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

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I fished 4 or 5 streams along the way and each was very productive. I quickly realized that all the fish were going to be cookie cutter specimens of those little diamonds. I am not disappointed in the least, I did not pay for trophy water access and fish don't come any prettier or fiesty than some of these little buggers.

A couple streams had some LL Salmon Parr in them running the same size as the trout which were equally hungry, so one of us was where we didn't belong but traffic was zipping by and I did not run into another fisherman on this road.

While taking the time to fish, I realize that you don't see a lot of traffic when moving on the road and things seem pretty desolate but in reality a vehicle passes by about every 15 minutes give or take a few, so you are never truly alone for long.

Imagine having a fish rise on every cast and catching the ones you were quick enough for. Miss a strike and you simply cast back out and get em the 2nd time.  Assuming you keep your line out of the alders behind you. 

More of the fishy little Brooks and streams, approximately 100-150 fish were caught in no more than 30" at each of the spots. All continue to swim in the same water. 2017_0715_09051700.jpg2017_0715_12115700.jpg2017_0715_12120300.jpg2017_0716_11353400.jpg

At some point I switched over to a larger sized muddler minnow hoping to entice a larger fish onto the line. It was funny catching a 4-6" brookie on a fly bigger than his mouth, lol.

The largest fish (ok 2 largest) were approx. 12 inch, all the rest were 4-10" but they did not have hatchery fins or colors. 

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Ok, time to keep moving. I have not been tracking the miles but know that I need to keep moving towards Happy Valley/Goosebay.

As I am rolling into The Goosebay area the road turns back to asphalt, I am approaching a steel grated bridge, no big deal crossed many on this trip and through the years. Then a light goes off, I have seen this bridge before in pictures online. Alarms go off in my head, this is the one I had read about being unlike any other. I quickly reduce speed from 40mph to about 25mph. 20170716_104312.jpg

I enter onto the bridge and feel the bike oscillate under me in an odd manner, I pucker tightly and let off the gas completely, feeling like I have no control.

Finally at about 10mph, I feel the bike stabilize and begin to wander aimlessly.  Thank God I did not enter it at the original speed of 40mph!

This bridge is the Veterans Memorial bridge spanning the Churchill river. Due to the location and environment it has been built differently to avoid ice build up in the winter. 20170716_104428.jpg20170716_104437.jpg

The steel grates are approx. 2.5-3" wide and 4-5" long with chiseled steel teeth on the surface. Knobby motorcycle tires do not like this surface!  It just reminds you that you are in a foreign land and can never relax or become complacent on this journey.

What a beautiful view though, the river appears to have a sand bar and the reflection of the sky on the water this sunny day makes a mirror image.20170716_104620.jpg20170716_104510.jpg20170716_104627.jpg

 

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Sorry, I realize that in these videos, my breathing sounds like Darth Vader.  

Upon returning home I went to the Dr (2nd time in 15yrs) and ended up being diagnosed with an upper and lower respiratory tract infection. I was given a nebulizer treatment, a week of prednisone and antibiotic. 

When that did not clear me up and my coughing fits continued to rattle my lungs like old farm house windows in the winter and I wheezed audibly with every breath, I went back in and was placed on a second double dose of prednisone (6, 6...5,5...4,4 dose taper) and another antibiotic. Wow, does that stuff make you pee a lot and eat like a horse! Fortunately, it did not make me moody like a raging bull. 

It has been a full month now and I am about 90% better but things have still not cleared completely.  Pretty sure eating all that dust didn't help any and had a similar effect on me as it did the bikes air filter. :D  

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Happy Valley/Goosebay is rather developed, it has a population base of approximately 8,000. It is clearly the homebase hub for the current Muskrat Falls hydro development.

The area has a mix of approx. 60% Caucasian and 40% Native citizens. There are a mix of Innu, Inuit, Metis and settler heritage that still live the traditional Labrador lifestyle using their knowledge of living off the land, many families depend on the Caribou hunt, fishing and trapping to supplement their diets.  

It is home to "The Goose" originally an US Air Base (the 95th SAC Strategic Wing) the site was chosen the summer of 1941 and by Nov. that same year had three fully operational 7,000 foot runways.  It was instrumental in WWII fighting Nazi Germany and providing defense/protection to Great Britan. It was an important reshuffle and refueling site.

The town of Happy Valley was created in 1943 to house/serve the workers building the base.

Interesting side note, in a lend/lease deal we traded 50 WWI destroyers with Great Britan for rights to 8 strategic military base locations in the Atlantic and Caribbean. Canada built the base as their contribution to the war efforts.

It saw use with our B-36's, B-52's and KC 135's. The base was decommissioned and inactivated by the US in 1966. It is a still functioning fully operational Canadian Airforce base today and serves as the 5 Wing Goosebay.20170716_093245.jpg20170716_093232.jpg20170716_102408.jpg

There were 12,000 families that were stationed at Goosebay and called the base home. Due to the harsh winters it was not a sought after duty location and coined by those that served there as being "up Goose creek without a paddle".

2 little known trivia facts, the Goose has an 11,000 foot runway and was formally listed as an alternative emergency landing site by NASA as a back up for the space shuttle. It was also inundated with commercial airline flight diversions during the US terrorist attack in New York on 9/11.

Labrador is said to be geographicly the size of all of New England with only 30,000 residents. That puts the remoteness of this region into some perspective.

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Cool thanks for the history lesson!

Very interesting!

Did you get a chance to fish the Churchill river?

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I am a curious sort of fella as well and part of the travel enjoyment for me is to learn new things about the areas I visit.

Honestly the history was more exciting than the visit. I found Goosebay to be industrial, impersonal and a bit unwelcoming.20170716_092516.jpg

Clearly they were taking advantage of the influx of temp visitors associated with the hydro construction project and collecting every dollar they could pocket from the companies need to house and feed them.

There was an almost palpable feeling of a need, desire and appreciation for the hydro project with an equal feel of resentment at the new development, it had a divided community feel to it with differing interests/opinion on the project. The unrest was evident to this passerby.

It had started to rain this evening and I was on the hunt for a hotel room for the night as their only campground had closed. I had no desire to pitch a tent in the darkness and rain and without a headlight there was some pressure to make it happen quickly.

There are a total of 3 hotels, Hotel North. Hotel North 2 and the Royal Inn. Due to the demand by the workers in the region rooms are not cheap, running $169 plus tax which in Canada is about another $25-30.  Couple things here, seems that there is a monopoly going on as every hotel I called was answered by someone that sounded like they were in India.  90% of the hotels I have stayed in on this trip have been owned or operated by Middle Eastern Indians even out here in the wilds of Labrador...I find this odd as this has become is a trend in the states over the last 10yrs as well. 

I stay in the 2.4 star Royal Inn to save $10 bucks. This is the 1st time that I have felt the need to completely unpack and secure my possessions. I had seen several folks wandering aimlessly and drunkenly about the streets before 9pm. Some with black eyes and arguing with their female companions. Not the best image for travelers to a new town.

Most of the rooms on this trip would have been a $60-90 night room in the states but cost a total of around $200 Canadian dollars up here.20170716_102044.jpg

In the morning, I hit Tim Hortons (anyone can drive up here) for a breakfast sandwich, do a quick tour of town and point the bike South for a change and head for Churchill.20170716_092246.jpg

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Northernfly...I did not fish the Churchill river here in Goosebay but I did spend 2 nights on the river down in Churchill and had some of the best fishing of the trip. 

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Terrific stuff Sixguns.  Hope the bike is running in good condition.   Have to tell ya' man, you're getting me more motivated with each additional entry....

 

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I continue down the lonely road headed for Churchill, this section is paved and it feels good to pick up the speed and relax in the saddle.20170716_105349.jpg20170716_131710.jpg

I stop at yet another long steel grate bridge to take some pictures of the nearly dry riverbed of Churchill River. The water has been diverted to support the underground turbines and produce electricity for Nalcor.20170717_144229.jpg20170717_144323.jpg20170717_144349.jpg

The Canadians have done a great job of making the natural resources produce for them. It is a bit of a mixed blessing and curse all wrapped up into one.  A local fellow had said that while most of the energy is made using resources from the Newfoundland side of Labrador, the ones who profit most from it is the Quebec side of Labrador. Guess somebody didn't fully read the contract before signing years ago. 

As I am taking pictures, a pickup truck stops and informs me of the nearby trailhead to view the falls. I am glad they did as I would have likely driven on and missed a sight that I knew existed and really did want to see.20170717_144929.jpg

I bump a bear (only bear sighting of the trip and he wouldn't pose) off the trail as I walk along, it was about a 30" hike each way.  20170717_145408.jpg20170717_150640.jpg20170717_145557.jpg

The falls are a pittance of their original glory but still a beautiful sight to behold.  I can only imagine what these gorges and falls would have looked like back in the day during a spring run off.

This was a highlight of the day for me!

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The falls...originally called Hamilton River and Grand Falls were renamed in 1965 to give honor to the former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

Pre and post picture on the wall of the local (only) restaurant.20170716_161933.jpg20170716_161945.jpg

The falls are 245 feet in height and the water flow was diverted in 1970 to the massive underground hydroelectric station.20170717_151548.jpg20170717_152334.jpg20170717_152357.jpg

Copied from Wikipedia, The falls were a significant landmark for local aboriginal peoples; the Montagnais-Naskapi believed that to look on these awe-inspiring falls meant death and called them Patshishetshuanau (‘where the current makes clouds of vapour’).[2] In 1839, John McLean became the first non-Aboriginal to reach Churchill Falls. McLean was a trader of the Hudson's Bay Company and he named the river the Hamilton River after the Newfoundland Governor, Sir Charles Hamilton. 20170717_151445.jpg

 

More unusual local flora and fauna on the hike.

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Sixguns, you have done an amazing job of taking us along on your adventure.  As someone mentioned earlier, you would make your old English teachers proud with you prose.  I know it takes a lot of time to post pics and write your pages here, thank you. 

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This site has brought me lots of enjoyment over the last few years and has been very helpful, informative and educational as I got back into flyfishing.

It is my pleasure to give something back to the community, I am having fun with the telling of the story and pleased as punch that folks are actually reading along and enjoying it. (Knew if it had enough pictures, I couldn't go wrong, lol)

I was a little short on actual fish pictures (few more to come still) and that concerned me but the whole trip was for the purpose of a fishing adventure. Couldn't do one without the other.

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Fantastic read and photos! 

Thanks

Ray

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Kudos to getting pics of some of the work the Canadian government's attitude towards hydro-power vs the land and waters of Labrador.  The geological info in that Churchill R. bedrock would be interesting to see in person....  

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Just before arriving to the "town" of Churchill you pass by a massive hydroelectric power station. Churchill is one of a few true company owned towns that remain in existence.20170716_142759.jpg

The entire town is built for and owned by the Hydro company, to live here you must work for the company. I met a girl there who was maybe 19 or 20 and she spoke of how her Dad has lived and worked at Nalcor for for her entire life, he was retiring in the upcoming year and she and they would need to relocate, she was very sad at the prospect of needing to move and give up the only home (community) she has known. Hard for me to fathom as it is such a foreign concept but nice to see her love and appreciation for the area.

I found it (the town) to be very odd and out of place. It is like a miniature modern military base in the middle of absolutely no where.

It is built in a large circle and very well maintained. The homes are all prefabricated, they are identical in size, shape, color and all positioned evenly spaced and facing the same direction. They have a ball field, playground and church. In the center of this development is a very large building called "City Center".20170716_151420.jpg

City center has under it's roof...a bank, post office, hotel, restaurant, shopping center for food, stores for other amenities, k-12 school and a gymnasium. There is one small gas station, a police/fire building and a medical/healthcare service.

I told my wife that it reminded me if a silly movie we watched about 20yrs ago called "Blast from the Past" with Brendan Fraser and Christopher Walken. Where they lived under ground in a bunker for 20yrs under fear of an apocalyptic nuclear fall out but when supplies ran low the son went above ground to scout resources. Only to find life above ground had continued on and thrived in development as the rumor/belief of the nuclear fall out had been false.p22433_p_v8_ab.jpg

First thing I do is top off the gas in Caddis's tank and speak with the young man at the station about the town. He is enthusiastic to to tell me about the village and where things are. I pick his brain about fishing as well. He has only ever lived in Goosebay (his family is all there) but he loves the life he has in Churchill.

I inquire where the local church is and tell him, I had read online forums of bikers pitching a tent on the back lawn for a nights sleep and reassure him that they are ok with this.

He looks at me all puzzled and says "why would you want to do that, all you will see is a brick wall". Then comes the best advice of my whole trip...he says "wouldn't you rather stay in a spot where you can sleep next to water with a dock, beautiful view of the hills where you can fish for brook trout, lake trout and ouananiche"? 

Now he has my attention, "but of course...tell me where is this spot you speak of".  He gives me directions and tells me he will swing by after work. I inform him that the Crown and ginger will be ready. :lol:

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I find the spot, he has directed me to, it is a mini town park that is remote and absolutely awesome. It has what looks to be a pond or lake with modular dock and boat ramp, a dual dam release with a deep moving water channel, picnic table, grassy flat knoll and parking lot. The place is absolutely perfect, in fact it is so nice...I stay 2 nights.20170716_164852.jpg20170716_164904.jpg2017_0716_19565600.jpg2017_0716_19571200.jpg

The locals come by after work and fish along beside me and some launch their boats for a little trolling.

This spot is the outlet of the hydro generating station where the water that has been diverted from the Churchill river is run through the bored mountain, through the massive turbines and is returned back into the Churchill river.2017_0716_19222700.jpg

I had met 2 other bikers from Moncton in town earlier that are doing the clockwise route and had told them of the camp spot I had found. They arrived and kept me good company. It is so nice meeting random folks and sharing common interests.

Aside from the black flies it is nirvana for this old boy. I camped, relaxed and allowed the world to pass me by...and fished! Over and over, I fished, it was awesome!

I look at the overheard electrical power lines and imagine that it is being sent all the way to my home and wife back in Bangor.  It is nice to think of home on a trip like this and feel connected not only to the earth but the loved ones you left behind.

Tonight I fished until dark, it gets dark late up here. Dusk can be around 10 or 11p, tonight's dinner will be a can of beans. 20170716_221214.jpg2017_0716_20110900.jpg

Earle from the gas station didn't show up, so I drank a toast in his honor for putting me in such a beautiful location. He hit a home run!2017_0716_20365400.jpg

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So after a good night's sleep, I get up and have the place to myself in the morning. The fish are being cooperative and I catch a bunch of 8-10" brook trout with a nice mixture of ouananiche (L.L. Salmon) in the 12-22" size range.2017_0717_09364600.jpg2017_0717_09283500.jpg

I saw some big fish rise quickly and flash at my offerings but I just could not get them to commit.  I tried a variety of streamers, maple syrup, golden retriever with little luck. Most all of the fish were caught on the surface using a muddler or a caddis fly.

You would have to fish from half way up the rock bank to keep from ruining your tippet on the rocks behind you, then when you got a fish on you would work your way back down to the waters edge to catch/release it.  This was made a little more challenging as I had not secured my net well on the last leg dirt road before Goosebay and it became a part of the landscape.2017_0717_09274000.jpg

I had this one 8" brookie literally flitting about and trying to come up out of the water as I was approaching it, then I see a large (guessing 28-30") lake trout quickly come up to take a swipe at her. I was able to lift the fish clear just in time.

Last evening I did see a man and woman fishing with spin cast equipment about 100 feet to my left. They were using a lure approx. 4" long by 2.5" wide called the 5 of diamonds. 1170C (1).jpgThey would cast it out there about 100yards and begin cranking on it. The husband caught a nice 10lb L.L. salmon which went home with them, I was jealous.

Watching and talking with the few locals there who were also fly fishing, I learned that there are honestly only 2 flies you need...the muddler minnow and the green bomber. 20170807_202057.jpg

I had a wonderful lunch today at the restaurant in the Community Center and fished the evening for a second time. I saw several nice fish caught by folks in boats either trolling or motoring into the channel and drifting back out. We shore fishermen kept busy with the little ones.20170716_154134.jpg

My wife had pointed out that I was drinking a Christmas Coke at the end of July, so I sent her this. :D20170716_155931.jpg

Dinner tonight is spicy oodles of noodles with a small can of chicken breast thrown in.20170717_114954.jpg

I fished again the following am, best guess would be a total of maybe 50 or so trout and another 25 salmon, all continue to swim.

I break down camp and pack up, I will be making a short ride today down to Labrdor City and spend the night in Feremont.

 

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Labrador City is actually a town but it does have a McDonald's (yes I had a Big Mac and nuggets) and a Wal-Mart. 20170717_190243.jpg

Things switch from the Hydro focus over to iron ore. Mining is the name of the game here.

You have Lab City, Wabush and Feremont all chewing up the landscape and train rail becomes the focus of transporting it all. 20170717_185700.jpg

Feremont has a large truck on display for photo opportunities. It was said the tires alone are $45,000 each.20170717_191525.jpg

I will add...I have never seen so many Ford Raptor pick ups in one area before. Seems the mining game pays well (was told the pay for men working the iron mines is roughly $150,000 a year) not having much to spend it on there are a lot of very nice pickup trucks, they all have the flags mounted on them like a dune buggy.

Just before Feremont, I enter into Quebec. 20170718_094242.jpg

I continue down to their City Center which is even more massive than in Churchill. In addition to all the things the previous one had...this one has: a mall, movie cinema complex, bar/night club, separate strip club and ice arena.20170717_191844.jpg

Again the hotel rate is $169 plus tax and the guys from Moncton had already informed me that neither the hotel or the 2 stripper's that they had seen were not worth the extra cash that they had spent, so off I go in search of a campground.

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I stop at a gas station to ask directions, forgot that I am now in Quebec and French is the primary language. A nice local fellow on a motorbike that was bilingual escorted me to the campground and conversed with the Mgr to articulate my needs. $20 was money well spent, I was happy to have access to their shower and bathroom facilities. 20170717_201312.jpg20170718_075756.jpg

The nearby seasonal campers are from Wabush, speak English and take me under their wing for the night. We drink by the camp fire and talk for hours about their life mining, hunting and fishing. It was a nice and relaxing evening with good company. They inform me that I must return the 25km back North in the am to buy some "Screech" to take home. 10919556_1536509619967846_1899361598_a.jpg

Screech is a type of rum that is made and sold only in Newfoundland/Labrador. It is used ceremoniously in bars by those with the proper training to certify visitors as a honorary Newfie. They don the yellow rain hat, rubber boots and recite a saying, you kiss a cod and do a shot of the screech. They then give you a certificate.Image-1.jpg

I wake up in the am to begin my track which if all goes well will complete the Translabrador Highway. It is a nice view to wake up to, I sure have had some great weather!20170718_061025.jpg

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Day 8 now I think...time is no longer real relevant at this point. 

I have been told that the 1st and last 100 mile sections of the Translab are the worst. The 1st section up in Red Bay that had already bitten me was due to the over sized blast rock on top of a hard surface. The last part from Relais-Gabriel is reported to be very sandy with unsafe soft shoulders...fun, fun...not!

This next section will have 11 railroad crossings, considerable dust and heavy truck traffic to contend with. 20170718_103858.jpg

As I pass some of the man made mountains of tailings and start onto the dirt section, I see an unusual sight. An honest to God, pink pond.20170718_100420.jpg

As I am stopped to take a quick picture, a red construction pickup with 2 men in red jumpsuits passes by. They hit the brakes abruptly and one of them yells to me "Hey buddy, how was your sleep"? It was the nice fellow who escorted me to the campground. He works for the railroad crew. That is one thing, if you meet someone along the way on your jouney up here, there is a good chance that you will see them again. We chat for a minute and off they go, I wait a bit to let the dust settle, then I follow.20170718_100431.jpg

On the Quebec side of the Translabrador Highway I note that they have S.O.S. phones approximately every 25 miles.20170718_104115.jpg

The road switches back and forth from dirt to pavement periodicly and without reason. On the hot top it is a spirited and fun ride. Lots of hills and switchback. I cross many streams, see many roadside ponds and rivers.

I had consciously not bought a fishing license in Quebec as honestly, I felt like I had caught enough fish. How many 6-10" trout does a man need to catch. I am ready to start/continue my long journey home.

Along the way the bike has been doing great but the bumps and miles is loosening the tape and my nose cone is bouncing with the bungie. I do not care for this...so, Red Green devises a plan. Cut a piece of wood to support the weight and use another bungie with a downward grip/hold. That and more tape and we are good to carry on. 20170718_123046.jpg20170718_123027.jpg

I kept seeing this pink wild flower throughout Labrador and thought it was very pretty, reminds me of a Lupine but it is not. Sometimes it was a single plant and other times there were a bunch, so I stopped to take a pee and a picture. I have since been told that it is called "Wildfire".20170718_123115.jpg

As I am going along, I come to the "ghost town" of Gagnon. It was a busy and developed mining town at one time despite only being accessible by plane. It had housing, streets, stores a church, school, hospital an airport. The peak of Gagnon's population reached 4,000 residents during their haydays.  Population of 0 now.Gagnon.jpg

When the mines of Fire Lake and Gagnon ran out of iron ore, everything except the main street (which went on to become a part of route 389 eventually) and the air strip were completely dismantled and removed in 1985. The only sign that remains of past inhabitants are the sidewalks and divided highway of the old main street.  20170718_121020.jpg20170718_121143.jpg

 

 

 

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Along this section you see some of the fire damaged trees from the recent past. 20170718_123144.jpg20170718_112246.jpg20170718_121747.jpg

I see a sign for the 52° parallel and stop for a picture, wasn't expecting that, a pleasant surprise.20170718_115643.jpg

I make my way down to Relais-Gabriel and stop for a bite to eat. The ride so far has been pleasant. I grab a burger and bag of chips and get back on the road. 20170718_132849.jpg

Gas here is the most expensive of the trip at $1.60 per liter. My oversized tank still has plenty of juice. I was gearing up to leave when a fellow from Georgia heading clockwise on his journey pulls in on a F800 BMW, he warns me of the conditions ahead and said he had several near crashes in the sand. He said his speed was approximately 30mph for the last 100 miles. You can tell he is stressed...oh joy.

It is here that I loose my 2nd item of the trip. While chatting, I had taken off my glasses and sat them on the gear covering my backseat to don my helmet. Distracted by the impromptu conversation, I head off without them. About 25 miles down the road, I have that oh shoot moment and realize that they are gone. 20170718_135955.jpg

Now...I pause and think, they could be anywhere in the parking lot or on the road, they could be crushed by traffic or scratched up. I decide to ride on as they were only prescription safety glasses used for rough outdoor activities and it was not worth the money I paid for them to back track and the retrace my steps on this road. The conditions were as bad as the previous rider had said. I find 40-45mph seems to be about the right speed/cadence and my bike floats over the sandy surface with the front tire plowing and trying to find a groove. It is unsettling and the truck traffic is heavy with dust. This section requires your full attention at all times. 

Here is a video to put things into perspective, imagine you are traveling at 45mph in 2-4" of sand, need to stay on the 1 foot wide hard packed tire track, the center is squirrelly and the shoulder is soft and you will sink. You meet this guy...where did the road go, is there another behind him, worse yet is there one behind you going to run your a$$ over. 

Safety note: I had a clear view ahead of and behind me with no traffic, so I pulled over and stopped to capture this video.

I see some beautiful streams and rivers, I pause at the Hart-Jaune bridge and look down at the fishy waters below and with a smile think to myself, I will be back.

You also traverse alongside one of nature's marvels, "The eye of Quebec" or Manicouagan Reservoir it is an island and reservoir created by a massive asteroid strike 214 million years ago. The meteor was 3.1 miles in size and created an annular ring of crater 62 miles in diameter. It is clearly visible from orbit. 250px-Manicouagan-EO.JPG

The above shot is a satellite photo.

The below picture was actually taken from the space shuttle in flight.

STS009_Manicouagan.jpg

The water depth averages 279 feet deep and is 1,150 feet at its deepest. It is the headwaters basin for the complex dam structure below (5 in all) which produce electricity for Quebec and is sold to power much of New England. 

This is a rugged, remote and truly amazing region!

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Next up, I come down the big hill of route 389 and see the waters held back by the Manic Cinq dam. I stop to give my nerves and hands a break and to reflect upon my journey. I have completed the Translabrador Highway. I am filled with a great sense of accomplishment. Yes, even pride...I had done it and not only that but I did it all by myself!20170718_222608.jpg20170718_154112.jpg

What started out as just an idea, had became a loose plan, then turned into a goal and finally had been scratched off the bucket list.20170718_154906.jpg

I have read and seen so much about this spot online. It is a massive buttress dam 703 feet tall and 4,300 feet across. It has enough concrete in it to pave a continuous side walk from the North pole to the South pole. It's size is massive but it does not seem real in the online pictures. You cannot get a true perspective and scope of it's size until you stand next to it or should I say park your bike next to it. :lol:20170718_155143.jpg20170718_155302.jpg20170718_155727.jpg20170718_155718.jpg

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With the dirt now safely behind me, I was thinking that my adventure and journey was almost over with the completion of the Translabrador Highway.

A quick ride down to Baie Comeau, catch a ferry over to Matane and then I would only be about 4hrs to my destination in Aroostook county.

I was wrong...there was plenty more in store, to be continued. 

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I am only about 130miles away from Baie Comeau (civilization) which is my planned destination for the night.

Every fall, a buddy and I try to do a season ending ride up around the Gaspe' Bay peninsula. We mix up the routes and rides a bit for new scenery and once I hit Baie Comeau, everything will be familiar again from here to home.

Route 389 SUD is a hilly twisty paved road that rivals some of the best motorcycle roads out there. I am zipping along enjoying the ride at 70-80mph. About 50 miles into the ride, I am stopped 3rd in line for road construction. When the flagger turns his sign, traffic begins to move. As I hit about 25 or 30mph and go to shift from 1st to 2nd gear, I feel the front tire lose all control. This is a feeling I have felt before on 2 wheels and immediately know what it is, so I pull in the clutch and manhandle the bike to the side of the road as quickly as possible while trying to stay upright.

A steamroller driver shouts at me in French and throws up his arms. I point to the tire and shrug my shoulders. The tire is flat as a turd, not only that but I note the bead has separated from the rim.

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Now remember, I have tire spoons, valve stems, cores, rope and mushroom plugs and a mini air compressor. None of these items will help this problem, I am properly pooched.20170718_175939.jpg

Then a worker comes over in a truck (I assume the boss to set me straight) and speaks about 30 seconds of French to me, I reply, "non parley vous Francis, speak English" with my best French accent. His reply is "no".

So for the next 10 minutes, with him speaking not a word of English and me speaking not a word of French, we somehow communicate. Yes, there was a lot of hand gesturing. 

I realize he is trying to ask if I need air, I stick my fingers inside the tire and wiggle em, saying "no tube, tubeless"...he then says "Ah f*ck", I nod in agreement, we now understand each other. :lol:

We converse for another 10 minutes not understanding each other and I realize he is asking if I can remove the wheel. I indicate that yes I can and get to work. Unload the bike, get it on the center stand and remove the calipers and the the axle. With the tire off, my new best friend puts the wheel in the back of his truck and says "be back 1 hour".20170718_182229.jpg

As darkness is approaching, the black flies are active, I sit at the roadside like this and not a single vehicle stops to ask on my condition or offer assistance.20170718_182239.jpg

True to his word, Gee...returns in 45" with Karl their bush mechanic. He returned to their work shop for their paving equipment and had Karl fix the tire, Karl assists me with remounting the wheel. I only have $10 left in Canadian money and a $100 bill in American on me at this time.20170718_184337.jpg

I offer the $10 bill explaining it was all that I had on me and the 3/4 full bottle of Crown Royal Reserve (bag and all) as a thank you. They decline and wish me well. We shake hands and part ways.

From the time of the flat to rolling again, I was down for exactly 90 minutes, I could not have received such good service from AAA.20170718_184343.jpg

Gee and Karl have completely restored my faith in the folks of Quebec and after my last trip up to the old city a few years back with my wife for winter carnival...I can tell you, changing that opinion took some work.

You two gentlemen showed me a side of Quebec that I previously did not know existed. Thank you for your help and readjusting my opinion of your province.  

I arrive to Baie Comeau right at dark (remember, no headlight) and grab my dinner at an Irving and find a hotel to crash for the night. 20170718_205649.jpg

I can not tell you how good that bottle of Lemonade tasted, I had wanted one to quench the dust of the Translabrador for almost a week now but was unable to locate one out in the bush, lol.

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