Looking back over the riding season which just ended, it occurs to me that I have posted almost nothing here for the entire summer of 2019; and if there still be any followers of this blog, those readers deserve to know what happened and why! So the following entry will constitute my list of excuses for not riding more, and blogging more, in 2019.
First and foremost, of course, is that Robin is gone. Scooter trips were one of our favorite “couples” things to do, and we really enjoyed planning them together and then doing them together. So, with that major motivation missing, along with a number of other things going on this summer (more on that in a bit!), the scooter basically served as local transportation this season. Francis, of course, is always willing to go on a ride, but he is much more comfortable with day trips, and most of the locally interesting day trips have already been documented here. We did, in fact, return to Boothbay Harbor, and we drove to the western-most of the Four Corners of Maine (which I may yet write up here), along with a couple other short trips, but I thought that since I’ve already posted about them, there was no point in doing it again.
Then, too, were a triad of major trips I took with family and friends, costly in terms of both time and money. The first, to southwestern Utah, occurred in June when I met daughter LJ and her family in Salt Lake City. Her husband’s brother lives there, and so I rudely invited myself into their family trip, joined them in SLC and then we went southwest to tour Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks — spectacular all! I would recommend this trip to everyone, but especially Bryce Canyon, which to me was the most magical of all of them and in my opinion should be on everyone’s bucket list, rivaling as it does even the Grand Canyon in Arizona.
Above, views of Capitol Reef. This is one of the least-visited of the five major national parks in Utah, but well worth the time. My favorite of the three we visited, however, is Bryce Canyon:
Mind-blowing, magical landscapes spread out as far as the eye can see in Bryce Canyon, and the park is also a designated dark-sky site, meaning that the night sky appears as it did before mankind harnessed electricity. The Allagash in Maine is spectacular at night, but Bryce Canyon’s sky is even darker. Son-in-law Mike and I hiked down into the Canyon one clear night so he could photograph the fairy spires against the Milky Way, something I will never forget.
We also visited Zion National Park, which for me was an experience largely diminished by the terrible overcrowding there. Poor Mike (he had rented the car, so he was driving) had to circumnavigate the parking lot at the visitors’ center for half an hour to find a parking spot, and the short trails we hiked were chock full of people. Yes, the scenery is spectacular; but I think, really, that the very best scenery in Zion is off the beaten path — I would recommend hiking away from the main tourist loops in this park to get the best experience if you choose to visit. Or, go in spring or fall when the summer crowds have left. It is interesting to note that, at Bryce Canyon you are ABOVE the scenery looking down into it; at Zion you are at the BOTTOM of the scenery, looking up at it. Both are very worthwhile experiences. And of course, if you do visit Zion, you are a half-day’s drive or less away from the Grand Canyon in Arizona, also a must-see (we had been there before and our allotted time was spent or we would have done so on this trip).
So that was June. In July I took a long canoe trip to one of my favorite Maine destinations (Lobster Lake) with my friends the Weissenfels. This is a remote lake in the Penobscot River watershed north and west of Mount Katahdin, a flat-water trip with beautiful rustic campsites and outstanding scenery. Kelly and Beth had never been north of Bangor (they’re originally “from away”) and I think they really enjoyed seeing the North Maine Woods. This trip was enlivened considerably by the breakdown of my Subaru forty miles in from the Caribou Checkpoint on the Golden Road, but that’s a tale for another time.
In August, youngest daughter Allison and I flew west to Jackson, Wyoming and spent a week touring Yellowstone National Park, America’s first. Robin and I had been there on our honeymoon back in 1980, but this park is so big that Alli and I were able to visit spots which I had never seen. This, too, is a bucket-list destination which I highly recommend everyone visit at least once. There are only about three places in the world where the earth’s crust is so close to its core, and Yellowstone is one of them — hence the fabulous geothermal features there. Add the wildlife and the phenomenal mountain scenery and it becomes a one-of-a-kind destination. Alli and I augmented our stay in the park with a raft trip down the Yellowstone River, and a horseback ride through neighboring Gallatin National Forest. Unforgettable!
The first photo above was taken in adjacent Grand Teton National Park, also a must-see spot. If you fly into Jackson, Wyoming as we did, GTNP is just north of there, and then Yellowstone is just north of the Tetons, making an excellent itinerary. Continue as we did north out of Yellowstone and depart from Bozeman, Montana.
So, three big trips this summer. Add to that some extensive landscaping and yard work, and the summer was basically shot.
Add a new driveway, and both my time and my budget for scooter travel were gone.
So, the Burgman was relegated to the role of basic transportation this summer, but I have high hopes that I will get some big scooter trips in next year. I still need to finish the Four Corners tour, and the lack of an Acadia National Park entry here constitutes an unforgivable oversight in this blog. I have no major air trips planned for next summer save a couple weeks in Ohio visiting family, so hopefully there will be both time and money to travel somewhere cool by scooter. I hope this post explains my absence and I look forward to presenting more scooter/travel content in 2020. Until then, please accept my best wishes for a lovely holiday season and a happy, healthy new year.