The next morning, we were the first to drive on the ferry. The vessel, Joseph and Clara Smallwood, has a capacity of 1,200 passengers and 370 automobiles or 77 tractor trailers. After driving our truck on the ferry, we grabbed our gear and got on deck to watch the whole loading process. The thick mist rolling around gave the morning a mystical feel. The sea gulls were lurking around, ever vigilant for the littlest scrap of food. Soon the fog horn sounded and the ship engine began to build up steam. Minutes later as the ferry began its journey, we were totally enveloped in the fog, not able to see land as the ferry pulled out of the dock.
It wasn’t long before we broke through the fog into a glorious, clear, sunny day. What an experience it was to stand on deck, feeling the spray of the Cabot Strait flowing between Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, linking the Gulf of St Lawrence and the Atlantic Ocean. Seven hours later we safely reached North Sydney, Nova Scotia. The Cape Cod style homes that were built right on the rocks above the water provided a picturesque backdrop.
As we began our trek east and south along Hwy 4, it seemed fitting that the song we heard on our radio was a traditional Irish folk song. Cape Breton Island’s charm was evident in the countryside and farm-scape we saw as we drove towards the Conso Causeway, the bridge that links Cape Breton Island to the mainland. The lush rolling hillside led us to Salisbury, NB that night. We slept to the sound of gently falling rain.
Day four of our cross Canada journey found us heading into St John, NB. We were able to see a few beautiful old covered bridges along the way. In the city of St John, we were able to observe the Reversing Falls, a series of rapids on the Saint John River, where the river runs through a narrow gorge before emptying into the Bay of Fundy. Our delivery location here was an old warehouse that had the appearance of being abandoned, but there were a few able bodied men on hand to unload the freight.
Just as we were wrapping up the paperwork for this delivery, we received a message on our satellite Com System advising us to head up to Bathurst, NB for our next pickup, about 400 km away - another full load of peat moss. It was a comfortable drive on Hwy 2 to Moncton, then north on Hwy 11 along the Gulf of St Lawrence. The farther north we got, the French influence in the architecture and signage got noticeably stronger. Good thing certain icons are universal.
The sun was just beginning to dip below the horizon as we arrived at the peat moss plant, which was very different from the one in Newfoundland. This was a huge operation with many buildings. An overwhelming pungent odour permeated the air. Three other trailers were scheduled to be loaded before us, so we had a bit of time to prepare and eat a simple meal. My wife can whip up some amazing meals in our tiny bunk with limited appliances.