Nova Scotia – Pt 1 (2011)

Stick With Me, Baby; I’ll Take You Nowhere

When Dan and I first hatched this plan we had set aside two weeks in June to travel through most of the eastern Canadian provinces. We were to travel north through Quebec, follow the whole of the TransLabrador Highway (TLH), cross into Newfoundland, down into Nova Scotia and then return home via various New England states. However, Dan’s work got busy so our start was delayed until early August. Then work pushed it a little further to mid-August. Then the end of August. And then the time off was whittled down to just one week. We finally nailed it down to the first full week of September.

We had already installed new Metzler Karoo tires for the originally planned trip, which would have included about 600 miles of gravel roads on the TLH. But now, because of our shortened travel window, we’d be lucky to see any dirt roads at all on our revised route. The bikes were packed with camping gear and hopefully adequate clothes for the variable weather conditions we were sure to encounter. The new route had us heading to Nova Scotia to see the fishing town of Lunenburg and the famous Cabot Trail on Cape Breton Island. And, of course, we’d enjoy whatever tidbits of interest that we ran into along the way.

September 2-11, 2011
Total Miles: 2,512 miles
New Jersey to Nova Scotia (and back)
Map Link (northbound)

Monday

Hurricane Irene had blown through the previous weekend and left a lot of water in her wake. Just getting out of town was going to be difficult because of the numerous flooded roads and damaged bridges. But the weather had stayed clear over the next week and we found our way north to New York. We took I-87 just to make some time but hopped off somewhere near Rhinebeck. Once again I enjoyed the GPS’s “shortest route” setting, so I really have very little idea of which roads we took. I also found out about 2/3rds of the way through the trip that the trip log was overwriting itself, so I couldn’t even refer back to the GPS. We meandered along nameless back roads and enjoyed the sunshine and lack of traffic. I found a brewery for lunch (usually a sign of good food) in Williamsburg, MA. We took a longer-than-expected break because our food took a while to arrive. It was ok food, but nothing I’d heartily recommend to others; Dan said that the beer was good though. Probably the best part of the stop was listening to the couple at the table behind us and their views on various political subjects. People can be very, very strange.


Starting out bright and early

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Backroads

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Lunch at the Brewmaster’s Tavern in Williamsburg, MA

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Following Dan through the countryside

After lunch we repeated the morning scenario: back roads, farmlands and much to my pleasure, some dirt roads. The dirt was smooth and easy and led through some nice quiet forests and by isolated farm houses. It was a good day.

We found a campground in Epsom, NH (these small states are so easy to cover!) and by then it was heavily overcast, hot and humid. The campground was one of those homey, family-owned places where every other site was a permanent camper with decks, car covers, cords of firewood and festive Christmas lights. The owner took our information and our money and handed us a “Program of Events” for the weekend. Apparently they like to squeeze Halloween in with Labor Day weekend and they had quite a few things planned for the kids. Dan and I found our campsite, situated on the sandy banks of a recently flooded river. We set up camp and then walked the half mile to a roundabout where a few businesses were centered. We took shelter inside the local Wendy’s, trying to escape the humidity. Eventually we went back to the campground and watched the kids riding in the hay wagon and going through a makeshift haunted house. It was impressive how much effort had gone into some of the decorations and people seemed to having a good time. Our neighbors were oblivious to the “Quiet Time after 11pm” rule and were obnoxious until well after midnight. I was hot, tired and annoyed by the time I fell asleep.

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Surprise dirt road after lunch!

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Woodland beauty

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Camping in Epsom, MA

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Home office – literally

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Sandy campsite – at least it was dry

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Cemetery from the 1800s just down the road from the campground

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Headstones dating from the mid-1800s

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Yes, we were bored enough to discuss the “improvements” in high chair design

Sunday

Today we would see the Atlantic Ocean! We woke up to a heavy fog and packed our damp gear on the bikes. I was using my ginormous Touratech hard cases so as to easily carry the tent, my sleeping bag, clothes and, later in the trip, purchases made along the way. Dan was using a Giant Loop Great Basin soft bag which was waterproof and nicely held his clothes and sleeping bag. The Thermarests were too long for any containers and had to be strapped down separately. I didn’t feel too guilty about letting my bike warm up in the early morning mists while our “neighbors” tried to sleep in, even going to far as to wish I had a loud pipe on the bike for once. We left before most anyone else was up and about and once again headed east.

By the time we reached the coast we were sweating in our gear. I’d left my mesh jacket at home in anticipation of colder weather but now wish I’d had it. We made our first stop in historic Bath, Maine. We checked out the visitor’s center along the waterfront and then rode over to where they were building a wooden boat. Dan and I are both interested in sailing and enjoy learning about the process of boat making. Unfortunately, Dan’s footing wasn’t all that solid in the gravel parking lot and he dropped his bike as we were parking. That, combined with the heat and his general discomfort, pushed his frustration over the edge and he said “forget it” and we got back on the road. So instead of walking around historic Bath, with its classic waterfront brick buildings and Victorian homes, we ventured north towards Camden, home of what appeared to be a lot of money and a lot of tourists. There were some absolutely beautiful homes and a charming, if not overly crowded, downtown. We didn’t stop. In fact, we didn’t stop until we reached the Penobscot Narrows Bridge built near Ft Knox. It is a surprisingly modern and beautiful bridge in the middle of nowhere. Also surprising is that it only seems to have one lane of travel in each direction. Apparently no one is planning for much future expansion in this area.

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Sunday morning fog

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The sun is winning!

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New England farm

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Straight roads

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Making hay while the sun shines

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Maine farmlands

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Heavy traffic in downtown Camden, Maine.

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Sitting in traffic in Camden

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Atlantic views

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Bath, Maine

We were running out of daylight and country. We found a restaurant in the small town of Machias and had an incredibly mediocre steak and lobster dinner. This was Maine, dammit! Where was my uber-tasty Maine lobster? The only local campground was closed – for sale, actually – but down the road was a cheap motel. Or at least it looked to be cheap. We stopped in to get a rate and then deliberated if it was worth it, or if we should try to find a campground anyway. Dan left the lobby abruptly, got on his bike and took off. I was taken completely by surprise and turned to follow him when it looked like he wasn’t coming back. I looked for his hi-viz jacket as I made my way out of the town but didn’t see him. I thought that he was mad at me for a comment I’d made about him not wanting to ride after dark and assumed that he’d taken off in anger. I didn’t know what else to do but chase him down. After all, there’s pretty much only one road in this part of Maine. I rolled heavily on the throttle, passed a few cars and kept looking for him on the horizon. He never appeared. I went probably 20 miles before I realized that this was futile. Here we were, hundreds of miles from home and I’m just riding around randomly looking for him. I pulled over and sent him a text: “Where are you?” No sooner had I hit “send” then he came cruising by from the same direction I’d come from. So he’d been behind me all this time. I was confused; he didn’t stop, so I pulled out and followed him until he pulled off a few miles later. Apparently I was in complete misunderstanding of his actions. He’d left the motel to go to another one a few doors down to check their rate. He saw me ride by, so he hopped on his bike and then chased me down. Ah, if only I’d known why he left in the first place. But it all worked out well: we were now in the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge and very close to Cobscook State Park. We pulled up to the booth and found ourselves a wonderfully isolated and quiet campsite for the night.

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Hi there!

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The bikes at the bridge

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Impressive bridge, but it only has two lanes of traffic.

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Only one lane of travel and a very small shoulder. It seems rather short-sighted

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Oh my, but Maine has some straight roads!

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A so-so dinner in East Machias, ME. For being the home of the lobster, I expected better quality crustaceans!

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Night two of camping on the road

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Home sweet home

Monday

Today we’d cross over in Canada. Route 1 is pretty nondescript as it goes along the Maine coast. Numerous buildings have been listed as for sale throughout our trip so far and this area was no different. The houses were generally unimpressive and the level of upkeep was quite a bit lower than what we’d been seeing so far. We finally reached the border crossing at Calais and waited in a short line. The Canadian border guards asked us the usual questions, had no problems with us leaving our helmets on and waved us through. Welcome to New Brunswick!

We wanted to see the southern portion of Nova Scotia. Maybe not all the way down along the coastline and Yarmouth, but at least across to Lunenburg. We followed the highway north to St John, impressive construction works in progress along most of the way. Nothing exciting happened here. In fact, it was verging on “dull” and I was glad when we reached the southern neighborhoods of St John to see the exit for the Digby ferry . We pulled into line behind two massive and slick-looking trikes, each one hauling an equally massive and matching trailer. Five wheels each – why not just take a car at that point? Anyway, the riders were from West Virginia and mostly kept to themselves as we stood around waiting for the ferry. We had timed it perfectly, knowing that there were only two ferry runs that day: noon and 8pm. We were 30 minutes early for the first ferry. That gave us time to buy our tickets and chat it up with a really nice guy from Colorado, who was in his car just driving around for a couple of weeks. The tickets were still at ‘high season” rates and would cut into our budget, but then again, the fuel alone in riding around would be almost as much money – and half the fun!

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Monday morning heading north to the border

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Boats in every yard! Some of them might even float.

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A sight while waiting at the Canadian border

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Welcome to New Brunswick

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It reminded me of a tamer version of Mexican construction detours; not paving this would never happen in the States.

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Coastal views

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Re-routing rivers in anticipation of the new construction

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Future overpass

The bikes were among the first to load and the crew were very friendly and helpful with suggestions on techniques to tie the bikes down. It was to be a smooth trip, but three hours on open water still required a bit of precaution. To my surprise, ratchet straps were supplied (I hadn’t unpacked the ones I brought in anticipation of the Newfoundland ferries) and Dan and I quickly had our bikes secured. We made our way upstairs and I was immediately impressed with the size and appointments of the ferry. Lounges, restaurants, game room, tables, a movie viewing area…this wasn’t a Washington State Ferry! We watched the crew load some supplies onto the ferry via a crane and then use a large mechanical winch to bring in the lines that held us to the dock. At the other end of the ferry they brought down the bow section, which had been raised to allow for vehicle loading. With a long toot of the horn, we pulled away from a very foggy dock.

Having almost no visibility for three quarters of the journey, Dan and I ate lunch in one of the restaurants (real Canadian poutine!) and then spent our time watching the waves beat against the bow. It was a very smooth sailing. Unfortunately, because of the limited visibility we were not allowed to join the Captain in the pilot house for a tour.

By the time we reached the shores of Nova Scotia we had left the fog and clouds behind and the sun shone brightly on the rocky coastline. Houses nestled among the trees on the steep slopes and sheer rock walls greeted the ocean’s waves. We entered a large bay, docked and disembarked without any fanfare. Apparently the town of Digby was just finishing up the “Wharf Rat Rally” which was reported to have 80,000 motorcyclists attend over the previous week. To say that we “missed it” would be a mistake. Instead of following most of the ferry traffic into Digby, we kept on going, taking Route 8 southeast across the southern portion of the island.

While planning this trip back in New Jersey, I had pointed out a large inland lake (Kejimkujik) on the map to Dan and asked him if he knew anything about it. He didn’t, so we made it a point to camp there for the night. The roads were in good shape, completely empty and fast. Short pine trees kept the views to a minimum and not much else was along this stretch road. We arrived at Kejimkujik National Park fairly early in the afternoon, with plans to enjoy whatever the park may have to offer us. The rangers at the front desk were very helpful and told us of the incredible amount of canoeing and hiking that was available in the park. It looked like a delightful place to spend week; we had just the one night. We set up the camp and Dan immediately wanted to go swimming. Naturally, we hadn’t brought proper swimming suits, but Dan was content to wear his under-gear riding cloths and I was content to not go into the water at all.

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All strapped down for a smooth ride. The Larger Than Life Bikes are parked in front of us.

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On the Digby ferry

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Loading supplies

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Hauling in the ropes

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Pulling away from the dock

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It won’t be much of a view on this sailing

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Movies shown inside the main cabin

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Comfortable and plentiful seating

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Poutine!

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Shore of Nova Scotia

We walked along a trail behind our campsite to the lake’s edge, and then followed that to a sandy beach area. The water was surprisingly warm and the bottom very soft and sandy. After taking off his shoes and shirt, Dan didn’t hesitate to jump in. He went out a few yards and bobbed around while I read some of the park signs and took pictures. Eventually he called me over to him, insisting that I wade out to where he was. I refused until he pointed out to me that while he was wearing his glasses when he first entered the water, they were no longer perched on his nose. I immediately waded out to him.

We spent the next hour looking for his glasses. The water was murky and – much to my discomfort – reddish in hue. Dan would dive down to feel the bottom with his hands and as soon as he got about a foot under the surface there was a reddish tinge on his skin that looked a lot like diluted blood. It was disturbing, to say the least. I stood still to allow him to hold on to my ankle and keep himself under longer (as well as to try to maintain our position), but it wasn’t working. We had a brilliant “CSI” moment and I went back to shore and turned on the camera. Based on where he was in the picture from my shooting position, I had him move to approximately where he was when he lost his glasses. Alas, they weren’t there. Eventually we had to concede that the lake had won.

After showering off and changing into dry clothes, we hiked along the lakeside trail while debating our options. Dan had no back up glasses or contacts, and while he could see well enough to ride his motorcycle, it could only be during clear, sunny days and he’d have to follow me. We were a country away from his spare glasses/contacts back in New Jersey, with no easy way to get them to us. If we tried to replace them here we’d have to get an eye exam and hope that an optical shop had his lenses in stock.

It was almost dark by the time we returned to the campsite and we decided that we probably ought to eat something. A restaurant near the entrance to the park closed soon, so I left Dan blind and in the waning twilight and took a quick ride to pick something up. I was nervous about animals, as it was a good 5 miles just to get out of the park. The only thing I saw was a porcupine munching along the side of the road – the first live one I’d seen the entire trip. The restaurant, M & W Restaurant & Variety, was still open but barely. In fact, the owner had technically closed 10 minute prior and let me know quite clearly that she didn’t have to serve me and even doing so was going to tax her. She told me what items I could order (no grilled food, only fried) and proceeded to give me flack about not knowing what the local time was. The signs tacked to the wall behind the counter echoed her attitude. A mouse trap nailed to the wall had a note next to it that read “For service, press here”. Another one read “If assholes could fly, this place would be an airport”. Other signs were similarly offensive and crude, but eventually some fried chicken strips and french fries ended up in a bag and she took my money. I rode back to the campsite in complete darkness, the porcupine long gone by now.

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Heading inland

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Down the road to our campsite

Danger – Spectacle-eating lake bottom! Dan is the black dot to the left of the sign at the approximate location of where his glasses disappeared.

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The scene of the crime

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Late afternoon sun on the lake

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Hiking trail along the lake shore

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Kicking back after a long day

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Dan snaps a picture when I come back with dinner

Tuesday

The next morning we woke up to the sound of a gentle rain falling on the tent. It was gentle because of the number of pine trees over us; when we eventually got into the open it was a much harder rain. We packed up our gear haphazardly, knowing that we’d find a place to stay that night where we could dry out our stuff. We then stopped at the Visitor’s Center on the way out where we left a description of Dan’s eyeglasses and contact information “just in case” someone stumbled upon them. Next we discussed our options for the nearest likely optical shop. Our goal for the day was Lunenburg, less than two hours away. In between the park and Lunenburg was the town of Bridgewater which listed numerous optical shops. We set our GPSs for Bridgewater and took off. The rain was light and thankfully let up completely before we’d been on the road for more than 20 minutes. We had made the discovery that Dan could wear my glasses to some benefit while I wore my contacts, so the ride wasn’t as difficult as it could have been for him. In fact, he took the lead when the GPS took us down a dirt road (‘shortest route’ wins again!).

We pulled into Bridgewater around 10am. The sales woman at Vogue Optical was the most helpful sales person I’d met in years. While she didn’t think that her shop could help us (no optician on duty that day), she was more than willing to call other local shops and let Dan use the computer to look up information. Even new contacts were out of the question: we found out that Nova Scotia – and a few other provinces – have a law that requires a five day check up on all contact sales. No one would sell us contacts because they knew that we would not return. If only we could get a hold of Dan’s prescription… We pondered our options, including calling his optometrist back in New Jersey and having the prescription faxed over, when Dan had a realization: he had his most recent prescription saved in his work email account. One more use of the computer and voila! Dan had printed out his prescription. The saleswoman disappeared with it into the back, returned in a couple of minutes and said “You’re in luck: we have these in stock! They’ll be ready in an hour.”

She suggested the Wildwood Cafe, a tasty place just a couple of blocks away, where we could fill our bellies and pass the time. We did just that and when we returned to the shop the new glasses were ready to go. Let’s ride!

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Rain greets us in the morning

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Fortunately, the rain gave up before we did

It was a quick trip to Lunenburg. By then the clouds had moved off slightly and the weather was pleasant. We pulled into the old fishing town and meandered through hilly streets until we found a likely looking place to put ourselves up for the night. We had found the Pelham House Bed & Breakfast. The B&B was only a block away from the reconstruction site of the Bluenose II and right on the border of the historic town boundaries. We were within walking distance of everything there was to see and we were intent on seeing it all! It was just after noon when we unloaded our bikes and draped our wet gear unceremoniously around our beautiful room. Mike and Fay, our hosts at Pelham House, were very accommodating to our needs, offering us their clothes dryer and lines to hang out our belongings. We hung up our tent and rain fly on the balcony, hoping that the breeze would dry them out even with the lack of sunshine. The B&B has two cats and a large dog, all of whom made us feel at home as we settled into the “Blue Room”. It felt good to finally get a hot shower and into clean clothes before heading out to explore the town. As we turned the first corner it began to rain.

The town was picturesque – I could see that despite the rain. I gamely lugged my camera around, desperately hoping for some charming scene to present itself. Instead, we stopped into a drug store and bought some cheap clear ponchos to try to keep ourselves as dry as possible. The rain fell harder as we looked at the Bluenose II construction site, which had disappointingly little to see, and then we walked along the waterfront and peered into shops and at boats moored at the dock. It was a charming town, with quaint little shops that sold actual useful items and not just tacky souvenirs. The buildings were brilliantly painted and offered some cheerfulness despite the gloomy weather. We had a less-than-stellar lunch at the Dockside Lobster & Seafood restaurant (again, what’s with the mediocre seafood?) before heading back out into the rain. A cute cat kept making appearances and was friendly enough for me to see that he was a polydactyl feline. Dan says that they’re common in maritime towns because they’re better at catching mice and rats, but I think that it was just “one of those cats”. By the time we’d seen most of what the town had offered (including some very tasty desserts next door to the post office – they got that much right) the rain had tapered off and we went back to the B&B for a short nap. It’d been a surprisingly long day. We also moved our gear off of the balcony, where it had been thoroughly washed by the rain, and hung it up to dry in the basement. When we eventually got moving again we walked back into town and had dinner at Magnolia’s Grill, a very busy and good restaurant. We had to wait 30 minutes before they could seat us, but it was worth it. The display of magazines and articles that had featured Magnolia’s was posted up on the door – it was an impressive display to be sure!

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Pelham House B&B in Lunnenberg, NS

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We were given the Blue Room and Ben made sure that I felt at home

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Our room, after we unpacked the bikes

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Dan and I check out the construction of the Bluenose II

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Not much to see from outside the haul

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Detail of technique and craftsmanship

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Sights in Lunnenberg

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Sheltered bay of Lunenburg

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Sights in Lunnenberg. I love the Canadian customs building!

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Colorful buildings

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Lunenburg Academy

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Back on the waterfront

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Lunnenberg cat

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This one could be yours!

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Thematic door knocker

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Another door knocker

Wednesday

The morning taunted us with sunshine. Sure, now that it was time to go, the sun came out and made for a pleasant scene as we re-packed the bikes. Our gear had eventually dried and it was nice to pack the bike properly. Everything rolled back into its place and after a filling breakfast with our hosts and four other guests of the B&B, we headed west.

The plan was to stay off the main highway across Nova Scotia for as long as possible, but allowing for some use of it simply to let us to make time. We took as many back roads as possible – including a disused section of the road we were on. This was a bit of surprise to me, as the road we were on was a nice back road and I saw no other roads on my GPS (I wasn’t zoomed in very close). I merely assumed that Dan had pulled onto this gravel road to adjust something or ask me a question. But no – he pulled off and kept on going. The road climbed a hill and there were deep ruts and large rocks to navigate. I bounced and slithered my way up to a flat spot where Dan was waiting. This was apparently the original road from the one we had turned off, obviously not used very often but still passable. The rest of the shortcut was downhill and then through a lot of puddles. I plowed through the middle of them, knowing that the odds were that it was just a low spot of gravel and no real obstacles would be hidden from sight. We eventually came back to the pavement and took more back roads as far as Truro, NS. But from there our options were limited and we stuck to the TCH all the way to the Canso Causeway to Cape Breton. It was boring. While the weather remained dry, it was cool and overcast. Traffic was enough to be noticed but not enough to slow us down. I was looking forward to getting on to Cape Breton and enjoying some excellent views.

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Crossing back over Nova Scotia

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Fertile farmland

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Disused highway (a nice section)

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Checking out the scenery

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Mud and rocks and puddles, oh my!

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Boring roads north

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BMW with…tassels?

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Canso Causeway

We stayed on the TCH up through Baddock and points north. The road was not bad, but not up the expectations that I was holding for the “highlands of Nova Scotia”. We took a turn off the TCH onto a little road marked “312”. This led us to Englishtown where a ferry awaited. Oh! A ferry! I had no idea, as I assumed that on this trip any chance of another ferry was long gone. Dan pulled into the line and called over to me. We had no cash by this time (American or Canadian) and the sign strictly said “Cash Only”, even though the fare was only $5.25 each. I think that the line for the ferry was longer than the water crossing itself. There were no towns around us for miles and even my GPS said that it would be six miles before we found any ATMS. Oh well, there was an alternative: the Cabot Trail itself that went around the bay. We’d just be a little later to the campground.

The detour turned out to be a blessing in disguise: the Cabot Trail didn’t waste any time in giving us a fun ride. The road took turns in being smooth as glass and as rough as a dirt road, all the while flying around bays and inlets. There were very few towns to impede our progress and the one RV that was in our way kindly moved over to allow us a safe pass (Thank you, Mr. Oregon RV!) We eventually arrived at the town of Ingonish and started to look for a place for dinner. Our first option (The Thirsty Hiker) had been recommended to me but it was so sterile and empty that we couldn’t bring ourselves to stay. Shortly after that we officially entered the Cape Breton Highlands National Park, where the ranger at the entrance mentioned that the nearest Park campground was closed but that 10 miles down the road the Broadmore site would be open. Through one of those flukes of boundaries, we left the park territory again. Our second restaurant option, the Coastal Restaurant and Pub, held great promise based on its roadside advertising but proved to be a disappointment when we saw the “Closed” sign on the door. We were afraid that we would run out of options so we took the next place we found, the Seascape Coastal Retreat. Sadly, it was both expensive and disappointing. We left after cleaning our plates (we were hungry, after all) and headed on down to Broadmore Campground. Dan went ahead to secure our site while I doubled back to grab some firewood. We’d have a fire tonight! It was cool and overcast but at least dry as we set up our site. We took a walk down to the shore and enjoyed the smell of the ocean and the feel of the soft sand. There wasn’t much going on in the campground so we took to the tent early in anticipation of a busy day!

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Welcome to Cape Breton

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Random accident. Kids these days…

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Nice ferry alternative

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Except for the construction

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I picked up some firewood for a nice campfire

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Camping – you’re doing it wrong!

Thursday

We woke up to rain. It tapered off for a little bit, but that was just a tease. We packed up our camp and got a few miles down the road where we made a stop at a leather shop to see what they had. The tiny shop was crowded with leather goods and visitors, but the people eventually left and it was quiet again. Dan found a belt to replace his worn one and we chose a nice leather bowl for a place to toss our keys in our kitchen. A few more miles down the road and we stopped to take in the view of the coast from a scenic pullout. But that was pretty much the end of our scenic loop of the Cabot Trail. The rain and clouds were our constant companions for the next six hours. I could tell that this must be a beautiful stretch of road on a clear day, but as it was, I was lucky to see around the next bend or across a valley. I grimly chuckled at the number of scenic outlooks that we went by, sometimes barely even able to see the sign itself. There would be no scenic views today.

To add insult to injury, my waterproof Fieldsheer pants let me down. Just like the first pair I had bought, the warranty replacement pants leaked directly where I sat on the seat. It was a cold puddle that worked its way inside to soak the rest of my clothes. Dan was also soaked, but through his own fault. He had brought TourMaster rain gear but he left the pants packed away. We hurried through the park, racing through fog and rain and up and down mountains. It was mutually appreciated when we pulled into the Tim Hortons in Chéticamp. Hot chocolate was necessary!

As we parked the bikes and pulled our maps and GPSs off to bring inside in preparation of planning our next leg, two motorcyclists came out of Timmy’s and sauntered across the parking lot towards us. They introduced themselves and we started talking about the weather, bikes and the park. Eventually we all decided that standing outside in the pouring rain was silly and they followed us back inside.

We spent probably an hour talking with Doug and Simon from Vermont and New Hampshire. It was a much-needed break and we enjoyed the company. They were very talkative and were just about to start their loop around the Cabot Trail. I felt bad letting them know that they probably wouldn’t see much. When we finally got up and headed for the door, there were huge puddles under the table where we had been sitting. Outside it was still raining.

As Dan and I headed south, the views and the rain tapered off. The countryside was pleasant enough and the ocean was always on our right. At Margaree Forks we had the choice of cutting across back east to Baddock or keeping south to Inverness. Judging from the clouds to our east and our recent experience with the fog coming through the mountains at the tip of Cape Breton, I decided that we’d be better off with cool winds and visibility than possible fog and rain in crossing back through the mountains. We passed through small towns and the weather stayed dry. Tempting dirt roads were called out by my GPS but between the rain, our soaked gear and it being the latter half of the day, I didn’t feel like it was a good idea to press our luck. We trudge on, back across the Canso Causeway and on to a random destination of Amherst. It was the first likely looking place for us to hole up in while we dried out and made our plan of attack for the next day. Fortunately the GPS fairies were on the ball and took us on some lovely back roads between Salt Springs and Amherst. Dirt roads, fast farm roads, a couple of esses as we crossed stream valleys… and the sun even made an appearance. Dan made a random stop along a farm road to check out a plaque in a field. He reported that it told of a girl named Anna Swan who was born there in 1846 and had quite a notable life.

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Cabot Trail views the next morning. The beach below is the one we walked to from our campsite

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Overcast, but at least dry. Looking east along the Cabot Trail

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The shot

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No wildlife viewed today

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We’re having fun!

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Dan is somewhat patient with me.

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Ah, but look at the *view!*

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The roads!

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More rain-soaked roads

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Yet another scenic view point I won’t be stopping at

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I’m sure on a clear day this is spectacular (you can see the road stretched out in the distance)

Continue to Part 2

Tell me what you think! I want to know!