August 19: A long, long drive, and another enormous bridge

The result of my decision last night is that I drove a long way today. Oh, I suppose I could have broken the drive up with another night in Nova Scotia, but that’s not what I wanted to do.

I got up and out early and headed for the Canso Causeway. The main road from Louisbourg to the mainland goes north almost to Sydney (a distance of about forty miles, so not that big a deal), and then southwest along the western shore of Lake Bras d’Or back to St. Peters, where I spent my first night on the island, and then down to the causeway by the same route I came onto the island.

Lake Bras d'Or on a sunny morning (of course the weather got better as soon as I decided to leave).
Lake Bras d’Or on a sunny morning (of course the weather got better as soon as I decided to leave).
A lot of the signs in certain parts of Cape Breton Island are in Gaelic as well as English.  So a different kind of bilingual than what I was getting used to.
A lot of the signs in certain parts of Cape Breton Island are in Gaelic as well as English. So a different kind of bilingual than what I was getting used to.
There's actually a hamlet called Local Inhabitants, which I found vastly amusing.
There’s actually a hamlet called Lower River Inhabitants, which I found vastly amusing.

The drive along the lakeshore was lovely, and I enjoyed the views. When I got to Port Hastings (the tiny town at the island end of the causeway, I stopped twice, once at a McDonalds (I’ve finally figured out the tea issue – I order a small hot tea and a large cup of ice, then I let the tea brew for a few minutes and pour it over the ice – then I go out to my cooler and add lemon juice and I’m in business [wry g] – hey, it works), and once at a museum at the end of the causeway that told about how it was built back in the 1940s, which was fascinating. I’d wondered about that big scar on the waterfront on the mainland side. Apparently that’s where most of the rock to build the causeway was blasted from. Next door (and the main reason I’d stopped) was a small shop selling quilts. The lady was very friendly, and she had some nice (albeit machine-quilted) quilts for sale.

Looking at the Canso Causeway from the parking lot of the museum about it.
Looking at the Canso Causeway from the parking lot of the museum about it.

And then it was over the causeway and back to the mainland, where I hit the main highway and headed west, thinking I’d catch the ferry to Prince Edward Island (PEI), because it was a bit shorter coming from the east than driving around to the bridge. Well, I got to the ferry landing and discovered you have to have reservations. They were full up for today. So much for that. So I stopped to call and make a reservation for a campground near Cavendish (more about that tomorrow) on PEI. A campsite for tonight, and a cabin for tomorrow night.

I know this is local First Nations.  What I don't know is how to pronounce it.
I know this is local First Nations. What I don’t know is how to pronounce it.

And then I got back on the highway and booked. All the rest of the way across northern Nova Scotia and over the border into New Brunswick, where I turned north almost immediately, heading for the Confederation Bridge, which opened in 1997.

The beginning of the Confederation Bridge to Prince Edward Island.
The beginning of the Confederation Bridge to Prince Edward Island.
A quick snap of the view over the Jersey barriers on one side of the bridge.
A quick snap of the view over the Jersey barriers on one side of the bridge.

It’s another bridge on the scale of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, only without any tunnels. It’s 13km long, which is apparently the longest bridge of its type in North America. It’s seriously impressive (it darned well better be – when I cross it again on my way west, it will cost me $46 – you only pay leaving the island, not arriving).

I stopped at a welcome center on the PEI side of the bridge to get a provincial road map. The CAA map of the Maritimes isn’t all that good, but the provincial maps cover everything.

Welcome to Prince Edward Island!
Welcome to Prince Edward Island!

The campground was less than forty miles away at this point, but the road was – and this still sort of makes me giggle – winding and up and over and around, and it reminded me of nothing so much as the little backroads I drove in northwest New Jersey a few weeks ago. Weird, huh?

The campground is very nice, heavily wooded and private, and quiet. And close to both Charlottetown and Cavendish. If only the wifi actually worked…