Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Across to Cape Breton

30th August: Antigonish to Port Hood

Odometer: 95 km, Start: 8.45am, Finish: 4.00pm, Avg: 19.1 km/h,
Weather: Sunny, Temp: 15-25°C
Road Conditions: #104 (TCH), mostly 2m shoulder, moderate to heavy traffic. #4 (from jct. 36 of #104), small gravel shoulder, average road surface, very light traffic. #19 (from Port Hastings), small gravel shoulder, good road surface, very light traffic. Adequate stops before Port Hastings (50km). Small shop at Troy (55km) and Judique (75km). Ascent: 400m/430m.

It felt a little bit like a transition day as I made my way onto Cape Breton and north towards the Cabot Trail via the Ceilidh Trail. I had to endure some early kilometres on the Trans-Canada Highway until I could get onto the old alignment (highway #4) and away from the traffic. I seem to be increasingly annoyed now by loud and fast traffic. I think it’s because the contrast to the usually quiet roads I ride on is so stark. It affects my karma greatly.

Canso Causeway (from Cape Breton side)

Cape Breton is actually a large island separated from the rest of Nova Scotia by the 1km Strait of Canso. The road on the man-made Canso Causeway is the only land bridge. I sprinted across as the road was narrow and the traffic was heavy.

Welcome to the Island of Cape Breton

Port Hastings is just the other side and I rolled into the Tourist Information to get the low down. I find it useful, in areas without major population centres, to work out the relative sizes of the smaller villages along my route. (You can’t really tell from the map). This allows me to plan food stops in remoter areas. I got some good local information from the knowledgeable staff.

I joined the Ceilidh Trail (route #19) northwards from Port Hastings. This part of Nova Scotia seems quite celebratory of it’s Celtic roots! Village signs often have their Celtic name equivalents. The tourist trail ran alongside the coastline (St. Georges Bay) and it was quite pleasant viewing during the hot and sunny afternoon. I could just about see the land I rode on yesterday around Cape George across the bay!

On the Ceilidh Trail

At Judique, I found a bike trail, part of the signed Trans Canada Trail (the off-road bike trail across Canada). It was called the Judique Flyer Trail and I think it was using a former railway line as it was pretty straight and with well engineered shallow gradients. I took the trail through welcome shaded woods nearly all the way to my evening stopover in Port Hood which is right by the sea!

Coastal scene near Judique (taken from the bike trail)
Sunset at Port Hood. I had dinner on a terrace looking out at this.

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