Day 13 – Saturday, June 16th
We knew today was going to be a lot of driving. The plan was to make our way to Cape Breton Highlands National Park, drive the entire Cabot Trail through the park and finish up in Sydney.
If you drive it straight, with no stops, Google maps tells me it would take 6 and a half hours. Obviously, we planned to make multiple stops along the way.
One unplanned stop we had to make was at a car repair shop. Sometime in the last day or so the van developed an unpleasant squeaking noise that we believed was coming from the front right tire. I had a mechanic in Cheticamp look at it for us. He pulled the tire off and said the brake pads looked practically new. He didn’t see anything that would be causing it to squeal.
I had been sort of paranoid ever since the noise started so I was glad to get some piece of mind that it wasn’t the brakes. Especially since we were getting ready to drive the mountainous terrain of the Cape Breton Highlands.
It’s also fairly embarrassing when you pull up to a red light at a crowded intersection and “SSSSQQQQUUUUEEEAAAKKKK” is all anyone hears. Our main goal when that happens is to avoid making eye contact with anyone.
We finally made it to the park and let me tell you, Wow!!! I mean……….wow!!! This place is absolutely breathtaking. Have a look for yourself.
Around every curve there was something new and majestic to see. We couldn’t stop ourselves from taking pictures and the pictures themselves fall woefully short of capturing the beauty inside this park.
Entering the park, the attendant provided information about the different animals we could encounter during our time there. Moose, black bear and coyotes. We were hoping to see a moose but sadly we didn’t.
Here’s a video I took at one of the numerous scenic pull-off spots: Cape Breton Highlands Overlook
We also got some neat videos of the actual drive on the Cabot Trail. Check it out: Cabot Trail Drive
Upon exiting the park, we set our sights on our hotel in Sydney, Nova Scotia. Interesting to note that Sydney is much further east from our home in Virginia than it is north. Pull up Google maps and type in Sydney, Nova Scotia. It’s way out there.
Here’s a couple thoughts from the day:
1.) Apparently we have an accent. Who knew??? We had a gentleman approach us at one of our recent stops. He asked where we were from. We told him we were from Virginia. He said “I like your accent!” I told him we didn’t think we had accents. He said “oh yeah, you do.”
2.) In my last post I talked about how buying gas in Canada was going to be interesting. Go ahead and substitute the word expensive for interesting. Our fill-ups are ranging between $70 and $80 in Canadian money. That converts to around $60 in American money. Yikes!!!
Day 14 – Sunday, June 17th
This was originally scheduled to be an all-driving day from Sydney to Dartmouth. We chose the inland route to save an hour’s worth of driving time. We all needed less time in the car.
After four and a half hours on the road we made it to our hotel in Dartmouth. I checked the weather for the following day to make sure our outdoor activities would still work. It was calling for cloudy skies and rain starting in the early afternoon. We decided to take advantage of the better weather today and went out for an evening drive.
Our first stop was a quaint town named Lunenburg on the southeast coast of Nova Scotia. It is known for its colorful seaside homes and shops. We parked and made our way down the Lunenburg Harbour trail. We had the town mostly to ourselves as it was late on a Sunday afternoon. There were cute shops and restaurants all along the walkway.
Next up was a quick visit to Mahone Bay, about 20 minutes north of Lunenburg. Mahone Bay is another cute harbour town whose most recognizable feature is The Three Churches. We mostly did a slow, drive-through of the main street area since we were pressed for time.
After Mahone Bay we decided to call it a night. There will be more adventuring tomorrow.
Here’s an extra tidbit about traveling in Canada:
Apparently Canadians enjoy playing board games, because every exit seems to be a very challenging game of Pictionary.
They even thrown in a random question mark because they don’t know what’s going on either!!!
Day 15 – Monday, June 18th
Our goal for the morning was to get going before the bad weather took over. We got an earlier-than-normal start and headed out towards Peggy’s Cove.
We knew this was a popular destination but thought the impending poor weather might keep some people away.
We were wrong.
Don’t get me wrong, the place is beautiful. It’s a surreal setting with waves crashing on the rocks, bagpipe music in the air and a lighthouse towering over the ocean.
There’s just so many people. Shannon and I talked several times about how it definitely takes away from the overall experience. We counted at least 10 tour buses in the parking lot. Still, there’s a reason so many people come to this area. It’s beautiful!
We found a spot away from the masses and I took this video: Peggy’s Point Lighthouse
By the time we left, an extra layer of fog had moved in and the lighthouse was barely visible from the parking lot.
After visiting Peggy’s Cove, it was time get something done about the squealing sound every time I hit the brakes. Yesterday, we realized the sound was coming from the back right tire, not the front right. That was my bad for not checking it before having the mechanic in Cheticamp look at it.
I had done some research on car repair shops in the Halifax/Dartmouth area and Speedy’s Repair shop had mostly good reviews. We dropped the car off and walked to a local deli for lunch. While at lunch the guy calls and says it is the rear brake pads. He also recommended getting another part replaced that affects the efficiency of the brakes pads.
We finished our lunch and walked back to Speedy’s. The guys in the shop were extremely friendly and I didn’t feel like we were being hustled. They had us out of there in an hour and a half and most importantly, the brakes don’t squeal anymore!!! We’ll just conveniently not talk about how much the repair cost. Okay, moving on.
During the 2 hour and 45 minute drive to our next hotel, we said goodbye to Nova Scotia. We definitely enjoyed our time there.
One more night in Canada.
Until the next adventure!!