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.

July 31, 2014

WANDERABOUT TO WALKABOUT

... eric and i met up for breakfast in brunswick, after which we drove down to falmouth to pick up a new sump plug for my bmw ... it took us about forty minutes to get the part:  one minute at the service counter and thirty-nine minutes drooling over each and every one of the shiny two-wheeled machines ... [hint:  if you're so rich you need to get rid of some of your money, it's spelled b-m-w-f-8-0-0-g-t ... any color would be just fine, and, of course, i'd find my own sidebags] ... oooooooh ...

... i pulled us in to the delorme parking lot so eric could see "the largest globe in the world" ... on the third floor i offered up some tidbits to these ladies ... "a jet plane only would be 1/3-inch above the surface at cruising altitude ... to this scale, the sun would be almost a mile across ... an average house lot would be less than 1/200th of an inch" ... they were impressed, "you should be a teacher" ... ha ...

... i'm not sure eric was so impressed at first, but after i wore him down with a few fabulously fascinating factoids he seemed to perk up a bit, "you should be a docent" ... ha ...

... after that we wandered back roads up to brunswick, took route one to bath, then crossed the kennebec river estuary and headed down route 127 to the five islands [crow, malden, hen, mink, and wood islands, by the way] ... we made a brief stop so i could take a picture of the under-construction ddb-1000 uss zumwalt, the navy's new "super-destroyer" ...

NOTE: EDITORIAL COMMENT

... this $3,000,000,000+ craft is a "littoral combat vessel" ... translated into standard english, the uss zumwalt (and its sister ship, the uss michael monsoor) are being built so that after 2016 the navy will have two ships "designed with a focus on land attack" ...

... [sigh] ... yes, you read that correctly ... this is a $3,000,000,000 ship meant to fight land battles ...

... in addition, it is already totally obsolete since the chinese have built and tested a rather inexpensive weapon system that it cannot defend against, a missile that i'm quite sure the red suits in bejing will be more than willing to sell to all their friends and allies ...

END EDITORIAL COMMENT

... soon we arrived at the famous "five islands lobster company" ...

... while our clams and corn were steaming i explored the dock ...

... to the south a fog bank rolled across the headland ...

 ... i wondered, was he being punished or did he just like being towed along ...

... then our food was ready and it was time for us to go to the races ...
 

... "mmmmmmmmmmm" ... that best describes it ...

... after a phone call to his wife eric suddenly remembered he had an appointment back in brunswick, so he headed out and i took my camera to join in the fun ...

... these two girls and their brother were speaking some seriously foreign language, my guess would be russian or ukranian or a related tongue ...

... they seemed relatively unfamiliar with the sea, and it was interesting to watch the process of them slowly becoming friends with it ...

... i love taking pictures of birds ... while i was doing so a lady at the next table asked, "would you like me to toss some food to them so you can photograph them taking off" ... i thought of my ol' ma, and how she would sit at oakland beach and do that for me, and i was happy ...

... a french fry in ballistic trajectory will do it every time to these rats with wings ...

... pa once told me that orville and wilbur wright began their journey to kitty hawk by spending hours and hours and hours watching gliding and soaring birds ...

... sara and sidney, from scottsdale, arizona, who built a house in the five islands so that during the summer they could escape the dessert heat and enjoy the sweet coolness of the coast of maine ... he is eighty years old, their daughter in california is a teacher, and they are a very nice couple ...

... the five islands love being shared ...
... as i crossed the bridge to the mainland on the ride home i noticed this composition ...

... pulling into the parking lot in waterville, rather exhausted, i noticed robert walking to his car ... "come on over to fairfield, shenna bellows is walking the length of the state for her senatorial campaign and she's going to be speaking in the park" ... "i'm pretty tired" ... "there'll be pizza and treats" ... "see you there" ... here're robert and norma [i confess, i photoshopped what was a "bellows" button] ...

... a little boy played, unaware of the reason the names are inscribed on the monument ... one-hundred and sixty years or so now, i think they'd be happy to see his smile ...

... shenna was quite personable and a very effective speaker ... i liked especially that when a question was asked she answered it ... her husband, brandon, was a fellow teacher for years, and it was nice to get a few moments to chat with him ...

... i'm tired, and tomorrow i'm off to new hampshire to do another wedding ...

... what a wonderful day ...

SCHOODIC POST SCRIPT

... another milky way picture ... again, light in lower right is from where chad and john had set up their tripods on the edge of the cliff behind the trees ...

"A broad and ample road, whose dust is gold,
And pavement—as starts to thee appear
Soon in the galaxy, that milky way
Which nightly as a circling zone thou seest
Powder'd wiht stars."
—JOHN MILTON


July 30, 2014

STAR GAZERS

... at the agreed upon 4:30pm i walked out the door and stepped right into john's suburu which without even bothering to park he'd pulled to a stop in the middle of main street ... talk about timing ... in bangor we said hi to the "cool gang," then packed into chad's van for the ride to schoodic point ...

... our first vista was raven's nest ... its hidden location only a few paces off the park road is not marked with signs, probably an effort to limit the number of casual visitors since several people have fallen to their death from the treacherous cliffs ...

... me, of course, i worry little about such calamities, and felt quite comfortable enjoying my subway sandwich supper while sitting at the edge of one of the dramatic precipices ... it seems john thought to record the event ...

... the skies cleared, as had chad promised, and the sun setting behind the mainland was extraordinarily beautiful ...

... as it descended below the horizon i allowed it a little dance with this tree ...

... after the sun set there was almost an hour during which the rugged headlands were painted in gradually darkening muted earth hues ...

... when i made this 45 second exposure it was so dark that i could see nothing of the scene in front of me ... i had to focus the camera by shining a flashlight beam onto one of the tree branches in the foreground ...

... i'm still not very impressed with the results of my milky way photography, but i am learning from two who seem to have mastered it ... the little white light showing in the lower right corner of this photograph is john and chad perched upon the rocky prominence behind the trees ...

... later in the evening we left raven's nest and drove over to schoodic point ... it was warm, very humid, and the concussive sounds of the waves breaking against the ancient rocks and lava flows were to me so soothing that at one point i removed my jacket and began to nod off ... in this picture i used my headlamp to "paint" the surf line with light ...

... when it was time to leave john was across the parking lot taking pictures using the tree line as foreground, and he suggested that we stand still as he snapped a photograph of the three of us ... he ran over while his shutter was open, chad then painted the foreground with his flashlight ...

Silent with star-dust, yonder it lies —
The Winter Street, so fair and so white;
Winding along through the boundless skies,
Down Heavenly vale, up heavenly height.

Faintly it gleams, like a summer road
When the light in the west is sinking low,
Silent with star-dust!  By whose abode
Does the Winter Street in its windings go?

And who are they, all unheard and unseen —
O, who are they, whose blessed feet
Pass over that highway smooth and sheen?
What pilgrims travel the Winter Street?

Are they not those whom here we miss,
In the ways and the days that are vacant below?
As the dust of that Street their footfalls kiss
Does it not brighter and brighter grow?

Steps of the children there may stray
Where the broad day shines though dark earth sleeps.
And there at peace in the light they play,
While some one below wakes and weeps.
—MISS EDITH M. THOMAS

... i'm always thinking how lucky i am, but looking at this picture of the three of us admiring the cosmos i'm reminded as to infinite nature of my good fortune ...






ROCKETBOYS

... my first flying lesson ...

... happy birthday, michael ...

July 27, 2014

WANDERING WEEKS MILLS

... awoke with a migraine being born within my skull ... at first i blamed the domino's pizza alison brought me for supper last night, since i know the "crisp browned edges" are the result of layers of measuredly applied chemical sprays, but then i remembered that when i was cleaning my motorcycle's rims yesterday evening i'd gotten my hands soaked with "gum remover" ... over forty years ago sensitized by daily drenchings of toluene, methyl-ethyl-ketone, and trichlorotrifluoroethane [yes, i had to research the spelling of the last], i'm sure this cleaning agent was the cause of my headache, so, dear alison, i apologize ...

... anyhow, despite the brewing brain pain, i decided to go about my day as planned ... an early morning ride to portland, where i dropped off my macbook air to have the trackpad replaced, then a ride with eric ... several ibuprofens kept the pounding in my head to tolerable levels, but even as we headed out from his house i knew i needed a major dose of caffeine ... driving north we came upon road barriers closing down the highway through richmond, seems today was some sort of street fair ... following the detour i noticed a little restaurant and pulled over ...

... inside sara, our very friendly waitress, said, "can i start you with something to drink" ... my response was, "yup, coffee ... lots of coffee ... in fact, if you've got some sort of a gimongous mug, that'd be even better" ... i also ordered a club sandwich, because, after all, one of my goals is to try out club sandwiches in every town in america ... fast service, sara returned and served us ...
... i was half-way through my yummy sandwich before i thought, this deserves recording ... for scale, when looking at the coffee cup keep in mind that minus a bite that's one-half of a full-sized piece of rye bread ... my guess would be that the cup held sixteen ounces of most excellent medium-roast pure columbian joe ... [actually, in the picture is ounces number seventeen through thirty-two] ... when sara brought me the cup, property of one of the morning "regulars," i asked, "are you married" ... "no," she replied ... "well," i said, "this just might do it, for sure" ...

... later, going through gardiner, i snapped a shot of eric negotiating the famous brunswick avenue s-curve ...

... wandering around back of weeks mills, i found a nice spot to take a few more pictures ...

... i even captured a cool poster shot ...

... then, after a quick lesson in the use of a camera with way too many buttons and dials, eric sat along the side of the road to give it a go ...

... what great fun, even if we were reminded of the last time we stopped to take pictures, crossing a mountain pass in nova scotia, when the result was two motorcycles getting blown off the road ...

... after eric turned back to his house i headed north ... in augusta i determined my headache was gone for good, so i decided to drop by carl and jane's in mt. vernon ... i found c.j. using his new toy to work on the trim ...
... i want one of these ... i could tow it behind my car for some serious vantage point enhancement while picture taking ... after enjoying a dip in the lake, jane and i chatted for awhile, then she asked, "do you want to stay for supper" ... she always asks that as an actual question ... silly girl ... 

... what a nice day ...




July 23, 2014

AD & DAD NH WANDERABOUT

... adrien had the day off, so she showed up at eight o'clock in the morning with a plan that we "just sorta wander around northern new hampshire" ... hmmmmm, what is it they say about acorns and how far they roll ...

... adrien did all the driving and navigating, leaving me with nothing to do but enjoy the view ... after stopping do do some errands and get breakfast, we drove the kancamagous over the mountains and stopped in lincoln to do some shopping at "the world's longest candy counter" ... we then continued along route 112, following the ammonoosuc river to where it empties into the connecticut river ... along the way adrien spotted a most delightful swimming hole ...

... in addition to the cool water, there were also wild raspberries and beautiful flowers ...

... after a leisurely wander along the heights looking down into the connecticut river valley, we headed west to find some lunch in littleton ... as we passed beneath i93 adrien did a u-turn and took us down a gravel road to this little beach she'd spotted jutting out into the huge moore reservoir ...

... we spent quite some time skipping stones, because, after all, why else would they have damned up the river and left so many smooth flat stones along the shore ...

... we stopped to eat at the littleton diner, naturally, and i managed to snap a picture of the courthouse ... with diners new england excels, but when it comes to county courthouses ohio still takes the prize ...

... huge storm clouds building in the west, we headed into maine to drive over evans notch to the hurricane mountain road ... adrien spotted this sign posted almost directly upon the maine/new hampshire border and pulled the car over to investigate ...

... after a brief excursion driving a rather potted semi-mud road into the wilderness, we returned to the turn-off to find that the "old man" was actually a hundred feet down the highway ...

... peeking out from the woods was the "old man" ... we've missed him so much since years ago when he fell of the mountain in franconian notch, so we were very excited ...

... i thought to myself, "hmmmmm, i'm not sure this is the actual 'old man' ... if you ask me, he looks like a visitor from easter island" ...

... adrien was less polite ... "arghhhhhh, if you don't tell me where the real old man is i'm going to flatten your nose even more" ...

... after that we drove down route 113, stopping to admire the new bridge ... last time adrien and i were in this spot was the day after we'd been trapped in evergreen valley by a hurricane that hit new england ... on that day the old bridge that for years had crossed the river at this point was smashed into tiny pieces along the banks of the river ... this is a nice replacement, even if it does move back and forth when you walk across it ...

... as we descended the hurricane mountain road the brakes started smoking ... luckily, the storm hit and the rain was so intense there was no way they'd actually ignite ... the ride back to freedom was punctuated by intense bursts of lightening and huge sheets of wind driven rain ...

... adrien plus wanderabout = a+ ...