It's now a tradition -- bringing home the Christmas tree on the back of the Vespa. I can't help but think of Clark Griswold in the Christmas Vacation movie driving to get a tree in the woods for an old fashion family Christmas. I may have even sung a carol or two on the way home.
The tradition's continuation was still in question that morning. Kim and I were talking about alternatives to a tree, it was getting late in the season, and we just weren't sure. Sitting in Starbucks enjoying a pre-holiday breakfast of tea and chocolate marble cake I decided to ride to the Tait Farm for a tree.
Business was slow on a weekday this close to Christmas so I had the place pretty much to myself. A few people were wandering around looking at trees and decorations. With the temperature in the upper 30's the melting snow made the fields a little sloppy so I decided to buy a pre-cut tree rather than wander around with a saw and cut my own. Waiting patiently among the pines and spruces was a lovely six and a half foot Douglas Fir.
It didn't take long to strap the tree to the rear rack and start towards home. While there weren't a lot of people at the farm there was a lot of traffic on the road (US 322) running past the place. It's a main artery between Interstate 80 and points south through Central Pennsylvania and thick with trucks and cars. I wanted to take a more rustic and relaxed path home -- to the right I would find a nice gravel road but with no winter maintenance it would likely still be covered with snow and ice. To the left just a half mile down the road I could turn off and ride through a golf course and into a quiet valley that would lead me home. I waited until I could see a big gap in traffic and made a beeline towards the golf course. With the tree on the back I couldn't go much faster than 45 MPH without the tree beginning to shake. I could see a line of tractor-trailers bearing down on me in my rear-view mirrors. By the time I made the turnoff they were only a hundred feet behind me and coming fast. Ho. Ho. HO!
Once in Brush Valley things were much more relaxed and I could ride along slowly and enjoy the scenery and sing a few bars of Let it Snow and I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas. Dean Martin or Bing Crosby I'm not. Having earplugs does enhance the singing of even a less than mediocre singer like me.
I didn't go straight home. I wanted to find another present for Kim so I stopped at the soon to go out of business Federal House, a small gift shop with an eclectic collection of things. With everything at 75 percent off I purchased two 10 by 16 inch paintings mounted in ornate, rustic metal frames. No problem with transport on the Vespa -- just strapped them down on top of the tree with a few more bungee cords.
I like Christmas and tradition is important. If you are looking to add one yourself you may want to consider hauling a Christmas tree home on the back of your scooter or motorcycle. It looks more imposing than it actually is. The tree weighs less than a passenger and when balanced correctly it doesn't even take much to keep it attached. Keep the tree less than 9 feet in length and you won't even be a wide load!