Across to the Coast From company town to coastal town

The Route We Took: Rte 500 E - Driving the Trans-Labrador Highway (Roads bumpy and dusty. Fair amount of construction. Slow going, but faster than Labrador City / Churchill Falls leg.)

Lodging: Hotel North, HVGB, NL, CA

Food: The Mariner

Joke of the Day:

This poor, little Italian immigrant comes to the United States. He is working at the paper mill. The two words of English he knows are apple pie and coffee, which is what he orders every day at the local diner.

His friends tells him in Italian, and teaches him to say ham sandwich.

He goes into the diner, tells the waitress, “Ham sandwich.”

The waitress asks, “Would you like mustard on that?”

Not knowing what else to say, he replies, “Apple pie and coffee.”

These are the jokes, folks. Although I think this one’s pretty sad.

After breakfast, and my checking with the office, we packed up the car, and tried to get back on the road. However, in packing the car, we had also permitted a swarm of black flies to enter, and so there was lots of swatting while finding our way back to the Trans Labrador (Crappy as all Heck) Highway (although whether it is a highway or not is still in dispute).

Leaving churchill falls

Fortunately, we’d had the presence of mind to get gas the evening before. So at least that swarm of black flies had perished in the night.

The road from Churchill Falls to Happy Valley-Goose Bay, while not smooth-sailing, was certainly better than the road from Labrador City to Churchill Falls. All things considered it was an easier day on the road. We got an early start, which helped, but we didn’t find a turn off where we could have lunch.

In fact, there were simply *no services* along the road. Zip. Nil. Zero. Squat. And speaking of squatting, if you need to relieve yourself, which in all likelihood you will, good luck.

Typical Trans-Labrador Highway Sign

The road is banked on either side, which makes hiding behind a tree or shrubbery difficult. You virtually have to repel down to access the wilderness that seems so at your disposal. When you take the black fly and other flying insects into consideration, you'll want to make the experience last as short a period of time as possible, which means risking that another car is going to come along and see you.

There are a few latrines for the construction workers. You are probably welcome to these, though we didn’t try. Miraculously we found a turn off that provided enough privacy. These are far and few between.

Or consider the Stadium Pal as reviewed by David Sedaris.

Once in Happy Valley - Goose Bay, there was some confusion as to where we had made a reservation. Upon coming into town, there was a sign for a tourist center, which we found difficult to locate.


It is a small, pine building of fairly new construction. When you take Rte 500 into HVGB, you will dead end into Rte 520. If you turn left, the tourist center is 2.5 km on your left (just before and across from Hotel North Two and Jungle Jim’s). You will see the NL and Canadian flags tacked to the front of the building, but not much more signage. Certainly not anything on the roadway. It is immediately before the light at Loring, but there isn’t a street sign ... so you’ll just have to take our word for it.

Sometimes you get bored

In the tourist center, they called the hotel we thought was ours to find out when was the latest we could cancel our reservation. Mom thought she’d made a reservation at Royal Inn, and wanted to switch to Hotel North. The cancelation time had come and gone, so we headed over to the Royal Inn only to discover they weren’t expecting us and full up.

Hoping we’d made the reservation at Hotel North, which is where wanted to switch our reservation to, we headed back to Loring. Happily it all turned out well. That was, in fact, where we had made our reservation. This made mom happy as it was in the same parking lot as the restaurant where we wanted to eat, The Mariner.

The room was good size and adequately appointed with desk, sitting table, refrigerator, tv, dvd, vcr, and a clean bathroom. The hooks on the hangers were funny ... appeared almost homemade. We did a five-dollar load of laundry, which seems to be the going rate for self-serve laundry facilities in Labrador hotels, but they also provide the detergent and dryer sheets.

We headed over to the Mariner for dinner, and mom was pleasantly surprised to discover Cod cheeks on the menu much to my horror. We split 1 lb. of mussels that were tasty if a bit dry, one appetizer of cod cheeks (which taste like any other fried meat), and caribou steak that may have been one of the tastiest to date.

Back in the room we planned the next step of the journey, and went to bed. One bed being visibly finer than the other.

A word on Canadian / Labrador flies ... they’re everywhere (including up your pant leg) starting about 11 AM. They seem to abate around 7 / 8 PM and when the weather turns cooler. Wind is also helpful as they can’t seem to navigate when gusts come. For a good remainder of the trip, any time a window went down or a door opened ... conversation was pierced with the *zzzz* of flies and the *thwaps* of fly-swatting.

Created By
Meredith Rendall


Papered Pixels Studio

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