We awoke to light drizzle but with an increasing outlook for sun. We were headed for Goose Bay, but we’d have an intermediate stop in Red Bay and it was to be an exciting experience, one that we’d not soon forget. We left our combination hotel, restaurant, supermarket, high school building and packed the bikes. Soon we were off the paved roads of the town of Churchill Falls and back out on the gravel of the Trans Labrador Highway.
As the sun climbed higher in the sky, so did our spirits as the clouds parted and the temperatures rose. Today was going to be a truly nice ride and we were about to reach one of our milestone places, Goose Bay. From Goose Bay, we were going to take the ferry to Cartwright and the final run through Labrador to Blanc Sablon where we’d take another ferry to Newfoundland. Goose Bay was to be , the beginning of another adventure in our adventure. We were psyched!
By the way, if you don’t know, click on any one of the pictures in the gallery below and it will open that picture into a full size picture and then you can click your way through the remainder of the pictures in either direction in full size.
During the day’s trip, the gravel was to transform many times. We were had been impressed with the overall condition of the TLH, the stories we’d heard of how dangerous it was for bikes hadn’t seemed to be true. Caution was indeed necessary as was demonstrated by Kim’s get off outside of Labrador City. But overall, the gravel had been fairly uniform and other than the hazards presented by the road graders, the road condition had been pretty good.
Today however, was a day of road and sky transformations. It seemed that the road condition changed with the sky. The clearer the sky became, the deeper and looser the gravel became. Later in the day as it began to cloud up again, the road firmed up and became almost like pavement. It was truly strange. But enough about the road conditions. We were headed for Goose Bay!
We traveled over and between verdant forests. Many shades of green contrasting on the same hill or mountainside. It was an irregular patchwork of greens, a pattern chosen by nature into a decoration of magical proportions. All the while, we swooped and dived between the mountains on a path of stone and sand. It was a symphony of nature and music for my ears was unnecessary because the music of nature before my eyes played in my head as I rode.
Time passed very quickly even though by this time we were in and out of rain showers. Before we knew it we made it to the greeting sign for Goose Bay and Happy Valley. It had stopped raining for the moment and it gave us the opportunity to take some pictures in front of the sign as evidence that we had made it. Someone had left a marker of their achievement as well and built a rock man figure to the left of the sign letting all others know that people they had been there previously. and now so had we.
Shortly thereafter, it started to rain again and we headed to our hotel for a day and a half layover since the ferry would not be leaving until then. We parked the bikes and unpacked the gear we needed in the rain. Once in our room we dried off and warmed up. It had become quite chilly by this point and the warmth of the hotel was greatly appreciated. Now all we needed was a hot dinner. Luckily for us, there was a small restaurant right next to the hotel and we headed on over.
They were serving a buffet and we passed a gentleman in the line. I guess we look like “bikers” because he asked are you the two on the bikes? We told him that indeed we were. He said that he noticed our New Hampshire license plates and remarked that we had ridden a long way from home. We told him we enjoyed the ride, especially over the TLH and that we were now headed to the end at Blanc Sablon and the ferry to Newfoundland, then on to Nova Scotia. He said he was very interested in our trip and asked if he could join us for dinner to chat about it. Of course we said yes and we had a terrific dinner discussing where we had been and were going on this trip and about adventure riding in general. In return, he told us about himself and his family. He was the local pastor in Goose Bay and had travelled there from Quebec a few years earlier. His flock was growing and he was enjoying being in Labrador where he said could be a part of a community where people were like family. After dinner, we wished him well and we returned to our hotel room feeling like we had become a bit part of the Goose Bay community, we learned about them and they about us. It was a nice feeling.
The following day, I did a little preventative maintenance on the bikes and we did a little looking around Goose Bay. But late in the afternoon, it was time to head to the ferry terminal to pick up the ferry to Cartwright where we continue our journey to the end of the TLH in Blanc Sablon, Quebec. Little did we know that this part of the trip was to become very, very special.
We arrived at the terminal fairly early and found ourselves one of the few vehicles in the lot. Parked at the pier was our ride to Cartwright, the Sir Robert Bond, our ferry. She was a sturdy looking vessel and we were somewhat impatient to get on board, tie down the bikes and get underway for Cartwright. It was to be an overnight trip and we had rented a berth so we could arrive fresh and rested to start the beginning of the end of our TLH ride.
Loading time came and was orchestrated very well. It was an easy process and we were supplied with tie downs for the bikes. Faster than we thought possible, we were on board and ready to depart. We walked around the Bond looking for some dinner and they did have a cafeteria. Well, it was a cafeteria, and the food quality merited the name cafeteria food, but it was food and we were hungry. Fed, we were ready to hit the sack and we adjourned to our berth for a good night’s rest. Along the way, we met a couple of other riders, from all places, Massachusetts, the state right next to New Hampshire. They too had been riding the TLH albeit at a much higher rate of speed. They were really zooming and had covered much more ground in much less time than we had. We had a good time joking around and having fun with them. In fact, so much fun that I guess we drew a complaint from someone and a member of the crew staff asked us to keep the noise down. Ooops!
Our partying done, now it was time to hit the rack. The last of the TLH lay in front of us in the morning and well tell you about this and the very special happenings (the pictures will knock your socks off!) in Part 5.