Jump to content
Maine Fly Fish
Sixguns

Grampa caught a brook trout in Labrador - My 2 wheeled Labrador Adventure

Recommended Posts

So I had reached out to the board in early spring to explore a "Do It Yourself" fishing adventure on 2 wheels.

As I stated then, I am not in a position to pay thousands of dollars to fly, lodge and guide my way around the globe in pursuit of my interests but as I age (51 currently) the urgency to act on these impulses are growing.

Since I already have a bike, plenty of fishing and camping gear...the only thing I really needed was time off from work and my wife's blessing for me to disappear from around the house for a couple of weeks.

This trip was to be a first step at taking a chip out of some "Bucket List" adventures that roll around up in my noggin. In fact, it was to be a practice run for a salmon in Alaska for next year, another one of those itches that will need scratching. 

This trip was to be a 3 part event with but 1 goal. It was to 1.) be a solo rejuvenating summer sight seeing vacation (I love to travel and see new things), 2.) it was to be a fishing trip and 3.) It was to be an adventure motorcycling trip to experience the Translabrador Highway before it becomes "civilized" with pavement. The goal never changed, that was to be able to sit in my rocking chair years from now and tell the story of when I "caught a brook trout in Labrador". 

I am no expert on any of the above and will likely be wrong on many points and will retell of my experience with what I recall, what I was told and what I think I heard. Much of it may be incorrect but it is either my opinion of the experience or what I think to be accurate. Feel free to correct me if I am wrong, I really won't mind...I will still believe what I think and likely tell it the same next time.

To start things off, I have been on motorized 2 wheels since the age of 6 starting out on a Honda Mini Trail 50cc. I stopped peddling when I learned the powers and benefit of combustible engines. I had various dirt bikes through my teens and bought my first street bike Honda CB350 at age 15 with my own money from bagging groceries. At 16 I took to the open road legally and have been 45 years now with many a close call but never a true crash (aside from dirt bike shenanigans).  My wife and I have toured all over the US a number of times on long trips, riding a bike is in my blood and a source of great joy in my life.

For this trip I traded the KLR 650 and bought a proper adventure ride, a 2012 BMWR1200GSA and named her "Caddis".

The trip is done and I am back home, I will add a small portion of each leg of my trip over the coming days with pictures until the loop is complete. In the end, I will review the highlights, review gear, what worked and what didn't.

Be warned, this may take me a week or more to get it all out there and it may be long with lots pictures and story.

Sixguns

20170521_204130.jpg

20170710_064526.jpg

20170710_064505.jpg

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I also am looking forward to the chapters in your story.

Can't wait.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A little about the planning.

I am usually an overthinker and over planner so for this trip I have researched a great deal and have a basic outline in my head of what I want to do.  I was planning to go clockwise around the loop entering Canada through Aroostook county and return into the states via Calais for home in Bangor.

3 days before my departure my wife points out to me that I have overlooked a major detail (family obligation) and will be out of the country when I should be back home with her. She is 100% right as usual and I quickly fix it by saying no problem, I will just reverse my route, go counter clockwise and shorten the trip a couple of days and meet you in Caribou on my return.

Now, I am a realist and know that this trip is not to be taken lightly. I had read how lonely and remote the Translab can be, with changing road conditions and numerous motorcycle related deaths annually. It is a road whose whole reason for existence is for the big trucks to service the remote regions and support their Hydro and Mining industry. 

I purchased a Garmin Inreach Explore + device, it is an iridium satellite GPS and SOS beacon that when activated will send responders your exact gps coordinates. It also allows you to dialog via text message with the responders re: your needs (mechanical or medical). In addition, your friends and loved ones can log in and track your position, movement and travels in real time. (I quickly learned that it also gives them your daily miles traveled, average speed and a top speed for the day)  Once I knew this, I would occasionally and intentionally kick it up to a triple digit speed briefly on some barren long stretch of road just to see if they were paying attention. When I activated the Inreach service plan, ($25 yearly Freedom plan) then you choose the plan that best suits your needs month by month based on your travel and use. (I went with a $50 plan only for the month of this trip) I also purchased Search and Rescue insurance ($20 for $50,000) which would cover for them to come and find my sorry a$$ if need be. Then for another $130 I bought Life Flight Insurance (will cover up to 1 million, can be used twice in a year with a cap of $500,00 per event, lol) so they would fly my broken a$$ anywhere in the world I needed to go. Including back to a hospital of my or my wifes choice here in the states. I did this as I did not want my adventurous spirit to potentially put the family in a financial hardship in the event of a mishap. 

Over the winter and spring I also invested in some proper riding gear. Was time for an update anyway, so I got some good gloves, boots, armored pants and jacket as well a modular flip up helmet.   

I have not made a daily itinerary, no reservations for hotels or ferries. I want to wing it and have not made daily routes or planned stops. This is to be a stop when your tired and eat when your hungry kind of trip. I do know that based off a picture I saw online...I want to sleep overlooking the cliffs at Meat Cove in Nova Scotia.

With the gear packed and ready...here we go.

 

20170621_084405.jpg

20170714_221228.jpg

20170714_212532.jpg

20170714_212149.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Day 1

Time to make some miles, so I kissed the wife and dogs goodbye. Look out Canada, here I come.

This is all familiar roads, always seems the more you travel...the longer it takes to see something new.

Topped off the tank and got my last US gas in Calais. The boarder crossing always seems so much easier when you are leaving the country, re-entry never goes as smooth.

Not much to see today, just making miles. Started to rain, so Port Hawkesbury Nova Scotia will be the first overnight stopping point.

Met a couple riders from Vancouver at the hotel and we all went out to the local Irving for dinner. Good folks and I got an invite to swing by their place on my way through to Alaska.

Tomorrow will be Meat Cove on the cliffs.

20170710_092918.jpg

20170710_094320.jpg

20170711_084900.jpg

20170813_072728.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Day 2

Today is a beautiful sunshine day...no real agenda, point Caddis North and fly.

Just up the road a bit, I see fish breeching the surface of the ocean in abundance, seems they have pets and it is feeding time. Quick pic and on the move.

Oh ya, the Cabot Trail...left or right? Why choose you are on vacation, do both! Zoom, zoom. 

Beautiful roads, views and vistas!  The speed limits up here are very generous, they encourage you to go 80-100. I like these Canadians already. B)

That was fun, now to find the campground. Northern tip here I come. Hmm...dirt roads, didn't think I would hit them til Labrador.

All I can say is wow...what a spot that did not disappoint at first glance.

Spoke with the campground Mgr. on where to pitch my tent. He said you can put it down there, over there, or then looking at my knobby tires and said "if I were you...I would go up there".

When I asked, why up the hill...he said, "from up there, you will have the best view on the property and you won't have to listen to people fight, f_ck and fart all night". Turned out to be good advice, I enjoyed the overlook position in peace.

Whales periodicly come into the bay to feed and folks can kayak about them in the bay. 

Time to relax with a good Canadian whiskey and get the fire going.

20170711_094051.jpg

20170711_102508.jpg

Screenshot_20170813-073744.png

20170711_123816.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Few more shots of this little slice of heaven, any further North and you would have to get your feet wet. The views and weather were perfect.

20170711_144829.jpg

20170711_145839.jpg

20170711_194124.jpg20170711_180603.jpg

20170711_203516.jpg

20170711_212225.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very nice.  My wife and all her family are from Cape Breton.  Many of these sights look familiar.  I'm looking forward to reading your updates.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Day 3

Not many miles to go today, meander my way back down to North Sydney for the ferry. Hey, cool that means I get to go back down that big mountainous hill road in reverse.

I describe Nova Scotia as 300 miles of Acadia Park, it is really very pretty.

I will be catching the big boat today for "The Rock, I scoot right along with a picture stop or two. Get to the ferry terminal only to discover the next trip is full. My intent was to stay on the Western side of Newfoundland. So, I buy a ticket for the 23:45 departure to Port Aux Basque that evening. 

With time to kill, I wander around town and hit some of the highlights. Yep, Canadian Tire and Tim Hortons for lunch and to leech some wifi. This is a common hunt for signal throughout the trip as WiFi is what let's me stay connected to the family back home and the world I left for this life as a traveler. Signal becomes harder to find and more unreliable the further North I go.

It is here that I meet some locals who entertain me for almost 2hrs. I was honored to meet a local riding group and among them was Doc, what a colorful character full of stories. He is no poser, that Harley is 30yrs old and has 600,000 miles on the odometer. Doc, I am sure may have a few more miles on him, lol.

They ask all about my planned ride and give encouragement, they also have a laugh at my expense about staying in Meat Cove and ask if I slept with 1 eye open and/or if I heard the banjo's during the night. They tell stories of inbreeding and deformed babies and share that the locals don't even go there.  Too bad, they are missing a beautiful spot.

Here are a few pictures of the day.

20170712_095645.jpg

20170712_104333.jpg

20170712_112255.jpg

20170712_114558.jpg

20170712_174310.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You have some time to kill with nothing really to do at times, so anticipating that I may tell my story either on here or the Adv Rider forum, I would tend to look things over and do inventory of what I have and what I may need during the course of my journey. I am acutely aware that I am traveling solo and will eventually be hitting remote wilderness where you are required to make do with what you have.

So the 1st night in Port Hawesbury, I looked over my tools.20170710_222642.jpg

I have:

Gorilla tape, bungie cords, ratchet straps, zip ties, fuses and a power tester, spare valve stems, valve cores, core tool, mushroom plug kit, rope plug kit, sm tire compressor, tire spoons, sockets, allen set, a 3/8 and 1/4 mini ratchet, various sockets, extension and star bits to fit the BMW, multibit screwdriver, needle nose vice grip, stubby wrenches, tire guage and microfiber cloths.

They all fit in a bag the size of my shaving kit.

20170710_223031.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At Meat Cove I inventoried the yellow bag secured on the left pannier. My intent was to be totally self reliant.

It has camping gear:

MSR International cooking stove, MSR cooking utensil set, Katadyn water filter, 2 one liter Nalgene water canteens, frying pan, pot, Stanley tin cup with plastic cup inside, koozie, wet wipes, Apollo light, 1qt and 1gal ziplocks, camp soap, extra matches, 5hr energy drinks, salt/pepper, corn meal and cooking oil. 2 more microfiber cloths.

20170711_200720.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The red bag secured on the right pannier had a weeks worth of food. Nothing special, oatmeal, pop tarts, 2 cans of spam, 2 cans of beans, 4 cans of chicken breast meat, 4 pkgs of spicy oodles of noodles, 4 Mountain House meals and some of those apple sauce squeeze packages, a package of precooked bacon. Sure there was more, honestly...too much and I only ate about 1/3 to 1/2 of what I took. Can conserve on this next time. 

The left pannier had other bike and camping gear in it which included: camp stove fuel, bike oil, permetherin spray, hex tarp, hatchet, folding saw, paracord, carabiners, rain gear and a dust mask. (Note the chair in background)

20170711_202654.jpg

To keep it fishing related, here is a picture of the scaled down fishing gear for the trip.

20170711_202349.jpg

I have nice Sage gear but choose to leave it home for my beginner set. It is rigged with floating line and has a spare spool with sinking tip line on it. Figure if I lose and/or break the Cortland 777 then I won't cry or be out much. That and it just plain old works good for me.

I planned to fish by wet wading in quick drying nylon pants, Keen rubber camp shoes and took a cheap "Mardens" walking stick with a $20 net. Had a small pack with tippet, 4-5 loop to loop tippets, Gink, Silicone spray, and dessicant powder. A few of my sm fly boxes with flies that work here and some bigger ones tied special for Labrador. I had a wallet of streamers as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The big black bag on the rear passenger area was bulky but not really heavy. As the trip progressed, I repacked and got things lower.

It had: 

20170712_072939.jpg

Cabela's tpg 2man tent, sleeping bag, folding nylon table, collapsible chair,  Neoair Xtherm mattress pad, Sea to Summit Aero pillow, and a micro air thingy to save my breath. 20170711_144848.jpg

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since you you mentioned Adv Rider you should check out the CroMag Rally this year.....it is a friggin blast...it started in Maine...but it has moved...FWIW, I'll be there....I will be on my Tiger.   Meat Cove is way pretty, and the chowder is good, but it can be zoo-like...sometimes zoos are fun....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I will check that out Cap, thanks.

Honestly the bike is a pack mule with an awesome electronic adjustable suspension for various loads and road conditions. I too was impressed. The Germans make a fine machine.

I was a little top heavy and for the roads to come, had to readjust.

The right pannier had my shaving kit, tool kit, clothes in a compression sack, camp shoes and a polar fleece. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for taking the time to share your adventure it's very interesting.

I can't wait to see if you fished in my area!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Glad folks are interested, it was a true adventure and experience of a lifetime for me. Wasn't sure if others would really care to read/hear about it but if it encourages just one person to chase their adventure it is well worth my time. I am tickled to death to share it.

It was a blessing to experience that much vast and undeveloped land. It is my idea of heaven, minus those little evil black beasts. My God man, those black flies are horrid! But...I am getting ahead of myself with that, will wait for the Translab section. :D

Northernfly...I have plenty to share as I both enter and exit your region. I remember reading your post about the Hart Jaune River and thinking, man I knew I should have stopped. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

put tools in the bottom right pannier....that way since they are heavy, they stay low and you can get to them on the side of the road without getting run over....When i bought my adv bike...and I had been thinking about it for awhile....I went to the Maine BMW Dealer and found a bike I wanted and said "No BS, just gimme your best price... I'm paying cash...no finance no nothin.... and want this done without any crapola"  I had a few guys there going 'Cappy that is you're ride"...I was ready to buy....the guy came out and handed me the "out the door price" on a piece of paper...I looked and thought.... but sumthin' said in mu head .... "maybe too much dinero" for that bike.... and it was one I have coveted since like forever.... 70's!!!!....So, on the way home, I tell my friend who was driving...(yeah there were 4 of us in the car going out to buy Cappy a new bike)....I say stop off at the Triumph dealer before i pull the trigger on the BMW....we go in...I sit on the bike...I say "how much? no BS out the door?"....he throws in some panniers and it is like $6K cheaper...I give him a thou $ cash....and say I'll be back tomorrow for the bike....I mean this all happened in like 2 minutes....I have always wanted a BMW tourer/adv since i read "Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance"...so i bought an antique BMW, later...an R600....but am really happy with my Tiger... 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yep...my tools were in the right side as well. More by good luck than planning though. 

I had never really wanted one until I got back on the dirt roads fishing and playing on the KLR.

Then when I started planning these two trips, I pulled the trigger. I had to drive to Connecticut but got a good deal. I think in 2013 the wet heads came out and the oil cooled rigs dropped nicely in price and demand.

Some deals to be made if you haggle. I haggled so much they tried to give it to me without the custom Sargent seat when I went to pick it up. That didn't fly with this old country boy. They found it ricky tick like.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sixguns

I was so involved in your tales and great photos that I didn't even hear my wife talking to me.  (Hmmmm, then again......never mind)

This is a great read so far and I am looking forward to additional episodes.

Thanks for sharing!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

9pm, time to go check out the Ferry Terminal in North Sydney. They guide you into your proper lane and then I excitedly head inside. Hmm...just a big empty place to sit around and wait but they do have vending machines and tv, so not all bad. Funny how after you go a few days without some of your daily norms and tv becomes a treat again.

They also have outlets along the wall, so I slide over and start plugging in and rotating my battery packs to keep them topped off. I do have power to my rear top pannier box which allows me to recharge devices but I haven't been diligent about using it. I have 3 of those portable 10,000mah battery banks with me which I kept in the tank bag. These things are great, they work for my phone, Garmin Inreach device and Fuji waterproof camera.20170814_182040.jpg

The lines grow in size and soon it is social hour in the parking lot. They keep the bikes together as you are 1st on and 1st off, met lots of great folks, one guy was a Newfie headed back home to "The Rock" to keep his residency status (Native card) as he plans to retire from construction in the next year and wishes to retire back on the island. He was very helpful explaining the loading, strapping down and disembarking process.

Caddis was strapped down and tucked away in the belly of the ship, while I headed to the free seats on level 7.20170712_215009.jpg

I was rightfully impressed with the Ferry, it was huge, essentially a 7hr cruise ship. 20170712_181119.jpg

After a quick look around and a decent hot dog, it was time to pick your seat and get what sleep you can in a semi-reclining chair. 20170712_215515.jpg20170712_215525.jpg

20170713_053950.jpg

I would like to add, I was pleasantly suprised and found the cost of the ferry to be very reasonable. I think it was like $45 for the bike and $55 for me. Total out of pocket for this 7hr crossing was $110. Sure beats swimming!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

3 days before my departure, I started with a head cold that went directly to my chest within 48hrs. I picked up some Mucinex and Robitussin and headed out anyway, it did not get any better.

This night was to be a long one...cough, cough some more, then occaisionally things would vibrate, rattle and up would come a good ol chunk of lung butter. Poor folks around me gave me plenty of room and a dirty look or two. Felt a little bit like a leper.

After a fitful 4hrs of off and on sleep, I got up to see the sunrise.20170713_054856.jpg

20170713_054815.jpg

Land...we will be docking soon.20170713_065158.jpg

Ma and Pa kettle to my right didn't get much sleep with me coughing. 20170713_060701.jpg

The young couple spooning on the floor didn't seem to notice or care. 20170713_060716.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×