Not much going on in Port Hawkesbury and it’s too windy to move the boat, so we figured we’d take a couple of days to check out Cape Breton. Cape Breton is an island, and although it’s substantially bigger than PEI it doesn’t get its own province and instead sits atop Nova Scotia like a hat, appended by a single bridge.
The largest town is Sydney. Don’t eat at the Mexican place in Sydney. It’s really slow and they leave tails on the shrimp in the shrimp tacos, which caused much grumpiness. The rest of Cape Breton, however, was fantastic (although Coke needs a bigger presence).
Starting with Bras d’Or Lake, which would be a jagged softball in the palm if one viewed Cape Breton as a giant right-handed fielder’s mitt instead of a hat. The day we rounded the lake was cloudy but at least it wasn’t too windy to drone.
We Americans tend vaguely to think of Alexander Graham Bell as one of our own who invented the telephone, which used to be a useful device but now has been supplanted by texting, which isn’t much different than the telegraph messages that the telephone supposedly made obsolete. “Watson, cum here i need u lol.” We visited the Bell museum in Baddeck, where Old Alec the Scotsman had a home named Beinn Bhreagh that his descendants still own although Dana looked it up and currently they’re mired in a big tax dispute. Yup, there’s the actual first ever telephone, all polished up and sitting right here in a Canadian Museum.
Unbeknownst to us until last Friday, Bell is the father of Canadian flight, as the head of a team that designed and built and flew the Silver Dart—Canada’s first airplane—in 1909.
He also co-founded The National Geographic Society, and later proved there really is life after death by vomiting in his Cape Breton grave when climate-change-denier Rupert Murdoch bought the previously-non-profit organization. That’s kind of like Satan buying publishing rights to the Bible. Bell also was instrumental in Helen Keller’s transformation, which is another big coincidence since we passed by her old house not too long ago.
The museum highlighted dozens more of Bell’s accomplishments, some of which may be of dubious value to anyone other than perhaps Greg Focker, but interesting still.*
The main thing we wanted to do on Cape Breton, however, was to drive The World Famous Cabot Trail. We’ve done the Road to Hana, the entire Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive run, and most of the PCH. This was up near the top of our list, however, and since we were at the sign it seemed like a good time to check it off that list.
The Cabot Trail is named for Italian explorer John Cabot, not the English dude who played lovable Mr. French and dispensed wisdom when Uncle Bill overreacted to innocent mischief by Buffy or Jody. That was Sebastian Cabot. Probably no relation. John Cabot apparently didn’t actually come to Cape Breton but somehow still scored a cool 298-kilometer loop road named in his honor.
Anyway, the northern part of the Cabot Trail passes through Cape Breton Highlands National Park. We stopped for a hike along the way.
Good stuff, although Oscar was napping and missed it all. The highlight, however, was the drive. The eastern side where we hiked was spectacular. The highland plateau and the western coast were mind-blowing.
For lunch today we hopped down a side road to a pizza place in Inverness, which coincidentally also is home to Cabot Cliffs. As Al Czervik once wisely observed, “Country clubs and cemeteries are the biggest waste of prime real estate.” Neither of us are golfers, although if pressed one of us can work a Caddyshack line into just about any situation. According to Golf Digest, however, Cabot Cliffs is the top rated golf course in Canada and number 9 in the world. So obviously we found a hidden location and popped the drone up and over one of the cliff holes. We’re pretty sure we didn’t bother the guys on the green, but it was kind of hard to tell from our hidey-hole. Either way, Doug lost a dozen balls just eying the hole remotely.
The plan was to leave in the morning for Canso. The plan was thwarted when Canso said another boat pulled in today so there isn’t room for us until Tuesday. But the weather on Tuesday sucks. So basically we’re stuck in Port Hawkesbury having already done all the touristy stuff we wanted to do. Oh well, there’re many worse places to do boat chores.
* “I have nipples, Greg. Can you milk me?”