Trans Labrador Highway - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-28-2017, 02:07 AM   #1
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Trans Labrador Highway

Just wondering if anyone has experience or thoughts on traveling the Trans Labrador highway (TLH). We are looking at a trip next year across Canada (west to east) and back across the northern US. We are not decided yet if Nova Scotia is far enough east or if we want to go out to the edge of Newfoundland. The latter would include traveling the TLH, which appears rather similar to traveling in Alaska (gravel roads, few services, etc.). Thx.
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Old 07-28-2017, 06:28 AM   #2
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We drove the Labrador Highway in 2008 going east to west. The road was mostly gravel in 2008, now mostly paved. It's like Alaska in that it's very lightly populated. The only section that's not paved is the section on the south side of the Mealy mountains that parallel lake Melville. We wrote to the tourist Bureau and they provided a list of gas stations in order and all the appropriate addresses and phone numbers. We made it a practice to fill up whenever we came to one... Gas was expensive even then. In happy valley or Labrador city we went to a motel and picked up a free satellite phone for emergencies, no charge. Go to the visitors center for info on where to get a phone in either city.

The tourist Bureau will provide info on anything for you, just ask.

As to Newfoundland, it's our favorite place. We spend 2 months each year.

Driving across Labrador take your time, there's much to see. Going west to east you drive up a dirt road switch back beside Manic 5, a massive dam. When we drove it it was an 18% grade. We wait until no one's coming down to go up (or down).

They really speak French on Route 389. Also on 389 there is a massive ring of meteor crater that supplies water to Manic, you can see it on the map. Surprisingly there is a Walmarts and Tim Hortons in Labrador city and Happy Valley. There's also a nice museum in Northwest River near Happy Valley.

We had no problems and a great time. If you've come this far leave time for Newfoundland. You' leave there wishing you had more time. Provincial parks are a real bargain. Buy a Provincial Park entrance pass. Seniors get a real discount. With electricity we averaged $15 a night for fees, less without electricity.

If you want more info ask and/or look at my thread under camping/Newfoundland 2016. When you get to NL Gros Morne is a must as is Red Bay. In Red Bay we park at the only gas station overlooking the bay.

Safe travels
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Old 07-28-2017, 09:01 AM   #3
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Does anyone know of an online resource to check what sections are gravel or paved today in 2017? Thanks.
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Old 07-28-2017, 09:39 AM   #4
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Go online to the Newfoundland Tourist Bureau and get their guide book for NL and Labrador. It comes with a map that shows you. We found the dirt sections to be the best we've driven on. I suspect 70% paved.

I just looked on my Map and west to east is paved past Happy Valley about 70 km. After that it's dirt and gravel to Red Bay about 3-400 kms, 200+ miles. We did not drive very fast on the gravel sections though the locals do drive fast. You can see them coming for miles due to the dust. We simply pull over and let them pass. We always carry a small DC compressor, and tire repair kit though we did not have a single problem. I did add large Mud flaps to all four wheels of our Honda CRV.

Again the NL tourist Bureau is very helpful, just ask. If you go to the NL thread mentioned earlier you should find a link to the NL tourist Bureau. Note NL and Labrador is one province though people in Labrador fly their own quite attractive flag.
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Old 07-28-2017, 01:23 PM   #5
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Thanks for the great info.
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Old 07-28-2017, 02:23 PM   #6
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Labrador Thoughts

Before we went I went on line and found a number of threads and Youtube videos on driving the TLH. There's a lot our there.

Many of the places there are to travel are quite different from most of the places people on this site visit with their trailers.

My suggestion is that you stay as long as you can and take your time. So far we've spent about 16 months in Newfoundland and Labrador. There is much to see and mostly different from our earlier experiences on the road.

We have met people who have blasted across NL, unfortunately the speed causes you to miss much of the province. Simply saying I've been to Red Bay or St. John says nothing about what you've seen.
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Old 07-28-2017, 06:30 PM   #7
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Driving across Labrador is truly driving thru wilderness particularly if you add in some of the side roads. Even on the TLH we saw a pile of poop in the center of the road, went a ways further and another pile and finally a huge black bear was walking down the middle of the TLH, that lets you know there is not much traffic on the TLH.

You drive by more lakes than you can count without a single cabin, boat or fisherman. This is rural. One day we stopped for lunch on the highway, another vehicle never came along during lunch.

As an adder, we have not driven the portion of the road that's behind, south of, the Meally
Mountains, the newest section and the unpaved section. Before they built this road there was no towns or really anything on the south side of the mountains. I suspect they have located a gas station on this run somewhere. Similar on the run from from Labrador City to Manic 5.

We did carry a little more in the way of tools with us and had good tires to start. Our tow vehicle was a Honda CRV, knowing that we were many 100's miles from a Honda Dealer and most people own trucks, we brought a spare fan belt, in our mind the most likely failure after a tire.

WE had a SUnline Trailer at the time and on that long gravel section I was afraid of kicking stones into the grey tank. I coated the tank with 1" of blue construction foam. That foam was peppered by rocks but the tank was not damaged. Most front facing surfaces under the trailer had their paint sand blasted off. The front of the trailer, painted aluminum, also was down to the aluminum in part. I should have had larger mud flaps. I had increased them but not enough.

When we went the road was virtually all gravel with lots of 10% grades. I don't know what they did when they paved most of it.

If you're rig is prepared there are lots of places along the highway where you can pull over for the night.

People seem to be often worried about safety. In Labrador and Newfoundland it has never been a concern.
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Old 07-29-2017, 11:41 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DougOlson View Post
Just wondering if anyone has experience or thoughts on traveling the Trans Labrador highway (TLH). We are looking at a trip next year across Canada (west to east) and back across the northern US. We are not decided yet if Nova Scotia is far enough east or if we want to go out to the edge of Newfoundland. The latter would include traveling the TLH, which appears rather similar to traveling in Alaska (gravel roads, few services, etc.). Thx.
Funny, I' ve been researching the TLH as well for a cross Canada trip in 2018. Lots of info online. Found out that that last bit of gravel road will be paved this summer, 2017. So there shouldn't be any gravel left for next year!

The focus of my journey will be Newfoundland. I have relatives there which should make it easier, depending on how much exploring they, themselves have done. Ordered a couple of books that haven't arrived yet. Also ordered the NFLD & Lab. guide book and map from their tourism organization.

If you would like some links, send me a private message. Might save you some research time.

I live on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, so it will really be a cross country trip for me. Figuring around 12,000 miles or so return. Still working on my budget for the trip. A minimum of 4 months, hopefully 5 from here.

Later, Barb & Le Corbeau ( My 2004 Trillium Outback)
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Old 07-30-2017, 06:39 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by BarbinBC View Post
Found out that that last bit of gravel road will be paved this summer, 2017.
I would double check that before going. That "last bit of gravel" is some hundreds km long. I know for sure it is NOT paved as of today, and can't see how it will be completed before winter hits, in 2 months from now.

The TLH made the news last week as the L'Anse-aux-Loups NL mayor was complaining about the TLH condition in his town:

The 60-year-old mayor, who has lived in L’Anse-au-Loup all his life, said there is a five-year plan in the works to pave the Trans-Labrador Highway, from the Quebec border to Happy Valley-Goose Bay — a distance of more than 600 kilometres. But he said it’s not clear when that will start.

Link:
Fed up with potholes, Mayor in Labrador wants his town to join with Quebec | Can

The TLH is in my bucket list and I will go the day they extend QC138 from Kegaska up to Blanc-Sablon (which will take years) so I can drive the loop back home. Or when I'm retired and have enough time to include NF and return via the NS ferry.


Carl (Baie-Comeau native)
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Old 07-30-2017, 10:13 AM   #10
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interesting thread....

never been there but certainly enjoying all the info supplied/discussed....

I remember reading a long time ago that the perfectly circular shape of the resevoir created by the Manic dam is the result of a massive asteroid that struck the earth in that location....the island in the middle is where the earth "rebounded" after the impact (see pic)....one BIG event that must have been!!!

Barb, you certainly put your trailer to good use going that far north.... checking your registry I found out that you not only live close by....but you bought your trailer the same year I did....funny coincidence. Unlike you however I haven't been "afar" with it at all....I haven't even taken it off the Island in all that time!!!

cheers, F
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Old 07-31-2017, 01:27 PM   #11
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I recall that the one gas station on Rt. 389 between Labrador City and Bae Cameau is located across from the crater supplying Manic V, Located at Relais-Gabriel. Gagnon shown on the map is a ghost town.
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Old 08-02-2017, 01:15 AM   #12
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TLH Paving

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl V View Post
I would double check that before going. That "last bit of gravel" is some hundreds km long. I know for sure it is NOT paved as of today, and can't see how it will be completed before winter hits, in 2 months from now.

The TLH made the news last week as the L'Anse-aux-Loups NL mayor was complaining about the TLH condition in his town:

The 60-year-old mayor, who has lived in LíAnse-au-Loup all his life, said there is a five-year plan in the works to pave the Trans-Labrador Highway, from the Quebec border to Happy Valley-Goose Bay ó a distance of more than 600 kilometres. But he said itís not clear when that will start.

Link:
Fed up with potholes, Mayor in Labrador wants his town to join with Quebec | Can

The TLH is in my bucket list and I will go the day they extend QC138 from Kegaska up to Blanc-Sablon (which will take years) so I can drive the loop back home. Or when I'm retired and have enough time to include NF and return via the NS ferry.


Carl (Baie-Comeau native)
Thanks for the info Carl. I'll check it out. There's nothing like "local knowledge" !!
Barb
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Old 08-02-2017, 08:40 AM   #13
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L'anse aux Loup is in Labrador. It is a paved road all the way to Red Bay. It is definitely a twisty, up and down road, one that's not fun to drive in the rain at night. Remember the mayor is a politician.

I will say even in NL there were more pot holes than previous years. You do need to realize you should drive slower. We had days where we averaged 27mph.

If your goal is speed Montana is a better choice.

We are exploratory drivers, we stop and talk to people working on their gardens, building a dock, and so on.

As to a road along the St Lawrence from Kegaska to Blanc Sablon, I would say not in our life time. Similarly there's no road across the southern shore of Newfoundland.
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Old 08-04-2017, 07:18 AM   #14
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Exclamation TLH Highway Guide

Five years old, but has some good information about travelling the last great 'bucket list' road!

https://www.happyvalley-goosebay.com...e_may_2012.pdf

Also from Highways Department: News Release about funding for improvements of TLH, June, 2017:

http://www.releases.gov.nl.ca/releas...c/0614n02.aspx

Thanks for all your helpful comments Norm and Carl V.

Barb
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