Day 6 CCR: Short, Cold Ride
Some days I ride a lot; some days not so much. Today was a short ride day, thanks to cold temperatures and uncertain rain conditions. Had the weather been more favorable, we had time to ride the Cabot Trail on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, before catching our ferry to Newfoundland and Labrador. Although each weather app we checked differed in some degree, all agreed that rain and maybe even snow was possible somewhere along the trail, in addition to strong, steady winds. So, it was a short, cold, windy ride from Antigonish to North Sydney where I’m waiting to board the overnight ferry for the seven-hour trip to Channel-Port aux Basques.
If there was a silver lining to today’s weather issues, it was that I had an opportunity to make sure my cold weather gear was working and that I remembered how to use it. For the first 40 miles or so of today’s ride, I had no heat from my jacket or gloves as 20-25 mph winds buffeted my bike. But I remembered a quirk of the Gerbing heated clothing system I use that requires me to turn the gear on AFTER I start the bike. Once I remembered that and switched the heat regulator off and then on again, blessed heat coursed through my gloves, down my sleeves and across my back. Aw, blessed heat. Riding in windy, cloudy, mid 40s temperatures is much more doable with heated gear. Today’s cold weather test was important, because conditions in Newfoundland tomorrow and the next day are expected to be wetter and colder than Nova Scotia today. We’re hoping to avoid snow. And moose.
I’m disappointed we didn’t ride the World Famous (according to Nova Scotians) Cabot Trail, because the views and the ride are both spectacular. The single scenic picture I took today from an overlook gives some idea of the area’s beauty, but the hidden coves along the trail are even more special, particularly when lighthouses adorn the cliffs and fishing boats bob like toy vessels in choppy waters. Perhaps on our return trip in about a week, time and weather will allow us a chance to ride the trail.
Steve had a minor issue with the throttle on his bike, so we detoured to a former Harley dealer in Sydney in case he needed help or broke something trying to fix the problem and needed a part. He disassembled it in the parking lot, put it back together and apparently fixed the throttle trouble, though he’s still not sure why it occurred in the first place. If that’s the only mechanical issue we have this trip, it will be a good trip. Harleys are reasonably reliable, but two bikes going 11,000 miles each offers a lot of opportunity for problems to arise.
It’s hard to shoot decent pictures with numb fingers and mizzle-coated lenses, so I only got one other photo today. This church in North Sydney, while larger than most, is typical of clapboard construction, which is often lovingly maintained by congregants. These churches and their rising spires are important symbols of resilience within small communities dotting the countryside.
We’ve had to kill several hours in the lounge at the ferry terminal and everyone–including me–turns to their electronic devices to pass the time. But in a few hours we’ll fire up the bikes, ride them into the bowels of the massive sea-going ferry, try to get some sleep, and debark in seven hours in another Canadian province.