It was nearly eleven o’clock when we left Antigonish, but we only had two hours’ drive to our next stop so we were in no rush. The TransCanada Highway in this area winds through rolling hills clothed in pines and deciduous trees, and every now and then a vista of rugged coast and deep blue inlets comes into view.Not long after passing through Tracadie, we came to the causeway and bridge that joins Cape Breton Island to the mainland, spanning the Strait of Canso. The roadbed sits on a raised strip of land with sloped rocky shoulders on either side right down to the water. Only at the end was the water allowed to flow freely under a short lift bridge, where boats could sail through a channel from St Georges Bay on the west to Chedabucto Bay on the east side.
Once we were on the island, the blended flavours of old Scottish settlements and Mi'kmaq tribes were evident in road signs and attractions that we passed. I kept trying to pronounce names like Whycocomagh and Wagmatcook , with no idea if I got them right or not! We stopped for lunch at the Tim Hortons in Baddeck. I savoured my hot soup and bagel; it was kind of brisk day, although Val braved the weather in shorts and a T-shirt.
We climbed Kelly’s Mountain as we got closer to our destination – a 240 meter rise and descent, with a hairpin switchback that brought us down to the KOA entrance. The campground is set at the base of a huge red rock cliff to its rear, and facing the channel where a handsome green bridge provides passage to the other side.Once we were assigned our site, we detached the car and left it there while we drove on to North Sydney. Jason, at the KOA office, told us where we could find propane for the RV, and it just happened to be next to the Newfoundland ferry launch. This suited us well, as we wanted to check out the site before sailing on Monday anyway. Two bits of business in one trip!
Next on the agenda was to deal with the meat we’d bought at Hardings Point. We froze most of it, but when we had to empty the fridge in Halifax, the packages thawed in the cooler bag, so we couldn’t refreeze it. So, Val set up the grill and cooked all of it – chicken, pork chops and steak – so it wouldn’t go bad. It’s now safely cooled in the fridge for the next few nights. Better than having to pitch it all!Meanwhile, yours truly was at the KOA laundry. One machine did the load just fine, but the other hadn’t even finished filling half an hour later. Plus, all the coin-op dryers had broken and the new shipment hadn’t come in yet, so Jason set up one lone domestic dryer for everyone. Luckily there weren’t too many others in the lineup, but on a busy day it must be fun trying to get four machines’ worth of wash into one dryer without ruffling anyone’s feathers. At least it was free of charge!