Thursday, July 13, 2006

Newfoundland Trip Day 3

Today’s total: 610 km. I rode all the way to Cape Breton on the Superslab, stopping at the Nova Scotia Tourist Information for a reservation for tonight. That’s a great service, apparently only BC also provides reservation services at the info places. They found me a cabin at “Knotty Pine Cabins” in Ingonish Ferry. I realize that prices have gone up since my trip a few years ago – it was the cheapest place on the system at $65.

The day started damp – a sprinkling of rain here and there and I had to put rain gear on at the New Brunswick/Nova Scotia border, but it soon cleared up. It stayed cool until I entered Cape Breton, when the temperature suddenly rose and by evening it was quite muggy and hot. The sun came out too, making for some good photos.

I started taking a few pictures at the Canso Causeway. Once I entered the Cabot Trail, I stopped regularly for a shot or two. One stop was at a place that advertised Iron Sculptures and Photography. They made metal sculptures, and one of the owners’ wives is a talented and recognized photographer. What set her pictures apart is lighting. I took the same shot (boulders in a lakebed) but hers had dramatic lighting. I have to work on that.

I discovered a distinct disadvantage to traveling by motorcycle. It is difficult to pull over and park to take pictures. I had touch-and-go moments several times – this bike is not easy to park since it stands so vertically on the sidestand. I need a flat surface or cambered to the left or the bike will fall over. Also making a U-turn on sand or gravel with a 700 lb tall bike is not easy. I will have to be careful.

Who says we don’t have great roads in Canada? However, the road surface on the Cabot Trail sucks. Lots of heaves and buckles, even in some of the sharp curves. Thankfully it wasn’t so bad climbing the mountain at Cape Smokey. There’s one spot where you negotiate half-a-dozen chicanes, then a hairpin at the bottom and a series of swoopers climbing back up. I took some shots there, hoping to be able to create a composite panorama. I can’t do it on this computer though – the screen’s too small.

Oh, and the views are spectacular. Nothing like riding up to a cambered hairpin turn marked at 35 kph with nothing but a guardrail and 1000 feet of air to the ocean below. You tend to be a bit careful riding through there and you have to watch the road, not the view. Again, a dearth of safe places to pull over and park for a photo.

I found Knotty Pine Cabins – immaculate rooms that reminded me somehow of Kickstand Lodge at Deal’s Gap. Nice view, but not great. Up the road was a better spot (where I returned and almost dropped the bike in the gravel again). 8 km further was Ingonish Beach where I went for dinner (steak and lobster. ‘way too expensive, I have to start cutting back a bit). I’m true to my diet, no bread, potatoes, rice, pasta…

So I’m writing this at 6:00 am (6:45 now!). Tired last night. I’ve got to get under way so I can make the ferry to Newfoundland tonight!