North of the Border With the Wandering Sparrow

Joe Sparrow - Wandering Sparrow

Having personally traversed the 45th parallel all across the United States it was a real treat for me to visit the first monument ever dedicated to it in America. It was installed in the late 1800s and is about as far east as you can be in the states without getting your feet wet.

With little extra time off between the motorcycle rally’s that I work at it’s always a question for me of what to do and how to kill time between jobs. After 21 days straight working in Sturgis, South Dakota at the J&P Cycles retail store and 2 days of rest camping in the Black Hills National Forest with my motorcycle nomad drifter friends the decision was easy. I would head to one of my favorite campgrounds on the northernmost point of Nova Scotia, Canada for a couple nights then head south to Digby, Nova Scotia for the 12th annual Wharf Rat (motorcycle) Rally.

Knowing that I had plenty of time to meet up with my friends in Canada I stuck to the two lane back roads out of Sturgis all the way to Chicago. After that it was all interstates and toll roads until I got to the beautiful Finger Lakes region of New York (well except for that one wrong turn where I ended up in Michigan). It was in the Finger Lakes region that I met up with some longtime friends of mine from Florida at a KOA Kampground and toured the local wineries that the area is famous for. I don’t drink, so I was the designated driver. I was making pretty good time so far heading east by traveling anywhere between 375 and 550 miles a day on a roughly 2,800 mile one-way trip. By the time I made it to Bar Harbor, Maine I figured it was time to get back on the two lane highways and follow the coastal route.

I’ve ridden my motorcycle to Nova Scotia at least 6 times, so I’m always looking for different routes to get there. This time, I would run halfway up the eastern border of Maine and enter New Brunswick on Canadian Highway 2. Moose are known to populate this highway (as with anywhere pretty much in Canada) but I didn’t get to see any this time. While in New Brunswick I stopped in the small seaside town of Shediac and visited with friends for the night. As luck would have it the town was having its own motorcycle rally and just happens to be the Lobster Capital of the World.

From there I would head into Nova Scotia and meet up with a friend and ride all the way to the tip-top of the island to one of my favorite campgrounds. My Canadian friends that I’ve gotten to know over the years, and the new ones I seem to meet every year, are always the highlight of my trip, but the Wharf Rat Rally is what brings everyone together. It’s a small rally compared to the American rally’s but I really enjoy the hospitality they extend. This was my 4th time here and I plan on returning next year on Labor Day weekend and I hope you do too.

Maine - Joe Sparrow - Wandering Sparrow

Blueberries are a huge industry in Maine and little did I know that the wild blueberry is one of only three fruits that are native to America.

 

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I often meet strangers in my travels that are drawn to my motorcycle and we soon become good friends. This was at a campground in Acadia National Park near Bar Harbor, Maine.

 

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View of St. Croix Island International Historic Site where the French presence in North America had begun back in 1604.

 

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Crossing the border into Canada can be somewhat of a crap-shoot but this time it was a short wait and simple entry.

 

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Before and after.

 

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Moose can cause havoc on the highways so these one-way gates with tall fences provide them a way to get off the shoulder of the highway but not back on. Luckily I didn’t encounter any of these lumbering behemoths on my truck north.

 

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One of the nightly stopovers on the Bras d’Or Lake always includes a breathtaking sunset, unencumbered stargazing and a warm campfire with good friends.

 

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The Cabot Trail at the northern end of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia is considered by some as the best motorcycle road in eastern Canada.

 

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This is the typical reaction of anyone that rides the Cabot Trail.

 

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One of my favorite campsite on this planet. Meat Cove Campground and Oceanside Chowder Hut is at the tip top of Nova Scotia and well worth the trip.

 

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My ride from Sturgis, South Dakota to The Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia, Canada is approximately 2,800 miles but with roads like this I’ll be back again and again.

 

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Morning coffee in a magical place.

 

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Impromptu beach art where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Gulf of St.Lawrence.

 

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A stop at the Rocking Horse Ranch made us appreciate the good in people. The owner rescues wounded, abandoned or sick animals of all kinds and nurses them back to health.

 

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Sounds of silence.

 

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I have learned in life to talk to everybody because everyone has a story to tell. This gentleman has a lot of antique motorcycle parts in his 100+ year old garage that he was showing us. He abruptly stopped what he was talking about and said come up to my house. I want to show you my bicycle.

 

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Digby, Nova Scotia is not only the home of the Wharf Rat Rally, it is also the undisputed Scallop Capital of the World.

 

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Tides in the Bay of Fundy can change as much as 52 feet (the highest in the world) but at Digby it’s about 32 feet. This is low tide on the waterfront at the Wharf Rat Rally in Digby.

 

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This was the 12th year for this Canadian motorcycle rally which is considered by some as the largest in all of Canada.

 

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The rally is hosted in this quaint fishing village with a really cool maritime feel and look.

 

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A true wharf rat.

 

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My good friend Bean’re was at the rally doing a book signing. His latest book is about his 4 month adventure in the far east and I was lucky enough to be along for 2 of those months.

 

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Just monkeying around on Main Street.

 

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I guess it wouldn’t really be a Wharf Rat Rally without some rats.

 

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Without our Canadian allies and gentleman like this World War Two veteran there probably wouldn’t be any motorcycle rally’s as we know it and for them “I Thank You”.

 

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As I wait to catch the ferry boat across the Bay of Fundy, I have to reflect back on how friendly the people are that I meet at the Wharf Rat Rally. I will be back.

 

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An overview of my two-wheeled adventure through the Maritimes of Nova Scotia.

2017-03-09T11:52:34+00:00 By |Uncategorized|1 Comment

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One Comment

  1. Don Carlo October 4, 2016 at 8:38 pm

    Thank you for the short story of traveling to Nova Scotia. Well done!

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