After a windy cold night and a morning sky full of grey clouds, we packed up and were out of the campground in record time. We were on the road by 10 am and planned to find a place near Riviere du Loup for the night. Three hours later we were eating lunch in the van outside of Riviere du Loup and revising our plans to get to the south side of the river opposite Quebec City for the night. Madeleine took the wheel for the next couple of hours and before we knew it we were revising our plans yet again to carry on to Montreal before settling in for the night. The weather had turned sunny and the traffic was good although the roads, though straight, were in rough shape. Before we got to Montreal we revised once more and decided to carry on to Cornwall after checking with Sue’s brother Paul to see if Joey would mind us camping out on her doorstep once again. So here we are and tomorrow at this time we should be home.
Monthly Archives: June 2012
So today we packed up and left Cape Breton. We figure it will take four days to get back to Belleville travelling at a pace we can manage.
Madeleine was so pumped from yesterday’s achievement that she decided to try driving.
The day passed mainly without much ado although Sue saw the tail end of a coyote as he disappeared into the bush on Cape Breton and then much later a really healthy looking coyote crossed the road in front of us about an hour south of Fredericton.
We had run out of propane but managed to find a fellow running an Irving gas station on the edge of New Glasgow who was able to fill our tank. He was a very talkative character and regaled us with stories in his thick Nova Scotian accent.
So now we are back at our old stomping grounds – Mactaquac Provincial Park – and have set up camp. Madeleine is cooking supper before we settle down for another episode of Bones.
The day started with a long and treacherous drive up the Cabot Trail. Along the way we encountered a lookout point where we were privy to the spectacular view of a whole bunch of pilot whales frolicking. The locals said they had never seen so many pilot whales in one spot before. They figured there was a mackeral run happening. Sue was fortunate enough to be able to catch a few with her camera.
We continued along the west leg of the Cabot Trail and stopped off on a side street just outside of Cheticamp and watched lobster fishermen pulling in their catch. The wife and three daughters of the Captain were there as well so we had a nice chat with her.
Finally we reached our destination – the Skyline Trail on French Mountain – which is purported to be the most beautiful hiking trail on Cape Breton. This 10 km walk began with an easy wide and flat gravel path. About a quarter of the way along, Sue spied a moose grazing on a ridge across a deep valley.
From here we headed out to the Lookout which was a challenge for Madeleine but one she didn’t hesitate to take on. There must have been a hundred steps.
At the end of the lookout, while we gazed down to the water from our clifftop view, a minke whale surfaced as he headed up the coastline.
The trek back along the outer loop of the trail was a bit more arduous but we eventually arrived back in one piece at the end of the trail.
The day started off with a visit to the sights of Lunenburg via a horse-drawn carriage. (We didn’t get a good picture of the horse and buggy, sorry). We learned that Lunenburg has some of the oldest houses in Canada. And do they like their colours!!
How would you like to teach in this school? It only just closed last Christmas. Hopefully it will be converted into something that retains the original flavour.
We had an amazing meal – the best tomato soup Madeleine has ever had – in a little cafe called the Scuttlebutt. And we bought matching (except for the colour) hats in a wonderful shop across the street. It was a good shopping day for Madeleine.
Before we left lovely Lunenburg we visited the Bluenose II where it was undergoing restoration work. It is slated to hit the water by July and has been out of the water for nearly two years. The original Bluenose was built in 100 days over winter in 1921. The Bluenose II was built in 1963.
Next we headed on a very long Roadtrek to Cape Breton passing through Truro (say that three times fast) and Antigonish (love the sound of that one). Now we are ensconced in the Roadtrek (heater on cuz it’s chilly out there) having just completed a wonderful toasted tuna sandwich and are settling in for an episode of Bones (the first camping trip Sue has been on where she gets to watch TV).
Tomorrow we hit the Cabot Trail!
After a night in a lovely B&B in Pictou, with a talkative hostess who served a wonderful breakfast we headed to Halifax.
For those Dowlings who might remember the lifeboats in our backyard, we found the one lifeboat that was miraculously transformed into the vision that John Dowling had and it was surprisingly named Madeleine. It resided in the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in downtown old Halifax. And what a museum it was with artifacts and photos of the Titanic, the Halifax Explosion, the famous cable-boats that laid the trans-atlantic telegraph cables, and details of many shipwrecks in the waters off the atlantic provinces.
For those who have ever been to Halifax, you will probably recognize the aggravation of driving the roads of this wild and crazy city. The roads change names in mid-stream, split into two or more without any notice and often go for blocks without any names. For those using GPS’s check your avoidance settings. Lee’s toll avoidance nearly took us 20 km out of our way when we tried to get to our B&B in Dartmouth.
Through the mist we caught a glimpse of a three-masted schooner in the waters between the city and Dartmouth. And as we navigated through the maze of streets of Halifax the Citadel rose up poised in the middle of the downtown core.
Audrey Brown’s Autumn Leaves B&B turned out to be quite nice. Audrey herself bent over backwards to make sure we had what we needed.
The rain has let up though the skies are still quite grey. The plan was to camp out tonight if it isn’t raining. So we figured out the roads out of Halifax before we even left the B&B and headed for Peggy’s Cove.
The biggest surprise about Peggy’s Cove was the lack of trees. It is very tundra-like but amazingly picturesque. We spent quite a bit of time wandering among the rocks around the lighthouse and had a lovely lunch at the gift store nearby.
The artist William deGarthe sculpted a granite outcropping near his home dedicated to the fishermen of Nova Scotia. It is an amazing piece of work but what is incredible is that he was in his sixties when he started it.
We headed up the winding road around St. Margaret’s Bay which was absolutely gorgeous. Eventually we arrived at the beautiful Mahone Bay but didn’t stop because we needed to get to the Ovens Natural Park and Campground before dark.
So now we are all set up at our campsite. Sue did a hike of the Ovens – seacliff caves that give the park its name and Madeleine rested in the lovely Roadtrek. We haven’t seen many other Roadtreks in our travels, but surprisingly, there is one just across the way in this campground.