Today the deities of the cycling cosmos looked down on me with benevolent eyes and gently nudged me off of my planned route.
I wasn’t particularly looking forward to today, a hilly slog along the busy transcanada highway. As I passed over onto Cape Breton Island I stopped at tourist info to see where the nearest supermarket was. Asking about my destination they drew my attention to a route which followed an old railway along the coast. It added quite a bit to my journey but would keep me almost entirely off the highway. Within minutes I had gone from reluctantly resigning to an additional 10 kilometers to reach a supermarket, to willingly committing to an extra 40 kilometers to follow the Celtic Shores Coastal Trail. It was the right decision.
I spent the morning travelling along the gravel trail at a reasonable pace, taking in the coastal scenery, enjoying the car-free route. At lunch I stopped at the Celtic Music Centre and happily devoured a burger and fries while listening to some live Celtic music; a duet on fiddle and piano.
The afternoon was much the same but cut inland a bit and passed by rivers and wetlands inhabited by beavers, kingfishers and bald eagles. I stopped briefly in Mabou for a coffee, which I only paid about 25cents for as the waitress told me to pay whatever change I had.
After Mabou a quiet road led me to within a few kilometers of my hostel. The challenge of the evening was avoiding attracting the attention of an Aussie guy who would talk and talk and talk at you at any given chance. I was vulnerable while I sat to eat my dinner and was pounced on immediately. Trapped, I nodded along while he talked, only pausing to belch into his can of cider. All part of the hostel experience…I suppose.