Saturday, April 28, 2012

It rained this morning: that cold, wet, miserable rain that can only mean it is April in Maine.

I was holding 40, hunched behind the windshield, seeking vision through rain speckled windshield and faceplate.  Ha!

On my way to get some blood drawn to see if the radiation was killing my thyroid.

Cancer has a way of messing with your life.

Did I mention I was grumpy?

Go figure.

Fortunately, the sun did make an appearance, and with it shining nice and warm upon my face, I decided to toss the lousy attitude and go for what my blog title preaches: Scooter for fun.  So, off I went, riding along the shoreline, warm and toasty, AND dry, and having a good time.

As I rode along, I rounded a nice bend and noticed this sign:


Now, how can you refuse such a neat invitation?


Screeched to a halt, jumped off, and headed for the deep, dark woods.

There's something special about a forest – even a small one such as this.  Things take on a different hue, a special color, a different focus.  Wandering along, one sees things differently than one would see walking down a tree-lined street.  Everything looks..... different.


There are so many shades of black and white.  Silly.  Black is black and white is white.  Still, the whites are not really grey, the blacks not really midnight....


Perhaps it is the eye that confounds one, or the mood.  Whatever it is, to me the woods toss-out the word "real" and serve-up "wonder".




Even rock walls wander between mild and bright, dark and brilliant, while fallen trees toss splashes of black amongst their laid-back, mild hue.


You know, this being Maine, no matter where you are, sooner or sooner, you'll reach the ocean: usually sooner.  It will creep in, peeking in now and again, through the thick boughs.


And unless you turn quickly...


There you are.


The ocean.

Ah, it's always a treat to find one's self tossed upon the beach, so to speak.  There you were, one moment lost amongst the magical land of shades and lightness, and suddenly, here you are among the land of brightness, even harshness.

But wait!  Strewn amongst the never-ending stones, tucked deep and oft-times safely, within and among the piles of grey, live delightful treasures...

All you need do is seek...


...these little bits of magic: Wondrous sea glass.

These collected, I stood, ready to saddle-up and head for home – a new man.  Calm, cool and collected.  That's what scootering does for you.

As I walked away from the shoreline, I noticed a tree trunk that had been playing at the shore's edge for many years.  The Sun, wind and sea had all contributed toward sculpting the trunk such that it now looked like a microcosm of the world within which it frolicked.


To me, wind, sand and sea were etched upon the trunk: here a beach,  there a wave, breaking upon a rock-strewn shore; a microcosm of the world without.

I walked back to my scooter.  Hopped on, and scootered off in the general direction of home.

Not bad.  The Sun was warm, the road dry and beckoning.  Time to continue Scootering for Fun.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Ever notice how, if you go for a hike on a sunny day, it rains?

How, if you plan a great (alright, good) scooter trip, you meet all the construction crews in the entire state?

And how the best laid plans of mice and scooter riders Gang aft agley?

Okay, I overplan.  Can't help it.  It's my legal training.....

Thursday looks good.
How's this sound....

22 to South Gorham where Mitchell Hill Rd. comes in on the left.

Left on Mitchell Hill Rd. to Holmes Rd. (a T).

Right on Holmes Rd. to McKenny Rd, which comes in on the right.

Right on McKenny Rd, which turns into Old Orchard Rd, which takes us to the Saco River at a place called Bar Mills.

But first, we turn left on Rt. 202, for a short distance on Pinkham Drive where we turn left and go to

Tory Hill Cafe....

Back up to Rt. 4A and turn left to cross the river.

Into Hollis Center and take Rt. 4 to Deering Ridge Rd. which comes in on the right.

Then Follow that to Townhouse Rd where we left and follow that down to Rt. 5 where we should find...

Cowabunga Ice Cream...

And the lake...

We can take Rt. 5 back all the way to Saco, then

Rt. One back to home territory.

How's that sound?




But, you've got to admit there's no uncertainty here, eh?

So, on Thursday, off I go to meet Tom of Scooter by the Sea fame


at the appointed place at the appointed time - 11 in the AM, at The County Farm.

I get there a bit early, so I spend so a few minutes looking the place over.  Not too many farms in mid-town Manhattan.


Long about 11:10, I started looking up the road for Tom - he's hardly ever late.

No Tom....

So, I look at the note he sent me...... "11's fine.  Let's meet at the County Store on Route 22..."  THE COUNTY STORE?  NOT THE COUNTY FARM?
So, that's how I went from 15 early to 15 late.  Of course, Tom was there, patient as ever.

And off we go....

Not too far.  The first turn on the route was being guarded by a tall, chunky, bearded Dude (no other word), with a very deep scowl, wielding a big STOP sign, while his compatriots, in big, mean-business machines, were gleefully tearing up the street.

Detour.

We huddled, miniature football players, helmet-to-helmet, working out a solution.  Got it!  Straight ahead for 9, left for four, then left again for a bit and right back to the road that lays wrecked before us.

Go!

Missed the first left, made a left further down, there was no second left, but we did turn right, and wandered ever forward, until.... we came upon a field forlorn; devoid of all but one lonely tree.



video

You may wonder why anyone would take a less-than-three second video of a tree.  The answer is simple: I thought the switch was on P instead of V.  Not too swift.

A look at our map showed us that we were on our own.  So, we saddled up and moved out.  And it was fun.

Tom took us right.  Then left, left.  Then right, left, right, right, then left (or was it right again?), AND.... we had a blast.

We were on some great little country roads that, I'm willing to bet, aren't even on the map.  They curved and butted into other roads, which, in turn scampered over the land willy-nilly.

And Then We Were In Hollis Center – just like we were supposed to be.

Of course, being in Hollis Center is being in Small Town USA.  Population, just over 4,000, spread-out over 39 sq. miles, means a population of about 107 folks per square mile.  Not bad, when you consider that Portland's population density is roughly 2,971 per square mile.

But, the important thing here, is that at the crossroads of the major highways bisecting Hollis Center, stands Your Country Store.



It's got everything you'd want.  Hungry? We've got a spot for that.



Need some groceries?  We've got a spot for that.

Want some candy? Gum? Smokes? Dodads?  We've got spots for that.



Not looking to spend much?  Take a look...


For $14 bucks, we stuffed our selves, and staggered out to our scooters.  Onward to the lake!

We never made it.

We did make it to Alfred: which is not far from Sanford: which is not far from Biddeford: which is not far from my house, AND is only 10 miles due south of Little Ossippee Pond: our destination.


Undaunted,  we headed north and found West Road.

Heaven.

A true country road: curvy, but not too curvy, nor too sharp. Scenic: enough to make you say "oohoo, ah, wow, son-of-a-gun" and other things like that.  It was paved and smooth, kept going up and up and just about made both the day and the year.

It ended at a Tee, where we stopped and looked at a map.  Tom, knew just about where we were, and planned our route out and home.  And so we started back.

Along the way, we were headed passed a building that had, what to me, were loads of blue stringers; almost like blue ribbons strung all over the place.  Tom pulled over and introduced me to


The up-to-date way to collect maple syrup.  Lots of tubing stretching from trees into the collection vat....




You can see the tubing running right into the "Sugar House".
Cool, eh?

Well by this time, the sun was headed for the other side of the world, and we both were getting tired, so we started our engines and ZOOM! homebound we were.

All in all, we traveled over 100 miles with an average speed of 50 mph.  Not too bad for a day's outing.  Stand by.  We'll do it again.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Spring!

Time to Switch on the ignition and

GO!


At first, the urge is to get on and "Head for the Hills" – which is okay.  Lots of "yet to get to" places out there.
But, just as I was about to grab the map to seek new adventures, it dawned on me that there are a great number of places right here in my home town that I could scooter to ZIIIIPPP, without putting on great mileage.

So, let me scooter you around Portland, Maine and its environs.

It's just a two-minute ride over the Casco Bay Bridge, which spans the Fore River, into South Portland.  Another two minutes and...






You are at one of the many little jewels of "wilderness" that beckons you to explore - on a small scale, the wilderness of old.







The meandering done, it's hop on once again, and....


In three short minutes...


You are at the mouth of the Fore River, where it slides into Casco Bay, looking across at Portland.




But Wait!  There's More!!!  As the pitchman on TV says, because, for just a 7-minute-more ride you get....


Bug Light Park and the Portland Pipeline Terminal!



Bug Light got its name because it originally sat some 2,500 feet off shore, connected by a low swamp.  Every evening, the light keeper had to navigate that swamp in order to light the lighthouse lamp.  Let me tell you, there may be other places that have "bite-em up badly" bugs, but this spot can hold its own against all comers.


Bug Light Park sits at the entrance to Portland.  Guarding that entrance is Fort Gorges.  Built during the Civil War to repel any Southern invaders, it sits today as a fun spot to visit and a grand welcoming sight for folks coming to Portland by boat.

So there it is.  Scootering for Fun and not going very far.
Spring is in the air.  Mount up!


Thursday, April 12, 2012


I went down to my hometown yesterday.

Needed to get a "City" fix.

Truth is, you can take the kid out of the City, but you can't take the City out of the kid.


Can't stay away too long, otherwise I get morose.  So, when my beautiful stepdaughter said she needed some help, the BRW and I were packed and on the bus before the cats even had a chance to carry-on about our leaving.

ZOOM!
GONE!

Spring has sprung in the City.


Although you need to pay attention to realize it.  The City doesn't scream it out, it just places reminders here and there, knowing that the observant will realize what's happening.





The greenery nestles within the crevasses of architecture, blending and melding the various structures into a cohesive whole.





Softening the harshness of too much traffic, too much liter, too much noise and too many people.

But, then again, that's what the city is all about:  Too much.
Restaurant begats restaurant, begets yet another.






Until every space contains something; something to call out, to let you know that humanity lives here, despite the constant changes of existence.


And even those of us that seek to ply a different route: to wander astride the Pegasus of Today, find comfort and familiarity nestled amongst the curbs, beneath the green of spring.









It was a short stay - one day, down and back, but it refreshed me, and I recalled the words written on metal, down at the tip of the City, along the Hudson River:

"I can't even enjoy a blade of grass unless I know
there's a subway handy,
or a record store or
some other sign that people do not  totally regret life.
It's more important to confirm the least sincere.
The clouds get enough attention as it is....