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!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Seaside Living

After a week of staring out the window at icy streets and snow banks, last Monday turned out to be the Day of the January Thaw! I took full advantage of the 51 degree high temperature to ride nearly 70 miles, with several stops for photos. The best was in the Prince Point neighborhood of Falmouth.

The people living in this neighborhood have spectacular views, and equally spectacular property tax bills.

This home has almost no yard, front or back; sitting hard by the road and the water. But there's no grass to mow.

Instead of ice, the streets and roads are just wet. Very nice for riding!

A view of several of the islands of  Casco Bay 

Another home without much of a yard. No place for a game of croquet or touch football. I think I could learn to live without a yard, though.

Now, here's a house with a huge yard. But it's a good 100 feet from the water!

Melting snow, wet streets, a perfect view - but this is Maine in the winter. Two days after this wonderful ride, the overnight low temperature at my house was 3 degrees below zero. And as I write this, it's snowing.

The perfect yard! I'll bet that if I'd grown up here, I'd have been a better man today. Wait - I did grow up around here. Gee, I should have been a better man.

For the record, below are two photos I took years ago of the summer cabin in which I spent summers with my family until I was in my late teens.

I was standing on the ice, looking up at the camp on Sebago Lake, during a visit to check out how the place was weathering the winter.  I slept every night from June to Labor Day on the porch of this marvelous place.

This was taken in 1981, shortly before the camp was sold. When ever I meet with my cousins, who shared this family place, we talk about our summers on the lake.

A week ago, my Aunt Sena died, aged 97 years. She was the last member of the Jensen family, who built the camp in the early 1930s; she and my mother were youngest and third oldest girls in the family, respectively.

After Aunt Sena's funeral, several of us were talking about those unforgettable, long-ago summers. My cousin Jonathan summed up the deep feelings we all share:

"What a childhood ..."  

Saturday, January 14, 2012

No Ride - Day Two

Measure it by the inch, the foot, the meter, or the ton - this is snow, and I don't ride on snow. I'll ride around it, but not on it, so I'm stuck on foot for the second day in a row.

Our backyard is in the process here of being covered by the first snowstorm of winter.

While Kathy and our daughter-in-law, Meredith, wait at the end of the driveway, Tim drives up to carry them to the airport. Tim and Mere are going to Florida. Kathy returned with their car; we'll freeze while they enjoy the beach and Disney world. On the plus side, we're having a long-desired wood stove installed Monday, so I guess we won't exactly freeze. But we won't be getting a tan any time soon.

Note the slender scooter path in the driveway. That's for when the sun melts the snow and ice on the roads.

Tim and I pose with a Christmas present from my youngest son - a picture of my favorite cartoon character: Foghorn Leghorn, autographed by the "voice" of the big chicken.

For those not familiar with Mr. Leghorn, please listen to the following, my all-time favorite cartoon quote.

Tim's impression of "Okay, I'll shut up ...!"

And Tim's impression of the innocent little boy, which he's performed since childhood.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Late Afternoon Ride

I prefer riding in the middle of the day during these winter days of limited light. But yesterday, I found myself leaving home just an hour before sunset. Riding through Falmouth on my way to the Town Landing with the sun behind me, I turned toward the sea and saw this scene.

This won't make the Cloud Appreciation website, ( but I thought it was an interesting scene.

I took the photo from this spot. Ahead is just about the longest stretch of straight road on my ride to the Landing.

It's low tide at the Falmouth Town Landing. In about six hours, my GTS would be six inches from the ocean.

The pavement on which I'm parked is a launching ramp at high tide. Note the homes in the background; while many of us waste money on silly things, a home like these, in this incomparably beautiful place, is the perfect definition of wise investment.

Above and below: Really nice backyards!

Science lesson of the day: If the sea water was "wicked cold," the gull on the right would be standing on one foot. Gulls send extra warm blood to the feet when the weather is cold; as the temperature drops, one foot rises to get warm in the feathers while the other supports the hardy bird.

Ducks have an inner layer of downy feathers that create an air pocket that traps body heats; the outer feathers are coated with a special oil secreted and spread over the body as the duck preens.

I've got to believe this is the origin of the envious phrase, "Oh, you lucky duck!"

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Relish Test

As I mentioned in a previous post (New Year's Day Picnic - with Relish), the truest test of a condiment, especially a relish, is the topping of a hamburger and a hot dog with the relish to be tested.

I recently met Susan Parker, creator of "Relish The Moment" relishes, and subjected her Gourmet Zucchini Relish to the test. I'm very pleased to announce that it marvelously complimented the taste of both 90% Angus Beef hamburg, and Kayem red hot dogs. Susan can be contacted at

Some signs are meant to be ignored! Really - a hockey rink-size sheet of ice, four miles from the home of the Portland Pirates AHL home ice.

Enjoy the ice, kids, but don't play hockey!

This kid is lucky that so few saw the end of this slip. I refrained from photographing the young man's pain.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Cold Day At Fort Allen

It was only 20 degrees colder today than on Sunday, but with a wicked wind, my body told me that temperature means nothing.

At Fort Allen Park, at the eastern end of the Portland peninsula, the wind whips off the ocean unimpeded. This makes the Park a crowded place on hot summer days; finding a place to park is merely a dream.

Today, I was alone.

Out on the bay, the decks were clear on the ferries to and from the Islands. In summer, people pack the decks, often riding back and forth just for the breeze and the sheer joy of being on the sea. 

During the warmer months, sailboats of many sizes vie for a piece of the water. Today, this little boat was alone.

Well, almost alone. Turning around in the harbor, the little fella came close to a larger vessel. In the background, one of Portland's large visitors - a oil barge - unloads its expensive cargo.

I took a quick picture and rode rapidly away as the gulls took aim at a favored target - a black vehicle. If you have been the victim of a seagull dive-bombing, you'll understand my hasty retreat!

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year's Day Picnic - with Relish!

On New Year's Day, with the temperature a ridiculous 46 degrees, a ride to Two Lights State Park seemed reasonable. Parking my GTS next to the remnants of a white Christmas, I walked down to the sea.

At first glance, I was nearly alone

But around a bend, I came upon an unusual sight - for even a mild Maine winter. A family was gathered around heavily-laden picnic tables. Note that a pair of blue-coated picnickers are warming their hands over a charcoal grill. Mainers may be hardy, but we're not foolish!

The lady in the center, and the only person with hands not in pockets, is Susan Parker, who is holding jars of her "Relish The Moment" Zucchini Relish.

Available only locally for the moment, Susan is expecting to expand both the varieties and availability of her relishes.

I can attest to the taste of he product, although I haven't yet put it to the "I'm fat because I love to eat - a lot!" test, which consists of loading relish on a number of hot dogs and hamburgers.

But, on a spoon, out of the jar, this is superb stuff!

Susan holds her second grandchild as his mother wisely slips her hand into her pocket. It's nice out, for sure, but it's still January.

Until her "Relish the Moment" website is completed, Susan Parker can be contacted at