MAINE: my final frontier. These are the voyages of the Scooter Vespa 250 i.e. Super. Its continuing mission - to explore America's most heavily forested state - to roam the vast coastline, numberless lakes, and mighty mountains. To boldly go where no scooter has gone before!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Cure For Gout

Like many stout older men, I have gout. When my doctor made that diagnosis, after probing my red, swollen feet far longer than necessary, he said coldly, "Gout."

"What," I asked.

"Gout," he said. "You've got gout."

"But gout is something fat old men get," I said.

Looking over his reading glasses, the doctor looked at me, glanced toward the full length mirror on the wall, then looked back at me, nodding his head toward the mirror with the unspoken sentence: "Look in the mirror, chubby." He may have been thinking, "tubby," not "chubby." I'm not sure.

In the past decade since this unpleasant visit to the man who is now my former doctor, I've taken pills, avoided real food that I can't live without, and suffered frequent attacks of debilitating pain.

But I've found a natural cure, something that's been right in front of me my whole life long. I share this miracle cure with you pictorially.

First, drive to the ocean. (I was Reid State Park on Georgetown Island, between Bath and Wiscasset.)

After parking your Vespa, or other scooter, walk through the bath house, or similar structure, on your way to the sea.

Glance at the day board to determine tides, times, and water temperatures. (Note that the surf this day was 50 degrees.)

Choose a spot on the beach away from other people. This isn't ladies tennis at Wimbledon -  no need to share the grunts and screams you'll likely emit when the frigid surf hits you.

This cure works best at low tide, since the breakers start at your toes, and in time, will reach your knees, waist, chest, neck, etc. (If you can't swim, this cure may kill you.)

Here comes a wave. Stand your ground.

Note that the toes curl into the sand. The deeper they dig, the more effective the treatment will be.

As the wave retreats, your feet will continue to dig into the sand, intensifying the sensation of healing.

Round one is over. Here comes another wave. The tide takes about six hours to rise from low to high. For this treatment to be truly effective, use the instructions on a bottle of shampoo: Rinse and repeat - for as long as you choose. 

Frankly, I'm not sure if this is a genuine cure. I just like it a lot. And living on the coast of Maine, I can experiment on the "cure" every day.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The President's Summer Home

After hearing from my three son's, each wishing me a Happy Father's Day, I took advantage of the perfect weather and the blissful freedom of retirement to ride my Vespa to Walker's Point, down Kennebunkport way. This is the summer home of the two Presidents Bush.

This runner nearly ruined my first shot of the Bush compound ... I took another, uncluttered by tourists, etc.

Last year, several dozen friends and neighbors of the 41st President presented him with a three-ton anchor from a Navy destroyer.

Here I am by the anchor, in front of the estate at Walker's Point.

The President's boat rocks at anchor.

Artist Robert M. Henry (lower right in cap) paints at Walker's Point. He painted a view of the Bush compound with sisters Chantal and Jessie, which they presented to their dad, Shawn, today, on Father's Day.

Jessie, left, and Chantel, hold the completed painting.

The artist himself photographs the family, including father, Shawn, and mother, Angela. Both parents are from Canada - Angela from Vancouver, Shawn from Prince Edward Island. They settled in Maine because, as Shawn said, "I've lived in 22 countries, and this is where we want to raise our children!"

A few miles down the coast from Walker's Point is Gooch's Beach, the name it's been called since 1658, maybe even earlier. Gooch's is 3,346 feet of the purest, softest, 'talcum powder' sand you'll ever find. 

Four modes of transportation can be seen - sort of - in the photo above.

Just behind the Vespa is an approaching bicycle, and on the sea are a stately sailing ship which has just been passed by the louder, newer, far less romantic method of traveling by water.

These three gentlemen just discovered that the ocean anywhere north of Florida is not really warm in June. Off the coast of Maine, the sea stays ice cold until late July, then warms up to frigid until the end of August, when, for several days, the water is actually simply brisk.

As you can see here, most of the people are on the beach. The few who braved the water will surely suffer the shivers well into the evening.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Quick Ride Before The Storm

Leaving home in the early afternoon today, with a forecast of a 10% chance of rain after 4 pm, I pointed my GTS toward the summer home of President George H.W. Bush at Walker's Point in Kennebunkport. Although I met the President at a Portland Sea Dogs game a few years ago, this was to be strictly a photo opportunity.

As I approached the President as he was leaving that game, calling out "Mr. President," he turned and smiled. The large men in black suits who surrounded me instantly did not smile. (Did you know that two secret service agents can lift 250 pounds, using only thumbs and forefingers?)

Anyway, I survived the scare, and was allowed about five minutes of mostly baseball talk with Mr. Bush. Alas, I was not going to see his home this bright, sunny day. After a stop at Pine Point in Scarborough, the sun disappeared in a rush of black clouds spewing lightening and threatened sudden heavy rain, fully three hours before the predicted 10% chance of rain.

Here's what I saw at Pine Point's Town Landing:

Behind the sailboat is Prout's Neck, the subject of a recent post here.

The case on the rear held a very nice lunch and three cans of diet Moxie, which I'd planned to enjoy
on one of the several beaches in the Kennebunkport area not guarded by secret service agents.

Many of these boats are lobster boats, supplying two of Maine's leading lobster pounds: Bayley's and the Pine Point Fishermen's Co-op. Should you ever scoot down to Maine, buy a couple lobsters here and enjoy them at home. Rent the Woody Allen movie "Annie Hall," watch the infamous lobster chase, and do nothing that you see on screen.

This photo was taken in a parking lot between two small houses. Nice view. They're for rent at about two grand a week. Until the real summer arrives - then the rent is three grand a week.

This is Jones Creek, which empties in the Scarborough River.

Below is a picture of Higgin's Beach at low tide, taken about six weeks ago.

From nearly the same spot, last week. Note the presence of green in the background, which was absent a month and a half ago. Still no people, though. Mainer's may be hardy, but we don't like to get tanned on the inevitable goose-bumps of early June.

Here's a surfer who couldn't care less about the cold. I'm still wearing long john's and this guy is getting wet! Must be from away.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Prout's Neck

Since we haven't seen many days lately that are rain-free from sunrise to sunset, I've been staying close to home. Recently I visited Prout's Neck, one of Maine's most exclusive communities. Since nearly all of the land is built up, it's unlikely that a building boom is on the horizon. And most of the homes have been "in the family" for generations; very few properties change hands.

Below are two views of the last home on the paved road from Scarborough, of which Prout's Neck is a part.

 "Prout's, as residents call it, was home to artist Winslow Homer until his death in 1910.

Mainers often give travel directions to people from away with the phrase, "You can't get they-ah from he-ah." Usually, that's not true, of course, but it's nearly true for now for those who would like to see Homer's  home.

Behind this gate can be found "a great artist's inspiration ... (one can) observe the actual views that he enriches and preserves." (Daniel O'Leary, former director, Portland Museum of Art.)

 Currently being restored, Homer's house and studio are scheduled to re-open in 2012 to "small groups" by "special arrangements," according to an article in the New York Times.

A Google search for "Winslow Homer seascapes" will yield links to some extraordinary scenes; Homer's work reminds me why I live in Maine.

The bikers below can see from Pine Point to Old Orchard Beach - seven miles of white sandy beach.

From Ferry Beach, the view across the mouth of the Scarborough River is Pine Point.

A few hardy souls walk along Ferry Beach ...

...while a pair of golfers finish their round at the Prout's Neck Country Club.