Nova Scotia - 13 days in Canada

Preface - Nova Scotia

07/01/2005 14:02:07 by Administrator

During the first two weeks of July 2005 Mary (the Rear Admiral), our nephew Georges, and I toured Nova Scotia on bikes. My Mom and Dad, who traveled via motorhome, also joined us. Oh the home cooked dinners we ate (THANKS MOM!) and the great guidance (THANKS DAD!)

Nova Scotia is divided into ten scenic travel-way sections and we were able to ride the Lighthouse Route, Sunrise Trail, Glooscap Trail, and Evangeline Trail. . . yes Dad we did need 4 weeks, but we only had two.

We had GREAT weather (it only really rain only once, and that was at the end of our day in Lunenburg), and only one day of bad headwinds. The routes are mostly not busy (the roads on the Glooscap need major repairs!) and the Nova Scotia drivers are THE BEST! They are very very courteous to cyclist.

If you go, bring bug spray, use the information centers, don't worry about the hills, there will always be one more, and cross your fingers for great weather!

Nova Scotia Day 1

07/02/2005 14:10:41 by Administrator

From: Yarmouth
To: Barrington Passage
Mileage: 47

We left Milford at 12:01 a.m. in the morning. Georges, our nephew, just got out of the Air Force and decided he needed more of an adventure so he joined us on this trip. Mary and Georges slept on the 5 1/2 hour ride up to Bar Harbor. We were catching the early ferry ("The Cat") to Yarmouth Nova Scotia.

After having breakfast at the Bay View Inn, next door to the ferry terminal, we got in line for our departure. The whole process took about 30 minutes. Once on board, Georges and I found some comfortable seats and slept most of the 3 (plus) hours on the ferry. Mary watched the in-house movie, which was being interrupted by people near her getting seasick. Naturally, Mary started not feeling too good.

We were the last off the ferry and almost the last through Canadian customs. My Dad and Mom were there and we only visited them for very short time (we were tired of sitting!). We agreed to meet about 10 miles down the road for a snack. It was very overcast and foggy as we rode out of Yarmouth on route 3. Nova Scotia has broken up sections of roads and routes and has named them. Our first section of Nova Scotia is called the Lighthouse Route because of all the lighthouses along the route. It will weave in and out through coastal towns from Yarmouth to Halifax. After getting a little outside Yarmouth we had very little traffic and rode through small towns named Arcadia, Eel Brook, Pabnico and Argyle. After meeting up for a snack, we agreed that it would be a good night to use a hotel because there was chance of showers. Mom and Dad went up to Isle Provincial Park to camp, while we continued to bike the Lighthouse Route. We spent the night at the Old School Motel and Restaurant in Barrington Passage. For dinner, I had the fresh lobster/shrimp/scallop caesar salad and finished up with the cranberry pudding for dessert. People who know us, know it's really about the food and not the riding!

The ride all by itself was beautiful. Even though we were in foggy conditions, the fields of wildflowers (lots of lupines) bays, marshes, birds, etc. made for a great ride. Most of the time we rode side by side because the car traffic was extremely light.

Nova Scotia Day 2

07/03/2005 14:15:34 by Administrator

From: Barrington Passage
To: Shelbourne
Mileage: 51

Got up early and worked on Seemore's speedometer. It was damaged somehow on the ferry ride. I also had to re-arrange were stuff gets stowed. Mary and Georges got up around 8:30 and we all had breakfast at the hotel's restaurant. We got on the road about 9:30. It was near perfect riding weather all day with the temperatures in the high 80s with very little wind.

The Lighthouse Route is not very busy, so again we got to ride side by side a lot. Saw lobster boats, deer , pitcher plants, lupine, seagulls, lighthouses, loons, and ducks. There seems to be a lot of houses and land for sale. No gas stations or little stores from Barrington to Shelburne. Had lunch at Nellie Bly's CafÈ on Main Street. We had yet another excellent lunch of chicken salad sandwiches (on homemade bread) and thick milkshakes. Shelburne was the largest town settled by the loyalist when they didn't want to be governed by the new United States. We visited the "old town" section along the waterfront , which is full of museums and gift shops. We then cycled back to Isle Provincial Park to meet up with Mom and Dad. We have a great site overlooking the bay. Tonight we went back into Shelburne and had dinner at the Sea Dog. I had the shrimp and scallop caesar salad made with fresh fish.

Nova Scotia Day 3

07/04/2005 03:00:53 by Administrator

From: Shelbourne
To: Port Joli
Mileage: 67

Well it's the end of the day. Another bright blue clear day with temperatures in the low 80's and a light breeze (at least they seemed light from the back of the bike) we are camping at Thomas Raddall Provincial Park. I'm writing today's journal because Noel hasn't had the time.

Got into camp about 5ish to a swarm of black flies, nasty horse flies, and mosquitoes. The naturapel is very effective but only for a short time. We took a short hike to beach. Noel, Dad and Georges waded in the water. I found a nice sunny rock where the bugs couldn't get me.

We had supper at 7 pm and then cards. I only can play one round, tired I headed for the showers. The ranger is out warning campers to stow food due to bears in the park. We safely stored our granola bars and snuggle in for the night. I can hear the waves hitting the shore if I listen carefully. The breeze is rustling the leaves in the trees, it is very very peaceful.

It was a beautiful day of cycling with lots of ocean views and wild flowers. We had some good hills towards the end of the day. Got Seemore up to 40 mph on a long down hill!

Nova Scotia Day 4

07/05/2005 03:03:29 by Administrator

From: Port Joli
To: Petite Riviere
Mileage: 53

After some breakfast at the campsite we started back out on the Lighthouse Route. Going through rolling hills with views of the ocean between stretches of woods. Rode 25 miles into Liverpool and met Mom and Dad at the grocery store that was across the bridge in Brooklyn. We picked up stuff for sandwiches and breakfast supplies. We had lunch downtown at the local park. The bikers decided to try route 103 for a while (about 7 miles) instead of following the Lighthouse Route, it was pretty boring and very busy. At exit 17 we were glad to say good-bye to route 103 and rejoin, the Lighthouse Route, which we followed to Rissers Beach Provincial Park, which is, were we are camping tonight (right on the ocean!). They have built a beautiful (very long) boardwalk, which we enjoyed. It also has a very large beach. The water is cold, but I went in up to my shorts while Mary lazed around in the soft sand.

The bathrooms are primitive unless you go for a 3/4-mile hike to the other part of the campground. We have done a lot of riding the past two days. Riding these rolling hills take time away from sight seeing on foot. The weather has been as close to perfect, 70's to 80's, bright sunny skies, and 50's to 60's at night. This is not the Nova Scotia I remembered as a kid, at least not the weather!

Tonight Mom fixed lobsters for dinner!!!!! Oh my!

Nova Scotia Day 5

07/06/2005 03:07:05 by Administrator

From: Petite Riviere
To: Mahone Bay
Mileage: 33

I woke up early and took a stroll down the beach at Rissers. It was overcast day today. We rode into La Have and spent time at the small museum/lighthouse there. La Have was the site of first capital of "New France". Then we caught the free ferry across the La Have River and rode to "The Ovens". The Ovens are natural tidal caves that were enlarged by gold miners about 150 years ago. The fact is that there really wasn't much gold taken from this area. We next rode into Lunenburg. Lunenburg is a crafts / shipbuilding community and I believe that clipper, The Blue Nose, (the ship on the back of the Canadian dime) was built there. The town of Lunenburg was also built on the side of a number of hills. If you're seeking a challenge, ride your bike (fully loaded) to the information building, which is located on the top of the largest hill. We walked the town for 2 plus hours meeting Mom and Dad for lunch on the harbor. It began to rain for the first time on this trip as we rode out of Lunenburg so we rode to Mahone Bay and found the "The Red Door" bed and breakfast. They took us in (soaking wet and all!). After settling in, we walked the downtown and shared a pitcher of red ale as we ate our burgers in the local pub.

Nova Scotia Day 6

07/07/2005 03:08:58 by Administrator

From: Mahone Bay
To: Dartmouth
Mileage: 60

We were awakened by the smell of eggs and sausages cooking at The Red Door B and B. We all had an excellent night's sleep. Georges said that 7:30 came way too fast! Today, weather-wise, was almost perfect for a bike ride. We did encounter some strong headwinds from time to time, but for the most part it was overcast all day in the high 70's. After breakfast we began our journey to Peggy's Cove. Staying on the Lighthouse Route for 85 percent of the way. The car traffic got busier the closer we got to Halifax. The hills also got steeper. We did not ride very much side by side today. After riding through Chester, we stopped at the Hubbard's information center. There we met some young cyclist from CT, MA, and NH. They were fun to talk to. We also received news of the terrorist bombing in London, which saddened us. Whether you bike, hike, motorcycle, or travel by car; the Nova Scotia information centers are a great place to stop. Most have free Internet, lots of info, and bathrooms!!! We wish they would also have water, and have told them that bikers would really appreciate it!

We rode into Upper Tantallon and pulling in behind us was Mom and Dad. So we had lunch in the motor home, what a treat! We then headed for Peggy's Cove. Peggy's Cove is probably the most photographed area in Nova Scotia, the photo below and above should help you imagine the sights of the fishing villages that filled this part of the Lighthouse Route.

Just outside Peggy's Cove is a memorial to Swiss Air Flight 111 that crashed into the ocean just east of Nova Scotia. We stumbled across it quite by accident. Georges noticed a neat rock formation so we hiked up to it and just as we got to the top, the memorial was right there. The trail leading up to meomorial also had signs all over the place asking people to "stay on the path". . . .oh well. . . We spent (not enough time) about an hour at Peggy's cove. There is a lighthouse at the end with a post office inside.

We finished the Lighthouse Route at this point. We have no desire to ride into Halifax, and since we have Mom and Dad, we took advantage of them. We loaded the bikes on the back of the motor home and we thankfully drove through Halifax and Dartmouth, spending the night in a municipal campground in Dartmouth.