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This was the first mini adventure on our ‘Where to Next’ trip and we couldn't wait to start. This is not a ‘How to Ride The Trans Lab’ review…. it’s simply how we rode it, if it helps anybody in the planning stages, great, I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

It began on the Newfoundland side at Saint Barbe. We arrived here the night before we wished to catch the ferry to Blanc Sablon in Quebec and stayed at the Dockside Motel . Good job we’d decided to spend the night….when we went to get our tickets for the ferry we were told we had to book online or by telephone….you couldn't just buy them at the office…..….Wilhelmena the receptionist at Dockside rode Harleys too and kindly rang the ferry company and sorted our tickets out for us. She also did us proud by renting us a cabin of our own for the same price as a room. Having sorted a bed for the night and the ferry tickets we then stocked up on food and bought an extra petrol can from the local grocery store before  filling the bikes up with petrol and heading back to our digs for tea. We watched one ferry come in… was running about 3hrs late due to the fact that there was still so much ice about. Indeed they were still using an ice – breaking boat in front of it.


Next morning we were up, ready and waiting for the 10.30am ferry. They let us wait inside the office because  they thought it was too cold for motorcyclists to be waiting outside in a queue and gave us a shout when they were ready for us.A few people asked us where we were going and were a bit taken aback when we said we were riding The Trans Lab Highway…….much shaking of heads and staring at the bikes….’on those’…..’yes’…….more shaking of heads……but hey….nobody told us not to go…..they just seemed to think we were bonkers !!

Once loaded we went and sat upstairs, all excited like a pair of school kids. It was all new to us….the locals just took it  in their stride…..just another day…..hampered by ice….what time would they get home?? Having left the docks we sailed for about half an hour before our ferry liased with the ice- breaker. This was pretty cool stuff (there’s a pun in that)…..all this ice, we’d never seen so much, it was  amazing to see, this being the 31st May, it was apparently unusual and the locals were fed up of it. We watched the ice- breaker slowly make a channel through the ice for the ferry. For a lot of the way the mist was so thick we could’nt see her at all.

After a very slow crossing….almost 4hrs….it normally takes about 1 3/4hrs we finally arrived at Blanc Sablon, disembarked, took pictures at the Labrador sign and headed to Red Bay, just 52 miles on paved road, I hasten to add….rough paved road. We had already pre-planned how we were riding the TL, taking note of distances and petrol. On arrival at Red Bay we passed the garage and the start of the gravel and rode down to the ‘Whalers Station’ where we rented a room. There is a restaurant and gift shop here as well as lodgings. It was seriously too cold to camp….unless you’re ‘hard core’ of course….lol.  The rooms/cabins are great….and warm. We slept in the bottom half of ‘The Loft’. Early evening, we had tea in the restaurant, stared at icebergs, watched a bit of tv and went to bed.


Packed and ready, we had our breakfast in the restaurant and rode up to the garage to top our tanks up. Here we met a German Highway Officer, an ex – military man from Goose Bay. He was pleasantly surprised to meet a couple of Brits on Harleys and gave us lots of advice about the TL advising us that just up from Red Bay they were re – grading and the gravel was deep……wished us luck and reckoned we’d be fine if we just took our time…….and off we went….82.5 miles of gravel ahead of us.After a bit of a wobbly start…for me anyway….Chris was fine…..we got into a slow steady pace with the bikes. This is bearing in mind we are on road bikes….no off-road tires…..hmmmn… many of you are pulling a face already ?? Then we came across the work men….re-grading……'wtf'….my first thought….how do I ride through that? Deep it was…..for two fully laden Harleys and one in-experienced rider on gravel……what had I let myself in for !!! Perseverance paid off…..with much swearing and sweating… ladylike ‘perspiring’ going on here…..just sweat…lots of it…..we got past the deep section and I didn't drop it once…….or stand up by the way but there was quite a bit of sitting and pushing going on and most of the riding has been in first and second gear so you can imagine how slow we are.


Once through this section the road felt much easier with varying gravel depth, sometimes hardly any gravel and more compact…we found ourselves riding in wagon grooves a lot as the gravel had been dispersed to each side. One thing about the wagons…. we’d been given the impression from various sources on the internet that they were dangerous. Thankfully we had no problems with them at all, finding them very courteous…….you just had to ease off if one past you in a dry section because of the dust. The trick was to be sensible, pull over or slow down, let them past and carry on. Some drivers even gave us a ‘toot’. We didn't see any wild life on this bit, the scenery is great but I think I was pretty much concentrating on the road to notice much else. It has been cold but fine today.

We arrived at Port Hope Simpson dusty and tired. Here we booked into the ‘Alexis Hotel’, very basic, (you need to take your own tea and coffee into your room) and doesn't include breakfast but again warm and it had a restaurant on site. There is also a grocery store and garage just a short distance away. Having washed up and eaten the staple diet of pizza  us 'oldie' weary travellers were back in bed again, chucking out zzz’s before you could say ’Jack Robinson’




Up and ready, usual routine brekkie and pack up. First thing we did was to ride up to the garage and fill up the bikes plus here we filled up one 5 litre can and two 2 litre cans for our extra petrol. The section today would be the longest on gravel ,252 miles according to Google Maps. The Sportster has an extended tank and is capable of up to 206 miles including reserve and Chris’s Heritage Softail also has an extended tank on it, capable of up to 260 miles, no reserve on his, just an ’idiot’ light.  We were also prepared for camping out tonight with extra water and food on board, completely self -  sufficient should we get caught out.

The day started off brightly, steady away, I think I even got into 3rd gear at one point !!! Then the weather turned…..not too bad but enough to decrease visibility and soak the road which led to a whole new set of problems for us. We’d just got accustomed to wobbling around on the gravel and hard packed surfaces but when the rain came…..eek…..the road might have well been an ice rink. I hadn't planned on riding my Sportster sideways but I think my old riding instructor would have been proud of me performing a near perfect ‘half – pass’…….worth a ‘9’ from any dressage judge I reckon.

Having struggled for what seemed forever we decided to stop for a breather…..biscuits and a drink. I went for a pee in the woods…….jangling my ‘bear bell’ about and Chris decided to top my tank up and re- set his luggage which had come loose during our battle with the slippy road.

Well…..on re-emerging from the woods and having put my bear bell back in my pocket, I was casually gazing into space…well the mist actually….I noticed a shape…..a large shape…walking towards us…….’Is that a bear down there Chris?’……’Bear!’…..’Where?’…..’There!!!!’……much oohing and erring and arhing from us…..watching fixated as the bear casually strolled towards us going about his business…..I forgot to get my video out….too busy watching……we stood close to our bikes..we couldn't set off in a hurry as we were still on the slippy,  slidey bit but we looked ‘BIG’ by the bikes and we had bear spray. Chris finally remembered to get a camera out and took a couple of pictures….crisis averted…..the bear wandered back into the woods…..I think he took one look at us pair of idiots and thought ‘Hmph…..bloody tourists’.

We were actually both thrilled….our first sighting of a bear in the wild…..brilliant.

And so to continue. The weather remained miserable for most of the day  but we stuck it out, determined to get to Happy Valley and paved road before dark. After approximately 204 miles of gravel we finally hit tarmac… a silk road it was….you should have seen my face……such relief. Another 58 miles of paved road or so and we arrived in Happy Valley and the sun had come out, typical, filled up at the garage here and checked into  the ‘Royal Inn and Suites’. This place was quite expensive but breakfast was included.


Woke up this morning and the sun was shining, I was smiling….179 miles of paved road to ride to Churchill Falls…..easy. And to follow…another 151 miles of paved road to Labrador City…yey. So today went without a hitch. We called into Churchill Falls to fill up and had a brew and some cake before setting off again and arriving at Labrador City tired but all intact and pretty much just a scenic days ride. We booked into ‘Northern Inn and Suites’ just off the TL. No breakfast here….. so we had our first McDonalds of the trip.


This was the last day of our time on the TL….just a few more miles and we’d be into Quebec.Again the day started off all smiles and sunshine. We rode off on paved road but alas….we were led into a false sense of security…..12 miles down the road and just after frolics at reaching the Quebec sign and finishing the TL……….gravel…..really!!!!......yep… the 389…..’Welcome to Quebec !’.


And there we were about another 60 miles of unpaved road…….a very interesting road I have to say though, gravel, a rather nasty bridge if you’re not concentrating and hit it wrong , a large mining complex and the Manic Five Dam. Our day ended 307 miles later after the gravel at the ‘Motel de L’Energie….petrol and food here as well.

Enjoyed the read....take a peek of my uncut video.

The Trans Labrador Highway

….. One of The World’s Last Great Wilderness’s ? …..

....... One of  The World’s Most Dangerous Roads? .......

..........You Ride It ….. You Decide ……….

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