Day 12 CCR: Nice Ride to PEI
For the first time in almost a week we had blue skies and relatively warm (50°) temperatures for today’s ride out of Nova Scotia and into our fourth province: Prince Edward Island (aka PEI). I still wore heated gear in the morning, but by afternoon, even though it was a little chilly I delightedly stowed my heated jacket and gloves in a saddlebag. I sure hope this turn in the weather lasts for a few days.
Today’s 300-mile ride started in Sydney, NS, and ended in Summerside, PEI. Between those two points a mixture of roads and scenery kept us entertained most of the day, and Google GPS even took us down some roads (shortcuts, I guess) that I probably would not have chosen but was glad Google did. Several things dominated today’s ride, and one of the most prominent was frequent views of water: small lakes, big lakes, oceans, streams. Northern Nova Scotia has an abundance of water that provides recreation for tourists and residents.
On our way to Newfoundland we rode some of the same roads we travelled today, but with a much impaired view thanks to wind and rain. On Day 6 of the CCR, we crossed the same Canso Causeway we re-crossed today, but there was no stopping for pictures the first time as wind-blown waves crashed over the rocks six feet above the water level and onto the road. Today’s ride across the causeway was considerably drier and we even had a chance to stop for a photo op.
I had planned a lunch stop in Tatamagouche because I like the name and figured we might find something special there. Indeed we did. We discovered a real butcher shop run by two young men since 2017 who seem to be doing a booming business. In addition to selling freshly butchered meats, they also, as a sideline, sell sandwiches made with their meat. I ordered smoked beef and ham before we learned about Donair meat from the butchers. Steve, behind me in line, ordered Donair. We still don’t know exactly what it is, other than it’s beef infused with herbs and spices and then usually shaved and stuffed into a pita sandwich with a variety of vegetables. Very popular in Nova Scotia, said the young butchers. Steve’s sandwich wasn’t shaved meat and it wasn’t on pita bread, but he said the Donair meat was good.
One of the things I like best about riding roads one paved step above cow paths, is the chance to see beautiful old farm houses that have been homes to families for generations or the weather-beaten shanties at the edge of the seas that housed generations of fishers. But I also get to see, around every curve in the road it seems, beautiful old churches, built to demonstrate for years to come the importance of religion to the people who settled this area. I could have taken dozens of pictures of churches today because every community has at least one church whose spires, visible for miles, beckon the faithful.
After we arrived at our mom and pop motel in Summerside, PEI, we gathered 11 days of dirty clothes and headed for a laundromat. An hour and a half later, we were ready to go another 3,500 miles in clean duds.
When we walked to a nearby restaurant in our clean clothes, we noticed an interesting sign above a driveway next to a couple of large buildings. “The College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada,” declared the steel arch. I decided it probably was unrelated to plumbing or cake decorating and settled on the likelihood that it was related to bagpipes. Sure enough, when we passed by after dinner, a group of pipers were piping and a cadre of kids were practicing their snare drum skills. Another fortuitous encounter created yet another chapter in the adventure that is the CCR. We watched and listened to them pipe and drum awhile, admiring their skills (well, at least the drummers). I even tried my hand at shooting video, though it can’t be posted on the blog and obviously wouldn’t make into the book that will grow out of the blog. Nevertheless, I posted them on YouTube if anyone is interested. (About 30 seconds each Pipers & Drummers)
Tomorrow we have another non-traveling day, though I expect to put some miles on the bikes seeing various parts of PEI and taking in some museums.