August 2, 2017, 247.2 miles
Arm of Gold Campground, North Sydney, NS
We knew our drive today would be a long one, 247 miles, but we did not get up very early and ended up being the last to leave the park about 10:00am. We usually like to head out early so we can get to the next spot and set up before dark and time to relax before dinner. We have turned inland away from the coast and traveling on highways which we means can travel a little faster.
At the 38.4 mile on our speedometer a sign showed that we were 1/2 way between the North Pole and the Equator- 45 degrees North. The 45 degree also passes through Oregon, Montana and New York. In Asia it crosses Hokkaido, the northern most island in Japan.
When we arrived at the campground in Sydney we noticed there were no trees, with all the camp sites in the sun. It was sure a surprise as we parked and looked out our front window and could look at the bay with trees and rocks surrounding it. On one side we could view another part of the bay and see the sailboats tied at their moorings, gently swaying in the breeze, it was such a peaceful sight.
We started our traveling day with Lou and Karen and Rosemary and Fred, but at the first stop for the dog break we got a text from Steve, saying there was a great quilt museum at the Atlantic Museum of Industry. Guy and I changed plans and headed to the Museum which was only 4 miles from our first stop.
This museum is Canada’s largest museum on the former site of the Ford Coal mine. The museum chronicles the impact of industrialization on the Nova Scotia people. It features Canada’s oldest steam locomotives, a model railway layout, a belt driven working machine shop, hair salon and an exhibition on coal mining and many other industrial businesses from the 1800’s through the 1940’s.
The quilt museum was in the main room. There were 4 women working on different projects, rug hooking, piecing a quilt, and hand quilting in a quilting frame. It took Guy and I about an hour to go thru the museum, we would have taken longer but time was ticking on….we still had 152 more miles to go.
At 161.00 miles we crossed the Canso Causeway, which is the deepest causeway in the world at 217’ deep and was built in 1955. It took 10 million tons of rock to build. The bridge opens to allow boats to go thru, we were hoping that there was a boat going thru but…no such luck..
A little later at mile 236 we started down a steep 8% downgrade with a 180 degree curve and a the end we were heading over the Seal Island Bridge. The bridge goes over the Great Bras d’or Channel. The bridge is 2,475 ft long and is 120 ft above sea level. Below the bridge was a small lighthouse.
Adventure Caravans sends out crews to check the routes, campgrounds and places of interest before sending out caravans. When we arrived one of the couples, Barry and Terry, were there and had prepared a dinner for our group. They gave a talk on what we should expect on the ferry ride and what we would experience while in Newfoundland, like no internet or cell phone service, limited tv, campgrounds with no hookups or water. The roads would not be like the states, pot holes, rough roads, and frost heaves! Yikes!!
The Alexander Graham Bell Museum was in the next town over right on the bay. We spent a few hours going thru the museum. I think Guy and I were on overload and maybe tired of museums, we tried reading about his life and his inventions but it was so hard to concentrate. There were a couple of movies that gave a more in-depth story but this was an extra fee, every other time the movies played is English and/or French.
Alexander was born in Scotland but lived most of his life in Canada as well as a few years in Boston. He was a scientist, inventor, engineer. He was an innovator who is credited with patenting the first telephone. His wife and his mother were both deaf, that lead him to experiment with hearing devices and did research on hearing and speech. He was also credited with developing the early versions of a metal detector in 1818. In 1908 Bell began sketching concepts of the hydrofoil boat, he also was experimenting on air craft.
We left the museum with Sharon and Steve looking for some lunch in the town of Beddeck. We checked 3 different restaurants and ended up with chinese, it was ok..lefts just say I wouldn’t go back. There were a few clothes stores that we walked thru but were amazed at the cost…so no new clothes for us!!
After our tour of the museum Sharon and I decided to visit the information center to see what we could do around the area. They suggested we take a ride on the Cabot Trail to the coast and stop at the Glenora distillery as well as the Celtic Music Museum. It turned out to be a very long ride, passing wide open spaces of green grassy hills, pine trees covering the tops of the hills, with farms interspersed along the way, brightly colored houses mixed with bright white ones. We finally came to the ocean after about 1/2hr. We stopped in the town of Inverness and headed to the beach so we could at least put our feet into the water. Which was pretty cold.
The distillery had a great tour and a shot glass tasting of their famous 10 year old single malt Scotch. All I could do was smell it and knew there was no way I could get that down…Guy had mine and his. Most of the guys liked it and wanted more. When we checked out the price of the scotch it was $700.00 per bottle.
The Glenora restaurant was right there at the distillary, since everyone was hungry we decided not to drive any further trying to find a place and decided to eat there. We were all seated around the table enjoying the atmosphere, the room had a fireplace and lots of wood, with a wood bar at one end of the room, when all of a sudden the music started.
We looked around and there was the musician in the corner with a guitar, harmonica, banjo and mandolin, he really was good, he played some country tunes but we really loved the Irish music. Before long the whole room was singing and clapping. Soon a lady eating at one of the tables got up and started playing the piano, and then another lady rose up and started singing.
The next day the group took one of the longest most boring bus trips along the Cabot Trail thru the Cape Breton National Park. There aren’t many towns or places to stop, every once in awhile we would get a glimpse of the ocean thru the trees, which was beautiful, in some places the road was along the very rugged coast and high up the mountain which helped us see the spectacular rocks and trees along the coastline. The Cabot road is a very narrow, windy, with lots of pretty sharp curves. The Cabot Trail is named after the explorer John Cabot who landed in Atlantic Canada in 1497.
The driver had a lead foot as he drove way to fast taking the corners way to sharp. Since the bus was not full Guy and I sat in the back where we could spread out, but looking out the window it was terrifying watching him take those corners with the wheels off the pavement or narrowly missing the guardrails. We ended up with some very car sick folks. Will, our fearless leader, talked to the driver a couple of times to slow down. We all drive coaches that size with a tow car behind and could have done a better job.
After our visit to North Sydney is was time to board the ferry to Newfoundland. We had a short briefing in the morning, and were all packed and ready to go by 11:00am. We were not leaving the campground until 2:00pm. When it was finally time to head to the ferry and Newfoundland, Pat, our tailgunner walked the line of coaches helping get everyone out. Will wanted all the rigs to head out together so all the coaches could be in line together at the ferry and make sure everyone made it. We all made it and lined up…it was 2:30pm the wait was a few hours…we started loading at 4:30pm…the ferry would leave at 5:30. Not knowing what to expect we found it to be an easy experience. Guy and I were lucky as the lane we were in on the ferry, put us first to leave the ferry in the morning.
Come on back to see how the ferry ride went and about our time in Newfoundland, playing with Ugly Sticks, wine tasting, butterfly insectarium, and enjoying the Split Peas!!
Until then y’all have a Blessed Day!