Friday, June 26, 2009

Where in North America is Uncle Rod? Day 13

June 26, 2009
5 Islands, Nova Scotia
275 miles (3,051)

Fuel: 24 dollars CDN
Garlic Pizza: 6 dollars CDN
Husband/Wife duo: 2 dollars CDN
Tent site: 21 dollars CDN
Campfire: 4 dollars CDN
Fireflies more numerous than mosquitoes: free
Clear sky sunset/crescent moon over the Bay of Fundy: Priceless

I arrived at my destination at about 6 pm. I was told by a police woman at my last fuel stop that there were a few really nice restaurants down the “mountain” from my campsite, so when I got here, I went into town to scope out the environment before I set up camp. Aha! I found Mo’s Café in “downtown 5 Islands,” so after I set up camp, I set off for a bite and some internet. I unloaded my bike when I set up camp, and showed up at Mo’s without my computer charger. I texted Allison via the internet, and posted a couple of yesterday’s photos before my battery went dead and packed up my tank bag to leave. When I bussed my table and went inside the café, the music was beginning. I couldn’t leave. My friend, Beth, an avid Celtic music fan and gifted musician, upon hearing I was headed to Cape Breton implored me to find some music. I thought that might be nearly impossible on a bike, camping, in this weather. But it looked like it was to come to pass.
There was a husband/wife duo just starting. Lots of folks were milling around, and everyone was interested in everyone else. Conversation was easy, and the music was so good that conversation waned and listening commenced.
I learned that this café had just opened last week. It is owned by a man from California (sitting in the corner) who had bought one of the 5 islands on a whim, site unseen, and after coming to see his purchase, had also bought and renovated this building and opened this amazing café. This was the second night of music he’d had.
As I listened to the music and watched two little toddlers constantly getting into trouble, I shed a tear, and then another, and soon they wouldn’t stop. The music was amazing. It ripped straight through to the soul and touched the deep places. I stood against a beam and sipped several cups of coffee, and quietly listened. My iPod hasn’t been turned on, or even taken out of the bag during the whole trip. There is always music playing in my head, and I’ve heard some fairly melodic feathered friends’ serenades, but tonight is the only music I’ve heard outside of Jim’s and Catherine’s living room since I drifted off to the strains of Federico Moreno Torroba under the stars in Ithaca. I stand there thinking about a time when real live people presented the only music available, and marveled at the community made easy by these deep songs sung from deep places. I hope I happen upon more people sharing their songs before I make it home again.
When the sun started setting, I realized it was time to make it back to camp, and so I rode up the “mountain,” started a fire and settled into a mood of gratitude.
Today was a good day. I can almost say, it was my first day in 13 without rain, but alas, I got rained on a little bit, so make that 13 days with rain. But this was not like the other rain days. This rain was just intermittent when the clouds became too thick to contain themselves. Then I would ride out of it, into lighter clouds. The sky is cloudy tonight, but oddly enough, the baby moon is shining hazily through a foggy break in the clouds.
It is 10:46 pm, and the sunset colors have not completely faded. That is strange for me. Sunset colors at nearly 11:00pm?
This morning, I couldn’t bear to ride back from Cape Breton Island exactly the way I’d come, so I headed east to Sydney, and rode west from there along the other side of Bras d’Or. Once I reached the Canso Causeway, I had no choice but to backtrack, but only for about 50 miles. The last 50 miles of the day were along, and in sight of, the Bay of Fundy, to this Provincial Park.
The ride was a good mixture of back roads and highway to make up time, so I arrived in early evening and had time to think, have some coffee, and listen to music.
So, at this moment, I’m sitting by my fire, watching the lingering sunset colors, and the moon, reluctant to set, reflecting in the Bay Fundy.
My heart is grateful.