Here we are again, The Bert Miller Memorial Fall Colors Tour, having fun as we celebrate the life of a very well known man in the British Car Hobby. The B.M.M.F.C.T., over the past number of years is normally a run around the Cabot Trail. It use to be a one day event, then a two day event, we did the trail forwards and backwards and we have pretty much seen all the hidden treasures the Trail has to offer. From little known beaches to isolated villages and even an Austin Healey hidden under a tarp was found while going around the trail. This year it was decided that we kick it up a notch, broaden our horizons so to speak. So this year it's a weekend at the infamous Liscomb Lodge on the Eastern Shores of Nova Scotia. Yes this year we went off island just to add some jest to this tour. As it turns out, it wasn't as popular as we had though but for those who took on the challenge, it was an awesome tour. I am sure good ole Bert wished he could have come along...... Who knows, maybe he did. This is our story of yet another great Bert Miller Memorial Fall Colors Tour.
It's been known to happen, having a big breakfast before a run and today was one of those days. The starting point for the B.M.M.F.C.T. is the Bras D'or View Restaurant, so a few of out tour group arrived early to enjoy a warm relaxing, not to mention huge breakfast. Joe, Jean and myself arrived a little later then the rest and I for one didn't need a belly full of coffee before our long journey and shortly, we were on our way. I am sure our little display in front of the Bras D'or View Restaurant was an eye catcher even with all the roofs up. Just a little chilly for a top dropped drive.
Speaking of displays. what a great sight to see along the Trans Canada just outside of Baddeck. I can only speak for me but when I pass the Irving just before the old Ultramar, where we meet up with Peter and Sandy, I always strain my eyes looking to see what their choice of cars will be for this trip. Today they chose the very comphy bright red Jaguar XJS. A wise choice, going to be a long drive along the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia on this chilly morning, even Donnie has the roof up on the MGA, that's got to tell you something. Brrrrrrrrrr.
Leaving Baddeck we are immediately surrounded by color. Mind you not all the tress have changed but with scenes such as this along our route, we are not complaining. Saying good by to Cape Breton, our first stop was just up the road for a pit stop and then off towards the eastern Shore. The trees behind us at the causeway haven't shown their colors yet, so maybe there will still be another colorful weekend next weekend, maybe if the weather is warm we'll get another drive in.
Auld's Cove for a little break and some fuel. Here, despite the cold air, Donnie dropped his top. Not for me, not just yet anyway, I need a few more degrees. Already! Now to cross the busy highway and up the very steep mountain towards Mulgrave. I try my best to capture with my camera as much as I can and then to pick the best for the story. Here in picture number two, I am guessing it's only the locals and a few tourists who see this view, it's a great scenic view of Auld's Cove in the background. Now if I can only get to the cliffs where they are cutting away at the mountain, an amazing view I am sure. Another day perhaps. This route is a very long drive if your heading toward Halifax, so most I am sure are sticking to the highway, never coming this way. To bad, some very nice scenery along this route.
No one knew of the closest liquor store in Liscomb, so not taking any chances, we stopped at the first one we came across, Mulgrave. Some of us just need something to ease the chill in our bodies a little later this evening. Driving through Mulgrave, once again I was a little ahead of the rest as I passed an elderly gentleman fixing his lawn. He turned his head as I passed and he watched as I snapped a Picture of the crew behind me. Boy, if he thought my car was impressive, he is in for a shock when he sees what's coming up behind him.
Little cars and little towns go hand in hand. This is especially true when we visit a new town, or a town we rarely visit. Locals sure like to look at these cars as we pass through and we enjoy looking at their towns and villages. I might have visited Mulgrave once or twice before so it's like looking at the scenery as if it was the first time. The old houses, the narrow grass lines roads all adds to the romance of these trips and you continue to ask yourself.... What's over the next rise?
Oh yes, I was snapping pictures like a fool. As you can see there is still a nice mix of colors but mostly green. Skirting alone the coast looking at Cape Breton on the other side of the waterway is a different experience for sure. At this point we are near where the Strait of Canso becomes Chedabucto Bay.
I was out front, leading the pack, just admiring all that was around me when my cell phone rang...... Don Peters came up on the screen. You really have to be me to know the feeling when the tail gunner, the sheep herder, the watchful guy at the back calls you. Immediately I know something is wrong. Bill and Moragh pulled over he said. I then pulled over as did the rest and we waited 5 minutes or so and the bloody phone rang again. Donnie once more...... Fuel pouring out of Bill's carbs. A quick U-turn and we were there with tools out. A quick assessment told us the carbs had to come off. So we did just that!
A stuck needle valve. Stuff like this could happen to any of us, I know Bill was a tad upset that this slowed us down but it's all part of being a club and having people there to fix stuff like this. No big deal. Taking the carbs off was simple but for those of us who have dug deep into these things, they know that anything can go wrong. From steel screws being stuck or stripped to breaking the rubber gasket at the base of the carb (where the float bowl is on HIF carbs), to the possibilities of the fact that the needle valve is just worn out. We dug in and there was the just a small amount of varnish in the bowls but it's enough to have a micro piece break off and cause this. We disassembled and cleaned and scraped and the reassembled. I think after watching up to this point, Bill can do this himself next time.
Time to put the carbs on the car. Bill was astonished that we could pull off the carbs on the side of the highway, rebuild them on a rock, throw them back on the car and it fired up. We had a lot of lookers and one gentleman even stopped to see if we needed assistance. "My place is just up the road" he said. Not to many would invite strangers to their home but that is what these little cars invite..... Happy people. It was here that I thought it was nice enough to drop my top for the rest of the journey. Turns out I was wrong. A few miles up the road the cool air seeped through my jacket .... brrrrrrrr
As we drove through Guysborough, it appears as though Bill is keeping up the pace. The carbs are running just fine. Look around, Guysborough looks as though Main Street is just off Main Street. The shops are on another road that runs parallel to the main road. Different for sure but it keeps the residence from walking into traffic.
Leaving Guysborough it's a long drive to Liscomb, a very long drive. How long you ask? Well I had to take a run to the woods somewhere between Guysborough and Sherbrooke. It's getting closer with every mile but with speed much less then highway speeds the distance travelled is a slow process. We even had to contend with about 10 kilometres of dirt road. Here the road was totally reconstructed, off with the asphalt and they put in a new road base. They are getting close to paving but not today. Here speeds were at a crawl, not wanting to chip off any paint.
Thank heavens, asphalt again. The horns were blowing as our wheels hit the two lane blacktop and we drove on. It was kind of funny, once we hit the gravel road the colors stopped. Once back on the pavement the colors and beautiful scenery started up again. Cruising along, in the middle of nowhere was a church surrounded by color, a beautiful picture I thought.
I had mentioned many times that not only do I sink in all the sights ahead and beside me but I continuously watch my rear-view mirror. I had seen this scene in my mirror and quickly I held the camera over my head and snapped this picture of a string of British Cars driving beside a river with the fall colors all around. Looks even better in the story then it did in my mirror.
How could I pass up shots like these? I try my best to put in our stories as many of the best pictures as I can but I can't get them all in. These two with the fall colors and with the trees forming a canopy over the road just caught my eye. The gentle curves of the color flanked roads and the branches of trees hanging out over the road sure give one a relaxed, if not romantic feeling. Our speeds are between 80 and 90 and tons of sights makes this a very relaxing drive. Long but relaxing.
Sherbrooke Village. The signs says to veer right to follow the road to Liscomb but I wanted to see this historic village. The gates to the road were open so I drove straight on in with 5 other British cars behind me. No time to stop just yet, we'll be back but a quick look was in order. Check out the history of Sherbrooke (click)
We drove in and around the village like we owned the place. It sure was nice to see a town dating back to the 1860s. There is a story of a fortress nearby but the British destroyed it. I wonder did residence pull their blinds shut as we drove into town, thinking if history repeats itself, we may burn their village.
Finally... our destination. I was very impressed with the placed. Very rustic looking all nestled in the trees in the middle of nowhere. The layout of our building is such that there is two rooms on either side with a common area in the middle of the building. The lovely and talented Jean had a fire going in no time. My room was very nice, plenty of room, two queen beds as well as a pull out. The beds may just be the most comfortable I have slept in. The common area we did use throughout the weekend and the fire roared the whole time. If any of us were stressed getting here, I am sure they are stress free leaving.
A little gathering before supper, which is at 7 so I darted into Sherbrooke for pop chips fuel and a little extra for the fridge. Sherbrooke is 20 minutes from where the resort is located and there is nothing for a lot longer then that had I gone in the other direction, yes this place is isolated. I returned in time for a shower just before supper. Donnie made all the arrangements for this trip, including supper in the private balcony overlooking the other guests. Thanks Donnie, everything was perfect. We had supper choices, a la cart or buffet. Most of us decided on the Buffet but Moragh chose the menu. I think Moragh had the largest fish and chips that was ever served to anyone, what a feast. The buffet was nothing to turn your nose up to either.
From our perch high above the rest, this is our view. Sitting along the window would be nice in the daylight but at night... all one would see is their reflection. Personally, I don't reflect well. Above Sandy is starting off with soup and next to that seafood chowder. The chowder was awesome.
Peter on a see food diet. If he sees food he eats it. No really, he does have some seafood on his plate, a bowl of chowder and all you can eat mussels. Boy the mussels went down good. Next Mary Mike and Jean are going over the selection of salads and cold meats.
Bill and Mike going in for the kill. Some amazing chicken and turkey as well as salmon that was to die for. I had (shamefully saying) three helpings of the salmon. Next we have the lovely Jean with her choice from the buffet.
Good ole Joe is seen here trying out some of the many deserts we could choose from. I should have taken pictures of the buffet desert table, then you would know how hard it was to chose and this is why Joe has a plate of samples. Coming on to the end of supper, someone took my picture. Nope, no deserts in front of me, as a matter of fact I am struggling to get my last plate full in to my belly. I may never eat again, I am thinking at this point but I repeated this again the next night. At this point I have to thank Holly... our server.. for a job well done. This girl looked after us very well. Donnie passed the hat so to speak and got her a great tip.
Thank heavens Peter was smart enough to take a picture of the river just outside our chalet. This truly is a lazy river as you can see the odd leaf barely moving on top of the water. On a warmer day, it would be nice to sit out on the veranda with your morning drink of choice and watch the river go by, even the odd kayak passed by in front of our chalet. I walked out to breath in the morning air and start my car when Peter poked his head out once more, so I snapped a shot of him in the doorway of the chalet.
Breakfast anyone! Another buffet, time to let the belt out a notch. If you could imagine anything for breakfast, it was here. Really, I may never eat again, and this was free, you get a coupon when you arrive for free breakfast each day. I did only have one plate but it was a full one.
This is one gorgeous restaurant. There must be seating for a couple of hundred but this being Liscomb's last weekend, there wasn't that many here. Staff at the Liscomb Lodge had the table set up for our great little club and the culinary carnage ensued. It was here that Donnie mentioned the boat ride around the river and harbour... why not! Most of us signed up but it was almost two hours away... What to dd in the meantime?
Donnie's car was binding on the starter and a little timing adjustment was needed to straighten that out. Joe is seen doing something in the trunk and Peter snapped a picture of me putting the carb idle screw back in Bill's B. Believe it or not, it was sitting in the fame channel below the carbs. The carbs won't be synchronized but that's a repair for another day. I just adjusted the screw until the RPMs increased, that should be close
Still some time to kill and Peter mentioned the river rapids were just down the path, lets take a look. Freaky out of focus pictures. It looks like we are heading to the after life. Looks as though Mike is going to the light and two friends are waiting for him. I turned and took Joe and Jean's picture and they look as though they aren't ready to walk to the light. Paradise is just beyond that light.
Told you paradise was beyond the light. Now I know why Liscomb Lodge is built here, this area is gorgeous. I guess this was a great place to fish Atlantic Salmon but through the years of clear cutting the surrounding forest, rains have washed iron laden sediment into the river, thus taking the oxygen out of the water making the fish go elsewhere. Can you imagine what it was like when the river was full of salmon, they would be jumping up over the tiny falls like we only see on TV these days. This will clear up within 100 years or so but for now it just a lifeless beautiful river.
We all took the leisurely walk here and we all enjoyed the sights. Above you have Joe and Bill discussing the river and the brown color of the water. I was taking picture of the area, just snapping away sinking it all in and here there and everywhere was white foam on the water, a by-product of iron in the river. I was home screening pictures for the story when this picture jumped out at me. The white foam created what looks like a caricature of someone. It was suggested Phyllis Diller. Anyway, it funny what a camera catches.
Of course Donnie had to walk along the rocks into the falls. Nice Picture of Joe and Jean as they casually walk along the river sinking in the sights.
It turned out to be a very warm day for the middle of October. We all gathered at the dock to await the Captain of the pontoon boat, which I thought was going to take us up river. As it turns out we went down river and out into the bay. I was surprised that there wasn't huge private chalets along the bay, just the scattered cottage and really not anything to brag about. It's such a beautiful area one would think it would be great cottage country.
Cast off! Away we go! our group filled the boat except for two seats and a couple from Dartmouth took them. Here, Peter snapped a picture of myself, Mary and Moragh as well as the couple from Dartmouth. Next the main Lodge of the Liscomb Resort from the river.
This is one relaxing boat ride. The captain explained to us why all the salmon had gone, because of the iron in the water. This was once the place to be to cast a line. I read on the net that there is a picture of Babe Ruth fishing along the river hanging in one of the old buildings in Sherbrooke. I would have liked to see that. A jacket was needed in the boat but to tell the truth it was very nice. Mary brought a blanket just encase but it wasn't needed.
Here is a picture of a few cottages along the bay, again nothing spectacular but I guess the land is all leased land from the government. A 99 year lease which states you must look after the land so if you build a cottage it will never be on your land. The is what the captain had told us. I am not sure how the bank will feel about loaning you the money for a cottage if you don't own the land. Heading back to the dock the captain took us for a little river cruise alongside the Lodge. Above you see a couple canoeing just beneath our chalet. The colors along the river made for a very nice shot.
Passing just below our cottage I had to take a picture to show what a nice setting this place is, not only does it look good looking out over the river from the cottage but from the river to the cottage as well. Boat run done, lets go for a drive. It was a very nice day and the tops were dropped on mine, Peter and Sandy's as well as Don's car. Lets go get a better look at Sherbrooke shall we.
As you can see, a mixed bag or tricks as far as colors go. Some yellows some reds and still lots of greens.
I mentioned earlier that I went in to Sherbrooke for some supplies the night before. While here I stopped for gas and the young fellow was very nice and asked about the car. I told him who we are and that tomorrow I will bring by the rest of our group so he could have a look at them. We stopped for gas and out he came. "I told you we would stop by" I said. We all fuelled up but there was a bit of a leak in Mary's car. A quick inspection revealed the vent hose missing and when Mike filled the tank, it overflowed into the trunk and on the ground. The garage owner had the hose we needed and away we went. Down town 18th century Sherbrooke. The MGs look sweet in front of the old John & Samuel Cumminger General Store that has been restored the way it was in the 1870s.
A couple of shots of main street Sherbrooke. I discovered an array of photos of Sherbrooke Flickr. We missed a lot... Have a look (click)
Peter and Sandy's Jag looks regal wherever it's parks but sitting in front of an 18th Century courthouse sure stets the car off. Next we have Jean and Bill in front of another main street shop. I think we should put a cowboy hat and six shooter on Bill to look more suited for the 1800s. Jean a long dress and bonnet would be more suited for the times.
Now here is a shot. Donnie's MGA in front of Greenwood Cottage. The 200 year old dwelling with a circular driveway and large regal tress make the picture look like it could be on a sales brochure for the MGA.
All the buildings were closed for the season so I had to take my pictures through the windows. The trick to shooting through glass is to place the lens directly against the glass. This is the result. Certainly looks as though its from Little House On The Prairie. We didn't stay long as I said, everything was closed, even all the restaurants and also Shoppers Drug Mart ... which by the way was in a very old house as well.
No Luck with a restaurant in Sherbrooke so we headed back to the Lodge for a small lunch. The restaurant here is open all day and this time we did get to sit by the window that overlooks the beautiful river. We ate light but truly didn't need to eat at all, we knew tonight we were going to enjoy another feast. Above you can se Bill in his shorts, he started his day in pants but as the day ticked away it turned out to be a very nice day.
After lunch a little gathering once more in the salon. Donnie had the fire roaring and the atmosphere was just so relaxing. Sitting chatting fire on, who could pass this up. Joe looks very comfortable in the big arm chair. Supper toning was at 7:30 and it was getting close. I did manage a little nap between the time in the salon and supper so I was ready to go. I walked over to Mike and Mary's cottage and I had seen the trunk lid up on their beautiful white MGB. Airing out the trunks from the fuel spill. I am sure by morning you won't smell a thing.
Supper Time! I think that we were all impressed with Moragh's fish and chips from last night so most of us were going to eat from the menu. As it turns out, Mary told us that they were told buffet only tonight. Oh god! Joe and I discussed the discomfort after the meal from the night before. I mean it really wasn't hard to over eat. I am sure we have all done it from time to time and know of the blotted feeling afterwards. We may have slowed down a little tonight but a dent in the buffet table we did make. With Bill MacDonald at one end of the table and Peter at the other we planned or attack. Joe and Jean hit the salads and from where Peter is standing, it looks like he hit the big pot of all you can eat mussels.
I was right, Peter is into the mussels. I don't think we ate as much as last night, we didn't want to feel that, very full uncomfortable feeling again but with all the was laid out in front for us, it was hard to show some restraint. Leaving the restaurant Sunday evening, with our bellies full, Donnie had pointed out a poster on the bulletin board. "WELCOME BRITISH CAR CLUB of CAPE BRETON". How cool I thought for someone to think of this and take the time to put it on the bulletin board. A nice welcoming touch.
What to do after a huge meal? Retreat to our rooms? No way... How about gathering in the salon with a roaring fire and great friends. If there ever was a time to get out the old guitar, it's now. Oh how toasty it was and the laughter could be hear in the next building as Don talks about the indignities of having his gal-bladder removed in his early 20s. The story had words in it like Void, catheters, movement. Donnie had the room in stitches.
Ah yes, as I stretched.... What a great sleep. A tad reluctant to get up from my cozy warm bed but my day had to start. Free breakfast was waiting and I had to pack my bags for home. I heard Peter getting up and outside so I figured it was time for me to get moving as well. I exited the chalet to see frost on everything. Peter had his car running melting the frost off so I started mine as well. Two engine turns and there was life in the old girl. Peter commented that he was impressed and no sooner had he said those words when my pretty green B stopped. Reluctant to start after many tries, I stopped. I walked around and seen the frost on the cars and I had to run back for the camera. I tried my car once more with no luck so off to breakfast we all went.
Free breakfast once more but my heart wasn't into it. My heart was back at the chalet and my green B. Suck it up Alonzo, remember... Free breakfast. Our great little group sat by the window over looking the river once more and we just enjoyed a great breakfast. We were a little ahead of schedule and I wasn't terribly concerned over my car, I knew I could get it going. Thinking the car was wet rather then a fuel issue I had the front desk call maintenance for some spray lube. Sure enough they arrived and I sprayed the wires. Still no go. I then removed the plugs and the distributer cap. I cleaned the plugs and dried out the distributer cap, put it all back together and vroom vroom, she came to life.
All good things must come to an end. Leaving Liscomb, after all the frost had dissipated, we took the #7 highway to Antigonish. Guys..... summer or fall this is a beautiful scenic road. The homes, cottages and the fact that it's just a nice drive makes it worth the trip. At the end of the road is Sherbrooke village, something to look forward to. From Antigonish we continued towards home, leaving the weekend behind but not the memories. It's good to get back on Cape Breton soil but our journey isn't over yet. One more stop. Who wants to cook supper? Not me, an after trip nap is in order so we stopped into Charlene's Bayside Restaurant for an afternoon supper. Busy spot. Joe Jean, Bill Moragh, as well as Mike and Mary continued home while we ate. Getting ready to leave, it was warm enough to drop the top. While I pulled, folded, tucked and pushed my top into place, Peter hit a switch and down came his top. Very nice touch. I no sooner got in the car when I got a text from Bill and Moragh that read, "made it home safe and sound. Had a great weekend". I was jealous that they were home, I am still an hour away. A quick drive through Main Street Baddeck and then home.
My eyes can't show you what I had seen, only the camera can. This small story only touches on the memories we all now have of this years B.M.M.F.C.T. Going to the Liscomb Lodge again? Who knows, maybe not, this was our chance. As Bill and Moragh's text said...... Made it home safe and sound. Had a great weekend. Hope you all did as well. You know how it goes..... If you weren't there you missed it. Come along next time.
Thanks to Peter Smith for sharing some great photos.
Thanks to the staff at Liscomb Lodge for catering to us. A job well done.
Thanks Donnie Peters for organizing a great tour.