The picturesque town of Digby is famous for scallops, so naturally, it makes sense having them for dinner. Nothing beats fresh, never frozen, seafood and this is one of the perks of touring Canada’s east coast. I really liked this town, it has not succumbed to strip malls, corporate branding, modern architecture and unchecked growth.
The Fundy Restaurant was recommended by motel hostess. It was a good call, the prices are reasonable, it has a waterside patio and a 24 lb live lobster.
Dinner was a bit lonely, I was missing my wife, stepdaughters and pets. That said, I believe it does a man good to be on his own for several days every now and then. It gives one time to ease the mind, reflect and reconnect with the natural world outside of the confines and comforts of home and office. Motorcycling is a great way to accomplish this and family is never out of touch thanks to texting and emails. Take a moment to think of how things were back in the days before cell phones. Imagine a solo road trip taken over a few weeks, there were few opportunities to connect with friends and family back home. Calling long distance on landlines was very expensive and seldom convenient. Perhaps we’ve lost something along the way: namely the ability to be completely at ease with one’s self. I’m guilty of this as I was constantly checking my smartphone for texts, Facebook likes or missed calls from my wife and friends. In moments like this one is truly aware of how technology has inexorably transformed us for better or worse.
Despite all the of trappings smartphones and social media, when I am riding the motorcycle, none of that matters. I can’t see text messages, take calls or check out any social media and that’s a good thing. Instead, I’m enjoying the surroundings, taking in the scenery, breathing fresh air and I am grateful for some solitude. I’m far more at peace in the countryside than the city. So much so, I forgot to take my blood pressure medication for a few days and failed to notice. Yeah, the stress was gone. I went from a Soylent Green world to one where Ralph Waldo Emerson would feel at home.
When you ride a big touring bike, strangers often step out of their comfort zone and chat with you. They say things like “Nice bike!”, “You are a long way from home!”, “Where are you from? “, “Where are you going?” and “Wow, that’s a lot miles you are covering”. One seldom encounters these encounters when travelling in a car. Sometimes these conversations can result in new friendships and most often they are just passing remarks. On this trip, I did not make new friends, but several people made the aforementioned comments, it’s par for the course. However, there were two people who stood out.
After checking in at the Hedley House Motel, I started unpacking the Harley and noticed two men at the adjacent room, they were removing luggage out of a somewhat dilapidated van with British Columbia plates. I learned they are a father and son from Switzerland. The father appeared to be in his mid-fifties and the son around twenty. We exchanged friendly nods and about a half hour later, I went to the front desk to ask for dinner recommendations in Digby. The two Swiss guys were there doing the same and I overheard their conversation with the hostess. They were touring Canada for three whole months! They flew into Vancouver and headed out east. The van was purchased in B.C. as the cost of renting a vehicle far exceeded the cost of purchasing a well used vehicle. The Swiss are a practical and efficient people, which are admirable qualities. The father said the van required a few minor repairs en-route, but nothing serious. They planned to sell the van, at any price, or as scrap, before returning to Switzerland. I was impressed! That is a trip to be envied and it’s great to see a young man spending three months on a road trip with his father in a foreign country.
While enjoying my dinner at the Fundy House, the Swiss arrived and sat down at a nearby table. Once again we exchanged a friendly smile and nod, part of me wanted to go over and talk with them, however, my gut instinct said to let them enjoy their dinner and I felt we had a quiet and mutual respect for one another. Moreover, I was enjoying my quiet time alone and nothing more needed to be said.
The scallops were delicious, better than what we get in Toronto. After dinner, I relaxed at the motel with some Canadian Bourbon and a cigar. This was my last night in Nova Scotia and it was time to head back home.