When I last wrote, I was in a state of indecision: whether to stay or whether to go? I suspect that the people who know me well never shared my doubt. My answer always seems to be Go. It’s true that sometimes what’s around the bend is not as nice as what you’re leaving behind, but curiosity is either my besetting sin or my defining virtue. Maybe both!
So I left.
My state of indecision continued and continued and continued, though. I was going to stop in New Glasgow, because of the name, but I drove straight through, almost without realizing. I’d never changed the time on the van dashboard, so I was there sooner than I expected to be. Since I’d already passed it, I decided to keep going and stop at a campground called Whycocomagh, because that name was even better. I did stop there, but the self-registration process was completely frustrating and I finally gave up. It was still early enough in the day that I could go farther. I decided on another place, then changed my mind, then another and did the same, then finally, exasperated, called the place that I was really aiming for but didn’t think I could get to in a single day, and asked if I could arrive late. I could, so I did.
It was a long day.
But the drive was pretty spectacular. Cape Breton National Park reminded me enormously of a prettier, greener Northern California. No offense to Northern California, which is a remarkably beautiful place, and I’m sure has better weather, but Cape Breton is stunning. The road curves and winds, one side dropping off cliffs into the ocean, the other side hills, covered with trees, mostly a mix of pine and birch. I bet in another month, when the birch leaves are changing color, it’s even more beautiful.
And the Hideaway Campground is lovely. Small and hilly, with a mix of sites, some set into the trees, some lined up facing the ocean. At the front, there’s a little restaurant where you can get a lobster dinner or oysters. As far as I can tell, that’s the complete menu, but who would want anything more? The paid showers look reasonably nice, there’s a beach about a kilometer and a half away, and a dirt trail that leads into the woods. And a fantastic view of the ocean, the kind of view that is so big that it’s impossible to do it justice with a cell phone camera.
Unfortunately, the Hideaway has two problems for me. The first is that it’s still quite busy. I had one night in my site and then had to move to a different site. Today I’ll have to move again. There’s an open site that I could take, but a big German Shepard right behind that spot lunged and barked at us when we were out walking. For obvious reasons, I don’t feel like I would be comfortable there. I’m trying to avoid developing a total dog phobia, but I don’t want to exist in a level of constant tension, waiting for an aggressive dog to appear.
The other problem is that I am so incredibly allergic that it’s ridiculous. Obviously, that’s not the Hideaway’s fault. I think my allergies got kickstarted with the Queen Anne’s lace at the farm a few days ago, but I woke up yesterday in a state of misery and can’t kick it. If this was a house, I would be sealing the windows, vacuuming everything, changing the air filters, and staying absolutely inside, but that’s pretty hard to do in a van. I’m hoping that if I get out of the forest, I can escape from whatever it is that I’m reacting to. I haven’t even owned an inhaler since I left California, but I was wishing for one last night. Alas.
So today I’m heading on. Unfortunately, there’s a severe weather alert on for Nova Scotia today — rain from Gordon hitting the area — so I have no idea how far I’ll get, but I’ll be moving inland, out of the storm’s way, I hope. But definitely not headed south, because I’d like to stay out of Florence’s way, too. Speaking of which, I hope those of you in Florence’s way have your emergency kits ready. More bottled water never hurts!