Blazing Saddles

You drove that Taurus how far?

Power and Motoryacht’s Editor-in-Chief George Sass Jr., who also serves as Group Editorial Director and VP of the AIM Marine Group, was married in July of this year. It was a gala event in Blue Hill, Maine, and I was invited. Having several months to plan for my trek north, I promptly started looking at flights from South Florida. Securing a decent price, I booked, only to be derailed a couple weeks before departure, due to a boat deal I was involved in. Sea trials and surveys were slated for my departure date. I salvaged what I could from the airlines and canceled out.  

But as luck would have it, the boat deal went south just a couple of days before the wedding, leaving me the opportunity to attend. However, flight costs had more than tripled, therefore excluding me from the luxury of flying. Still hell bent on attending, though, I called my friend Theresa to inquire if she had plans for the weekend.

Capt. Steve Creel

“None really,” she replied.

“Wanna take a road trip?” I asked.

“Sure, where do you have in mind?”

“Uh … Maine?” 

“Are you crazy?”

“If we start organizing now,” I said, using my most optimistic tone, “we’ll have 36 hours to make the drive.”

A couple hours later, we were dealing with rental car reservations and doing laundry. We departed Stuart, Florida, on a Thursday morning, laid over in Fredericksburg, Virginia, Thursday night, and arrived at the Pentagoet Inn in Castine, Maine, on Friday, exactly 36 hours from our departure. Our wheel time was 26 hours and 23 minutes, covering 1,607 (statute) miles, an average speed of 60.64 mph! I know all this because our rental car had all the goodies, including Bluetooth. Our average MPG was 25.6! If you must know, our car was a 2014 Ford Taurus Limited, and it even had air-conditioned leather seats.

I tell you all this for two reasons. One, so all of Power & Motoryacht’s readers can bombard George with well wishes. (Last I heard, he accepts checks! Ha ha!). And two, although we made very good time getting to Maine, the only thing Theresa and I could remember about the trip up was the bad food in Fredericksburg. But get this. While having quality time to spend with Theresa (which is a rarity), I learned she’d made the Florida-to-Connecticut run numerous times but, as with our journey north, she had experienced nothing off the beaten path. So, during our return trip to Florida we stayed off the major highways and had a wonderful time exploring the Atlantic Coast all the way down through.

Our journey north had been facilitated by a GPS, a cell phone app called WAZE, and Taj Mahal on Bluetooth. But on the flip-flop, the poor GPS had to recalculate constantly due to our desire to drive A1A and U.S. 1 almost exclusively. And since both roads had numerous construction areas and detours, we ultimately had to rely more on road signage than electronics, like boaters using visual navigational aids instead of a chart plotter.

It was all so different. While running boats professionally for 38 years now, I’ve mostly blazed a trail from A to B, only stopping for fuel. Sometimes the destination has to be the focus, but it sure is more fun when a trip becomes about the journey. And yeah, the importance of “smelling the roses” is becoming more of a priority in my travels these days, whether by land or sea; and I highly recommend it. So, keep the rubber on the asphalt, the wet side down, and don’t blow by that lobster shack!