Friday, June 7
Churchill Falls, NL to Happy Valley – Goose Bay, NL
181 miles; cloudy with some sun; temps mid 40′s
The road was gavel for 110 of the 181 miles today, the most of any day so far. We got lots of practice and found that we could comfortably ride 35-45 mph most of the way.
Most of the gravel road was hard pack like the photo above. With the recent rain there was little dust and the traction was good, riding was relatively relaxed.
When we see this sign our guard goes up. Graders usually mean soft, loose gravel.
And that is what we got. Fortunately the grader hadn’t done both sides of the road yet, so we were fine. You don’t want to cross the ridge of very soft sand and gravel unless you have to, and then you want to do it slowly and at a right angles.
Although this stretch doesn’t look too bad, the front wheel tends to jump around as it encounters the larger rocks. The key here is to keep a relaxed grip on the bars and let the bike find its way, which it does with remarkable competence.
This is a pretty typical stretch of the road we had today. As we got closer to Happy Valley-Goose Bay the road was drier and passing trucks kicked up more dust.
I bought the GS several years ago specifically for this ride. It was well equipped with Ohlins shocks and Jesse cases, and the wire wheels are great for absorbing some of the shock. The long travel suspension and the larger wheels of the GS are ideally suited to this kind of riding. The bike is acquitting itself beautifully on this ride.
The last 70 miles to Happy Valley-Goose Bay were paved, a welcome sight. The terrain in this part of Labrador is more mountainous and the road more hilly.
The birch trees were just leafing out, creating a beautiful frame for the lake and mountain ridges beyond. This part of Labrador is truly beautiful.
Tomorrow it is on the Cartwright on the east coast of Labrador. When we confirmed our reservation at the hotell tomorrow evening we learned it had burned down in March! Luckily, we were able to find another room at the only other lodging in town.