The man from the repair shop knocked on our door at about 10:00 to tell us that our brake had been fixed. My dad went down the street to get it, as my mom and I packed up in the room. The problem was in the emergency brake, and we were told that we should be good as long as we remembered not to use it.
We set out back up the Cabot Trail, retracing our steps almost to the site of the brake-flame. Our destination was the gorgeous Skyline Trail, an almost five-mile trail on the top of French Mountain, overlooking the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Cabot Trail itself as it winds its way down the next mountain over towards Chéticamp.
The walk there was uneventful - lots of woods, even more moose droppings. We didn't see any wildlife, save for two small light brown ground squirrels and one small gray snake. That was just fine by me - I've already seen bear and moose from the safety of the car, and I have no intent of ever seeing one without the protection of a motor vehicle.
The trees cleared and we walked out on the boardwalk overlooking the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Atlantic Ocean ... but the fog had rolled in. Fog comes into the area around Chéticamp very rarely and we'd heard that the conditions can change suddenly at the series of viewing areas, so we waited.
We sat down and waited, occasionally stretching our legs out, for the better part of an hour. Just as the wait became unbearable, the fog began to lift around the mountains, slinking back along the water.
We were above the clouds, The long tip of the mountain, jutting out towards the Gulf of St. Lawrence, was completely clear, as were the peaks surrounding it. One could see the Cabot Trail as it wound around the mountain, down into the clouds and then back up again.
It was a wonderful view.
We stayed there for a long while, thinking that the fog might just break so we could see a bit of the ocean, but it never did. Once the locals started turning back, so did the few tourists - including a family from Orlando, who we talked to for a while. I took a few group shots on their camera for them and they did the same for us.
It was a long haul back. It's one of those trails that just sort of feels uphill both ways, and once we knew what we had ahead of us, with nothing to look forward to, and no fog to keep things cool, it was a slow haul back to the car. But get there we did, and we set back off down the Cabot Trail towards Chéticamp in low gear.
We stopped at every available pull-off, making sure not to hit the emergency brake. The brakes seemed fine, didn't smoke, and didn't smell bad. But as we headed into Chéticamp, the brakes sounded bad - specifically, that back right one that had had all the problems. As we pulled into a restaurant parking lot, the brake sounded like a muffled scream mixed with the sound of fingernails on a blackboard.
Hoping that the brakes were just overheating, we ate a late lunch. My dad split after he ate in order to drive the car down the street to get looked at by the same folks who took care of it earlier. My dad, meanwhile, limped back on down to the service station. By this point, he said that the brake was smoking again.
My mom and I got out of the restaurant and walked another mile or so to the service station, where we got the scoop: the brake was not totally disengaging. It was too late to call the dealership in Sydney, the nearest major city, so they will do that in the morning.
We walked down another block, got a room at the same motel as last night, and crashed.
Tomorrow: If the dealership in Sydney has the brake part we need, our car will be fixed by 2:00 and we can get farther down the road closer to the Prince Edward Island ferry. If not, we may have to patch it back up and see if we can limp down the road to Antigonish, which has a dealership.