Nearly every person we meet in the North Maine Woods spews off something along these lines:
“You don’t have a spare tire??”
No, we don’t.
First of all, we had no idea what the roads were like in northern Maine (to be fair, our AWD car is delicate). Second of all, we actually didn’t realize that we would be shuttling cars for people canoeing the West Branch of the Penobscot River several times a week. We knew shuttles would be part of our summer, just not a large part of our summer.
But, indeed, we are. We do 2 types of shuttles: one which is 19 miles one way, and one which is 34 miles one way. You may say that’s a breeze, but the 19 miles takes 1 hour and 15 minutes and the 34 miles takes 1 hour and 30 minutes.
People put canoes/kayaks/boats in at these spots and take out a few days later here at the lake. We drive the vehicles back to the lake, all the while finding 1-2 French-speaking radio stations and 1 English-speaking station for the long drive.
Our car, Big Bird, is traveling on a wing and a prayer. We have looked to buy a full-sized spare, but have no luck so far. So no spare tire.
We talked with the owners and figured a way we could BIKE the 19-mile shuttle!
It is amazing how many hills you don’t notice when driving though. Also, we can’t ride bikes on logging roads, so we take snowmobile trails through the woods with a 1-mile extremely gnarly section where we have to carry our bikes and sludge through mud/water.
The canoe season is wrapping up, but we are happy to have tested out human-powered shuttles. Big Bird is happy too.