So, according to my outstanding new mechanic Leigh at Dennis Motors in Ellerslie, somehow a small stone had lodged itself between the brake caliper and the brake pads on the rear wheel, seized up the rear brake, ground off the brake pads themselves and scored several deep gouges into the rotor disk. Effectively the Vespa was running with the rear brake engaged full-time, which is why the gas mileage was abysmal, the bike had no pick-up and the rear wheel was making that horrid scraping sound. Leigh, having no Vespa brake pads on hand (why would he? there are no Vespa dealerships in Prince Edward Island), took a set of Yamaha brake pads (Dennis Motors is a Yamaha dealer) and filed them down to fit the more narrow calipers on the Vespa. He then sanded the grooves out of the rotor and put the whole thing back together. Took all morning, but he did an outstanding job — the scooter rides great now, has excellent power (for a change) and the gas mileage has been restored. So, I can’t recommend Dennis Motors highly enough and am so grateful that they have resurrected our vacation.
That being the case, we headed north to Prince Edward Island National Park. To do so, we traversed the west side of Malpeque Bay, passed south through Summerside, headed north up the east side of Malpeque Bay and on into Cavendish. There are three sections to the National Park — the western section is accessed via Cavendish, the central section through Brackley Beach, leaving PEI-6 for PEI-15 and the park, and the eastern section near Greenwich. Cavendish itself is notable for Cows Ice Cream. This tourist trap is only worth mentioning because the ice cream is fabulous; there is also an excellent chocolate shop next door to it, along with the usual gift shops selling cleverly cow-branded merchandise. I would say it’s a place worth seeing once, unless you really like ice cream — in which case, don’t pass it by!
Given that the morning was devoted to scooter repairs, it was mid-afternoon before we arrived at the western reaches of the National Park. The park is lovely, sand dunes bordering an attractive red sand beach — reminded us of Popham Beach in Maine, without the extensive sand flats. Here are some views:
We walked the beach and waded in the water of the Gulf of St. Lawrence — warmer than Maine’s oceans but nowhere near as warm as the Northumberland Strait on the south side of PEI — too cold for swimming, although there were a few hardy souls in the water nevertheless.
Earlier, while we were eating ice cream at Cow’s, we had consulted the PEI tour guide and found a B&B very close to the National Park. Our proprietress had recommended a restaurant in Brackley Beach called Richard’s, but when we arrived there we discovered that the menu was basically lobster rolls and fried foods — probably excellent but not what we were in the mood to eat tonight. So we headed back toward the B&B in Oyster Bed Bridge (actually the name of the town!) and found an outstanding and unique restaurant called The Dunes. This is a combination of upscale restaurant with first-class art gallery and gardens. Here’s the view out of the window next to our table:
The art here is spectacular and ranges from paintings and sculpture to wood carvings and textiles, all for sale. And check out this chicken-and-rice dinner, and the chocolate torte which followed – fabulous!
So, tomorrow is looking like a casual sort of day, the only real obligation being that we have to get ourselves to Charlottetown (only about 25 miles away) for the night so that Robin can get to her consultation the next morning. Therefore, we expect to visit the eastern side of the National Park tomorrow, stop at a couple of interesting shops, and maybe find something interesting east of Charlottetown before we find a place to stay for the night. I remain most grateful that the Vespa is fixed, our vacation is salvaged and all is going well.