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.

October 27, 2013

24 HOURS OF LEMONS

... adding  further enjoyment to my stay at sara and gordy's, they took me with them to watch gordy's cousin race in the "24 hours of lemons" ... only $500 or less can be spent on the vehicle, after that the sky's the limit as to modifications and enhancements ... it's clear that some of the participants are there "just for the great fun," while others are obviously racing to win ... like the more refined "24 hours of lemans," this makes for an interesting mix of drivers and vehicles ... last year #300 won the race ... while we were watching this contest they remained in third or second place, but when we left there was still another day's racing to complete ...

... everyone was very friendly, and it was most entertaining to follow the action of the race cars as they negotiated the course's long straight and twisting turns ... when i first arrived i started cursing myself, "d***, i wish i'd brought my tripod and fancy zoom lens" ... in fact, i didn't even have my medium power zoom, the glass on my nikon was my short zoom ... but, remembering the advice i often offer others, i took a deep breath and reminded myself, "photographers take pictures, patrick, and you're a photographer" ... some of you will probably find that the first few of these snaps suffice, but as a sign of my appreciation and respect for #300's team i'm including the entire set ...

[FOR THOSE OF YOU NEW TO THIS JOURNAL, THERE'RE TWO POINTS TO REMEMBER.  FIRST, IF YOU CLICK ON A PICTURE THE ENTIRE SET FOR THIS ENTRY WILL APPEAR FULL-SIZED; AND, SECOND, THESE ARE LOW-QUALITY WEB VERSIONS OF THE PHOTOS, DROP ME AN EMAIL OR NOTE IF YOU'D LIKE THE FULL-SIZED FILES!]























CHUTE MONTMORENCY & ASBESTOS

... adrien and i took a little wander up into quebec ... after stopping in sherbrooke for some most excellent rotisserie chicken, with fries and gravy, of course, and spending the night in drummondville, we motored up past quebec city to see the great montmorency waterfall ... we took the cable car to the top of the bluff because we love cable cars ...

 ... and because we love the view you get from a cable car ...

... and, of course, because both of us figured the $8 fee to enjoy the smooth climate controlled comfort of the cable car was a bargain compared to climbing the stairs, even if they were free ...

... although obviously with a lower volume of falling water, at over 275 feet the cataract is actually substantially higher than the more well known niagara falls ...

... there's a really cool suspension bridge set right over the edge of the waterfall ... to get to it we had to hike a wooden sidewalk that in places was sort of tacked onto the side of the cliff ...

... from one of the vantage points we were able to look over to the "belaying trail" that runs up the vertical face of the cliff ... there are three routes, "easy," "medium," and "insane" ... for c$49 you can select your own personal means of ending your life while dangling from a rope ...

... from the bridge we could look straight down the face of the waterfall ...

... adrien, of course, celebrated making it to to the top ...

... and then did so again, happy that we so loved cable cars ...


... it was from this spot that general wolfe watched the movements of general montcalm's troops and planned his offensive against the fortress of quebec ... montcalm came out to do battle on these heights, defeating the english army ... later, after failing to entice montcalm to leave his fortified positions, wolfe developed a plan which resulted in the british army landing at the base of the unguarded bluff south of quebec's stone walls and thus setting up a battle with the french on the plains of abraham ... fifteen minutes after the fight had begun, with wolfe dead and montcalm dying, french involvement in the history of north america had ended ...

... in the winter the spray from the falls creates a huge "ice haystack" at the base of the cataract, in some years reaching a height of over 150 feet ...

... half the stairs we climbed down ...

... for some strange reason the light in quebec makes my hair look like it doesn't have any color ... hmmmm, okay, i admit it, the light everywhere else does the same thing, too ...

... adrien celebrated that we only had to go down the long staircase ...

... wet, cold, and pleased we'd both survived the stairs ...

... in thetford mines we visited the museum ... we were tired, the "bilingual" presentations turned out to be one paragraph of english for every ten paragraphs of french, and most of the lighting was turned off for the winter, but it was still informative ... i found out that "asbestos" isn't actually a single substance, but is the name given to five different minerals ... the huge mine tailings dominating the landscape make the valley very eerie ... next summer, when the museum offers tours of the digs, i hope to take a little wander back to the region ...

... when we got back to drummondville i said, "i'd like to take a nap" ... adrien responded, "i'm not tired, i want some supper," so, instead of going to our motel, we went searching for a place to eat ... later, driving up to the comfort inn, we were stopped by a fireperson ... we didn't really understand what he was saying, but it was obvious we weren't going to be going up to our room ... we parked in an  empty lot and started watching a movie on my laptop ... i finally went over and asked what was going on, and was told it would be an hour or more before we'd be allowed inside to collect our belongings ... if they hadn't burned up, of course ... i checked in at the disaster response vehicle, where adrien and i spent a bit over an hour being asked in french over and over if we wanted any "cafe" ... all the personnel were extremely friendly and concerned with our well-being ... when it came time for the police to escort us to our room, we learned that there was some sort of "serial arsonist" setting fires in the town ... a couple of kids, we'd seen them near our car watching the goings-ons, were suspected because they "were wearing their hats backwards" ... our room was directly above the burned out area, and the firepeople had to break in using their axes ... we were sent over to a very nice motel, where our new room turned out to be big enough to hold a convention ... the bottle of water in the room was free and there was no charge for wearing the nice robes ... yes, a very classy place, indeed ...

... the next day we drove back to new hampshire, on the way stopping to quite pleasantly learning that "mae west" is a quebec treat ...

RUFUS & I CELEBRATE AUTUMN

... rufus and i shared a few minutes in the backyard ... snow visible atop the mountains north of us, we enjoyed a late autumn afternoon ...

... first he chased mr. rabbit ...

 
... then he broke the speed of sound with a pine cone ...

... after which he ran in circles until finally, exhausted, he stopped, fell over, and gave me his "that's it, you lose" look ...

... with rufus the backyard is always great fun ...






... i like the final stage of autumn in new england ... it's a sort of you-don't-quite-need-your-mittens-yet time ...

... rufus, too, although he doesn't seem to have to worry about his fingers getting cold, he appreciates the season ...