Fail Safe

This is the good land yacht GETAWAY at an unscheduled stop along the side of the road in New Brunswick, Canada. 25 miles from the border crossing and five miles from the last campsite.

The Check Engine light came on at the end of the day before. Then went out. This was after 1,250 miles of Check Engine free driving.  This light can usually be cleared by draining a bit of fuel/water out of the fuel/water separator.  This was done the morning before departure, so we hit the road with the expectations of being home by early afternoon.

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RV Anxiety 

Getaway on Cape Breton Island

I’m an RV’er and I suffer from RV Anxiety. This affliction is caused by hoping that this complex system gets from point A to B without experiencing a catastrophic event.  The tires, the engine, the slides and the everything else could fail at the most inconvenient moment, at the furthest possible distance from convenient resolution. 

Is there enough fuel in the tank to get to the next refueling opportunity? Will there be adequate driving space at the fuel stop?  My inner voice of conspiracy theory says that everyone else will selfishly deny me the space needed. Their inner voice of WTH wonder why I am denying them safe access to the pumps while topping of with 60+ gallons of fuel.  Right now, this is big whopping creature due to trying to get into, through and out of Canada without a fuel stop.  Poor planning causes anxiety. 

Is the next site truly RV capable?  Every site that says they are may not be until proven otherwise.  This is based on an experienced sample size of once, nearly twice. 

Will the tires not fail catastrophically?  The left sides were slightly down last night. When topping them off, at first, no air was being accepted.  Why?  I forgot to turn the air on at the connection, one simple right angle turn would have prevented that outburst of Now What?

The route itself is reasonably stable. My challenge will to be not driving from behind.  My inner voice of courtesy screams, get out of the way of others, quit holding up traffic!  That mostly happened on the next to last leg inbound, a significant side wind and the alternating 1-2 lanes of passing were wearing at the end of along travel day.

Long travels – split them into two segments.  Not 60% first on Day One and then 40% to get there on Day Two. Too late, reservations made. 

This one became more real than ever expected.  Stay Tuned for Fail Safe.

2016 Cape Breton Island Reflections & Revelations

The Cabot Trail from The Skyline Trail

Today is Friday, the day of rest.  The original scope of this trip was to visit Nova Scotia (NS).  NS is huge with several obvious regions.  The scope was readjusted from the whole province to just one region ~ Cape Breton Island (CBI).  CBI is a large island!  

After two travel days, with some rain, side winds, hills and bouts of significant traffic,  we arrived at the North Sydney KOA, our base of operations for the upcoming week of daily road trips.  The island is divided into scenic tourism trails. These serve as a good planning guide for the daily road trips. 


  • Saturday: Bras D’or Lake trail: Occassional scenic vistas, bridge, lunch in Iona and off to the Eileanan Brèagha Vineyards is the first and only estate winery on Cape Breton Island.  This destination turned the day trip into an odyssey.  The route from Iona is primarily on dirt roads with pot holes, swerves and other expectations.  The unexpected was the closed bridge/detour which sent us way up almost to pavement and back down on dirt roads again. Then the long ride back to base camp.
  • Sunday: The Celidh, pronounced (kay-lee) trail.  First pavement and then deliberately chosen dirt roads. Scenic destinations along the way included Glencoe, the remote coast south of Mabou, lunch at the Red Shoe Pub, single malt tasting at Glenora, and toe dipping at the Inverness beach. 
  • Monday: Day one on The Cabot Trail.  The intention was Whale Watching out of Ignonish, but off shore winds and waves nixed those plans.  So it was off to the Cabot Trail along the way to Meat Cove ~ the end of the road at the top of CBI. Coastal vistas & villages along the way, through a mountain pass from the inland to the coast, and more dirt road, hills & turns. It was worth it, the remote vista overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and no place left to go forward. So we turned back anyways for lunch and completion of our first orientation trip around the rest of The Cabot Trail.   
  • Tuesday: The Marconi/Fluer de Lis trail: Through Sydney proper to score a picture of The Great Fiddle at the cruise ship  terminal.  Then off to the coast to watch the Newfoundland ferries depart/arrive – passing each other in the outer harbor. A coastal harbor defense/war memorial site. Windmills paired with a power plant and to the first destination/disappointment — The Marconi Site visitor center closed the day before for the season. BUMMER. A quick walk around the grounds, lunch in Glacé Bay and down towards the Fortress of Louisburg.  The Atlantic coast was typically foggy. Arrived too late in the day for a bus tour down to the fort, we went through the deserted tourist town of Louisburg and went out to the lighthouse for some foggy photography of the lighthouse, shore and thrashing waves. 
  • Wednesday: After several longer, but necessary day trips, we stayed closer to base camp for the day, relatively speaking. Highlights include the Alexander Graham Bell museum in Baddeck, the salmon hatchery over towards Margharee, an organic brew pub for some tasty tastings.
  • Thursday: The Cabot Trail redux.  The argument is, which way is the best way to drive The Cabot Trail.  The best answer is both ways! So we went back the other way and saw the trail from the other perspective.  The bonus event for this day was hiking The Skyline Trail.  Lunch on the road and home again.
  • Friday. That’s today.  Perhaps lunch over in Sydney.  Time will be spent getting the coach ready for the two day return trip on Saturday and Sunday.

Every picture tells a story. Early on in this trip, I did spend some time posting an album up on Facebook.  Those are the preliminary photographs only.  With two cameras clicking away, time will be spent selecting and processing the best for an album to be posted on Flickr.  Why Flickr? broader audience v the deleted audience of Facebook.  

Last night, my phone rang. I receive very few calls, so took this one. It was our RV Winter Storage guy, calling to get our intentions for winter storage. Since we are still working, the coach goes into hibernation from late October to early May. The ideal winter storage destination will be warmer climes, but we are not there yet. 

However, there is one final trip to be taken. In a month, we will be at Schoodic Woods campground in Acadia National Park.

YMWV – thank you for reading and stay tuned for more Getaway Chronicle. 


2016 CBI The Cabot Trail ~ Racing Style

Recap redux: Thursday/Friday: Travel

Saturday, Brad D’or scenic lake trail.

Sunday: Celidh scenic trail.


  • Plan A: Whale watching out of Igonish, then The Cabot Trail with a side trip to Meat Cove.
  • Plan B: The Cabot Trail with a side trip to Meat Cove, & then beyond, racin’style.  

The weather forecast called for higher winds & waves beyond the margin of safety for whale watching = trip cancelled. 

Plan B implemented. 

Looking back down The Cabot Trail.

A lot of views like this, the road disappears into either a hopeless abyss or continues on unscathed. 

Tidy harbors.

Beacons of hope.

The End of the Road at Meat Cove

The way back.

A Highland Shelter for travelers.

The Skyline Trail

Beach Monument

Great Blue Heron


2016 Cape Bretton Island – Sunday

Recap so far. Thursday and Friday were travel days. Saturday was the Lake Scenic Drive.  That makes Sunday the Celidh (pronounced kay-lee) scenic drive.  An overland route started the day. Instead of taking the paved route, we chose the back/dirt road route, less traffic, slower pace and ease for slowing & stopping for photography. We were not disappointed.

This scenic vista, a solitary church, was along the way to Glencoe. We have been to the other Glencoe, the one in Scotland. The Scottish Glencoe was were the code of was violated and broken. That was our 25th anniversary trip. The memory is haunting.

The CBI Glencoe seems to have quietly reset the code.  The sense of place was peaceful, serene and inviting, certainly worth the overland journey away from hustle and bustle of paved routes.

From there, it was on to western coast, south of Mabou.  Good access to the coast, like too many coasts, is not as plentiful as is needed.  Good on the folks who share the views, above which Eagles soar ~ we saw several.  Close enough to see the tell tale flashes of white head and tail feathers.  To far away for decent photography.  The mind will always remember.

Lunch was at the Red Shoe Pub in Mabou along the way to Glenora, the only single malt distillery in North America.  A pleasant place with tasty food – 5 stars on the Facebook review.

The Red Shoe Pub has become a kind of “home away from home” for many locals and visitors over the years. After a brief closing, the Red Shoe Pub was bought by the Rankin family and was reopened in 2005.We look forward to seeing you this summer at”The Shoe” for good food, drinks and great music!



The legend is right, after two+ decades of trials & tribulations, Glenora has carved out their space in the local and regional single malt market.  Their story is one of persistence. Imagine a business model where it takes ten years to release the first product.  They persevered and deserve their niche in the market for world class single malt.

After the tour & testing, it was on to the beach at Inverness.

Another delightful day was enjoyed.


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2016 Cape Breton Island continued

Looks like we made and then some. 

This has been an awesome trip so far. Arrival, sunrises, night photography, persistent scenic vistas, day long day-trips and more.  

This post is only a top level summary.  Once we get back, time will be spent assembling and posting a complete picture album on our Flickr account.  (Not everything belongs on FaceBook.)

Day Two – second travel day.  Another misdirect as we came across the causeway/bridge. I turned prematurely and we ended up in trailer park, several miles up the road. Smoke the toad was disconnected, GetAway turned around, Smoke the toad reconnected and we continued onward to the day’s destination. That being the North Sydney KOA overlooking the scenic Seal Island Bridge.  

The site itself is huge, but seems a bit soft. This amplifies the need to bring our own jack pads.  So noted and purchase priority adjusted. 

Dinner was at a clean neighborhood bar in North Sydney.  

Day One on the ground.  There are five  scenic tourist trails on CBI.  The first one taken was the Bras D’Or Lake trail.  CBI has several large lakes, colloquially called inland seas.  The trail itself, on the map, follows the shore.  But as is typical, private residences occupy the space between the road and the shore.  Glimpses between were infrequent and shore access points were rare.  Still, a very nice ride about. Lunch was at on old church in Iona.  The daily feature was a tasty Whistle Pig special — a hot dog with cheese, bacon, a bit too much relish and mustard. 

From here it was off to the island’s only Estate Vineyard ~ Eileanan Breagha (Ay-len-an  Bree-ah) remotely located in Marble Mountain.  The GPS was unable to find the address, so we relied on the written description and took off for what became miles on back dirt roads.  Then a bridge was out, adding more miles on back dirt roads. Finally, we arrived after nearly missing the unsigned road that dashed up the side of Marble Mountain.

It may technically be an estate vineyard while their story tells of a restart in progress.  Credit is given for persistence. Style remains an in-progress improvement opportunity. May they continue to thrive during their resurrection.  Two bottles of red were bought for on island consumption.  (Pesky border crossing restrictions based upon ancient and archaic prohibition rum running days).

I nearly forgot, first sunrise was awesome and the visit from a seal while watching the sunrise was an unexpected treat. 


2016 Cape Breton Island Day One

Thursday, September 1, 2016

This was day one of two travel days. Destination, Fundy National Park, New Brunswick. By the end of the day, we drove a one day record for us, 425 miles. This will not be the norm for us, but there was a designated travel day.

We only got ‘lost/misdirected’once, in Houlton, Maine. I inadvertently put a kink in the route when I was using an online route planning service.  Several possible routes were reviewed from a timing, easy of travel and mileage perspective.  Pure highway miles were only subtly longer but way more efficient from a timing perspective.  It’s that whole stop and go thing.  Anyway, the kink led us into and out of Houlton, then into the middle of nowhere we needed to be. Lesson learned – at transition points in the planning, get out of the macro and look at the critical details.  The RV was U-turned for the second time that day (the first was for a small town fuel stop), and we got to the border crossing. 

The border crossing, one gate of four was opened. This gate was a 3 meter gate, the RV needs at least 4 meters. So we drove over and upto the unmanned 5 meter gate. Traffic stacked up for the other singular gate.  Over the course of the next 15 minutes, all gates were manned, we were vouch saved and were back on our way.

Through one multiple kilometer long, with little observable activity, construction zone, the orange plastic safety poles were displaced. Typically placed in the construction zone for safe travel in a lane, these were offset into the travel lane. So a few were whacked before I set the rig closer over to the crumbling pavement on the far left. Mild damage to the coach, a strip of sheet metal by the steps.

 Weather was good for most of the trip, then started detoriating on the run into Fundy NP. The last thirty minutes were spent on a twisting turning, up and over 338M two lane road.  This was when the wet roads, turned into drizzle, then rain, then torrential tropical downpour rain with theatrical thunder and lightning.  We made it safe and sound anyways. 

We have always wanted to see Hopewell Rocks, so took off in the car.  Only to find they weren’t conveniently nearby.  (Better planning opportunity!). So after fifteen miles of dashing in Smoke (2015 Subaru Forester), we saw an Eagle dining on roadkill.  The Eagle was an exciting surprise, so we turned back for photography. 

The light was lousy. IPad Lightroom saved the day by teasing out the images.  Back to camp for dinner. 
Day two will be the dash to Cape Bretton island.  What adventures will be next?