Taking the midnight "Marine Atlantic" to destination Newfoundland, I had a full day waiting for the "naughty, naughty rain" to stop, as the tent tumbled in a cold drier. Stopping for a hearty local dinner at the Cedar House, I got traveling tips across the tables from a fellow sola female traveller.
North Sidney KOA - the Gate to
Truro to Cape Breton (104 to 105)
Driving from Truro, Highway 104 sent a tributary into Cape Breton, now called road 105. After some strange back and forth loops, I sighted a magnificent bridge. The North Sidney KOA was right across.
Taking off #105 into New Harris Rd. between exits 12 and 13, I had to first navigate the campground itself. That was not simple either. The entrance was from the back, so I had to drive around the plot. The campground is set against the background of very impressive cliffs. They reminded me of the rock magic surrounding Kibbutz Yotvata pool where I used to swim in the Arava.
The people at the office were very nice. They changed me some loonies and toonies for the laundry, provided useful information and took care of the paperwork. It was about 30 CAD per night, translated into $26-27 as showing in my bank statement – very reasonable as campgrounds go.
The grounds were spacious.There was plenty of room to put the tents. The sites all had water faucets, but those were installed horizontally, hence they were spritzing in all directions, not very practical. Unlike other campgrounds, this one had a common room plus an easy-to-use laundry. These facilities went a long way towards helping people socialize, and, indeed, the campground advertisment promised that “All our guests become friends, you will be welcomed as such upon arrival”.
Settling Down – N. Sidney’s KOA
10:30 pm, N. Sidney’s KOA
Blessed peace. The rain and the drizzle stopped. Quiet. Incredible what we thank for. Interesting to learn how annoying drizzle can get, especially when driving. Hundreds of times today I changed the speed of the wipers and hundreds of times I changed the cruising speed. All that takes vast mental energies in addition to the general effort of navigation.
Then there are a thousand actions that need to be done to fold and put up the tent, get organized, take out things, put them back in, remember where everything is and establish systems that work, so in the future less time will be needed to look for stuff.
And there’s always the unexpected, the wildcard.
After pitching up tent, I got back into the car. I wanted to drive over the marvellous bridge, which was indeed, fun. Then I checked the lake or whatever this watery body was called, on the other side. It lent itself to some awesome pictures:
Hebrew in the Diaspora, Doodles and Wings
When I was back at the North Sidney campground, a lady came across the grass straight to me and addressed me, asking where I was from. She said she heard me before, recognized the accent and wanted to verify her identification. We immediately started talking in Hebrew. It was nice to have company, and easy to talk to an Israeli. She was pleasant and friendly. We shared notes, as females so comfortably do…
This was her second marriage, and the story is serendipitious. An American guy she met on a Kibbutz years before her first marriage located her 20 years later after getting divorced himself. Apparently he wrote to the Kibbutz. She wasn’t living there anymore, but they had her number…
She was happy to meet me and speak Hebrew. Her husband did not mind our lively conversation, and as guys tend to do, minded his own business when his woman was chatting with another female. Now they were both retired, and had been travelling around the country for a full year already, camping at KOAs, rain or shine. And I thought I was unusual…
Receiving all the necessary information about the KOA membership and re-calculating the cost vs. my potential future use, I came to the same conclusion that it made no economic sense for me at the moment.
Since her retirement, she dedicated to drawing elaborate ornamental graphics she would create around a core doodle. The doodles were started by herself or by others. She asked me to draw a few lines representing how I see myself. I drew a rough sketch of wings. Within two days she developed this into an elaborate intricate masterpiece…
Their marriage, despite the unusual romantic story and exotic lifestyle, was very traditional in other ways. She cooked, he did all the driving and planning, as well as the tent setups and takedowns. It was nice to see them together. He clearly admired her, as he told me when I asked him off the record how they got along in that intense 24/7. He said they got along fantastically and smiled.
In secret she divulged to me that notwithstanding the fact that he directed and orchestrated the entire trip, the bottom line was he did everything she wanted. She was really the one in control. I guess that pattern works and there are different ways to do things. I, personally, would have a hard time letting somebody else make all the decisions for me. Also, the arrangement seemed to be a bit unfair to him, knowing full well how much work it took to run a trip all on one’s own. That said, who am I to judge other people’s lifestyles that clearly work for them?
In the evening we all sat in the common room with a few groups of American elderlies. They talked a lot about themselves and some about Israel. One told us a long and complicated story about Golda Meir and some encounter he had with her decades ago. I was listening with half ear because I was trying to simultaneously read Jim’s letter and answer it. I had some salad with sardines and they were eating spaghetti.
Unbelievable! Just as I decided to leave the tent “unlocked”, it started raining again.
“Getting a Sense of Place”
This was a full and enjoyable day.
After cooking myself some red lentils with quinoa, I went to the North Sidney KOA beach to get a dip. It was cold but not too bad. A romantic couple departed shortly after I arrived, but that was not because of me, or so they said. The campground surround was so beautiful, why do most people who come here leave right away?
Following the cold dip (with my orange “tail” and the goggles) I walked down the gravel road by the side of the fjord (or was it a lake?). I love this confusing mix of salt and fresh, land and sea. Jim talked about “getting a sense of place”. I needed to get that first before venturing further.
But I did venture further in the end, much further actually, to the famous Donelda’s trip to theBirds Islands.