Monday, July 22, 2013

2013 Blogger to Blogger Tour - Coasting

On Saturday the traveling trio finally hit the Atlantic coast. It's in that sense that we 'coasted'.

We hit a traffic jam near the junction of I-295 and I-95 in New Hampshire but there was an exit right where the traffic had ground to a halt. We hopped off the Interstate, took some secondary roads and got directly onto I-95.

Karen opted to trade the Interstate for US Route 1 about 10 miles south of Portsmouth N.H. The slower pace was welcome, and it allowed our left coaster the opportunity to slowly immerse in the sights, sounds and smells of New England.

When we got to the other side of Portsmouth we took the section of I-95 that goes over the bridge into Maine. The state line cuts the massive bridge in two. Bob fantasized over the Sena intercom, suggesting that we should stop in the middle of the bridge to snap a 'welcome to Maine' shot. Needless to say, it was only a fantasy.

We did enter at the first rest stop just on the far side of the bridge. That rest stop is fairly unique because it serves both the Interstate and US 1 and both are accessible on opposite sides of the rest area.
Karen suggested that we stay on I-95 for one more exit just to skip the section of US 1 in Kittery that goes through outlet mall heaven (or hell, depending on how you feel about shopping for discount fashion items and housewares).

Once back on US 1, I was on very familiar ground.  I acted as Bob's in-helmet travel agent, pointing out the sights and icons of Ogunquit, Wells, and Kennebunkport along the way, including Wild Willy's burger shack, the shops and restaurants of Ogunquit, and the trolleys (Dolly, Wally, Polly, Holly and their other siblings).  Although we were on a time budget and had Mike, Tom and the crew waiting to welcome us in Portland, I led Bob and Karen down to the Ogunquit beach, over the little bridge over the river and to the beach parking lot.  The beach was thronged with holiday folk, and the river had its usual flotilla of bobbing tubers and floaters aiming to float around the bend and out to sea.  It's kind of a ritual experience for me.  It sounds more daring than it is.  One's bum drags on the bottom as the river meets the sea, so it's more of a natural water park grade adventure than anything else.

Bob snapped some pictures.

We shoved off and headed up US 1.

Along the way Bob and I indulged in a game that I dubbed 'will it wave?'.  We imagined it as a new segment on Letterman, along the lines of the infamous 'will it float?' genre.   I was about eight to ten car lengths ahead of our merry band.  There were many motorcycles and scooters headed south on the highway.  As soon as I spotted one, I'd give Bob a heads' up, and then I'd deliver a wave to the oncoming biker.  The Goldwing guys were the most stand-off-ish.  Or maybe they were doing 'the wave' but couldn't get their hands out beyond the enormous fairings where we could see them.  They might wave at me and not Bob and Karen, more often vice-versa.  I imagine some of our victims were mortified when they found that they were tricked into waving at a Vespa.  Maybe some later gnawed their hands off in remorse.  We had enormous fun with this for a good many miles.

As we got closer to Portland, the intersections got weird.  Bob was leading, I was second, and Karen was sweeping.

Now Karen is a very safe rider and I have a great deal of admiration for her conservative riding style.  Karen rarely speeds, and she likes to own her lane.  She was therefore very insulted (and rightly so) when an over-zealous officer in Bellefonte chided her for lane splitting.  I can tell you, as an expert witness, that she was doing nothing of the kind. Seriously, she wasn't.

Bob was having trouble figuring out the best lane positioning for these crazy Portland five-corner intersections with dog-leg and kangaroo-leg, and Dr. Seuss configurations.  I did my best to help him out with helpful intercom tips and hints.  "No Bob, not there!", "Oh Dear, now Karen's going to give you hell for that!!", "Bob just ask the chick in the car to let you cut in!", "Oh crap! Karen's not going to like that one!".

And so it went.  At one point I got Bob laughing so hard, I was worried he was going to drop his Beemer.

We eventually got to Mike's house in Portland, our destination for this leg of the tour.  Feathers may have been ruffled along the way, but at least there were no casualties of any kind.

Mike was very pleased to see his guests arrive.
Mike and Rebecca were perfect hosts, feeding us with homemade lobster rolls and delicious chicken, with all the right trimmings.

Tom was the executive chef.
Mike, Rebecca and Tina were the sous-chefs.

Unfortunately Tom had to cook and leave, celebrity chef style.  He had a party to attend that was far more important than our evening's goings-on.  He promised to return in the morning to assist Mike in giving us the grand scooter tour of Portland.

Tom has excellent taste in PTW's.
No that's not my bike, it's Tom's.

The meal was delicious, the company was first class, and the banter carried on until late in the evening.  Mike and Rebecca, Tina and Kevin, and Karen, Bob and I, were, it seemed, perfectly happy.  What more can one ask of life?

Bob and I found outlets to recharge our electronic toys (GoPros, iPhones, computers, iPads, Senas, etc., etc.).

Kevin  came up with a brainstorm brilliant idea.  He casually mentioned as we fished for chargers and USB cables, and searched for electrical outlets, that he planned to see if a single iPhone charger-thingy could recharge multiple devices if it were first connected to a USB hub.  Man-oh-man!  Brilliant, could that work?  Imagine the space saving, imagine the efficiency!  To Kevin's surprise, no sooner did he mention the idea than I fished out a tiny four-port USB hub.  It was a conference booth give-away a few years back, and I always keep it handy.  If that el-cheapo hub would work, any hub would work.  Kevin lost no time hooking it up to a single iPhone charger and then plugged my GoPro, GoPro wifi backpack, Sena, and GoPro remote into the hub.  We were like a couple of kids at a science fair.  And what do you know? IT WORKED!  Thank you, thank you, thank you Kevin!

Once the party broke up, the other guests said their good nights and left, and Karen, Bob and I blogged as much as possible, trying to cope with the inevitable backlog.  You see, it takes longer to blog about your life's experiences than it takes to live them.  Karen has a recipe that makes it a little easier.  She does the picture / prose currency exchange math: one picture being worth a thousand words.  As you can see, I am more of a word fan.  I spend a fortune in words and struggle getting the thousand-word photos in.  Oh well.  As my dear brother-in-law often says "A chacun son meshugaas!".

I fell asleep to the clickety-click of Bob's postings.  'Damn!' I thought as I drifted off to sleep, Bob's gonna out-blog me...

10 comments:

  1. It sounds like you are having an amazing time! I think Karen and I would have a lot in common in the 'conservative' rider area :) Ride safe, I am enjoying reading about your adventures!

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    1. Thanks Dar. It's over for me. Just the blog that needs catching up. There's some kind of a chance that I'll get to see Bob and Karen in August as they head west, if they go the Gaspé route.

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  2. But there is a lot of content here. No mention of the "lane splitting" confrontation nor pictures of the chefs at work. It sounds like you all are having a grand time and look forward to more exploration (and pictures and prose!".

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    1. Richard, by far Karen was the most law-abiding member of our group, and yet, irony of ironies, she got the parking ticket and the surly cop routine. Go figure! One more bit of evidence that the supreme being has a wicked sense of humour.

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  3. I've been doing a bit of research into charging USB things. Seems there are few hi-amperage output chargers. Many are 0.5 amp, some are 1.1A (iPad) and a very few are 2.1A. So, if you use a hub, charging will share the available amps and will be slow per device. Overnight, may be enough time todo the job.

    Better is to go to a dollar store and buy an "octopus" cord with several outlets for multiple chargers so you get full rate USB charging.

    Safety Caution:

    That small unpowered hub will have small wires, especially if it is old when 0.5A was the standard. The wires into the hub might get hot when you drag iPad level current through them. Might melt. Not likely to start a fire, but as an Electrical Engineer, I am advising you to do the splitting with the extention cord instead. The 15 Amp rating will hardly notice all those USB loads...

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    1. Ed, thanks for the expert opinion. This is the best place for it, right alongside the potentially ill-concieved, wine fueled, charging advice.

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  4. Just for clarification the Octopus plugs into the wall outlet and provides at least 3 AC outlets. (Handy in motels.) then plug in 3 USB charger bricks. Each brick charges a USB device. Make sure an iPad or Sena gets a big charger.

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    1. Thanks Ed. That clarification makes it crystal clear.

      All the best,

      David

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  5. If too much fun is possible, you folks better be careful. Whenever you DO get the chance to get us updated, it will appreciated.

    I'm reliving my times as a coaster through you!

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    1. Coop, unfortunately I'm done with the tour. Bob and Karen and still out there having a great time no doubt.

      I've still got two days of my tour to post, and a bunch of rider profiles. I'm hacking away at the backlog as best I can, so even though the tour is over, there's more to come here.

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The copyright in all text and photographs, except as noted, belongs to David Masse.