Shrimp Run, Topsham, Maine
I’m temporarily living in Maine for a while. Summer is in full swing in Portland, Maine and it is with excitement that I plan for my first scooter rally in Maine.
This is a far cry from UK rallies, where you turn up (with 1000’s of others), get your tent unpacked and head to the boozer for afternoon drinks, then back to the tent to change and a few beers with fellow campers at the campsite, then out for the ‘do’ consisting of DJ’s playing northern soul, punk, ska, some indie tunes and occasionally a live band. My teenage years were spent listening to mod and soul music and with my purchase of a Vespa 100 at 16, music and scooters have gone hand in hand since. I’ve DJ’d at quite a few rallies over the years and have a soft spot for this mix of “rally tunes” and have associated ‘scootering music’ at rallies. Not without saying I have a broad taste in music and have always been one to enjoy different music at rallies as trends change.A look at Ski’s Shrimp Run’s website prepares me that it is not going to be the same as scooter rallies at home in the UK/Ireland. The UK scene is 90% Vespas and Lambrettas, ranging from classic to modern scooters, and mostly geared scooters. We are promised a ride out through Maine’s back roads to Richmond and back. Then food and a live music act by a local singer/songwriter.
I’m not quite sure what to expect from this US rally so I join forces with my new scootering buddies, the Cumberland County Scooter Club in Portland and we head up to Topsham from Portland for the ride out. We are a mix of scooters, some on Stellas (LML), Aprilias and Vespas. The max speed we go is about 50mph as we aren’t allowed on the interstate, so the slower pace makes for a nice ride up to Topsham. We go through Brunswick which is a great little town just about 28 miles north of Portland.
We arrive at the Seadog Brewing Company and there are already about 60 scooters there. People are milling about and chatting together. There are only a couple of stalls. The majority of the scooters here are automatics/ twist n go’s. A right mix of different makes and models. Only a few stand out to me. I notice a few old classic Vespa’s – a nice GS owned by Craig and a Vespa VBB (I think that’s what it is). I am also pleased to see a Lambretta owned by a guy from the Halifax Scooter Council who tells me he drives from Halifax to the Boston Stranglers rally ever year.(there I was complaining about having to drive back 30 miles!) More arrive and I’m sure there are about 70 scooters as we rev up for the rideout toward Richmond, Maine. Escorting us is chief of police who has been given a scooter to ride for the event.
The rideout took us on winding roads through beautiful farmlands before we arrived at our destination, the historic town of Richmond which was having its own party Richmond Days Celebration .. The locals were intrigued by the influx of scooters arriving at their party and made for a great atmosphere.
Richmond is on the Kennebec River and was the ideal destination for a quick stop for food and refreshments before heading back to the Seadog Brewery. Fish and chips and lobster rolls were consumed on the riverside. Fed and watered we headed back to the scooter rally venue. There was some confusion as to what was happening. The stalls were dismantled and everyone seemed to disappear. I was a little disappointed as there was no music as promised and I think had there been some outdoor music, everyone may have hung about a bit and enjoyed the day. I know some people were camping so maybe they just headed to the campsite? Looked like that was it.. so checked out one of the brewery’s local beers then got ready to leave around 3 ish. Some of the other club members were still there so we enjoyed a bit of banter before all heading home. I don’t think I got it though..all these people travelled all those miles for a rideout…and there was no party after? That’s the first rally I have left on a Saturday afternoon. Though I have to say.. it was kind of refreshing going to a rally and being tucked up in bed by 11pm on the same day. Old age is kicking in.I hear this was the first scooter rally in Maine. It was a fun day and maybe it’ll get bigger and better next year. I hope I’m still here to enjoy it!