Many times I start off a story with a little history lesson about the area we visited. Today I think I'll just describe, perhaps one of the most beautiful and maybe forgotten areas of Cape Breton. I say forgotten because the highway is always the quickest route and it bypasses this beautiful area, Grand Narrows. That being said, the roads leading here are surely in need of repair, so to come this way may be a just for some sight seeing. Now for those who do come this way, be it through Little Narrows, Eskasoni or Barrachois, one will be treated to some amazing scenic vistas along the way. All these vistas are a just a small part of what makes Cape Breton so popular. Bundle all Cape Breton's scenic routes up with good old Cape Breton hospitality and all I can say is, "welcome to our little island paradise." Today, along with some great scenes we once again witnessed some great hospitality and community spirit. Read on.
Looks like we'll be travelling a little light today, only three cars. Yes three cars at our starting point but with a bit of a twist. First of all there is Lee Mackenzie in his great looking B and then..... Drum roll please!!!! Introducing Joe and Jean Renzi's, pulled from the jaws of death and brought back to life, their Sunbean Alpine! This beautiful and very fresh car was driven around the neighbourhood a time or two to make sure nothing fell off,. The car is here today for it's very first run over the beautiful uneven roads of Cape Breton. I'll travel behind Joe and Jean just to mark the spots where pieces went flying into the woods. My hat goes off to good ole Joe, he did one hell of a job on this car, as my marking services were not needed. Another little twist, Good ole Barc decided to come as well, in the Toyota. So ... we have Lee, myself, Joe and Jean and now Tokyo Barc... Lets roll!
Before we left, I had to take a pic of a group of cars that also gathered here today, the Cape Breton Antique and Custom Car Club rallied here as well and this group will also be joining us at the Narrows today. Lets show these big 8 cylinder cars that our little cars can make it up the big hill at the shopping center entrance... and away we go.
The mighty Alpine conquered the hills and potholes of the Cape Breton road with great distinction. There may have been a time or two when the Alpine had to cross the centerline to avoid a Cape Breton crater or two but with only a loss of Jean's hat, which she had caught, all was well. A quick doo rag... I mean bandana tied on, kept this lovely women's hair in place. Yes I have a picture of Jean tying it on but the picture had to be sacrificed for space.
I continue to watch my mirror for great scenes to shoot and with Lee and Tokyo Barc negotiating the turns of the Eskasoni highway, with the great Bras D'or Lakes in the background, it made for a great shot. The next shot is that of the windshield in my car. My rear-view mirror has my constant attention and my Car DVR keeps an eye on the front. This is what my DVR caught on a recent trip around the trail. Just me and my B and Mr. moose. (click)
Turning off the old Grand Narrows highway you stumble upon one of Cape Breton's jewels, Grand Narrows. Cresting the hill you see Iona and the old Malagawatch Church across the Narrows high on the hill. What a breathtaking scene. Not all that long ago, this was the road you would take to catch the car ferry that crossed the narrows. Now back in the ferry days, there was about a 25 minute wait for the ferry and on a windy day, you would see the boat being tossed from side to side at the dock and during the crossing, waves use to break over the bow splashing on car windshields. back then I think the cost was .50 to cross. A near-by ferry now costs $5.50. Today you can cross a bridge that takes all the traffic away from this beautiful spot. Stop for a look someday, see what the hard working community volunteers have done.
Pulling up to the parking lot, we saw Peter and the lovely Sandy waiting for us, along with their beautiful Jaguar XJS. Traffic is very light here and I don't see the group of cars we seen from Sydney here yet, so I am pretty sure there will be lots of cars a little later on in the day. Laughing, Sandy said that there is no way she is unpacking their club shirts, they are all packed for our Magdalen Island trip this week. I was the same way, just a regular shirt, the rest is packed away for our trip.
Time for chatting and some cleaning. We have the perfect spot to watch the other cars arrive, it's like a parade as they all have to pass by us to get parked, Let the parade of cars begin. The following 8 cars are just a few of the over 70 cars that came here for the show. I am sorry I can't show all the cars but if I give you just a taste of what was there, maybe you'll come along next time.
Pretty cool cars and the Barra Strait Marina as a back drop makes this a great picture taking opportunity.
As I was strolling I noticed these musical instruments just hanging around. I though it was a nice series of photos and just as I took the pictures, the band "Celtic Rant" grabbed their gear, ran a bow across the strings of the fiddle and a great afternoon of music began.
Celtic Rant (click) at their finest. They had feet moving and a lot of folks who were seated near bye could be seen chair dancing.
Here at the Narrows, the community run Activity center has the Wheelhouse Cafe and what a busy spot today. The BBQ was set up just outside and inside, well if you want it they will serve it. The pizza was great and I hear the chowder was excellent as well. The ice-cream freezer had an endless line all day and the little one serving did an outstanding job. The patio is a nice touch and what a view. Above you have Barc and Lee taking in the sights in the hot sun.
There is more to the Grand Narrows Motors Sports Weekend then classic cars, how about a Westphalia gathering as well. Now here is a hardy lot who are just enjoying life. Like a group of Nomads, these Weatfalia owners just like to have fun. No bathrooms in these compact units but all they need is here at the Barra Strait Marina. Showers, washrooms and laundry at their disposal. How convenient.
Just a couple of feel good photos. I walked through the campsite and all the folks are just laughing carrying on and taking lots of photos. Now if your traveling around in a van, and you decide that maybe a real bed might be in order, the old Grand Narrows Hotel is there to nestle in for the night, if you wish.
Here is a couple of great photos. The van in the first pic has gone through an extensive restoration that cost more then the van is worth, Like a love for a British Car, it's not about the money, there is a high degree of love for your vehicle and we will do whatever we half to to make them look good and be dependable. The next jaw dropping photo of the old Beatle convertible has to make you say wow! Simply flawless and boy would I love to have it.
A very classy picture of the old Grand Narrows Motel. I am sure the ghosts of weary travelers gone bye still come back here from time to time just to have their spirits recharge.
A long day in the hot sun has taken it's toll and a little relaxation is in order. An ice cold beer inside the cafe cooled Lee, Barc and I down and on the way back to our cars, I had seen a very nice Jaguar S-TYPE just outside the show barrier. I love the lines on the S-TYPE and I think it's a very regal looking car. I wondered if it was Bruce and Noreen McKinley's and sure enough, within moments they were over chatting and Bruce took the time to view Joe's Alpine. A few moments later, as we lounged outside the Marina's utility building, the call came over the PA that it was time to make the draws that we were all waiting for. 1st award .... show car. I very nice sailboat carving weather vain. Winner.... Cheryl Trask and Dave Arthur with a VW Vanagon. 1st prise ...Garden Tractor from Belmac.. winner ... Dina MacDonald from Iona. 2nd prise from J.R. Rahey... Fire place or laz-boy recliner.... winner ....Jen Collins.... 3rd car care cleaning kit power sprayer..... winner.... China Johnson Iona. 4th prize from Barra Strait Inn, Iona ... tickets and accommodations for Celtic colors .... winner.... Phillip MacLennan
Last but not least Wayne and Imelda Kelly's Triumph TR4. this is a very nice car and they enjoy drives throughout the countryside with the top down. The have yet to join us on a long BCCCB adventure but I an sure one day I shall see the tiny fender side marker lights in my mirror. Moments after all the prizes were given out we headed our separate ways. Some back the way we came and Peter, Sandy and I took the Little Narrows Ferry home towards Baddeck. I had to take a picture of the beautiful Jag in front of the huge ramp or the ferry. It was a very nice tranquil drive home. The late afternoon sun still produced a very comfortable temperature. No sweater, no jacket and with the music playing low, it was a drive that you didn't want to come to an end, but it did.
Yes the drive, and ultimately the day had come to an end. Laughs were abundant and the sights of the old cars in this very happy community made for a great day. The community volunteers did a spectacular job putting this show together and all moneys raised goes back into the community, and it shows. You know how it goes, If you weren't there you missed it. Even Tokyo Barc made it. Come along next time.