Penny and I had visited Cape Breton with friends on a camping trip way back in 1971. On that trip, we arrived in Nova Scotia a day before Beth...hurricane Beth. Consequently, our long-anticipated drive around Cape Breton to see the breath-taking scenery on the Cabot Trail was reduced to anticipating where the road was and where we were going to find a safe-haven. We ended up in Baddeck along with hundreds of other tourists, all seeking shelter from the storm. By the time we arrived there, the Holiday Inn was full, but they put us up in their "overflow house", which turned out to be an old sea captains house directly on the bay, from which we could safely watch the storm blow itself out. Much better than staying at the Holiday Inn, I must say.
After the washout in 1971 I had high expectations for this visit to Cape Breton. I stayed in a cheap Mom and Pop motel in St John New Brunswick Friday night and then crossed onto Nova Scotia about 10 am Saturday morning. I rode over the Cape Breton bridge around 5 that afternoon and inquired at the visitor's center about inexpensive lodging. They directed me to Sandra Buker's B&B which is housed in an old school house in Creignish. Sandra is a very interesting retired teacher and farmer. Her Craignish Craftworks B&B is decorated with a stuffed 1000 pound World Record tuna and a whale skeleton.
All manner of small wildlife were scurrying around the entry porch.
At one point, traffic stopped for men working to clear a rock slide from the road. This truck is dragging a huge rock out of the way.
Near the top of the island, visibility was down to about 100 feet. Forget the magnificent views...like deja vu all over again.
I stopped for lunch in Cape North, and while enjoying another bowl of excellent seafood chowder the sun peeked out and I made the decision to take the side road north to Bay St Lawrence, about as far north as you can go on the Cape. A dirt road continues to the west to the settlement of Meat Cove, but it doesn't get you much further north, and I was leery of the road condition after all the rain. Bay St Lawrence is a fishing village with lots of fishing boats, both in and out of the water.
Continuing down the east side of Cape Breton, the sun remained out and the scenery was beautiful, especially south of Ingonish Ferry where the road hugs the cliff side and winds back down to sea level. The views were amazing, but there is no place to pull-off to take a picture until you reach the bottom of the mountain at a place called Wreck Cove. The view there was still nice, but without the spectacular aspect created by the high elevation just back up the road a little.
I rode south through Baddeck without stopping until I was back at the visitors's center in Port Hastings to ask again about a place to spend the night. The good ladies at the visitors center made a phone call to a B&B that was on a dairy farm a little north of Antigonish, about an hour down the road.
After a good nights rest, I left early to allow plenty of time to reach Pictou to catch the 11:15 ferry to Prince Edward Island. I arrived early and killed time in the ferry terminal which had wifi, drinking coffee and answering email. The next chapter will cover two days of riding around PEI.