For starters, the weather for Friday’s outing didn’t look very promising. Prepared with rain gear that turned out to be unnecessary, the road trip to Portsmouth, New Hampshire was run in some of the very limited sunshine we have seen lately. Riding down Route 1 from where I picked it up in Scarborough turned out to be a mistake. Big mistake. Huge. Before I go on with the story, let me explain what this is all about.
Now that summer 2009 is officially underway, what do we do with it? Well, I don’t know what you’re doing with it (though I’d be interested to hear), but we’re spending ours doing all the things I listed in Part 1. After spending the week after town meeting essentially getting ready to go on vacation (which was almost enough to convince that going on vacation wasn’t worth it), we took our eldest to Colonial Inauguration at GW. The weather was a pleasant surprise – warm, to be sure, but not the famously muggy DC summer weather – and the program was interesting, informative, and entertaining. Getting to see the city by night from the top of the Elliott School of International Affairs after a performance by The Capitol Steps was a nice treat.
Our return from Wasington, DC also brought us home to the “June monsoon,” a seemingly undending stretch of cool, gray, drippy weather. Most days it doesn’t rain all that much, but we get showers, some drizzle, mist, fog, and only an occasional (and apparently unpredictable) break of sun and refreshing breeze. To say the weather has put a damper on things would be an understatement. Softball tournament schedules squeezed and shuffled around to fit the gaps in precipitation. The motorcycle ride for the last day of the Great North Woods Ride-In? Washed out. The weather did relent long enough to spend part of the day in Portsmouth with my friend Brian, and to see a softball game yesterday. The weather outlook for the remainder of this vacation? Depressingly familiar.
For some, summer starts the weekend of Memorial Day. Bumper to bumper, cars darting in and out, 500 miles of speed and suspense. And then there’s the Indy 500. Astronomical purists say summer doesn’t start, in the Northern Hemisphere anyway, until June 21st (-ish). I say summer starts after town meeting.
Not that all New York drivers are terrors of the road but, based on results in the 2009 GMAC Insurance National Drivers Test, as a group, they are the worst in the nation. This is based on their responses to a twenty-question test culled from written DMV tests from around the nation. According to a GMAC press release posted on Autoblog, the rest of us don’t have much to crow about, since we’re getting worse as a nation. The Northeast ranks last among regions of the U.S., Maine ranks 31st among states, Massachusetts 45th, and Idaho 1st. Idaho?!
My score? A perfect 100%. Of course, getting all the questions right on a written test isn’t all there is to being a good driver, and I know I don’t get it right 100% of the time. But I have found that taking the Motorcycle Safety Foundation‘s Basic Rider Course and taking up motorcycling have done a lot for my vigilance as a driver, and I guess it really isn’t my imagination that there are a lot of bad drivers out there.