If Murphy is Irish, he is showing a distressing lack of familial consideration. It was just kind of an “off” day from the beginning. Yesterday’s misadventure was losing my purse somewhere along the way. NO idea how it could have happened, but it did. Fortunately, my purse was just along for the odd times that I was off the bike and my credit card and bank card were in my riding suit. Still, a couple of things to deal with there and I took care of that as soon as I discovered it was missing and tore the bike apart to make sure.
Today’s plan was to head up the Cabot Trail early (8-ish) and hopefully beat the tourist traffic and then see the Alexander Graham Bell historic site in Baddeck on the way back. In doing my pre-ride inspection, I discovered that Fury had a flat rear tire! Checked as carefully as I could but did not see a puncture or anything wrong, so I pulled out my handy-dandy compressor and filled it up. A lovely man from the hotel came over to ask about it and I told him the trouble. He helped me check again for punctures or leaks around the valve stem and, seeing nothing either, told me of a mechanic up the road a few kms. The tire seemed to be holding the air I had pumped in well enough that I thought I could limp my way that far. So, travelled along the highway at 70 kph with my hazard lights and found Shaun Cox Auto Service. The folks in the front end were very friendly and checked for me. Yes, they would take a look if I could wait a bit. Well, what else did I have to do but repair my baby. Shaun is my new hero. He found the puncture in about 3 seconds flat and repaired it in about 3 minutes for the outrageous cost of $8.00 (did I roll my eyes out loud?) and filled it up with air. I was back on the road by 11:00 and not letting it get to me too much. I have been on the road for 81 days now and this is the first set-back of this type that I’ve had, so I can hardly complain.
The Cabot Trail now became my priority so, stopping only to fill up with gas and grab a snack for the road, off we went. As anticipated, the traffic was outrageous. I was stuck behind several vehicles that I swear have never seen a curve before in their life and thought every one should be taken at 20 kph! So, the ride was not that enjoyable for the first half of the trail. There were some lovely views here and there, but the traffic demanded too much attention to take them in and the inclination to leave the road for a lookout and have to get back into the traffic was not appealing. After about an hour and a half of this, I was pretty frustrated, so pulled off and had a drink and a bite to eat.
By the time I got back on the road, it was about 2 p.m. and the traffic had thinned a bit. Despite several stretches of construction, the second half of the trail from Pleasant Bay to Cheticamp was much better. Not only that, the views were much more dramatic and I was able to pull on and off at the lookouts with relative ease. Last night I had remembered about The Red Shoe Pub (owned by the Rankin Family sisters) and discovered that it was about another hour out of my way to get to it in Mabou. Over the day I had been debating it because I knew it would have me on the road later in the evening that I normally prefer to travel. In the end, I decided to listen to the voices and go.
So instead of turning back towards the hotel, I continued a bit further down the trail to Mabou – Home of the Rankin Family, as the sign says. I parked the bike right in front of The Red Shoe Pub. As I parked the bike, I laughed at the ice cream trailer across the road - Rolling Cones. They really have some hilarious and clever business names out here. The other day, the decor shop in Chester called "Going Coastal" threw me into paroxysms of hilarity.
When I entered The Red Shoe Pub, all the heads in the place turned toward the door. I smiled and ONE young man smiled back. The rest of the place looked at me like I was the local gunslinger come in to call someone out. I sidled to a table against the wall (‘cause us gunslingers gotta keep our backs to the wall) and ordered sticky chocolate date cake with whipped cream. Not very gunslinger-ish, but this is a new age. It was very yummy cake. While I was having it, a couple from New Hampshire sat at the table close to me and I struck up a bit of a conversation with them. Finishing my cake, I wanted to take a picture of the sign behind one of the tables. Fortunately for me, it was behind the table with the one young man who had smiled when I came in! And so, I met the Becks family – Harry, Jeanie, Anika, Chris and Katie. They were very friendly folks and we had a fun little visit before I left. This encounter restored my equilibrium for the day, so thank you Becks family! Guess gunslingers aren't so bad after all!
I toured around Mabou a bit and found a pretty church to take a picture of. There were many pretty scenes there, actually, but I enjoyed riding around rather than taking pictures. Leaving Mabou, I took Hwy 252. Didn’t really know for sure where it might dump me out, but it went the direction we should be going, so I took it. It was a gorgeous, curvy little road with pretty scenes and devoid of traffic! It did my ruffled soul a lot of good.
One of the things that had been bothering me the last couple of days was that I had not found the right place to leave Tracey’s ashes in Nova Scotia. I had thought the Cabot Trail would be the obvious place, but it didn’t feel right and she was not there with me today. Then, as I approached a curve, I could have sworn I heard her voice say “right here”. Just around the curve was the most beautiful, serene scene I have seen in a long time – a large pond, with a bridge in the background – actually the end of the Mabou Harbour, I think. I immediately pulled over and saw a bald eagle atop a dead tree and it all felt right. I took a picture of this scene to carry along with me and left some ashes there for Tracey. The eagle flew off and the feeling of peace descended on me again, having completed my important task for her. Though it also left me feeling very lonesome.
The little road continued to be delightful and Fury and I thoroughly enjoyed swinging through the curves unhindered by other vehicles. Eventually, we joined back up with Hwy 105 that would take us back to Boularderie Island, where the motel is. The highway was also fairly traffic-free, so Fury and I unfurled our own wings and flew down the highway, letting the last of our cares pass like the miles. I absolutely love coming around the last curve before the huge bridge that brings you across to Boularderie Island. There’s something exhilarating to me about sailing around a curve and climbing a hill onto a big bridge. We were back in time to see the sun set, which is my view from the motel room.
I’m so glad I found this motel and booked it. There are two on this little stretch of road and this one is the Inn of Victoria County (shows as Travels Inn online). The sign on the road just says Motel. The rooms are spacious and clean and there is a continental breakfast of bagels and pastries and coffee and stuff. Price is more reasonable than many in the area as well. It was great to stay two nights and not have to do the Cabot Trail with all my gear loaded up. Tomorrow it is on to new discoveries.