Oh yes, there are so many tales to be told of the Cabot Trail, from moose encounters to the simplest things like a tranquil walk in the wood but here's a "Trail's Tail" of a few "Men" out in their little cars having a great day. I did hear music coming from Alfred's car but for Pete, Joe and Don, there is no radio in their cars, me, mine was off. No music no traveling companion just the sound of wind and the hum of the engine and plenty of great sights. To me, this is better then any hike. Read on to see how the guys day out went. We had a ball.
Peter had suggested at our monthly meeting that a trip around the trail would be nice, perhaps take the Morgan and even, perhaps those with a fresh rebuild might like to test out their cars on the steep mountains. The email was sent out and there was only a very small handful of responses. That's fine, a 9:30 gathering near Baddeck was suggested on Monday morning and as I made my way to Baddeck, coming down Kelly's Mountain look who I caught up with, Don in that great looking MGA and Joe in the only Alpine on the island. Oh, as I am sure you know already, I passed them, grabbed some fuel and hooked up with the gang just up the road. Well well well, Peter brought the only Morgan on the island and Alfred is here with his jealous wife's green B. Donna had to work but her heart was here with us. Next time.
Lets have a little look at the cars. Now the MGBs are plentiful, they out number anything else in our club and are always eye pleasing. There are more people out there who rarely see these cars but know straight away what they are. Most say they had one. The Alpine of Joe and Jean's is a rare duck for sure, most never heard of one. When Joe first bought this car I think it was called a Helpine, boy was it in sad shape. Sitting here before you today is a testament to Joe's long hours and Jean's deep pockets. The car looks, and runs fabulous. Next to that Peter's Morgan, or as he puts it "the Mog". Joe found this car in Michigan and had a picture of himself taken in the drivers seat and sent it off to Peter. Peter in his infinite wisdom had kept the picture on the kitchen table so Sandy could see it, knowing to well that in order to get rid of Joe's face everyday at the breakfast table, she had to let Peter buy the car. And he did. Next Don's MGA. To make a long story short, this car sat for years and the day we went to look at it, much to our surprise, the owner died the day before. We looked like grave robbers of sort showing up the day after his death. A severe case of bad timing on our part. Anyway, Don did buy it, and after years of toiling in his garage, the end result is here before you, now lets see is these cars hold together for today's run. Certainly a shakedown run for the MGA and the Alpine.
Away we went! Turning off at the Red Barn towards Margaree and Cheticamp, we knew today would we a full day of hills and hollows as well as hairpin turns but it's the sights and sounds as well as the laughter that's going to make today the fun day it was.
Well, it's not only the crazy guys in the convertibles out today, a number of bikers are out today as well. We tooted as we passed out of admiration, not jealousy for sure. Stop one, the dancing goat. it's about 30 minutes into the drive and I needed a coffee. A comfortable crowd here today, might not be a wait, Donnie suggested we stop in for a muffin and a break. Sounds great!
Perfect! No line ups and quick service, you have to love the later part of the tourist season, we even got a table. Some of us had a "morning glory" muffin with our coffee, very tasty and what a great stop. Cars were coming and going and we watched from inside as many took the time to look over our cars, many took pictures. I lust love watching people do this.
I think we should start calling Joe "tinker bell" because he is forever tinkering or playing with something under the hood. To tell the truth, he did find a bolt that was ready to fall off, so this was a good time to raise the hood for a look. Things like this will happen from time to time so it's always a good idea to give your car the once over now and again.
Joe is almost done tightening the bolt, as the rest of us, wefinished talking to a few folks and jumped in our cars. Nice shot of Peter and the Morgan as he readies to hit the road to Cheticamp.
The ever beautiful Margaree Valley. We passed many vehicles parked on the side of the road, I am guessing they are fishing the Margaree for their prize salmon. Also on the side of the road I had seen..... gulp .... a small tree with it's leaves orange. Oh my, this is a sign of what the next month will bring. The beautiful green trees behind our cars and the ones on the other side of the valley will be a blaze of color in a months time. Truthfully, I can't wait.
The mouth of the Margaree. This bridge has been here a number of years now but if you think back, not all that long ago, the old wooded structure was like a roller coaster ride. I recently went to Cheticamp with a friend and she told me of the many times she past over the bridge, always wondering if the bridge was going to collapse. It didn't and this being a part of the Cabot Trail, this new bridge over the Mighty Margaree fits into the beauty of the area.
Here's a pass-by road, Beach Cove Lane, Belle Cote. We passed this countless times without a thought of turning. Again, my friend from Cheticamp told me that there was a nice beach down this road, I just had to check it out today. Great scenery and yes a beautiful beach, with a posted severe undertow warning. My guess is by the look of that massive breakwater protecting the road, this place gets pounded by the seas in the wind.
A nice shot of the cars with with Belle Cote and Cheticamp way off in the distance.
Just look at the height of that sea wall. The wall goes on for about a half mile and ends up at a fisherman's wharf. The road does have a lot to be desired, it was like running an obstacle course avoiding the pot holes. There is a place along this road called the Island Sunset Resort and Spa, looks interesting and a place called the Lobster Pound. Maybe one day we will make this place a stop.
Told you it was a high seawall. The wall towers over Peter's and Alfred's cars and you now see the pot holes I was talking about earlier. I bet there were stormy days that you couldn't even think of driving over this road as the tidal serge waters would wash you away.
We had a quick turnaround at the fisherman's wharf, here you see Alfred and Peter's cars with the boats in the background, as well as the Cape Breton Highlands.
We were heading back to the main road when all of a sudden horns were blowing, off on off on there was a continuous blaring that would wake the dead. Realizing Joe and Don weren't behind as I crested the hill, I stopped. At the bottom of the hill behind me was good ole Joe, out of his car and the horn was wailing away. A quick wire pull and away we went. We didn't drive back, Donnie was with him and Joe sure knows what he is doing. All was good. Scared the crap out of the lady walking the dog though.
Onward to Cheticamp. The unique welcome sign and l'Église Saint-Pierre are sure signs that we are in the right town. Back to my friend I mentioned earlier. Her Mom and Dad still live here in Cheticamp and when they come to town to visit their daughter, they enjoy an evening out at McDonalds. The things we take for granted other look upon as a treat. You won't find a McDonalds here but there is a Tim Hortons.
The Cabot Trail is world renowned and is that a wonder when you see scenes such as this. Just imagine for a second, roof down, open road, mountains all around you and winding roads. A true feel good moment for sure.
I know so many of the scenes in these pictures you have seen before but today is more then just a scenic drive, it's just to get out with the guys an enjoy the day. The temperature for the day was about 16 deg, not to hot not to cold. Mind you driving required a jacket to block out and chill but once stopped, the air was very warm. Even with the wind off the water at the base of French Mountain, it was a very comfortable driving experience. The first look-off going up the mountain is pretty much a must stop. Here we met a few couples who loved our cars, it is just so surprising how people gravitate to them. I think it's here where someone used the "K" word (KIT) when referring to Peter's Morgan. So naive, some people.
A few more scenes of stop one on French Mountain. I scanned the waters for whales but none. It's not uncommon to see whales here, I have seen them a few time, but not today. The longer we stayed the more the crowds gather, we even met a group of ladies here who pretty much followed us all day, they even stopped at the end of the day at the Cedar House, just like us.
Three nice pictures of our cars with the rugged Cabot Trail in the background.
Time to conquer the mountain. How fitting to have the Alpine to be the first car out (behind me) With a name that has a mountain background, The Alpine took to the mountain like a Mountain Goat.
For he past number of years I have mastered the art of shooing pictures backwards over my head. My aim, believe it or not is excellent. Every now and again I capture a perfect shot, such as this. Still climbing French Mountain, I snapped this shot. The winding road and the sheer rock face with four great looking British cars gracefully navigating the mountainside. A great shot indeed.
Moose Lake (French Lake) at the top of the mountain. I referred to the lake as Moose Lake because of the countless times I have seen Moose here. Today, not so lucky but we do enjoy or time to chat every time we stop. The "fresh" mountain air sure is nice and here Peter mentioned he was glad he wore the leather jacket just to keep the nip of the mountain are at bay.
I pulled over and told Joe to pass bye, what a great shot as we descend McKenzie Mountain. How's the brakes Joe? Here is a little video of us coming down the mountain (click)
The low stance of the Morgan and it's tight sports suspension has the Morgan flowing around the corners. Alfred's B had a little body roll but you know, they both handled the mountains curves like true sports cars.
Another great shot from over my head. Don's MGA has never strayed this far from home and her performance on this trip is a true testament to Don's car building knowledge. Everything looks perfect on this car and now we..... as well as Don knows it runs perfect as well. Once again, I wish I could hear the talking in cars coming the other way as they see cars like these on the mountains. Dads and Moms toting 2 kids in the back seat are dreaming of being behind the wheel of one of these cars.
French Mountain and McKenzie Mountain have been conquered. The Morgan the Alpine and the MGA handled it like pros even thought it was their first time. No parts fell off and the old drum brakes on the MGA was able to stop the car... Thank God! Lunch time, how about the Rusty Anchor.
The Rusty Anchor was a busy spot, we weren't alone on the trail. Our server was excellent and food was prepared fast. Today for the first time in his life Peter tried poutine. I should have taken a picture of the plate ... it was huge. A healthy meal Peter, I could hear your arteries hardening as you took every bite. To wash it down we had a beer, a beer to toast to Barc, and to say ... "eat your heart out".
Lone Shielding is always a nice stop but there wasn't much time to enjoy it here. I did get out of the car long enough to snap a few pictures, I do love the canopy of foliage the covers the area and the cars look great with this backdrop. Next.... time to attack North Mountain. Always great pictures when climbing any mountain with winding roads, add a few British Cars and the picture just pops out at you.
With a snake like road upwards we climbed. The cool late summer air kept the temperature gauges on the cool side so we could push the cars a bit. The 30kmh sign must be for Tour buses and blue haired ladies in a Ford Escorts, not a British Sports car for sure. Third and fourth gear continuously I shifted, camera over my head, hand on steering wheel. Steering wheel held tightly by may legs and hand on shifter, back and fourth from the steering wheel to shifter, the whole way up the mountain.
Passing MacDonald's Farm and then into Cape North. Here, a few years ago, I pulled over for a second and saw this headstone. I wasn't sure if Alfred had seen it or Peter for that matter, so I stopped just to show it off. It was in one of our stories a few years ago and it's to cute to pass up in this story.
Next turn off, The White Point Road. There is a sign at the turn off for this road that says "Scenic Route," Believe it. The road is excellent and through my many years of trying to find all the beaches of Cape Breton, the beach along this road I had never found. Today, I finally found the road into it but it's not the day for a walk in the woods. Another day perhaps but now I know where it is. This road has many beautiful pieces of property, like the little cabin you see here in picture 1. What a nice place to relax. Next, the power company was doing some work and the young fellow with the stop sign certainly got a nice little car show. I don't think he had time to grab his phone for a picture. I watched as he eyeballed every car that passed. At the bucket truck, there was a guy leaning against it's side texting, he missed the whole show. I should have taken a picture.
Here we go again, same picture in other stories, just different cars. What I had noticed here is every time we pull over to check out the view, the parking spot is always empty, after a moment.... cars come along and take pictures. One such vehicle is that grey SUV that followed us all day. What are they stopped for, they are wondering, so they have a look. Its just beautiful rugged coastline. One day, by myself, I am going to have to do the trail during a wind storm, just to see the surf crash against the rocks. Again, above, Don and Alfred check out where the road once was, it's a long way down.
I noticed Don earlier in the day getting in his MGA in a rather Dukes of Hazard fashion , not using the doors. He did it again here and I yelled stop! Show the world the easiest way to get into a cramped MGA. One leg over the door, then the other and slide into the cockpit. I think Donnie thinks he is climbing into the second world war Spitfire. Anyway it works and I am sure its easier on the car then slamming those big doors.
Time to continue our little journey. Joe is not quite ready, he has roof issues. Throughout our drive today the roof of the Alpine could be seen flapping, so now is a good time to pack the top away so its tucked properly and covered. A little push and it went in its proper spot. Picture two is of the nice walking trail at White Point. I am sure if you had a 4x4 you could drive out to the point but for the adventurist type, this trail looks like a nice walk.
If your familiar with White Point, there is a steep hill leading into the community. From my vantage point I attached the telephoto lens to the camera and followed the groups decent into the small village. These shots are from about 3/4 of a mile away. With a little cropping and sharpening from PhotoScape this is the end result, looks pretty good. Donnie in the A is leading Peter and the Morgan into the village.
There's Alpine Joe Renzi and MG Alfred Dinaut coming up from the rear.
Nice shot of them all together and finally, the end of the road..... The wharf. A quiet spot here, out of all the times I have been here for a visit, it was only once that I had seen activity on the dock. I hope that doesn't mean this community is facing the similar fate as old Newfoundland out-ports. Some of them have been abandoned.
A couple of nice shots down at the White Point dock. Pater's Morgan will take a nice picture anywhere and lets not forget the two misfits in the photo, they will look good anywhere as well.
Time to move on once more. Leaving White Point I snapped this picture of Peter as he waited for me to take the lead. Just up the road for the wharf there is a barn of a very lucky hunter, as I counted 7 sets of antlers. Living this far from any town, I am guessing the moose just walk up the street. Next time we are back, I will see if there are 8 sets of antlers.
I know there are a lot of pictures, I have even deleted many as I wrote this story. It seems to me that there are so many nice pictures that it hard to pick and choose. I am sure everyone wants to see scenes like this one as we leave White Point, It's a beautiful shot. The homes, the Cars, the boats, the traps all capture a moment when the BCCCB were here for a visit. I didn't see one local anywhere, not even peering out a window.
Can you guess the next stop? That's right, just up the road to Neil's Harbour. Maybe it's me, I don't know, but seeing these cars in small rustic fishing villages just looks good. These cars are by no means highway cars, these are for cruising the countryside with your special someone. Scarf, hat, sunglasses, winding roads and small towns, this is what I think is the perfect environment for these old British cars. That being said, the Cabot Trail is the perfect venue for enjoying these great cars.
One can't go around the trail without a stop at Black Brook. In the summer this place is packed, in fall, well not so packed but the September waves sure make this stop worth while. The waves crashing on the shore could be heard while driving into the parking lot. As for the falls, well I took a quick picture through the trees when we were leaving. Nice!
The magic of British Iron. These cars, and the guys were scene stealers. All these beautiful surroundings and people just wanted to see the cars. These four lovely ladies in this shot were the ones we met at every stop. I would have said the cars were the lure that kept them close but while we were at the Cedar house later in the day, these lovely ladies came in and asked where the tall guy was with the white car, "Peter" I said. It was Peter they were following, not the cars.
Another photo of these great cars and the guys who drive them with the foaming seas and rugged coastline in the background.
We didn't stop at the Keltic Lodge, it was more of a drive bye to capture some great pictures.
Smoky Mountain, Now there's a test for your brakes. Everyone did fine, I didn't smell a hint of burning brakes but I was worried about the drum brakes on the front of the MGA but with no complaint from Donnie I am assuming all went well. The hard sharp turns on a steep mountain road with manual drum brakes had to be a challenge for sure. With a sigh of relief, we all made it safely to the bottom. Homeward bound!
From Smoky to Indian Brook the roads are amazing. The wide sweeps left and then right made for an entertaining end of the Cabot Trail. No time to be tired, the swinging of the steering wheel right and left kept you occupied and alert. Then there's the ferry to take us home. Here we said our good-byes to Peter and thanked him for suggesting such a great day. I am not sure if the plan was to be a guys day but it turned out that way, and you know. It was a perfect day.
We still had one more stop to make. We are less one now, Peter drove off into the sunset towards Baddeck but we had other plans, a stop at the Cedar House Bakery for supper. With a few hundred kilometres behind us, a hardy meal was in order. Here Patricia Compton, our server, looked after us like family. A great meal, another 20 minutes till home and another great day behind us.
It was just the guys. There was no talking in the cars, no radios... well Alfred's could be heard from time to time when we stopped, just wind and the hum of the engines with some beautiful sights to see. We stopped when we liked, ate when we wanted, and what we wanted, the tops were down, it was just a feel good kind of day. You know how it goes. If you weren't there you missed it. You missed a feel good day. Come along Next time.