What would you call a day where you travelled 439 Kilometres, the equivalent of going to Halifax but only stayed on our beautiful island. I came up with "Sight Seeing Sunday" because we had absorbed so many beautiful sights today. 229 pictures taken and yet only a handful made this story of our 10 hour day. A 10 am departure from Sydney and we didn't leave our last stop until 8 pm. Yes that's 10 hours of driving chatting and laughing. A trip to Halifax may take 5 hours in these cars so, what did we do for the remaining 5 hours? Read on.
I have no idea from run to run who is going to show up to spend a day driving around Cape Breton. I sent out an email to coincide with the planned run to Ingonish but I added a few additions to the plan, just to make today interesting. Our runs are down this summer due to so much rain in June, so I thought we would really make the best of today, and we did. Seven cars had shown up in Sydney for our Sight Seeing Sunday. We had, Alfred and Donna, Francis and his brother Raymond, Lee and Sheila, Joe and Jean, John and Joan, myself and arriving in his beautiful MGA, Donnie Peters. Being freshly restored, there is a couple of growing pains. Nothing major, today, just a leaky hydraulic line in the braking system. A couple of mountains involved in today's run, so Donnie came as far as the Cedar House, had breakfast and returned home. The rest of us, after a brief stop, forged on.
Yes a brief stop. The Cedar house was busy and I received a call from Bobby and Anita, they were waiting at the Bras D'or View. When we passed early, 10 minutes before we should have, no one was there. I said 11:40 but we passed 10:33, a tad early. A little misunderstanding on the phone and before long they were with us. While waiting at the Cedar House, we bumped into Members Norm Connors and his lovely wife Joan. They were enjoying family time and a stop here for breakfast is a great way to start their day.
Bobby and Anita are here, lets drop the tops to enjoy this beautiful day, let our day begin. Heading up Kellys Mountain, John and Joan pulled up beside me and I snapped this shot. Look how shinny their Triumph TR 6 is. I blew up the picture on my computer and I can see my camera in the reflection on the side of their car. Now that's shinny. Tempted to drop a gear and hit the gas, I decided not to embarrass myself against this 6 cylinder power house, and wouldn't you know, John and Joan just decide to pull up beside me for a wave and a picture, they then fell back in line. Wiping my brow, I was glad I never hit the gas.
An old English Double Decker Bus! There was no way in heck was I going to let this picture opportunity pass by. Englishtown Bus Cafe lays vacant and is for sale, just encase any of you out there are looking for something unique to drive. Do you know how to catch a fairy? Unique up on it. But for this ferry, we waited 15 minutes and just drove aboard. Being a nice day, the norm here is to wait , as this is one popular ferry for beach goers and sightseers, this is the quickest route to Ingonish and the Cabot Trail. Great shot of two Bs preparing to board. While crossing the channel a gentleman beside me said "I didn't know that there was so many MGBs around... any As? I had an A." I bet you wish you still had it, I said. Yes he said. I was young and stupid. There you go, another person who had one and wished he still did.
My first planned stop, "Glass Artisans" on the North Shore of the Cabot Trail. I have been here twice but with only two members. Today I have 13 members and wouldn't you know, due to a furnace breakdown, the studio is closed. The show room is open but our crew wanted to move on, no shopping today. I know! shame on me for posting pics of an engine hood open but anything can happen, these cars are old. Today, Bobby's new starter decided to show him who's boss by refusing to engage the starter drive. A little rolling start and away he went.
You just have to love the twists and quick turns of these roads, and then to accelerate into some steep hills. If a guy was to design a road course for racers, this could be the example to follow. Getting closer to Smokey, watch your temperature gauge.
With my arm extended in the air, camera in hand, I was snapping away. Little did I know, Anita was snapping away with he iPad. Her pictures came out great!. I was very impressed. I guess she unhooked her seatbelt and was jumping around in the car trying to get the best shots... She did very well and thank you. Your pictures are much better then mine.
I edited one of Anita's pictures to look like this. It captures Smokey Mountain's vista. The ocean, the shore line, the mountains and the plateaus. Throw in some great British cars and who couldn't love this picture. Thanks again Anita.
Here we are again, Main Street Restaurant. Often as a club we stopped here and yes it's the great food and the friendly service but you'll find that anywhere here in touristic Ingonish but it's the smell that draws us here. The smell of baking bread and the variety of home made deserts overwhelms you. You enter here like a cartoon character floating on a trail of the aroma of fresh baked goods bringing you through the restaurant doors. Menus now in hand, lets order.
I seen soups, sandwiches, both hot and cold and I had a Spinach pita chicken ceasar wrap, my heavens, just delicious. I never heard a complaint and some topped lunch off with desert. A few decided on desert with two forks. To much for one to eat.
I have to say that it was a great stop here at the Main Street Restaurant, we even got to meet a few people. First, one of our members, Bob Jardine's sister was here. Joe and Jean were talking to her and Joe said, "This is Bob's sister". I didn't get a chance to get her name. Next while leaving, who did we run into but Mike MacIsaac. No nice white MGB today, Nor Mary for that matter, Mike and friends were out on their motor bikes. Mike had just taken off his rain gear, bad sign, as they are just coming from the direction we are heading. I asked Mike about the rain and he said it was around French Mountain. We aren't going that far so I am hoping we will be safe.
Nest stop, Dingwall, way "up" North. It was a tad overcast and a very comfortable temperatures but when the sky's cleared, boy did it get hot. Dingwall was originally known as "Young's Cove" until 1883. In the late 1870s, Robert Dingwall who owned the general store in town, made an application for a post office, and suggested to the government that the town be renamed Dingwall. Over time, the government agreed. The sign as you enter the town said "Friendly Fishing Village," they left out the word "Beautiful." So beautiful, someone thought that a resort might be nice here, so the Markland Coastal Resort was built.
We parked at the resort just to sink in the beauty of the area. A chance to stretch or legs was nice to. Taking a picture of Alfred and Donna, I noticed the funky clouds on the sides of the Cape Breton Highlands. I am not sure what atmospheric conditions cause this, humidly, early rain and now the hot sun drying things up, I don't know. I do however think this is a pretty cool shot. Advancing or retreating, I am not sure but most of the tourist that were around us, all commented on them.
A great looking beach lays just below the cliffs of the resort, we just couldn't find a way down. Three years ago we visited here on the Bert Miller Memorial Fall Colors Tour and you could hear the the waves breaking on the shore but you couldn't see a darn thing, way to foggy. Today, clear as a bell. The Gazebo on the grounds made for a nice picture as well.
Good ole Joe Renzi has his camera with him today and he is snapping pictures like a pro. He said he took a few pictures of me because I am rarely in the photos. Not sure if I should say thank you or not as my wind whipped hair looks like it's more for a horror show then a car run story. Joe did catch a great shot of Alfred and I with the funky clouds in the background. Joe kept saying "back up a little more," I wonder was his plan to have me fall to the beach below. I did ask "how does one get to the beach," I almost found out.
My plan today was to come to Dingwall for a drive but seeing the historic Lighthouse of St Paul's Island was what I wanted to do. In 2010, plans were announced to repatriate the St Paul Island lighthouse to the St. Paul Island Museum in Dingwall. St. Paul is an uninhabited island located about 24 kilometres northeast of Dingwall. Built in 1917, the lighthouse guided ships through the Gulf of St Lawrence for approximately 100 years before being moved.
Both Sheila and I went into the Museum for a look. The curator told us stories about the island and the lighthouse keepers. All this after she and her friend were able to pull themselves away from looking at our "colorful" cars. Above, a suspension bridge built in 1913 over the tickle between the Northeast Point and the Main Island. St Paul Island now has a Historical Society (click) and the information available today about this rather unspoken of island is bewildering. Who new there was a history such as this just off the shores of Cape Breton. Take the time to read up on it, very interesting. Here's another (click). I must admit that I just spent an hour reading about St. Paul Island. Take the time yourselves. Above is the actual light from the Lighthouse, I wonder how many ships did it warn and lives did it save.
The curator invited us inside the the lighthouse and Sheila and I were only to happy to go. I let out a yell to others in the cars to come on up but only the lovely Jean Renzi was interested. Come on up the spiral staircase girls.
Leaving Dingwall behind us, out next driving delight is the White Point Road. Amazing scenery along this road. The shear cliffs jutting from the waters edge I think has a sinister look about them. I would love to see the waves crashing along the shores during a wind storm, Breathtaking I bet. Directly where I am standing to take the picture of the cliffs, the road had washed away into the sea. The side of the mountain had to be cut out and the road moved away from the cliff about 10 feet.
Here where our cars are parked, you can see where the side of the mountain has been cut out and the new part of the road was laid . One would miss this look-off if he blinked. I found this spot many years ago while touring around the trail on my motorcycle. Your a little higher on a bike and you would surely miss the scenic seascape in a low British Car.
You cannot Drive the White Point Road without turning into the small community of White Point. This place is a very lovely rustic village. There is even a very nice hiking trail that runs out to a point where there is two small islands just off shore. All the while we are on these tours, I am forever searching for nice picture opportunities. Here, while continually looking out my rear-view mirror for a nice shot, I am told I missed a topless sunbather on the quiet beach. I guess one or two got a glimpse, I missed it.
The White Point Road changes to The New Haven Road which brings you into Neil's Harbour. I read Google Maps wrong, thinking that there might be a lighthouse on the end of a dead-end road, Fareview Road, but I was wrong. I did talk to a resident who lived on the road and asked if there was a lighthouse at the end of the road. Her reply was no and she asked where we were from. I told her the Sydney area and that we have never been on this road and wanted to see where it goes. Laughing she said nowhere. Now we know. Continuing along our way, the road from Ingonish leading to Smokey has some nice scenes. Behind Francis and the rest of the gang is Ski Cape Smokey. Nice picture.
The shop "Sew Incline" caught Jean Renzi's eye and asked if we could stop there on our way home. Sure can, we are having a great day, we didn't do everything planned but a stop is nice every now and again to stretch one's legs and the fact that we get to see something different is always a bonus. Francis's car is a 1970 and it's a little hard over on the sharp turn. Being an early MGB, I am guessing it's because there is no sway bars. They make a difference.
Inside the Sew Incline it looks like an explosion of color. The owner was very attentive and I think all who had gone in tried on a hat or two. Alfred tried on a few. The Sherlock Holmes hat that he is wearing is actually called a hunters hat. The hat that Jean Renzi is trying on looks really good on her but she was reluctant to buy it. Alfred then tried on a Leather hat and it looks great! After a very entertaining stop it was time to hustle on home.
Nice picture! Look at the approaching fog on the mountains. I am thinking these old British cars are feeling right at home here, Getting a tad chilly now and Donna had mentioned that it might be nice to stop at the Cedar House for a warm cup of tea might be nice. I thought it was a great idea and asked all to join. A few continued home but for the rest, onward to the Cedar House.
Yes we had to wait once again to catch a ferry. No so bad, we got a lot of looks as cars came off the boat and passed us by. I enjoy the lookers. Next a phrase that was in the menu of at the Main Street Restaurant. All I can say is EEEEEKS... I am done as I am great at both eating and sleeping.
Ah yes the Cedar House. Here our server, Michelle Hawkins looked after us very well. My friends commented a few times on how polite and attentive she is. Just before we were served Laura came over to our table and said that it started to rain. The four guys jumped up to run out and put up the tops. Arriving back our order was ready and waiting for us. Perfect timing. What a nice way to end a 10 hour driving tour.
There you have it, a Sight Seeing Sunday. I can ask what you did for your 10 hours but I won't. I did tell you what we did and we filled every minute of the hours with a fun drive mixed in with some fantastic scenery. I my have packed in today more then I should have, we didn't get to Black Brook and the 5 minute walk to the top of the falls. Someone told me they brought their swim trunks and another said they brought their hiking shoes. There will be another opportunity I am sure. It was a great day with great people. Great sights and great food. One might say "who wants to be in a car for 10 hours." To tell the truth, it sure didn't feel like 10 hours and we were out of the cars as much as in. We all enjoyed our day, I hope you did as well. You know how it goes. If you weren't there you missed it. Come along next time.
Photo contributions ...... Joe Renzi and Anita Fuller