October 13, 2020 Cabot Trail Drive

We knew it was going to happen and it did. October 13 Cabot Trail Drive.

It started quite early, and not easily. 2C is a cold day for an open air drive but if you were outside listening closely you’d ‘ve heard the low rumbling coughs – and the cars were noisy too! Through the mist and fog little engines were asked to start. In Bill’s garage I’m sure the car just closed its headlights and pretended to sleep, tucking itself deep under the car cover. In Don’s “it” did keep sleeping until extra battery assist was added to just the right organ and it sprung to life. At Peter’s the cars had already agreed who would go. Peter thought the white XKE but it more or less said ‘No, not when I might be mistaken for a lump of ice on the road -0C, no you take the bright red XJS’. Turns out it was a brilliant idea, Sandy came along as well. Joe was up early perplexed by the tonneau cover. It didn’t fit, see at 2C the car had shrunk and logically the cockpit hole was now wider as it shrunk away. Logic. The engineers pens are poised to give me a lecture…. but their point my friends is physics. Don’t apply here. His car was recoiling in the chill. Alf has devoted so much time to his car that it smiled, bowed graciously and leapt into action carrying he and Donna to Baddeck.

Soon Don, Barc, Joe, Bill with Ann had joined Alf, Donna, Peter and Sandy in Baddeck. What a pretty sight. The muted green and tans of the fall forest captured in Alf’s B, the red in Peter’s Jag, the evergreen forest in Bill’s B and the dawn sky blue of Joe’s Alpine. And the reminder of things to come dark and grey icy in Don’s ride. Along the calm Bras d’Or to the Red Barn and beyond.

I don’t want to play down the drama of driving through Middle River, or go on about the amazing smells and colours as we drove open roads top down. That was worth it.Lake o’ Law was grand. But at the first sign of the Margarees my frozen club like hand hit the left blinker at every driveway – hoping it was the welcoming sight of the Dancing Goat! Hot drinks, great cookies and the like. And the important chat with interested onlookers. A few quietly assessing our mental capabilities to be out alone I thought. But the air warmed and by the Harbour it was turning pleasantly warm. On to Cheticamp. No stop. The still air gave a wonderful look to the water and colourful reflections were everywhere. But you already knew that , that’s why you didn’t come i s’pose. Soon we faced an LBC challenge.

Parks Canada construction had thoughtfully placed a red light traffic control on top of the steepest part of a hill, forcing us all to brake and hold hard, then start away while sitting most uncomfortably leaning back. As the light turned green Ann reminded me that my brakes [or weak leg] had allowed my car to creep back into the front of Peter’s which, I can say, has a fine solid grille just at head level in my car. No fear, the clutch plates met on friendly terms and we all pulled away. Now raging up the winding mountains the snake like line of cars gave sound and colour to the landscape. Pleasant Bay and the Mountainview Restaurant were within our grasp. 

A delightful meal with many other travellers and we were off to points unknown. Ok we followed the only road but we did again enjoy the sights. As we descended through the Sunrise Valley we noted a marked improvement in the colours. Turning south at Cape North and along passed Dingwall the reds and oranges really came into their own. We realized that by comparison the route before had been somewhat washed out, lacking the vivid edgy colours. The colours were truly amazing here. One has to reflect a moment on why this might be. 

As might be expected the bigger world issues were first to flood our heads. Was this colour fade Covid related? Had some USA election conspiracy been implemented? Or closer to home, had Justin seen another cultural difference he could exploit by favouring the minority? Had the Acadians fallen from favour and the Ingonish Irish found their way into the bright light again? No time to draw conclusive answers, we just accepted what we were given and grinned with glee. Neil’s Harbour was a quick stop. A few purchases and pictures were added. Most interesting will be the pics of the shed tied together and tied down against the coming storms raging off the sea. 

Now when one has had the best of everything a day can give you naturally want more! As we waited at a construction flag we decided to add a cruise to the drive. Yup, we were going on the Englishtown Ferry too. Free! Yes free because of something related to Covid. I don’t get the link but our Premier and Dr Strang saw it coming and headed it off with free ferry use. Maybe covid was the only one waiting to pay! They were right of course, we are disease free to this day. 

As the cars split off going east and west our waves cheers and big smiles had the other drivers smiling too and we were waved into the traffic lines without delay. If you weren’t there you missed it. I hope this review gives some sense of the fun we had.

See you soon for a meal I hope. Or will it be a snow run?

Bill e