Sunday, March 11, 2012

Last Thursday was predicted to be a "nice" day.

Who'da thunk it'd be one of the best of the year?

Ole Tom of Scooter By The Sea, fame,
had decreed Thursday as a "Get out and ride!" day, and who could argue with that?
So, off we went; headed southward on beautiful Route Nine.  Destination: Saco.

Boy!  Did the Weatherman do right by us this day.  Tom tells me we hit a record.  I believe him.  By the time we were 15-minutes into the ride, my neck warmer was gone.  10-minutes further and the zippers were all pulled way down.  It was that kind of a day.

Route One South, to Dunstan Corner, hang a left onto Route Nine and in just a short minute or two you are where the Dunstan and Scraborough Rivers meet, and where the Scarborough Wildlife Management building stands sentinel over the marsh.  Now, this is a great spot to stop and smell the flowers, so to speak.  Before you stretches acres of wetlands, teeming with life of every variety.  Kind of humbles you.

From then on, you just follow Route Nine, which rides along the shoreline to Old Orchard Beach - delightfully empty this time of the year, and well worth the rest-stop and photo-shoot time that we took.  Tom whipped out his trusty camera and took some great shots (which you can see on his blog page), while we relaxed and soaked-up every warm ray the Sun had to offer.

Skimming alongside the ocean south of Old Orchard Beach, you soon arrive at Ocean Park, a wonderful little village nestled snugly between the sea and the final outflow of Goosefare Brook, a meandering stream originating at least 6-miles inland, draining an area that includes the main streets of Saco, up passed I-95 and over to the Dunnegrass Golf Course outside of Old Orchard Beach. A very large area.

Ocean Park came into being under the Free Will Baptist organization, back  in 1881, in order to establish a place of summer resort for holding religious, educational and other meetings - a Chautauqua Village.

It sits entirely within Maine's Wildlife Refuge, so you can wander forest trails, before seek enlightenment in the village.  The village has a Temple that seats a thousand people, and is the site of many, many types of entertainment and enlightenment.  You should visit it, soonest.

Chautauqua, by the way, loosely means lecture, or learning by listening, and is perhaps most famous as the method used to explain and describe a cross-country motorcycle trip in the book, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.  If you haven't read it, now is the time to start.

From Ocean Park down to Ellis Beach, is a short trip.  Heading down you pass the Ferry Beach State Park, a small (100 acres) jewel nestled amongst the pines.  At the beach, so to speak, since at any point you could stop and walk to a beach in a few minutes, Route Nine hangs a sharp right and begins to follow the Saco River up to the town proper.  We stopped at this point, and went the little half-block to the beach to rest, sight see and, for Tom of course, to snap away with his handy camera.  Had we gone a bit further on Camp Ellis Avenue and followed Main Avenue into the little enclave there, we could have chowed down at either of two "Maine" food shacks: Hout's and Wormwood's, but alas, time was flitting by and we continued on.

The ride along this section of Rt. Nine was a teaser.  The landscape is pretty, but there were just enough glimpses of the Saco River to make the right handle of the scooter keep pulling back, (counter steering comes naturally to me having sailed many tiller-rigged boats) in an effort to wander down those offshoot roads to the river.  But we held firm and continued into town.  The reason? Coffee break.  Coffee break.

Tucked off into the corner of the main street of Saco: after you pass the fast as lightning-fast buyer and hot dog diner, is Pepperell Square, and tucked into Pepperel Square is the Blue Elephant Bistro, and that's where Tom and I went for our much-need coffee break.

Blue Elephant is what is missing in Portland.  It's well laid-out, with an extremely pleasant decor, AND very good food, wonderful pastries and magnificent coffee.  Sounds as if I like it eh?

With coffee and muffins demolished, we mounted our scooters and headed home.

Now, that's what you could call a great scooter adventure.  After all we do Scooter For Fun.


  1. Mike,

    Excellent post! I enjoyed reading about it almost as much as I enjoyed the ride itself. Keep the posts coming.


  2. Sheesh. Too bad we didn't have time to stop! ;)