2020-07-19

2020 Caroline rides the Cabot Trail

I feel like such a poser. I belong to this Motorcycle Camping Canada group on Facebook and while I chatter away and offer free advice on all sorts of things from cookware to sleeping gear from a budget minded perspective, I hadn't been camping at all in 2020, not even in my girlfriend Caroline's backyard when she suggested it. I thought it was a joke at the time, but there was this manic "lockdown is over" cast to her eyes, and I imagined how loud the screen door would sound when I went for a tinkle after midnight.

Sunrise at Meat Cove Campground,
Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia
Photo Credit: Caroline Kelly
I got temporarily laid off by work and started collecting the CERB benefits under unemployment so while a man of extremely limited means, I'm also a man of leisure, and Caroline asked for a couple of days off so she too could leisurely follow me off of Prince Edward Island and onto Cape Breton Island for the first time since she put away her colouring books to better focus on the road ahead of her.

Margaree Harbour, Cape Breton Island
Nova Scotia

She really wanted to spend a night at Meat Cove so I planned a lazy ride to Linwood NS then a day to Meat Cove, then visit Fortress Louisbourg and home.

Ze 'Ole She bang:  1172 km - 4 days

Charlottetown PE to Meat Cove, Cape Breton Island NS and Return




Google Maps link here
2020 Cape Breton Island - https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=175Wq7z-7zjt9LnDmRxlVvFb4LawwINst&usp=sharing

Day 1 - Charlottetown PE to Linwood NS - Drive 404 km, 5 hours, 17 minutes

Charlottetown PE to Linwood Nova Scotia
I was all packed up, and headed over to Caroline's place to find that while I had chosen my mesh jacket to wear for the weekend, she had opted for her leather jacket and soon convinced me that I was being foolish, so I did an about turn, headed home with my tail between my legs and grabbed my leather jacket and tossed the mesh down on the couch where I found it upon my return home.

Right, time now to get off the island, but on our way through Crapaud, I needed a bit of cash so stopped at the Scotia bank and grabbed a bit of cash, while Caroline did the same. We spied our friend Brian riding through town on his distinctive green KLR with orange bags, and sure enough he'd pulled into the exhibition to wait for us, so we pulled in a had a wee catch up with him, and told him our destination of Meat Cove. He mentioned that his wife Darlene had sent him to Sobey's in Summerside to pick up some chicken that was on sale, and he thought the thirty minute ride might take an hour and half to get there, three hours round trip. :) He joined us for a bit of the ride as we turned off towards Cape Tryon to ride Route 10 through Augustine Cove and Cape Traverse before it dumped us out into Borden-Carleton where we topped off our tanks and headed over to the Confederation Bridge to see what the New Brunswick check point had in store for us.

Confederation Bridge
It can get a bit stale after a couple hundred crossings
COVID-19 precautions had closed the bridge to non-essential traffic, and when the Atlantic Bubble opened this month and we were allowed off of the island again, New Brunswick had established a pretty strict checkpoint procedure that had seen the highways backed up for hours! Since then they adopted some online check in self declaration procedures, but you still have to wait in line for your turn for them to say "Pass, Friend!" Corrections Officers sporting flak armoured vests and Glock pistols.


Bienevue a Nouveau Brunswick
So Caroline had warned me last night that this might go faster if we filled out the online self declaration forms, and she was right! I got approved in under five minutes after clicking "Submit", while she was still waiting for hers at 10 that morning!

"What did you put?!" 
"Passing through."
"Oh, I think I might have given the form too much information."
"Yep, I betcha you went 200 characters over the algorithm limit and it spit it out as Monkey Business. Just tell them you don't know me and you should be fine."
All I heard over the intercom was laughter. 

https://www2.gnb.ca/content/gnb/en/corporate/promo/covid-19/travel.html

We were welcomed into New Brunswick, "Enjoy your trip!" and off we went into Port Elgin and along the shoreline to Tidnish Bridge, where the Nova Scotian checkpoint simply waved us through without stopping us. New Brunswick is tough on Viruses!

My dad likes seeing pics of old cars, saw mills and covered bridges.
 Guess which one this is and win a prize!

And that was it. Our mini vacation into the beautiful province of Nova Scotia had begun! Caroline and I have ridden the Sunrise trail on this side of Pictou a number of times, so I only took a few pictures on the ride before stopping at Big Al's in Tatamagouche for lunch.

Caroline likes this wee lighthouse. I obliged with a picture of it. :)
It was a strange feeling no longer being "the local resident" and entering a restaurant as the customer, but also the outsider, the outcast, a potential carrier of the plague. Our servers were very careful about distancing and procedure, and it was another reminder of how humans are changing our planet. This may become the new normal.

The menu is so tough to choose from but at last Caroline and I agreed on a couple of plates that we were interested in enough to go swapsies on. :D

Montreal Smoked Meat Reuben with Onion Rings
The Montreal Smoked meat was dry. If you know your deli, you will understand it is a compliment. No water added during the cure, and smoked properly. Darn that was hard to pass this plate over to Seeline when it was her go at it!

She had chosen pulled pork poutine, and it was heavenly, although I found the bbq sauce a touch too sweet, I'd still give it a 4.5 out of five. (Now I know this browser is using an American dictionary. I had to add "poutine" to the dictionary!)

The portions were generous, and we really should have shared a single choice, and made resolute promises to each other that were all too easy to break at the next restaurant. Apparently all you need to do to separate us from our diets plans and cash is a decent menu.

Pulled pork poutine with Onion Ring topping
Plan on sharing this unless you are hungry
We almost finished it all, then it was a bathroom break and onto the Sunrise Trail once more, bound for a scenic photo op at the Cape George Lighthouse.

The Sunrise Trail NS
A few years back I'd done the Cabot Trail before, and I had stopped at the Knoydart Dairy Farm near McArras Brook NS and visited this cheese house where I met one of the owners who was very gracious to someone who only had room for about ten dollars worth of wonderful white cheddar cheese. COVID rules allowed one guest at a time inside, and while empty, you can still purchase using the honour system and a wee change box on the table. I wanted Caroline to enjoy the experience as much as I had, so I asked her to pick out a cheese for us, and she obliged by selecting a lovely white cheddar with Poppy Seeds & Garlic.

Knoydart Dairy Farm - Cheese House


We'd been quick and were back on the road heading toward Cape George smartly. 
Cape George Point as seen from Route 337 NS

A short but pothole filled gravel road later, and we had arrived at the Lighthouse itself, a location that Rob Harris and Zac Kurylyk had introduced the avid participants in the 2013 edition of the Canada Moto Guide (CMG) Dawn to Dusk Rally or D2D, a truly brilliant romp through Nova Scotia that lasted a very saddle sore day in the company of some truly mad hatter motorcycle enthusiasts. Many times while riding in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick I find myself in a brilliant little motorcycle
moment, then I realize that I'd first seen this from behind Zac on the CMG Konker, or Rob riding a delicious loaner from the Honda Dealer sponsor at Toys for Big Boys in Salisbury NB.

A rose among roses.




Cape George Lighthouse
Photo Credit: Caroline







The Sunrise trail is so wonderful along here. I was encouraging Caroline to ride ahead of me as it was her first time out this way, and I am quite content to hang back and ride behind her, at least until some wicked chicanes come up, then I will admit to champing at the bit and needing to be in front again, if only for a brief while. Call it a mad minute. :)



This proves I know where I'm going! Hooray!
Now the plan was to stay on old Highway 4 and find the campground up ahead, but first we would practice our well established "Six o'clock" routine.

  • Fill the tank to full at the nearest fuel station
  • purchase four litres of water
  • two chocolate bars or similar
  • a small container of 2% milk for tea and coffee in the morning. 

Ooh! They had some fireball! I bought a mickey of it for Caroline as the thought of being the bearer of chocolate and her favourite cinnamon whiskey is guaranteed to get me a hug and a kiss. Not only that, I asked her over the intercom as she was practicing the "one person shops for the family rule" and was outside with the bikes...

"What kind of chips do you want?"
"I don't care, why don't you surprise me?
"Ooh! Party mix! We're going to have a Party! Do you want a plain party, a ranch party or cheesy party?
"Hi, my name is Caroline, and I like to party."
"Cheesy Party Mix it is!!!"

Quite often when Islanders leave and go shopping out of province we are pleasantly surprised when our purchases are packed into lovely plastic bags, as PEI recently banned single use plastic shopping bags, and they are no longer offered to the consumer, in favour of reusable cloth bags, or the old paper bags. Ooh! suddenly you see tonight's campsite garbage bag, or rain booties if you are desperate and want dry feet later tonight, or mixing bags, or a host of other purposes and plans. I asked the clerk for another and she obliged! Whoot! Four days later I have a couple stuffed into my "kitchen bag" on the motorcycle as campsite garbage bags when the need arises next trip. They are like gold on the island now. If you bring one with dessert in it to Mom's she asks you if you want it back. :D

And on to our campground for the fist night, the Linwood Harbour Campground. We arrived to find the office closed, and debated whether we should choose a site THEN call or call first. Caroline won and we called to be told to take what we wanted and the owner would be down shortly to obtain the fee and sell us some firewood.

"You know these tents don't set themselves up!"
Photo Credit: Caroline
I have an inkling as to why some motorcyclists prefer to haul a trailer around with them, for creature comforts and even campers...



It's a nice four star campground with water and electrical hook ups at every site, and a wee view of the ocean from some sites, with clean bathroom and shower facilities (pay per use shower, bring quarters!) but it loses out when you are in a tent, and the 104 highway is close enough to hear the transport trucks cruise on by. Not a deal breaker, but there was a local who opted to slip is muffler off his ATV or motorcycle or something and bounce it off the rev limiter after eleven pm that night and again near one am! Caroline and I agreed that we couldn't be trusted with a stick around that idiot!

Our ocean view
The tent went up while Caroline settled the details and got the list of Do's and Don'ts sorted out, then came to help set up. She kindly set up the sleeping gear while I staked and guyed out the tent, then got our kitchen sorted and set up. There were a couple of new bits of gear that got brought this go round, Caroline's paring knife in a plastic case, and the cutting board from my Stanley Adventure Frying Pan kit.We had decided to eat as much fresh food as we could, so she had brought along some snow peas from the Legacy Garden, and some lovely hand crafted Garlic sausage made by Founder's Deli in Mount Stewart PE, to which we added some shallots and some of that new heat and serve cooked rice, a mushroom mix that Caroline had. She cut up some of the cheese and tossed it in to melt away. It was lovely and nicely filling. Our goal is shifting from prepackaged processed food towards a mixture of food stuffs that can be obtained by shopping locally. An onion keeps very well in a zip loc bag, and works so sell when sliced up for ramen, or eggs and bacon, or even a deli sandwich. Best of all, one loose yellow onion costs $0.59 at the local grocery store. The downside is while the menu improves the size and amount of kitchen gear grows and the urge to bring the kitchen sink grows and grows. We didn't use the frying pan once this weekend, so it stays at home next trip, and we will simply make do with my MSR Stowaway 1.6L that works out well for two people. Just.

Shallots, snow peas, garlic, garlic sausage, and mushroom rice.
sauteed and then steamed in my MSR 1.6L Stowaway pot
Photo Credit: Caroline
Dessert awaited us, two Crunchie bars, a wee flask of dark rum, and some of Caroline's fireball.



Poppy Seed & Garlic
The cheese was so tasty! It was much softer than I expected, and we simply broke pieces of it apart and enjoyed it straight up, with a lovely caramelized sweetness from the garlic or the poppy seed. A flavour combination I was skeptical of, but now wholeheartedly endorse. We saved a bit for breakfast.
That is an 800 ml Silicone Dog Food Bowl that has worked a treat this weekend
Slaving away over a hot stove. Sorta.
Photo Credit: Caroline

Caroline and I had picked up a set of the GSI plastic KFS or knife fork and spoon from SAIL on our trip to Ontario last year. She enjoys using chopsticks quite a bit, but we both thought we could shovel this yummy mixture in far more quickly and efficiently with the spoons. I used mine to saute the snow peas, shallots and minced garlic in the Stowaway, and found it light yet hard enough for the purpose. Those doe food bowls were an inspiration courtesy of some research. An older couple travels with a bit more of a luxurious set up, and the gent states that he much prefers silicone bowls and cups that have a hard edge. I can guess why. Silicone is a great insulator, but pour boiling water into the bowl and you won't be able to hold it long in your bare hand. The plastic rim never gets hot, and makes a superb place to grip the bowl or cup. Right, AliExpress and $14 dollars later, I was able to gift Caroline with her very own compact camping bowl, but have to confess later on that she now has an urge to lap her soup out of it and snarl at me if I get to close to her food.

Supper really does make us smile
Caroline is great at reminding me to get the fire going so we can use up the wood around the same time we want to go to bed, but she apologized for she had only been given a couple of thin sheets of newspaper to start the fire, and no kindling with the bundle of softwood. Hah! Says I. I've been watching bush-craft videos for the past couple of years watching guys on YouTube start fires with flint, steel and char cloth, or fire drills and shoelaces! I grabbed my #8 Opinel Carbone knife and proceeded to shave off some lovely long slivers of one of the pine chunks of wood, and in no time I had a lovely little pile of wood shavings, a ball of newspaper, and of course I had to sanitize the wood with a healthy dose of hand sanitizer, didn't I? I'd show those bush-crafters a thing or two with ferrocerium, butane and a determined but reformed ex-smoker!

"Watch this Honey!"

And promptly fell flat on my face, as if you know that hand sanitizer is 99.99% alcohol, you will know it burns. You might also know that it burns with a clear flame, so it was a spectacular failure, marked only by the heat haze generated by the now blazing gel that I'd liberally sloshed around. **sigh
What's this?! Flame and Smoke? Smoke and Flame! Oh yeah! I am a man! I should caper around the fire in a grotesque caricature of the "Quest for Fire" but I think Caroline would start looking at reviews for a one woman tent.

FIRE!
We sat and enjoyed the fire, and at my urging took the first sip of rum from my flask, truly the first sip, as it was the inaugural use, and I was quite pleased to share that moment with her. Besides which, Lamb's Navy superior dark rum is awesome, and Caroline had gifted it to me last fall as she knew it was my favourite tipple from my days with the 48th Highlanders. The chocolate was long gone, The fire was burning low, and the night was getting really, surprisingly cold. In fact, I wondered if I had packed correctly as I was wearing a long sleeve hoodie, and it was only just working out as long as I sat close to the fire. For mid July this weather was fantastic! Chill for riding, and cold for sleeping!


Wow, maybe a bit too cold, eh? Still, we'd been in Quebec along the Saint Lawrence River in Grand-Metis last year when it dropped down to 5 Centigrade, and Caroline had even brought along a toque  that she planned to wear that night if it got really bad!

Naw, totally manageable but only if you kept everything inside the sleeping bag, and had it drawn up.

Good night from Linwood Nova Scotia!


Day 2 - Linwood NS to Meat Cove, Cape Breton Island, NS - Drive 255 km, 3 hours, 32 minutes


Day 2 - Linwood NS to Meat Cove
Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia
If you follow me, you may know that I have trouble sleeping in while camping. I can assure you that I have no such difficulty when at home and in my own bed, quite the reverse in fact. Well, I was up just after five am and needed to use the facilities, and decided that I'd let Caroline get some more sleep, as she had a rough night of it what with that idjit and his lack of muffler and common sense, although with my snoring it might be more my fault that she lost some sleep. 


She's so cute!
Call it 44 F for my American friends.
It's chilly out this morning, and I've got a long sleeve riding fleece on underneath my hoodie and i'm still shivering a bit getting my breakfast together. Thankfully breakfast for me was pretty straightforward and simple, set up the D-Power gas stove along with the Lindal to Butane valve adapter (this one has legs!) and my cartridge of butane. Add in a 750ml mug full of water, and I was all set to brew up a nice cuppa and some runny oatmeal after about six or seven  minutes of running this rig on high.

A cuppa tea and instant oatmeal
Breakfast of Champions!


Ilan had a great tip for morning oatmeal, but I really am repressing my dad's Sunday morning cooking breakfast for the kids cause mom is sleeping in oatmeal. Sorry Dad, you know I love it, but I can almost drink mine these days. :)

Caroline was up, and we tried to dry out some of the moisture from our tent by laying the fly out upside down, but it was clear that it was going to go away a bit wet today. Not a huge problem as I'm learned how to pack a damp fly with a the tent.

I wanted to see if the stove and wee butane cartridge that I bought for her last year was going to work out as a means for her to make her morning cup of coffee. She uses a GSI Collapsible Java Drip and as she drinks her coffee black, all she really needs is boiling water, a filter and the cone, and the Boundless Voyage gas burner that I'd picked up for $8 worked a treat to get her in gear for the day, considering her sleep upset night, no small task.



Its all gone now
That's one of the little 110gr canisters that will fit into anything the same dimensions as a standard Nalgene bottle.



All of that will nestle in the mug nicely and I know that Caroline is self sufficient and knows how to use this combo effectively. I enjoyed watching it go, it was nice seeing all the bits brought together and sparked into life for it's first, "Trial by Fire"? :P


It was time to pack up once Caroline had finished her coffee and we were ready to hit the road, that was after 0930. I can't claim that we start early, but we do enjoy ourselves, and that is the important part in my mind. ;)

We tried to stay on the old Highway 4 for as long as possible, but it kicks you out onto
She's about to cross over to Cape Breton Island! 
I prefer to experience the Cabot Trail going counter-clockwise, as that puts you in the lane closest to the scenery and you need not cross a lane of oncoming traffic to see the scenic look offs, but as Fortress Louisbourg was supposed to be in our future, it only made sense to proceed up the West side of the Island and work our way East later on. Right, off to Highway 19 and 19a to head North West along the coast through Inverness and then past Margaree Harbour. From Margaree Harbour right across the middle of Cape Breton Island, flows the Margaree River, named by the Acadian French for St. Marguerite when they settled the area in the 1800s. Everything is Margaree, Harbour, Forks, Valley, River, Centre... :) It's a wonderful place to explore and I really enjoyed riding up along the coast and seeing the sights. There was enough traffic to make it interesting once we moved inland, but easily passed.


Those look suspiciously like Highlands!


You will run through some construction sights, but they are all well signed and label the risks. Motorcyclists use caution, especially when you are in behind an RV trailer that simply has to park it going over the wee bumps in the road for fear of smashing the corelle in the cupboards. I've learned the hard way it's always best to be in front of campers and RV's through construction sites.



Long after Inverness, just on the outskirts of Mabou, we saw a stunning vista of lake, trees and mountains, and thought it high time to stop and take some pictures.

The parking lot is a favourite stop for folks who enjoy cycling the Celtic Shores Coastal Trail, the 92-km Celtic Shores Coastal Trail stretches from Port Hastings to Inverness on the west coast of beautiful Cape Breton Island...



The Celtic Shores Coastal Trail Map

Looking West along Big Cove, near Mabou NS
You can't get all the shots standing up
Photo Credit: Caroline
With freshly mown grass, in the fore, and farms in the background, it made a idyllic little break for us to stop and immerse ourselves in the tranquility offered up by the scenery. Nah, it was a bum break, and an excuse to get some lovely shots of the area. :)


Photo Credit: Caroline
What she can do with a lens, I have to do with my motorcycle
Photo Credit: Caroline

The weed whacker missed this one!

The view from Little Mabou road, looking North towards Big Cove. 


We still had another 60km or so before we got onto the Cabot Trail proper, but after Inverness it was a short jaunt up the road to the Ceilidh Trail, 219 East that would take us up to Margaree Forks where we would hit the Cabot Trail.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C%C3%A8ilidh



Living on Prince Edward Island gives us the opportunity to compare the state of the roads with the secondary and tertiary roads of PEI, and I heard someone mention that the 219 wasn't in great shape, and that it should be avoided. He just described half the roads on PEI and most of the interior of New Brunswick. I'd have suggested that you set your suspension from "Ooof!" to "Oh!" and you'll be fine.  The Ceilidh Trail after Dunvegan,  you leave the interior and begin to travel the coastline again, a wonderful sample of things to come once we were on the Cabot Trail proper.



And here it was, the moment when Caroline turns left and onto the Cabot Trail for the first time! Sadly there were no balloons or cake, as the online clown service I'd hired was working from home via the internet due to the SICK, and there was no signal at the corner where the Ceilidh trail ends, and the Cabot trail begins. **Sigh


I'd warned Caroline that just up ahead on the trail, past the harbour and some of the homes, there is a pull off on our left, and I'd be stopping there to get some shots exactly where Kirk had taken me  when I rode the Cabot Trail with my nephew Ryan and Kirk fourteen years earlier. What I hadn't thought of as I rocketed off the asphalt and into the gravel parking lot of the overlook, is the number and quality of the potholes that line the southern approach, and I was almost catapulted off the seat of my bike! It reminded me of riding my KLR through the whoops before I'd learned how to properly weight the bike so the front end came down where I wanted it, slightly after the rear wheel!

2006, and my first time on the Cabot Trail. 
Wow. That was a couple of days ago, but I'd treasured the experience then, and hoped that Caroline was feeling something similar this morning.

Ron & Caroline on the Cabot Trail at last!
I'd really like to thank Falon and her beau who trusted a couple of strangers and snapped the shot above for us! Thanks ever so much! 

Photo Credit: Caroline


Looking North along the coast towards Cap Le Moine, Nova Scotia
Photo Credit: Caroline

In comparison, here is a lousy photo of my thumb


This one is mostly on the level

Cabot Trail Selfie!

Looking south towards Anse des Arsenault, Nova Scotia
Photo Credit: Caroline
The Versys and "my Shadow"

I thought I was redoing a photo from 2006 here as well, but it isn't in the collection.
 Oh well. Caroline did a great job of cutting out "My Shadow". ;)
Photo Credit: Caroline
I've told Caroline that because I don't sleep well while camping (an understatement in her case), that I often have my breakfast of instant oatmeal very early and may be up for "Second Breakfast" around ten, and by twelve my tummy was rumbling! "What about elevenses? Luncheon? Afternoon tea? Dinner? Supper? She knows about them doesn't she? I wouldn't count on it"



Caroline really adds value to my motorcycle tours as she uses Tripadvisor to her advantage and enjoys finding us well reviewed restaurants and the like that lay in our path, and today she had chosen the Seafood Stop Restaurant & Fish Market in Petit √Čtang, NS, just minutes south of  the largeish town of Cheticamp proper. If I wanted to fill my tummy, I'd best get us back on the road and heading northwards once more!


Heading into Petit Etang along the trail.
Everywhere we stopped, we were reminded of the SICK and the precautions that were doubly important for us as travellers and outsiders to take. In effect, we needed to appear that we were taking those precautions so the locals wouldn't resent our presence. Ask me what I think of seeing Ontario or Quebec plates on my Island home these days. Yeah. I think you get it.

Someone has a good sense of humour

We will do our best!
I enjoy the fact that people are still poking fun at the whole thing. Humour truly is a wonderful thing.
Caroline ordered the fish cakes, and I opted for a burger, but instead of fries, we ordered a side of coleslaw and some potato salad. While the food was good, the service was remarkable, in that we were treated very nicely and it was clear that our trade was welcome and they enjoyed serving us. I think the lower volume of diners certainly made a difference, as always, more locals were enjoying the lull in visitors from away and took advantage of the great food and service. 

They make these with raisins! Mmmm!
No one loved raisins as much as my Mom, and in fact, I had no idea that the rest of the world was so ambivalent about the dried fruit! As a kid they were packed into our lunches, the little cardboard "Sun Maid" brand, and Dad used to make Baked Apple with oats, brown sugar, nuts, cinnamon, and yep, you guessed it, raisins. When mom made butter tarts, they ALWAYS had a few raisins in them, so when Caroline and I cut this tart in half, and I bit into my share of it, I was extremely pleased to find the folks in Petit Etang clearly had superior taste and breeding!

We were going to need to refuel in Cheticamp, and Caroline had a list of things that we'd put together for our supper that night, so we pulled into the Co-Op parking lot to find that once again the folks were taking their SICK precautions seriously, and I was very glad that:

  1. Caroline had gifted me with a custom made mask made locally in Charlottetown, and 
  2. I'd been forward thinking enough to pack it along with me (actually it resides in my topbox as the car often sees next to no use in the summer months) 
One of us was going to have to go into the Co-op, and Caroline had volun-told me that it was was going to be me. We use this lovely little app on our phones called "Simplenote" and it works very well for note taking and collaborative notes. Especially as you can takes notes without data and it will sync to the cloud later on. Here is today's mission as penned by Caroline:
The eggs were to be the hardboiled type, or even fresh, but we were a bit late to that game as carrying a dozen eggs on the bike up these roads wasn't a terribly good idea unless we were to bring along a nice bit of butter and some milk for the scrambled eggs we'd be pouring out later. If you are interested, here is how Mark Victor of Biker Bits shows how he carries eggs by motorcycle...   I've used this technique for a trip to Hartland New Brunswick that saw my bike pummeled by a gravel construction site long before hours of riding to get to my campsite. Brilliant, but you need to do the prep at home for it. 


All masked up and ready to brave the Co-op!
It took longer than I expected to do the shopping and when I got out, I found Caroline on the phone with someone who hadn't paid any attention to her email auto responder telling them she was out of office (home office) until Monday of next week. :)

It's a highland mask!
Photo and Mask Credit: Caroline Kelly




On the phone? 
Just up the road was the Petro Canada where we refuelled, and once more it was time to head north, leaving the city (village? town?) of Cheticamp. (Wikipedia shows it with a population of 3000 souls in 2006) 
I'm eager to get to that coastline up ahead! 


And our adventure had really begun! Where Route 30, the Cabot Trail climbs French Mountain is the real star of the show, but in our case, that star was still in the dressing room, and the understudy had forgotten most of their lines, and appeared to be slightly drunk, more on this in a moment. 

Looking North towards French Mountain from the Cabot Trail
I'd suggested to Caroline that she could stop anywhere she liked, or ride ahead of me as we had quite a ways to go before leaving the trail for another hour or so before turning left in Cape North and heading for Meat Cove, but she said she was quite happy following along and making time.


Caroline's headlight is back there... You can just make it out!
looking south towards Petit Etang and Cheticamp
Dang it! The best part of the trail this side of the Island was torn up in construction! I suppose it was the best year to do it as the traffic volumes have never been lower. But I was really looking forward to this part!
Craptacular!
There was at least two to three kilometres of the road under construction and full of gravel!
Dang it!


Completion not until September! :'( 
And the experience that Caroline got, was instead of a ride similar to "The closest thing to riding in the Swiss Alps this part of Canada has to offer", she got the offroad adventure of a lifetime climbing those hills on her "Adventure Cruiser". The gravel was neatly groomed, but that contributed to the problem as it was built up, and when we ride on built up gravel with only two tires while hauling a ton of luggage, some bad things can happen such as spinning up the rear tire, or worse, losing traction with the front tire and saving it only by application of the throttle and the resulting gyroscopic effect. Think of riding your bicycle on sheet ice. While not that bad now you have some idea of how much fun Caroline was NOT having when the road was weaving up and around French Mountain with those wonderful hairpin corners. I was on Shinko Raven 009s, Sport touring rubber that I was trying for the first time, but my Versys rides much more like a dirt bike than her shadow does, and I was actually enjoying the ride a bit, but all the while lamenting the image in my mind of me cornering as if I were on rails around those 30 kph marked corners. **Sigh

Caroline rides her "Adventure Shadow"
We made it through and Caroline no longer worried about all that traffic we'd passed leaving Cheticamp, that had mostly caught up to us while on the gravel. All except that lady in her Jeep who had played "musical gas pumps" with us back in Cheticamp who had graciously reversed her Jeep to allow us a shot at the remaining pump, but had forced her to perform a sixteen point turn in order to get out of the station and into the flow of traffic. Caroline felt bad, and had asked me to let her pass us, and as I thought Jeep lady was doing a fine job of keeping the hammer down, was pleased to do so. She waved at us, and left us behind as we bimbled our way up onto the Cape Breton Highlands where I warned Caroline about moose, or rather my close encounter with the arse end of a moose back in 2010 when I'd ridden this on my KLR.

Zoomed in view of Bullwinkle! Be careful!
 Here let me help you with that. I've enhanced and enlarged the photo so you can make out the moose that might be waiting for us up in the Highlands of CBI.



Okay, so Bullwinkle and Rocky were practising "Social Distancing" today, which was fine as far as I was concerned, yet you do need to exercise caution up here, as moose can be as fast and nimble as a dog, but larger than a dairy cow! Seriously!

Caroline leads that way. 
I am going to apologize to you for not sorting through the following pictures, but they mean something to me, and years from now when I reflect back on this ride, I'll think of the wonderful weather, the roads, and most of all, Caroline experiencing this ride for the first time on near perfect roads (thanks in part to the efforts of my friend Charles Landry who worked on them over the past couple years)

I shot a wee video of her riding some of the trail, just over a minute long. You can clearly see we pretty much have the road to ourselves, and I'm thinking this is a once in a lifetime set of circumstances that we may never see again in our lifetimes (or rather, that is my hope).







The Pleasant Bay overlook

Fishing Cove River mouth, Cape Breton Island
Photo Credit: Caroline Kelly
There were only a few cars on the road ahead of us, and we played leap frog with them as we rode past the overlooks near Pleasant Bay, almost a scene straight out of a looney tunes cartoon. :)








































Fishing Cove, Cape Breton Island









Pleasant Bay NS







We passed a couple of cyclists out on the trail, and I was ever so happy to be able to roll on the throttle to climb the next hill, all the while thinking about the will and fortitude of those athletes being us. Still, as Caroline puts it, "If we'd tried to cycle Cape Breton, we'd need three months to it, not three days!". Yep. I expect we'd need a Spot or InReach device for my heart attack as well. lol

I'd need an Inreach or Spot for if I tried that!









Looking west back up the Aspy Fault towards Andrews Mountain
Photo Credit: Caroline

A stop along the Aspy Fault. I'm too sexy for my bike, too sexy!
Photo Credit: Caroline
We stopped for a breather along the Aspy Fault wilderness area where the Cabot Trail winds it's way between MacKenzies Mountain and South Mountain towards the Big Intervale Cape North just a few kilometres further ahead. In a few minutes we'd be making the turn off of the trail onto Bay St. Lawrence Road.


We'd made the turn, and followed the road with the "Sugar Loaf" to our left. Sadly I didn't get many pictures of those hills, but it was beautiful.


There is Cabots Landing Provincial Park up ahead, and Caroline and I hazarded the numerous potholes to get a few pictures of the beach where John Cabot may have landed in 1497.

Wikipedia: 
It is believed by some sources that John Cabot (Giovanni Caboto) landed at Aspy Bay in 1497. Cabots Landing Provincial Park features a National Historic Site cairn and bust commemorating the landfall. There is a pioneer cemetery in the park. Cabots Landing Provincial Park was established by Order in Council (OIC) 74-1378 on December 19, 1974.[2]
It boasts a lovely day park with some uncomplicated outhouses, and a cairn proclaiming Giovanni Caboto's contribution to the discovery of Canada by the Europeans, in this case by the English King Henry the 8th who commissioned him to find an alternative route to the riches of China. Instead he was largely responsible for finding the riches of Newfoundland's Grand Banks and the eventual European settlement of that area of what is now Canada's East Coast. 

Look north along the Bay St. Lawrence from "Four Mile Beach"
Cabot Landing Provincial Park Nova Scotia

Looking South towards Dignwall along the "Four Mile Beach"
Cabot Landing Provincial Park Nova Scotia
Of course we have to place ourselves in the moment.
Darn shadows! 









I listened to Caroline serenade me over the Cardo Scala G4 comms units as her "Adventure Shadow" succeeded in planting her into every other pothole on the way out of the park. 
"Oof!"
"Ohhhh!"
"Unhhhh!" 
(As well as a couple other words that aren't printed in respectable dictionaries.)
I didn't have much more success than her, but the Versys has a longer travel suspension and can soak up some of those bumps just a bit better, and I've more experience getting round them. 

Looking East along the Bay St Lawrence towards Deadman's Pond, Capstick NS
Back out on Meat Cove Road, who can resist the urge to stop and get some photos of the road ahead, behind and the incredible views afforded by a quick roadside stop along the verge. There are a few pullouts here and there along it's length.

Meat Cove Road... The paved bit. 

The more aggressive approaches along Meat Cove Road have been paved
Such as this down hill section 











Wild raspberries! Mmm!


Photo Credit: Caroline



Overlooking the Salmon River as it flows into the Bay of Saint Lawrence
Capstick Nova Scotia





The "Adventure Shadow" on the way to Meat Cove NS

If you hear banjos, turn around and skedaddle back to Cape North!
There was an empty case of beer sitting beside this truck, that I managed to crop out of the shot, but Caroline grinned when asking me, "Did you get the case of beer as well?"
 and at the time I thought I told her that I had.
There is a camera aimed at me!!!
Photo Credit: Caroline
A few "Oomphs!" and other choice words from Caroline as we navigated the seven kilometres of mostly gravel road to the campground where we hoped to spend the night at Meat Cove. They've paved most of the steeper sections of the road, so you can even get out there on a scooter. Seriously, I met a fellow on a Honda Silverwing with his feet up eating chowder and sipping a beer out at the campground back a few years ago when I dropped in for a visit in 2017 I think. The only thing I would really worry about is trying to do this in a real rain storm, but even then I think anyone could manage it in first gear with some more than basic skills.

Seven kilometres left to go! 
A final shot of our destination from the top of the road, taken around six pm! Wow, we spent most of the day getting here, and we still have no idea if we will find a campsite open to us.

Looking out over Meat Cove
 Cape Breton Island Nova Scotia
The famed Meat Cove “Chowder Hut” Restaurant at last! Caroline was going to have a cup of their famed chowder tonight, along with something we would cook up on our stove as well.

But wait! Are these Ontario plates on the car!? 
Justin allowed us to choose our own spot, and I was thnking about site 2 where Brian and I had stayed in the fall of 2017 when we'd ridden up over the Highlands, he on his KLR and I on my Versys, but Caroline and I settled on site number 15 down the hill, and we left to park our bikes there on the flat spot, probably where we should have placed to the tent to be honest, but we'd also decided against a fire tonight, and Caroline left me to rush off and get her supper order in at the Chowder Hut before it closed for the night.

I could Photo Shop out Jim's truck... 

Little did we know the owner of that camper would become fast friends with us over the weekend. It's hard to remain socially distant when a big old dog Molly comes over and says "Hello" every now and then. More on Jimmy and Molly later.



Time to move our bikes and get our camp set up for the night. 

I recognize this place from somewhere.
Perhaps it was three years ago when Brian and I had camped here?
https://www.ridereports.ca/2017/09/2017-meat-cove-and-highland-road.html
See the shadows there? It's only 1830 and the sun is dropping down behind Bear Hill, and I'm reminded that sunset comes hours earlier in the highlands than it does to the lowlanders. While Caroline is away at the Chowder Hut, I want to get the tent up and pitched, but I'm not sure just where to stake it down, so I settled for getting it erected and using her superior intellect (If you ever see this, let me know :)   ) to select the precise location.

There I am working hard or hardly working! Caught in the act!
Photo Credit: Caroline

My slightly damp Alps Mountaineering Chaos 3
This tent is a straightforward setup, but Caroline had returned with takeaway and a couple cans of cold pop for our supper which was supposed to be a simple adjunct to our camp supper, but we were so tired, and had enjoyed the food at the Seafood Restaurant in Cheticamp, that I really wasn't terribly hungry, and neither was Caroline. Her choice of a cup of Chowder and a generous heap of delicious onion rings was just about perfect! They'd cooked the rings to perfection, and with a touch of added ketchup and they were washed down handily by the coke zero that Caroline had thoughtfully provided me. That chowder really does deserve five stars! It was really very good, with a wonderful creamy sauce that had indeed seen the inside of a cow at some point, with chunks of fish, some very obvious dill, and a perfect medium for dipping the buttered roll that accompanied it! Caroline and I share quite a few of our meals, and I find it makes the experience so much nicer especially when far from home and eager to sample more than just one dish.

The famous Meat Cove Chowder!
Photo Credit: Caroline
Molly had ambled over to say hello, and with her came Jim, loudly telling her to leave us alone (I fear she is going a bit deaf) but relented when I told Jim that I liked dogs better than most humans, and Caroline agreed and got her welcoming sniff from Molly as well. Molly wasn't social distancing, but clearly Jim was, and quite respectful of us and our camp, but it turned out that he is an avid motorcyclist kicked out of his house in Moncton by his wife to "Go and get lost!" in a friendly, "Need some alone time" sort of way. We chuckled over that, and let Jim know this was our first trip off the island since the time of the great plaque, and we felt as if we'd been unleashed from boredom and give a new lease on... The motorcycles and adventure, of course!

Jim has owned a number of bikes, but most fascinating to Caroline was that he had recently sold his Honda CB500x at Clay's Offroad in Moncton New Brunswick, and Caroline, who desperately wants one, was pretty certain had seen the ad. He even started the ADVRider thread on the Honda CB500x.

Jim's 2015? Honda CB500x
Clay's had made him return the bike to stock as much as possible for the sale as he'd made some home improvements that some riders might not have been able to appreciate such as a windscreen that actually works for a North American male who stands over 5'11", as well as a bash plate that might work to bump over a tree if it should be needed. He's replaced the Honda with yet another one, a 2019 Africa Twin that I'd love to be able to call my own. We had a great time chatting, and he was forever coming back to offer us a beer or the remains of his firewood from last night. A really sociable guy that serves to highlight why I love riding and being included in the small community. I was told to look him up on ADVRider, so here he is if you think you might know him.

Hi Jimme! How's it going, eh?
Hi from Rotten Ronnie and Seeline!
There were a few late arrivals, including a mini van whose family we had met at Cabot Landing earlier that day, fully equipped with two older Golden Retrievers to share among the campers, and we got to say hello to his pair, one of which had a severely sore hip that meant she got around with the use of only three legs. She'd severely hurt it this winter past, when walking in the deep snow, as she'd become trapped and broke or injured the joint trying to free herself from the snow. Another trio of ladies showed up in a black crew cab pick up, and parked just uphill of Jim and Molly. Close enough to us to make us wonder if the young girls were going to "Party all night" and keep us up. I suppose that remains to be seen.

Down on the public beach below, on the other side of the county line, there were a number of revellers enjoying the late sunshine, sitting on the beach or swimming away. We watched them play as we also felt the chill of the night settling upon us as our campsite soon became enveloped by shadows. I'd donned my riding fleece long sleeve, and my cotton hoodie, while Caroline was similarly attired and added a toque to the mix that I envied as I'd left mine at home, and what made me feel even more foolish, I knew exactly where it was and should have known to leave it on the bike just in case! Darn it! I was warm enough, and I could always toss on my heated vest and the leather jacket, or even my rain jacket if it came to that, and it didn't.

As we watched the shadows signal the end of the day, the revellers left the beach and headed back up to their wee cabins (sheds?) just to our left, and shortly a number of campers started their fires. The fire pits are deeper holes, done that way to minimize the risk of sparks flying across the campground and setting other tents alight or piercing them with cinders.

The advancing shadows signal the end to the day
Meat Cove Nova Scotia




Photo Credit: Caroline
We are in darkness now, and continue to be entertained by JimmieA and his dog Molly, as well as our fellow campers as they bundle up and in for the night. Caroline and I headed down to make use of the facilities, a fairly recent flush toilet and shower facility on septic that begs you not to flush any sort of paper down the loo.

The beach is now in darkness
We watched the fishing boats out on the bay. and I must admit to being somewhat floored as they were out just north of the cove seemingly quite late on a Friday night! One outlasted them all and was seen scuttling away back to Deadman's Pond in Bay St. Lawrence where the harbour is located.

We had enough signal to let our families see the highlights from our day, and to share with them our location, a habit I have been doing for several years now, especially as I am used to riding solo.

Look Ma! We are here!

The sunset as seen by an iPhone
Yep not worth it. This next shot looks as if I left the lens cap on! Hahaha!


We'd crawled into our tent, got ready for bed and slept to the sound of wind and waves. "Alexa, ambient noise OFF" having had no effect whatsoever.


Day 3 - Meat Cove Cape Breton Island to Linwood Nova Scotia - Drive 327 km, 4 hours, 40 minutes

Meat Cove Cape Breton Island to Linwood Nova Scotia
Caroline wanted to wake with the sunrise and had to be reminded that sunrise was usually thirty minutes earlier, if she wanted the spectacular photos she was after, so she had dutifully set her alarm to wake us up at 0500, but it was wasted as an early morning squall had passed over us doused the tent, waking us up to the patter of rain drops on our fly. The Chaos 3 is stellar, and was easily able to shed this morning splash, and as the rain tapered off I made a run to the washroom, and returning. suggested that Caroline employ her camera now rather than later as the sun was up and actually quite remarkable already! 



Sunrise over Meat Cove
Cape Breton Island
Nova Scotia







Breakfast is on the way. Boiling water for coffee, tea and oatmeal.



Yes, boiling water at 0530 can be this much fun! 



Caroline was using her GSI collapsible Java Drip that she enjoys using. She was running out of coffee and made sure to save enough for tomorrow mornings brew up, so this was going to be her first and possibly last cup of the day. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I have enough tea and milk for a small army. I used to hate drinking the weak "Lipton" tea that they had in the states, and opted instead to provide my own tea bags. Tetley tea, thanks for asking, enjoyed so strong that it will remove the tarnish from silverware!

Brewing up a nice cup of joe



Photo Credit: Caroline Kelly



Caroline was able to get a fantastic shot with her Cannon DSLR of Saint Paul Island, roughly 35 kilometres to the North East of us...

Sunrise over Saint Paul Island
Thirty-five kilometres north east of our campsite
Photo Credit: Caroline Kelly





I've finally managed to capture a bird flying through the scene!
And it's visible with an iPhone as well! 



Stunning photographs, and I never would have got any of them if Caroline hadn't wanted to see the sunrise, so for me it was a breathtaking moment, spent in the company of my lover and friend, made possible because of our mutual love of riding and adventure.


It was wrapping up, and I decided I'd go for a wee nap while Caroline visited the showers, then I'd take my turn long before the rest of the camp was up and about using up the hot water.

So, the inside of my Chaos 3 tent that I share with Caroline. It has shed a number of rain showers while keeping us dry, and works tolerably well when the temperatures are above 5 degrees Centigrade (About 40 degrees Fahrenheit).

Stuff sacks stuffed away. 
tent selfie


Sadly my inflatable pillow let go a seam last fall, and while it works, it lets me down on the job now. :P

Caroline went for a long snooze when she got back, so I went over to chat with Jimmy and Molly over a cup of tea. In true down East fashion I was offered everything from bacon and eggs to the last of his hot water. I gratefully made myself another cuppa while Caroline tried to catch up on her fitful sleep, and Jimmy told me how that rain we had last night had flooded out the neighbours, and he'd loaned them a dry hoodie and sleeping bag. I think they spent the rest of the night in the truck, and as we talked, one of the girls returned his gear, and they left the campground in their truck, headed south presumably. I learn it over and over, that there is no substitute for good gear, especially waterproof gear. That $300 I'd sunk into the purchase of the tent last spring was looking like a better investment every time it was held up to the light of day. Caroline messaged me to let me know that she had her ear plugs in, as she was fairly certain Jimmy and I would be chatting away like magpies about all things two wheeled, and of course I would hate to have disappointed her on that score. :)



Meat Cove Brook, trust me, it's down there just out of sight. 



Caroline woke and we packed away our gear and took down the tent, although it was a bit wet on the fly, so I tri folded the tent, then tri folded the fly around the tent in a semi water proof package, then laid the wet fly over top, rolled it all up around the bag of tent poles and packed it away into the canoe bag where it calls home. The trouble with the canoe bag, is not only does it keep the tent perfectly dry, when put away wet, that's exactly how it will stay for days, weeks even!

Jimmy and Molly were all packed up and rolling on out, so we said our fare thee wells, and promised to look each other up on ADVRider, and they were off!

JimmyA and Molly hit the road for home
A few last minute photos and it was time once more to gear up and head out on our way.

Time to get this all cleared way.
Photo Credit: Caroline Kelly


Thankfully it was much warmer this morning, and I opted just to wear my long sleeved fleece shirt, which had me slightly uncomfortable until we hit the road again.

Black Rock Point
Meat Cove NS 


We had time for a Meat Cove selfie... You have to have pictures of when you are young and beautiful to show the nurses in the home that you were young and foolish once...

Young and foolish
With the rain last night, I was worried that Caroline and I might have problems with our street tires on the sloping grass in front of our campsite, as there was an aggressive grade to climb before hitting the groomed campsite road, but I was able to follow the Adventure Honda up the hill and up to dump our garbage and recycling, then turn and follow Caroline on down the hill to the bridge over Meat Cove Brook that would take us across the brook, and back the seven kilometres of mixed gravel and asphalt and the remaining 21k back out to the Cabot Trail.

All that rain had simply dampened the dry earth and made the road a bit easier to ride in fact. None of the mud I'd feared was there at all, and we had a good ride back out to Saint Margaret's Village just down the road.
And now it was time for us to make best speed to Ingonish and the East side of the Cabot Trail. 



Just me and "my Shadow"
Who needs TKC80s when you have a Honda Shadow?



Yeah, we were scuttling away as fast as we could as that weather system looked like it was coming in from behind us, and was going to cut us off from the clear skies that we'd enjoyed earlier this morning. In fact, we would probably end up doing a rain dance at some point today.






It really is this beautiul


Wreck Cove, Capstick NS looking towards Bay St. Lawrence East
It may be Money Point, but I'm uncertain of that. 
We'd been following a motorist with a running and brake light out on the right rear, but when I tried to catch up with them and let them know they had a problem, they carried on into Saint Margaret's village, and I gave up and headed back to the intersection 


We were on a bit of a mission, for my friend Zac Kurylyk had recommended a stop up ahead of us, The Dancing Moose Cafe, but it wasn't a waypoint on my older Garmin 60cx so all I knew at that point was that it was somewhere North of Wreck Cove but well before Sydney, and our long anticipated stop at A & K Lick a Chick.

Righto, let's check it out! 
With those clouds behind and now ahead of us, I was fairly certain we would be doing a rain dance soon, and Caroline was none too happy about the state of her fuel which was fair, as we'd put 135km on the tanks since our last fill up in Cheticamp yesterday, but it would be a while before we found gas. My KLR and now my Versys does quite well on a tank, and I get better than 300 km so I really only had to fill up twice to do the circuit, but now we did a detour to find a gas station in Neills Harbour, where we pulled up in front of an Xtra to be told very kindly that if we needed premium fuel, we had best wait until Ingonish further south.

Neills Harbour NS


Around South Harbour we got a wee scare as we watched a squall of low lying grey clouds ahead in the near distance, and that telltale signal of oncoming vehicles using their wiper blades. We opted to pull to the side and do our rain dance, and for the first time this ride, ran through a bit of rain. I was really hoping it was just a light shower that had "grounded" in the hills and we would be able to ride out from underneath it, and thankfully about five minutes later we did, then a short time later pulled into Ingonish proper, where Caroline spotted her next "photo tag" as she loves playing mototag games and had another mission for us today, a picture of a flag and a garden, so I suggested the RCMP building in Ingonish as it had both of the required elements, so we did a U-Turn and captured this entry for her to submit...


I wanted it all, the flag, the bike, the garden and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Sadly I think she submitted the tame frontal shot below. **Sigh



Anyhow, we fuelled up and stowed away our rain gear, and as we were trying to make up lost time and stay ahead of the rain, we didn't take many pictures. Sorry, but I've a number from that side of the Island from previous trips, so for me it was covering old ground, although beautiful old ground, and I think Caroline was really just enjoying being in the groove and moving, as was I.

Sadly, from Ingonish Ferry through Cape Smokey Provincial Park and down that wonderful mountainside that leads you to Wreck Cove, almost all of it was under construction. Two lanes of gravel on the weekend, but clearly Jimmy had been spot on when he told us at camp that it was a single lane only on Friday and he'd had a good long wait to get on through.

Parks Canada has an information site that is sadly outdated for 2020 and advises waits of up to twenty minutes, and 511.novascotia.ca isn't showing anything for the stretch between Cape Smokey and Wreck Cove.

Here it is in pictures for you.


Craptacular. 














She's making it look easy, but this stretch is downhill and a tight corner up ahead.
 You don't want to run wide.


Oops! Just ignore this one.


Looking south towards Wreck Cove from Cape Smokey NS





Wreck Cove lies ahead, in all it's beauty,
with Caroline leading the way





And I think we've finally seen the last of the gravel. We made much better time on this side of Cape Smokey,

I think this is the place! The Dancing Moose Cafe that Zac had recommended, and not a moment too soon, as it was now 12:20 and it had taken us almost three hours to get from Meat Cove to here, if I'm correct about a 0930 departure from Meat Cove. We sometimes don't make great time on these trips. :)



The Dancing Moose Cafe

We just pulled in and had time to chat with a few riders just leaving to head north, and I let them know about the road conditions ahead, and the rain squall that we need not have bothered donning our rain gear for. They thanked me, and headed off down the road.



I'd done a bit of research on the Dutch Pannenkoek offered on the menu, and it was basically a batter incredibly similar to that of Yorkshire Pudding. So much so that as I'd made over ten batches and developed a lovely ability to make wonderful puffed up and crisp puddings, I felt certain that I could also make these pancakes. All I needed was a recipe, and there are plenty of them. Caroline wanted to eat at the outdoor picnic tables which sat very well with me, and I did some facebooking while she made use of the facilities while we waited for our large 12" "The one with the most fruit, please!" order.  

Yeah, they had me at fruit and whipped cream! Caroline graciously let me do the ordering for us both, and I wanted to share but wanted more than the 9" regular sized pannnekoek, as I really like fruit, while I'd had a packet of instant Oatmeal this morning, Caroline was still running on a five hour old cup of coffee to hold her over. It was a good choice, especially when I knew that if Caroline had ordered, it would have had chocolate and significantly less fruit. Lol.


Dutch Pannnekoek

Caroline was quite taken with this syrup jug as it was designed to minimize drips and spills.
I suspect, like the owners, it has European origins

That's my half rolled up and getting fired down the hole.
This was rapture. I will definitely be back
I enjoyed that pancake with fruit and whipped cream filling so much, that if someone were to offer it as a birthday treat, it would make me crack my face with a huge smile. I will simply have to get some ingredients together and see if I can impress my family and friends with Yorkshire... err... Dutch puddings. Pancakes.  Pannnekoek. Dutch Pannnekoek. :D

I watched Caroline mop up the syrup on her plate with the last piece of her pancake, lick her fingers, and push the now empty plate away from her. All that was left to do was to sip the last of our coffees, and throw a leg over and get moving once again, this time bound for "Lunch" that was still an hour and 65 km away, but more likely two given our track record so far. Here is where I made that huge mistake that I told you about a day or two ago. Over lunch, Caroline found that I was planning our next night near Fortress Louisbourg, and being the trusting soul that she is, assumed that I knew what I was doing. WRONG! I'd completely messed up and added an extra day to the itinerary for a total of five days on the road, when she needed to be back home for Sunday night in time to WFH Monday morning! Darn it! I quickly tried to regroup and came up with a revised plan based on our current location.

If we could eat our "Lunch" at A & K Lick A Chick, we would still have 300 km to ride down the 223 along Bra D'Or and through Port Hawkesbury and back onto the mainland, then a short jaunt along old Highway 4, the Sunrise Trail and over to the Hyclass Campground, setting us up for a short ride home on Sunday that would involve an 1115 ferry crossing over to Prince Edward Island.

Right! I opted for the Englishtown ferry to cut some time off of our ride, so did a u-turn and headed back that way when I'd gone the wrong way at the intersection of 30 and 312. Caroline was less than amused at my choice of turning spots, and I lost her briefly as she rode a bit further down 30 to find a safer place to turn. Upon reflection, I think we bypassed a wonderful little section of the trail and only gained about 30 to 45 minutes by taking the ferry. :(

Englishtown Ferry lies straight ahead! 
Looking south St. Anns Harbour from Route 312 NS
Cape Breton Island
Nova Scotia

High water and storms could have this whole road awash. 

Right, do you remember that I skipped using the washroom back at the Restaurant? I shouldn't have done that, but thank god there was a porta potty at the ferry terminal pretty much right where I was expecting one, but I did have to buck the line up of cars waiting for the ferry, hurriedly get my kickstand down, the bike secured and shed some gear so I could use the blue rocket only to find that it was completely out of TP! Someone must have been hoarding, so I almost ran back to my bike to pull out a flattened roll tucked into a ziploc bag that I kept for emergencies while camping, or as Caroline likes to say, "Pooping in the woods, which is NOT going to happen in my watch!" Hah Caroline! Who's laughing now!? Not I, for when I got back I found someone had snuck in and found the dreaded red "Occupied" flag. It seemed an age, but finally it was my turn to sigh with relief and clean up before jumping back onto the bike and trying very delicately to jump back into a line of cars without being too pushy as they moved forward to begin loading on the ferry. Caroline was nice enough to pull in alongside me, and we were part of the rat race again.

When you travel by bike on a ferry, you should try to remember a few key points about boarding and parking on them. 

  • Don't stop on the ramps, your bike is a stable gyroscope while in motion and stopping or riding extremely slowly takes all of that away. Let the cars get ahead of you so you have a clear well sighted run on the ramp.  
  • Try to avoid the polished steel sections especially if they are wet or marked with vehicle fluids. My friend Mike rode four thousand trouble free kilometres on Newfoundland until he met radiator fluid on the steel deck of a ferry. Sadly the damage did not polish out.
  • Avoid riding over the cable or the cable channel. Hit it as perpendicular as possible if you must cross it. 
  • Kickstand down, leave it in gear with the engine off and brace when starting off, and arriving.  

Caroline likes ferry rides, especially free ones
[RANT]
It's a small cable ferry, and when one of the workers signalled that Caroline and I were to proceed to the front row, I thought for sure we were going to be "first off" which is the custom for dealing with motorcycles, and we are usually much quicker to load up and be away than a car, and we take up less space as well. Think of how depressed I was when he said we wouldn't be let off first, and I told him that now we were going to have to pass eight cars before we were free of that mess. **Sigh. Yeah, I know, but I really like to be in front riding my own ride, seeing the sights, and if someone tailgates us, Caroline and I simply pull to the side and wave them past. It's dangerous having inconsiderate motorists back there playing with their MP3 players and eating or texting. Seriously. 

On related rant, as a motorcyclist I prefer to be ahead of a cage as opposed to behind them. That way I can set my own pace, see what is developing ahead, and react to the conditions as opposed to waiting to react to the driver ahead of me. The only one I trust on the road around me is Caroline, cause if she hurts me by accident, she will kiss it better. ;)

So limit your risk as the operator. No one else will do it for you, and if that means you should have stayed at home in bed, and believe me, that has hit me a time or two in the past, then do what needs to be done.
[/END RANT]

We finally arrived at the Seal Island Bridge over Great Bra d'Or and on into the outskirts of what I'll call Sydney as I get a bit confused at this point.

Great Bra d'Or as seen from the Seal Island Bridge




Caroline crossing the Great Bra d'Or


If you recall, I'd been here a few times before, but the road had changed and been modernized and I didn't recognize a lot of what I was seeing. I got a bit distracted as there were a number of motorcycles at the Tim Hortons on the north side of the street, but was easily able to recognize and get us both into the (gravel) parking lot of the restaurant.
In fact, my recollection was of the two very distinct buildings straight out of a Ron Howard Happy Days sitcom or American Graffiti film, an old diner, home of A & K Lick-A-Chick and a dairy bar across from each other right on the main route. I'd finally managed to stop a few years ago when I rode the trail solo, and I had fallen in love with their crispy battered deep fried chicken. In fact, they could have taught the colonel a thing or two. Caroline isn't as thrilled about deep fried chicken the way her son Shamus and I am, but she was eager to try it based on my glowing report, and she wanted to try one of the famed drumsticks at the companion A & K Lick-A-Treat across the street.

We made it! 
Caroline and I made our way inside, where I found that I had to spend the $20 dollars on a hat that would come in very handy tonight to keep my noggin warm if it dropped down to 5 C (40 F) again, although it was now time to shed our last layer, and maybe open the zips up, but not quite. It was going to be a nice afternoon if it didn't rain on us again. Anyhow, the chicken was Caroline's treat as I'd paid for our "elevenses" back at the Moose, and we waited patently outside until our number was called. Sadly they aren't offering any exterior or interior dining, so we sat on the grass or the border rocks, and ate our crinkle cut fries with their distinctive brown gravy. That chicken was good, and Caroline was magnanimous once more, and allowed me to choose three of the five pieces, so I made sure I picked a decent bit of thigh, and then two smaller pieces while she snacked on that lovely crisp chicken skin. Mmmmm! Zac has passed this iconic diner many times in the past, and has yet to stop in himself. I figure it's a bit like being screeched in by a Newfoundlander for those who come from away. Stop and smell the roses. There is probably a darn good reason while the locals frequent a restaurant that doesn't bear a big brand name, and you may strike gold. (Or not). Caroline and I were stuffed, and sadly had no room for the drumstick, so according to my very intelligent and beautiful partner in crime, we are simply going to have to go back there sometime in the near future. I am totally down with that! :D

We still had a couple of hundred kilometres to make it to our campsite for the evening, again located in Linwood NS on the mainland, but we didn't want to simply jump onto the highway yet, and I wanted Caroline to see Bra d'Or from Route 223 NS as I'd seen it years before in 2006. It was tougher going, as we were both running on lack of sleep and wanted to just find a spot to curl up and enter a food coma. What a simple and pleasant dream! Time to get moving! We rode on into North Sydney, right past the ferry terminal for Newfoundland, and then on down the 305 NS until we got onto 223 NS and the miles just seemed to roll away as the roads were just a bit of fast moving magic. Caroline sometimes likes me to ride ahead, and she firmly opted for that now, as she likes to see when and where I tip into a corner, or decide I'm going too fast and want to use the brakes. She's really disciplined and is content to hang much further back from me, and sadly, I ride much closer to her than I should, especially if we are butterfly gazing. I try to be very conscious of it while touring, and give her at least three seconds unless in town and in heavy traffic where I prefer to remain closer and block out my lane. Anyhow, we were really enjoying the flow, with a car in the distance that was content to follow us for a long portion of the ride, but again, they held far enough back that Caroline or I felt as if we would be steam roller-ed if we made a gaff.

We got down as far as the Grand Narrows, when we saw a line of cars stopped in from the the lift bridge, that was open to allow a sailing boat cross the highway. Durn. Stop, put down your kickstand and relax.





It's more than just one boat! 
And now it's 1600, but now we had just over a hundred km to go, bout an hour out. We waited for what seemed like an age for four boats to pass under the road bridge, and alongside the now unused rail bridge.

Shoot, but that looks like we can expect some rain. 


Yes, riding with me is this much fun!



I really hope we don't run into any of that weather today! 
The bridge closed and allowed the traffic to roll, but most of the cars took a hard right once in the town of Iona NS. Beats me but my GPS says keep going, so we kept going right down the coast and to a ferry crossing at Little Narrows. Well, my GPS said nothing about a ferry, and it was beginning to spit again, but I really didn't want to stop and thought perhaps we could ride out from under the raid if we kept on... The GPS said to keep on. "Adventures by Garmin". I forced Caroline into yet another U-turn and back into line for the wee cable ferry, but only after I'd shown her the lovely gravel pit and rock crushing equipment up at Hazeldale to the North. Yeah, we were trying to get South and here I was dragging her North. That is when I realized the error, and managed to get us pulled over long enough to see more of the route in store for us. Get back onto that ferry that would hook us up with the TransCanada 105 NS in Aberdeen, then it would be a straight speed run south through Whycocomagh and then the Canso Causeway and back to the mainland! Sorry darling. Mea Culpa! The takeaway is that you should know where we are headed as well, as two heads are better than one. :P

The ferry operator did let us board, set us in front of a line of cars, and allowed us to leave first, but Caroline needed to use the space rocket up ahead, and I was quite happy to take a wee breather while I waited for her to rejoin me. I did feel guilty tossing away that advantage when leaving the ferry, honestly I did.

If you recall the last time we camped in Linwood, it was too close to the highway with noisy locals and a wee tiny view of the ocean from across the road and up the hill. Nix to that. We planned to check out the campground Hyclass Ocean Campground which was only a few kilometres from the other campground we stayed at on Friday night. It's a gated family campground, with a neat little office and general store, and the owners were very friendly and suggested a site that would give us a great view of the coming sunset. They have a lower tier of tent sites much closer to the ocean, but for those you have to park further away and walk from the parking lot. If you own a motorcycle and camp with it, you know why that was unsuitable for us, so we paid the $32 dollars, and bought a large bin of firewood which the owner said she would have her husband drop off to us later on by truck.

Fantastic! The site was level, the grass cut, and the there was lots of fun and frolic apparently happening just down on the beach with a bunch of young children enjoying the warm weather and the water.

Our home away from home for the night. 
I dropped off the tent at the site, then hopped on the bike and headed further down the road to the Petro Canada in Monastery where we had stopped Friday, and bought the four litres of water we would need for the night, some chocolate haystack cookies for our dessert, some milk, and four large tins of Strongbow Dry Cider to share with Caroline. Right, back to it! And I scooted back to find that Caroline had the tent up, and all it needed was to be staked out. Perfect. We got our sleeping gear inflated and sorted, then started on supper all while watching the sun slowly begin to sink in the west.



With the access road so close to our campsite we got to interact with many of the people on their way to and from the swimming area. There were a couple of girls who clearly wanted to talk and like chatty little magpies would tell you just what they were up to and how much they liked their new beach towel or how many fish their daddy was trying to catch. :D  Another family went by, and one of the boys said how much he liked motorcycles, and I grinned and responded that we liked them too!

It was getting later and we were a bit oblivious until I figured out that it was near 2000 and time to eat while that sun began to set!

We met Coco, a young chocolate lab owned by the owners sister-in-law, and had a nice little meet and greet with him, and when his owner said he could have a wee treat, all I had to hand was a bit of macroon so I offered him a wee bit of that, but he clearly wasn't interested. Maybe I had something to give him a little later?

The menu for tonight? I'd been trucking four packets of decent Ramen noodles around the Cabot Trail for the past three days, and it was finally time for some of that to get eaten! Hooray! I chose the Nongshim Kim Chi Ramyun as Caroline and I really enjoy it straight up "as is", but we still had that onion we had purchased in Cheticamp yesterday, and some left over snow peas and garlic granules as well as a hunk of Kolbasa sausage that should work nicely as a protein.

Mmm! Kimchi! This stuff is really good all by itself. 
I also got to try out my new kitchen knife that I seen used to great effect by YouTubers Simon a Bloke in the Woods and Andy of Kent Survival. If ever you wanted to watch how to bake bread or create incredible meals over a campfire, I encourage you to catch some of their videos! Truly inspiring! Back to the knife, this one is an Opinel #8 Carbone (high carbon steel) that will rust if I let it, but hopefully not as I prefer that dark stain of a well used steel knife. I'd soaked this one in mineral oil for a few days, as I heard stories of water swelling the handles making it difficult to engage the lock, so water can't go where mineral is, and the stuff is non-toxic. That knife works perfectly as a kitchen paring knife, and together with the cutting board from the Stanley Adventure Frying Pan kit, I was able to slice the onion into bits and toss it into the pot for our supper. A bit of oil and the snow peas, and I sauteed that over a medium flame, then tossed in the two seasoning sachets and the dried kimchi, then the litre of water we would need for the noodles. (I'd nicked out a few bits of the kolbasa to cut up and turn into dog treats for Coco, I'll just save those for later)

I just need to bring this to a boil now
The water boiled and the noodles went in! These noodles are chewy so I cook them the full four minutes, then pull the pot off the heat and let them sit for a bit.

Noodle time!






Sunset over Linwood Harbour NS




Caroline suggested that we get the fire going as we had a lot of wood to burn through, but as I was cooking, she volunteered to set fire to the stuff, and in no time we had a nice little fire going, not that we needed it, but I love smelling the smoke. I'm going to think about carting a grill around on the bike, as I've watched Simon and Andy do some incredible things over the fire.


A wonderful meal
That Kolbasa wasn't a huge hit with Caroline, and I wasn't too fond of it either. I was hoping for something dry with big chunks of pork and a nicely herbed and peppered blend, as you really are ruined for crap commercial sausage if you have the good stuff. Check out the some of the Polish delicatessens and bakeries in Mississauga or the St. Lawrence Centre farmers market in Toronto for a real taste of decent sausage.Sadly, Caroline nailed it when she described it as a bit rubbery. It might thrill Coco though. Setting all that aside, the noodles were amazing and we plan to do this again as there are so many things you can add to make a simple noodle packet incredible. Please start with something a bit better than Mr. Noodles though. ;)  Check out some of your local Asian grocery stores, and ask for noodles from Taiwan, as they have a large Buddhist population that demand a decent vegetarian flavour. I'm particularly fond of the mushroom noodle. I must have skipped my breakfast this morning. ;)



Sunset over Linwood Harbour NS
Photo Credit: Caroline Kelly



Coco's mom dropped by and invited us down to the beach for the community camp fire, but we were still enjoying supper and were a bit non-committal at the time. We were enjoying our own fire for the moment, and I suppose enough people were visiting us to both make us wary (The ever present SICK) and  The owner's husband was a motorcycle junkie as well, and took to Caroline's taste in bikes as he was a Honda fan boy as well, riding an older VTX1100 if memory serves. He's racked up some miles on that one. I have to tell you that we were really feeling the love, and coupled with idealic weather, the socialble neighbourly campers, and that spectacular sunset in front of us, we had no trouble deciding that we would camp here in the future. Down this far in the campground they use outhouses, but the city folk and walk a bit further to find flush toilets and showers up closer to the main building. ;)

All of the pictures below were taken by Caroline on her DSLR. I'll just fit them in here for you.

Photo Credit: Caroline Kelly

Photo Credit: Caroline Kelly

Photo Credit: Caroline Kelly

Photo Credit: Caroline Kelly











Caroline and I were so happy with the sunset and the Cider had certainly eased us into a happy little couple, content with watching our fire burn lower. Wow was I tired. The owners had told us that a comet would be visible in the night sky that evening, but I wasn't going to make it. I made my way into the tent to lie down, and Caroline asked me who was watching the fire, and headed out to watch it die away safely while I distantly heard her chatting with someone about the comet and the location to look in, while all I thought about was how happy I was to be lying down and trying to get some sleep. Two cans of Cider will do that to me. lol.


Caroline said she took some pictures of the comet, but all she got was sort of a smear, so you will have to look elsewhere to satisfy that little astronomical desire. Sorry, it's beddy bye for me.

Day 4 - Linwood NS to Charlottetown PE via the Wood Islands Ferry, Pictou NS - 200 km, 3.5 hours

Linwood NS to Charlottetown PE via Ferry
It was a beautiful morning, although I was quite happy to miss the sunrise today and trade that for some quality Sunday sleep in. Still, my internal clock told me it was time to get up and head over to the outhouse. There was still enough sunrise left for me to share a wee bit of it with you. 

This is what you find at 0530 in the morning. 
I just can't get over how much I enjoy seeing the summer blooms here and there, even weeds on occasion. I used to joke that as a single guy I'd toss the odd flower in to keep the women checking out my blog, but now I truly enjoy adding the colours and textures the posts.


Even these yellow flowers are tightly closed against the night. Check our how wonderful they are later when the suns warmth hits them!


Caroline was still in bed, trying to nap away and get some sleep snore free. I can keep her up pretty badly to the point where I feel that we are losing time in the morning getting away, as I'm used to leaving and being on the road well before 0900, but that hasn't been possible most days as the poor dear will lose so much sleep that even ear plugs don't quite cut it and we may opt for separate tents on our next trip to see if that works out. I'll still be up early as I simply don't sleep all that long while camping. Lol.

I'm a bit of a stove nut, so please bear with me while I show you the latest setup that I've been using in more detail. Sorry. Feel free to skip ahead to the lovely Caroline all dressed up with nowhere to go...

The Gear:

  • MSR 1.6L Stowaway pot for two (the 775ml is ideal for one) 
  • D-Power folding butane stove with piezo ignition
  • Lindal to Butane gas adapter with legs
  • Butane can (purchased at Asian grocery store, $8.95 for 4 or 1.13 cents per gram of fuel)
  • Windshield if needed (moderate to windy days)

If you buy this stuff during the off season, you can source some real deals. The whole kit here is around $75 with the MSR pot being the heavy hitter at $34 before taxes and shipping. (Mec has free shipping once in a while, wait for that or pick up in store)

Canadian Tire special - 3.7 cents per gram of fuel
It was going to be another breakfast of champions today, oatmeal and a huge cuppa! 

Those dog food bowls worked wonderfully well this weekend!

I'm really impressed with the setup. It brings 500ml to boil in just over five minutes, with a precise simmer to a raging full on roar. When boiling last nights supper, we used it longer than at any point of the trip and it was good for well over twenty minutes of cooking, and then the heating of the wash water.

The table isn't quite level
The can has to stay upright with that notch aiming at the sky above, and the legs on the adapter do that perfectly. The valve sips gaseous fuel from the air space in the top portion of the can. If you roll it or hold it upside down, liquid butane comes out instead and causes some really exciting flares! Like your very own concert pyrotechnics, you will be the talk of the camp, and eyebrows grow back, right?! Most adapters you see on FleaBay and AliExpress don't have the legs, so i think it's worth the extra money to get one with the legs if you are going to use it as I do. 




I like it!

The stove is low to the ground, and the valve is exposed so I can control the flame remotely without losing the hair on the backs of my hands. The base is much more stable than a stove that perches on a cartridge. And bonus, you can flip the supports in and run this with a small, mug sized vessel instead of a larger pot. It will even support up to a 12" cast iron frying pan, but it hot spots in the centre. I've been very happy with 8" pots and smaller on this, and I love the enveloping flame pattern.


I miss my old SVEA123R, but it got left behind as Caroline isn't really interested in sparking up the Swedish Flamethrower, and it can be noisier while she sleeps.
You can use it just for a mug of tea
When I got back I weighed an empty tin of butane against this one, to find that of 227 grams of fuel, we had 92 grams remaining from our three day outing. That was cooking breakfast, supper and doing a bit of warm wash up water with one exception, that Saturday night at Meat Cove when we had takeaway from the Chowder hut. It's a great system that benefits once in a while from the windscreen as wind will blow the flames and heat right out from under the pot.


Once again, purchased at 1800 and left out on the ground overnight to have fresh milk in the tea in the morning. It works! Even on some really questionable hot nights!

Once again, Caroline makes her breakfast. 
Well the tent came down around eight when Caroline had finished her coffee, and we got everything packed and ready to go. We had to make the Pictou Wood Islands Ferry for an 11:15 departure today, so it was our first "deadline". Yeah, that will get a bit of drive going.

I must have hit a rock last night!
That is the first "failure" for my knock off "tent nails"
And it is still very usable, so what the hey? 

The flowers open to the morning sun

Put the camera away and gear up! I'm melting in all this!
0930 and we rolled out of the campsite and back onto NS 104 headed via highway to Pictou for fuel. It was a bit of a highway slog and not terribly enjoyable, but you can't have everything.

This is what a highway can look like.

Yep, more of the same. 
We rolled into Pictou where I convinced Caroline that "Elevenses" would be just the thing to take down to the Ferry terminal with us after we fuelled up, but the McDonald's conveniently in front of us was under construction, and one of the locals pointed out a Subway just off to the side and suggested they made a good breakfast sandwich. Awesome! As this was my idea I got volunteered to go in and order for the both of us, so I got a sausage egg and cheese for us each with swiss cheese, and on Caroline's I got onions and spinach with mayonnaise, while on mine I just went with onions, salt and pepper. They got fired into the tank bag and we were off! When I cheated and did a u-turn around a traffic island to get back out into this very confusing flow of traffic. Caroline sorta cursed at me with this island accented mumble mumble grumble and disappeared around the corner going the wrong way! Away from me!

Seems pretty straightforward to me... Umm. Yeah. 
It looks easy enough on a map, but on the ground you just can't visualize any of this roundabout madness. Thankfully the traffic was unusually light because of the SICK.

I figured she would get it sorted out and was trying to pretend that she never does u-turns and was offended with my cavalier attitude and disregard for paint and signs meant for two tons of awkwardness. Clearly we were going to have to rethink any plans of riding in Singapore or India. :D I pulled over right on extra wide shoulder of the roundabout when it was safe and I had a clear view of the road waiting for her to get sorted and catch up to me which she did presently, and I dutifully allowed her to lead and dropped in behind her, feeling slightly like a scolded schoolboy caught out by teacher. :D

We arrived at the terminal booth to find that we were handed a "self-declaration" form that we would need to hand in while on the ferry proper, and were informed that we would have to wear our masks while inside the ferry itself. That was a bit strange, and frankly for me, off-putting for as much as I want to respect everyone else, I'm a bit of a claustrophobic, and can't even stand the bed sheets over my head for more than a couple of minutes at a time. I managed on in the co-op but at fifteen minutes I hit my wall and would have pulled it off of my face to be stoned by the avenging villagers, ridden out of town on a rail, tarred feathered and pilloried or shamed on Facebook, I think that's how it's done these days. I tried explaining it on one of those posts you see hash tagged #maskholes, that some of us have psychological problems wearing the darn things, when one gentleman suggested that I thought it was fair to put everyone around me at risk provided I didn't have to wear a mask. Let's be clear, telling someone with a fear of heights that "it's perfectly all right, see I can climb the ladder" does not make that fear magically go away. One has to suppress it and lock it away and try to appear "normal" for a long as possible before having a wee meltdown or panic attack. As I get older I'll tell you more of what ails me, as my warranty expired at least 25 years ago, and as my doctor once said, "It's all downhill from 35, Ron." Anyhow, thankfully we had our bikes lashed down and Caroline and I went straight up to the rear deck where we found a socially distant bench to ourselves (note they have reduced the amount of vehicles they take on a ferry trip to increase social distancing) and tried to enjoy the wonderful sunny day while looking on at everyone trying to wear their masks and not touch door handles, or safety railings and all of that wonderful normal day to day routine. I did manage to wear my mask for the duration, but I was sincerely glad to get it off after the five minutes or so it took to remove my helmet and get on up to the deck, and didn't have to put it back on again until we arrived at Wood Islands about an hour and fifteen minutes later. Oh, those breakfast sandwiches, now our lunch made by subway? Brilliant! Smashing! I followed mine up with the last of our "Party Mix" and had a wee party of one while Caroline took some pictures.

Caroline enjoying the view through a zoom lens


Caribou lighthouse NS
Photo Credit: Caroline
I sent this to the family to let them know we were on the ferry,
 one step closer to home
 Ah, the poor wee darling! After all that time listening to me snore it was my turn to listen to her snore for a bit. Then I felt like I was trapped by the cat or dog. I didn't want to move for fear of disturbing her, but I couldn't keep my eyes open and began to nod off into la-la land myself!

I love this girl.
"You're      going      the       wrong       way!!!" Straight out of Planes Trains and Automobiles.


All I could think of at the time is that classic...





And it's almost all over now.  Time to gather up our lunch things and make sure for me to check for my wallet for the 900th time this trip.

Wood Islands Lighthouse PE
Erected 1876
Photo Credit: Caroline
Wood Islands Harbour PE
Photo Credit: Caroline
Caroline has to remove the cargo strap holding her bike in place, as do I and get her gear on. Not to worry though, as we are going to be dead last off of this boat.




Isn't it beautiful?
So for the first time in years, we get stopped by the cops, and let me tell you he was hot under the collar! Apparently he's newly posted to the island and is sick of seeing folks like us out enjoying this incredible weather while he was to work, and his bike is a garage queen. We had a good laugh over that and joined the rear of the queue.


Remember that self-declaration form? It turns out if you are an Islander with proof of address, you don't need to fill it out as you are coming to your home province. So you don't need to submit it. It says so right on the website!

If you DO fill it out and submit (with a borrowed pen?) then they give you a yellow slip that lets you bypass the waiting lineup.

If you DON'T fill it out and submit it, it's a twenty minute wait in the hot sun waiting for the two summer job Public Health officials attired in shorts, ball caps and armed with clipboards to vette your ID cards and welcome you home. In New Brunswick they have armoured vests and Glocks. BUT, you end up in the same line up as the people from away, and that takes a lot more time. **Sigh Welcome home!

Prince Edward Island
“The small protected by the great”

Caroline enjoyed riding the Cabot Trail so much that she'd have had us right back onto CBI this past weekend, but as her rear tire didn't arrive in time, it is going to have to wait for this weekend coming. We had planned to be attending the races at AMP in Shubenacadie this weekend with a couple of vacation days tacked on here and there, but as that is cancelled this year, she will have her way and we will be running the Fleur-de-lis trail on the opposite side, perhaps seeing Fortress Louisbourg as well, and she really wants to camp at Meat Cove AGAIN!!? Hahaha. This girl is a keeper. She already has us pre-approved for this coming Friday...

Cheers from my Fortress of Solitude, Day 138 SICK free.

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