Let's see, this is a busy weekend in Maine. As everywhere else, it's Valentine's Day on Sunday, and for some, a paid holiday on Monday. So what could I do that would enchant a woman to a weekend of romance?
I know from radio notices that Renee Fleming, the "people's diva" and world famous opera singer, will perform with the Portland Symphony this weekend. That would show my ineffable class, as befits someone who drives a Corvair Monza Coupe. What a perfect car to arrive in at the opera with a stunning date! I can envision myself handing the keys to the valet parking attendant as he gazes in awe at the European lines of the brilliant car. Then he'll start it up and hear the loud tapping of hydraulic lifter seaching for oil and the howl of the air-cooled engine's fan. And I'll have to warn him about the tear in the driver's seat. No, I'll pass on the opera this time. If a Corvair at speed is a bit noisy, what's a soprano at full trill going to sound like?
Even if I took the TR-7, issues would inevitably arise. While I find the thought of a stunning woman exiting from a low slung sports car enticing, some women do not; they use phrases like "Lecher!" whenever I propose taking the Triumph. It's intimate but there are limits of what you can do inside a TR-7.
So if I cannot lure a date with an evening indoors, why not a day spent in Maine's great woods? What says love more than a weekend of off-roading in a Land Rover? This is the weekend of the Maine Winter Romp, now in it's 13th year. Over 100 Land Rovers from New England, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and the Maritime Provinces of Canada will likely attend; last year, one fellow drove his Series II-A from Ohio! The total group might be more than 250 people. Nothing says love moreby than huddling together in a Land Rover, Range Rover, Discovery or LR3, on trails that run through the woods, streams, hills and bogs of Unity, Maine.
The cars range from utterly stock, like mine, to fully equipped with locking differentials, jacked up suspensions and 12,000 lb. winches. The attendees range in age from 9 months [Sophia, who rode in my 1966 Land Rover last year] to 70. While the trails are usually broken down by a skidder, or by snowmobiles, in advace, we never know just what conditions we will encounter. Last year the trails had some very deep ruts and a few watery sinkholes. The sides of the trails - the places we had to walk with winch cables to find a purchase spot - were easily thigh deep. Walking in snow that's brushing your crotch gets old fast. It does keep your attention on the task on hand, however.
There are hard core enthusiasts who use the opportunity to camp in cold lean-to's for the weekend. Given that temperatures at night have ranged from -20F to +32 F, I've opted to stay at the "Romp Hotel," a Holiday Inn in nearby Waterville, ME. It has heat to dry out your clothes, a table on which you can disassemble any part in comfort and plenty of towels to clean off your greasy hands. How could a woman say "no?"I admit that I've run into some resistance with my invitations for this romantic weekend. Oh well, I'll see if Cupid has other plans for me on the trails.