Sunday, August 8, 2010

Disenchantment, Chance Encounters and Love Struck baby…

Our plan to do the Cabot Trail got soaked by pouring rain so instead we went just up the road to Baddeck, Cape Breton Island, where we waited out getting the truck’s oil changed before strolling the sopping streets. Alexander Graham Bell purchased his summer home at Baddeck with the proceeds he received from his invention of the telephone. He and D.A. McCurdy then joined forces to launch Canada’s first powered aircraft from the iced over Lake Bras D’or at Baddeck in 1909. That Lake is also billed as the world’s largest inland sea - still not exactly sure just what that means…

Later in the day we drove through the rain to Inverness where two lifeguards were the only people, besides us, to brave the weather . We looped back to our campsite via Mabou, and then watched a movie while the downpour continued. The forecast was for more of the same so we planned to delay our trip to the Cabot Trail, which we had hoped we’d get in the next day.

As usual the forecast was wrong and we were able to drive The Trail after all. I’d have to say it was a major disappointment. In Nova Scotia they bill Cape Breton as The World’s Second Most Beautiful Island. No mention is made of which Island is first. I can think of a few...

The drive is mostly through the trees. The roads are terrible with no shoulders so bicyclists attempting the route are definitely taking their life in their hands. Luckily for us we had been forewarned about trying to pull any type of RV through there. There are a few spots on the eastern part of the route where the road is steep, with the drop to the ocean even steeper, but one could see far more spectacular scenery in forty-five minutes on the Sea-to-Sky Highway than what takes six hours on The Trail. Granted there was a nice beach at Ingonish but that was riddled with jellyfish. The only part of the drive that we thought was really worth the trip was the southwestern part where Acadian settlements start at Cheticamp and run southwards for forty kilometers or so - where the houses had character and where you could actually see where the land meets the waters of the gulf.

Ok, maybe I was a little cranky because it was a hazy kind of humid day that didn’t lend itself much to picture taking but apparently that is pretty common on hot summer days there. I can see that it could be a spectacular trip if you got it on a clear October day, when the trees are in full autumn glory, but otherwise we wouldn’t do it again.

The chance encounter:

Our ferry to Newfoundland was booked for 5:45am Saturday morning so we had a day to kill in Sydney, Nova Scotia. At the Tourist Information Bureau we asked if there was anything going on. The woman happily replied that, “Yes, Rock On The Dock is on tonight featuring Prism.” No way!
We walked next door to The Delta and enquired if they had an Al Harlow staying there. “Why, yes we do.“ came the reply, and he handed me the phone. Five minutes later we were having coffee with Al before he rushed off to the radio station for an interview. Too funny. We couldn’t stay for the concert because the ferry was loading at 4:00am but Al had promo’d us a couple of tickets to his current lineup the summer before last in Kamloops anyway.

Love struck, again:

The ferry parking lot at Sydney was basically a tailgate party while we waited for the ferry. The Nova Scotians and, even more so, the New Foundlanders are unbelievably friendly. Almost to a person they stop and talk and offer things to see and do. They’re proud of where they live but they have a great sense of humour about it too.

Even as the ferry approached the dock in Port Aux Basques we new we were going to love New Foundland. The ferry cost $677 for the 180 mile round trip but is worth every penny. The scenery is just like you’ve seen on TV, only better. The sea is pure and powerful and pounds white foam against The Rock at every turn. Our first day in we camped at Kippens and took the two-hour loop around the Port Au Port Peninsula. Unbelievable. Everyone, especially Canadians, should see and feel New Foundland.

… it’s 6:30 in New Foundland., four-and-a-half hours ahead of you Left Coasters.

Tomorrow we’re off to Gros Morne National Park. Can’t wait.

Photo: The sodden beach at Inverness, Nova Scotia.

Photo: The cable ferry at Englishtown, Cape Breton which saved us about a half hour on our way to The Cabot Trail.

Photo: The Keltic Inn at Ingonish on the Cabot Trail. A haunt of the rich and famous for the past 65 years, it apparently boasted the best restaurant on Cape Breton Island for 45 years until it closed last year due to declining revenues.

Photo: Outside the Info Center at Sydney, Nova Scotia, where they told us Prism was playing.

Photo: Al and us outside The Delta in Sydney.

Photo: The ferry as we depart at 5:45am from Sydney.

Photo: Our first glimpse of New Foundland from the ferry.

Photo: The harbour at Port Aux Basques.

Photo: Port Aux Basques lighthouse.

Photo: Ships Cove at Port Au Port peninsula, NF.

Photo: Sheaves Cove at Port Au Port peninsula, NF.

Photo: A brook, yes brook, they don’t call them creeks in New Foundland, runs into Sheaves Cove.

Photo: Janice rearranges the topography at Sheaves Cove.

Photo: Three Rocks Point at Port Au Port Peninsula, NF.

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful report and your pictures are wonderful. You are having an experience of a lifetime. I'm just home from my "retirement tour" to Europe and am wondering what lies ahead. Take good care of each other and enjoy each day. Love cousin ljc.