We take off early in the morning and are pleased to hear the road to Goose Bay is open. The tarmac ends just outside of town and we cover 100 miles of gravel before some tarmac arrives west of Goose Bay. The road winds through the tundra forest and thin spruce trees.
I have seen many inuksuk along the roads since coming into Canada and the ones I see today are enormous. I assume some road worker has assembled them while building or working on the road. There is a lot of standing water in the tundra today and there are boxes built around the bases of phone poles and filled with large rocks, but I’m not sure what they do.
About 50-60 miles west of Goose Bay we hit more tarmac and top a hill that marks an immediate change of scenery – moving me from tundra and scrub to large tall spruce trees like British Columbia. The valley stretches out for miles ahead and is beautiful, and relatively populated compared to the past several hundred miles of road.
I am carrying a satellite phone that I picked up in Churchill Falls. The province offers them to travelers for free as a safety measure when you are travelling through this part of the world. I can turn it in anywhere along the way and pay nothing for it as long as it is returned in good condition. It gives me a great deal of peace of mind.
There are beautiful flowers growing all over this valley along the sides of the roads, and I see lily pads floating on ponds.
After lunch in Goose Bay and a fuel stop I head back to the intersection with Highway 510 to head southeast toward Port Hope-Simpson. This road is all gravel for 240 plus miles and there are no services along the way so you have to bring enough fuel, water, food, gear, etc. It’s a good road for the first 50 miles with pretty streams and views.
At about 42 miles into the road my front tire goes wobbly and starts to become hard to control. I slow down using my rear brake and keep the bike upright and get it to a stop. My front tire is completely flat. A truck coming from the other direction stops to see if I am okay. I tell him that I am and that Brian will be there in a minute to help me. I unpack the bike to get to my spare inner tube and tools and Brian comes back to help.
Another truck stops and says they have just seen a big black bear around the corner and wonder if we are ok. Brian works quickly to fix the flat but we have burned nearly an hour and a half on it. We decide to go back to town and camp for the night and tackle the big road in the morning.
Soup and fresh bread for dinner and then a good nights sleep. Big road and day tomorrow……little do I know how big.