Friday, September 5, 2014

Getting to Maine

We leave tomorrow for our sixth cruise on the Schooner Heritage out of Rockland, Maine. For six nights and five days we'll live aboard with about 30 passengers and half a dozen crew. This is "Art's trip"; he loves the food, the sailing, the company, and the "talk like a pirate" event that happens every single time he sails.

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!


lyndagrace said...

Wow, it sounds like you need a relaxing time after the journey you have to take to get to the boat.
I am intrigued now by this type of cruise. I am going to have to check out the Schooner Heritage.
Have a wonderful time!

DJan said...

The stress of getting there sounds intense, but it must be worth it. Plus you are a seasoned traveler, even if you ARE a senior citizen. :-)

Meryl Baer said...

Have a wonderful time! Sounds like an ideal vacation. Working out the logistics of getting to and from your destination would test anyone's patience.

Perpetua said...

Have a wonderful trip once you get there, Linda. :)

Arkansas Patti said...

Always wanted to take one of those schooner trips. Sounds just like I imagined.
Your arrangement choices were wearing me down till you hit upon the final one. Now that sounds much better.
Have a wonderful time with great sailing and clear skies.

Tom said...

Well, shiver me timbers! Have a good time. You'll no doubt have some great sea stories to tell us landlubbers when you get back.

Janette said...

Enjoy the voyage. Unfortunately, my inner ear will never permit me to be on a boat very long. I will enjoy "hearing" all about it when you return!

Linda Reeder said...

And as I read this I know from Facebook that you are on your way. Bon voyage!

Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma said...

All those painful travel options are replaced with the lovely experience of meeting and traveling with friends. You really do know how to live well! Have a great time.

Grandmother Mary said...

We just spent time in Maine after driving there from the airport in Boston and saw many of the places you named. We had the advantage of having lived there though. Have a great time sailing with your friends.

Sally Wessely said...

By now you are there. I am loving your posts on facebook. The journey seems to harder as time goes on. The destination is worth it.

Lester said...

Ah, it's nice to see other's comments about travel. I'm not alone. See my post of April 25th on my blog

Bob Lowry said...

Are there are any cruises similar to this in the Seattle/Vancouver, BC area? I would be so frazzled by the getting there it would take me 3 of the 5 days to finally relax!

Enjoy and smooth sailing.