Joyriding

When I was a kid, my parents used to load me and my brother into the car, usually Sunday afternoons, and just drive somewhere.  Not a big trip, usually no more than a couple of hours long, really more of an excuse to get out together than to actually accomplish something.  A joyride, in other words.

Of course, those were the 1960s, when a gallon of gas cost forty cents or so.  And, what with the increasing commitments of time demanded of us once we kids hit high school, along with the Arab oil embargo, those were the last joyrides I took until I bought a scooter.

It’s not just that a scooter is so much more economical to operate than a car is, either, although I do save 9 cents a mile on the Vespa compared to using the car.  It’s the idea that the getting there is at least as much fun as the being there.  And that means that there are dozens, if not hundreds, of destinations that become worth seeing because you can get there by scooter; destinations which would not be worth the gas and the hours of sitting in a car to merit a special trip.  Here’s a case in point: the Height-Of-Land in Rangeley, Maine.

Height Of Land, Rangeley
Height Of Land, Rangeley

This is a high point along Route 17 heading into Rangeley, which overlooks the Rangeley Lakes.  It’s a lovely view, especially in the autumn when the leaves are changing; but I wouldn’t sit in a car for four hours (two there, two back), and spend six gallons of gas to go see it.  On the scooter, however, I enjoy four hours in the open air, living in the scenery instead of looking at it through the windshield of the car, throwing the bike around corners and enjoying everything that makes two-wheeled travel exciting and fun — and THEN I get to enjoy this awesome view, spending just over five dollars in gas to do it.  My point is, this is definitely a sight worth seeing, but not if I have to spend four hours in the car to see it.

Here’s another lovely view, the harbor at Castine, Maine (the photo on the welcome page of this blog was also taken in Castine).

At Castine
At Castine

We had a beautiful ride, about three hours one way, stopped in the harbor, enjoyed lobster rolls on the pier, took lots of photos, visited Maine Maritime Academy, and all in all had a wonderful day.  Why Castine?  For no better reason than that we had never been there before, we wanted to see it and we wanted to go on a joyride.

That’s what a scooter brings to your life — more life and more experiences, because it makes the getting there as much fun as the being there.  And if the getting there is too much of a drag (more than an hour in the car qualifies as a drag in my book), then you’ll never be there.  And look at all the sights and sounds and experiences you miss.

Now, don’t get me wrong — there definitely ARE some places in Maine worth seeing no matter how long you have to sit in the car to see them.  Acadia National Park is one; Mount Katahdin is another, and there are probably a few more.  But there are so many other lovely spots, lovely but not spectacular, that are so worth seeing — except they’re not so spectacular that they justify hours spent sitting in the car.

Here’s a few more places worth seeing that we’d have never seen if we’d had to drive; beautiful places all, not (in my opinion) worth a day in the car to see — but most definitely worth a joyride:

Pemaquid Light
Pemaquid Light
Connecticut Lakes, NH
Connecticut Lakes, NH
Bailey Island
Bailey Island
Islesboro Light
Islesboro Light

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