by Robert Addis
After going to Cape Cod and taking the ferry to Nantucket last October, we decided on Martha’s Vineyard for September 17-20, 2015. There were two reasons for this decision – Bob had been there on his own in 2012 and found excellent scootering and second, Scott’s scooter, Nelli had been purchased in 2003(?) specifically by a Capital District couple to honeymoon on Martha’s Vineyard. They put on a couple of hundred miles while on the island, apparently trailered it home, and put it into storage. Sometime around 2009 Scott purchased this low mileage beauty, awoke her from her slumber, and has been steadily riding her ever since. 22-24,000 miles now, Scott? So this was a coming home trip for Nelli! And John Connors always wants to ride somewhere!
When you mention the Cape, everyone expresses the wish to go to either Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard “sometime”. The vast majority never do it, citing many reasons – expense being the most common. Bob discovered Hostels International has five hostels on the Cape and realized that a sacrifice in accommodations made the trips affordable. For less than $40 per night a traveler gets a bunk or single bed, shared bathroom and a free breakfast. For reference, the MV campground charges nearly $50 for a tent site with no breakfast and there’s no campground or camping on Nantucket.
With Nelli, the 150 cc Vespa ready to go, Bob plotted a straight line route from Troy to the ferry at Woods Hole. As we shall see on the return trip, this may not have been the fastest route, but it was scenic – about 260 miles in 9.7 hours inclusive of all stops. And one stop was worth the route – B.T.’s Smokehouse, north side of US Rt. 20, Sturbridge. We found it by nose and ended the detour by going up a sidewalk on our scooters! Good to know it’s so close to the Mass Pike.
Revenge of the Nerds (Partially) – We each marched up to the ticket window for the ferry and requested, “I adult and 1 moped round trip, please!” and immediately caught the ferry. We rode mid-island to the hostel, unpacked, and rode to Oak Bluffs for dinner at the Offshore Ale Company – outstanding seafood and microbrews. We heard someone in the crowd say, “I heard there’s a Vespa gang in town!” It must have been our ATR shirts!
Friday we toured the west end of the island (“upisland”), visited John Belushi’s grave, saw the Aquinnah Cliffs and lighthouse, and ended up eating our dinner from Larsen’s Seafood while sitting on crates on the fisherman’s pier and enjoying the sunset. We were not alone; it’s a popular tourist and local attraction at the furthest west point on MV.
Saturday we rode to lighthouses in Vineyard Haven and Oak Bluffs and visited the quaint Victorian-style small houses which had slowly been converted from tents on platforms to small vacation homes as a summer encampment of the Methodist Church. By afternoon we had taken the “On Time” ferry from MV to Chappaquiddick and a 4WD tour to the outer dunes and another lighthouse. Dinner was at the predictably excellent Seafood Shanty in Edgartown near the On Time ferry.
Early arising on Sunday led to a bakery for breakfast and the 7 AM ferry to the mainland. While boarding, the ticket taker said, “Wait a minute! This isn’t a moped!” while staring at the Burgman 650. Then John’s Vespa 300 and Scott’s Vespa 150 got the same comment. He may have been about to send us to the ticket booth for a revision but didn’t and allowed us on the ferry.
For future trips to MV, we are in a quandary. Are we billed as mopeds or motorcycles? In all fairness, nowhere has the ferry defined “moped” by engine size. We have small tires, a step thru, and we sit on top of our engines – completely uncharacteristic of a motorcycle. I’m certain that the Harley behind us on the ferry wouldn’t classify us as motorcycles. And I think all of our scooters have been called mopeds at least once. What to do, what to do?
Scott broke out his GPS and plotted a route home of about the same miles but apparently avoiding enough traffic that the return trip was only 8-8.5 hours, saving more than an hour for the one lunch and two gas stops made each way. Bob felt like Old John Henry being beaten by the steel driving machine only he can’t see his opponent, the traffic-avoiding app!
It was a great trip with great friends. We rode a total of 712 miles, 188 miles on Martha’s Vineyard alone. That’s lots of beautiful riding on an island 6 X 12 miles in size!