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Tigh's House of God to Meat Cove: Mile 1339

The Road to Cabot Trail on Cape Breton Island and off-road to Meat Cove

Meat cove after 7-8 miles of treacherous back roads.

 Before we left Antigonish this morning, I needed to investigate this church on the St. Francis Xavier (or St.FX) campus, that had my name inscribed on the nave roof.  My name is extremely uncommon in the states, but apparently "Tigh DHE" means "House of God" in Celtic.
Feeling blessed already for the gifts we were about to receive, we hit the road for one of motorcycling's great adventures, the Cabot Trail on Cape Breton Island
 We crossed the Canso Causeway and traveled north along coastal route 19, passing a number of bikes and resting at a few picturesque beaches (south of Inverness above).
 Lunch break in Cheticamp. We stopped off at the local "Coop" grocery store and picked up some roast beef and chicken sandwiches. Food has been the sole underwhelming aspect of Canadian culture (other than perhaps overly polite Canadian drivers).
 The entrance to the Cape Breton Highlands National Park was incredible, and one of the most drastically beautiful landscapes I've ever seen.  Imagine massive rocky superstructures of the southwestern United States, covered in verdant pine forests, dramatically dropping off into the surrounding ocean.
 The roads are truly legendary on a motorcycle as well.
 Snaking around hill after hill, switchbacks and tight corners ascended and descended from water level to thousands of feet in elevation in minutes.
Stopping off at the crest of a mountain.
  Turn after turn, with warning limits of 30kph (less than 20mph), made the ride a white knuckle experience.
 Around the next corner, a stunning expanse of ocean and mountain, tattooed with winding pavement.
 Halfway through the Cabot Trail, the road leaves the National Park, where a buddy back home had recommended a place called Meat Cove, a small community at the northern most point of Nova Scotia. The road off which we turned at Port North quickly turned into a poorly maintained gravel road, treacherous in a car, not to mention on two sport bikes.  Both Jay and I nearly lost our bikes several times.  My rear wheel locked up going down a crazy steep hill, and I managed to turn into the slide, just barely saving my bike.
After 7 or 8 miles of hair-raising, white-knuckly offroading (not to mention with my rear is getting pretty worn down but more on that tomorrow...), we practically careened into this tiny community with a handful of campgrounds perched on cliffs overlooking the ocean towards the arctic.

 Sheer rock faces plunged into the water, and a small stream carved out a little inlet called Meat Cove.
 We navigated our bikes down one last washed out slope and parked a few hundred feet from the water.  There was a campground up the cliff, but several people came down to swim, including a older gentleman named Carmen who was friends with the owner, who advised us it would be fine to camp on the beach.
Meat Cove Campsite

Next Day: Nova Scotia: Mile 1534

© 2014 Tigh Loughhead


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