Summer road trip: The rain stays mainly in Maine

Maine state line

I made it to Maine!

What I did on my summer vacation? Not exactly. First of all, when you’re self-employed (or at least if you’re self-employed and like me), you never really have a normal “vacation,” in the sense of free time doing nothing. All my vacations are working vacations. As I’ve explained to friends and strangers alike, when you’re a free-lancer, the good news is you can have all the time off you want. The bad news is that none of it is paid time off. So even when I’m traveling, I’m keeping in touch and doing some odd jobs as best I can on the road, whether banging out a quick translation for a client or keeping up the steady flow of motorcycle news and commentary we post at RevZilla.

That said, I did take a summer vacation ride of sorts. Click on if you want to see a few more photos.

Most years I go to Cape Elizabeth, Maine, to visit my sister and her family. I’ve done it often enough now that I’ve tried just about every potentially appealing route that doesn’t add an extra day of travel time to my itinerary.

This year I took the northerly route, and just across the New York line, there’s this very pleasant rest area along I-86 that overlooks Lake Chautauqua. It’s rare that an interstate rest area rates a mention, but this one makes a good lunch stop.

Lake Chautauqua

My kind of lunch break, overlooking Lake Chautauqua.

Maine in June is iffy. Summer, by my standards, consists of a few days later on in July, maybe August. But the weather was nice until the day I left.


Just another lovely summer day on the Maine coast, perfect for fishing (above) or riding motorcycles.

Natural Bridge State Park, Massachusetts

Ivonne taking photos of the gorge at Natural Bridge State Park.

I rode through the rain all the way to North Adams, Mass., in the Berkshires, to meet my wife, who was attending one of her academic conferences there. North Adams has done an admirable job of rebuilding itself from a dead town full of shuttered mills to a town built around art and education. Success is not complete, but impressive just the same.

But the highlight, for me, was getting out of town for the excursion to natural works of art, specifically Natural Bridge State Park and Mount Greylock. The latter is the highest point in the state and a site I’d visited once before, several years ago. High points are often special places (though not always, as Ohio, among others, proves).

Mount Greylock

The view from the top of Massachusetts.

Then it was a couple of days in Cambridge, because Ivonne never misses a chance to go back to Cambridge, where she spent both the first days of her life and her college years. Then as she flew home on a plane, I struggled to make my way through cars and trucks and hordes of bicyclists to get out of Cambridge and buzz down to Philadelphia to get some work done at RevZilla.

Cambridge, Mass.

Bicycles have gone the real-world equivalent of viral in Cambridge. I haven’t seen so many since Amsterdam.

My normal morning commute is walking downstairs from the bedroom to the kitchen to get some coffee, then back upstairs to my office. Rarely do I have a typical commute, but on the days I go into RevZilla, I get a morning shot of the gritty reality of urban traffic.

Philadelphia skyline

The morning commute view from the Penrose Avenue Bridge: industrial scrublands of South Philly with the distant skyline in the haze.

The next day it was homeward, complicated by problems communicating with the office from the road and then the nearly two-hour delay as an accident shut down I-70, but frankly, at that point I was just a horse headed for the barn and I’ve blanked out all the details. Another 2,185 miles on the Versys, which rolled over 40,000 miles on the trip and is now overdue for an oil change, some chain maintenance and a good washing. The new E-ZPass setup worked flawlessly. All tallied, not the most exciting summer road trip, but any ride is a good ride.