Tarmac ribbons criss-crossing the landscape, dusty back roads twisting between the cool shadows of ancient pines, and less traveled pathways connecting present to past, all I wander, seeking, seeing, with my keyboard and camera capturing scenes and stories to share with you.

Now in its seventh year, this venue has become an important part of my life, a place where I can express my thoughts and feelings about the things I see and do, hoping the process brings me a bit closer to friends and family who enjoy sharing my sometimes chaotic and often nonlinear observations and ideas. A journal, I suppose, but one with which I find pleasure in thinking others are alongside me on my journey.

Comments, thoughts, or just a friendly chat, use the response box below or email me at patrickgroleau@gmail.com.

August 16, 2013

CABOT TRAIL WANDERABOUT - 3RD ENTRY

... as we left sydney behind and traversed boularderie island we we buffeted by intense winds ... at one point during the ride we descended a steep hill through a tunnel of large trees lining both sides of the road ... using beaufort scale indicators, such as the movement of branches and trunks, i estimate the winds exceeded fifty miles-per-hour ... if that wasn't bad enough, we soon found that we had to cross a bridge over the fjord-like channel separating cape breton from boularderie ... as i negotiated the narrow roadway decking beneath the huge steel arch, heavily loaded lumber company trucks rushing towards me, the winds swirled around my motorcycle from every direction, including above and below the bike ... for seconds that seemed hours, it became one of the few times in my life a purely physical situation brought me to a state of almost mind-numbing dread ...


... after, all of us stopped to see if a change of underwear was necessary ... jon provided a demonstration of the wind's force ...


... we all laughed, blissfully unaware of how ironic this picture was going to turn out to be ...


... as we headed up the eastern shore of cape breton the singularity of the sea served canvas to the lofty green hills which descended directly into the cool depths of the dark blue waters ...

... after an hour or so, the road cut inland, the route following a great rift glacial valley through the very center of cape breton's rugged wilderness interior ... as we ascended the slope the winds became more and more intense ...


... halfway to the top of the notch, we stopped to take some pictures ...



... eric went first ... as dramatic as this may look, i will remind you that he was being very careful, staying well within the speed limit ... 


... after eric motored around the curve and up into the notch, jon followed ...


... astride my bike, i turned and motioned roger to pose so i could snap a shot of him and his bike ... if you look closely, you can see that he is holding onto his motorcycle as well as using his leg to brace it ... in hindsight, this might've been a clue as to the events which were soon to occur ...

... i popped up my kickstand, put my bike in first, and let out the clutch as i raised the revs to head onto the highway ... at that moment the wind became a powerful swirling gust, tornado like in form ... the handlebars of my b.m.w. were almost wrenched from my hands, and it took all my strength and skill to keep the motorcycle from flipping onto its side ... i knew instantly that stopping would result in a spill, so i applied full throttle and slipped the clutch, mentally crossing my fingers that could get up enough momentum to counter the force of the air ... i picked up speed and headed up the hill ...

... within a few hundred yards i saw another pull off ... from this point my memory is a bit confused ... as near as i can recall, it seemed that eric was attempting to push his bike and jon was making frantic motions in my direction ... as i rolled to a stop it became clear he was warning me of the strength of the wind ... he could barely hold his bike vertical, and i found doing so equally difficult ... realizing that i was taking the full force of the wind across the length of my motorcycle, i tried to drive it a few feet so that it would be headed into the gale ... finally aligning it so i felt i could at least keep it from falling, i saw that jon had pulled alongside me ...

... suddenly, he yelled something about his bike, then jumped off and started running downhill ... i was quite confused, as well as worried that his bike might fall, that mine might do so, that his might fall and hit mine ... i turned to look down hill and saw roger's bike lying at the edge of the highway ...

... first,  i could see that roger was okay ... i wondered why he couldn't pick up his bike ... then i noticed that jon was helping him ... i wondered why the two of them couldn't pick up the bike ... finally, i saw that eric had joined in the effort ... i wondered why three grown men couldn't pick up the motorcycle ...

... it was, well, if not comical or entertaining, an intriguing scene ... afraid to leave the two bikes, fearing they would be blown over, i reached for my camera, thinking, "i should get a picture of this" ...


... as they slowly moved the motorcycle it dawned on me, "damn, it isn't the grade in the road ... they're finding it almost impossible to push the bike against the wind" ... i stopped taking pictures, abandoned mine and jon's motorcycles, got off my bike and headed over to help ... it was only then, as i walked by eric's beautiful red rocket that i saw the damage ...


... call it a two-wheeled "where's waldo," i'll let you find the four major defects ...

... end result:  other'n eric's bruised foot, a result of his bike landing on it, there were no injuries ... the rest, as they say, is mere details ... i took roger's back peg and used a bit of gorilla tape so that it could serve in place of the front, which had been sheered off ... we motored on, stopping for a nice lunch while we let the adrenaline clear from our systems ...

... of the cabot trail, i will leave you to find for yourself how you think it should be described ... for me, after only a single transit of nova scotia's cape breton coast and highlands i will forever consider the place in the same category as bryce canyon, zion, and the pacific coast highway ... simply, if you have not already had the experience, i urge you to make your very own wanderabout along the cabot trail ...


... windy, yes, but it is, indeed, a most magical landscape, a motorcyclist's delight, as long, that is, as he or she keeps in mind the dictum, "you can ride or you can look, but you must be careful of looking while riding" ...


... here, along cape breton's cabot trail, is not a place for inattentiveness ...

... i fell behind and lost myself from our little group ... the three of them motored on for awhile, when they stopped roger dispelled any worries, "we can wait, i know he's taking pictures" ...


... which i was, but too soon i had to stow my camera, reminding myself that with my roadmates i'd still "miles to go before i sleep" ... i was sad, but it was a good feeling, one not of "leaving," but rather of "parting," a new goodness in my heart, knowing that even if i'm not present as witness, the waves and wind are still defining land's end along this most remarkable promontory ...


from this day to the ending of the world,
but we in it shall be remembered-
we few, we happy few, we band of brothers
—W.SHAKESPEARE

... camaraderie, it seems, is defined by neither battlefield nor road, but in the sharing ... as lucky as i am to get to do so, there're times, few and far between, i admit, i so hate being the one who holds the camera ...