Article By: Mailman
Photos By: Mailman, Kevin, Chris and Brian
Originally Published In The July 2013 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
I wouldn’t say I’m a motorcycle rally aficionado, but I have attended my fair share of rallies over the years. One that is ranked on the top of my list is The Wharf Rat Rally in Digby, Nova Scotia. This one I classify as my vacation rally due to the diversity of people, scenery, and activities you can enjoy while there. Getting there is part of the fun since it is a bit of a trek from Atlanta, Georgia. The New England states are a great part of the ride, but the scenery just keeps getting better even after you cross into Canada at the tip of Maine. With just a few hours ride along the coast of New Brunswick, you are in the city of Saint John. There you have the option of taking a threehour ferry boat ride over to Digby or you can do what we did and ride north into Nova Scotia and then head back south to Digby. This is about an 8 hour ride but we took a few days and rode up and did the Cabot Trail, one of the top 10 riding destinations in North America. It has amazing views and coastal overlooks, but that is another article for another time.
Once you arrive in Digby, you have many options for accommodations from quaint B&Bs to the Digby Pines Resort or maybe a private little cabin tucked nicely in the woods at The Mountain Gap Inn. These are just a couple of places I’ve stayed; there are many more to choose from. The vendors here aren’t like the ones at an ordinary rally. There are plenty of mom-andpop type vendors selling everything under the sun. They also have a group of top notch builders who attend this event and come from the local providences to traveling half way across the United States and Canada to display their latest works. Any kind of motorcycle you could be into is represented as well as accessories and parts. There is something for everybody whether it is clothing, jewelry, bike parts, or food — you will find it here. As the name of the rally implies, there is a wharf, and a grand one at that. The wharf is active both day and night with commercial fishermen to the individual pole dropped in for a squid or two after dark. One day during the rally is race day. No not motorcycle racing but boat racing. People line the banks and the wharf, even boats in the bay stop to watch the speed boats race. They throw a massive automotive engine on a skiff and let it rip. The racing is fast and furious since they are on a tidal time clock. You see, Digby is on the Bay of Fundy. The tide rises and falls an unbelievable 55 feet twice a day, so where the boats are racing right now will be a mud basin in a couple of hours. It is unbelievable to witness the tidal change for sure.
Now let me touch on something that is near and dear to my heart — food. I grew up in Maryland on a steady diet of seafood so I know a thing or two about it, and I have to say, dining in Digby is divine. Digby is known as the scallop capitol of the world, but all the seafood is just as spectacular. Everything from fried calamari that melts in your mouth, a scallop hoagie for lunch, to a fullon dinner with lobster, clams, fish and oysters; I was in heaven every time I ate. The wharf is home to fishing fleets that bring in fresh catches every day so it is sometimes an hour or so from the boat to your plate. It doesn’t get much fresher than that. While I’m talking about things that touch my heart, there is another activity that I love to participate in. It’s a little bike show my friend Bean’re participates in every year for the local seniors at the assisted living center and the hospital. These lovely ladies and gents can’t travel into town so he brings the bike show to them. They come out to greet us, pick out their favorite bikes, and even their favorite “biker.” I know it isn’t much, but it does make my day to see the smiles on their faces looking at our bikes and talking with us about our travels.
Later the same day, we’re riding the countryside doing a rolling photo shoot with photographer Michael Lichter. We came across a go-cart track and had to trade in our two wheels for four. The competition was out there for sure. Two heats of smoking tires on the curves only to have my wife, Mailbox, come out victorious over six of us guys; I swear she cheated! While we were burning up the track, other friends decided to relax and went whale watching. Now I’m not sure but I believe whale watching was never on the list of activities at most of the other rallies I’ve attended. You can have all this and so much more from a great little rally in Digby, Nova Scotia. The local people are friendly towards the bikers, the food is fantastic, and vendors come from all over the United States and Canada. Photographers like Chris Callen from Cycle Source and Michael Lichter from Easyriders were there last year so who knows, you may even end up in one of your favorite motorcycle magazines. Bean’re always drops into Digby for the Wharf Rat Rally and you know he only goes to the best rallies out there. Do yourself a favor and check it out at www. wharfratrally.com. Not your typical rally but so much more.
Editor’s Note: For me, this rally was truly a one-of-a-kind event. I’ve been to motorcycle gigs all over the world and this one has its very own unique personality. I was blown away with the hospitality and dedication both the promoters and local builders have towards this event. It was an absolute pleasure to be invited to it. Unlike Mailman, I did take the ferry which was an incredible journey, almost like a luxury liner with a TV and cafeteria — pretty sweet. The only downside of my trip was a little hang up at the border, but that’s my own fault. Suffice it to say that after a little lecture on the differences between the two countries and their laws, I was free to enter. The fact that this event has so much water biker influence was great. I met up with the boys from Led Sled, and along with Bean’re and Mike Lichter we hopped aboard Glenn Dunn’s boat and went out to find trouble. A little while later, while watching the races, we came across a fishing troller that was loaded with rowdies. Of course we pulled along side her and boarded. It was a great time. Thanks to everyone at The Wharf Rat Rally for having us!