / paved

    QUEBEC CITY > BAIE-COMEAU [ 257 mi (414 km)] GAS
    5 hr 20 min / paved

    BAIE-COMEAU > LABRADOR CITY [364 mi (587 km)] GAS
    8 hr 20 min / >> UNPAVED

    • BAIE-COMEAU > MANIC CINQ (AKA MANICOUAGAN?) [134 mi (216 km)]
    3 hr 2 min / >> UNPAVED

    • MANIC CINQ > RELAIS GABRIEL [62 mi (101 km)] GAS
    1 hr 25 min / >> UNPAVED

    • RELAIS GABRIEL > FREMONT [154 mi (249 km)] GAS
    3 hr 38 min / >> UNPAVED

    • FREMONT > LABRADOR CITY [17 mi (28 km)] GAS
    • 0 hr 26 min / >> UNPAVED

    7 hr 4 min / >> WASHBOARD

    • LABRADOR CITY > CHURCHILL FALLS [137 mi (221 km)] NO GAS??
    3 hr 1 min / >> WASHBOARD

    4 hr 27 min / >> WASHBOARD

    HAPPY VALLEY GOOSE BAY > RED BAY [ 336 mi (542 km)] GAS
    7 hr 33 min / >> DIRT

    5 hr 36 min / >> DIRT

    1 hr 11 min / >> DIRT

    * PORT HOPE SIMPSON > RED BAY [85 mi (137 km)]
    2 hr / >> DIRT

    RED BAY > BLANC SABLON [50 mi (81 km)] NO GAS??
    1 hr 12 min / >> DIRT


    BOSTON > RED BAY, NL CANADA [1663 mi (2676 km)]
    1 day 9 hours
  10. hotwheels22

    hotwheels22 New Member

    hi wayne. THANK YOU

    yeah it is pretty amazing the differences in some of these maps. the map of canada doesn't even have cartwright and some towns show up on one and not on others and vice versa.

    if there is anyway i can bend your arm and ask you to eyeball my proposed itinerary i'd be grateful.

    i'm rolling solo and it's really the first multiple overnight so i'm biting off a chunk...
    - jonathan
  11. Wayne

    Wayne Well-Known Member

    The section between Goose Bay and Lab City is the biggest stretch without a gas stop. In 2012 I did this section without needing extra gas on my 2009 KLR. Backdraft rode with me on his GS and he needed to use his extra gas. Regardless, extra gas is worth never know what could happen resulting in having to back track. OR you may even have a chance to help out a stranded rider. Riding style and weight load will affect your fuel economy, so remember that.
    hotwheels22 likes this.
  12. hotwheels22

    hotwheels22 New Member

    THANKS. riding style: heavy and slow i think...

    so just out of curiosity, i have noticed i can get wide on a slick road and i have not completely figured out how to get back over except just slowing down.

    is there a strategy on the gravel if you start going wide on it?! also, can someone remind me please where the difficult gravel is located...?
  13. Trash

    Trash Well-Known Member

    Excuse me if I sound out of line, but I wouldn't recommend a solo trip across the TLH as my first attempt at "soft roading". Bikers have died on the TLH.
    Several years ago I schemed a grand scheme to ride solo up to the Arctic Circle in Alaska on the infamous Dalton Highway.
    Luckily for me reason prevailed, and I spent some time learning to ride on the gravel, dirt and sand forest roads in Northern Wisconsin before I decided to give the trip a try. The experience gained riding an unladen motorcycle relatively close to civilization in case of a mishap was really beneficial once I tackled a fully loaded trip into the Alaskan wilderness. And I must admit that even that practice did not fully prepare me for the 6" thick mud I encountered in the construction zones of the Dalton Hwy.
    If and when I take that trip again, I certainly WON'T attempt it with 90/10 Street oriented tires!

    Just my $.02.
    hotwheels22 likes this.
  14. hotwheels22

    hotwheels22 New Member

    hi wayne.

    so gas in lab city /and/ in happy valley goose bay and also in port hope simpson. yes?

    and dirt was from relais gabriel to lab city and happy valley goose bay to blanc sablon?

    can you give me some info on the dirt conditions? if it rains will it get very bad? should i have the dealership put on a TKC 80 knobby on the rear as well as the front?!

  15. Wayne

    Wayne Well-Known Member

    Yes there is multiple gas stations in both Goose Bay and Lab City and just one in Port Hope Simpson that I'm aware of.

    Not sure where the gravel is now, but I'm thinking Goose Bay to Blanc Sablon still has a section of gravel. And probably still gravel sections between Lab City and Manic Cinq.

    The gravel conditions when I did this route varied depending on when it was last it goes from marble like to well worn sections. And watch out for the berm left by the grader. Much better after a rain shower as it will keep the dust down! My advice is to slow down and pick a good line for when oncoming cars/trucks are approaching....and be prepared for blinding dust.

    My vote is for knobby tires....but that might be personal preference. I love the TKC80's on both dirt and pavement.

    I'd also recommend a SPOT or if nothing else, make arrangements to pick up a satellite phone at the police station before hitting the lab highway.....probably zero cell reception still.
  16. gnurob

    gnurob Member

    Churchill Falls is about halfway between Happy Valley-Goose Bay, and Labrador City. It absolutely has a gas station, I used it (you can almost see the pump in this picture)

    There's also a decent restaurant at the Height of the Land Hotel up the road.

    That makes the longest stretch between Happy Valley-Goose Bay and Port Hope Simpson; about 400 km.
  17. gnurob

    gnurob Member

    Oh, and Red Bay has a station.
  18. -Cy-

    -Cy- Member

    Ditto on stricklands gas in Churchill, and the restaurant. Used both on many occasions while working there.
  19. hotwheels22

    hotwheels22 New Member

    thanks for the input ‍‍‍- so how long did you practice before getting comfortable before leaving? any specific items that you found helpful from the work you put in...?

    cheers and regards

  20. Trash

    Trash Well-Known Member

    Hey Jon sorry for the delay but believe it or not I am in Northern Quebec right now on the way to the TLH. It did not take real long to get accustomed to the "loose " feel of gravel and dirt roads, but it is really scary at first. My guess is that you will know when you are comfortable with it. My whole point was it is best to get a feel for it in a less threatening environment.
    Best Wishes!

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