After an enjoyable visit in Halifax and continued education down the eastern coast of Nova Scotia, I turned inland to cross the remote wilderness near Kejimkujik to arrive on the Digby Neck. Opening the sturdy front door, the smell of the home immediately drew memories of my late grandmother and the relaxing time spent overlooking St. Mary's Bay. This has always been a place of rest and relaxation as I grew older, a respite from work and travel where the quiet environment, rich views and warm community serve to embrace. Each night as I climb the stairs to bed, the faces of my family look down on me from the framed photographs hanging in the stairwell. I've spent roughly two weeks now at Sandy Cove and although I was mostly alone in the house, I never truly felt lonely, surrounded with the collection of family artifacts and feeling of "home" radiating from the walls and furniture. A special and heartfelt thank you to my Uncle Stephen and Aunt Kris for opening this special place to me and understanding how important it is to come up here for the personal connections and opening of a clear mind.
Situated on the western coast of Nova Scotia is the quaint village of Annapolis Royal. The world-renowned tides off the Bay of Fundy fluctuate as much as 15-20 feet per day leaving large tidal flats and marshes glistening in the sun. North of town is the only tidal power generation facility in North America producing 20MW annually. Originally known as Port Royal, the location served at various times under the French and English flag. For 150 years before the founding of Halifax, this site was the capitol of Arcadia, later known as Nova Scotia. The English town faced a total of 13 French attacks over the course of it's existence, making it the most attacked location in Canada.
Nestled at the southwestern end of the fertile Annapolis Valley and the head of the Annapolis Basin, the location is rich for both seafood as well as agricultural production and industry. The Saturday farmer's market offers a rich display of the produce, baking and folk art evident in this heavily European influenced valley. Fresh wood-fired oven breads, ripe tomatoes, pungent mushrooms, artisan cheeses and hand carved kitchenware are just a few of the items for sale. The intoxicating scent of sizzling griddle waffles, potato pancakes and strong coffee carries on the ever present winds. The live music of maritime accented sea shantys and the metallic thumbing of acoustic guitars solidifies the aural completeness of the busy market. It remains one of my favorite markets to attend in all my travels. Stop in, have a browned pretzel and buy some fresh savoy cabbage for homemade coleslaw...I know I did.
Following my engaging stay in Halifax complete with Cape Breton oysters, snow crab and my first donair, I said goodbye to my buddy Eric and began heading south down the coast. His advice to follow the coastal route as far east as possible proved valuable and I found that smile sneaking across my face as the road twisted above the rocky coastline through small coastal communities and old trawlers and traps. The quaint villages of Peggy's Cove, Aspatagun, Mahone Bay and Lunenburg offered a colorful environment with historic homes, roadside informational boards and picturesque seaside scenes. I even had a surprise "spotting" when a local resident recognized me while taking a snack break and pulled a U-turn to have a conversation about my travels and experiences. Later he would hop on his R11GS and scoot down the road for another hour of chit chat at a flea market before leaving me with a chunk of cheese, cuke and a sausage! In a strange twist of fate, he grew up in the same neighborhood as I did in Virginia and went to the next high school over. What are the chances of that!? It truly is a small world.
In May 2014 I quit my job to ride a Honda Ruckus over 69'000 mi and counting. Wild camping most nights and cooking most of my own meals, I keep the costs low and the landscape changing.