August 26,2016 - Cabot Trail Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
Headed into Nova Scotia and were greeted by 16 spinning wind turbines. Our first stop was at the welcome center for some travel info. The wind was unbelievable. Hard time opening the door to get out of the RV. Tried to read the info tablets at the wetlands overlook but the wind drove us inside. Stocked up on maps and brochures and followed the Northumberland Shore North East. The slower route took us along the Northumberland Strait passing through many small fishing villages.
We stopped at TD Bank to exchange for more Canadian cash. The US dollar is still strong in Canada. For $50.00 we received $62.70 Canadian. Merchants are always happy to accept US bills – they receive the increase when exchanged. We use Canadian cash or our Visa for all purchases. Our Visa will give us the good exchange rate when we pay the bill.
Mid-afternoon we needed a break and just happened to be in the area of the Jost Winery. Took a vineyard & winery tour and did a bit of sampling. About 3 hours later we were driving through Tatamagooche and had to stop at their brewery for a couple small tastes. The place was packed at 4 in the afternoon – everyone in town must have had a rough week.
We arrived in Port Hawksbury Visitors Center just before closing to pick up info on the Cape Breton Cabot Trail. Decided on a light dinner of sandwiches with sundae desserts. Overnighted at the PH Walmart.
Friday morning we followed the Cabot Trail around Cape Breton. This is another leisurely drive through wild country with a rugged coastline. The road again was winding and hilly. We made many stops while ascending and descending the mountains. The top 1/3 of the Cape is National Park with an abundance of hiking trails. The park property weaves around many small coastal fishing towns and villages. We enjoyed lunch at the Coal Miners Café, names in honor of the men who once worked in the areas’ leading industry. While crossing over French Mountain fog set in. Just as I remarked to Tom that this was good weather to bring the moose out of the woods he shouted that he saw one on the side of the road. The big boy was munching on grass and shrubs. Unfortunately I was searching out my window and missed him. There was lots of road construction on the Trail. Reminded us of traveling the Alcan Highway in 2014. Hideaway Campground at South Harbor was our destination for the night. Had a very nice wooded a spot with electric, water and sewage for a bargain $39.00. Again glad we had our Loonies – showers were $1 for 5 minutes. Something we have found interesting is the washrooms – not restrooms.
At almost all restaurants and gas stations the washrooms are a male/female room with a toilet, sink and a lock. The washrooms at the campground added a shower to become a complete bathroom. The rooms were designated 3 for men and 3 for women. Very convenient for the shower but if someone needed to use just the bathroom they may have a 10-15 minute wait for one to open up. About 11 PM we could hear thunder in the distance. It took about ½ hour for the storm to reach us. Quite a bit of lightening with rain pounding the roof. Made for good sleeping weather.
August 27, 2016
Oops! Hit the off instead of snooze button this morning. Morning started at 8:20 instead of the intended 7:30. The storm interfered with sleep more than we realized. After a quick breakfast and hot showers we headed out on the next leg of the Cabot Trail. We were disappointed that the east side is not as picturesque as the west side. The forests have grown tremendously blocking the views from the observations points. The mountains on this side are higher so we aren’t as close to the ocean to see the surf along the coast. We passed through many small villages on the outskirts of the Park. WE stopped at the Periwinkle Café for a mid-morning sweet break. Not sure what the correct term is for 2016 “hippies” but they owned the café. We enjoyed all organic blueberry muffin, cinnamon roll, energy bar, OJ & herbal tea. It was a pretty little café in an old Victorian style home with brightly painted rooms, tables and chairs.
Stopped in Baddeck for a late lunch at the High Wheeler Café. It was another little gem we stumbled upon. Headed back to Port Hawksbury hoping to arrive for 4 PM Mass. Made it with 8 minutes to spare. Very nice church, excellent priest, very good sermon. We drove on to Halifax to spend the night. It was a long driving day for Tom – 315 miles