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Published: August 4th 2006
This was an ordinary driving day.
The country from Halifax to the Canso Causeway was mostly forested with some open farming near Antigonish. I liked the feel of Antigonish and thought the St. Francis Xavier University campus was wonderful. I am planning on driving along the coast on the old road around here on my way back and I'll have a closer look then.
Once I reached Cape Breton the countryside changed. It was very enjoyable, with lots of views over a broken forest and lakes. Driving along Bras d'Or Lake was especially nice.
There are lots of motorcycles here and most of them have Quebec license plates. I remember Sylvain telling me that all the big manufacturing and construction companies in Quebec shutdown for the same three week period so that must be why there are so many of them on the road.
I booked a motel in Baddeck ahead and found it was very nice even though a bit over priced. Nevertheless, it took any stress away of not getting a place to stay. My plan was to stay two nights and do the Cabot Trail on the day in between.
When I approached the Causeway earlier in the day I was watching for a place where I could get a good overview showing Cape Breton andthe causeway. I saw another highway leading up a hill on the south side and near the top was a gravel pit with buildings associated with it. I thought that would be a good place to get a view.
When I drove into the gravel company's lot I immediately saw there was no access to a good view and, even if there was, the road was too rough for my motorcycle. Nevertheless, I thought the guys that worked there might have some ideas for me, so I went into a maintenance building and talked to the first person I say.
"Oh, I don't know," he said with an air of uncommitment, "you need to ask that guy there." He pointed through a glassed in office to an older fellow sitting at a desk. When that fellow saw me looking in he came out to see what I wanted.
"Hi. I'm travelling through and was hoping there was a place to get an overview of the causeway, looking down on it."
"I don't know, but ya can't come through here," he responded with an officious tone.
"Oh I don't want to ride any further. The stones are too rough for the bike."
"I don't know about that, but you can't come through here."
Now I'm not stupid and I actually listen to what people say, so my temperament started approaching flare point. With an involentary sternness in my voice I tried again.
"I understand that, I was just hoping you might have some idease for me where I can get a good picture, because I'm a stranger to this area and you're not."
"Well, I can't help that, but you shouldn't be here and you can't go through the gravel yard."
Uhmm - so endeth the lesson for the day. I left.
Down at the bottom of the hill I got off my bike to let my temperament return to neutral and got a non-descript picture of my first view of Cape Breton. Thank goodness I cooled off, because on the other side of the causeway I was just taking my time and allowing traffic to manoeuvre in front of me when a van pulled in front of a car up ahead and a collision followed. The car had no chance to avoid the van cutting illegally across lanes. If I had been up there I was travelling so slow I would have been able to stop, but the car was accelerating. Whew.
I got to bed in good time, anticipating the trip around the Cabot Trail tomorrow. I planned to leave early, because my good weather window was coming to an end. The tale end of a tropical storm was moving up the coast and was to hit the area the next evening. I wanted to get back and into the motel before that occurred.
Odometer at the end of the day: 36741km
Tot: 1.081s; Tpl: 0.014s; cc: 12; qc: 73; dbt: 0.0205s; 1; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb