Saturday, July 18, 2009

Driving to Cape Breton

When planning our vacation to Cape Breton, we figured that could do the drive in two moderate days. H planned on leaving at 9am Friday morning. We'd arrive at our first stop, the Stuart House B&B near Amherst Nova Scotia early in the evening. Saturday we'd have a leisurly six hour drive to Hideaway Campground near Dingwall. If all went according to plan we'd be set up in time for an early dinner.
Friday morning we got on the road around 10am. We were moving slow and everything was difficult. The bike rack was uncooperative. The last minute items were well hidden and multiplied like rabbits.
We had to make a planned stop in Portsmouth, NH to return a bike bag. We figured that we'd make a "quick" stop at Kittery Trading Post because it was right up the road. The return went smoothly. The Kittery Trading Post stop was, as expected, not quick. I couldn't decide on which dry bag to buy. I was distracted by the shiny helmets. I couldn't find the Five Fingers. H looked for knives. She also started a quest for brown, dressy, casual sandles that didn't look too gramma'ish.
After escaping the Trading Post we went in search of a transmitter to make the iPod play through the car stereo (We took H's car on this trip because Egg 2.0 cannot support a trunk-mount bike rack). This search lead us to a Clarke's outlet (yes no connection but there are brown sandals!). We also made a stop a Brookstone. Neither stop produced any results. We left Kittery with two new dry bags and a stainless steel water bottle, but without an iPod adapter or sandles.
By now it was after noon and we'd traveled about an hour and a half....
H declared that there would be no more stops-not even at L. L. Bean to look for Five Fingers or a camp stove. We did pretty well until Portland. I had to make a relief stop. We found a Subway that happened to be near a Radio Shack and a hardware store. While I relieved myself H went to the Radio Shack and secured us iPod integration. Then we stopped at the hardware store to look at knives, or scissors, to replace H's kayaking knife. The hardware store was a bust.
Finally, we were on the road to stay. It was pretty smooth sailing. H only triple checked the GPS directions a few times. Traffic was light.
The ease on this leg could not make up for the lost time earlier in the day. We didn't get to the border crossing at Calias Maine until 6pm. We called the B&B to tell them we'd be later than expected but not too late. Then we waited in line to cross the border for 40 minutes. Then we hit heavy fog. H drove through pretty heavy fog until St. John's.
We stopped to grab food and regroup at a McDonalds in St. John's. Our new plan was to call the B&B and cancel our reservations if the fog held. We could find a motel along the way.
The man at the B&B was very nice. He suggested that we drive to Moncton before we made up our minds. There were plenty of places to stay in Moncton and it was about half way between St. Johns and Amherst.
Ten minutes out of St. Johns the fog cleared. We cruised to Moncton where we called the B&B. We told them that we were still coming and that we would be there in about an hour. It was 9:30, so we didn't feel too bad about keeping the inn keeper up until 10:30...
I don't know why but I asked H if we had changed time zones. She was pretty sure that we hadn't. I was pretty sure we had. So she checked the cell phone to see what time the cell network thought it was. The cell phone said it was 10:30. The time zone changes at the border. Now we felt like jack asses. Not only were keeping the inn keeper up until almost midnight, we were too stupid to know it until it was too late. There was no way we were going to call a fourth time and make matters even worse.
Fortunately the drive from Moncton was uneventful. We did get caught in a random police check point on a desolate country road, but that was it.
When we arrived at Stuart House the inn keepers were very nice. They were used to Americans. Another family from MA had arrived just a half hour before us after a day of sightseeing.
The inn was lovely. Our room was large and quaint. The bed was a little soft and the shower was a little whimpy. The breakfast, however, made up for everything. The muffins, rolls, and farmer's breakfast were divine.
Our drive from Stuart House to Cape Breton was uneventful, but longer than anticipated. We stopped at Heather Beach to get a picture of H with the sign. We also took an unexpected little ferry ride at Englishtown.
The GPS said to turn left when the only thing to the left was water. At the last minute a small road appeared. At the bottom was a small ferry that shuttled cars across a 100 yard wide channel.
We arrived at Hideaway Campground around 5:30pm. We got two nice tent sites with spectacular views of South Aspy Pond.

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