Tuesday – I hate leaving Cape Breton so soon without having seen more of it, but I’ve got many more miles to cover, and two more provinces before heading back to the states, hopefully in time to see some foliage in New England. Things that must remain on the “must see” list for here: Celtic Colours Festival, Fortress Louisbourg, whales along the shore, and much more. It’s gray and overcast this morning and the forecast is for rain…all day. Well, at least it isn’t raining yet. Heading southwest from Sydney on Highway 4, I ride along the southern shore of Bras D’Or Lake on a two-lane soft version of a roller coaster. It’s fun and getting prettier by the mile. Stopping for a tea in Port Hawkesbury gives me a chance to warm up and get rain gear on. Thanks, Murph, for the loaners that at least buy me some time today. Got a message from Firehouse Ironworks in Whycocomagh, NS inviting me to stop in but sadly we are past there already. Would have loved to meet a local and the pic I saw of their iron version of beer hops and leaf is BEAUTIFUL! No time, or more accurately no desire to stop in the rain, for photos today and the light isn’t good anyway and photos would never do this place justice anyway. Logged nearly 250 miles and the vast majority of that in rain. Tim Horton’s saw me twice today and I tried Timbits with my tea…yummy. Chatted up some really fun retired prison guards at the Timmy’s in Truro. Made me smile. Meeting people is really one of the best parts of life.
Wednesday – Got a late start but I feel pretty good and decide to go see some of the area since it’s a gorgeous day out. My gear is still wet from yesterday but will hopefully dry quickly in the sunshine and breeze. Headed for Peggy’s Cove to see the lighthouse and have some lunch, per Murph’s suggestion. Just north of the city I turn off onto a two-lane road that winds around and toward the southern shore of Nova Scotia. Eventually we see a sign for Peggy’s Cove and follow it. More twisty and smooth shoreline roads. The water in the lakes and inlets is as smooth as glass today, reflecting perfect mirrored images of the homes and trees along the opposite shores. I want to stop and take pictures but there isn’t much of a shoulder on this road and I still don’t have my sealegs well enough under me to chance it. Peggy’s Cove is about an hour out from my hotel using the slow roads, and that’s the most beautiful way to get there. Lovely Cape Cod-style gray shingle-sided cottages perched on the rocks and small inns and B&Bs everywhere. The road turns inland for a few miles and then comes out onto a rocky plain that reminds me of southern Newfoundland with boulders randomly thrown across the landscape by the retreating glaciers of the last ice age. The grass and shrubs are dressed for the season in gold, deep red and chartreuse green. I turn left into Peggy’s Cove for a stop at the visitor center and then a walk across the road to see the harbor and take some photos.
It’s just a short walk or ride up the hill to the lighthouse and the Sou’wester restaurant named for the yellow rain caps of fishermen that I remember from childhood books.
The point and cove are all built on solid granite. So strange to see land made entirely of rock with barely any soil around or plant life.
After a couple of photos, I carry on up the road. There’s a memorial for Swissair Flight 111 on my left just outside Peggy’s Cove. I remember hearing the news of that crash. The plane left JFK in NYC in September 1998 headed for Geneva, Switzerland but never made it. More than 200 people died in the crash just a few kilometers off the coast. Residents of Peggy’s Cove felt their homes shake from the impact. So sad to think of. I don’t stop at the memorial, but pay my silent respects as I ride by.
Up ahead just past Hackett’s Cove we pull over for a bite of lunch at the Finer Diner, a wonderful spot with an open air porch and local art on the walls inside. There’s 50s music playing in the background and a breeze on the deck. I sit and watch a dingy coming in from the bay and wait for my Lobster Club Sandwich. Yeah, I know. I’m not exactly roughing it. Not even kind of roughing it. But there’s plenty of time for that on the road ahead and today I will enjoy myself.
After lunch my fatigue catches up with me and I want nothing more than a nap in the sun. It’s all I can do to get back on the bike and get back to a bed. Lunenburg has to wait for another day. Maybe tomorrow…