Day 5: Cape Breton

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Documentary, Maritime Roadtrip 2016

The ferry ride to Nova Scotia was great, complete with live music, free beer braised mussels, and whisky sampling.  Afterward, I decided to take a detour into Cape Breton. 

The drive from Caribou to Cheticamp was a long one.  When I  finally arrived in town, I was getting low on gas and being late afternoon on a Sunday – everything was closed.  Not wanting to stray too far from the gas stations, I looked for somewhere to sleep.  

The national park was full, and every motel, inn, and BnB had signs posted declaring “NO VACANCY.”  As I searched for a campsite, I slowly strayed further into the highlands and my gas continued to dwindle.  I started to worry that I made the wrong decision, that I should have slept in my car in Cheticamp and await the opening of the gas stations. I was also now in an area with absolutely no cell service. 

The driving, however, was amazing.   Up and down wonderfully maintained mountain roads with beautiful scenery.  I even stopped to take a few photos, temporarily forgetting that I had no place to sleep, very little gas, and the sun was starting to set.  

I then arrived in a village called Plesant Bay, and there was a restaurant-motel hybrid without a vacancy sign posted.  So I decided to inquire within.  Lucky, I man had just cancelled his room as I stepped in, so I took it – lucky room number 13!

As soon as I pulled in I was invited to join a group of American bikers who were on a multi-day ride through Cape Breton.  Also joining them from another adjacent room was Pious, a retired dentist Catholic priest elevator mechanic. 

We sat outside drinking beer, and then visited the motel’s restaurant to have dinner.  Then back to our mutual “front lawn” for more beer.  It was after midnight before my head hit the pillow.  

After a late breakfast I resumed my drive along the Canot Trail, and was immediately reminded of my gas situation.  To my relief, I eventually found a gas station along the road to Ingonish just before I hit the red mark on my fuel gauge.  With that crisis solved, it was off to North Sydney.  There was no room on tonight’s ferry, or tomorrow morning’s, so I’m stuck here until tomorrow afternoon.  

I feel like this trip has been quite long, with Edmundston seeming like weeks ago.  And yet, if following a direct path, I am only 17 hours from home.  

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I am a film photographer based in Prince Edward County. I make images of people, places, and things - you know, nouns.

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