Today was absolutely a wonderful riding day. We started off with a great breakfast at the lodge and then headed down the road to get onto to the Cabot Trail. From what we heard from everyone we talked to it was the best riding on the island. We were all very excited about our day.
First though we had to look for and take a picture of a pizza restaurant in Baddeck called Yello Cello. My friend Christine told me to stop by if we could because it was a really good place to go for local flavor. Unfortunately, we had decided the night before to go to the Baddeck Lobster Suppers instead. So, on our way out of town we stopped along side the road and took a picture of it. Next time we are here we will stop by.
The entire loop around the trail is 186 miles circling Cape Breton Island and the Margaree Valley. We entered the trail on the eastern side with very bad road conditions indeed. I mentioned in an earlier blog that I was really impressed with the major highways here they are wonderful but once you get off and onto side roads, back roads and the like it is a different story. I got bounced around quite a bit and being on a large bike didn’t seem to matter I was so happy at the prospect of what grand sites I would be treated to.
On the eastern side the forest was so thick with pine, evergreen and clump birch trees. I don’t think I have ever seen a forest that thick. And it was beautiful. There were so many perfectly shaped Christmas trees that I could just lean back in my seat, close my eyes and imagine hanging children’s handmade ornaments and lights on all the trees. Can you imagine how that would look? I can!
The forest was made up of many varieties of jack pine, silver fir, blue spruce, red cedar, maple and birch trees all very beautiful and made for a verdant mountainside and so very beautiful. There were also so many lovely wildflowers lining each side of the road. Wildflowers like yellow flowering wildflowers, lupins, bluebells for Rene, foxberries, blueberries and many, many others. What a treat for the eyes seeing so many wonderful flowers as we went rolling by.
I was also struck by the color of the mountains. They were a combination of pink and gray that fascinated me. I understand that they are this way because of millions of years of erosion that have left the mountains a ‘rust’ color.
What Randy thought was incredible was one minute we were running along at sea level and then all of a sudden we were at incredible heights. The views below were spectacular. We stopped at a pull off spot that overlooked Pleasant Bay. The view was wonderful and a special stop for whale watching. Unfortunately, we did not see any whales.
I decided I would ask Randy to give his impressions of the trail since he was the one driving. He said, “The eastern side was very challenging on a motorcycle because of the steepness and abrupt climbing on North Barren Mountain. If we had to stop behind the camper that was in front of us we would have lost the bike. We were at an 18° grade at the time. It was very scary”. There were many, many steep grades along the road definitely made for an interesting ride!
We decided to stop at Cheticamp for lunch. Cheticamp is a small fishing village along the Cabot Trail. Just before we actually got to the village we heard Barry saying something about a bear on the CB and so we looked to the left where we saw a red car stopped on the side of the road. We did not see a bear. When we got into town he said it was on the right. The one thing we were disappointed about on our entire trip around the trail was the only wildlife we saw was a little chipmunk scurrying across the road.
Cheticamp was a very quaint village of small houses dotting each side of the road along with little shops and restaurants. There were many restaurants along the road, however, one thing bikers never like to do is pull into any place that has gravel driveways. So, Barry kept rolling along looking for a restaurant that had a paved driveway. Almost out of town he pulled over into a small strip shopping area to see what everyone wanted to do. While Barry was stopped Bob kept driving around the strip and discovered a little restaurant at the very end.
What a find that was. The Restaurant Acadien was absolutely wonderful. The waitresses dress in traditional clothing including a long blue skirt, white blouse, white apron and white and blue head cap. The interior décor is modeled after the French flag very colorful white; blue and red with white lace curtains are draped on the windows.
The menu was full of wonderful sounding dishes like meat pie, hot turkey sandwiches, blood pudding, chicken fricot and many fish dishes. It was hard to choose. Barry got the meat pie, which is evidently an Acadian favorite. The meat pie is made with shredded beef and pork with a golden tea biscuit crust. It was served with cranberry sauce and a garden salad. Barry loved the whole pie but especially enjoyed the crust.
Lana ordered the hot turkey sandwich/sandwich a la dine, chaud. Lana was very excited when she saw her hot turkey sandwich arrive at the table. The sandwich with fresh roasted turkey between two slices of wheat bread then covered with turkey gravy and topped with green peas. She said it reminded her of when she was a child and after eating it said it was delicious.
Of course, we were in a French restaurant and so we were going to order desserts. I had the blueberry pie with vanilla ice cream. The crust was amazingly flaky and buttery. Randy and I shared and he loved it too. My mouth was doing a dance with each bite I took. No dinner for me tonight.
Okay, so the food was wonderful the ambience was very pleasant to the eye but I must tell you that my favorite part of the visit to this little café was our server. Suzanne was just a delight. She was gracious, patient at our many questions, took the time from a busy lunch time to take our picture and made many trips back and forth to make sure our visit there was a pleasant one.
I only know a few words in French but each time I said a little something she would turn and give me the biggest smile and flutter many words back in French. I know she realized that I was not very fluent but she appreciated my effort to acknowledge her heritage. I really believe that it does not take much to bridge the gap between cultures if you only make small gestures along the way. I would like to think my very little French closed that gap just a little. As we left the restaurant I looked back said, “Merci Beaucoup” and again she flashed me a wonderfully broad smile and again fluttered many words back in French. I made sure as I was leaving the restaurant to tell the manager just what a great server Suzanne was. I hope she passed it along.
Back on the road again we headed off to finish the ride around the trail and move along to our home for the night. Along the way we, once again, ran into a really bad road. What is really funny is that we have two bikes with GPSs and there are times we look like the Keystone cops. One bike will go in one direction and one or more in the others. We stop to ask directions and even then take the wrong roads. We make periodic u-turns. Well that was today and like the beginning of our trip we were once again on a road so bumpy I thought a few times that one of us girls was going to bounce right off the bikes. I kept seeing a hot tub of water waiting to soak my weary bones in my mind as we rolled down that road. Are we there yet?
Tomorrow we are off to PEI (Prince Edward Island).