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Across the Cabot Trail By The Skin of My Tire: Mile 1534

Testing Treacherous Tread on Cape Breton IslandJay and I camped on the beach in Meat Cove last night.  Although we're quite far north, the temperature only went down to about 55 degrees, but the wind blustered around consistently, and neither of us got that much sleep.  As a result, we woke up before dawn and got to watch the sun rise over the bay.
Before we left, we took mile long hike up a mountain overlooking all of Meat Cove.
  The spectacular panoramic view from the mountain we climbed would probably the apex of our trip, both figuratively and literally. 
Morning mountains
Sunrise in Meat Cove
A rather flat corner along the treacherous road.
  Rolling mountains plunged into the sea, illuminated by a newborn sun, shining it’s first light on the crumbling rock faces, with our makeshift campsite on Meat Cove nestled in between.
 We took a less-traveled trail through the woods, which emerged at the top of a sweeping grassy hill, overlooking the coastline before it dropped off towards the ocean.

First light over Meat Cove.
We packed up our gear, scratched our bug bites, and got back on the road.  We still had half of the Cabot Trail to see today, but I was seriously worried about my rear tire.  I had checked my wheel before leaving on the trip, but two days ago the tread had worn down past the marker nubs, and last night I noticed a crumbling patch of rubber along the crest of the tire, through which I could begin to see metal cords, the last bit left of a tire that should have been replaced long before.
The risk of a flat or even a blowout increased the farther I went.  We had 8 miles of uneven, unkept roads comprised of washed out dirt and irregular gravel, up and down mountains to get back out of Meat Cove.  
With no cell service and no hope of rescue (or hope to retrieve my bike) should a blowout take me over one of the multitudes of cliffs, Jay and I slowly rode on, white-knuckled and tense until we finally saw macadam again.
 Stopping several times to admire the eastern side of the Cabot Trail, we resolved to slowly and carefully make our way down to the closest motorcycle shop.  I would have changed my tire a few days ago, but we didn't pass any shops or large towns along the trail.
End of the Cabot Trail.
Within about an hour, I was clearly running on cords.  No shops were open today, but we talked to several people at service stations, who said our best bet would be Sydney (3 hours north in the wrong direction) or Moncton (5 hours ahead).
Finally, we decided to make our way back to Antigonish, where we had stayed two nights before, and see if there was a motorcycle dealer anywhere in town.
To our relief, we got into town early and actually met up with several people we had met a few nights back, who helped us find the nearest service shop. After some absurdly expensive late night fast food (I bought a $17 lobster Subway footlong and Jay an almost inedible McLobster...), we rested our weary heads, with our fingers crossed that the shop had the necessary tools, tires, know-how and time to fit us in tomorrow morning.

Next Day: Nova Scotia: Mile 1849

 © 2014 Tigh Loughhead


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