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Published: August 9th 2006
For the most part, today's ride just retraced my previous trip back down to Antigonish and New Glasgow, NS. From there I went to the ferry at Caribou to go to PEI. I planned to spend a day and two evenings in PEI, but that was not to be.
On my way to Antigonish, I turned off the main highway to take the old road that wound along the coast. At Havre-Bouche I stopped in to Gary's Quick Mart and met Gary. He is the brother-in-law of some friends of ours and they suggested I look him up. Unfortunately Gary's store had been broken in to the previous night so he was pretty busy and wasn't able to take the time to talk much. I certainly understood his situation and said my goodbyes to continue on to Antigonish. I think living in or around Antingonish would be wonderful. Havre-Boucher turned out to be one example of such a places - a laid back, small community on the water complete with a little harbour, and Gary's Quick Mart.
In Antigonish, I returned to the Bean Scene Coffee Shop I had been to on my way to Baddeck.
This time I talked some more with Janet, one of the owners who also works there. She seemed captivated with my trip, so we talked about that for a while. She asked me what my favourite part of Cape Breton was.
"I think Ingonish was my favourite spot," I told her, "what is yours?"
"I was raised in the Margaree Valley, so I'm a little biased."
I asked her about the winters in Cape Breton and told her my thoughts about the ski hill at Ingonish.
"They are mostly awful. Cold, yet damp, and with the snow it makes it hard for everyone. The roads are always icy, so you have to be very careful. My Dad was the local postman, so he had to go out in all kinds of weather. We always worried about him."
Thinking back to the roads I had been on, then imagining a sheet of snow and ice on them, caused me to cringe. What a lot of risk her father took to deliver the mail.
After coffee I went to look at St. Francis Xavier University more carefully. I was impressed with the buildings and grounds. Janet
had mentioned that the university continues to grow and has students from all over the world. She gets a lot of them as regulars in her coffee shop. She also said the university graduates seem well respected no matter where they go in the world.
After Antigonish there was a short ride to the ferry. They don't charge anything to take the ferry over to PEI, but they charge you when you leave by boat or across The Confederation Bridge. It was only as the ferry was pulling away that I realized I was leaving Nova Scotia for good on this trip. I was a bit sad about that.
In PEI I stopped in at the visitor information centre, but, as it turned out, they didn't give me very good advice. My original plan was to go directly to Charlottetown for my first night, but they steered me to the east end of the island for some reason. I asked if there were any Ceilis I could attend and they said there were quite a few, but recommended two in the eastern part of the island. For that reason I ended up in a small village called Montagne hoping to find a room and to attend a Ceili in Lower Montagne. Neither happened. The room I thought I could get wasn't available and I ended up at a sleezy place called the Lobster Pot. It was a rundown resturant plus bar plus motel plus summer resort all run by a very overworked Chinese man who owned the whole thing. My 'smoke free' room wasn't, but I had to just take it as it came because it was too late and a storm was rolling in. I wish I could have the young lady from the tourist information on the back of my motorcycle as I went through all that.
I had a fitful sleep in my stinky room, but at least I kept dry. It rained hard all night.
Odometer at the end of the day: 36365 km
PS. If my mug shot shows up on this I'm sorry. I can see it at my end and I don't know why. Maybe it is because I haven't uploaded any pictures. Unfortunately I can't at this computer. I plan on adding them later, so look back from time to time.
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