Many of us make New Year’s Resolutions. I do. Mine aren’t all that original. They include the typical things like going to the gym, eating healthy, being more patient with other people and making my bed every day. I could pretty much take last year’s list and change the date and I would be good to go for 2017. It’s not that I don’t accomplish the things on my list, it’s just that they are hard things for me and I find that year after year, I have to keep working on them. If I don’t include them as part of my resolutions again then I might not be inspired or reminded to do them.
Just 2 1/2 hours north of Halifax, Cape Breton Island is linked to the Nova Scotia mainland across the Canso Causeway. Noted as one of the world’s top 10 drives by many media outlets, Cape Breton Island is a must-see destination. In particular, the 300 kilometer (185 mile) Cabot Trail scenic drive draws thousands of tourists each year, adding much needed revenue to the otherwise struggling economy of Cape Breton.
I’m always looking for something a little different to add flavour to my list of travel experiences. Why just explore a new area on a bike when I can be part of a bigger experience and share that ride with 850 other cyclists? Sign me up.
With that in mind, Dennis and I found ourselves at the starting line of the Gran Fondo Baie Sainte-Marie starting in Saulnierville, Clare, Nova Scotia, a little hamlet along the Acadian coast overlooking the Bay of Fundy.
Travelling in New Zealand last winter, we often had conversations with New Zealanders about Canada. They gushed enthusiastically about the Canadian Maritimes. We felt incredibly sheepish admitting that we had never travelled there.
Dennis and I decided to take a little mini-break in Charlotte, North Carolina with our bicycles in tow. The real purpose of the trip was so that he could pick up an old car that he bought and drive it home. I wasn’t game for a long road trip so I decided to fly. That seemed like a grand idea but things have a way of turning out differently than one might expect.
Leaving Abel Tasman National Park, we head south along the dramatic west coast of the South Island, on route to the West Coast Wilderness Trail.
It’s possible to fly to Nelson, our first destination on the South Island, from either Auckland or Wellington very cheaply on Air New Zealand. For $100 you can be in Nelson from Wellington in only 40 minutes but that isn’t very adventurous.