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Cape Cod

April 9, 2013

Massachusetts – Wednesday, April 3

This morning I packed up the van and said good-bye to my wonderful hosts. Then I set off for Cape Cod. I had always wanted to drive out to the very tip of the cape, and I’m glad it’s not peak tourist season, when I understand it’s so crowded it can be hard to drive anywhere!

Since I had made 2 donations on each of the last 2 days, I wasn’t going to be looking for a donation place today, and was just going to put some miles on instead. I made my way east to the beginning of the cape, and stopped in the town of Buzzard’s Bay. Cape Cod is shaped like a big flexed arm sticking out into the ocean from the rest of the mainland, and Buzzard’s Bay was near the shoulder. Back in the early 1900s a canal was built through this part of the land, which shortened sea voyages by 130 miles between New York and Boston. The idea for a canal was discussed as early as the 1600s, but several attempts didn’t quite work out, although everyone was eager to shorten the trade route. The canal is still heavily used today, although I only saw one tugboat pulling some sort of big barge through. I did notice the current was very swift, and the ducks seemed to be enjoying a nice free ride. The current changes directions every time the tide changes, so that complicates the route a bit. There was a wonderful canal-side walkway on both sides, so Tula and I set off and spent several hours walking a little over 7 miles. There was a train bridge near the beginning of my walk, but it was unlike any train bridge I’ve seen yet. Before the canal was built, there was a railroad line that was used a couple times a day. Digging a canal meant they had to deal with the train tracks, and if they just built a normal bridge the ships wouldn’t be able to fit under it, so they built a “reverse drawbridge” which has the tracks that cross the river raised up high on a bridge, and that is lowered when a train comes through, which isn’t nearly as often as the ships passing through. I would like to have seen the train tracks come down! It makes me wonder who has the right-of-way if a train needs to cross at the same time a big ship is passing through. Then we drove the scenic route along the north side of the cape, passing through a bunch of cute little towns with names like Sandwich, East Sandwich, West Barnstable, Yarmouth Port and on up to the “forearm” part of the cape. This area is very sandy and full of shifting dunes and over half of it is protected by the Cape Cod National Seashore. It was a beautiful drive up through the whole area, and I thought I’d be able to see the sunset, but there are so many cottages and homes on the west side that it was hard to see the water in many places! I suppose people wanted to take advantage of building where they could, and that resulted in many cottages and homes piled up right next to each other. I think it’s a good thing that a lot of the cape is protected by a national park!

We eventually made it all the way up to Provincetown in the “hand” part of the cape and got out to stretch and walk the last mile for the day by one of the beaches. Provincetown was just beginning to wake up from its long winter sleep, and many shops and motels were still closed for the season. I began to worry about finding a place to stay – it was only in the upper 30s and too cold to camp, and when I started calling around, motels were either closed or not pet-friendly. But one lady gave me a suggestion, and I found a pet-friendly place that had just opened up last weekend. So I happily took a room there and didn’t mind some of the construction stuff in the way as they spruce things up for a very busy summer season. I thought some of the construction was for hurricane damage repair, but they told me they came through the hurricane with minimal damage there, despite 90 mph winds. They just have a lot to do to get ready for the season.
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