It was a good day to ride…

We left this morning under sunny skies, and within 15 miles the sky had clouded over.  As we gained elevation the fog began to drift in dancing on light fingers across the road and into the trees climbing the mountain.  As we came around another bend in the road the fog seemed to be massaging the scalp of the hill pushing deeper into the trees and lower on the road itself.  Soon we were engulfed in fog (it wasn’t mist and the riding was dry), there was nothing to see but cloud cover on the down slope and the rock face on the right hand side.  Finally, we reached the crest and the sun broke through permanently.

 

Along the ridgeline the road was straight and smooth (my favorite ride, but more about that later).  Soon we were headed down the far side and into Cheticamp for breakfast.  Blueberry pancackes on a bacon fat gridle…one of my favorite pre-ride meals.  This was an interesting and challenging ride.  The pavement was really nice for the most part, but when it was bad..well, usually the outside edge would be chewed up and almost unrideable, there were a couple of spots that, had I not been prepared, the hole would have unseated me.  But definitely worth the views.  I am sorry to say there are not very many pictures forthcoming.  The steepness of the climbs and descents coupled with the  tightness of many of the turns, left few spots to pull off and take pictures.  When there were good spots, they were being hogged by dumb American who think they own the parking lot. (They think they own a bunch of other stuff, but never mind.)  So, lots of really cool stuff to see, but you’ll have to come see for yourself I guess.

 
In truth, and this is not to diminish anything here in any way, but the scenery here is so familiar and comforting.  If you’ve ever driven through Estes Park, CO, Bar Harbor, ME, North Conway, NH or any number of other forested, hilly, twisty roads in the country, you have just a glimpse of this ride.  We started out with the lake to our left and then the Atlantic.  At one point we decided we’d go out one of the later  outlying roads to Meat Cove.  This would be the northern most point of Cape Breton. (That’s what it says anyway.)  So….

 
Picture the best hard pack dirt road you’ve ever driven on.  Add some stone chip gravel, some washboard, no shoulders, an 8% grade and oh, yeah, about 100 (no lie) switch back turns.  All in the space of 2.5 miles.  I was all excited about getting to the end and having this awesome view to take all the pictures I want of….an empty shack with two dead cars, and just enough space next to the dead end sign (pointing to the single track) to turn around and do it all in reverse order.  THERE is thirty plus minutes of my life I’ll never see again.

 

Did I tell you I wasn’t amused? So not very funny at all.  Through the whole ordeal I kept telling myself to trust myself and trust my bike, and some where in there a very loud voice in my head said, “I don’t trust the goddamn road! That’s what I don’t trust!”  Once we got back on paved roads, it was a virtual paradise cruising those last 60 miles up and down and back around, crunchy pavement or not.

 
At the far end  when we were almost all the way around and back to the beginning, we took a short ferry ride bridging the gap over one of the branches of Bras d’Or Lake.  I do mean short too. The ferry departed the far side, disembarked the vehicles on our side, loaded the ferry and we disembarked on the far side in 20 minutes.  Short.

All of that in 230 miles…it was a good day to ride.

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