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 sixth 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.

April 28, 2014

JOHN'S STEICHEN OF PAT

... while at moxie john stepped into 1930 to make a snapshot of me as i stood motionless so as to not jostle the observation platform's planks during a 10-second exposure of the thundering cataract ...


... i'm sure that edward streichen would appreciate this, as do i ...

OWLS HEAD

... roger's thinking of volunteer for the owls head vintage motorcycle meet in august, so we took a little drive over so he could talk to the co-ordinator ... she wasn't in, but we took the time to enjoy the museum ... i didn't take notes, or for that matter pay much attention to dates and nomenclature, instead i just wandered enjoying all the fascinating human interest stories the guide related to his audience of one ... here, with a bit of information gleaned from the web, are my impressions of some of the exhibits ...

... this marvelous "ornithopter" with its feather filled wings would've been the first airplane ever, except, that is, for the slight problem that no matter how furiously the wings were flapped it never left the ground ... another of those great ideas that didn't work ...

... the wright airplane, the first human-carrying powered airplane to make sustained flights and also be fully controllable as to both height and direction of flight ... that is, of course, if you dismiss the claims concerning gustave whitehead ...

... an example of a motorized bicycle, a 1946 "whizzer" ... gives whole new meaning to the phrase, "i gotta take a whiz," doesn't it ...

... the museum is currently displaying what hemmings calls "one of the most comprehensive mg collections in the country, if not the world" ... 

... here's william stout's "scarab," an experimental vehicle that had unibody construction, a first ever fiberglass exterior and was rear-engined ... in addition, the seats were removable so that the interior could be customized, to include the placement of a card table ... at the time too "ugly" to attract the attention of the driving public, only nine were built ... william drove his own over 250,000 miles ...

... like the wrights, etrich's "taube" used wing warping (bending and twisting of the wings) to control the movement of the aircraft ...

... this is a 1909 "deluxe" pierce motorcycle ...

... italy's iso decided to sell its "isseta" (nicknamed das rollendi ei, "the rolling egg") ... bmw, at that time in severe trouble financially and facing buyout by mercedes benz, bought the egg hoping to make some fast cash ... by 1959 the introduction of the mini brought an end to the isseta, but it had achieved its purpose since the bmw company survived ... in england some issetas were sold with only three wheels, thus avoiding the steep tax on automobiles ...


... i remember cars such as this ... three kids could spread a blanket on the roof to watch the northern lights, try doing that with a modern chevy or toyota ...

... in the lobby hang many detailed models of world war one aircraft ...

... roger and i had a great time ... pretending we were flatlanders on vacation, we stopped for lunch in rockland, then played chase along back roads all the way home ...

April 23, 2014

MOXIE P.S.

... as i've often said, although they're reticent to admit it, photographers love wandering about with other photographers because it means they get their pictures taken ... while we were up at the falls john took the time to find a few images of me ...

... disregarding for the moment the subject, i like this photograph because it looks so natural ... technical truth revealed, this was a ten-second exposure during which i had to remain absolutely motionless ... fascinating ...

... i thought john had wandered off up the trail to explore some different vantages, but it turns out he hid behind a tree or something so that he could do some stealth photography ... here i am, climbing atop the wooden rail in order to get a better perspective for the image i was trying to capture ...

... john must have left figuring i'd reached the limit of my craziness ... once i'd finished with this spot i climbed down the drop off to the right and took some pictures from the jagged rocks that form the edge of the cataract ...

... with absolutely no apology for the HDR technique, here's the image i found while perched on top of the railing ...
... what great fun ... thanks, john ...

April 22, 2014

WANDERABOUT CATCHUP

... back from my first motorcycle ride ... not much, a bit over 400 miles in three days, just a warmup for the roads ahead ... as i promised, here're some of the highlights of my adventures of the past few days ...

... as i mentioned in the last posting, my niece called with a last minute dog sitting request ... refrigerator full of good food, a well-stocked keurig coffee machine, one of those orthopedic pillows that my head finds seriously addictive, and, last but hardly least, a backyard hot tub in which i can enjoy a bit of slow cooking as i enjoy the night sky, yes, she's correct, i must be some kind of saint for gladly performing such favors ...

... on the way over i stopped in falmouth to visit with my friend ... i parked the bike and she took me on a ferry boat ride to what quite oddly was my first ever visit to peaks island ...

... actually, i've still never been to peaks island ... when the boat docked we sat on the upper deck and chatted until it departed ... not a problem, something more to look forward to ...

... the last half-hour or so of my ride over to new hampshire was in 41°f air ... i'm getting good at handling this kind of riding, and my careful layering of gear kept me warm enough that my core temperature began to drop only when i was within a few miles of the house ... still, i'll be glad when i get my heated under jacket and add it to my top bag ...

... on saturday i decided to take rufus for an outing ... figuring to eat lunch late, we stopped in madison to see new hampshire's big rock ... just as i was getting him out of the car a stray dog showed up and rufus twisted my finger off as he slipped his collar ... the two of them did the ol' sniff one another's parts introduction (there are times i'm so glad to be human), and then rufus headed off down the trail ... for the hike in he would charge towards me at a hundred miles and hour, veer off at the last second, then wander around finding a place where he could top another dog's pee with his own ... when we lived in alaska we would watch alvin the wonder dog do this, marveling at how dogs were capable of creating pee seemingly on demand ...

... after a short stroll, the great "madison rock" appeared in front of us ...

... it is very difficult to get a sense of scale without having a person or other known object standing in front of this huge glacial erratic, but to help you get a sense of the size of the rock simply picture that a 5' tall person could stand inside the little arch shaped recess that shows just above rufus ...

... of course, maine's gimongous hunk of granite, "daggett rock" in phillips, should be counted as being larger than new hampshire's wannabe attempt at one-upmanship, but it seems that sometime during the early-1800's a bunch of coos county rowdies slipped over the border and after pounding on it all night with their axes they cracked daggett rock into three pieces ... (rumor has it that over a century later it was in retaliation that a cabin-fever driven mainer snuck over to new hampshire and pulled out the metal pins that were holding their old man on the mountain ... if true, serves 'em right) ...

... it was very strange ... i took a lot of pictures from all angles, chased rufus a bit, then approached closely this massive piece of stone, only then to find myself hesitant to touch it ... while i know that the mile-thick glacier that covered this area of new england over 15,000 years ago broke this piece of stone off a mountain three or four miles away and in an icy embrace carried it to this spot, where it was deposited when the glacier melted, i wonder what the native americans who lived in these woods thought of it ... i've a feeling they, too, were reluctant to put their hands to it ...

... during the walk out, rufus still playing his back-and-forth kamakazi game, i came upon something very, very creepy ...

... back at the car rufus was almost ready to get in when another stray arrived ... off they went ... it was about an hour before that dog wandered away ... once again i managed to convince rufus it was time to leave when two more strays arrived ... another bout of sniff-the-parts, then they were off ... after about an hour of driving back and forth along the dump road i ran across them ... rufus' two new friends were quite willing to get into the back of gordy's hatchback, but rufus disappeared ... after another half hour, during which i ran across the owner of my two passengers, i finally chanced upon an old couple walking their dog ... as i pulled up to ask them if they'd seen rufus, i noticed he was the dog they had on a leash ... "he came right up to us, we were looking for his owner" ... no sense in getting angry with a dog, so i gave him a big hug and we headed up to conway for a roast beef on a bagel sandwich ...

... what is going on with strays on madison's boulder road ... ??? ... sarah says, "lots of poor people," but i think it has something to do with the giant rock ...

... if you follow my wanderabouts, you already know that on sunday i drove up over the kancamagus highway, then circled around route 3 and route 25 back to freedom ... at 2,855 feet atop the pass spring was struggling to make its arrival ... custom seat works like a charm, back carrier i design functions exactly as intended ...

... this morning, after having decided that we weren't going to be intimidated by the forecast of rain, john picked me up and we headed north to forks ... there we walked in to enjoy moxie falls ... along the trail john noticed the melt pattern around the trees ... question: is there a name for this ... ??? ... if not, what would be a good term ... ??? ...

... the snow along the trail is as much as a foot-deep, and has an extremely high water content ... things were okay on the level, but the downhill stretches were rather treacherous, and made me wish i owned a pair of sharp crampons ...

"I have a room all to myself; it is nature."—Henry David Thoreau

... much as i enjoy doing landscapes, it is when i find a photograph such as this brings me to a sense of great accomplishment ...

... moxie falls ... in the summer, when the flow has diminished, a wonderful place to go picnicking, swimming, and cliff-jumping, but, for now, a place of thunderous power ...

... john was out of sight taking his own pictures when i climbed over the wooden rail and descended the side of the cliff to the rocks at the edge of the precipice ... snapping this, i thought to myself, "if i slipped, how far downstream would i be carried, and, perhaps, would it turn out to be one of those 'unsolved mystery' things" ... needless to say, i suddenly found myself being very, very careful as i made my way back up to the trail ...

... i wonder if at some time during the winter there was a mist-formed ice bridge spanning the face of the falls ...

... feet soaking wet, john and i stopped for an excellent late lunch at the famous thompson's restaurant in bingham ...

... it was a great lunch on a great day ...





April 20, 2014

SPRING IS TAKIN' ITS TIME

... last minute change of plans found rufus without a sitter ... knowing how i keep my super hero cape hanging all nice and clean in the closet, sarah rang me up and asked if i could come to the rescue ... when i get home i'll post all my adventures, which include an ocean voyage, a gimongous rock, a stray dog, and an asphalt colored patch of icy sand, but, for now, i'll just treat you to a tiny little slice of my current wandering ...


... there it is, my bmw f650cs ... all the work i did on it, it's running like a top ... from waterville to portland to freedom, new hampshire, then up 2,855 feet over the top of the kancamangus and down to plymouth, i averaged 72 miles-per-gallon ... my self-designed back carrier is perfect, and the corbin® custom long-distance cruising seat fits my butt like a tailored glove ...

... i've such wonderful memories from when we lived in alaska ... if it wasn't too cold outside we'd take our bikes out on a saturday and enjoy the few hours of daylight cruising around the snow covered roads ... well, when it comes to that, a motorcycle isn't a bicycle, at least, not a 432 lb. bmw wearing relatively slick high-performance bridgestone road tires ... nope, not at all ... still, i think with a set of studded knobbies this could be great fun ... 

April 14, 2014

SPRING REALLY ARRIVES

... those of you who follow my wanderings will recall that when i put the bike away last november i decided to install a new high-capacity battery ... 20°f, pitch dark in the shed behind the barn with my only illumination being a storm lantern and the pocket flashlight i sometimes held between my teeth, it was a most interesting environment within which to learn how to disassemble a bmw motorcycle ... this afternoon roger drove over with me so that i could put the bike back together, and, fingers crossed, find out if it still worked ...

... all went well, to the point that we got the bike purring nicely and roger said he'd drive my car back to town so i could bring the motorcycle home ... a quick stop in oakland to get it inspected, now it's back where it belongs, right below my living room window ... some minor work to finish, oil change, fine-adjust the new mirrors (replacements for the ones i smashed up last year), and install the custom tail-rack i built this winter ... i've already replaced the stock seat with the custom built corbin "cruising seat," so my first ride'll be a test of that investment ...

... 12,000+ miles last summer, i can't wait to begin this year's explorations and wanderabouts ... how exciting ...

April 12, 2014

SPRING ARRIVES

... sebago lake, maine, spring ...

... neither the increasing arc of the sun crossing the sky after the march equinox, nor the appearance of red robins returning to roost, not even days containing more light than darkness, no, in maine spring's return is marked by shorts, motorcycles, open car windows, and fishers without their tiny huts ...

... making a little visit with my friend, chuck, i decided that if he was going to cast a line i was going to walk out onto the surface of east pond to better record the occasion ...

... april 12th, although a layer of slush above and beginning to rot throughout, other than along the shore and the spots above the pond's many springs the ice is still thick enough to support the weight of a small car (at least, that was the theory i reassured myself with as i ventured out) ... that'll end rather quickly, as is the norm for a late spring, but for now i felt comfortable strolling above one of my favorite swimming holes ... chuck was content to stand at the end of the dock contentedly basking in the bright sunlight ...

... soon, very soon, i'll be viewing this scene from the deck of a boat ...

... chuck and i, we share great times on east pond ...


April 7, 2014

WANDERING WATERVILLE

... i like to walk around town ... along the way during my little journeys there're almost always pictures to be found ... here's a photograph late at night i shot with my ipad and then edited in snapseed ...

... waiting to get a new "canadian non-resident inter-province motor vehicle liability insurance card" (note: that's the only "legal" proof of coverage when traveling in canada) i played with the lights in the waiting area ...

... just before my card was brought to me i became interested in this scene ...

... john came over to show me his new macbook pro ... we took our cameras for a little stroll ...

... still not the photograph i've been over and over for decades trying to capture, but i thought you might appreciate a peek at the "last surviving toll footbridge in the united states" ...

... john trying to capture the falls ... if you go back to the previous journal entry, you'll see that all of this was completely submerged during the great flood ... look between the two center span supports for the railroad bridge, you'll spot an intake for the power generating facility which is further downstream ... during the flood that intake can be seen as a whitewater wave ...

... a self-portrait ...

... after john left i decided to wander awhile longer ... noticing an interesting reflection in the window of the business supply store, i paused, composed a shot, and waited for someone to fill the frame at the end of the sidewalk ... snapping my picture, i looked up and smiled as i said hello to my good friend, roger ...

... there are nice things living in a small town ...

THAT TIME OF YEAR

... window thermometer is registering 61°f, looking across the parking lot i can see banks of snow along the sides of the streets ... it's that time of year ...

... the kids got off the busses, almost immediately we we informed that we were sending them back home ... between early morning and late afternoon the kennebec river rose almost twenty-eight feet, what was to be called "the five-hundred year flood" ...

... if you look closely, you can see that the surface of "lake ticonic" extends south past the old mill complex all the way to the horizon ...

... having helped ralph tuttle muck out his trailer after this flood, i'll cross fingers that this year we'll have a kinder and gentler thaw ...