Canada 2018

Day 11

July 31

  With very little sleep, I figure I might as well go ahead and get up and watch the sunrise.  
  Before long, that golden orb that we enjoy on a daily basis peeks its head above the horizon. Today will be interesting as we have already discussed the issue of how little sleep we probably would get. We figure we'll play it by ear and just see how the day goes, cutting it short if we feel the need.  
  Jim, Alain and I wander into the sit down cafe and I order up the 'big' breakfast which happens to include a slice of fried baloney. I have to chuckle at that since where I'm from you only ate baloney for breakfast cause you couldn't get anything else.  
  I do leave the beans as they remind me of the pork and beans I used to eat as a kid - cheap and filling but not very tasty.  
  Soon the call to disembark is made and we head for our bikes. Frost seems to have made the voyage with no problems at all.  
  We get the girls unlashed and follow the rest of the vehicles when our turn comes up.  

Our plan is to catch the short ferry at Englishtown and run the Cabot Trail counterclockwise to Cheticamp. I had hoped to visit Meat Cove, but Alain has encouraged me to skip it given the condition of my hands. He tells me -

"You could make it okay, but it would not be good for your hands."

Discretion is the better part of valor, so I heed his advice and leave it for another day with better hands. We stop at the top of the hill so I can get a picture of the interesting bridge across Bras D'or Lake.

  Soon we come to the 'official' start of the Cabot Trail, the only trunk highway in Nova Scotia which does not have an assigned route number.  
  It's lovely ride I've been on before that makes its way around the northern tip of Nova Scotia. It gives you gorgeous views of the Cabot Strait and further along the Gulf of Saint Lawrence.  
  On the way, we pass two churches of very similar style as the steeples are almost identical in construction. One appears to be doing well, with well kept grounds and facilities ...  
  and one seems to be sadly abandoned to decay and neglect. You can be sure that the latter started dying on the inside long before it died on the outside. The church is not a building but the people that meet inside the building. However, the condition of the outside often reflects the conditions on the inside.  
  Cabot Trail winds up into the highlands ...  
  which provide some nice twisties to occupy my thoughts.  
  Since we are not in a big hurry, we pull off just past Wreck Cove and take a break and a check on how we all are feeling.  
  All is surprisingly good so far considering how little real sleep we got, so we press on and enjoy the beautiful scenery.  
  When we come to the official entrance of the Cape Breton Highlands National Park , the ranger gives Alain some advice about the major construction up ahead. She also shares with him a nice detour that will route us around most of it.  
  It's a nice run a little closer to the coast with some gorgeous scenery.  
  We pass through Neils Harbor a real fishing village with their lobster traps waiting for the next expedition.  
  You can tell that these are working boats not pleasure boats based on the equipment they carry onboard.  
  And as an additional bonus, we get to see the Neil's Harbor lighthouse out on the point. The first light was established here in 1899. By 1922 it had a 4th Order Fresnel Lens. The local fire department opened an ice cream shop in the tower and the light is still operational.  
  And out in the Cabot Strait is a lone sailboat plying the glistening waters much like we ply the asphalt highways - at the mercy of the weather, surroundings and skills of the pilots.  
  It's a really pretty detour that I am thankful we get to take. It's a lot like life - sometimes the detours are pleasant and sometimes not so much.  
  But it's a beautiful day and I am just glad to be allowed to participate in it.  
  Then this sign wakes me from my pleasant reveries and I wonder if flying debris ranks right up there with flying saucers.  
  Soon we come to the source of the flying debris for even on this route there is some construction going on.  
  But we encounter the 'real' construction once we make it back to the main Cabot Trail.  
  But the lovely views make the minor inconveniences of the road well worth the effort.  
  Soon we pull into our lunch destination - the Rusty Anchor.  
  Out front lies the name sake for the place as far as I can figure ...  
  and on the front is a tribute to the One who made all of this beauty we've seen so far today.  
  But inside is the real treasure that I find in the form of seafood chowder and homemade biscuits so good it'll make a man's tongue beat his brains out.  
  So to ensure I do proper justice to what is before me, I make sure I don't leave very many fragments behind.  
  Outside I happen to notice a couple of nice red Lamborghinis parked. But I shudder to think what these sometimes rough roads must do to the suspension of these finely tuned automobiles.  
  And once we leave the restaurant, we again hit some more serious construction full of lovely gravel and other slippery such stuff.  
  But it doesn't last for long until we're back to what we came for - incredible views and great curves.  
  In some places the road looks like an old black snake sunning himself all stretched out on a hillside. Jim is camping instead of moteling so he splits off when he gets to his campsite. We wave good-bye and continue on our motel in Cheticamp.  
  Soon enough we come to where we will be spending the next few days. The motel is not ready yet so Alain and I decide to wander on into town and see what's to see.  
  And just when you least expect it, there is an ice cream bar connected to a Mr. Chicken.  
  Sometimes ice cream makes men do funny things and it seems to be having that effect about now.  
  I decide to go for something a little more healthy that has fruit included. After all, dairy products and fruit are an essential part of a healthy, well-balanced diet.  
  After suffering through our healthy repast, we head back to the motel and get checked in. With our beasts of burden unloaded and a nice shower so that we don't stifle anybody sitting next to us, we set about trying to decide where we will get our next portion of nourishment.  
  We try to get into the Harbour Restaurant but they are booked solid. So we decide to check out the Le Gabriel next. They can work us in so we go for it.  
  It's okay but nothing to write home about. I get a BLT and fries and have to hunt to find the B part of BLT. But it is what it is and at least now we know where we won't be coming back to.  

When we get back to the motel, the rest of the group gathered for NovaScotiaSToc are outside chewing the fat. I ask the most important question for tomorrow -

"What's the plan for breakfast?"

"We did the Happy Clam this morning and it was good" Dave replies.

"Sounds like a plan. What time?" I ask.

The descision is around 8:30 so with that filed away in my my little tired brain, I head for our room. It's been a long day and I am past ready to check out the bed. I think I'm out before my head even hits the pillow.