Labrador: the route

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At the crack of dawn tomorrow, we’re taking off to ride through Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Labrador and Quebec. It’s about a 3,500-mile trip and it’s basically gravel and dirt roads once we cross over to Labrador all the way to that big impact crater you can see in Quebec. Instead of just blasting through and staying at motels, we’ll be camping, fishing and exploring trails and dirt roads on a BMW F800GS and BMW R1200GS. You can see a rough version of our route embedded above, think of it as an outline, we’re going to color in a lot more than just that circle. Have any local tips, nice places to camp (no organized campsites!) or any other advice? Tell us about it below.

  • duke777

    Wow-i just sold my 1200GS adv to a guy who flew from Australia and just got off the trans labrador highway days ago – he is actually heading west through ontario now. he was going to head back west immed but i convinced him to go to New Foundland – a trip i had done before. He took it a step further and went through Labrador. i’ll send him a link to this article.

    • Morgan

      Its Newfoundland (one word) and its pronounced the same as ‘understand’. The rest of the country (Canada) can’t get right either.

  • http://www.thisblueheaven.com Mark D.

    I’d highly recommend going to Mt. Katahdin in Maine; its a bit off your route, but its the highest peak in Maine, and one of the toughest climbs. This late the season, its fairly quiet, and there is plenty of wilderness around and outside of the State Park to get lost in.

    Also, be sure to get some Donairs in Nova Scotia!

  • Dan

    Detour while in Nova Scotia to do the Cabot’s Trail (going through Cheticamp). It’s a must ride while on Cape Bretton Island. Just be careful whil traveling at night the Moose come out to play.

  • http://damiengaudet.blogspot.com damien

    Well, according to your google map, you’re headed right through my area of Mass. Nothing spectacular to see, but I’ll buy you a beer!

  • http://damiengaudet.blogspot.com damien

    although, considering the situation…maybe a coffee would be better suited.

  • http://www.pedalgents.com Seb

    1. most awesome trip I imagine!
    2. will you twitter-update us followers?
    3. omg, no updates on the site for what, 2 weeks? geez, what a bummer.
    4. have fun & stay safe!

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      1. Hopefully :)
      2. Yes, we’ll do the twitter thing as much as we can. Canada has pretty good WiFi availability, even in remote towns.
      3. Ivar will be filling in while we’re away, don’t worry.
      4. We’re always safe, what are you talking about?!

  • http://twowheelsplus.blogspot.com/ Anders

    As I a Norwegian, I say you should go to L’Anse aux Meadows, on the northern tip of Newfoundland. Belived to be a Viking settlement from the days of Leiv Eriksson.

  • http://www.EnvironMoto.com EnvironMoto

    You absolutely have to ride Cabot Trail on Cape Breton Island. My wife and I rode there two years ago and it was absolutely the most incredible ride I’ve ever been on. Do a Google image search for ‘Cabot Trail’. It is amazing.

  • JohninVT

    Lake Placid and Lake George are nice but riding down the other side of Lake Champlain on Route 7 is awfully nice as well. I’d suggest riding 7 down to 125 and then and do Route 100 the rest of the way out of Vermont. 100 is one of the top ten motorcycle roads in New England.

  • http://muthalovin.com the_doctor

    Give us twitter updates from your campsite (I seriously doubt they have internets up there, but if they do, then update)

    Also, don’t get ate by no bears.

    Lastly, have an awesome time.

  • Morgan

    Newfoundland and Labrador

    You may want to take the North Sydney to Argentia ferry that stops an hour outside of St. John’s (capital city of Newfoundland and Labrador). Then drive across the province or if really adventurous, take the old railway bed. Link:http://www.stjohns.ca/index.jsp

    Gros Morne Park on the West Coast of Newfoundland (the island) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    Regardless of where you are, ensure you have a full tank, especially in Labrador (fly repellant too).

  • Johndo

    You want to avoid the highway 20 from Lévis to Trois-Pistoles, its probably one of the most boring highways on earth straight line and nothing to see. Use rte 138 on north shore of the St.Laurence river instead , Charlevoix, La Malbaie is among the best places to ride in Quebec.
    Have a great trip!

  • http://cohobot.blogspot.com/ coho

    +1 on the Cabot Trail
    +a billion on the DEET

  • a wheeler

    My whole fam is Newfs, first off, take the midnight departure out of north sydney to port aux basques and get a cabin or a dormatory bunk, trust me, its worth it. take the tch up through corner brook, deer lake and on up to gros morne. the entire west coast is mega. if you feel like departing from the tch before gros morne, make a left to woody point ( Bonne Bay, where im from). Go visit the table lands and be sure to get screeched in, in trout river, aka tr vegas. If you get in a bind, give me a shout, I have plenty of people up and down the coast that are more than willing to help out.

  • Stephen

    I don’t have any advice for you two – but I will say that I’m envious. I’m really looking forward to your updates.

  • Les B

    lived in Nova Scotia, and while in NS, if you don’t ride the “Cabot trail” (on the Western lobe of the CApe Breton Island…suggest counterclockwise if possible as it allows you a better view of the ocean)you will absolutely kick yourself….is identified as one of the best rides/drives in North America, and I vouch for that from my tours on a sport touring Honda in years past. If I was to do it again, your mode of Torquey engine long travel/good handling bike is the way to go, as tight twists, potholes, frost heaves, and spots of AWOL road maintenance in the area are a way of life….don’t expect you’ll be flying near 2ce the posted limit the whole trip as per regular sport biker expectations…and while the open roads on good days lent it to that speed, you’ll see what I mean as soon as you come up to your 1st unmarked hairpin without any runoff to the cliff/dropoff.

    Here’s a link to more details for that loop.
    http://www.novascotia.com/en/home/gettinghereandaround/gettingaround/scenic_travelways/cabot_trail/map.aspx.

    Will let the local nefies tell you where to go in newfoundland (new’fund-lunnd), but STRONGLY suggest against night riding at speed anywhere in your mapped trip…moose and deer are very abundant, and aren’t much scared of a vehicle….this isn’t like anything you’ve done…enjoy, and I’m looking forward to your updates on the trip.

  • Jac Brown

    I echo the recommendation to Corner Brook and the south side of the Bay of Islands. Its worth the side trip. Also, Gros Morne is best done with a hike or two involved.

    Now, if you had tons of time and came in by the Argentia ferry, I really enjoyed the trip down the Burin penninsula and taking the ferry over to St. Pierre et Milequon. That’s a little French island off the coast and is a different twist on NF. Remember your passport as St. Pierre really is France and you have to go through customs.

    Bump for not riding at night. Even in the day, I saw my share of moose accidents.

    I’m sure you have your heart set on 500 km of the Trans Lab Hwy, but if you are going for the sites rather than just saying you’ve done it, consider the boat along the south coast of Quebec until the roads begin again. You pick it up at Blanc Sablon near the border of Labrador and Quebec and you will see some neat and isolated communities. They put your bikes in a cargo container and hoist it right on the boat.

    Finally, there are some interesting dirt roads and two tracks in the Laurentian Mountains north of Quebec. If I were back in that region, I’d try to check out some back roads around the “Parc National des Haute-Gorges-de-la-Riviere Malbaie.”

    Have fun.

  • http://masonapostol.com Mason

    If you have extra time, Northern PA has both paved and unpaved roads to explore. See if you can find the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania. It’s just as impressive as the name implies. Have a great trip, stay safe!

  • Patrick from Astoria

    Don’t have any advice to offer, but will be very interested in hearing about how you do it all. Bon temps and bon voyage, good sirs.

  • Michael Pitts

    Guys
    I am the Guy Duke777 was talking about… you will have a ball but….. you really can’t get off the bloody road to camp, it is built up meters in some places and once you get off it is very swampy! I only managed to camp a couple of nights and they were at the western/Southern end of the road and remember to take a fly net for your face and heaps of bug piss off the sand flies are ferocious I kid you not, my facebook is mikl4606@hotmail I have pics and video of the road.
    Michael

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Yeah, I realize the options are limited, but there’s some promising looking stuff north of Blanc Sablon along the cost (beach camping, ftw) north of Goose Bay, then a BUNCH around Churchill falls. Into Quebec, there appear to be an awful lot of ripe areas for exploration. Wish we had KLRs or something a bit lighter.

  • Mcfaite

    All good advice above – I did the Cabot Trail, stayed at Meat Cove. I don’t know if it fits into your trip, but sure was nice.

    And +1 billion on the insect repellent, nets and other anti-insect strategies, everything just short of dousing yourselves with kerosene and setting yourselves ablaze.

    – J.

  • dave

    Hey, that is a lot of highway past southern maine coast!
    stop and have a shower or bed in biddeford if you need a place.
    dave

    food recommendations below from me on this thread:
    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=448514&page=4


    pier 77/the ramp bar (the bar below pier 77-go here) in camp porpoise just north of kennebunkport before biddeford. I love the ramp-great mussels and very cool, tight little space-very nice. You could hit this by getting of 95 going north and head inland to kennebunkport then little north to cape p. The road is nice from there to saco, and you could get back onto 95 to get to your next stop-PORTLAND!

    also run of the mill brewery-new brewery in biddeford maine, sister to the liberal cup in hallowell, me. not great food but nice deck, new, good beer.

    Portland
    four street restaurant- bit fancy but awesome- portland, me
    northstar cafe-coffee in portland, me (others hilltop cafe, coffee by design)
    sapporo sushi resturant-portland, me
    flatbread pizza, portland, me
    (breakfast)-portland, me: becky’s diner or hot suppas

    BEST BARS portland:
    1. novara res, portland me, 50 beers on tap, over 250 beers from all over the world http://www.novareresbiercafe.com/
    2. bullfeeneys
    3. gritty’s

  • dave

    ps
    meat cove rocks

  • Ray

    I’m in Portland now. If you need anything, email me. I loved Tadoussac and wish I hadn’t a missed Baie St. Paul. Both pretty hip places, met a lot of good folks there. WOuld have liked to see whales there, a good spot. Look at the aerial view of the Manicouagan Reservoir. Always wanted to do a circular canoe trip there. I’ve also done Newfie a couple of times, but in late May to see the bergs run into Twillingate. Newf reminded me of west Texas, Grant, you should feel right at home. Watch out for moose and caribou! You WILL see them. Savor the food in Quebec. You won’t be able to eat decent lettuce for a while, but you won’t get sick of cod.

  • Ray

    …and blue berries are in season. Every time you step into the woods off the road to take a piss, you can have a snack.

  • Pamberjack

    I want yr job.

  • AadmanZ

    Cool..

    Wes and Grant go Ewan and Charley? Will there be a convoy of support vehicles and Canadian fixers to help with the border crossings?

  • http://www.thisblueheaven.com Mark D.

    If you’re feeling like you need a return to civilization when you get to Quebec city, try Aux Aciens Canadiens, and get the game meat pie. You can get your revenge on all those elk, deer, and moose that almost killed you, by eating them in a delicious pie!

  • Gary T

    You really have to hit Cape Breton’s Cabot Trail on this trip. Acouple of my vids. http://www.youtube.com/user/Versys16060#p/u/5/lsadEAp8TvQ and http://www.youtube.com/user/Versys16060#p/u/0/K-r-lapBtks

  • Red Rider

    Adventure?! Get lost!! Taking Ewan & the crew along for the ride, too?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dXuYsehFMI

  • GeddyT

    As a westcoasty without a chance in hell of ever getting there myself, it would kill me to know that you guys rode within 5 miles of the Unibroue brewery and didn’t stop to hit it up.

    So I expect a full report once you guys have stopped and had at least one of each…

  • http://www.canadianmotorcyclerider.ca DanM

    I live in Halifax, NS. Your route doesn’t seem to take you to Halifax but I’d love to chat with you guys over a beer or two.

    As for route recommendations you might want to check out a rider submitted map of recommended routes for mainland Nova Scotia on my site:

    (http://www.canadianmotorcyclerider.ca/articles.php?id=3847153572744225849)

    Cabot Trail is pretty spectacular and not to be missed if you have the time. It’s not mainland NS so it’s not on the map above.

    As for NL advice – go talk to all the locals at http://www.ridetherock.com. You’ll really get the scoop on what trails to ride. They’re a very helpful bunch over there. I’m a former resident myself.

    Drop me an email canadianmotorcyclerider @ gmail .com. I’d try to meet you in Truro so as to not push you off your route.

    Have fun guys! Great trip!

  • Steven in Halifax

    How is the trip coming along, see any moose…? gettin tired of people telling you to watch out for Moose! haha

    Keep the rubber side down!