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Brings back a lot of great memories reading your report. I suppose it would have been over the top to say that "Wow, I had also confused you guys with an evolved primate. Hauk, guess I was wrong too!"

Hope it was dry for you to go out to Meat Cove and the Cape Breton loop.

Wes
 

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Thanks, Wes, funny, not over the top for me, my "top" is very high and I would never ever ever cast aspersions at those who may be a couple of genes short of an essential amino acid.


The afternoon I arrived in Baddeck, as I said was post diluvial rain soaked, so other than walking about a bit, eating, and most importantly spreading out and attempting to dry clothing, I was a slug, though in truth slugs would have other concerns, like shrieks of "Ewwww" from pubescent girls, and poured salt from pre, post and intra pubescent boys.
On this late September afternoon, Baddeck was quiet.

I am not one of those people, like Mrs. Strangelove, who needs absolute darkness in order to sleep. I prefer to be awaken by the dawn, eventually, i.e., not necessarily to arise AT dawn which implies conscious thought and preparation.
I leave the curtains open when I retire, I prefer it that way. The added sometimes benefit is that I am sometimes rewarded by "the Dawn's Early Light." In my upstairs room at The Water's Edge, that's what happened the next morning.



and a bit later



I rearrange my laundry around the room and on the balcony to make the most of the drying rays of Sol and hit breakfast, having a nice conversation with the owner, and that is when I discovered all that about his wife being an OR nurse and his daughter and her husband living by St Rita's Chruch, as said, less than a mile from my house. We also talked destinations for day rides...I asked about small fishing villages. He told me that many were touristed-up and were more ornaments than the real thing, but he mentioned a couple that remained authentic. And one, as I heard it was 'Manadoo." That's what I heard and it was in the area of Louisbourg.

Duly noted.

I head out planning the most direct route to Louisbourg, and then a haphazard meandering route back.

It was chilly and as I rode out to Louisbourg I was getting closer and closer to the Atlantic, getting greyer and greyer, damper and damper, though no rain or fog or mist troubled my ride. Eventually the sun almost came out.

From Wiki:
The Fortress of Louisbourg (French: Forteresse de Louisbourg) is a National Historic Site of Canada and the location of a one-quarter partial reconstruction of an 18th-century French fortress at Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. Its two sieges, especially that of 1758, were turning points in the Anglo-French struggle for what today is Canada.[1]

The original settlement was made in 1713, and initially called Havre à l'Anglois. Subsequently, the fishing port grew to become a major commercial port and a strongly defended fortress. The fortifications eventually surrounded the town. The walls were constructed mainly between 1720 and 1740. By the mid-1740s Louisbourg was one of the most extensive (and expensive) European fortifications constructed in North America. It was supported by two smaller garrisons on Île Royale located at present-day St. Peter's and Englishtown. The Fortress of Louisbourg suffered key weaknesses, since it was erected on low-lying ground commanded by nearby hills and its design was directed mainly toward sea-based assaults, leaving the land-facing defences relatively weak. A third weakness was that it was a long way from France or Quebec, from which reinforcements might be sent. It was captured by British colonists in 1745, and was a major bargaining chip in the negotiations leading to the 1748 treaty ending the War of the Austrian Succession. It was returned to the French in exchange for border towns in what is today Belgium. It was captured again in 1758 by British forces in the Seven Years' War, after which its fortifications were systematically destroyed by British engineers. The British continued to have a garrison at Louisbourg until 1768.

The fortress and town were partially reconstructed in the 1960s and 1970s, using some of the original stonework, which provided jobs for unemployed coal miners. The head stonemason for this project was Ron Bovaird. The site is operated by Parks Canada as a living history museum. The site stands as the largest reconstruction project in North America.[2]
So, the French had the last laugh and what eventually became "Canada" rebuilt it, or much of it. It is pretty cool though and half a day could easily be spent her, or longer of a picnic lunch were involved.



I've found that often when I go to well-known tourist/historical sites classic cars are there. I found in Nova Scotia that American "muscle" cars of a certain age were popular enough that I would see one about every day. Here is "BUTONUP" (obviously an inside joke or dripping with secret or notsosecret meaning), a restored Oldsmobile Cutless 4-4-2, which if memory serves was so named because of a 4 barrel carburetor, a 4 speed shifter ("4 on the floor") and here I am guessing, 2 wheel drive. They are ALWAYS driven by guys, somewhat less than fit and in their late 50s to mid 60s...hey I don't make the rules, just observing and YMMV! They were made for "laying rubber," an activity that always included wasting about a thousand miles worth of tread within a few seconds, ear-splitting dB levels, turned heads, and sometimes puerile admiration or mature disgust and disapproval. No matter what though, just like farts are always funny, laying rubber was always cool. Especially if you weren't the one paying for the tires.



GM had a one of these for each of their marques: the Pontiac GTO, the Buick Skylark GS, the Chevrolet Chevelle SS. Chrysler and Ford were not to be left out at all and had theirs, just as note-worthy. They all, with the proper engine, boasted around 400 hp and were straightline fast, a hit on every city's "strip," and driven, in the day, by pre Viet Nam late teen early twenties guys for whom that car was their life, for at least a couple of years until rational thought or a baby or a draft notice intervened.
There is no doube that they are still cool to a certain crowd, myself included! A frivolous expense, a neat toy, less likely to destroy a marriage than a girlfriend, hey! kind of like a motorcycle! or long adventure rides! I AM IN.

Back to history...


The North Atlantic is just over the fence...













I spoke to a couple of the people who were the guides and they were more likely of French rather than English Origin. Something stood out.

The Cajuns of south Louisiana often have a bit of a subtle accent...don't get me wrong, there are a lot that sound like Justin Wilson (I GAR--awn-TEE) but many don't have that heavy a brogue--an accent that if heard in Chicago, or Denver, or Abilene (either of them) the listener would know they are not from these parts, but maybe hard to place. Typically it is a pleasant sounding one, not at all harsh and most often grammatically correct. They speak well and enunciate. I do not wish to sound patronizing at all, but the Hollywood version of a Cajun just isn't there in real life, unless found on some "backwater" bayou.
Thing is, I could hear it in the guides' speech at Louisbourg. Obviously it was a bit different, but I could hear the peculiar embrace of consonants and the full appreciation of vowels.
It's a nice accent to my ear, and I get to hear it every day I work, working at a nice little country hospital in my semi-retirement.
To borrow a phrase: It's So Sha





The route back was planned to be a meander, and also a search for a pharmacy--I pulled my back, somehow, and wanted a "medrol-dosepak" which I was unsuccessful in finding until Bangor, Me--so I was following every little road that seemed to skirt the coast. And I was looking for "Manadoo," the authentic fishing village suggested by my host.

There it is!, but it isn't "Manadoo," but Mains-a-Dieu--The Hands of God...





Late afternoon found me back in Baddeck, and preparing for the next leg, now officially on The Cabot Trail
 

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Olds 442 is 4 barrel, 4 speed, and dual exhaust (per the Wiki, source of all knowledge) - so you were very close.

Funny that you should mention Bangor - I used to live about an hour from there in a town called Hancock, near Ellsworth.
 

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Travels with L'lil Red

What a great, erudite trip report! Makes me want to get on my bike and leave right now!! But I'll wait, at least two weeks. There's just so much to see, and coming up on 75, I need to try and see the remainder!!
 

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Discussion Starter #46
Saturday morning, last morning in Baddeck and I asked the important questions:
) Do you have a couple of large plastic bags--for packing within the Cabela's bags
Sure do! here's a couple
Perfect!

I will always take a couple of protective plastic bags in the future...I considered the risk of getting wet before leaving, considered bringing plastic bags, but thought the cordura of the bags would be protection, based on experience with a large duffel from REI that I often take.
Maybe the position of the bags on the cases, or maybe the cordura itself, maybe it was the preternatural rain; whatever, live and learn.
and the second question:
Is there a laundromat near here?
Sure is, right across the street in the boat shop, in the back.

I don't waste a lot of time self-deprecating, no "DOH," the information falls into a part of my brain that is the If-It-Hurts-When-You-Do-That--Don't-Do-That region. Everyone has one. I think it arises in Planaria.
There is a sub-section of that region, the Remember-To-Ask-These-Questions-Next-Time gyrus. All of the brain's wrinkles, curves and gullies do some stuff, I tell you.

3 washers, one dryer, one British middle-aged couple there also...they were there first. We eye each other.
We both scamper a couple of blocks to find change, soap, and to get our washable items, theirs trans-Atlantic, mine The Big Easy.

I arrive second, doing the time-math, ugh, no, I could not be rude or pushy.
We wash separately, but they kindly offer to share a dryer. I jump at the chance and is there anything, um, I don't know, weird about your garments tumbling in the heat with those of a couple from Wessex, or Sussex, or Essex?
I preferred to not think about it; "it" being the menage a secher in which I was now an invited and, more to the point, a willing participant. I did think about it, though, I remember that.

The menage a secher turmoil continues for 50 minutes, tumbling, bouncing, changing positions, getting hotter and paradoxically drier. No names were exchanged, 50 shades of anonymity, well, at least 34, or so, shades.

At the end we "sorted," and departed, ready to move on.

I check with my host again before I packed up and headed north, making the Cabot Trail mine.

Anything I should look out for along the way?
Cape Smokey.
Huh?
Yes, Cape Smokey, watch for the sign. There's a bit of a road and then a short hike out to where you can see...forever.
Really?
Yeah, it's something, high up on a cliff, it spreads out in all directions.

I hit the road, The Cabot Trail.

From The history and seasons of the Cabot Trail on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia



Really? John Cabot was Italian? Giovanni Caboto. I did not know that. He disappeared, or didn't-there's some confusion, in 1498 on his second voyage. Born in 1450, in Venice, he would have been at most 48 years old at the time of this portrait. Goodness me, land-sakes alive, he looks OLD!



The countryside is beautiful, the road surface is fine, but it's not in any way challenging along any part of the formal Cabot Trail. Nothing tight, mostly up and down and some sweepers.
Did I expect more? I think yes, I expected a more challenging ride, but don't misunderstand...it was fine and it looked like this a lot



Not bad, you think? But not like Deals or Coronado or Hill Country or Black Hills or..., and not that that's bad at all, but, I guess the word is more bucolic, less testosterone. However, there are side roads that head out to the coast, to villages or bays, small harbors, and there is fun aplenty to be had.

I'm getting ahead/ I was not going that far today, from Baddeck only up to Ingonish, and along the way Cape Smokey juts out into the Atlantic like a big fat pickle.

The road up and over Cape Smokey stands in contrast to what I just wrote. There are first gear steep hairpins that snake up, up, up to the top, spectacular "Maritime" views along the way, but, unfortunately, no place to stop!
You are winding your way up, and up and left and right and up and suddenly passing you by (it seemed, but actually it was me passing it by) THERE'S THE CAPE SMOKEY's access road, and now, there it is receding behind me!

We've all done this...you are looking for a place, focused, and watchful, but there's this thing called the "road" that is doing its best to slide from underneath you, a dangerous gal trying to give you the slip, and in your love of the thrill you will not let that happen, but something has to give, right?
In this case some peripheral anticipation/vision was a necessary sacrifice, until, as a taunt, a tease, your real goal, not the floozy that caught your eye, your real goal waves bye-bye as you follow the skirt of this twist or that.

Wait a second! That was Cape Smokey!, Danm! I missed it! Can I turn around?
No!
Is there another access, and now I am descending the formidable mountain that wears Cape Smokey as a corsage.
No!
A prom date with no corsage, or a corsage without a date, or something like that, but with each second, Cape Smokey is farther and farther away. Maybe I'll go back tomorrow. I'm kidding myself, I know that, and accessing the access road from the north side would be more fleeting than the way I came in, from the south.

I missed it.

But, over the rise there lies Ingonish and its harbor, a splendid view, though again, no place to stop, until the official Canadian souvenir shop and tourist center down at the bottom of the mountain. I stop. I buy a mug, a red one with a beaver on one side and CANADA on the other.

OK, Plan B, chicken salad out of a sow's ear.

There's a hike around the Keltic Lodge that's supposed to be pretty cool, I'll do that. I arrive at my destination for the next two nights, The Seascape Coastal Retreat.



Another recommended place to stay. A very nice restaurant on premises, each guest having their own little cottage, each cottage with a harbor view of Cape Smokey--that's the mountain that wears it, and...
and...
each afternoon around 430 the kitchen sent out an appetizer to each room. A sizable one and each night they were absolutely delicious. One night it was grilled and herbed oysters, 6 of them and good size; the next was a jumbo shrimp, or maybe langostino, dish, oh it was good. Each night the dish delivered was a full appetizer size, and whetted my appetite for the dining room.



But before, let's check out this Keltic Lodge hike, The Middle Head Hiking Trail.

About a mile or so from my cottage, the Trail went out another spit of land sticking thumb-like into the Atlantic. I am not a big hiking fan, but when in Ingonish, etc. I'm not sure what it is about hiking that I don't like, but it is probably related to the fact that whenever I hike I have a big camera with me, with a good sized lens, and that the photo gear takes up a hand, arm, elbow, shoulder, and adversely affects balance. That and I am a wuss when it comes to doing it. I can spend 12-13 hours on the bike, ride a bicycle across France, but hiking? Not my cup of tea. I just find it too taxing, however, you can see some purty places on a hike, right? And the Middle Head Trail delivered the visual goods.













And in homage to Goofus and Gallant, I spy this warning...That's Goofus on the left.



Ok, maybe I am dating myself, but those of you riders of a certain age probably remember that staple journal of every pediatrician's office, in fact free copies were sent to most doctors for their waiting rooms, Highlights for Children.

The original Goofus and Gallant went like this



but as soon as we grew up, a bit, our generation of artists, and all of us, recognized that although unquestionably Goofus was a real dique-tete, Gallant was a smarmy obsequious and, likely, sycophantic douchebag.



I guess, my advice is don't be either Goofus or Gallant, or maybe the universal truth is that we are ALL a little Goofus and a little Gallant; just don't fall off the fraaacking cliff, ok?

And there was this...



I was laying down in that grass to get this shot, and it was like a soft mattress, and clean. This is the kind of grass that every fairy tale has, it caresses every beautiful princess, it whispers swishing sounds with the wind, it was like that. It was magical, and given a bit of time I would linger, perfect for a nap and a dream, but sufficing for only a sweet memory. I saw this grass in many places, but never more luxurious than in this spot.

I returned to my cottage and that's when I found the appetizer laid out on the table, still warm, a total surprise, and delicious. Dinner followed soon after and then it was just a few steps back to my "cottage" with it's electric, but warming, "fireplace," and a bottle of Balvenie 12 that was calling to me.

The next morning was the start of a big day. On this day I would travel to Meat Cove. If you go to the Cabot Trail, it seems the story goes, that you have to go to Meat Cove, I head out after breakfast destination in mind, but seductive detours always beckoning.
 

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Meat Cove Day had arrived, the apogee of the ride.

When you're planning a ride, there is that destination that is the farthest from home, the one that keeps you looking, the one that, if everything goes as planned, or close enough, will be achieved. Meat Cove.

Ingonish is well-positioned to do a day ride to Meat Cove, pull out, take a right, follow the Cabot Trail, take another right, twist turn, shift and you're there...sort of. Maybe an hour's ride, as the OCD Crow flies, but being not a crow, and only semi-OCD (ok, maybe a bit more than semi), no straight line route was involved.

Bright sunshine on a Sunday morning, bike humming, Cabot Trail, no traffic, early Fall. memories of a lifetime, right? Well, yes, but not because of Meat Cove.

I follow the road in the direction of Santa Claus, and come to a fork. Hmm, I veer right, not knowing if this is the right way to Meat Cove or not.

It's not. It's the road to Dingwall, and it looks like this.



Getting lost is much of the appeal of these rides, don't you think? Not pressed for time, not really really lost---I could just backtrack, enough gas, filled along the way, and being solo, no need for approbation of my possible folly, I watch Nova Scotia, danm! look where I am! all the way up here, danm! and you think of places at home that coexist in this time, streetcars running on St Charles, coffee and beignets on Decatur, MLW having her second cup o' joe, news alert from channel 4: "3 shot in Gentilly break-in," all that is going on, as I ride out to Dingwall. Escapist fare, head in the sand, it'll wait til I return, Dingwall, Dingwall, Dingwall.

What is it with place names in faraway places? They always have a funny sound to them: Dingwall. I can only guess that this little town was named after its counterpart outside of Inverness in the north of Scotland. Nova Scotia is Scottish. Nova Scotia is French. Nova Scotia is Keltic--which straddles the two. Still, as I looked for the origin of this name, and partly reminiscent of riding the Dragon, I came across this from our friends at Urban Dictionary:

Dingwall
What you call a person who pulls into the left lane and blocks the lane for a long period of time by driving next to the vehicle in the right lane. Could also be used to describe a driver who drives in the fast lane.
Would you look at this f-in Dingwall. What a Dingwall. Hey Dingwall, Get past this Dingwall. Watch out for that Dingwall.



This Dingwall was a little fishing village, occupying the end of the road. It was quiet this Sunday morning, everyone was at church, it seemed. St Joseph's Catholic Church. The parking lot was packed. Mass was at 10:30 (or 11-can't exactly remember) and it was 10:25 ( or 10:55-one of the other)...point is, I could make it.
12 years of Catholic schools, the last 5 under the thumb of the Jesuits, leaves a dent, or a pothole, that never completely gets filled. So, as I rode past, yes, there was a twinge of guilt not stopping. I rode on. However, it is a regret, now, that I did not stop in for the hour or so Mass involved. And I regret it now, for a totally philistine reason--all that Catholic Catechism makes philistine an impossibility, but it's close enough to paint a picture. I regret it now because going to Mass in a remote area is often a real touristy thing to do-in addition to assuaging Catholic Guilt. I mean, I know the routine, though there may be small regional differences; the locals would welcome me; I'd get to people watch--love doing that; It is a cool thing to do. Recommended.

But today, passing St. Joe's, both ways, out and back, there were "good" reasons to skip, the most influential was that I did not know what doing Meat Cove involved time-wise. Now with that knowledge, if you find yourself in my boots someday, Stop For Mass. In retrospect, I think I would have prefered time spent there than Meat Cove, but I'm getting ahead.

Dingwall, was a very cutesy fishing village, the real thing. I saw no "shops" with scented candles or soaps, no kilts or handheld lobsters, fishing village, the first of two or three today. On this Sunday, they ere all VERY quiet.











I head back out, in search of Meat Cove, and again am distracted by another fishing village along the way, and after, again, I took the wrong fork, this time no guilt-inducing religion, Bay St Lawrence, not off the beaten track for Eugene, or Nicole, or Jake.



You're supposed to turn for Meat Cove at Capstick, if memory serves, at this former church, now a community center avec graveyard.



OK, this is the right road as it meanders along the coast, going up. Pavement continues for a while then it is dirt.

I am not a fan of dirt, especially this kind. It brings out my insecurities of riding, esp "at this age" and this far from service, or on this Sunday, now midday, even people were in short supply. The GS is a big bike and if she goes over I may not have the skill or strength to right her, or at least that's my fear, just a simmer of angst...nothing paralyzing...I'm GOING to Meat Cove. I knew dirt was coming.

To be said for this dirt---it is very hard packed, that's a good thing, so what's the problem, dude? Not all dirt is created equally, even not all hard packed dirt is created equally. This dirt, if it was just the dirt, would offer little drama, but it had a date.

Hand in hand with the dirt was a loose collection of larger-than-marble sized very round rocks on the surface of the hard dirt. Like ball-bearings, not in size, but in effect. So, i could feel the front, and the rear to some extent, dancing along, be-bopping, squirrelly, as I got closer and closer to Meat Cove. Now the road starts to hairpin with elevation changes, steep ones. No drama, again, but the angst of the ride. I let the front do what it wants since EVERYBODY says: The Front WANTS to go Straight, so let it, relax your grip. I do that. Like holding a baby bird, right? Really it's not too bad, and Meat Cove is in sight...up there. Ok, I am starting to have enough of this.

Meat Cove, named in the 1700s because hunters would dissect their kill at this spot, is a couple of buildings at the top of a rise in the road, surrounded by a commercial campground. I was the only motorcycle, and the parking lot was on an incline in four or five dimensions, it seemed, and I was trying to stop in a spot that was
1) empty
2) allowed egress with a gravity assist for backing out

The other visitors were mostly middle to later aged couples who seemed totally intropective. Nobody was talking to each other, not even nodding a greeting, but all were scurrying about in activity that looked preparatory to leaving, but not. One guy, 50ish, Asian, came up to me as I was testing the adequacy of the surface for sidestand foot placment, and said something, not sure what, but smiling, so I nodded, smiled, said something like: it's windy or it's pretty or it's steep or I don't want this to fall over.

It could have been a diorama in a museum for all the interaction taking place...there was little, It was like you went to a party where everyone was staying in their own little group, not expanding or inclusive, and within a short period of time you turn to whoever's with you and ask: "You ready?" They nod and you leave.

That's what Meat Cove was like. Non-interactive activity. It looks like this

empty picnic tables, part of the commercial campground there access implied controlled?






The "road" continued past this area, up and to the left, but it was looking pretty gnarly and I truly had little desire to ascend any farther...this was enough. Departing would involve descending about a 5 foot drop and an immediate about 135 degree turn to the right on the marbles. Plenty of opportunities to drop her. But, I make it without mishap and let 1st roll me down the incline to the dirt switchbacks.

Ok, so, I went there and I can say "meh."

There are plenty of scenic areas in Nova Scotia that shine equally or even better, but Meat Cove is the northernmost part of Cape Breton Island. It's like going to a Led Zep concert and leaving before Stairway To Heaven, you gotta do it. If you go to Nova Scotia and ride The Cabot Trail and don't go to Meat Cove, it will remain a What If, and people who did go will always ask: Do you go to Meat Cove?

Aside:
I have been to some places on these rides, and this happens VERY infrequently, but you get there and there is just a bad vibe to the place. An uneasiness, like something is telling you "F-off! We don't want you here. Leave." Or something akin to that. You feel it inside your entire being, you feel your mood change. It's strong enough to, even though you know, or tell yourself this is not happening and it's just some weird concoction of brain chemicals that will sort themselves out given enough time, well, I kinda felt that at Meat Cove. After about 20 minutes, it was time to go and not look back. There was one place where I really felt it, actually first felt it, and that was at Mesa Verde in Colorado on one of my first rides years ago. It was like the one stretch of road had an evil presence. Very strange. I have no desire to return at all.

Far flung destinations usually engender a sense of camaraderie among the visitors. Not so at Meat Cove, meh. Maybe I am spending too much on this, but there were memorable points of time on this ride, and this was one and for this reason.

Basta, Meat Cove. Go there, YMMV.

I backtrack, and now back on The Cabot Trail I take another couple of detours to other spots that were just as memorable as Meat Cove and for far better reasons, maybe more memorable. the first was White Point, another fishing village, untouched by tourism's bling, and so quiet now after the likely Sunday dinner--and mine lay up the road a bit.







Briand's Pride Nova Scotia Lawn Art in White Point



I want to say again, that while this eastern side of Cape Breton Island's Cabot Trail is fairly tame, the side roads heading to the Atlantic will satisfy some of your houligan blood. Thing is, this is not the Isle of Man, the pace is much more gentle, though still interesting as a ride. Look where you are! That's the North Atlantic off these rocky cliffs. Lobster, Chowder, Mussels, Cod. Sea Breezes, windswept plateaus, quaint lighthouses.

The Cabot is on everyone's bucket list for motorcycle destinations, but it is not for the road itself (I think), but for the whole shebang of the experience: the road, the detours, the food, the countryside, the Maritimes, you could add other things, but it is a simply beautiful area, a collection of things that will enchant the rider, both as a rider and as a visitor.
 

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but as soon as we grew up, a bit, our generation of artists, and all of us, recognized that although unquestionably Goofus was a real dique-tete, Gallant was a smarmy obsequious and, likely, sycophantic douchebag.
That is the funniest thing I've every read on here. And absolutely true! I'm still chuckling as I go back and read the rest of your latest installment.
 

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The Cabot is on everyone's bucket list for motorcycle destinations, but it is not for the road itself (I think), but for the whole shebang of the experience: the road, the detours, the food, the countryside, the Maritimes, you could add other things, but it is a simply beautiful area, a collection of things that will enchant the rider, both as a rider and as a visitor.
I would agree with this and add, the people who live there. We met some of the most friendly and warmly welcoming people. Everyone had an interesting story about how they grew up there or what they did for a career as a mussel boat captain and such; or, how they decided to migrate there from other places.

I'm interested to hear what you have to say about the west side back down to the mainland. We though that was different - some good, some not.
 

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Odd that you had a weird feeling around Mesa Verde. My fiance (then girlfriend) and I rode that section - I want to say we started on the north end and rode to the south and back. We both loved it. My only squirrely feeling was coming up on a corner a bit too hot - and messing that up involved hitting a low rock wall and then tumbling, end over end, several hundred feet down onto sharpish and jagged rocks. Something to Be Avoided.
 

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Discussion Starter #52
I would agree with this and add, the people who live there. We met some of the most friendly and warmly welcoming people. Everyone had an interesting story about how they grew up there or what they did for a career as a mussel boat captain and such; or, how they decided to migrate there from other places.

I'm interested to hear what you have to say about the west side back down to the mainland. We though that was different - some good, some not.
I didn't say anything about the people because, and I thought it would be a natural to include "the people" in that listing, because I really didn't have any interaction other than at the motels and in restaurants, ie, people in the "service industry." That said, they were easy-going, helpful, accessible, thoughtful and intelligent. I don't want to sound at all patronizing, but they were very easy to talk with. I have found that when you're in a place that has been populated for a long period of time, there is a gregarious attitude among the population. That area has been settled by Europeans for hundreds of years and it seems when that happens there is a comfort of self in the inhabitants. So, I am thinking of places where I have seen that, that easy conversability (if that is a word referring to conversation). My hometown is 300 this year and it has it, New York has it, Santa Fe has it, etc., all old Euro-centric towns

There are some who might say that those places were inhabited before Europeans got there by Native Americans, but although when out west and dealing with a Native American population, there is courtesy, respect, but a bit of a divide, maybe tribalism???, that does not appear in more Euro-centric areas. Ok, so what about in the South, and specifically New Orleans where the Af/Am pop is around 60% and in some areas even higher? There is a cultural difference, but because of out shared history (some better, some worse) or in spite of it, we are all dealing with the same issues, have the same goals, laugh at the same things, love the same food, listen to the same music, and though tribal to an extent, we have a lot in common. Second cousins from a different Momma.

so, other than that sweeping stereotypical generality that can likley be proven false by someone who really knows what they're talking about, unfortunately there wasn't a lot of conversation, and even less on the west side.


All that said...you make a good point. Listen to the people you run across in places like gas stations, rest areas, those random places. And when you're riding solo, as I have freq said, you are fair game for anyone to talk to you...make the most of it.
 

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There are some who might say that those places were inhabited before Europeans got there by Native Americans, but although when out west and dealing with a Native American population, there is courtesy, respect, but a bit of a divide, maybe tribalism???, that does not appear in more Euro-centric areas.

All that said...you make a good point. Listen to the people you run across in places like gas stations, rest areas, those random places. And when you're riding solo, as I have freq said, you are fair game for anyone to talk to you...make the most of it.
Well, it's not like the Europeans treated the Native Americans all that well. To be fair, we didn't treat much of anyone all that well, even ourselves, but non-Europeans were treated very poorly. Given that there's still segregation (of a sorts, with the reservations and all) between the two cultures, one can see how there's a mistrust built up.
 

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Yes, true, you are right, and no intention to gloss over any of that. Euros can quickly turn on their own, many examples throughout history, like forcing the Acadians to leave (and would the Acadians have behaved any differently if the tables were turned, maybe or not)... Historical data point mining and analysis is far beyond my simple observation and of course is valid.

what I am saying though, it seems to me, that old cities and areas have "aged," to the point where the "locals" have an ease and comfort about them that extends to a comfort and ease with travelers. And it's noticeable in conversation. A simplistic view, maybe, but something I've noticed.
 

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I've noticed some of the same thing as well. In touristy areas, some folks are very welcoming, but those that consider themselves to be "locals" tend to be standoffish up to even almost hostile. To me, this is generally odd as the tourists are fueling much of the economy - something to be welcomed. That doesn't mean other industries and sources of income shouldn't be found and a balance between tourism and maintaining the natural allure of the location maintained, but still - welcome others who may enjoy what you do.
 

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Crucians, or natives of St. Croix are often classified as "reserved". We see a lot of visitors from both Europe and the US every winter, some off Cruise Ships, some off planes. A frequent cause for lack of connection is speed. Many visitors appear to be in a hurry when there is nothing about the place to require being rushed. Those that learn to slow down, smile and offer a Good Morning greeting are treated like family, without reservation.
 

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Discussion Starter #58
IN the last entry I wrote:

the whole shebang of the experience: the road, the detours, the food, the countryside, the Maritimes, you could add other things
and I put "the Maritimes" in bold because, although people talk about the individual parts, it is the whole that should be emphasized and savored.

Riding everywhere from Yarmouth up and around to the border of the USA, I am immersed in The Maritimes. It is a bleeding through patchwork quilt of environment and experience. Do I have to explain? Each part of the Maritimes is a "thing." And the Maritimes is a bigger thing.

I am listening to a podcast: The History of Rome by Michael Duncan. In it I learned something that about 6 years of Latin didn't teach me and that is the derivation of the word "republic." It comes from two words: res (thing) and publica (the people's, or, public), IOW "The People's Thing." That's pretty cool, I thought, Oh Those Romans!

The Maritimes are bigger than the sum of the parts, like the Roman Republic-while it lasted. Unlike the Roman Republic, people cannot destroy it. It, the Maritimes, sits on silent haunches but does not move on. It's there for good.
In my rides I often refer to the ancient feel of riding NM (and Nevada). The Maritimes are ancient, but wearing a new coat, sparkly, but wrinkled. And there is that ocean thing. The North Atlantic is beautiful and terrifying, nurturing and unforgiving. This is good stuff.

You can have a lobster roll and a bowl of chowder, or you can visit a town seemingly deserted on this afternoon, the quiet screaming at you, but knowing it only seems that way because I am just traveling through, I crawl on the surface of the ball, not knowing its bounce. At once I am not a stranger, but I am a foreigner. Welcomed, fed, bathed, housed and then sent on my way. And the old ball bounces on. And I notice the chowder up here, the real thing, is a thinner broth, not the gaudy Campbell's style. The Maritimes have their own bounce and you need to be here to taste it.

The Maritimes. I feel it first when I disembarck the ferry in the soaking fog in Yarmouth, it's there as I roll along Rte 3, up the coast, silent houses, no traffic, just me and the GS, and la machina senses the apartness. It's like we are exploring a house, rooms furnished, living space, but all a set for a unique feel. The Maritimes. And as I go from room to room, there may be shadows on the dining room table, or yellow curtains that billow, but always there are curious doodads on a dark credenza that I cannot describe, and only see as a thing, something there, and something like I've seen before, but not with the Atlantic air. and i only guess what they are before my eye is caught by something else, just as nondescript, mysterious almost.

I am not on The Cabot when I ride from White Point to Neil's Harbor. It looks like I was on New Haven Rd and I remember it being a nice ride on that Sunday afternoon.



I had heard from my host in Baddeck that there was a good restaurant there, The Chowder House. Sort of a ramshackle affair, the dining room had picnic tables with plastic tablecloths, gingham of course, and wall-to-wall windows. It was right there on the coast, The Maritimes in full display. Sunny and breezy, enough of a chill to eat inside, but not enough to blow into your hands for warmth. I am getting ahead.

I park in downtown Neils Harbor, where they keep the lobster and crab traps. Again, I am the only bike, and one of the only vehicles, though I see some touristas milling up on the hill by the Lighthouse. There's an old guy in an old car getting ready to depart the lot, but he has time to talk to me. I am the anomaly.

First he tells me that I am in a good place to park, as I looked around, not really questioning whether I was legal or barely legal. I did not fear the Neils harbor SWAT team about to descend on me. Then the conversation quickly changes to the bike, where I am from, and I tell him a bit about South Louisiana, so far away, a "maritime" of sorts also. We talk about the traps and he tells me which are the crab traps and which are for lobster. He's a grandpa to be sure, and I need to start getting pictures of these people I meet along the way, for texture, right?
He could be my age, or he could be 10 years older. He's chatty in a grandpa kind of way. He wishes me safe travels and I leave the GS to explore.

Lobster traps


Crab traps (I think) and asters



Swell Rider






In one of two or three nods to the touristas, there is an ice cream shop within, and there is a family with little kids who are squealing at the chance to quell their jonesing for the sweet. Their cries mesh with the air and the sound of the wind, another patchwork quilt of the Maritimes.





The Chowder House is a bit farther up the hill, to the right of here...



See? I did not lie when I said "gingham" or "picnic tables" or "ramshackle." Your mileage may vary (and mine was good), but the facts are the facts.



It was the kind of place where I could order mussels (love them) and chowder (it's The Chowder House after all) but also has crayons and something to "color" on the table. It was here that i saw the top entry for the weirdest thing I saw on the ride:
Some of the best, i suppose, oeurves from the tables were posted right where you place your order, and I have NO fraaackin' idea what this is about and I do not wish to even guess, fearing that nightmares may follow



and what is that??? (around 10 o'clock) "Chooz happy"???



For all of your whirligig needs and in truth I did not know that that's what they were called. Did you? When I was a kid, probably about 10 ish, my younger brother who was, oh, 5 ish--let's call him Jay-- called them, simply, "Things," as in "Look at those things," and the name stuck until this precise moment in my life. "Things" are whirligigs! Jay is now a gynecologist and I'll bet you he still calls them things.



I ride back to my cottage for the evening, but in the late afternoon sun. I had read that there was a cemetery next to the Seascape Resort Cottages, and as I have mentioned ... oh you know by now
 

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It's late afternoon when I arrive back in Ingonish.

The sun is low in the sky and as is typical of especially northerly latitudes, the light warms as the sun sets, more so than in sub tropical Louisiana.

Around the time of Hurricane Sandy, my wife and I were traveling up East and I remember seeing that light and the way it bounced off the clouds, lighting them from the side, giving them the color of vanilla custard and the sky an aqua glow. It clicked that I had seen that effect captured in paintings from what I later learend was the Hudson River School. I thought it was a stylisation, but then realized they were painting what they saw.





from wiki

The Hudson River School was a mid-19th century American art movement embodied by a group of landscape painters whose aesthetic vision was influenced by romanticism. The paintings for which the movement is named depict the Hudson River Valley and the surrounding area, including the Catskill, Adirondack, and White Mountains; eventually works by the second generation of artists associated with the school expanded to include other locales in New England, the Maritimes, the American West, and South America.

Late afternoon in Ingonish and that light was there, later minus the clouds. I read or was told or somehow learned that there was an old cemetery nearby, around the corner, just north of the Seascape Resort...time to explore on foot. The Seascape had a small "meditative" garden off to the side, and beyond that was the cemetery. I didn't meditate, I was losing light and lonely bones beckoned, drawing me.



An overgrown path led to a cemetery which has to be one of the best staging areas for any trip to the other side. Shadows lengthened as I poked around quietly stepping in the peaceful tableau. I read some names, yet many are unnamed, bare white crosses, leaning into The Maritimes.





I wonder about the naked crosses, what and why? I wondered if they were just fillers for bare areas--something for the mood--no, couldn't be that, or something else. The next morning I asked my hosts about them. I told them that in the States, many churches have crosses set up on their front lawns as a remembrance of those taken by abortion and protest of it, was that it, or...?

They said no, that wasn't what they were, but rather old graves that were found as the cemetery "populated." Maybe ancient, previously unmarked graves discovered serendipitously, and truly the lonely bones of those who knew these shores yet knew no one who came later. Cape Breton Island has been settled by Native Americans (esp of the ancestors of the Mi'kmaq peoples) for thousands of years, some estimates going back to 8000-10000 BC. Chances are this spot, right here, has been thought to be a good place for a cemetery for a long long long time.



The next morning, I turned the corner. No longer was I heading away from home, but now heading back to it. Things lie ahead to be sure, but this evening I would not be on Cape Breton, and next I would not be in Nova Scotia at all, but New Brunswick. I did have the top and western side of the island to traverse though, and the Highlands in the north (south of Meat Cove) provided some of the prettiest and best roads of the trip. Curvy and mountains and green and cool. Many of the reports I had researched spoke of nightmarish delays for road construction, but by the time of my arrival the construction had finished except for a small section north of Cheticamp--no big deal at all. No traffic at all. The Cabot and me. Although the Scot never rode a GS on The Cabot, he did write:

God's in His heaven—
All's right with the world!




Eventually you follow The Cabot until Pleasant Bay and here I take a louie and start heading in the general direction of cafe au lait, catfish po-boys (dressed) and Tipitina's.



The western side of Cape Breton has a wilder feel and look, the terrain less gentle.



and, yes, it was this steep


There is a shot that makes it into all of the tourist brochures and I think it is from this spot...a scenic overlook north of Cheticamp. This is one of those parking areas that is huge, but tilts in so many directions that some have not yet found their voice neither in human language nor in physics or geometry. Walking the GS, prob 600+ lbs of her around was no easy task, but I needed this picture, thinking only of your enjoyment :wink2: I find the sweet spot, at last.



As I walk around I strike up a conversation with a guy also taking in the view. We both remark that the Cabot here reminds us both of the Pacific Coast Highway, high praise indeed, and then we both go farther and agree that here, at least, The Cabot is better than the PCH! Someone adds, and I cannot remember if it was him or me, but someone says, "But, no Elephant Seals," and the other echoes with a laugh, "No Elephant Seals."

You think you might like to ride this ribbon of highway?. It is all that.



Cheticamp is a coastal town, the major one on the western shore of Cape Breton Island. For me it was a gas stop and a photo op. I tried to find the lighthouse, but failed...however...





And I rode on, passing by the Glenora Distellery, and into Truro, or the outskirts of it and my last night in Nova Scotia. It was cold and grey, and what seemed best was pizza and scotch. I can do that. Tomorrow I ride to a destination that has stirred my imagination since childhood.

The Bay of Fundy.
 

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I don't have very fond memories of Cheticamp. It could have been the weather or the worst lobster roll of the trip and poor service at a local restaurant. Probably both but for some personal bias reason that I'm not very proud of, I equated that with the obvious French influences found here not seen on the rest of the loop. After a bad meal, we didn't waste any time here either and motored on toward New Brunswick and Maine.

From the north end of the highlands down to Cheticamp was definitely the most scenic part on the ride:

 
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