Tarmac ribbons criss-crossing the landscape, dusty back roads twisting between the cool shadows of ancient pines, and less traveled pathways connecting present to past, all I wander, seeking, seeing, with my keyboard and camera capturing scenes and stories to share with you.

Now in its seventh year, this venue has become an important part of my life, a place where I can express my thoughts and feelings about the things I see and do, hoping the process brings me a bit closer to friends and family who enjoy sharing my sometimes chaotic and often nonlinear observations and ideas. A journal, I suppose, but one with which I find pleasure in thinking others are alongside me on my journey.

Comments, thoughts, or just a friendly chat, use the response box below or email me at patrickgroleau@gmail.com.

September 29, 2013

1ST AUTUMN RIDE & 1ST AUTUMN SWIM & 10,000 + SMASH

... been a bit remiss journaling, so this'll be a sort of catch-up posting ...

... finishing the season on his "little" bike, roger's trying to do 20,000 miles on two wheels this year, so we went for a little wanderabout up to north new portland then through the hills to farmington ...
... i snapped a few pictures of the early foliage, thinking that perhaps using photomatrix pro i might be able to convey a sense of the autumn color ... i was wrong, but it was fun trying ...

... we stopped and took a rest at the wire bridge ... in this shot it might be that roger was pondering some deep philosophical concept, such as, "if i trade in my big road cycle should i get a moto guzzi or a suzuki adventure touring machine" ... or, equally possible, he was thinking, "i wonder if i can get across this stream on my knobbly tired honda without using the bridge" ... of course, my bet would be that it was neither of these, since, as is always the case, thinking isn't really necessary to appreciate this most perfect place ...

... sunday i drove up to west enfield to visit with gerry ... for those of you not in the know, west enfield's a "suburb" of enfield, which is just down the road a piece from "stinkin' lincoln" ... other'n family, and a too-distant precious friend, by virtue of having been teammates our freshman year of college and roommates as sophomores, gerry's the person i've continuously known the longest in my life ... his sweet wife, cathy, my "sloe gin buddy" comes in a close second ...

... gerry's quite possibly the ruggedest person i've ever known ... i've some great memories of climbing mt. katahdin, panting and wheezing with every stride, whilst leading the way he just sort of strolled across the landscape ... sunday he took me kayaking on cold stream pond ... (non-new englanders note:  at two miles across and over seventy feet deep in spots, it's obvious the definition of "pond" differs regionally) ... i felt that the rotator cuff i tore earlier this year had healed enough for me to say to gerry, "see if you can get a shot of me leaving a wake" ...

  ... four months ago the water behind me would've been absolutely smooth ... i'm pleased ... of course, i did notice that as usual for every two strokes gerry took i had to take three, and even then i could barely keep up with him ... only consolation i can take is that if we'd been in canoes the ratio would've been even worse ...

... forget the wildlife, i'm yelling to gerry, "what's that security camera doing on a pole in the middle of lake which is located pretty much at the edge of civilization" ... made me wonder a lot about certain three-initial agencies and face recognition software ... somewhere, in a deep, dark, secret place, i'll bet another page is being added to my folder:  "kayaks-lake-maine-rather clumsy" ...

... out in the lake we tied up on the line of boulders the glaciers left stretched out for us, then took a refreshing swim ... a very cool swim ... end of september in northern maine, a very, very, very cool swim ... here, gerry's celebrating, either from the joy of being part of nature or the even greater joy that "shrinkage" isn't permanent ... i stayed in so long that it was only my second stop for coffee on the way home that my insides began to warm ...

... many years ago, in this very spot, gerry allowed me hold the tiller and pretend i was sailing his boat ... check out the sunglasses, after fifty years of "the general" style, i'm giving "traditional" a try ... "an old dog learning new tricks" ... ??? ... nah, simply they were a "70% off list" amazon bargain ... lenses're grey instead of green, but i think i'll manage to adjust ...

... me, having just arrived in rhode island ... the bike, a 2005 bmw f650cs, had 11,900 miles on its odometer when i bought it in may ... as of this afternoon i've added another 10,300 miles ... !!! ... unbelievable ... check out the helmet hair, i'm starting to look the part ...

... as of this afternoon, this is the bike's mirror ... would you believe that a bmw's mirror strut will support the entire weight of the motorcycle ... !!! ... yes, it will ... the glass mirror, however, is obviously a part bmw ordered from some third-world manufacturer ... good news is other'n the broken glass the bike remained pristine ... also good news, i seem to have mastered the art of shooting myself out of the way of a falling motorcycle, and, in addition, it's now clear that my very expensive padded riding gear works ... tomorrow, mike and i will enjoy a round-mirror hunt ...





September 21, 2013

NIGHTRIDER

... playing around in black & white, john posted this picture of me ...


BOOTS

... i took a little ride this afternoon, wandering back roads until i ended up at east pond, where ann asked, "would you like to stay for supper" ... it's so nice, how she still doesn't seem to realize that my answer is always the same ... chuck and i went for a swim out at the rocks, then after warming up on the ride back to the camp i took a another swim in the cove ... on the way home i stopped at the shoe store, where i found the waterproof high-top boots i've been looking for ...


... waterproof, steel shank, and, my preference over the modern glued-and-molded style, a real sole ... didn't hurt that they were on sale for 20% off, either ... considering that my current high-top boots were purchased in 1973, and, being on their third set of soles, are no longer waterproof, i don't think this purchase was really an extravagance ... this completes my wet-weather riding outfit ...

ADIRONDACK WANDERABOUT

... i packed up the bags on my bmw and roger did the same with the waterproof sack that straps to the back of his "little" honda 250cc, and we headed out to take a drive through the adirondack mountains in upstate new york ...


... we'd planned on making burlington by sunset, but between a late start after lunch and the nasty weather that was a bit slow clearing, we found ourselves driving route 2 with the sun glaring off our helmet windscreens ... good planning allows for flexibility, so we stopped at a nice little motel in marshfield, vermont ...

... while we were checking in i asked if there was a coffee machine in the room ... "no, sorry, but we've got one of those single-cup machines in the kitchen ... i'll make you up a cup" ... "thanks," i responded, "i'll unpack my motorcycle then come back to the office" ... "oh, don't bother with that, soon as it's brewed up i'll bring it down to your room" ... i've stayed at some very fancy—and expensive—hotels, and that kind of service is usually accompanied not just with a smile, but also includes a hefty room service fee ... kudos to "the marshfield inn & motel," a place that has earned my most enthusiastic endorsement ...


... that evening i thought i was getting a bit spleeny concerning driving in cool weather, but after we settled in to the room i checked the national weather service on the web and found that we'd been driving in 42-45°f conditions ... early the next morning it was even colder, with a dense mist blanketing the landscape ... we waited it out while enjoying a wonderful home cooked breakfast, then headed on our way to catch the 11:00am ferry across lake champlain ...

... after we'd boarded the ferry i noticed a group of travelers taking pictures ... this young lady was standing near my motorcycle as a friend took snapshots of her with the bike in the background ... i went over and said, "why don't you sit on it and get your picture taken" ... she was so excited, especially when i suggested she pose as if she was driving the machine ... it turned out she was from korea and her companions were from china ... they were on a hiking tour of the united states, and were returning from climbing mount washington ...

... it was a most beautiful day, and it was a very peaceful hour-long ride across the calm waters of lake champlain ...

... roger, of course, spent much of the voyage reliving the days of his youth, when sailed the seven seas as bell-bottomed squid ... on some sort of wooden-hulled three-masted schooner, i'm sure ...

... i've always liked riding on ferry boats ... it's so interesting to observe all the many different ways people enjoy their voyages ...


... our ride through the mountains was quite relaxing ... since roger was driving his 250cc bike i had to go a bit slower than usual, which allowed me to even better enjoy the beautiful scenery ... in lake placid we stopped to visit the olympic nordic ski jumping center ... some say to me, "oh, you're crazy to drive a motorcycle" ... really, well if that's true then what word would you use for the young people who flock to upstate new york hurtle down this structure and then fly through the air on skis ... beyond that, what about the parents who deliberately move to this region so their kids'll have the chance to take part in this deadly activity ... all my life i've watched this sport on television, but standing at the bottom of that steep hill i gained a much deeper respect for those who live out the dreams once we all had of soaring without wings ...


... at the training facility, the atheletes shoot down plastic covered ramps to practice all manner of flips and spins before they crash into a bubble-filled swimming pool ... their coach, from his accent a german man, i believe, all the while yelling at them, "nein ... nein ... ef you land like zat on de snow you vill look like ein mushroom ... again ... scnell ... again, do it again" ...


... i talked to a sweet little girl as she got out of the pool ... "i know you're not crazy, so why are you doing this" ... the braces with multi-colored rubber band attachments made her smile all the more charming, "oh, i'm going to be in the olympics someday" ...


... on the ride back across the lake we met dennis ... as a young englishman he served as a soldier in croatia ... discharged from the army, he read in the paper that the australian government was sponsoring "25£ fares" ... for about $50 and a "promise to work for two years" a person could travel to "the land down under" ... half a lifetime later, he travels the world on holiday but returns to his home a "fair dinkum aussie" ...

... across vermont and new hampshire, then through the mountains of maine, ours was a nice ride back to waterville ...










September 16, 2013

SUNFLOWER & GREEN JACKET

... i'm sure you've no problem with the "sunflower" part of this entry, but, for other'n two of you, that is, i'll bet the "green jacket" as left you at least a tiny bit mystified ...

... when mike and beth came for a visit he lost his jacket ... he looked everywhere, seem confident narrowing it down to "i put it on a coat hook by the door" ... after they left i searched high and low, left and right, back and forth ... i checked at every place in town the two of them had visited ... i turned on all my overhead lights—the ones that make the power meter on the second floor count so fast i can hear it spinning from my third floor apartment—and cleared every single one of the coat hooks in the entrance way ... no luck ... mike gave up, cancelled his credit cards ...

... fast forward to this morning ... normally when i stand in front of the clothes rack in my guest room/closet my thoughts are, "plaid or knit" ... today, however, preparing for a little wanderabout of the adirondacks, i said to myself, "ah, since we'll be driving in the mountains perhaps would be a good idea to bring a long-sleeved shirt" ... with that radically different focus, mike's "green" jacket stood out from the crowd ...

... rain's letting up, time to finish packing ...

September 7, 2013

IF IT'S FOUR IN A ROW, M'BE IT'S FIXED

... back from two different garages, john snapped a picture as i tried for a fourth-in-a-row successful start ...


... by the end of the day i was up to six ... tomorrow'll be the test, after it's been sitting all night in cool damp air ... i'm not holding my fingers, of course ... i still think it's the neutral safety switch that's the cause of the intermittent starting problem ... if it keeps happening i'm going to ground the clutch switch ... if that "fixes" it then as far as i can read a schematic diagram that'll be proof it's the neutral switch (sigh ... what i've been saying since the very first day) ... i guess i shouldn't complain since the dealer's not charging, and, in any case, despite the slight inconvenience i've already managed to enjoying riding it 8,000 miles this summer ...


... 9.12.13 note:  cool damp mornings, still acting up ...


WIRE BRIDGE MEMORY


... photo courtesy of alison and her iphone, here's bella and me enjoying our favorite spot on the beach beneath the wire bridge ...

HONDA 250, PRE-REFIT

... my friend, roger, who is "one of those iron-butt guys," has decided he's going to turn his honda 250cc motocross motorcycle into a machine for cruising in-state along minor highways and undeveloped roads ... today i shot the "before" pictures for him ... his plans are to add a larger gas tank, install a more comfortable seat, attach side and top racks for tail bags, add heated handgrips, add a windscreen and change the lighting to l.e.d. bulbs ... he did almost three-hundred miles this afternoon, his comment being, "ouch, i need to put on the new seat before i get too serious" ...


... i snapped a shot of him as was motoring away ...


September 5, 2013

NOVA SCOTIA POSTSCRIPT

... as i wrote about a few weeks back, during our motorcycle journey across new brunswick and nova scotia we encountered ulf muller as he was making a fuel stop on one of the last stages of his great “round the world 2013 on motorcycles” adventure ... ulf was most gracious to take a bit of time to speak with us, and he discussed some of the difficulties involved with such an undertaking (“no film or support crew accompanying me”), the mechanical problems (“i’ve been riding for several days with no back shock absorber”), the political obstacles (“i rode across canada because it was easier for me to visit north korea than it was to get into the united states”), and some his motivations for making the trip (“i’ve a friend who could never take a trip like this because he has multiple sclerosis, so i’m raising funds for the swiss ms society”) ...


... i just noticed that roger took pictures with his cellphone ... i’ve posted them because ulf muller greatly inspired me ...


September 2, 2013

MIKE & BETH VISIT

... mike and beth, my brother and sister-in-law, came up for a visit ... we've enjoyed going out to eat, watched some movies, and took nice drive up into the western mountains ...

... we parked at a scenic overlook to view the beautiful skyline ... as usual, beth made sure to read all the information signs and historical markers, then she and mike strolled off into the woods ... me, well, although i know there're no "lions or tigers," there are bears, so i stayed up by the car figuring someone had to be responsible enough to notify the warden service if they didn't return ...


... while waiting i provided a nice couple with a little "lesson" concerning the merrimack trough and the "rebound" effect maine is still experiencing from the enormous weight and pressure of the mile-thick laurentide ice sheet ... while we spoke their little girl noticed my camera and started posing alongside a granite post ...


... her dad sighed, "it's my fault, i think i've trained her to do that" ... i responded, "nah, i have two of 'em, it means you've done a good job as a parent" ...

... we wandered up along the kennebec, through solon, bingham, moscow and carratunk, until we reached the forks, where we drove up the big hill and then hiked in to view moxie falls ...


... asking mike and beth to pose sitting on the wooden rail above the falls, i learned that beth is not all that comfortable with heights ... mike, of course, went instantly into his protective/reassuring mode ... a pleasant memory, watching him i recalled when as a little boy it was me who found refuge in his arms ... i remember when in very frightening situations he could bring a smile to my face, too ...


... and, yes, i've been playing around with photoshop "filters" ... while the rest of the world is going crazy with instagram i'm not going feel guilty toying a bit with "topaz labs" ... here's a more conventional image ...


... we're having a fine time, tonight the girls're coming over for supper ...