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This morning Kara left early for a counseling conference, the reason that she is over in Halifax. I had a bit of a late start and spent much of the late morning and early afternoon talking with Boyd about all sorts of things -- politics, wood working, canada, etc. I got the low down on good rides in the area, and on his advice rode down to Mahone Bay and Lunenberg on highway 3 in the afternoon and looped back on route 103.
The hot spots to check out on the southern side of Nova Scotia definitely include Lunenberg and Mahone Bay. Both are a bit touristy but still maintain an exceptable score on the John Meloy coolness scale. Lunenberg is where the famed Blue Nose II resides. The Blue Nose is a Nova Scotian built ship, a dual mast clipper I believe, that in it's day was never defeated in a race and has become a Nova Scotian symbol of pride. When it's racing days were over it was sold and the new owner cut the masts off of it and turned it into a cargo shipping boat or some such thing. Nova Scotia then built the Blue Nose II to commemorate the original Blue Nose. Half of every year it is docked in Lunenberg and the other half of the year it is a centerpiece of the waterfront in Halifax. The Lunenberg downtown is much like downtown Port Townsend, Washington. It consists of 5 or 6 square blocks of shops, all housed in victorian looking buildings squished together and painted all sorts of colors. The town is extremely picturesque and is one of the larger attractions in Nova Scotia.
Mahone Bay is another tourist place, and it's most notable features are the 3 different denomination churches side by side lining highway 3 facing out into the inlet of Mahone bay. I stopped in Mahone and had a great lunch of long grain brown rice, sauteed vegetables, and a good helping of excellent, fresh local scallops and shrimp. Yum.
As for riding in southern Nova Scotia the scenery is nice what with all the coves and little islands and the fishing boats and such, and the roads are twisty, but the surface is mediocre at best featuring a nice amount of washboard, corners strewn with gravel, and some nice shallow potholes, dips, and bumps. It's not a sport riders paradise that's for sure, but more of a cruiser take it easy sort of place.
Back at Boyd's, Kara called and invited me to the counselor convention lobster dinner and fiddle concert at Pier 22 on the waterfront in Halifax. I of course excepted and rode into town and met her at one of her family friends', the Larsens. We got a ride to the dinner from Kara's father, Bob, who was in town for the counselor convention as well.
Pier 22 was really cool. It was nothing more than a giant turn of the century warehouse that had been updated so that it could be used to host weddings, dinners, parties, dances, and the like. One side of the warehouse had floor to ceiling glass walls that looked over the bay inlet towards Dartmouth. A stage had been setup, there was a bar, lots of fisheries nets, lobster pots, and other Nova Scotian fisheries tools that lent a nice atlantic provinces feel to the dinner -- and it was all accompanied by Gordon Stroeb, a well known local fiddler, and a couple other good musicians.
Finally, the lobster! I've only had real lobster once before and it wasn't so good. It was down in connecticut and I've heard they're not quite as good as the Nova Scotian ones as they are a different breed. It may have been overcooked too. In any case this Nova Scotian lobster was absolutely tops. It was fresh and really tasty. Very much like good Alaskan King Crab legs actually. It was kind of fun learning all the good parts and bad parts of the lobster, and the best ways to rip it apart. Eeewwww, lobster liver... lobster roe? Funny, it tastes kind of bland and has the texture of chewy play-do (I'm quite familiar with that!).
After dinner the band kicked up and Kara and I kicked back and listened for a bit. Unfortunately I was planning on riding back to Boyd and Barb's tonight, about 20 minutes away, and we had chosen to walk back to the Larsen's, so we excused ourselves a bit early in the festivities and walked the 20 minutes across the eastern end of downtown Halifax.
We arrived back at the Larsen's and were greeted by a few tipsy hosts that insisted I spend the night there seeing as how the next morning I needed to drop my bike off just down the street. Fine with me, that'll save me 40 minutes out of town and back again in the morning. Kara has a number of extremely hospitable friends and relatives in Halifax!
Total Mileage for Day: 127
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