We could be riding anywhere in New York, past farms, the occasional shop, businesses and lots of space. Nova Scotia is mainly agricultural in nature until you get near the coast, then it’s all about the sea and its effect on the people and their history.
Burntcoat Park on the south shore of the Bay of Fundy is a case in point. This is the place where, during low tide, you can actually walk out on the ocean floor – but be careful. High tide is almost 50’, highest in the world, and can be violent, washing whatever gets in its way to oblivion.
Farther west is the Walton Light where we were treated to the sight of bald eagles cruising for prey. Talking with a local person, we found that this was the region where bald eagles were bred and shipped to the US when we almost lost them due to excess insecticide use.
At low tide, you can walk out on to sand bars exposed, but again, caution is greatly advised. Our new friend explains that when the tide comes in, it surrounds the sand bar from all sides, and those caught on it are “well and truly frigged.” Personally, I’m happy to view the sight from on the top of the red stone cliffs.
The Nova Scotians are the friendliest people, as a group, I’ve ever met. They are truly proud of their land, their history and will share with you their nuggets of knowledge at the slightest provocation. Sometimes they need NO provocation. They consider it their purpose to be ambassadors of their home, wishing to share and hopefully return at another time.
Probably the single best known sight in Nova Scotia is Peggy’s Cove and the lighthouse that lives precariously mounted on the rocky shore. It was a 2 hour ride from our base in Truro in threatening weather. No sooner than we had the bike parked and entered the gift shop and restaurant, the sky opened. Watching the unusually calm sea during the rain was hypnotic. The coffee, bagels and berry jam we had in the restaurant helped until the rain stopped.
The rocks to the lighthouse are uncommonly smooth yet gave us good traction, and I (of course) took many photos of the site from all the angles I could, without being a REAL pain to the other tourists.
The rain abated, we removed our weather suits and began our ride back to Truro – when the sky decided to open. It was only about 15 minutes of rain, but it was truly rough to see the road and ride safely. That’s the beauty and the danger of Nova Scotia. Weather is very changeable and gives you no warning.
Over the last 11 days, we’ve put about 2,800 miles on the bike, and there are a few things you should know about Nova Scotia.
First, the main roads are pretty good, but the back roads… aren’t. Just so you know. Also, Nova Scotia is a whole lot bigger than the map says it is. Allowing a half hour for a 40 km trip from here to there usually turns into an hour and a half.
One of the things we had on our list to do was to visit Cape Breton Island and ride the Cabot Trail. Because of the distances and times involved to get there, it would have been a solid 12 hours of riding. There would have been no enjoyment on that trip, so plans are already in the works for another trip, flying to Halifax, renting a car and visiting that ONE THING, then enjoying it to the fullest.
So that’s a taste. I’m including a few photos here, but you can find more at monroepaynephotography.com – as soon as I get them processed!
For more information on places to see and things to do in Nova Scotia, visit www.novascotia.com, the provinces’ official tourism web site. If you want to travel by motorcycle, I highly recommend the “Motorcycle Tour Guide for Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canada”, available at www.motorcycletourguidens.com, where you can enjoy step by step directions to some of the most scenic rides in the province, as well as New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador.
Ok, it’s a pretty long way – four days riding just to get to Nova Scotia, but if it’s within reach for me, it can be for you too!