I had her for 5 years, lived aboard for 2. It was a bittersweet day.
I remember when I sold my Alfa…
We'd traveled up and down the entire east coast together: Eastport to Key West.
It was a very bittersweet moment.
And now, my Elite: 11,545 miles in 22 months. Just about 525 miles a month, every month - and those who live in Maine, or northern New England know what that means.
Another bittersweet moment.
But the truth of the matter is, 110ccs for two people and weekend gear, is just a bit too slow. We topped-out at 49.5 mph on the level…. 39 and change on a hill of any significance.
And so, when Kismet brought my riding buddy Tina and I to stumble upon a scooter that would solve the problem, I had no choice but to bow to the guiding hand of fate and….
And we now own a 2010 Piaggio BV 250.
Now, bring Summer on….
Speaking of pleasant things, today, while at Cumberland Scooters, having Darrell check the new machine over, I met one of my Facebook friends, Tracey, and her husband, who's name I must shamefully admit to having forgotten. It is always so wonderful to finally meet, in the person herself, so to speak, someone with whom you've spent "conversing" with in the past.
The long and the short of our conversation, was that both of them worked "weird" hours and could only ride on Fridays….. So, I promised to put together a ride for next Friday (and, who knows, maybe every Friday) and am sending out this advance notice of the
"Great Tracey and her husband whose name we will re-learn and never, ever forget again, Friday ride."
After living here lo, these many years, I believe I've reached the ranks of
The Insider Group.
Especially in the "Good, inexpensive, tasty-food, restaurants" department.
Portland, Maine is truly blessed with more good, gooderer and best restaurants than anyplace I've ever been to – other than my hometown. Even Boston can't compare.
Money issues aside, there's just so many times that you want to don a jacket, wear a tie (not that you need to in many restaurants), but if your dropping the big bucks, you should at least dress for the occasion.
Fortunately, Portland also has a plethora of fabulous restaurants that lack pretensions, require nothing more than your presence and a good appetite.
Today, we planned on being slick, and left early on a "direct," more or less, route and managed to get there
11 and 1/2 minutes before they closed. Neat timing. The staff was up to the challenge however, and served us toot sweet, and we settled back, enjoying both the food and the atmosphere.
With full bellies, and a goodie bag, we left Cozi, mounted up, and with Tina in the lead managed to locate a huge collection of strange, yet interesting places that just called out for stopping and photographing…..
The day was winding down, and we were winding our way homeward. As luck would have it we found ourselves at a crossroad that, were we to turn left would put us right into the front yard of a major motorcycle place - one that also handles scooters. What the heck…. we've been wandering all day, what's another 20-minutes?
Well, I had a fantastic day, and although I did not reach my goal of 250 miles (402 km), I did manage to get 215.9 miles (347.5 km) to ring up on the odometer. Not too shabby when you consider that, yet again, the weatherman was completely off-base.
I want to be a weatherman…. wrong most of the time, never get called on it, never need say "I'm sorry", never get fired.
It was cold, and with the wind it bordered on being brutal, although it was bright and clear. My peregrinations brought me to some real "Down Home" places: little towns that are tucked away where the tourists never go… Like….
The Cozi Corner….
Two eggs, toast, three sausages, home-fries, endless coffee, two-buck tip and under nine bucks… Got to love small town diners.
There is still a bit too much sand on the road to wheel around with gay abandon, but they are clear enough so that the lovely winding country lanes can be motored with a great deal of enjoyment. Not that you need (or want) to go speeding along. Half of the fun is coming upon sights like this…
Don't ask me what this is, I'm a city boy, but whether it's a storage shed, a residence or a hmmm, it certainly gets your attention. It looks so "just right" sitting out there - and the wood is unbelievable.
One of the real joys of riding the Blue Highways, are the houses you find just sitting there, looking just right, and usually adorned with large trees - unlike the barren desserts of today's new developments…
And, at every town, or village that you come upon, you'll find a very important structure - the firehouse. Makes you realize just how far away from everything you really are.
Another ubiquitous sight is a civil war monument….
Maine suffered brutal losses during the Civil War, with some towns losing most of its male population, boom, just like that.
One other fascinating aspect of Maine's roads is that they all intertwine. Travel on Road A for a while and you'll cross Road B. Thirty minutes later, here comes Road B again, zoom right across your path…
However, no matter where you travel, the scenery is always great…
Although, you are always reminded that this is Maine, and it stays cold here longer than anywhere "Away"…
The water's not yet liquid, and the limbs still bare…
One other aspect of Maine that folks from "Away" don't often get to experience is the "unimproved" state road.
This is a real road…. it gets plowed when it snows, gets sanded. It has a name, and a street sign. There are cross streets, with their own street sign. Mailboxes festoon the roadway…. the only thing strange is….
It's not paved. And at this time of the year, what you are riding on is a slick, hard, wet clay surface.
Lastly, this trip brought home, the harsh world of Northern New England…. the small tucked-away, personal burial grounds, that speak of short lives, and valiant hopes…
Well, as I said at the start, I had a fantastic day, and although I did not reach my goal of 250 miles (402 km), I did manage to get 215.9 miles (347.5 km)
And, as I rode home, visions of sugar plums danced in my head.