Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Season is (unfortunately) Winding Down

As the weather turns chilly and the trees turn bright, some of the best riding days will appear. The cool air and bright sun, when you can get it, make for the most spectacular rides! 

For me, it also means that I am running out of the luxury of taking off for an all day ride. Being a self employed gift shop owner, the 4th quarter keeps me busy as I hope it carries me through the slower months of summer sales, a rather double edged sword that I wield, because I do love the time to ride but lament the slow business of the dog days of summer. As mid-October loomed ahead of me, I decided to take one last jaunt for the weekend. It serves two purposes, one being a fantastic ride, the other purpose is to renew my energies to face the soon to be 7 days a week work schedule until after Christmas.  This weekend trip headed to my favorite landscape, the seaside of Maine.

The weekend started on the tail of a NorEaster of the rainy cold variety. Saturday dawned extremely windy and hovering in the low 40s- no rain though, and this was a blessing!  I can take cold and windy, but rain would have made it a bear of a day. My plan was to be quick about getting to Boothbay Harbor that day, and settle in my motel room for the night and get warm. Sunday and Monday were promised to be sunny and warmer, so I did not worry so much about sightseeing on Saturday as I set out on the highway north, with my FastPass strapped to my arm.  Departure time was 8am.

I realized that I had not eaten breakfast or even had a cup of coffee yet...but I was on the road and told myself that I would stop when I needed to warm up.  When I crossed into Maine, the memory of a diner in Portland where my friends and I stopped the year before came back to me. It is Becky's Diner on the water in the old port part of the city.  The website is delightful and the food is hearty.

Be prepared for a wait, but it is worth it. I got a seat right away because I was alone and could slide right into a stool at the counter. 
Peeling off my multiple layers of clothing, holding them awkwardly in my lap while sitting at the stool, I enjoyed nice hot coffee, light and sweet because I was on a mini-vacation, and raisin bread French toast.  I would have taken a photo of it, but the place was so crowded and I was already the topic of many people's interest with my neon colored riding jacket, that I got really shy about taking a photo of my breakfast!

The roads into Maine were in full color, 

as were some of the residents- this was in Wiscassett.  :) 

I did make one more stop on the way to Boothbay Harbor...in the wind that was howling today, the waves at "my" rock at Reid State Park in Georgetown would be putting on a great show for me. I pointed my bike out to the end of the peninsula after going over the bridge at the Bath Iron Works. I love the road going to the park... it is windy and tree lined, then suddenly opening up to a causeway that always makes me smile in a peaceful sort of "I have arrived" way.  

I parked Dirty Girl and started walking toward the water, not even removing my gear because of the chill, and taking the left pathway up the stone stairs.

 I was alone today...there are generally people here year round, but not today. I was alone on the top of my rock...the wind was so strong that I was afraid of perching the camera on the rocks for a self portrait, lest it fall into the water.  I did grab one shot, not terrific, but it shows the kind of day it was. I love this place, it has so much energy and renewal for me. On another kind of day, I would curl up in a nook of a rock and take a nap in the sun. 

Today is a short visit though... Boothbay Harbor is still a few miles away and the weather is challenging. I wanted to get there in time enough to enjoy a stroll around town.  I have a lot of childhood memories with Boothbay Harbor.  

My grandparents kept an antique 36' sloop at the yacht club during my childhood.  It was always a big treat when it was my turn to be on the boat with them.  We would drive up in their little yellow VW convertible bug, always stopping in Portland for sandwiches made with homemade oatmeal bread, and then I always got to visit my favorite store when we would get to Boothbay, The Smiling Cow.  When I was a little girl, this store was the most magical place, I would get to choose some little trinket to bring onto the boat with me.  I often chose a simple little wooden doll, with stumpy feet and yarn hair, elastic made it so that the arms and legs would bend. I think they came from Germany.  Invariably, my dog would get a hold of it and chew it up when I got home. I wish I had them today! 

To my delight, the Smiling Cow is still here...not quite so magical as I look around and see the ceramic lobstermen and lighthouses emblazoned with "Maine."  But, it still makes me wax nostalgic and smile when I see it! 

I stayed at the MidTown Motel. "A true 1950s experience" it says on their sign.

  And yes, it does live up to this promise!  No internet, no phone in the room, no coffee, no shampoo, a tiny TV and a small box heater on the wall with a browned strip of paper scotch taped there, typed with a true typewriter warning, "please be aware of items that might be placed in front of the heater."   It was clean and cozy, so aside from no internet, I had no complaints. 

I checked my gear into the room, which also means that I unceremoniously explode into it, which is attested by anyone who has traveled with me, then went for shopping and supper. Boothbay Harbor is quaint, right off a postcard. 

I poked in and out of little stores, finding stocking stuffers for my family and chatting with shop owners. Then I wandered into the Ebb Tide restaurant.  Another true 50s experience!  The booths are old fashioned pine boards, a chalk board has the daily specials and a sign states 'over 5 million served'.  The food was fresh and delicious, I had fried haddock, mashed potatoes, coleslaw and a roll.  It was served on a simple diner plate, meaning one of those heavy white diner dishes. Although the Ebb Tide's dishes did have a pretty scalloped edge with a gold color in it, I giggled out loud when it arrived and thought to myself that this should just be called the White Dinner Plate- all my food was white. :) 

The next morning dawned with sunshine, not even 40 degrees when I woke up and went in search of coffee. The town coffeeshop was not open on a Sunday morning, which I thought unusual, so the quest continued.  I ended up at the Ebb Tide again of all places. I asked for a coffee to go and then noticed on the chalk board: cinnamon rolls. "I'll take one of those too," popped out of my mouth.  Walked back to my room and opened the container to a baked confection that if I had seen it first, I would never have ordered it... Oh goodness, it had enough sweet frosting in this thing to cover a whole cake- it was a little embarrassing and I was alone!  I ate as much of it as I could, thinking that the day was going to be shot to hell now, starting it with such sweets!

I pushed off at about 9am, and 41 degrees, taking a leisurely ride south toward my next destination, Ogunquit.  I made a stop at LLBean in Freeport, to see what kinds of things I might find and need there.My hopes were to find flannel lined jeans, but they did not work out.  Wandered through there for a bit, bought a couple of little things and continued south, taking some side roads that I had not been on before. One being through the town of Kennebunkport.  This little town is so quaint, small shops and restaurants, full of people shopping on a Sunday morning.  Definitely on my list to return to at some point.  Ogunquit was not a far ride, I wanted to park my bike for the afternoon and enjoy the town, the shopping and the oceanside.  

Meanwhile, I am watching my odometer, as I approach the 50,000 mile mark, my heart starts to beat as I play a little game, wondering where I will be when it flips over to this monumental number!  As luck had it, it flipped all the zeros as I pulled into my next hotel. 

 I thought that was pretty amazing, one of life's simple pleasures.  My rest stop for this night is the Meadowmere Resort.  I generally do not stay in hotels that end with the word 'resort', thinking that they are out of my affordable range.

 But I was encouraged to check them out and joyfully, the Sunday night rate for a king room with a fireplace was within my means.  This was going to be the perfect end of season ride for me... ocean side meditating and then an old good book by a fireplace that night.  Life is good!  

Ogunquit did not disappoint.  Again, Maine has delivered a small town center with nice little shops and food. I spent a few hours and then sat out on a big rock by the ocean for a while. The view was lovely, the waves were nice and loud and I was in heaven. I sat out far enough so that all the other people were behind me and I felt wonderfully alone with the sea. 

At around 4pm, a shower sent me scurrying back to my bike and back to my room.  A supper of cheese and crackers and glass of Bailey's Irish Creme finished off the day.  I settled into the peacefulness of the room and the fire and my book. It was lovely! 

(gotta love the timers on cameras, it is the only way I get into pictures on solo rides!)

Monday arrived, and it was time to head home. The day was bright as I jumped on the highway... just in that 'zone' that motorcyclists often talk about, thinking about the last couple of days, and the day ahead. I was making one more stop, in Marlboro MA at a trade show for my store.  I had to laugh in that sort 'hands in the air' was when I came out of the show 2 hours later to my bike with a very dead battery.  (click... click... ugh!) Thankfully, my husband works not too far away and thankfully my friend Gary had gifted a set of motorcycle jumper cables to me for my cross country trip (just in case), AND thankfully this did not happen when I was up in Maine!

Mo came and rescued me, and I rode the bike directly to my mechanic's garage, here in my own town.  A pretty easy end to a fabulous weekend away. A new battery now energizes Dirty Girl.  Now I feel as though I can face the 4th quarter holiday shopping swell at my store, as I soon will be working 7 days a week until the end of the year. Riding from now til then will be only as I can steal a few hours here and there.  

....today, as I write this, it is one of those most spectacular days!  I hear motorcycles rumbling by, guessing that they are taking hooky rides.  I am envious a bit, but not green with jealousy. I am glad someone is out in it if I have to work! 

So there you have it, another adventure albeit a little quiet one to round out a very good year. My next blog entry may just be about washing this sweet bike of mine. It is going to be an epic challenge!  She is wicked wicked dirty. Lots of great miles to her that way :) 

Thanks for reading!  
love, bee


  1. Kate,
    What a nice weekend you had. I wish I could bring myself to take off alone on the bike for more than a day ride. I really enjoy having company. When I was alone coming back from NC, I really liked it but that was out of necessity. guess I'll have to give it a try. You've inspired me to try something outside my comfort zone.
    All the best,

  2. Nice report loved it! Sounds like just what the Doctor ordered! : ) Hugs!

  3. Aah! Nice write-up. I love the East Coast in the fall. Thanks so much for letting me ride pillion on your trip.

  4. Sonja, love your bike! Thanks for coming along on mine. :)

  5. The NE has such great colors in the fall. I love that in Texas I can ride year round, but I sure do like the colors in your area. I hope to ride up that way in the future.

    Nice bike.