Tuesday, June 25, 2013

DAY 37 Port Hope Simpson to Happy Valley-Goose Bay to Churchill Falls

I stalked him to get this picture...kept running away!
June 25, 2013
Driving our motorhome in Labrador...gravel roads and some paved.
A sunny gorgeous 42 degrees this morning!
Labrador is big, unspoiled.  There is NOTHING between the towns on the map.  Gorgeous scenery.  We looked for wildlife and only when we got within maybe ten miles of HV-GB did we see anything.

Entering Happy Valley/Goose Bay

Sightings today:  Bears – 4 along the road but way up ahead
Moose – 2 together (one was not a baby)Caribou – 1


The sand beyond Happy Valley and the new paved road - happy!
Motorcyclists:  13…we also saw three in HV-GB and they were covered in dust from the roads!
Holidaymakers:  one truck camper, one truck/travel trailer…both going in the opposite direction to us which means their first experience on the gravel road was not the best.  
Welcome to modern times...pavement, a first!
We “stalked” the second bear to try and get some photos.  They run into the woods when they hear you or see you anywhere near close…so we snuck up on him with the motorhome.  I finally got out of the motorhome and had David drive up ahead of him; he came out of the trees again and I was able to get a photo fairly close.  He didn’t get too close to me before he ducked back in; I was ready to run back into the motorhome (I left the door open).
We left Port Hope Simpson at 6:42 am and arrive in Churchill Falls around 7pm.  We stopped for maybe 2.5 hours to get gas twice, shop in HV-GB, mess with bear photography.  Hint...get gas where you can find it...just in case one on your route/the route is closed for some reason in a smaller town.

Some of the road was paved today; most was not.  There were at least three places where the graders were out fixing the potholes in the road.  It is an election year and a women in a shop told us the roads would be better than normal!    Paving was actively going on in one spot and prepping to pave a second spot.  The road workers were wearing bug head nets!!!  One worker put some sort of oil on his helmet so the bugs would stick to it; he had quite the bug collection going on with his helmet!

There are three “rest areas” between Port Hope Simpson and HV-GB.  These rest areas included a large flat spot suitable to overnight in and a trash can.  One had a nice picnic table.  NO bathrooms so it would be bring your own toilet paper and find a spot – don’t worry barely a car goes by.  Other than these rest areas there are a few turn around areas in the road off to the side where they store the graders that anyone could fit into.


Here is our review of the gravel roads.  We are finding them nice and wide with plenty of room for a tractor trailer truck and us (very few tractor trailer trucks so far) with room to spare.  The base seems to be well compacted rock dust with gravel over it (rain makes some of the rock dust wash away causing pot holes…hence the graders have  employment insurance).  When we first got on the road in Red Bay, we started out going about 10 – 25 mph but it was very violent ride; then going 5 – 10 mph.  Then very soon a big truck booked past us going the opposite way pretty fast (estimate around 50 mph and over the speed limit)…so David wanted to experiment.  WELL, going faster definetly was the way to go; we glided over the road much better and all hell wasn’t breaking lose in the back.  This has proved to be the way to go even when the road is pretty rough.  So he does around 45 – 50 mph to just glide over the surface and not feel every dip and bump…let the suspension system do the work. Fortunately, he can just redo the suspension when it is needed.

Speed limits in Newfoundland and Labrador are listed as maximums so in Labrador if it is not a construction zone the maximum is 70 kilometer per hour (around 50 mph).  However, no one is there to police your limits and it is very clear that the locals don’t do 70 kilometers!

Tonight we are spending the night in Churchill Falls…just a parking lot/storage area but quiet.  David is hoping to get a tour of the world’s largest hydroelectric plant here in Churchill tomorrow; it is about 900 feet underground.  We are waiting to hear if the elevator is fixed.  Churchill Falls is a company town; Everyone who lives here works at the Hydroelectric plant.  The only purpose for the town is to house all its workers.  There are many homes and other types of housing.  It has everything people would want: school, pool, department store, gas station, grocery store, etc.  The nearest town from Churchill is at least 3 hours away with nothing but gorgeous scenery in between.

Mosquitos are fierce tonight…they lurk outside the motorhome.  It was up to 72 degrees by time we stopped tonight...too hot! 


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