Atlantic Maritimes & Northern New England

 

Fall 2007

 

Denis Kertz, ©2007

 

Day 1: Sun, Sep 02, 2007 - Naperville, IL to Halifax, NS

My Halifax flight was at 1:45 pm so I did my regular Sunday morning 25 mile round trip ride to Bob Evans for breakfast.  I didn’t stay too long because I didn’t want to push my luck and have a flat tire or something that would delay my return.  After breakfast it was just a matter of closing the house and then Dave picked me up for the ride to the airport.

 

I arrived at the airport in plenty of time to check in for my one-way, non-stop United flight to Halifax where I had a pretty good deal for $170.  Because I had a bike box, I got directed to a special oversized check-in terminal.  I had to wait because one attendant went off duty and his replacement was late.  One of the porters tried to get me checked in with a regular attendant and I even gave him my credit card to pay $85 for the bike box.  Somehow that didn’t work but the replacement oversized attendant showed up and I went back to him.  For whatever reason, he didn’t charge me anything for the bike box so it looked like I got lucky, and I would gladly wait the extra 15-20 minutes anytime it took to have my bike go free.

 

It was an uneventful fight to Halifax, right on time at 3 hours.  I got through customs quickly.  The big fear with traveling with a bike is the fear that the bike will not show up or be damaged.  So I thought I was home free when I saw my bike box was already waiting for me in the baggage area.  My duffel bag showed up shortly but not my two rear panniers that were strapped together to form a luggage unit.  So I filled out a lost baggage claim and the attendant seemed confident that they would deliver it before I left for Yarmouth tomorrow but it was still an uneasy feeling.  This was an ironic situation.  I had originally planned to fly to Maine, visit Acadia National Park, and then take the ferry from Bar Harbor to Yarmouth.  However, flying to Maine would have required a plane transfer so when I discovered I could fly non-stop to Halifax and it was even a little less expensive it seemed like a no-brainer decision.  So it was ironic that my bike box, which was my primary consideration, arrived unscathed and my panniers didn’t make the trip.

 

I tried to exchange some money for Canadian dollars in the airport but the exchange computer was down.  However, I was able to buy a ticket on the Airporter Shuttle to Halifax for $18 plus $6 for the bike box with my credit card.  It was good timing as I made the 7:35 pm shuttle with time to spare or I would have had to wait another 40 minutes.  The airport is about 20 miles outside the Halifax metro area so it was a 30 minute ride to the Marriott Courtyard where I had a free night courtesy of my Marriott reward points.  Interestingly, the morning’s Sunday Chicago Tribune travel section had an article on Nova Scotia and recommended this Courtyard, which had only opened a couple of months ago.  When I checked in at the Courtyard I mentioned my lost luggage might be delivered tomorrow and the desk clerk noted that was happening with some frequency lately and luggage was getting delivered days late, not encouraging news.

 

After settling in my room I walked a couple blocks to The Old Triangle, an Irish bar the shuttle driver recommended.  I had a decent meal but it was pricey for a sandwich and beer at $20.  However, there was live music with a lone guitarist singing Irish folks and other popular songs and that made the meal cost somewhat more palatable.

 

Back in my room I assembled my bicycle which went well except it appeared I left my cable ties at home.  I would have to hunt up some replacements tomorrow, Labor Day Monday, when most stores were probably closed.

Day 2: Mon, Sep 03, 2007 - Halifax, NS to Yarmouth, NS

I walked down along the wharf in the morning, headed to the casino, where I expected to be able to get Canadian dollars, and looking for a breakfast place.  The casino claimed they had a competitive rate but I only got $101 CDN for $100 US.  Then I walked up the hill to the Citadel, at one time a fortress protecting the city and harbor.  It had good views of the surrounding area.  On my walk back down the hill I didn’t see any breakfast place so I stopped at a Tim Horton’s, Canada’s version of Starbucks, and had a light breakfast.  Then I checked out some more of the wharf area.

 

Near noon I called United and was reassured to learn my panniers had been located in Ottawa but there was no kind of delivery schedule.  I checked out of my room at noon, the check out time, and waited for my shuttle pickup to Yarmouth at 2-3 pm.  The shuttle arrived at 2:30 pm.  The driver wanted to put my bike in the back of the van behind the last seat but it didn’t quite fit, which was just as well since we had a full load and too much luggage to fit the bike in back anyway.  So the driver laid the bike on its side on top of the van and secured it with 2 nylon straps.

 

We already had a passenger, picked up another on the way to the airport who we had to wait 15-20 minutes for, and picked up 3 more at the airport with a final pickup planned in Middleton.  From the airport we rode across Nova Scotia to the west coast and down the west coast.  I noticed on the flight in yesterday and the shuttle today that Nova Scotia is heavily forested with evergreens and poplars.  Near the west coast there were occasional farms with some clearings.

 

We made one stop along the way for a break and then the driver forgot his Middleton pickup.  South of Digby we left the main highway and dropped off 4 of the riders in 3 stops.  These folks were Acadians who spoke French and English and this area was Acadian.  Then we rejoined the main highway and dumped the other passenger to a waiting car along the road.  I was the last passenger and got dropped off at the Yarmouth Backpacker where I had a single room reserved for $38, about half the price of any motel in Yarmouth.

 

After getting situated I called United again and got the same status as earlier.  The attendant told me the luggage was marked to be expedited so I asked why it wasn’t in Halifax yet but the attendant had no answer for that.  She couldn’t find any schedule for getting the luggage to Halifax but called the Halifax airport and was told it was scheduled for delivery by the Cloud 9 shuttle to the backpacker.  No schedule was given but I presumed that meant an evening delivery since the regular shuttles don’t leave Halifax until about 3 pm.

 

After that mixed news, I walked to the Ruddle’s bar on the waterfront, one of the few places open for food on this Labor Day holiday.

Day 3: Tue, Sep 04, 2007 - Yarmouth, NS

I slept well despite the uncertainty of my panniers.  The backpacker was conveniently located near downtown and I walked to a breakfast place I had spotted last night.  I had a so-so breakfast and read the newspaper.  One of the interesting things on these trips is to read newspapers and see what is going on in other areas of the world.  Since this is the start of school, one article noted there was a 10% decline in school enrollment, attributed to Nova Scotia’s aging population.

 

After breakfast I returned to the backpacker and then headed out on a shopping tour.  First, I needed some cable ties since I somehow managed to leave what I had packed at home.  I stopped at a hardware store on Pleasant Street but they had no selection.  I continued on to the main drag and found a Dollar Store with a good selection, a place I wouldn’t have picked for cable ties, and got 2 packs for $2.

 

Yesterday, I discovered my sunglasses were missing the left nose piece and one of the lenses was scratched.  A visit to a Wal-Mart got me a decent pair of polarized sunglasses for $27.  Close by was a Sobey’s, a major grocery chain, where I did my first food shopping.  Then I walked to Main Street and back home for a loop trip that must have been about 4 miles.

 

Not having walked enough, I walked back downtown to the Visitor Center and got some useful information.  They had a bank of pay phones so I called the United 800 number.  I got an agent with a difficult accent who couldn’t spell Halifax and didn’t understand what a backpacker accommodation was – she kept asking for my room number.  At first she couldn’t give me any more information than my panniers were in Ottawa – not encouraging.  However, she called around and eventually learned they had made it to the Halifax airport – a very important step.  I learned that they were supposed to be put on a Yarmouth shuttle much like the one I took yesterday and arrive in the evening.  That was encouraging but I didn’t let myself get too excited, remembering that my shuttle driver forgot a pickup yesterday.  Of the 3 United agents I had talked to about my panniers, only 1 was decent.  One was practically unintelligible due to a poor connection and she couldn’t spell Nova Scotia.  Two didn’t know what a backpacker accommodation was.  One apparently had never heard of Halifax before and couldn’t spell it.

 

At least encouraged, I stopped by a used book store and picked up a book for $3.  I walked to the library for an Internet session.  On my way back home I exchanged the rest of my US money and got a measly 2% more.  Just a few weeks ago the rate was +5%.

 

Back home I completed getting my bike ready.  I put on the front rack and fenders and used my new cable ties to secure my rear fender.  Then I locked my bike up in a shed where I had stored it over night.  Then I walked downtown a final time and ate at a Subway but it wasn’t cheap.  It cost $10 for a foot long and drink.  I decided there was no great breakfast deal in town so I bought some milk and bananas on my way home, planning to stay put for the rest of the day.

 

My panniers arrived by shuttle just before 7:30 pm.  I had visions of them arriving damaged but they looked OK.  They were tagged with an “expedited” baggage tag from Air Canada – making me wonder what would have happened if they had not been expedited.  I spent the next hour repacking everything for loading on the bike the next morning.  Everything seemed to pack better than I expected, leaving me wondering if something was missing.  Of course, the true test was in the morning when everything had to fit on the bike.

 

Earlier, I paid Cathie, my backpacker hostess, $38 and got a receipt to charge United for an extra day of lodging due to their baggage mishandling.  Cathie and her husband, who was in the movie production business and out of town, had been running the backpacker for 4 years.  They typically shut down at the end of October but were thinking mid-October since this has been a slower year.  I learned Cathie was Australian and from Sydney so I told her about my cross Australia trip in 2002.

Day 4: Wed, Sep 05, 2007 - Yarmouth, NS to Shelburne, NS [146.9, 7:57:58, 11.4 mph]

For the first day I was surprised how fast I got away.  I ate breakfast at the backpacker and then packed my bike.  I was off by 8:00 on a cool morning, wearing my tights and windbreaker.  It was an easy route out of town with no traffic until I picked up the road that went by the airport.  There was no shoulder but once I got past the airport traffic was not an issue.

 

I started riding on what is called the Lighthouse Route and rode through a wooded area with little housing until I reached the Pubnico Harbor area.  Then small, trim houses were sprinkled along the road, mostly white with some pastel colors.  Some houses had stacks of lobster traps outside, attesting to the importance of fishing in this area.

 

From Yarmouth I was headed southeast to Shag Harbor where I turned the corner and started heading northeast towards Halifax.  The wind seemed to be from the west or northwest and was helping until I turned the corner and then it started working against me.  There was virtually nothing in the way of services until I neared Barrington where I stopped for a snack.  Then the road turned ugly for about 4K where the road was prepared for resurfacing.  It was also the lunch hour with quite a bit of traffic although the traffic proved courteous all day.

 

Shortly after Barrington the Lighthouse Route veered away from the main highway and I enjoyed quiet, country side riding.  This was a U shaped route that led away from the main highway and then returned.  When I got near the highway again I had the option of another longer U shaped section or taking the highway straight to Shelburne.  One of my goals for the day was to make this a modest ride and to not kill myself.  I was already at 120K and at a point I would have preferred to stop but there was no campground or services nearby.  So I elected to take the straight shot to Shelburne.

 

I was dragging some at this point.  I had some headwind and there were some modest hills on a roller coaster ride to Shelburne.  Not too far outside of town there was as sign for a campground at a turnoff but it was 10K further so I continued into town.  Shelburne had a visitor center and I learned as I expected that there was no nearby camping.  Since Shelburne was a tourist area, the best I could do was a $60 motel.

 

After checking in at the motel I walked to a place that had pizza.  It was crowded, usually a good sign.  They had a lasagna special so I chose that for a decent meal.

 

A harder day than I wanted for a first day.

Day 5: Thu, Sep 06, 2007 - Shelburne, NS to Hunts Point, NS [135.2, 7:18:44, 11.5 mph]

I learned a couple of interesting things last night.  First there was a campground almost in town but it closed the day after Labor Day.  Second, the weather channel was predicting heavy rain for Monday, so that sounded like a good choice for a layover day.

 

I packed up and rode to breakfast where I ate last night since I knew they had pancakes and I had a 20% off coupon from the motel.  The pancakes were fairly large and OK and with my coupon I got away for $5, the first good deal of the trip.

 

I was off by 8:00.  The Lighthouse Route included two U loops of 35K and 36K whereas the straight line distance was about 25K.  It was nice riding on a quiet country road again.  I got excited when I saw a stack of lobster traps with what I thought were red lobsters along the waterfront.  Later, I realized they couldn’t have been lobsters since they aren’t red until cooked and they wouldn’t have been sitting out of the water unattended.  I also had a view of the small Sandy Point lighthouse, my first lighthouse view.

 

When the first U loop made it back to the main highway there was an antique store with snacks so I bought some milk and had a 2nd breakfast of cereal.  The 2nd U loop took me down to Lockeport where I stopped for a little lunch at a convenience store.  Then I rode through town before continuing the loop on a continuation of nice riding with little traffic.

 

Before returning to the main highway the loop junctioned with another road where I expected to turn right based on my map but a Lighthouse Route sign pointed left.  I uneasily went left before concluding that couldn’t be the right direction.  After I turned around I flagged down a motorist who confirmed I was headed in the right direction, but I wasted about 10K on this diversion.

 

When I got back to the main highway I was stuck on it for about 25K.  Like yesterday, it was harder riding with some fair sized hills and noisy traffic but a decent shoulder.  I left the highway at Summerville Centre on the way to Liverpool where I expected to find a campground.  There was a sit-in/takeout seafood restaurant so I stopped for a fair fish combo dinner that cost $15.

 

Just up the road I stopped at a campground and got a tent site for $25.  From what I had seen, tent sites cost $20-25 so camping was a bargain only compared to $60+ motels.  At least the campground owner had a droll sense of humor.  But so far Nova Scotia was proving to be no bargain with a weakened US dollar at almost par value with the Canadian dollar, the loonie, and no great accommodation or food values with the exception of the morning’s breakfast.

Day 6: Fri, Sep 07, 2007 - Hunts Point, NS to Graves Island, NS [145.7, 7:51:35, 11.5 mph]

I packed up and rode into Liverpool, about 10K.  I didn’t think I was going to find a breakfast place but found one when I thought I was at the edge of town.  It was a quaint little restaurant/book store that was part of an Inn.  The breakfast was just OK and overpriced, especially compared to yesterday.  When I read the newspaper I got the bad news that light rain was predicted for Sunday and heavy rain for Monday and Tuesday.  Looks like I may have to lay over 2 days although one day wouldn’t be bad for a rest day.

 

I left at 9:00 and immediately found a McDonalds and a Tim Horton’s around the corner.  It was cloudy with the sun trying to break through.  The road was still nice with little traffic.  I detoured off the route slightly at Port Medway and saw another lighthouse.  After continuing on I came back to the main highway.  A Lighthouse Route sign said to go left but learning from yesterday I turned right, the way I knew I had to go.  Then I turned off the main highway to go down the east side of the Medway harbor.

 

This led to a more touristy, resort type of area with larger and better looking homes, some of them probably vacation and second homes for folks from Halifax.  There looked to be a nice campground on the water at Rissers Beach but I was only about half way on the day’s ride.  A little further on I reached the mouth of the LaHave River and turned to go up the west side of the river.  At West LaHave there was a cable ferry that I took across the river and it was free for cyclists.  Without the ferry I would have had to ride quite a ways to a bridge to cross the river and come down the other side of the river.  The ferry saved me about an hour or so of riding.

 

As I rode to Lunenburg, a historic site, the traffic picked up quite a bit, partly because of the area and partly because it was a Friday afternoon.  With the increased traffic riding deteriorated somewhat on a road with no shoulder.  I stopped in Lunenburg for some groceries and then moved on.  After Lunenburg I started the ride around Mahone Bay.  The town of Mahone Bay was an obvious tourist town.  On the outskirts of town I stopped at a visitor center to discuss my campground options.  Everything else was $100/night or more.  There was a campground 5K outside of town and a provincial park about 30K further.

 

It was a pretty uninteresting ride the rest of the way to Graves Island Provincial Park but the park was pretty nice.  As the name suggests, the park was a small island joined to the mainland via a short causeway.  It would have been nice if I had gotten a prime site overlooking the water but I got a decent site for $19k, a somewhat better deal than last night because it was less expensive and a more scenic location.

 

Since I started riding I have been plagued with some wrist pain.  This started right off the bat riding out from Yarmouth.  My wrist tended to start out OK but gets worse as the day wears on.  This seems to be aggravated by my twist shifter.  However, my wrist felt better today so I hoped that was an encouraging development.

Day 7: Sat, Sep 08, 2007 - Graves Island, NS to Peggy's Cove, NS [114.2, 7:04:26, 10.0 mph]

It was very foggy in the morning and my clothes that I had rinsed in the shower didn’t dry out overnight.  The humid conditions also attracted mosquitoes in camp and later I saw a guy mowing his lawn while wearing a mosquito net.  I rode out, not knowing how far I would have to go for breakfast.  I ended up riding 20K to the small town of Blandford that had a single store that was a combined post office, grocery store and restaurant.  It was the obvious local hangout since there was no where else to hangout.  I had a decent omelet distinguished by thick slices of wheat toast.

 

I lingered over breakfast, hoping the fog would lift but no luck.  Blandford marked the end of the Mahone Bay loop and the route took me up the west side of St. Margaret’s Bay, distinguished by the famous Peggy’s Cove on the other end, my destination for the day.  It wasn’t until almost 10:30 that the fog started clearing and a few minutes later the sun poked through.  By then I was near the main highway so I stopped at a grocery store for my second breakfast and chatted with a local about bicycles.  This guy didn’t own a car and hitched a ride to do his grocery shopping.  He said everyone knew him so he would just start walking with his backpack and someone would stop and give him a ride.

 

I headed east across the top of the bay with too much traffic for a shoulderless road.  The rest of the way was fairly scenic as I rode by small coves and nice vacation homes.  There were 3 campgrounds near Peggy’s Cove and none past it so I hoped to find a spot at the one closest to Peggy’s Cove.  I stopped at the campground around 3:30 and got a site on the water for $20, a little surprised the campground wasn’t more crowded on a nice Saturday.  I unpacked quickly and grabbed a few things.

 

As soon as I started off to check out Peggy’s Cove I discovered to my dismay that I couldn’t shift.  I could turn my gear shifter to no effect.  I was guessing a cable might have broke and hoped it wasn’t anything more serious.  Fortunately, I was in a decent gear and rode the couple kilometers to Peggy’s Cove.

 

Not far from Peggy’s Cove there was a memorial to a Swiss Flight 111 that had crashed off shore in 1998 which afforded a good view of the town and the lighthouse.  The lighthouse is famed as one of the most photographed lighthouses in the world.  The lighthouse sits on a rocky enclave that is reachable by a short walk.  Of course, there were lots of folks checking out the place and it was hard to get a decent photo without folks in view.  One chap insisted on posting himself in front of the lighthouse to insure he would be in as many photos as possible while everyone else had the good sense to visit and move on.

 

Eventually, this guy moved behind the lighthouse and I got my photo without him.  Then when I walked to the lighthouse and went to take a photo from behind, the same guy was posted up against the lighthouse, determined to get in yet more photos.  When he finally moved, I got another decent photo.  I lingered a little longer but in the back of my mind I knew I had to get back to camp to fix my shifter, and hope it was something I could fix.  I ate at the restaurant near the lighthouse and had a salmon burger for something reasonably quick.  Then when I went to unlock my bike, I noticed the gear box that attaches the shifter cable to the internal gear hub was loose.  All I had to do was tighten it and I was back in business, a major relief.

 

It was a nicer short ride back to camp where I cleaned up and enjoyed a nice sunset.  I also got to chat with a couple neighbors.  It was also a warm night and I didn’t need to zip up my sleeping bag.

Day 8: Sun, Sep 09, 2007 - Peggy's Cove, NS to Upper Lakeville, NS [115.5, 7:24:49, 9.7 mph]

It was nice waking up to water lapping against the shore and nicer still to be able to see it, after yesterday morning’s fog.  I stopped off at Peggy’s Cove again and had the place to myself on a quiet Sunday morning.  But there was nothing open for breakfast so I headed on to Halifax.

 

The route to Halifax was the hardest segment of the Lighthouse Route.  It featured a fair amount of climbing, though nothing really hard or steep, as it passed by bays and lakes.  I was determined to have a real breakfast and I rode about 40K before I found a café open just outside the metro area.  After breakfast I picked up Highway 3 at the Quinpool Road that took me just south of the Citadel in Halifax.  At that point I knew how to wander around and I found an Internet café where I was able to check email.  My old email account had 17 pages of almost entirely spam with 10 emails per page.  I spent an hour mostly on email and paid $6.

 

From there I wandered down to the wharf where a pedestrian ferry took me across the harbor to Dartmouth for $2, which avoided riding across the McDonald Bridge that had a bike/pedestrian lane.  At the Dartmouth ferry terminal I got some information at the visitor center and then rode out on a street that ran into Highway 7.  I decided to go direct on 7 and avoid the coastal route to Cole Harbor.  As expected, 7 wasn’t the greatest route but it got me out of town.  Along the way I stopped at a convenience store for my 2nd breakfast at about 2:00 and then a grocery store.

 

With the slow start in the afternoon I figured this would be a relatively short day.  Being unfamiliar with the area, I managed to stay on 107 when 7 split off and I spent a fair amount of time listening to cars zoom past me on an expressway.  At Porters Lake, I exited north to 7 and stopped at a Subway for a foot long sandwich and saved half for later.

 

There was a campground at Porters Lake but it wasn’t exactly clear where and how close.  Since it was only about 3:30 I decided to push on and find some place to stay in Musquodoboit Harbor, not far down the road.  However, there was nothing in Musquodoboit Harbor so I rode on to Salmon River where I was told there was a B&B.  At Salmon River there was a lodge and a B&B.  The lodge wanted $80 and the B&B $78.  Neither was in my price range so I rode down the road to Upper Lakeville where there was a campground that was closer than I thought but it was 4K off the road.  After lamenting the lack of bargains in Nova Scotia, I got a site for $14 when the check-in girl gave me a 50% discount for a camping membership I didn’t have.

 

It was later than normal and darkness was setting in by the time I set up and cleaned up but I was glad I had pushed on to this point.

Day 9: Mon, Sep 10, 2007 - Upper Lakeville, NS to Sherbrooke, NS [149.2, 8:49:04, 10.5 mph]

Sometime around 3 am I felt a few sprinkles through my tent’s mesh door so I closed the flap.  When I got up I was pleasantly surprised to see my tent was dry.  I left before 7:30 and headed the 4K back to the main road.  I was told there was a nice breakfast place back about 6K but I didn’t feel like backtracking so I headed in the other direction.  There was a convenience store shortly but I passed by, which turned out to be a mistake.

 

It was a cloudy morning.  After the early rush hour I had the road pretty much to myself.  There were some nice water front views but no breakfast places, just one other convenience store that I bypassed.  Eventually, I ate a granola bar, giving up on finding breakfast until Sheet Harbor.  Then about 10K from Sheet Harbor I found a campground with a convenience store/restaurant that severed breakfast.  I was the only customer and ordered the big breakfast for $8 that had a little of everything including 2 small pancakes.

 

When I stopped for breakfast it was still cloudy and when I left at 11:30 it was sunny.  10K later I stopped at the visitor center in Sheet Harbor and got some information on Sherbrooke.  With rain predicted for tomorrow and in need of a rest day, I planned to layover for a day in Sherbrooke.  After the visitor center I stopped for my late breakfast before riding on.

 

It was about 1:00 when I left and I had about 80K to Sherbrooke.  The road had a lot of undulation so I didn’t make great time.  I passed a number of rivers emptying into the Atlantic with essentially no services along the way.  I found one convenience store and stopped for a drink and a granola bar.  I finally made Sherbrooke a little after 6:00, somewhat tired and in need of a rest day.  Sherbrooke’s claim to fame was Sherbrooke Village, a village depicting Nova Scotia in the late 1800s.

 

I checked a campground that had cabins but could only get $48/night although I could have gotten a 4th night free if I stayed 3 nights.  That didn’t work so I checked out the St. Mary’s River Lodge (www.riverlodge.ca), a B&B, where I got a $55/night rate compared to the normal $80 seasonal rate.  I was fortunate because the town had just been full for an antique car show that lasted through the weekend.  A day earlier and I would have been out of luck.

 

My room was very nice with hardwood floors and ceiling and a private bath with room for my bike.  Two of the 4 restaurants were closed and the restaurant in Sherbrooke Village, reputedly a very good restaurant, was expensive with a menu I didn’t care for.  So I took up my host’s offer to buy a frozen pizza at the store next door and use their oven to bake it.  While waiting for the pizza, I learned my host and his sister lived in the B&B owned by his parents.  They were Swiss and had come to Nova Scotia 11 years ago to run the B&B.  My host offered me a couple of beers while waiting for my pizza so I played the good customer and accepted the beers.  Later, I figured he was really bribing me to help with his wireless computer network.  I hoped to get bribed more often in the future.

Day 10: Tue, Sep 11, 2007 - Sherbrooke, NS

I got up early and had to wait until 8:00 for breakfast.  I had hoped to use the B&B Internet PC that was for resident’s use but it was being used by the proprietor.  When breakfast was served, 3 other couples showed up including a couple from New Hampshire.  One couple and a third person apparently were Swiss since they chatted with the owner in a different language.  Breakfast was cereal and a ham and egg omelet.

 

After breakfast I walked through the Sherbrooke Village Restoration, restored to the late 1800s, wanting to do the stroll while it was not raining.  I saw a young couple riding their touring bikes through the village.  It was possible to buy a $9 ticket to get access to the buildings and interact with folks dressed in period costumes but I passed on that.

 

Next on the agenda was wash.  I walked to a laundromat and got that out of the way.  When I got back I waited a bit to use the Internet PC.  After checking email, I researched some alternate cycling routes.  One was a possible visit to Newfoundland to see Gros Morne National Park.  This was highly weather dependent but worth being prepared for in the event weather looked promising when I completed the Cabot Trail on the northern tip of Cape Breton.

 

The more difficult issue was figuring out my return route.  My original plan was to cycle the Gaspe Peninsula in Quebec and ride down the St. Lawrence Seaway.  However, the more I thought about it I grew increasingly concerned about cycling against what was reputedly a consistent headwind at a time that could be chilling and during hunting season when motels might be hard to come by and require mostly camping.  Then the area was French speaking which could make accommodation negotiations difficult.

 

So an alternative plan was to head south in New Brunswick after PEI and ride through Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont on to some place like Albany, NY, where I could catch an Amtrak train back to Chicago.  But that meant determining reasonable cycling routes through unfamiliar areas.  It also left open the possibility of visiting Acadia National Park in Maine that was part of my original plan to start this trip until I discovered I could fly non-stop to Halifax.

 

Around 1:00 a cycling couple showed up from Sheet Harbor on a tandem.  Not long after that it started drizzling and then a few hours later it rained hard off and on.  I hoped all of the rain would get out of the way overnight.

 

My plan tomorrow was to ride halfway to Antigonish and then cut across to Guysborough.  So I checked the Nova Scotia guide for accommodation possibilities.  Tourism is a major industry in Nova Scotia and Nova Scotia publishes a thick annual guide to places to eat and stay.  My guide was at home because it was too cumbersome to take on a bicycle but the B&B had a copy.  Looking through the motels & B&B’s, it struck me how expensive Nova Scotia would be if not tenting.  Most B&Bs and motels start at about $80 and up.  Even campgrounds weren’t that cheap, in the $20-25 range.  The campgrounds were inexpensive only in comparison to the alternatives.

 

In the evening, Andy, the owner’s son and my host last night, showed me his recording studio upstairs.  He plans to expand his studio and start serious recording this winter when the B&B closed for the season but only as a hobby.  He had a pretty extensive setup and had taken courses at the Nova Scotia Community College.  Then I tried to set up Andy’s laptop PC to share the printer attached to the B&B’s Internet PC.  Everything worked until the last step when we needed to add a print driver to the laptop for the shared printer.  That failed because the laptop was running 64-bit XP and there was no driver available.  That was a let down.

 

After that I went back to my room and packed up for leaving in the morning.

Day 11: Wed, Sep 12, 2007 - Sherbrooke, NS to Port Shoreham, NS [105.0, 6:00:35, 10.9 mph]

In the morning I met two couples who were traveling together on tandem bicycles.  We were all ready for breakfast around 7:30 so we got breakfast a little early.  The two couples had started from Halifax and were doing a loop back to Halifax and then renting a car to tour Cape Breton, apparently unwilling to tackle the big hills of the Cabot Trail, somewhat understandable since they were some where in their 60s age-wise.

 

I packed a few more things and headed north towards Antigonish on Highway 7, away from the coast.  The coast would have been more scenic but quite a bit longer than my planned route with relatively few services.  After 40K of mostly forested land with a few farms, I turned off to Goshen.  There was a small store there so I stopped for my 2nd breakfast.

 

Just after continuing I turned on a road to take me back to the coast near Guysborough.  There was road construction underway and I had to ride gravel for about 5K before hitting pavement again.  The pavement quality was uneven but I had the road to myself with virtually no traffic and it was easy to avoid the bad spots.  It was also preferable to riding gravel, which I thought for a while I was going to be doing for quite a while.

 

After a little over 80K I stopped at the visitor center in Guysborough where I learned my planned campsite at Boylston was closed for the season and there wasn’t anything else close.  At a store in Boylston, the proprietor suggested I wouldn’t be bothered if I rode a little further and camped at a picnic area on Chedabucto Bay.  So I rode another 10K to the Port Shoreham Provincial Park and waited for evening before setting up.

 

I set up my tent around 7:00 with no one around.  Not long after, two cars pulled up separately while I was inside my tent.  They sounded like teenagers out to have a little fun on the beach.  When it was dark they left and I had the place to myself.

Day 12: Thu, Sep 13, 2007 - Port Shoreham, NS to West Mabou, NS [132.0]

I packed up and left at 7:00.  I didn’t know it but I would have to ride all the way to Aulds Cove, some 40K, to find food or drink of any kind.  The first 20K were rather uninteresting.  Then I gained sight of the Strait of Canso and riding was more scenic.  I found a couple of other places I could have reasonably camped last night had I known.  One was a lookout at Mulgrave which used to have a ferry for getting folks to Cape Breton Island before the Causeway opened in 1955.

 

From Mulgrave I had to climb a fairly long hill to get to Aulds Cove and the Canso Causeway.  There was a restaurant at the intersection where I needed to turn to ride across the Causeway.  It was part of a service station complex so I didn’t have great hopes but I wasn’t about to ride the other way into town and take my chances on finding something better there.  As it turned out they had decent pancakes and breakfast was OK.

 

The Causeway was only about a 1K ride to get to Cape Breton Island but it took me a while.  The far end of the Causeway has a canal for the passage of ships and just as I got there traffic was stopped by a traffic light.  Then a bridge swung 90 degrees to open the canal and let a small boat and a freighter pass through.  This 15-20 minute operation backed up traffic almost the entire length of the causeway.

 

I waited for the traffic backlog to clear and then rode across the bridge and turned left to pick up 19 up the west coast.  Riding was fairly scenic for a while with views of the coast line.  After about 30K I stopped in Judique for my 2nd breakfast.  When I took off I noticed the trip distance on my bike computer was zero.  After a little checking I discovered the entire unit had been reset somehow.  Very perplexing.  I don’t think anyone could have done this while I was in the store in town and I don’t know how the unit could have reset itself.

 

I rode on and found some nice views at a park by Port Hood, including Port Hood Island.  A short while later I was in Mabou, my destination for the day.  There were some nice farms along this stretch.  In town I found a small café and had good seafood chowder and did a little shopping.  Then I retraced my way just outside of town and took a side road to a campground.  I rode past the campground on a gravel road and found a great view of the coast at the end of the line.

 

I rode the few kilometers back to the campground and checked myself in since the owner wasn’t around.  There was one other camper in the unit, John and Mitzy from upstate NY, who were touring in an RV.  They invited me over for a campfire and treated me to a glass of sherry and a chocolate chip cookie.  They were both in their 70s, John a neurologist and Mitzy a psychiatrist of some kind.  We spent an hour chatting around the fire and then we hit the sack.


Day 13: Fri, Sep 14, 2007 - West Mabou, NS to Cheticamp, NS [80.0, 0.0 mph]

It was chilly in the morning.  I packed up and left $20 in the office for a camp fee since the owner never showed up.  I stopped at a little bakery/café in town and had multi-grain pancakes which were good but they were much too small.

 

The road headed inland from Mabou on a bright, sunny day with some scenic farms in the hilly area.  After 20K I stopped in Inverness for my cereal breakfast, well a head of my recent pace of having my first breakfast at about 40K.  In another 10K or so I missed a left turn to go up the coast to Margaree Harbor and followed the road to Margaree Forks.  Fortunately, I caught myself just past the turn and was able to backtrack to the coastal route.  Otherwise I would have missed some really nice coastal scenery.  There was a particularly nice view from a hill overlooking the Margaree Harbor with houses sprinkled on both sides of the harbor.

 

As I continued on to Cheticamp, it was such a nice day with rain predicted for tomorrow that I debated starting the real Cabot Trail and heading to Pleasant Bay.  However, some simple time calculation convinced me that would be a risky race against nightfall.  Just before Cheticamp I stopped at a store for a break.  When I resumed I noticed that once again my bike computer was reset.  Since this was very similar to yesterday, my computer resetting after stopping at a store, I could only guess that some electromagnetic radiation was confusing my wireless computer into resetting itself.  If it hadn’t involved retracing uphill, I would have returned to the store to try to reproduce the event.

 

About 3:00 I rode into Cheticamp, a small Acadian, French-speaking town.  There were two campgrounds in the area but with rain forecasted I decided to check indoor accommodations for laying over.  Although I didn’t need a rest day I really didn’t want to travel on a poor visibility day, particularly in what promised to be one of the most scenic spots in Nova Scotia. Cheticamp was about 3K long and I rode the length of the town scouting out accommodation possibilities.  I noticed a combined motel/B&B, Merry’s Motel, where the rooms were listed at $45, a better rate than I expected to find.  So I got a room there on the 2nd floor of an older home.  I lugged my panniers upstairs and locked the bike in a shed in back of the house.

 

Talking to the proprietress, Susan, I noticed the TV/library room had a bunch of paperbacks and I needed a new one, having finished my current paperback last night.  However, Susan pointed out that most were German books.  Susan and her husband were Swiss and their native language was German.  I mentioned my B&B in Sherbrooke was run by a Swiss family and Susan said “Oh, the Schüpbach family”, having heard about them previously from other travelers and having made contact with them.

 

I checked out the visitor center up the road and checked email.  Then I cleaned up and ate at a nearby restaurant.  Finally I walked the town looking for a paperback.  I found some in a couple places but they were not interesting.  Then a guy in a gift shop suggested checking the pharmacy and there I found a paperback by James Lee Burke, a very good writer.  Having achieved my goal I called it a night.

Day 14: Sat, Sep 15, 2007 - Cheticamp, NS

The morning was a dilemma since there were clear skies.  Susan got me a weather forecast off the Internet and the prediction was rain in the afternoon and evening with some fairly strong winds of 25-35 kph by my standards but Susan didn’t consider that windy.  I finally decided that although I could probably make Pleasant Bay OK I would feel rushed and not enjoy the scenery like I wanted.  So I decided to lay over.

 

Breakfast was at 7:30 and was billed as a light breakfast so it was fine.  It was actually enjoyable to hear Susan talk of experiences with customers and hear the plans of folks staying at the motel/B&B.

 

After breakfast I walked up the road to the visitor center again for some Internet browsing.  Interestingly, there were 2 PCs for Internet access, one with a small screen and the other a larger screen.  So I picked the PC with the larger screen and discovered screen controls and directions were in French.  Most of the time it wasn’t too hard to guess the right button to select but a few times it was a challenge. 

 

Just across the street from the visitor center I met a group of 8 cyclists from Baddeck who had ridden from Ingonish yesterday and were returning to Ingonish today.  They were getting a rather late start, 10:00, given the weather prediction but they had a support vehicle so they had a bailout option.  Next, I checked out the golf course next door.  It was very nice but it was already very windy and some of the holes would have played really hard.  Later, I set up my tent to dry out from quite a bit of condensation yesterday.  With the windy conditions it didn’t take long.

 

The sky was mostly clear in the morning but quickly clouded up by noon.  Then the wind started picking up with some serious gusts.  At that point I was glad I wasn’t cycling even if it wasn’t raining.  It wouldn’t have been fun and even dangerous with the strong crosswind.

 

I cleaned my bicycle chain for the first time and oiled the brakes.  I found my front rack arm was loose at its pivot point so I used some loctite and tightened it, guessing that was the cause of some squeaking I had been hearing.

 

Around 2:00 I walked to a tavern where a guy on a piano and a gal on a fiddle were playing energetic Acadian music.  The guy was really foot stomping when the beat was strong.  They played seemingly endless songs, one lasting about 20 minutes.  One hefty guy from the audience did a short dance gig and then enticed a younger, more nubile lass to do her gig, obviously both locals as were the musicians.  In this part of Nova Scotia, they take music very seriously and it is ingrained into their culture.  I left after 2 hours to make sure I didn’t get caught in any rain.

 

I ordered pizza from a takeout and then watched some football.  It finally started raining sometime around 6:00 with an uncertain morning weather forecast.

Day 15: Sun, Sep 16, 2007 - Cheticamp, NS to Dingwall, NS [78.0, 5:46:37, 8.4 mph]

When I got up it wasn’t raining but it was overcast and it looked breezy.  The morning was supposed to be a little iffy but the afternoon fine.  At the continental breakfast there was a Belgium couple and a Japanese couple with their adult daughter.  Yesterday there was a young German guy.  I got what I could out of breakfast and took off.  I only made it a short way down the road to a Tim Horton’s where I augmented my breakfast with their version of an Egg McMuffin and a couple of cinnamon rolls for later.

 

Cheticamp is at the foot of the highlands so it was a short ride to the Cape Breton Highlands National Park entrance where I bought a pass and got information on the ride.  I had 2 major climbs for the day – French Mountain and North Mountain.

 

Once I was in the park the wind didn’t bother me.  I rode along the coast with some great coastal views of waves lashing the rugged coast.  On one short hill I met a German couple who took my photo riding up the hill and asked for my email address so they could email the photo to me.  Unfortunately, I never got it and possibly accidentally deleted it along with all the spam I was getting.  I met other travelers who were impressed that someone would ride the Cabot Trail.

 

After a stint on the coast I headed inland to climb French Mountain to 4555 meters.  It was a fairly hard climb at 5K and I used my lowest gear although I probably could have done it in my second lowest gear.  There were some good views looking back on the twisting climb.

 

I reached the top near noon while it was still overcast.  On the top it also misted a bit and visibility was a little marginal.  Then the road descended steeply to Pleasant Bay with nice views looking out over Pleasant Bay.  Since I had another major climb ahead, I stopped at a restaurant for a soup and sandwich combo that looked like a good deal, until I saw the soup which came in a large thimble.  But it was warm and I was a little chilled from the cool weather.

 

I took off again just after 1:00.  In a short while I started the climb of North Mountain.  Although a little shorter, this was a much harder climb than French Mountain.  I absolutely needed my lowest gear and it was hard to start from a stop on the steep incline.  The only saving grace was the climb was relatively short at 4K.

 

A little after the climb there were a couple moose in the woods, tipped off by cars stopped along the road.  It wasn’t a great view but it was a wildlife sighting.  More exciting was the descent down the other side of North Mountain while a couple of cyclists labored up the climb on unloaded bikes.  After the descent I rolled the rest of the way to the town of Cape North where I stopped for a good fish and chips dinner.

 

I could have traveled further but I would have had to go much further to reach services so I stayed at a campground just down the road.  I got a site for $20 and met a fellow touring cyclist, Dave, from Toronto.  Dave was riding the Cabot Trail in the opposite direction.  He was an enthusiastic cyclist and we traded stories of our travels for about an hour before retiring to our tents, with the mosquitoes pretty bad.

Day 16: Mon, Sep 17, 2007 - Dingwall, NS to Little Bras d'Or, NS [99.5, 6:16:30, 9.9 mph]

I packed up quickly and left at 7:00.  I took the alternate scenic route along the coast to Neils Harbor.  It was a little longer than the main road but I thought it would also have less climbing.  However, there were some short steep climbs as the road circled Aspey Bay.  The reward was some great views of the bay looking up the coast all the way to Cape North.  Then this road cut inland and descended to Neils Harbor to meet the main road at the other end.  There was a store there so I bought some snacks to augment my cereal/banana breakfast.

 

The road followed the coast to Ingonish with several nice coves along the rocky coast.  Then there was a great view of Smokey Mountain in the distance, the last major climb of the Cabot Trail.  I made it to Ingonish faster than I expected so I looked for a place that might still serve breakfast just before 11:00.  I found a place along the road around the bay and had French cinnamon toast with cinnamon flavored butter, proving one can never have too much cinnamon.  After breakfast I noticed my computer display was blank.  I suspected a dead battery and replaced it and it was fine.

 

When I reached Ingonish I left the park but as I rode around the bay I re-entered the park for a short distance.  My 1-day pass for $6.90 was good until noon and I exited the park for the final time at 12:06.  Continuing around the bay, the bay was surrounded by hills and the only way out was to climb Smokey Mountain.  I was told a couple times that it was a much easier climb in my direction as the road gained 270 meters in 6.6K.  It was a significant climb but not nearly as hard as French or North Mountain.  I needed my lowest gear for only one short steep section at the beginning.  At the top there was a picnic park that afforded a great view of the coast looking south.  The view also showed a steep descent.

 

I used my braked extensively on the steep descent.  This was no place to turn a bike loose.  I measured 2.5K to the bottom for the steep part.  That wasn’t sea level but it was probably at least 200 meters compared to the 270 meter climb in the other direction over 6.6K.  I guessed this climbing what I descended had to be at least as hard as my North Mountain climb.

 

After the descent the scenery was relatively uninteresting.  I rode to 312 and took 312 to the ferry across to Englishtown.  As I neared the ferry some cars went racing by.  Since it was close to 4:00 I figured that was the ferry time and I pushed myself.  I got there right at 4:00 and the ferry pushed away just after I rode on.  However, the crossing was only a few hundred meters, almost over before it started.  Then the ferry only took a few minutes to load up and head back as I rode away.  So I may have saved 10 minutes by making the 4:00 ferry.

 

I rode on until the road leaving the ferry ended at 105, an expressway.  I took 105 east towards North Sydney and immediately had to climb Kelley’s Mountain, a fairly hard climb but with a couple of nice views, one of St. Ann’s Bay and the ferry and looking north to Smokey Mountain.  The other view was St. Patrick’s Channel looking out to sea.  Then I saw the bridge down below for crossing the channel.  I knew there had to be a bridge but it didn’t occur to me until then that bikes might not be allowed.

 

There was a 4K, 8% descent that I enjoyed followed by a sharp U turn and the road descended easily the rest of the way to the bridge.  Near the bridge there was a good shoulder and a ‘Share the Road’ sign and I thought I was OK.  But the shoulder disappeared on the bridge so riding across was dicey.  With a gap in the traffic I pedaled as fast as I could and thought I had lucked out until I heard the diesel whining behind me.  Fortunately there was no traffic in the other direction and crossing was not a problem, but it could have been interesting otherwise.

 

After the bridge I started looking for campground signs.  I rode a ways and thought I might have to go all the way into North Sydney for a motel.  About 10 K outside North Sydney in Little Bras d’Or (little bra door) I saw what looked like an inexpensive motel so I stopped and inquired.  The owner wanted $68 and I turned down, just too much for what looked like an ordinary motel.  Then I learned at a service station across the road that there was a campground just down the road where I got a site for $20 cash.  I set up, and walked to a nearby restaurant where I had pizza.  Afterwards I had a beer at a nearby bar and wrote my notes.  There the bartender warned me that part of the road I planned to take tomorrow might still be closed from a washout a few weeks ago.  But he inquired and learned it had just been opened last Friday.

Day 17: Tue, Sep 18, 2007 - Little Bras d'Or, NS to Whycocomagh, NS [104.7, 6:09:25, 10.5 mph]

I made a disappointing discovery some time during the night – I noticed my Topeak tire pump was missing.  The last time I remembered seeing it was in Cheticamp when I used it to pump up my tires.  I was pretty sure I recalled packing it up.  But if I didn’t leave it there, it either fell off or someone stole it, which seemed unlikely.

 

In the morning I packed up and rode just up the road to a breakfast place and had decent pancakes.  I got directions up the road in the other direction to a grocery store but when I started riding I realized it was farther than I wanted to go.  So I returned to the campground and tried to call the B&B in Cheticamp on a pay phone but the cost was $4 which I didn’t have in quarters.  I couldn’t see any way to charge the call to my credit card so I gave up and headed out.  I could do that because I had a mini-pump as a backup.

 

It was 9:00 when I left.  When I woke up there was a heavy fog but it was clear now.  The rural 2-lane road was fine with a little rush hour traffic from the other direction.  However, I apparently needed to turn off to ride along the lake shore but never saw any sign.  Eventually my road ended at 223 and I took 223 almost all the way to Whycocomagh.

 

After I picked up 223 I started riding closer to the long St. Andrews Channel of Bras d’Or Lake with occasional views of the lake.  About halfway at Beaver Cove I stopped at a convenience store where I met 4 other cyclists who were part of a supported tour.  A little further down the road when I was directly across from Baddeck on the other side I stopped and met a couple on motorcycles and had an interesting chat.  We all agreed that New Zealand was still the most scenic of our tours.

 

Further on I approached the Grand Narrows where there was a narrow waterway between the St. Andrews Channel and the main lake.  There was a bridge across the narrows and I got treated to watching the bridge raise up to let a motorized yacht with a tall mast pass through.  On the other side after a little climbing I stopped at a C@P sign which announced the availability of public Internet access.  It was at a grade school and I got an hour access for $2.  There I sent an email to my B&B in Cheticamp asking them if my pump was there and to mail it ahead to either Antigonish or Charlettetown.

 

Leaving the school the road had deteriorated sections over the next 10K.  Further on I reached the Little Narrows where a cable ferry took me across the narrow channel for free.  Then it was back on 105, the main road.  Immediately I was reminded why I hate these expressways as I was inundated with noise.  But it was only about 15K to Whycocomagh so it wasn’t too bad.

 

I rode through Whycocomagh where I thought there was a backpacker but it turned out to be outside of town in the wrong direction.  I had fish & chips and then rode a couple kilometers back to a Provincial Park campground where I got a site for $19.22.  Then I walked down the road after setting up to a restaurant with a bar to write my notes.


Day 18: Wed, Sep 19, 2007 - Whycocomagh, NS to Antigonish, NS [119.8, 7:16:02, 10.2 mph]

I rode the 2K back to town and had breakfast at the same place as last night – the only option.  The pancakes were fine.

 

I left around 8:30 on another nice looking day but I wasn’t too excited about the morning’s ride of 50K to Port Hastings.  It was all on 105 and would be noisy.  The ride was fairly easy with about a half dozen modest climbs.  Shortly after leaving Whycocomagh I also left the Bras d’Or lake behind and only trees remained so it wasn’t very exciting scenery.

 

I made Port Hastings by 11:30 and rode across the Causeway where police were stopping cars in both directions and talking to each driver.  I suspected this was a sobriety check and I got waved through, probably because I was riding a straight line.  I stopped at the same service station complex where I ate breakfast just before I rode across to Cape Breton.  This time I had my 2nd breakfast of cereal.

 

I left again by 12:30.  I thought there was more to Auld Cove but it only had a few service related businesses and a motel.  I immediately took the exit to 4 which was the start of the Sunrise Trail.  And it was nice to leave the noisy traffic behind although 4 pretty much paralleled 104.

 

There were some views of the coast but mostly I rode through a rural area with a number of farms.  Near Tracadie I saw a beautiful church and was surprised to see the parking lot lined with cars.  Then I saw a hearse backing up to the church entrance and realized this was not a happy occasion.  A little further on I had to pick up 104 again.  I had an option to get off again but only for a short loop and decided I might as well complete the final 17K to Antigonish on 104.

 

I stopped for a short break at a service station and then took an exit where I picked up 4 the rest of the way into town.  When I reached town I guessed left when 4 dead ended and I rode through downtown on Main Street, looking to see if I could find a bike shop.  What I did find was a lot of young folks walking around who looked like students.  I guessed this must be a college town and eventually found St. Francis Xavier University, considered one of the top undergraduate institutions in Canada.   I didn’t find a bike shop but got directions to one from a guy at a service station who finished with those fatal words “you can’t miss it.”

 

Well I missed it, probably because the guy didn’t tell me whether to go right or left at a V intersection.  After pedaling around I got directions at a job help place.  I thought if they can help folks find jobs maybe they can help folks find bike shops too.  I got good directions and found the bike shop but it only had one pump that was overpriced at $40.  I was now sure my pump was lost because I recalled seeing it at the town of Cape North.  When I left the restaurant in Cape North, I recalled there was a guy fixing a flat tire and I thought about offering the services of my pump.  I’m sure I had my pump at that point and hadn’t left it at Cheticamp.

 

I went back to the job help place and got directions to the visitor center.  I was afraid they might be closed at 5:00 but they were open until 6:00.  I learned the cheapest motel was $70 so I opted for the campground that was surprisingly located inside town, near downtown.  I was a little leery of camping in a college town with an enticing bicycle but I was won over by a bike rate of $15 and the location near downtown.

 

After setting up I walked downtown looking for Internet access.  There was an Internet Café but it closed at 5:30.  The library stayed open until 9:00 on Tuesday/Thursday but closed at 5:00 on Wednesday.  I gave up and ate at a Chinese restaurant.  I bought a few groceries at a drug store on my way back and wrote my notes in the campground Laundromat.

Day 19: Thu, Sep 20, 2007 - Antigonish, NS to Trenton, NS [122.9, 7:53:33, 9.7 mph]

When I got up in the morning, all I had to do was pack up and ride about a block for breakfast at the Sunrise Café.  This café had a nice ambience and I ordered the pancakes, which were described as “fluffy lite.”  They were awful.  They were small and anything but fluffy.  My breakfast came to about $10 and was hands down the worst of the trip.

 

I got a breakfast sandwich at a Tim Horton’s to augment the mediocre breakfast.  Then I stopped at an Internet Café that opened at 8:30.  I tried reading my email and had to lower the security level of the browser to get my email.  Then I found sending an email just locked up the PC.  I gave up after a half hour and told the attendant so he didn’t charge me anything.

 

Leaving town was easy.  I just rode down Main Street and that turned into 337 to Cape George.  I could have taken the straight route and made PEI today but I opted for the scenic route which basically meant riding the sides of a right triangle rather than the hypotenuse.

 

It was just over 30K to Cape George and mostly scenic.  There were some dairy farms featuring Holstein cows and some views of St. Georges Bay with the Cape Breton skyline on the other side.  The best views were near the Cape where there was a steep 2K climb to Cape George Point and a panoramic view looking back.  A short side trip at the top took me to a lighthouse and a view of the Cape Breton Highlands in the far distance..

 

Leaving the Point, the scenery was pretty unexciting for a while as the road passed through a forested area.  There was a long steady climb of about 15K before descending to Malignant Cove where 337 terminated and joined 245.  There was a nice harbor at Arisaig where a short side trip brought me to another lighthouse.  I had hoped I might find a small store but found a soda machine instead.  I had a couple sodas at $1 a “pop” and a short break.  Arisaig’s claim to fame was it was the first Nova Scotian Catholic settlement.

 

Scenery was fairly nice after Arisaig with some farms and some coastal views.  It was also possible to see PEI in the distance on a clear sunny day with temperatures in the low 20C.  At Lenmore I finally found a store and had an ice cream and chocolate milk.  I used to look for a sports drink but read in a cycling magazine that chocolate milk was about as good so I tested the theory.  When I traveled a little further I found another store and had another chocolate milk to fill my addiction.

 

I also thought I might need the chocolate milk boost.  There was a campground nearby but this wasn’t a great location and it was only 3:30.  However, the next campground was in Trenton, about another 30K and it wasn’t obvious how to get there.  I inquired in the store and a woman drew up a map for me since my Nova Scotia map didn’t have enough detail.

 

By the time I started riding again it was almost 4:00 so I was a little concerned about daylight and I was also riding into a fair headwind as well but the map served me well.  245 ended at 104 where I had to get on until the net exit, which was 4.  I rode this on a curvy road with some climbing until Fraser Mountain road.  I did some fair climbing and then turned on Campbell Road until a right at a dead end took me to Logan Park and that took me right to the Trenton Park where there was a campground, or so I thought.

 

It was 6:00 so I rode through town and found a diner where I had lasagna.  I also met an older guy at the counter who was also a cyclist.  He gave me directions on how to get to Pictou in the morning.  I’m not sure the lasagna was real lasagna but I was hungry and it tasted good.

 

Then I rode about 2K back to the campground and discovered a sign on the office door saying it was closed until October 1.  At that point I really didn’t have an option with darkness looming so I rode around a gate, picked out a spot, and set up.  Later, 4 kids walked by and left when it was dark.

 

 


 

Copyright Denis Kertz, 2007. All rights reserved.