Thursday, 3 August 2017

On an Acadian shore

I need to do more prep work on my trips. I had left an early estimate of today's distance in my distance grid. This was 124 km which represented Pleasant Bay to Baddeck. However, since then, I had booked a bed in the Margaree Valley which was closer. However, I hadn't corrected the estimate. So I thought I had 124 km to cover. The day started well enough considering I had to climb up the Plateau of the Cape Breton Highlands which topped out at 300 m above sea level initially and eventually reached 550 m. However, there was an honesty to the climb. There was more construction to deal with, though not in steep bits. I saw what looked like a portable asphalt plant being moved in a half dozen oversized sections going the other way. Then there was an exhilarating descent through a canyon and a picture perfect, classic view of the Cabot Trail. I had stopped part way down. A woman on a loaded touring bike going up asked how far the summit was. I sheepishly confessed I wasn't sure but I thought she was getting there. It is hard to judge how far I have gone down.

I exited the Park and was a bit surprised by Ch├ęticamp. For one thing, it was Acadian and for another, the trees weren't there. This was significant as a stiff wind was facing me causing me to worry about making the 124 km. I found a place for lunch which featured live Acadian music (fiddle and keyboard played a bit too loudly) and some spontaneous jigging by some girls who may or may not have been shills.

It was during my interminable wait for my meal that I checked my remaining distance with Google Maps and was startled to discover a much lower figure than what I had counted on: 25 rather than 70.

This was a relief from having to do the distance. It was also a concern as I had obviously made a serious mistake somewhere along the line.

The rest of the day was more slogging against the wind. The only relief was at a low key maritime fauna institute where you could see some sea life in tanks. This included some green crabs (an invasive species) eating each other. Another relief was pondering just how much inbreeding is going on in the Acadian community as every second name seemed to be "Aucoin".

I got to my lodgings which eventually led to a very frustrating lack of communication that I am not going to dwell on.

One thing that has become very clear is that my parents should not attempt the Cabot Trail by bike. All due respect, I think it is well beyond their biking abilities in more ways than one. (Long, steep uphills; long, steep and twisty downhills; relatively narrow shoulders; and significant traffic.) It is not a ride I wish to do again, though I don't regret doing it.

I do regret the prep errors. However, the disc brakes were again much appreciated today.

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