Getting to and from Maine is the hardest part. Here's how we've done it before:
- Flown to Boston, rented a car and driven to Vermont, then to Maine via local roads and state highways, none of which are fast.
- Flown to Boston, rented a car and driven to and from Rockland. Probably the quickest, but it requires finding our way in and out of Boston via multiple rotaries (roundabouts) with three lanes each, where every other driver knows exactly what they're doing and we're not so sure, not living where we get a lot of practice with this features.
- Flown to Boston and wrestled our way across Logan Airport - for an hour - to the Cape Air counter, where we checked in, put our luggage in the wing of a tiny plane, and boarded with nine other passengers. Our seat assignments were based on how much we weighed. The flight is an hour long, over the ocean, as the sky goes from near dusk to pitch black night, and I can hear every vibration of the very small engine. On the way back, we took a regional bus line which required numerous stops between Rockland and Portland and then a change of bus, and then a four-hour wait for our plane in Boston.
- Flown to Portland via Cincinnati, with a friend picking us up and another friend dropping us off. We can't do that any more because Delta, the Alaska partner, no longer has a hub in Cincinatti.
The problem is that our airline, Alaska, has a red-eye (which we no longer fly because the sleep deprivation is too hard on senior citizens like us) and one that arrives in Boston at 5:00 pm. Not too hard. But the return flight - the one we always take - leaves at 6:30 p.m. From Rockland by plane we wait four hours at the airport for our flight. From Rockland by bus, we either miss the flight by half an hour, or we wait four hours. We could get better times if we were willing to connect in Atlanta or Dallas for our Seattle destination. Which we aren't - long flights with plane changes are too hard on senior citizens like us.
So this time we're doing it differently: Fly to Boston, take a regional bus line to Portsmouth, NH where we'll be picked up by our friends Bruce and Sally who will be sailing with us (we met them on our very first sail) and will spend the night at their place in Ogonquit, Maine. Then we'll drive to Rockland the next day. At the end of the trip, we'll rent a car in Rockland, drive to Searsport to spend the night with our friends Brian and Beth, and drive to Boston the next day, stopping at LLBean in Freeport. Renting a car from Rockland to Boston costs about $132 for a day, but that's much cheaper than renting a car for the whole week and leaving it sitting in the schooner parking lot, and we can time the drive so we don't have much of a wait at the airport.
This schooner cruise is the most deeply relaxing trip we ever take. It's always the same and always different. We wish everyone could have this fabulous experience, as we help sail or not, wear jeans and T-shirts, eat comfort food, make ice cream, have a lobster feast, lie under the stars (plus, there will be a full moon next week), listen to Captain Doug tell stories, talk and read and nap.
I am taking my iPhone and my first generation Kindle. I may twitch a little without my laptop, but we'll be out of reach of wi-fi and I've decided not to blog until I get home.
See you later this month!