Thursday, March 29, 2012

It's Thursday!


Today was the end of my doctor imposed "No riding" restriction.

Was it a cold day?


Was it raining?


Did you go riding?

 To Quote Molly: "and yes, I said, yes, I will Yes!

And I Did!

Bartender!  Another Hot Toddy, Double Strength Please!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Great Minds Think Alike.

I woke up this morning to the little flutter, flutter of falling snow.  March came in like a lion, and it doesn't appear that its going out anything like a lamb.  I staggered down stairs, opened the door to get the newspaper, and thought to myself, "I need a picture of this madness."  So, I took a picture of my BRW's car with its mantle of snow.  Good shot for the blog, eh?

 I snap the shot, then go and power up, getting ready to upload the picture and, as I do most times, wander through the various blogs that I follow: one of the first I stop at belonging to my good friend Tom Keene -

And what to my wondrous eyes do appear right there on the screen, but a picture of Tom's wife's car, with it's snowy mantle.

Great Minds Think Alike.

So, to add to the record, here is my photo contribution of the late March snowfall.

Only one more day before my "Grounded" restriction is lifted
and Tom and I already have a "small trip" planned.  Only problem is the weather is forecast to be rainy, perhaps snowy, and definitely windy.  I guess Tom is going to have to put his liner back in, and pull out the thick gloves.  You've got to love Springtime in Maine.  Still in all, it will be the first time I'm onboard and riding in seven, count 'em, seven full days.
Can't wait.

Monday, March 26, 2012

It's Monday!  Time for

Speak Freely

The Radio show on WMPG, 90.9 FM!!

Mondays are never bad, because on Monday, at 1:30 PM, Eastern whatever (daylight or standard) time, Ray, Adam and I have a radio program called "Speak Freely".

That's an hour-and-a-half of speaking about whatever you want, with two other persons, neither of which ever seem to agree with you AND whatever listeners who decide to call in and give you a piece of your mind.  Now, I ask you, how can Monday be anything other than one great day?

Oh, one other point: some would say a key point – the three of us represent three different generations.  That means three different outlooks, viewpoints and definite opinions.


Adam is, umm, maybe 22.  Ray, I know, (because I called him up and teased him) just turned 50, and I'm, well, older than the two of them combined.  Only rocks are older.

The fun all starts about 1:15, when we all arrive and set up.  Adam and Ray get to sit in "the studio", AND get to play with all the controls...


I get to sit in "The dungeon" the little room you can see on the other side of the studio's glass.  It's not bad – as dungeon's go, although the view's not that exciting.

Half Empty or Half Full?

On days such as this, when the wind chills your soul and the rain dampens any hope of cheerfulness, I have a difficult time discerning the condition of life's glass.  Much as I want to be upbeat, some element of the day, the hour, the weather drains my soul and my glass.

Today, as I do every Sunday, I went over to our local bagel and bread shop to stock-up on its goodies.  Today, however, I drove my BRW's (Beautiful Redheaded Wife) car instead of my trusty Elite.  Perhaps it's the fact that I'm grounded until next Thursday that holds me down: thoughts of what adventures will be lost in these days, danced in my head.

It's a short drive to Willard Square, where, snugly nestled in an old period-house, sits Scratch Bakery, home of some fine bread and THE place to get bagels that are as close to New York Bagels as one can get.

Normally, there's a line inside, snaking around the bagels, alongside the display case, passed the coffee station, back to the cashier, but today - cold and dreary as it is, there were few bagelites milling around - all the better for picking out THE one bagel of the day.

 Buying bagels always cheers me up.  Perhaps it's the memory of doing so invokes: memories of bringing home these warm, scented, teeth-exercising rolls with, (can you believe this?), a hole – a hole right in its middle, upon which, mindful of the hole that would lose your applied treasures, you would soon slather (there's no other word for it), tons of fresh cream cheese, slices of thin lox and a very, very, thin slice of red onion topped, finally, with a small handful of capers.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Congratulations!  You are the proud recipient of a non-invasive  Surgery!

Are you kidding me?  The scar is 7-inches long!

Imagine if the doctor got invasive.

So I had surgery, okay.  That's not so bad.  But.....
The worst part came when I heard the words:

"No Riding for at least one-week."

Are you kidding?  I mean that's like telling Batman to lose Robin for a week, or sending Superman's costume to the cleaners, or, or.... you get the picture?

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Miles every month
Since June 8th, 2011

We bought the Honda Elite on June 8th, 2011.

Today we reached the 3,000 mile mark.

That's 333.33333....onward forever, miles each and every month.

We're talking December, January and February here - in Maine, not Florida.

So, here's the deal.......
If you ain't on the road in December, you don't get to ride in June, or July.

Think it'll work?  Probably not.  But it's a great idea.
Didcha ever ride around Lake Sebago?

That's what Tom asked.  Come to think of it, "No, I never did" I replied – and so began another scooter riding adventure.

It all started when were sitting in this great coffee place in Gorham called Saint Joe's Coffee.

St. Joe's is the Maine home of New Orlean's Beignets, which, being pronounced Ben Naay, is corrupted by our Down East accent, into Bennies – just plain Ben eees.
Be that as it may, St. Joe's whips up these deep fat fried dough-balls - four to a serving - covered in powdered sugar and a side of about six different "sauces".

Monday, March 19, 2012

Sunday At The Lake

Life doesn't always allow one to jump on the scooter and zoom away on another adventure – especially with one's beautiful redhead, so when warm weather and no REALLY pressing chores all came together, it was a mad rush to the clothing rack and the donning of riding gear.

The question of "Ah, but where shall we go?" was quickly answered.  Let's drive up to a lake and look around.  After all, we live by the ocean.  Let's see what living by a lake might feel.

So we hopped aboard and set our sights on Highland Lake, just a bit shy of eleven miles north.

One of the, to me, annoying things about living in a city, is that you first need to drive in the city before  you can get to the "country" roads.  I think this stems from my growing up in New York City, where - especially on a holiday weekend, it could take you 2 or more hours of driving just to get out of the city and out of the surrounding suburbs, onto a "country" road.  Of course, it's not anywhere that bad in Portland and, if you choose wisely, getting out of town can be a pleasant experience.

So we putt-puttered around Back Bay (which is always a delight), and headed north on Washington Avenue (which is also not too shabby) then peeled off at Blackstrap Road.  Ah, the country!
Just Follow the dots.
From Blackstrap Road on, it was fun country road riding.  At times it's hard to believe that I live in a state wherein its largest city is maybe, just maybe, a 20-minute ride to the countryside.  In fact, the folks who live around Highland Lake (for me, in the middle of nowhere) could be at their desk in Portland, about 30 minutes after they started the car.  Cool.

Now, if you look carefully at the above map you will see, at the bottom of the lake, where it narrows, a little black symbol - right on the water.  This signifies a boat launching ramp.  If you're really paying attention, you will note that the old "you can't get there from here" curse is at work.  There's no road going TO the ramp.  So, we're wondering, how do you launch your boat if you can't get your boat to the water's edge?  One way to find out..... go there.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Beware The Ides Of March.

Thursday, was the 15th day of March, which should have told me something.  Something should have gone "BOING", or "DANG", or even 'AWHOOOOHAAA".
Nothing did.

Thursday, was the Ides of March, a day when one of my piasanos killed another of my piasanos and forever cursed every high school student into performing, for passionate moms and dads, a long, long play, the eternal memory of which, burned into their brains, are the immortal words "et tu Brutus?"

Thursday was supposed to be nice, with temperatures in the mid to upper 40's.  Not quite Spring, but not Winter either.

Based upon the weatherman's prediction (What? are you crazy?), Tom Keene, of Scooter by the Sea fame, and I plotted out a long ride - a kind of "Spring is here and we are ready to go", kind of ride.  Seventy-eight miles, round trip - Portland to Bath with a stop in Topsham to check-out some scooters.

All of which should have sent massive warnings to my idle brain - but that never happened, and so we moved forward.

Thursday, was a day like any other day.  A day that illuminates your existence, moves in and alters your plans - as well as your life – and totally screws everything up.  Almost.  So listen while I relate to you the fate-filled day of March 15th.

To be fair to the weatherman, it wasn't Winter out, with a capital W, but at 29 degrees, it wasn't Spring either - with or without a capital.  By departure time, it had warmed up to about 38-degrees, inching to 40.  Tom, having really bought into this Spring-is-here thing, had removed, from his jacket, his nice, warm liner.  He had also changed over to his lighter gloves.  I too, had made what was supposed to be appropriate clothing changes.  Nevertheless, we met, greeted each other warmly (the only warmth for the next hour), and started North.

We followed Route 9.  The sign reads 9 East.  East?  The road never turns east.  North-northeast perhaps, but East?  Never.  Of course, this happens a lot in Maine and may be behind the old saying, "You can't get there from here."

We started off with slight, if worrisome smiles.  We arrived at the scooter shop in Topsham with deep grimaces - and a slight, uncontrollable tremor.  (Okay, not tremor.  Shaking is the word you're looking for).

We spent a nice hour ogling all the "I really would like this" scooters (and getting warm), then mounted up and drove exactly one and one-quarter city blocks to a Tim Horten's, where we settled in with a large cupa joe, and a big muffin, to plan the next segment.  One thing was unanimously agreed upon.  We were not going to go to Bath today.  Neither one of us had enough reserve to continue.  Thus we sat, illuminated and altered.

We finally settled on a nice ride south on Rt. 24 to Cundy's Harbor.  Nice road, nice ride, beautiful place.  The road kind of dead ends at the harbor, and during "season" there's place to eat and even buy some mementos.  Tom took some great shots and I'm sure he'll post them, so you should scoot over to his blog and check it out.

By now, the sun was getting low, the temperature was starting to dive, and we were tired.  It was time to scoot home.  Tom leading, I behind, we zoomed up Rt. 24 and jumped onto Rt. 1 South, and rode through Brunswick.  Thus far, while the day had most assuredly illuminated and altered our life, no real problems had reared their ugly heads.

Route 1 does something real weird just outside of Brunswick.  In order to continue south on the road, you must make a left U-turn from Route 1 South onto Rt. 1 North, cross over all three lanes of traffic and then, about 50-ft. ahead, make a right U-turn onto Rt. 1 South.  Don't ask me why this torture.  My guess is the  engineers were firm believers in population control – getting across the roadway means rapid acceleration, followed by hard braking as you enter the right U-turn.  And it was here that everything almost came to a crashing crescendo.

Tom, in the lead, curved into the left turn and disappeared from sight.  I followed – about 50 yards behind; leaned into the curve and looked right to scan for traffic, found none and faced forward – and there was Tom, 10-feet dead ahead, stopped dead by the traffic, big as life and getting bigger.  I stared fixedly at what was soon to be a very nasty meeting of machines.  And it would have happened had I not remembered the PRIME rule of scootering: Look where you want to go and bring the machine with you.

I looked hard right, and the scooter looked hard right and squeak! Tom flashed right by me going backwards at about Mach 2.  I braked hard, forced my heart back into my chest and walked over to where Tom was sitting on his Vesper, total disbelief spilling out of his eyes.  My father always said, "Live and learn", what I want to know is how do you stay alive to learn?

We sat, both, letting our cute little hearts stop their pitty patting, then, with hardly a word, we started up and, Tom in the lead, continued south on Route 1.

Who is it in the crowd that calls on me?  I hear a tongue, shriller than all the music, Cry “Rider.”
Well then, speak, this rider is turn'd to hear.
Beware the ides of March!
What man is that?  soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March.
He is a dreamer; let us leave him and pass on.

Beware the ides  of March.  Especially on Route 1 in Brunswick. 

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.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

There it is, stretching out endlessly: The open road.  It's in my blood, pounding through my body like the surf on a hard-wind day.  Saddle up! It calls, and I, unable or unwilling to resist, don my boots, my chaps, my jacket and gloves and, tugging my helmet into place, scooter off in search of life.