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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Québec, Montreal, Arizona, California, France
    Posts
    761

    Default Quebec - Labrador - (New Foundland)

    Hi folks,

    I have two weeks off at the beginning of June and was thinking about going to the beautiful coast of Labrador. I have two possible scenarios to consider (for a map click here):

    1) Coastal Labrador and possibly Lower North Shore of Quebec
    -Drive 1095 miles to the end of the road to Happy Valley-Goose Bay on the Trans-Labrador Highway (the orange line on this map);

    -12 hours ferry ride on Lake Melville to Cartwright on the coast;

    -Drive ~300 miles to Blanc-Sablon and Old Fort Bay (Lower North Shore, Quebec) (the green line on this map);

    -Either take the 1½ day ferry ride down the Lower North Shore to Natashquan and drive back to our hometown on route 138 OR go back the same way (drive to Cartwright, take the ferry to Goose Bay and drive highway 500, 389 and 138);

    Note: the reason we hesitate about taking the ferry ride along the Lower North Shore (between Blanc-Sablon and Natashquan) is that their rates are totally outrageous especially when you have to get your car on the boat which is our case.

    2) Coastal Labrador, Western New Foundland, Nova Scotia
    -Drive 1095 miles to the end of the road to Happy Valley-Goose Bay on the Trans-Labrador Highway

    -12 hours ferry ride on Lake Melville to Cartwright on the coast;

    -Drive ~300 miles to Blanc-Sablon and Old Fort Bay (Lower North Shore, Quebec);

    -Short ferry ride across Detroit de Belle Isle from Blanc-Sablon, Qc to St. Barbe, NF;

    -Drive to Port Aux Basques, NF on the TransCan and highway 430 (~345 mi);

    -7 hours ferry ride to Sydney, Nova Scotia;

    -Drive back to our hometown (~843 mi);

    ---------------

    The 1st scenario is more likely to happen since I think the second one might be too tightly scheduled. I doubt if anyone here ever went to Labrador but I know some of you may have been to NF so I was wondering if anyone had suggestions besides the obvious (i.e. Gros Morne) regarding lodging, attractions, etc. We enjoy nature, fishing, arts and culture, museums, history, etc. We plan to do a mix of camping and B&B -- it's not like we have much choice anyway in these areas:-)

    Secondly, I'd like to have your thoughts about the lenght of our trip vs time frame. We are very aware that this trip requires long driving hours and that many stretches of road are unpaved and we don't mind spending lots of hours in the car but we don't want to end up spending the whole trip inside. Does anyone know if we might still get a chance to see some icebergs/aurora borealis (a.k.a. northern lights)/whales/puffins on the coast or on Lake Melville at that time of the year?

    Finally, I'm planning to borrow a cb radio since my cell phone won't make it in those areas. I was wondering if any of you are familiar with the Amateur Radio thing. I know we have to pass and exam and get a licence to use their frequencies in Canada but I don't know much about it. Does anyone have any tips to share?

    Thanks in advance!
    Gen

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Out There (and In Here)

    Newfoundland is the only state or province that I haven't visited, so I have no recommendations, just the regret that I didn't get to it while I was living in Maine. And that is probably worth a general word or two in its own right. Too often, we tend to think of RoadTrips as jaunts to the far away locale and will ignore not only the attractions right around us, but also those in the near distance as we blow right by them all to get to that "must see" 2000 miles away. A couple of the things that I have learned from participating in these discussions is that everywhere is somebody's home and that nowhere is a boring.

    As for my input, I agree with your preference for the first set of options. This looks like it's going to be a long enough trip without adding even more. And I don't think you need or would enjoy a second long ferry ride. By the same token, I'd opt for the alternate route home at the end of scenario 1. I look forward to your report and pictures from Newfie.

    Bonne journée

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default CB in Canada...

    Quote Originally Posted by Gen

    Finally, I'm planning to borrow a cb radio since my cell phone won't make it in those areas. I was wondering if any of you are familiar with the Amateur Radio thing. I know we have to pass and exam and get a licence to use their frequencies in Canada but I don't know much about it. Does anyone have any tips to share?
    Gen,
    I've been hunting around the internet, including Canadian Government Sites (Industry Canada's Stratigis Site). It appears the Canadians' don't like to put much detail online, because I could find NOTHING on Citizens Band radio. There was some information Amature Radio, but, this is not the same thing per se as CB. In the US, Amature Radio/HAM/Marine/Aeronautic/GMRS requires registration and license, but not CB.

    I would recommend perhaps calling Industry Canada's Radiocom/Amature Radio Service Centre directly and picking their collective brains.

    Although the only part of Canada I've been to is Vancouver, BC, I would assume that Labrador/Newfoundland is similar to rural parts of the US. If you stay on the main roads and end up having a problem, you shouldn't have to wait incredibly long for a RCMP Officer, Provencial Police, or good sam to stop and offer assistance. Of course... this is if you stay on main roads (that means you can't go hunting for the forest road to Nunavut, Gen...).

    I do have to warn you though, Newfoundland/Labrador are unclaimed territories for CAA. If you're a member, you'll most likely be working with CAA Quebec or CAA Maritime Provences, but there is no CAA Club that actually services that territory (why, I don't know.).

    Hope I was some help!
    Good Luck!
    -Brad M.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Professional RoadTripper in the area

    Quote Originally Posted by Gen
    I have two weeks off at the beginning of June and was thinking about going to the beautiful coast of Labrador.
    That area is professional roadtripper Garry Sowerby's primary stomping ground. I will contact him and get some suggestions.

    In his book "Sowerby's Road" he writes about one such trip in this remote area. After re-reading it again, (Chapter 33) I think you may be trying to cover too much distance. Be sure to check the regularity of the ferry service on your legs -- pack ice has been known to affect the ability of the ferries to stay on schedule (of course this year has been so warm -- all bets are off).

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 04-02-2006 at 11:44 AM. Reason: added some content

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Québec, Montreal, Arizona, California, France
    Posts
    761

    Default Thanks

    Thanks guys!

    I think I'll opt for the first scenario.

    There was some information Amature Radio, but, this is not the same thing per se as CB. In the US, Amature Radio/HAM/Marine/Aeronautic/GMRS requires registration and license, but not CB.
    Brad, to my knowledge we don't need a licence in Canada to operate a cb radio but I was just curious about this whole radio amateur thing. I thought it might be useful since I like to drive to remote areas.

    Although the only part of Canada I've been to is Vancouver, BC, I would assume that Labrador/Newfoundland is similar to rural parts of the US. If you stay on the main roads and end up having a problem, you shouldn't have to wait incredibly long for a RCMP Officer, Provencial Police, or good sam to stop and offer assistance
    Hum not exactly, you see, I drove on highway 389 from Baie-Comeau to Fermont in the middle of the summer, it is 565 km and I haven't seen more than 5 cars. There are no town whatsoever between these two cities and some stretches of road are unpaved. It is THE only road that gets into Labrador, so when you talk about main roads, you must say THE road:-) Half of the TransLab (including route 389) is unpaved an is totally in the wild. They are planning to complete phase 4 of the TranLab (from Goose Bay to Cartwright) somewhere between now and 2010, I'm not just patient enough to wait after them!

    I do have to warn you though, Newfoundland/Labrador are unclaimed territories for CAA. If you're a member, you'll most likely be working with CAA Quebec or CAA Maritime Provences, but there is no CAA Club that actually services that territory.
    Actually, I just called CAA and they told me they do cover Labrador and NF. They told me they cover all North America. I still have Honda roadside assistance since my car is brand new but I have to check if that area is covered by them.

    (why, I don't know.)
    It wouldn't surprise me if they didn't though since these parts are hard to reach and many people probably are too adventurous and get stuck in impossible situations in the middle of a snowstorm or worse... It's probably very expensive for them to get there (gas) just to repair a flat tire or to bring a can of gasoline!:-) And God knows the risks of having a flat tire are high with all those unpaved roads and sharp rocks.

    Gen

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Air Down!

    the risks of having a flat tire are high with all those unpaved roads and sharp rocks.
    Gen, even though you don't drive a truck -- you should always "air down" the pressure in your tires a little when driving on dirt roads -- it makes for a more confortable ride and greatly reduces the chances of flat tires. 20-25 psi should be about right. You will need to slow down a little so you don't "bounce your tires off the wheel". For a general discussion of why we "air down" for off-highway travel read this article by Del Albright.

    Mark

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Québec, Montreal, Arizona, California, France
    Posts
    761

    Default Dirt roads

    Thanks for the tip Mark, I'll bear that in mind! Fortunately, these dirt roads are generally well maintained, except for the stretch between the old mine of Fire Lake and Fermont (67 km of sharp curves and big rocks). The most dangerous things on the road are usually wildlife (moose, porcupines, deers, foxes and wolves) and big rigs. When you have to pass an 18-wheels truck on a two-lane dirt road and can't see a darn thing but dust, it's always a gamble...That's when the cb comes handy.

    Gen

  8. #8
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Gen

    Brad, to my knowledge we don't need a licence in Canada to operate a cb radio but I was just curious about this whole radio amateur thing. I thought it might be useful since I like to drive to remote areas.
    Gen,
    Amature Radio does get a much greater distance than a CB radio, and the people on it are licensed professionals. If you're willing to get the license, I'd say do it!

    You might see if you can find your local HAM radio club to get some local info on becoming a HAM.


    Actually, I just called CAA and they told me they do cover Labrador and NF. They told me they cover all North America. I still have Honda roadside assistance since my car is brand new but I have to check if that area is covered by them.
    CAA does service the area, but they don't actually have a club that is assigned that territory. Neighboring clubs take care of members in those areas. Hopefully eventually the'll have a CAA Labrador/Newfoundland.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Québec, Montreal, Arizona, California, France
    Posts
    761

    Default

    Brad,
    Amature Radio does get a much greater distance than a CB radio, and the people on it are licensed professionals. If you're willing to get the license, I'd say do it!
    I'll try to learn more about it. Thanks.

    CAA does service the area, but they don't actually have a club that is assigned that territory. Neighboring clubs take care of members in those areas. Hopefully eventually the'll have a CAA Labrador/Newfoundland.
    Ah, ok, I misunderstood what you said sorry:o) I was worried for a minute, but at least now I'm sure they ARE servicing that area:o)) I agree, it's kind of weird they don't have any club... I'd understand for the Lab part since it's not a very popular destination and the population vs superficy of territory is somehow unique in the Eastern part of North America but NF is far more touristy and has more population. Hum...Dunno....

    Gen

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Québec, Montreal, Arizona, California, France
    Posts
    761

    Default Trip update

    Hi everyone,

    We finally decided to pick scenario #2. We will be leaving on june 9th. our time frame is more or less the following :

    -Drive 1095 miles to the end of the road to Happy Valley-Goose Bay on the Trans-Labrador Highway

    -Leaving at 5 p.m. (AST) on the 11th for a 12 hours ferry ride on Lake Melville from Goose Bay to Cartwright on the coast of Labrador (booked tickets);

    -arriving at 6 a.m. on the 12th, spend a couple of days on the coast, drive ~300 miles to Blanc-Sablon and Old Fort Bay (Lower North Shore, Quebec);

    -Short ferry ride across Detroit de Belle Isle from Blanc-Sablon, Qc to St. Barbe, NF (no reservations);

    -Drive to L'Anse aux Meadows, Gros Mornes, etc to Port Aux Basques, NF on the TransCan and highway 430 (~345 mi);

    -Leaving at 8 a.m. on the 19th (NewFoundland Time (AST + ½ hour) for a 7 hours ferry ride to North Sydney, Nova Scotia;

    -Arriving at 2:30 p.m. (AST) and we'll have until the 25th to drive back to our hometown (~843 mi) through Nova Scotia and New Brunswick;

    What I'd like to know is what your thoughts are regarding our time frame and most importantly, if you have any suggestions of must sees in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and if you know or heard about any nice campgrounds or cheap B&B's. We'd like to see at least parts of the Cabot Trail and Louisbourg, Acadian villages, spend a couple of hours at the beach, do short hikes, kayaking, that kind of thing. We're both seafood and wine lovers.

    Don't worry, I borrowed a cb radio, I will deflate my tires a little as Mark suggested and I'll bring a full size spare tire on a rim and plenty of tools in case of minor mechanical problem.

    Thanks in advance!
    Genevieve

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