How is it that with weeks of prep, detailed packing checklists and days of nothing but trip-related stuff after work, we still manage to be unprepared at the beginning of a multi-week motorcycle trip?
This time, I blame the SPOT tracker. I had a note on my checklist weeks ago to have Kay renew our SPOT tracker subscription - largely so that the family could follow along and not worry about us - and I feel like I have a vague memory of Kay ranting about having to get the physical tracker to find a number on it in order to renew our subscription. So I just assumed the physical tracker was sitting next to his chair, and we could just grab it and add it to our kit when it was time to pack. We even ordered new Lithium batteries for it.
Last night, when we were packing, I got to “SPOT tracker” on my list - and Kay paused and looked at me. “I have no idea where it is.” I look back. “Isn’t it next to your chair?” Kay shakes his head. “I feel like I’ve seen it recently - maybe in the camping bins?” (We have a bin system where we organize our gear when we’re not using it, ostensibly to make it easier to see and grab the right stuff when we pack…)
Long story short, we spent 45 minutes looking for it last night, and another hour looking for it this morning, and the SPOT tracker is nowhere to be found. That’s also nearly two hours when we weren’t packing or otherwise preparing to head out today. Plus the time I spent checking online to see if there’s somewhere we can buy one on our way out (we can get the 2nd gen, but if we’re buying a new one, Kay insists it be the newer 3rd gen - and there’s nowhere nearby we can get it). So. No SPOT tracker, and suddenly we’re running way behind schedule.
It was after 1pm before we got out of the house, thanks to the delay with the SPOT, and another unexpected lengthy delay getting breakfast from a local cafe.
No big deal, we thought. We’ve given ourselves a TON of time for this trip, and have intentionally tried *not* to build in deadlines like having to get to X location by a certain time, just so we weren’t pressed for miles and we could enjoy it more. Plus I’m still getting over a nasty cold, and Kay’s starting to come down with my nasty cold, so we’re determined not to stress about it or overtax our bodies when our immune systems are trying to fight something off.
We made a side-trip to Woburn to see a friend’s new house (well, the new foreclosure she bought that is about to undergo massive renovations - we’ll get to see it before and after and after something like 4 months of her fighting to get it, we couldn’t miss the chance to see it!) So. Now it’s right around 2pm when we’re leaving Boston.
I still don’t feel bad about leaving so late, but it’s definitely later than I’d prefer to be getting on the road at the beginning of a trip.
Traffic was icky leaving Woburn. It took us way too long to get out of the traffic and start making tracks into Maine. At this point, we’re starting to get hungry for lunch, but we just want to get some miles under our belt before stopping again. We run through a tank of gas on the Ural, which is a bit over 100km before we start looking for a place to fuel up, and I made a decision to stop just outside of York, Maine for gas.
We ended up at a place that advertised “Anthony’s Food Shop,” and I suggest to Kay we may want to just grab a gas station lunch. He goes in to scout, and Lo! and Behold! it’s practically friggin gourmet food! They have an honest-to-goodness brick oven for brick oven pizza, and they have the most amazing-looking pastries, so we go for it. Kay asks me to get him a chicken caesar wrap, and I get myself the Jack Wrap (delicious marinated steak, pepperjack cheese, onions, bell peppers, and mushrooms - all fresh and sooo tasty) and some fries that I can share with Kay and the dogs. And as a bonus, I got us a M&M cookie the size of a dinner plate, since the pastries looked FRIGGIN DELICIOUS but I just wasn’t in the mood for something really rich.
The dogs enjoyed a nice lunch at a picnic table in the shade, and we share some fries with them, and we conclude that the M&M cookie is perhaps the most delicious pre-made cookie we’ve ever had. It’s crispy on the outside and almost cakey on the inside, and nearly an inch thick, and it’s so big that we each just break off a small piece and we still have delicious cakey cookie left for a snack at some later point.
Back on the road at around 4:30, and I’m feeling much better after a break (nearly an hour!). Slab for another 30 miles or 50 miles or something… it all blends together… and then we’re on US 1 which goes through some Maine towns before becoming a bit highway-ish again, but there are at least interesting things to see along the way.
Oh - and for those of you who have wondered what the dogs *do* all day in the sidecar, and how they both fit - we’ve mounted a camera in it so we can show you!
No trouble staying awake and alert through this stretch, although it’s getting along toward 7pm by the time we reach our destination - visiting an old family friend of Kay’s who lives in Rockland, Maine.
Sadly, we discovered that whatever tool Kay used to export our points from our Nova Scotia HO! Google Map and import them into our Garmin GPS didn’t copy over the address information. It’s got the point marked, but it doesn’t tell us the street number. So we can get to the general vicinity, but then we don’t know what number we’re looking for… so now we’re going to have to go into Google Maps and physically write down the addresses in my Moleskine so we’ll have the appropriate street numbers when we’re looking for our points of interest. This is why you should always check your map imports before you leave on a trip, kids.
Had a lovely visit with Kay’s friend Skye, who kindly fed us dinner and let us camp on her living room floor (dogs, too!) The dogs highly approved of her place - it’s a beautiful house in the country just outside of Rockland, with a few large grassy meadows in which the doggies happily frolicked. It’s a beautiful place, and if I wasn’t so attached to Vermont, I’d seriously consider looking for someplace like this in Maine.
So we got a late start, but the drive went smoothly and we had a lovely visit with a friend. I call that a successful first day of vacation!