Nova Scotia Day 2
Saturday August 18, 2007
Well I woke up around 5 and unfortunately it was still raining. So I made some oatmeal and had the rest of my pinwheel from the previous night. I was thinking waiting until later in the morning to get going so I could see if the rain would let up. However I checked the weather and it was supposed to rain on and off all day. So I thought I could get wet later and lose 3 hours of riding time, or get wet now and get riding. So that's what I decided. I packed up the bike and got moving. Today was the day the new Garmin 2730 with XM and the MP3 player would prove its worth. I don't normally like listening to music while I ride, but the music helped the pass the time. I was hoping to make it to St John or so for the day. However, when I made the border at 10, I was thinking I could perhaps make the southern end of Cape Breton.
The border bridge at Calais Maine.
It was still 478 miles from the border and I had already ridden 180 or so miles. I decided I would give it a shot. I stopped in St Stephen, New Brunswick for breakfast/ early lunch at the Red Rooster.
I had the breakfast special with eggs, homefries, toast and bacon. Apparently up there you have a choice of bacon, sausage, ham, or baloney. Baloney? After breakfast I got back on the road. As I was riding it hit me. I was doing it. I was finally doing the trip I'd been talking about for 10 years. Solo no less. I just stuck to the highway since it was raining and I wasn't in the mood for site seeing in the rain. I made it to St John in no time and it cleared up so I keep going to Moncton. I kept going. I would stop every 100 or so miles for a quick break and gas. Finally near Pictou I looked on the GPS for a place to stay near Port Hawkesbury Cape Breton. I found a place that had small one room cabins and it was 20 miles past Port Hawkesbury. So on I went, on, and on, and on. At first it seemed cool because it was farther than I had ever gone in a day. Then it just began to drag on. It was raining really hard. I finally got to Port Hawkesbury. Then it was just 30 more miles to my cabin and the rain was letting up.
I stopped along Bras d'Or Lake to take a picture. I didn't take many today.
I finally got there and there were no cabin. The place was supposed to be in Inverness but I was in Whycocomagh. What's going on? So I called the place. They were by Cheticamp! Ahhh! That's on the other end of the island 60 kilometers away! So off I went again and of course it started pouring. Then it got dark. It was raining so hard I was getting wet through my jacket. I finally pulled in at around 8pm their time. I had been riding 13 hours with only a half hour break and over 600 miles. The woman took pity on me and sent me to my cabin and said we could do the paper work in the morning. So I got to my cabin, it was a small one room place but it was warm and dry. I took and hot shower and hung up my gear. I made not one but two packages of delicious Ramen Pride. I also made myself some hot tea. That hit the spot. I was so sore I ached all over. Then I got into bed my hands were just throbbing. I fell asleep in seconds.
Here's a picture of my cabin the next morning
The Tiny Kitchenette
From the Outside
More to come tomorrow...
looking for a coal mine
Nova Scotia Day 3 - The day of dispair
Sunday August 19, 2007
I woke up around 7 and I could hear the wind outside and it didn't look very nice out. I was nice and warm. Dry too. I was contemplating staying in the cabin another day and just checking out Cheticamp for the day. I decided to give a couple guys a call from the BMW MOA since they were getting together in Larry's River for the Salty Fog Ride and were going to ride the Cabot Trail too. I gave Touringo a call and told him I was in Cheticamp. They were going to head to Baddeck for lunch. They would be traveling with a green K-bike towing a trailer and two yellow GSs. So I decided to hook up with them and ride up the Cabot Trail to Meat Cove since I wanted to camp there too.
I packed up and checked out of my cabin. I took a couple pictures on the coast of Cheticamp along the Gulf of St Lawrence.
I arrived in Baddeck around 11:30 so I decided to check out the Alexander Graham Bell Musuem. I parked up on the hill and walked around.
There was a pretty cool yacht on Bras d'Or Lake across the way.
I was a little hungry so I went over to the Tea Room to get some tea and I got a cookie too. Lots of tea rooms in Nova Scotia I noticed. So I chilled out for about an hour then I started to wonder if I missed the other guys. So I drove back down to the main drag and I stopped by the visitor center and looked around. I asked about Meat Cove and checked out a couple shops. It was almost 1:30 and I was thinking I must have missed them. I was just about to put on my helmet and get ready and I saw a Beemer round the corner, and there were the two yellow GSs. It had to be them.
This is Bob with the Glasses, Ron looking at a map, and Mary.
Here Paul parking his GS
Apparently they took a "short cut" across some dirt roads that added about 45 minutes onto their trip.
We decided to get some lunch. We ate at some Asian Fish Fry joint. It seemed very bizarre. I got the burger and fries, I think everyone else but Paul had fish fry while he had Chinese food.
We finished up and hit the road for the Cabot Trail. Bob led the way followed by the two GSs then me bringing up the rear. Not too long into the ride I began to realize what all the commotion on the Cabot Trail is about.
Goofing around at one of the rest stops
The views just kept coming
We kept on riding as we were heading for Meat Cove to camp for the night. We were trying to find some beer for the evening but the stores are few and far between up there. We stopped at Ingonish for gas and finally at Cape North at a small general store. We all bought a little something to eat. I picked up some Chicken soup and a sandwich. Bob and Mary bought stuff for good ol' PB&J while Ron and Paul both bought sandwiches,however, no beer. So off we went toward Meat Cove.
I have to say the road to Meat Cove wasn't nearly as rugged as people made it out to be. Only the last 8 km was dirt the rest is paved although it is bumpy.
The view on the way to Meat Cove
The sign says it all!
We took some pictures of the bikes
Then, as we were about to remount , I noticed something, something missing.
Can you spot what it is? Thats right! My left saddle bag is missing! Ahhhh!!! Where is it? It must have come off somewhere along the along the Cabot Trail.
I decided I needed to go back to look for it. Ron said he would go with me. We ran back to Cape North my eyes quickly scanning all points on the road, hoping to see my lost case. Nothing. I called the Highlands Park service and filed a lost and found report. Then dejected Ron and I headed back to Meat Cove. I appreciated Rob doubling back with me to far. I was pretty bummed out. Not only are those cases expensive but it had my clothes in it so I had nothing to change into once at camp.
It all looks so familiar!
Nice shots. Looking forward to next post.
Nova Scotia Day 4 Part II
The infamous "Cabot Trail" shot that all the travel guides have.
See I really was there!
Then we continued on toward Cheticamp and my low fuel light came on so I was pleased to get moving along. All the back and forth used up a lot of gas I guess. As we were riding along some cars were pulled over and I noticed this!
The funny thing about seeing it is that I was lamenting to everyone that morning how I had hardly seen any wildlife. Whenever I see everyone else photos they have pictures of bears, moose, eagles, all sorts of things. Well I finally got my moose photo.
We stopped in Cheticamp for gas and some breakfast. It was past 11 though so I suppose it was really lunch or perhaps brunch. They weren't really ready to be open yet but they did open the dinning room for us. I think most of us got the fish fry and it was pretty good. I cant remember what the name of the place was though.
After finishing lunch we finsihed our ride on the Cabot Trail and headed for the Celtic region and rode the Ceilidh Trail. Ceilidh (pronounced kay-lee) is Gaelic for party or gathering. Then we stopped by the Glenora Distillery in Glenville, Inverness County, Nova Scotia.
They are the only Single Malt Whiskey distillery in North America. They give daily tours and its $7 CAD including a nice shot of the 10 year whiskey. It was a pretty good tour and very informative. For instance I learned that Single Malt starts out as the same receipe as beer and the distilling process is where the difference comes in. Second, I also didn't know the only different between a Single Malt and Scotch is that Scotland has a patent on the word "Scotch". Only whiskey from Scotland can be called "Scotch" similar to how Champagne can only come from the Champagne region in France, otherwise its a sparkling white wine.
We went and paid for our tour but there was about 30 minutes to kill before the start of the tour. So we decided to check out the pub. They had some kids playing music.
The bar was pretty nice
Paul decided to nap!
This is the stream that is the water source for the whiskey and part of the reason they built the distillery here
The tour guide explained the differences between single malt and blended whiskeys as well as Scotch.
No smoking allowed
The wort tanks,
inside the tank,
the fermentation tank,
and of course the distilling tanks.
Then is was time for samples!
I wasn't sure if it was good or not since I am not a big whiskey drinker but I was assured by Bob that it was. I bought some bottles as gifts and then we hit the road again.
We rode down to Port Hawkesbury and stopped by the Walmart there so I could by a new wardrobe to replace what was lost in my lost saddlebag. I picked up a pair of Levis, a basic T-shirt, skivvies, and some toiletries.
Shopping mission completed and it was onto Bob and Mary's place in Larry's River.
Mary grew up in this house and they are currently renovating it as their second home. They had a photo album of the work they've done and it unreal how much they've done.
The sun was starting to set.
This is the little dirt road we came in on.
Nova Scotia Day 6 Part I
Wednesday August 22, 2007
I woke up about 6 am and Bob was up as well. He made us a little impromptu breakfast which I greatly appreciated. I knew he had to get to work so I got ready as quickly as I could, showered, and packed up. I said goodbye to Bob and thanked him for everything. I wished Paul good luck on his journey back to Ballston Spa, my birthplace, as he had to catch the Cat Ferry. I hit the road once again solo about 8:30.
My first tourist stop was the Halifax Citadel.
"Constructed between 1828 and 1856, the Halifax Citadel is an impressive star-shaped masonry structure complete with defensive ditch, earthen ramparts, musketry gallery, powder magazine, garrison cells, guard room, barracks and school room."
Down in the fort.
A regiment practicing.
One of the two buildings inside
Looking at these walls you can see why no one ever bothered to attempt taking the Citadel
The huge 7 ton canons on these swivel tracks probably also had something to do with it.
Looking out to the Harbor you could see some Navy Frigates and Destroyers.
I could also see part of British Upholder Class Sub.
The fort is quite large.
The other building in the fort. These younger guys practiced without weapons.
This gives you an idea of how high the walls are.
At one point while walking on the top of the walls I noticed a little heard path in the grass up to the top of the walls. I started to climb up when I heard, "STEP DOWN FROM THE GRASS PLEASE!". Whoops! I got scolded. I hopped down and waved. He hollered again, "THANK YOU!" I felt like a big dork but later on I heard a few more people getting scolded. Whew, I wasn't the only one.
There was a bag piper during the raising of the flags.
Some other cannons around.
Twin gun rooms.
I looked around a little more, then checked out the gift shop, then I decided it was time to take off. My next stop would be the Maritime Museum down on Water Street...
Nova Scotia Day 6 Part 3 - A Stranger's Random Act of Kindness
I had done everything I wanted to do in Halifax so now was the decision on what to do. I was thinking about visiting Peggy's Cove, Luenenberg, and work my way down part of the Lighthouse Trail. A few people had said Peggy's Cove wasn't that great. I checked the GPS and it was only about 18 miles away so I decided to go there anyway. I was so close, why not. It was a really nice drive out there along the coast but took longer than I thought, about 45 minutes, considering it was only 18 miles. I got there and its a tiny little fishing town although very picturesque. As I was driving in I was following a GS1200 and an F650GS. I saw a few places I might like to take pictures but there was a number of cars behind me and really no place to pull off so I went straight to the lighthouse figuring I could stop on the way out. I parked right behind the couple on the GSs and we compared notes on where we've been. I had actually seen them a few times during my trip. I noticed a number of times during my stay in Nova Scotia I kept seeing the same cars.
The lighthouse was very pretty and did not disappoint.
While walking on some of the rocks I came across this plaque which I found amusing.
The waves were crashing up and I could see the need for the warning.
One more of the lighthouse
I took a few more shots near the lighthouse and went back toward the village to the area I saw that I wanted to get some pictures at.
Here's a boat resting on its hull during low tide.
After taking this photo,
I walked back to my bike and started putting my camera away. As I was doing this a man came up to me and said "Nice Bike." I told him thanks and he said, "Nice saddlebag, that must come in handy." I said, "Yeah it was even better when I had two. I lost the other one 4 days ago on Sunday up in Cape Breton on the Cabot Trail somewhere." He asked what it looked like and I said, "Well its just like this one. Its black, oh and on the back it has a circular BMW MOA sticker that has North America on it." Then he says, "I have it in my car." WHAT!!! He said he saw it bouncing down the road on Sunday and picked it up figuring it had to belong to a motorcyclist. He'd been carrying it since then not knowing what to do with it and hoping he would come across me. He saw me taking pictures then noticed I only had one saddlebag and figured it had to be mine. I was stunned. I barely knew what to say.
I thanked him and tried to buy him lunch but he wouldn't have any of it.
Here Mike and his wife.
So 4 days and about 500 miles later I got my saddlebag back!! I am still stunned. Remember that Karma thing from the day before? If I had left then, I would have missed Mike, and never got my bag back. Amazing.
I installed my newly recovered road rashed saddlebag, and took off for Luenenburg. I would weave along the coast here and there sometimes hopping on the highway. I arrived in Lunenburg and lucked out that the Bluenose II was in shore. The original Bluenose was a Canadian schooner from Nova Scotia, a celebrated racing ship and a symbol of the province. The name "bluenose" originated as a nick-name for Nova Scotians. Her daughter, Bluenose II, was launched at Lunenburg on July 24, 1963, built to original plans by many of the same workers. She cost $300,000 to build and was financed by the Oland Family as a marketing tool for their brewery operations in Halifax and Saint John. Her popularity led to her being sold to the government of Nova Scotia which in turn gave possession of the ship to the Bluenose II Preservation Trust.
The ship is gorgeous.
Look at the woodwork.
After checking out the area it was time for some lunch. I stopped at a place and got a Propeller Cream Soda which is supposedly all natural, and a BBQ chicken pizza.
I left Lunenburg after lunch and wound my way down the coast occasionally hopping on the highway, sometimes taking the lighthouse route. I decided since it was my last night in Nova Scotia I wanted to find a place to camp on the ocean and stop riding kind of early. I found the place I was looking for. They had an ocean side site available for just $19!! Now that's why I love camping.
Look at the view!
I basically just hung out on the beach. The water was too cold for me for swimming although I did see some people doing it. It was nice to finally put on clean clothes and not have to wear my boots around camp. I snapped some pics around the beach at sunset.
Then I snapped this one of the moon.
Then I settled down in my Kermit Chair and watched some Caveman TV and thought about how amazingly lucky I want to get my chair back. Simply amazing. All in all it was a great day and I had a fantastic time in Nova Scotia.
More to come tomorrow, Day 7.