The Whistler of Blackstone Bluff

Zuma 1

Last ride of the season on November the sixth. Temperature was 55 degrees in the afternoon for about two hours and I had to dress warm to be comfortable. By evening, we had snow on the ground again.

After the barn wreck this spring, Nadiene and I needed to replace the two SUVs that had been totaled in the building. I thought that we could do fine with one vehicle since our business is here at home and the price of gas was over $4.00 a gallon. We have always had a motorcycle or four wheeler around and I used them to go to work in the summer and run errands. This time I opted for a scooter and after some shopping around, we bought a Yamaha Zuma. I really had no idea that I would like the scooter so much and how handy it turned out to be for doing errands. After a few trips around the area, I started looking forward to a ride before supper and on the weekends, I would try to squeeze out an hour or two for a good long ride and would come home feeling really refreshed. Summer this year was rain, rain, rain with a two hour break in the afternoon with wind and then more rain at night. I dodged a bunch of thunderstorms by having some places to stop by laying out various roads to ride that fit into how much time I had for the trip.

I jokingly told my friends that I was finding the best scooter roads in Aroostook county so I could take visitors for a tour when we had company. The more riding I did, the more I discovered great places to play the whistle. Natural spots with lots of echo and amplification from the surrounding hills are not too hard to find here in the “County”. I usually make a brief stop and do a loud shout or two and if the sound is good, I will open the under seat storage, break out a whistle and give it a try. If the terrain shouts back, you generally have an amphitheater made by Mother Nature! One of the best spots is the Blackstone Bluff in Perham, Maine. The bluff is an abrupt stone drop into a twenty five mile long valley that has lots of stone faced hills facing you as you play. There is so much resonance from this arrangement of hills, that you music keeps playing back way after you have stopped.

The Bluff is also the home of a fair sized cemetery on one end that originally belonged to the Blackstone family, hence the name. Several times, I pulled into the opposite end of the bluff and played for a few minutes and then continued on my scootering. Of course, the play back from the hills bounces into the cemetery and it sounds like it was coming right out of the air in front of you. My playing apparently didn’t go unnoticed as some folks visiting the cemetery started asking around about who was playing all the music and where was it coming from. When no one knew who the whistler was, a legend was immediately born about the Whistler of Blackstone Bluff. How cool is that? Celebrity status without trying.

By the way, my scoot will hold an orchestra of whistles or enough Chinese Take Out for two days under the seat . I get over a hundred miles to the gallon, so it turns out to be economical way to travel and a great way to find a place to play your whistle.