Nova Scotia (New Scotland) is a peninsula that hooks east around the top of the Bay
of Fundy and then down it's eastern side. The Gulf of St. Lawrence is to the north. In
the gulf is an island that is part of Nova Scotia and that is our first destination
here. The day we left Hopewell Rocks and turned east along the Gulf was cloudy and
dingy but no rain. The countryside is flat and at sea level. Although only a few
miles from the Bay of Fundy the Gulf of St. Lawrence does not have the huge tides. It
is the outlet of the St. Lawrence River.
To get to the island part of Nova Scotia we cross a very shallow waterway on a causeway
and then a small drawbridge. As we turn left towards the famous motorcycle road
"The Cabot Trail" the sun comes out and the day is looking fine.
As we head north along the coast the ground develops some hills and valleys, bays,
streams and lakes. The towns are small and fewer. It is why we are here.
When we enter the Provincial Park (fee required, my US senior card is no good) the
real "Cabot Trail" begins. The road climbs, drops, turns and twists. Not like the
famous "Tail of the Dragon" in South Carolina but still a reasonably fun road.
It mostly follows the coast, only heading inland when the road building was too costly
and difficult. It curves around the top of Nova Scotia, leaving and entering the
Provincial Park a couple of times. There is very limited gasoline up here but the
whole route is easily done on one tank with gas to spare.
The Cabot Trail is almost always on the "Top 10" lists of the "Best Motorcycle Roads". We
found it to be a nice road but not very long. We rode it in one afternoon and had
time to spare. It is less than 100 miles (160 km). Out west we have roads as least
as spectacular and go on for all day, and tomorrow too. Highway 101 up or down the
Pacific Coast is a prime example.
This island part of Nova Scotia is rent with long narrow water channels as a result
of the glaciers from the last ice age. They often have a causeway built out of rock
and dirt leading to a bridge or ferry. This opening in the causeway allows for boat
traffic through the waterway. After rounding the top on the Cabot Trail we wanted
to go east. We could have ridden 15 miles south and back up the other side of the
waterway but it is only about a mile across. We decide to take the ferry and were
delighted to find out it was free. I was a lot less happy when I saw the loading
ramp. I had the choice of putting the bike tires or the trailer tires on the ramps. I
chose to put the bike tire close to the inside edge and that allowed one trailer
tire to ride a ramp. the other one, well I goosed the throttle and it hopped aboard
with a large bounce! Getting off was the same type of ramps but I just put the bike
tires on one and let the trailer hop off on its own!
The causeway and ferry are in the center of the left hand picture. The next narrow
waterway had a bridge at the end of the causeway.
Our first destination today is near Sydney, the site of the first radio message across
the Atlantic on December 15, 1902. Marconi built an antenna here that had towers
64 meters (210 feet) high. There were 400 copper wires that led down from the cables
between the towers. This is a picture of the scale model. You can just make out
the wires as grey lines in the center of the picture. Outside the only remaining
part is the concrete bases of the towers. He also had built a steam boiler and steam
engine to power the 75 kilowatt alternator that sent the message. The site is a
Provincial Park and off the beaten path. The building is small but the staff are
friendly and knowledgeable. And may actually have been a bit lonely!
From Marconi, and Sydney, we stayed off the main highway and continued east to Louisbourg.
Louisbourg is a huge settlement/fort that has been nearly completely rebuilt by the
government as a economic boost to the area in the 50's. It was originally built
by the French in the early 1700's and was used by both the French and English at
various times until the late 1700's. The area was hotly contested by those two countries.
There were extensive records and town plats that had survived and when the Canadian
government decided to give the area a boost it brought in experts and hired locals
to rebuild the town/fort exactly as and where it originally had been. Because some
foundations were left they were able to place the reconstructions in the same exact
place as before. The seafront had changed somewhat but not enough to bother the
The place had many costumed re-enactors that were part of the fun. The front gate
to the left and a young blacksmith to the right. This is another Provincial Park
and had an entrance fee. It reminded us of Williamsburg in Virginia.
A lady made bobbin lace of which some was for sale, but out of our price range. I
don't see how she could keep track of where she was in the pattern and still talk
to tourists. And the man on the platform went on trial everyday at three o'clock.
We had been traveling at about the same speed as a Swiss couple for over a week. We
first saw their vehicle in Acadia NP in Maine. We talked to them in Eastport, Maine
before getting on the ferry to Canada. We camped in the same campground that night
after crossing into Canada. We saw their rig again in St. John at the Reversing
Falls. We camped at the same Provincial Park that night but way far apart (the park
where we had the beautiful waterfront private campsite). and again at Hopewell Rocks
we saw their rig. Then we met up again in one of the viewpoints on the Cabot Trail. Now
here we are in Louisbourg, NS and we are camped side by side. They shipped this
vehicle to Buenos Aires, Argentina and have been working their was north for several
years. They are somebody else who likes long-term travel. Their website is www.gloorontour.ch. Of
course, it is in Swiss.
From Louisbourg we headed south to cross the same causeway/bridge that we had used
to come north. We have now just about circled the island part of Nova Scotia. It
is time to head south through forest and field, along the Atlantic side to Halifax. This
is the capital but sadly we have only one afternoon here. And we spent it checking
out the local food and beer at the Alexander Keith's brewpub. Then it is west across
the middle of the province to the town of Digby on the Bay of Fundy.