First off, thanks for taking the time to check out this blog! Those who know me would likely be astounded to learn that I was making a weblog, as I have a known aversion to all things technological. But I need a quick and effective way to communicate with people on our increasingly frequent scooter trips, and making a dozen phone calls every night on the road to say “We’re here and we’re safe and we saw/did some really cool stuff” is not something which our (admittedly limited) experience tells me that we will have time to do.
And this year, we are planning some seriously big trips. Of course, we did last year, too, the granddaddy of them all to be a trip across Nova Scotia to Cape Breton Island and the Cabot Trail, allegedly one of the premier motorbike roads in the world. And we would have done it, too, but Hurricane Arthur chose our vacation week to take dead aim at Nova Scotia. And while we like to think we have some tolerance for adventure, riding a scooter in a hurricane exceeds our limits. So we went west instead, through Vermont to Lake Champlain, and then north into Montreal and back through southern New Brunswick to home. And this was a great trip, but now it’s history, and this blog is intended to capture and share the moments from trips yet to come.
So, this year, we hope to actually make it to Cape Breton Island and the Cabot Trail. And when we do, you will read about it here! We plan the trip for August, and so it seemed prudent to me to start this blog in June, so I could figure out how to do it, and get some experience with it before I actually have to post to it somewhere in Nova Scotia.
Therefore, it is my hope to take some shorter trips, write them up here as we go, and include some photos so you can see some of the things we saw and did on our trips. That way, not only can you keep track of us on our adventures, but we will have a record of our trips to look back upon some February when it feels like the Maine winter will never end and we need some inspiration to hang on until spring.
So that’s the plan, and the intent, of this blog. I hope to make it interesting enough to draw you back to it from time to time, and maybe even share your comments and thoughts. Oh, one more thing — for those who may not know us, but who have just stumbled onto this blog (as I did when searching for material on Vespa scooters, when I found Steve Williams’ excellent blog “Scooter In The Sticks”), I should tell you something about what we ride, and who we are as riders.
Robin was actually the impetus for getting us onto two wheels. It was something she had always wanted to do but never got around to doing. Then, one Florida vacation (2o10, I think), we actually rented some scooters to try — but she dumped hers in the parking lot, and that (it would seem) was the end of that.
However, I had always felt that riding a motorbike was a skill I wanted to have. And so, in the summer of 2012, I found a local Basic Rider Course sponsored by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, and I registered us for it. Scary? Absolutely! Neither of us had ever ridden a PTW (powered two-wheeler) before, and we struggled to manage the clutch and the shifting on the small 250cc motorcycles the course provided. Moreover, the non-riding portion of the class seemed to be a compendium of the thousand-and-one ways you can get yourself killed on the damned things. WAY sobering; by the end of the weekend, although it was an excellent course and we highly recommend it to anyone considering taking up riding, we were pretty well convinced that (even though Robin got her permit, and I my license) we would not be riding motorcycles anytime soon.
But then, friends Jill and Cindy invited us to ride their Vespa, and I fell in love with it! No shifting! Just twist the throttle and go! Go like hell, in fact — top speed 80MPH! It was the shifting that made motorcycles so difficult for me, and the scooters just removed all of that hassle, and all of the attendant risk of learning how to do it in traffic. So that fall, we decided to get some experience with scooters. We went to Bar Harbor and rented 50cc scooters, and did so again the next spring, along with a great rental visit and ride in Boothbay Harbor. At that point, I was ready to buy, and acquired the Vespa 300GTSie that now occupies a small space in my garage and a big space in my life. That was April, 2013. Robin tried it and was intrigued with the no-shift, twist-and-go version of motorcycling that scootering represents — but the Vespa was too big for her (she could barely get her toes on the ground while seated on it). We looked around for something smaller, and then in the fall, we found her Honda PCX 150 — perfect!! Perfect size for her, very comfortable and dependable, and she fell in love with it as well. So that’s our “stable” of motorbikes — Vespa 300 and Honda PCX 150 — and you’ll hopefully be seeing a lot of them in future posts. I’ll try to add some photos of the bikes to this post so you can see how we get around.
Why scooters? I’ll try to answer that question in another post. Thanks for reading!