NOVA SCOTIA – Rocky & Windy
Leaving PEI took us back over the bridge, into NB & eventually Nova Scotia where we were greeted with the most insane winds we have come across yet. It was laughable, actually. Literally. Sandra was laughing in her helmet (again) which would quite honestly have been blown off if not for the strap because, really, it was that bad. The bikes were all over the road and again we were being knocked about. The driving rain, and road construction were simply added bonuses. This meant a motel in the impressive town of Amherst, NS – home to many historic and lovely victorian houses. Please note, our motel was not impressive – but it was dry and we could hang our clothes out to dry as well.
The day we did the Cabot Trial (298 kms), we reached it from Antigonish (60kms away) and rode towards Meat Cove which, in spite of its name, is a stunning location overlooking the sea at the northern tip of the Cape Breton Highlands another 50kms (there & back) off our route. We attempted to get there, but again daylight and fuel levels were against us. We regretfully turned back and made way to our campground. In short, it was a big day. Made bigger by ocean views, curvy roads and numerous “look off” sites along the route. The Cabot Trail is an excellent route that we recommend doing anti-clockwise so as to be able to take advantage of the best views. Going at it clockwise, the steep curvy bits happen to be downhill and look-offs are across the double solid line – a few more practical reasons to heed the advice. Jordan felt the route was better suited for a car trip than for a motorbike, but we both enjoyed the ride just the same.
We found a great private campsite near North Sydney, NS (add 60 more kms) – the road up to the site was steep & gravelly with a few turns. After 8 hours and over 450kms on the road, Sandra’s 650 was tired… so it decided to lay down and have a rest on that gravel road.
One of the greatest pleasures visiting the east has been checking out the history that just doesn’t exist in the west. We spent 2 days in Halifax wandering about the core admiring the old stone walls and historical clapboard houses. The Old Burying Ground is Halifax’s oldest (1749)cemetery turned historic park and the final resting place for approximately 12,000. We spent an hour and a half just walking about reading the inscriptions on the hand chiselled stones. It was interesting to see how the iconography on the headstones changed with the times. The earliest stones were decorated with death heads, winged death heads, and hourglasses – all signs of reverence for the afterlife. Later stones depicted cherubs, urns and weeping willows – messages of mourning and the sadness of one’s own death and desire of immortality.
While Sandra was undergoing damage control for her hair at the salon, Jordan went down to the waterfront and checked out the boats. There were a number of beautiful boats, including a simply gorgeous wooden-hulled sailing yacht from the United States. The detail on the teak deck and brass work was really impressive, all Jordan could say was “My she was yar, … easy to handle, quick to the helm, fast, right. Everything a boat should be” (quoting Katherine Hepburn in the movie The Philadelphia Story). After that he went to visit the HMS Sackville, a WWII Canadian Navy Corvette which now serves as Canada’s naval war memorial. Visitors are able to come aboard and explore the ship on a self guided tour, including the bridge, engine room, battle stations and living quarters below deck. It was really interesting and highly recommended by Jordan.
A quick walk through the very colonial Public Gardens http://www.halifaxpublicgardens.ca/, a stroll along the waterfront, a climb to the Citadel rounded out a fabulous day that only makes us want to go back for more.
Our final day in Nova Scotia was spent in Digby – home of the famous Digby Scallops and, yes! the town did smell exactly like scallops. Of course, the ride to Digby was horrifically windy, wet and cold. The little campground we found offered shelters in addition to campsites. The campground is near the bay of Fundy which does whip up some memorable weather which is why the shelters exist. So, we stayed in a tiny shack equipped only with two windows and two wooden platforms – our beds. With bed rolls and sleeping bags it’s no different than tenting and we were thrilled to have shelter from the wind.