29.8 mi / 10.4 mph / 976 ft. climbing
Home: The Islands Provincial Park
Trish was off to work, so it was Shaun making breakfast (which may have been one of his main roles on the boats?) of French Toast. He joined us, where we bonded over mutual love (Rett) and skepticism (Neil) of HGTV. At one point he asked if we’d have use for a pound of skahllups (or “scallops” in landlubber pronunciation, but I’ll say that his pronunciation is the correct one!) You mean probably our favorite form of seafood? Um, yes? When he handed me the frozen bag (of gorgeous, golf-ball-sized scallops) as I was packing up, I asked “what do I owe you?” and he says “fer wot?” “For the scallops.” “Wot are you talkin’ about?” Ok, ok, I get it. Thanks for going above-and-beyond to help make this morning feel so much better than our last morning!
Our crow-flies distance was pretty short today, and it was a nice sunny day, so we were able to take the “long way” out and back on one of the lobes. Route 3 was essentially empty, so it definitely gave us a more-relaxing and classic bike-touring ride. 20+ miles with no businesses, only some small settlements and coastal views. Exactly the kind of route where bicycling is the best way to experience it.
Rett was even feeling confident enough to take Trish’s recommendation for a lunch spot: Roseway Beach, a mile-and-a-half off-route down a gravel road. She walked a couple sections, but was able to get back on and riding again with only minor difficulty.
Somehow the trees and rocks that seem to comprise 99% of Nova Scotia made me think that sandy beaches would not exist here, but in fact they do! And when we arrived, there were only a couple other people on the whole beach, and they were mostly-obscured by the sheets of sunlit fog rolling in off the water. We set up our blanket and made some lunch, and just enjoyed the cool breezes on a day when inland areas were facing 100℉ temperatures.
Unfortunately our way back out to the paved road wasn’t as easy, as Rett got struck with another case of really-difficult bike-starting. She eventually stuck with an attempt long enough to get going, and then I think we didn’t stop again until we reached the campground.
The Islands Provincial Park, our first “state park” in Canada, is one of the best we’ve ever stayed in. Our large, secluded, waterfront site unfortunately was not well-optimized for shade, and it was probably 10 degrees warmer than the sites a quarter mile away facing the water on the other side of the bay (that’s how extreme the microclimates are around here), though that did make it a good place to hang a line to air out our sleeping bag. Worse, there was a day-camp with 30 screaming kids who largely used our area of the park. But they cleared out by 4pm, and one of the teenage counselors I talked with was incredibly apologetic and thoughtful.
Beyond that, the rest of the campground was amazing. With the kids vacated, we brought our kitchen over to the now-empty group campsite to cook our dinner, where we could have shade, and enjoy our incredible meal of scallops with an iced-down bottle of Rett’s favorite Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc that I’d picked up on a ride over to nearby Shelburne. The scallops tasted as good as they looked, or even better, especially with the generosity and thoughtfulness that brought them to our table.
After dinner we took a walk across a small causeway to “Sandy’s Island” (the only actual “island” in the park) and reveled in the gorgeous sunset views while finishing the last of our wine. A day like this normally would be one where we say “ah, this is why bike touring is the best thing in the world!” Given Rett’s depressed state-of-mind, it wasn’t nearly enough to bring us up to that level, but at least it seemed like it prevented our state from deteriorating further.