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Published: August 4th 2006
The Cabot Trail displayed everything promised. Vista after vista caused me to quietly exclaim inside my helmet. Seemingly organized rocky shores interspersed with narrow, sandy beaches met my expectations of what this coastline would be like. Inland there were lush trees giving way to scrub spuce and other hearty bushes reaching down to the shore.
The road was a bit of an engineering wonder. Sometimes cutting through rocky outcroppings, sometimes twisting and climbing on the edge of a steep hill, and sometimes winding haphazardly along the coastline, it always offerred motorcycle riding fun. The tough part was handling the rough road. Although there were some new parts that had been recently paved, many of the older, twisty stretches had surpise potholes and bumps, all of which forced me to ride without taking the liberty on the corners to push the bike as I wanted.
Ingonish Beach on the east side of the island was one place I liked very much. The golf course and hotel reminded me of Banff and Lake Louise of the 50s, before the leeches of commercialized tourism transformed the old fashioned meccca to what it is today. (I guess I let my
Hill climb on the trail
The road up the hill is the highway. It was STEEP.
opinion out of the bag there.) Ingonish is like stepping back in time, just a little, and I liked that.
The ski hill at Ingonish broadcasts to all that they get snow here. I can't imagine a more inhospitable scene than cold winter weather with the moist air, the cold wind blowing in off the Atlantic, and snow. I get shivers just thinking about it.
On the west side, the view at Pleasant Bay and the classic view just north of Cheticamp were worth stopping for. I drove around Cheticamp looking for a light lunch. One resturant looked promising, but I found the meals to have much more food than I wanted. It must have been a nice place to eat, because there was a large table at the end of the room with a group of Red Hatters enjoying themselves. If Les had been with me I'm sure we would have gone over to say hello.
I ended up, again, at Tim's. I couldn't help comment to the server about her name. She said there was always somebody in her family named 'Alberta' and she got it for her generation. I thought that it might be
a local thing, but she came from Ontario.
As I prepared to drive away, a car pulled up in the handicap stall beside me. I didn't see any handicap tag in their car, nor did they look like they were having any physical problems. Since when did laziness become a handicap? So thoughtless.
When I talk to locals on both sides of the island, I get the sense, as I did with the businesses serving tourists in Bar Harbour and Lunenburg, they know it is a necessary business in order to keep food on the their tables, but really wish they didn't have to do it this way. I found this generally true where tourism is the main economy of the area. When you are in a centre where there is something not so seasonal, upon which the economy is based, there tends to be more diversification of skills, education, and temperatment amongst its people. I think that makes for a more interesting community. From my point of view, trying to capture little stories about the people and the place in such communities is more rewarding.
I was intersting to see the different cultures of the locals
Jack and view to Cheticamp
Cheticamp is in the distance, but this is one of the classic views of the trail that you see in advertising - sans the old guy.
from one side of the island to the other. The east side is Scottish, where as the west side north of Dunvegan is French. French was certainly the language of choice in Cheticamp. When I talked to the manager at the motel back at Baddeck about this, she added another.
"Now, did you get up to Neil Harbour in the north?"
"Yes," I said, "but I didn't stop there."
"We, if you are interested in culture differnces you should have. People up there sound just like Newfoundlanders. You know, they always say, 'dis, dat, deese, and doze' when they speak."
Intersting - now I wish I had stopped there.
After Cheticamp, I returned to Baddeck via the Margaree Valley. That part was very pretty. The valley is narrower than others on the island, but the trees were cleared along the valley floor for farming.
Back at Baddeck, I went into the Alexander Graham Bell Museum. They do a good job of showing some of his achievments, which, of course, included the invention of the telephone. In addition, they introduced the man himself and touch on a lot of his personal qualities. It was an
enjoyable hour for me.
At 8:30pm I was in my motel when the reminants of the tropical storm blew through. I thought it was going to blow in my front window. I don't think I've ever experienced anything quite like it. The next morning I saw that some of the siding on the motel had been ripped off by the wind. Thankfully, my bike was on the opposite side of the building and so was protected. If it had been exposed I'm sure the wind owuld have blown it over.
Odometer at the end of the day: 37063km
Tot: 0.03s; Tpl: 0.018s; cc: 8; qc: 26; dbt: 0.0063s; 1; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.2mb