I’m not anti-jet ski. I’ve ridden them before–most memorably a four-hour rental on Rangeley Lake on a cold and stormy late-August day when the boys were young–and I’ll ride them again. They are undeniably fun. They also sound like the bastard offspring of a dentist’s drill and an aquatic chain saw. They are annoying when ridden in circles on the same place again and again and again and again.
Like today. Neighbors were racing out of the neighboring cove, turning in front of our property, and riding in circles about 400 feet off our dock. For hours, uncharacteristic traffic for our quiet lake. These aren’t teenage boys but men who appear to be in their 30’s or older. We were on our dock most of the day, subjected to endless wake-jumping right in front of us. I would have been content if they’d spread their noise all around the lake, or wake-jumped in front of their own waterfront for hours. But they didn’t. Mostly they rode in a 200-yard circle right outside our cove.
It was all worth it, though, after one of the riders fell from his jet ski a few hundred feet from our dock. He was unharmed, wearing a life vest, and in no physical distress. And it was the aftermath, not his fall, that we enjoyed. Climbing aboard his top-heavy frame unbalanced and rolled the jet ski, dropping him him in the water. He moved again to the stern and very carefully pulled his torso onto the seat, but when he pulled his legs aboard the jet ski rolled and he fell in again. And again. And again. And again. This continued for about 10 minutes. For a while his companion watched from a few feet away on the other jet ski without offering any help. Then rode away, leaving his hapless friend on his own. I met his first dozen attempts with a “serves-you-right=you=boor” attitude, but after a while his pathetic inability to solve his problem became as annoying as his endless wake-jumping. I was considering swimming out to assist–either counter-balancing the ski or pointing to the shore 60 feet away where he could climb aboard from a rock–when he arrived on his own at the later solution.
In my life August means vacation. When they were young the boys went to sleep-away camp, which lasted eight weeks and ended two weekends before Labor Day. (Now summer camp sessions are seven weeks.) We would pick them up from camp and spend the next two weeks on a lake in northern New England–Pocasset, Rangeley, or Mooselookmeguntic, certainly the most fun to pronounce. Late-August vacation means hot dry sunlight, waning daylight, cool nights, and pre-autumn melancholy.
5:00 AM, Terminal B, Logan Airport, picking blueberry muffin crumbs from my keyboard. I missed the Celtics 24-point comeback win over the Lakers in game 4 of the NBA finals because of today’s early flight and the Celtics stinky first-half performance. I set two alarms to meet my 4:00 AM Boston Coach pickup. Afraid I’d miss the alarm I woke at 12:15, 1:15, 1:45, 2:30, and 3:30 AM, almost ensuring I would have slept through had the radio alarm not been set loud enough to wake the neighborhood.
Boston Coach arrived on time with Bruce and Mike W. on board. They are flying Continental, I’m flying American. The plan is to meet Peter at the Enterprise rental counter at the Portland airport, pick up the vans, pick up the bikes from Veloce Cycles in Portland, and start the drive to Boise where we pick up everyone else tomorrow.
The Route (click “view larger map” to view entire route in new window):
View Larger Map
- 457 miles
- 36,000 feet of ascent
- Maybe even more feet of descent (haven’t figured it out yet because it does not sound so impressive)
- Eleven distinguished men guys riders wymps
- 5 doctors
- 3 lawyers
- 4 college faculty
- 1 photographer
- 1 accountant
- 1 economist
- 2 Mikes, 2 Davids, and 2 Randalls (one first name, one last name)*
- Two 12-passenger vans with rear seats removed for storage
- 5 pounds of ground coffee
- Economy-sized peanut butter & jelly
- Enough Gatorade/exercise drinks to fill a swimming pool
- Enough sunblock to paint the White House
- 11 cell phones
*Totals more than eleven due to multiple identities
It takes a week, I’ve decided, to dig out from vacation. The only thing harder than going away is coming back. We should either stay where we are or stay away.