Transiting The Trans Labrador Highway & Canadian Atlantic Provinces – Final Chapter
We awoke in our small dark room to a steady soft rhythmic drumming on the roof of our rented cottage, the “Gold Miners Dream”. Was it rain or the spirits of the gold miners of the past letting us know that they were still among us? Perhaps a combination of both? We brushed aside the curtains and found it was indeed raining again, the miners weren’t with us this time. As the sky slowly grew lighter, it was time to get out of bed and pack the bike for the relatively long ride to Brier Island.
This ride would take us roughly two thirds the distance down the length of the Nova Scotia peninsula and across its width. We’d also get a couple of ferry rides in before we ultimately made it to our destination, the Brier Island Lodge. But due to the rainy conditions, we’d have to work a bit to get there.
Because of the distance involved, we decided to put in a significant amount of highway miles, something we rarely do. So on went the rain suits and as soon as we could hit the highway we were off and running. Things were pretty mundane for the first three hours or so. Just a moderate rain and some patchy fog here and there, but nothing special. However, as we were riding down Route 103 we came across a couple of signs at the side of the road that said in capital letters; “ROAD FLOODED AHEAD” but no flag men, cruisers with flashing lights or other signs indicating a detour or any other significant hazard.
So we continued onward at about 30 MPH in a 100 KPH zone (62 MPH) waiting for the flooded highway. Boy they weren’t kidding! We found the area first as some large puddles so we slowed down to a crawl; it was a good thing. As we slowly rode onward, the puddles turned into real water crossings. Not inches deep but over a foot deep and getting deeper.
It was amazing to be on a four lane highway (two in each direction) creating a bow wave of water with the water covering two thirds of the front wheel. Luckily, the deep flooding lasted only for about 500 yards and we were able to continue on. We did have the highway to ourselves as we seemed to be the only ones on the road at the time. Perhaps everyone else was smart enough to stay off the roads? But we were due at Brier Island, and other than the flooding we experienced on Route 103, it was just a steady rain ride.
We ultimately reached Digby, Nova Scotia where we caught our first ferry. While we were waiting for the ferry to depart, the rain slackened somewhat and I was able to snap a picture of Kim on her bike under the bridge of the ferry, aptly named Petit Princess. The picture then was quite apropos, my petit princess on the deck of the Petit Princess. Nice!
Unfortunately, the wind was up and the tide was going out. Since the ferry ride was so short, there were no tie downs for the bikes and we just sat on them with outstretched legs and planted feet as the ferry’s engines spooled up to take us across the bay. The ocean across to the next landing was very rough and as we chugged our way across, waves splashed over and across the bow. Sheets of water flew above the rail while ocean spray rose from its remnants covering our Roadcrafter suits with salty water droplets. It was another of nature’s reminders; she was still the boss when it came to man versus nature.
As the ferry lurched forward, we lurched in the opposite direction and strained to keep the bikes upright. With every pitch and yaw of the ferry, we put in a counter input. It was going to be a challenge just to keep the bikes upright for this crossing. But that off road riding skill came in handy and we were able to keep the bikes upright for the first ferry journey.
The second ferry ride was much smoother and we made it onto Brier Island without much drama. Since the island is so small, there’s not much riding to be had there, but it is a nice place to hang out and explore. There are walking trails right from the lodge that you can take to the other side of the island as well as to the lighthouse on the island.
If you like to look for beach glass, it has the most remarkable beach glass beach we have ever had the opportunity to search. Within a couple of hours, we had filled up a coffee can worth of quality beach glass and other beach baubles. We found rusty gears, pottery, chains and other interesting brick-a-brack.
It was also fun to go for a walk through the downtown area. On the day that we went, it was drizzling and foggy. But it just gave the scene a bit of a soft, ethereal feel, like a soft cotton swaddling. We were wrapped and comforted by the misty shroud. Pictures we took had a soft fuzzy texture, the hard edges of day to day life erased by nature’s weather made cocoon.
While we were out and about, we found some sights to be enjoyed. Some fishing boats nestled together in the fog, almost as to huddle closely together to share each others warmth, their brightly colored buoys hanging over their sides giving them each a different personality. Then there were a stack of lobster pots, stacked as if waiting their turn to re-enter the sea and play their role in the cycle of nature.
Finally, there was evidence of mankind’s shortcomings. As we walked back to the lodge, we passed a pickup truck. Inside was a sign advertising its status for sale. Unfortunately, the sign read, “House for Sale”. Hmmm….
We walked back to the lodge and got a good nights rest. When we awakened, the weather had cleared, but it was time to head home to NH. Yes, our Trans Labrador and Atlantic Providences Adventure was truly coming to an end. We grabbed a quick breakfast and took the two ferries back to Digby. From there we headed to Yarmouth and caught the catamaran car ferry called The Cat. A huge water jet ferry it could make the overnight crossing back to Portland, Maine in about 4 hours. In so doing, it sent rooster tails of water 25 feet into the air. It was an impressive sight, but it did indeed mark the end of this most excellent adventure.
Thanks so much for coming along on this ride. We hope that you have enjoyed coming along with us and that we have inspired you to…
Shrink The Planet – One Ride At A Time