Is life as a human but a chance moment on Earth? Do things happen for a reason or is it simply a roll of the dice? I have a good life, a loving husband, a cool and challenging job where no two days are alike. I’ve worked hard but appreciate I’ve been lucky.
Why this mid-summer comtemplation? A last-minute schedule change meant six open days and a chance for reflection. Road trip!
I had no desire to leave Nova Scotia during its resplendent summer but I wanted to drive to a place I’ve never driven, do one thing I’ve never done that would take me out of my comfort zone and watch sunrise everyday.
What to drive? Easy. The driveway offered a 2019 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Black Edition, whose 18-inch black-painted alloy wheels, exterior and interior glossy black details and signature Black Edition badging would match pretty much everything in my closet.
The stylish crossover is equipped with Mitsubishi’s super all-wheel control, the number one reason why consumers are buying the Eclipse Cross. I figured it would handle whatever the province threw at us.
The jaunty Eclipse Cross lead Mitsubishi’s July sales. Knowing it just received the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Top Safety Pick rating added even more assurance.
Fun and games were in order. We would roll a die each evening to determine the theme of the following day and call it our Dicey Nova Scotia 100-hour vacation.
Rolling a one meant everything had to relate to food. If we rolled a two, we had to insert some music/dance on our travels. A three was for friends and fellowship — socialize with complete strangers, not difficult in friendly Nova Scotia. Roll a four? Learn about the culture of the area.
Friends from Ontario, Tracey Clark and Ron Fine, joined Garry and me for a few days. We rolled a three our first day together — friends and fellowship. The first-time visitors to N.S. were enthusiastic, out-going and eager to see as much as possible.
First, and requisite Nova Scotia stop: Peggy’s Cove. We were all completely charmed by the iconic lighthouse, magnificent rocks, stunning scenery and, oh, those best-ever lobster rolls we devoured from U-Cook Lobster Food Truck.
Departing Halifax, our first highlight the next morning was a front-seat viewing of the Tidal Bore at Truro. The elegance of the tidal wave that unfurls its way up the Salmon River from the Bay of Fundy, home of the highest tides in the world, is a must-see-and-hear phenomenon.
From there, I plied the Eclipse Cross across the province to a couple of roads I’ve never driven before.
Routes 245 and 337 wrap around the coastline from New Glasgow to Cape George to Antigonish. At Arisaig, we perched high atop a bluff at Steinhart Distillery, feasted on schnitzel from the on-site Schnitzel Shack (say that five times fast!) and gazed across the Northumberland Strait at Prince Edward Island in the hazy distance.
The bottle of hand-crafted maple vodka that followed me home is waiting for a special occasion when we’re ready to relive the magic.
Cape Breton, with its world-class curb appeal, had to be on the Dicey Nova Scotia list. I was excited to throw the Eclipse Cross into the tight corners of the Cabot Trail, one of the planet’s top drives. Veering off the Cabot Trail up to Meat Cove is worth the detour and follows road trip rule #1 — always drive to the end of the road.
We were lucky to have scored cozy cabins at the lovely Normaway Inn, a hidden gem tucked away in the Margaree Valley. We felt luckier when we found out about the entertainment that evening in the Inn’s famous Barn. The fiddling madness of Ashley MacIsaac blew us all away, as did Mary Elizabeth MacInnis’ genius fingers on the keys and the sweet notes belted out by her talented daughter, Sarah MacInnis.
Square dancing with caller Bill Cameron on the microphone meant even the clumsiest of dancers (me) could feel like a pro. ‘Gents on the left, ladies on the right... Turn to your own...’ Dancing while Ashley fiddled was a magical moment.
We bid a sad farewell to Ron and Tracey, my kindred map-loving spirit. We rearranged ourselves in the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross, remarking how comfortable it had been despite carrying four adults with their dancing, hiking and road-tripping gear and how the handsome vehicle had done such a good job getting us down the road in Black Edition style.
The slick Tarmac Black paint was covered in dust and dirt from being decidedly off-tarmac. Our road machine wore a look that said mission accomplished, what else have you got?
Dicey Nova Scotia wasn’t over yet. We motored to the other end of the province, anticipating our last two days at historic Milford House, where I would be lulled to sleep by bullfrog symphonies and watch sunrise from the porch of our hand-built cabin.
We rolled a six for Adventure which is, of course, relative.
For this city girl, my out-of-my-comfort-zone mission was to take a canoe onto Geier Lake and paddle somewhere by myself. Check. I also built a fire and did yoga on the ocean floor. And I ate pancakes.
Then I rolled a five for Romance so I’ll stop here and thank our small but mighty province for offering up such varied roads and wondrous geography. Thank you, 2019 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross for your superb handling of those 1,875 kilometres and getting us to Nova Scotia’s tranquil coves, hidden beaches, sculpted coastlines, reversing rivers, lush valleys, rocky lakes and mystical capes where the roads end.