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.

August 27, 2014

PEBBLE BEACH MILKY WAY

... after shutting down the bookstore, i scurried up to bangor so chad and i could go out and make use of a dark sky night ... his wife, em, fed me a delicious meal, i chatted for a few minutes with the kids, and then we were off ...

... i'm not really even close to mastering this sort of thing, but i don't care ... mostly, it's a great excuse to be out enjoying the universe ... i'm really glad g*d had the good sense not to sprinkle the stars evenly, do you think perhaps g*d had photographers in mind when constructing the milky way ...

... after awhile, the heavens above ablaze with uncountable sparkling diamond like lights and the ocean singing a soft song as ever-so-gently it continued with its timeless chore of rearranging the continents, chad and i reverted to being five-year olds ... he dug a great hole, wondering all the while, "what do you think is beneath these pebbles" ... i, knowing his aversion to all things dark of the night, responded, "oh, it'll be like a law and order episode ... a body ... you'll find the face first, of course, all squished out of shape by the plastic it's wrapped in" ...

... me, like a lazy seal i flopped down at the edge of the sea and continued my life-long quest for the perfect rock ...

... we drove away, milky way captured, if not in digital files for sure in our memories, laughing as chad mused, "what if they've got a roadblock and we get busted for taking rocks" ...

... tomorrow these'll go with liz to school, for her students to curiously explore ... i'm sure she will say to them, "how marvelous, that if you collected all the rocks and pebbles from all the beaches and shorelines in the world, and then examined them closely, never would you find two exactly the same" ...

... people, us, humans, how can we ever find it anything but wonderful that never are two the same ...

GASPE WANDERABOUT - EPILOG

... i wish you could have been alongside as we meandered across the gaspee, cruised the great st. lawrence, and flew low west and east the length of the great saguenay fjord ... with all my heart i hope that perhaps my words and pictures of our journey will serve inspire a wanderabout of your own ...

"We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls."
—ANAIS NIN

GASPE WANDERABOUT - FINAL POST

... we're home, safe and sound ... our last day was one of three-for-the-price-of-one parking, wrong-turning eric, pizza at a little cafe in the heart of french quebec, a most pleasant immigration official, and, with no apologies for taking the lead, a "fast and furious" descent from the border to jackman ...

... the last part of our little wanderabout was as wonderful as the beginning ... a bonus, of course, was the clear blue skies and air temperature absolutely perfect for riding ... our final day on the gaspe was only 120 miles of riding from our hotel to the ferry slip in matane, so we took it easy ...

... on the ferry jon and eric seemed determined their bikes would survive even a titanic class disaster ... jon brought straps i know for a fact are strong enough to hold in place a b-52 with its engines running ...

... from the comfort of our fancy airplane seats we could view a movie (robert redford sinking his sailboat in the middle of the pacific, my opinion not all that appropriate for the situation) or watch the deck hands as they went about their chores ...

... the ferry boat was huge ... dozens of semi-trailers fit alongside us in the hold ...

... jon had his iPhone, i my little olympus ... we had a friendly competition to see how well each of us could capture a bird flying alongside the ship ...

... the surface of the st.  lawrence was calm and the ride was smooth ...

... i met john stewart ... he's a car dealer in matane ... his job for the evening was to take a vehicle across the st. lawrence, drop it off, then scurry as fast as he could to get in line with red jeep that he had to bring back to matane ... five hours on the ship, scheduled to return near midnight, my suggestion was that he hit up his company for a night in a motel ...

... a result of my rather laissez-faire planning, we ended up enjoying the good fortune of staying in what i'm pretty sure is the fanciest hotel in baie-comeau ... nice towels, good soap, great water pressure, well worth the expense ...

... the next morning we enjoyed breakfast on the patio overlooking the st. lawrence ...

... the drive to the saguenay fjord was, well, it was zooming fast beneath huge glacial gouged cliffs and flying low around great sweeping curves that cried out, "please, please, lean it so i can feel your toes scraping" ... ah, what fun ... we took a side trip to sainte-rose-du-nord, a most wonderful little village, where we enjoyed maple laced soft-serve and a panoramic view of the fjord ...

... it is, indeed, a most impressive place ...

... after a night in the city of saguenay, we took the scenic route back to the st. lawrence, with another stop in l'anse-sainte-jean to take in the view from the southern side of the fjord ...

... jon appeared to be enjoying his vacation, or, perhaps, simply that he'd survived our kamikaze run down the river valley ...

... everywhere, there was beauty ...

... before mountains miles high were thrust from the crust and then worn by wind water and great rivers of ice until their heights were mere geologic memories, these parmeliaceae had already existed unchanged for hundreds of millions of years ... they are symbiots, fungi and plants living together in a timeless dance, the hardest of rocks eventually crumbling at their touch ...

... we stopped to see the great montmorency waterfall, which is 90 feet higher than niagara ...

... in quebec city eric used his wife's "points" to get us the executive suite in the hilton ... we had a parking garage adventure, enjoyed a fabulous meal, and marveled at the view ... to the right of center is "the plains of abraham," where in less than twenty minutes on the 13th of september of in 1759 the history of north america became a story of english domination ... to the french people of quebec, this was the beginning of what they still see as occupation by a foreign nation ...

 ... it was a beautiful evening ...

... the next day we motored home, pausing only for an errant eric to rejoin us ...

... what a wonderful wanderabout ...





August 24, 2014

GASPE WANDERABOUT - POST 3

... a reposting of one of the pictures from my last entry, if for no reason other than this is a place i will keep forever in my memory ...


... just outside the entrance to the park is the lighthouse ... alongside is a little shop selling hamburgers, hot dogs, several varieties of poutine, and, of course, patate frits ...


... madeline served me a bag of french fries, it turned out to be a bit more than i'd anticipated ...


... two days of rain, we coped ...


... everywhere was evidence of the tremendous geologic forces that shaped this landscaped millions and millions of years ago ...


... when i saw a sign proclaiming "marconi site" i was compelled to turn us onto a side road ... it took less than a second for me to realize the foolishness of my ways ... the surface of the rough cut roadbed was a sloppy layer of slippery wet clay ... i knew instantly that it would be dangerous to stop, so, heart in my throat, i led us up the giant hill, made the right hand turn onto the old coast highway, then, eric and jon sliding along behind me, i negotiated the rutted gravely road down to its end ... here, jon walks away muttering something about his uncle's sanity ...


... the beautiful setting was the location of the first maritime radio station in north america, and is also the location of this charming little lighthouse ... we had a cup of coffee, deservedly i let jon and eric chew my ears for a bit, then we suited up and bravely made the return journey to the main highway ...


... thirty mile-per-hour headwinds, driving rain, then, within the space of a few miles, the sky cleared and we found ourselves driving along one of the most splendid highways i've ever encountered ... cliffs above us, ocean at our side, we motored along as if time and space had been suspended ... i don't know which i found more intriguing, the pair of signs of which one said, "watch for falling rocks" while the other warned of "waves breaking over your car," or the two large fishing vessels tossed by the waves and smashed against the stone seawall so close to the road that i was momentarily tempted to see if i could reach out and touch one of them as i most astonishedly passed by them ...


... beaches composed of a seeming infinite variety of stones and rocks ...


... little villages, from the eves of the houses on a soft breeze drifted tales of a bygone era ...


... always ... always the ever-present evidence that each of our little stories is part of a much, much greater saga ...


... we stopped, rested, and accepted the gift of a very special quiet ...


... we began our "easy" day by cleaning from our bikes the remains of the mud and clay road i'd lead us down ...


... all spiffed up, bike nicely cleaned and me in a freshly laundered shirt ... 

... jon decided to take us on a little side trip ... the fee to go up was way too much, but we enjoyed looking at √Čole Cap-Chat, the largest vertical wind turbine in the world ...


... in places it was easy to forget ...


... easy to forget ...





August 20, 2014

GASPE WANDERABOUT - POST 2

... we made it ... larry, moe, and curly, at land's end ...


... just around the point is the very tip of the gaspe peninsula ... we didn't have time to make the two hour round-trip hike, that'll have to wait for another trip ...


... an eternally majestic sublime, that's the best i can do right now ...

... amazing, the contrast between the rocky headlands and soft petals ...


... the wet conditions served midwife to color ...


... here, in this magnificent place, no perspective is anything but grand ...


... all along this coast is evidence that the creationist philosophy serves naught but to hobble and diminish g*d's infinite plan ... you can see jon and eric at the top of the bluff, "wanna bet he's not coming back up for awhile" ... they were right ...


... the arrogance of land, the patience of the sea ...


... i stopped to talk with vern, who asked, "can i bring me wife, anna, out for the picture" ... their home is "Gite´Haute-Phare," a little b&b (418.892.5826) perched upon a cliff at the very edge of civilization ...


... vern and anna's back yard ...


... the lighthouse serves those who work upon the sea, it speaks softly their stories ...


... i listened, for awhile, until it was time to continue on with my own tale ...

August 18, 2014

GASPE WANDERABOUT - POST 1

... a bit slow in coming, result of working with pocket camera, ipad, and not-so-swift internet service, here we are ...

... we left waterville saturday and wandered state highways all the way to presque isle ... along the way we stopped on the side of route 2a, the "military road," to pay our respects to the man who inspired the song, "there's a tombstone every mile" ... (dick curless recorded it, for those of you itching to get a copy) ... as you can see, i was approprately demeanered as i paid my respects ...





... unlike others i will not specifically name ...

... the next day as we wandered north i took jon and eric for a guided tour of loring, once the largest base in the air force ... it was strange to drive our motorcycles freely over cracked and crumbling tarmac where i was once required to display my line badge least i be "jacked," handcuffed, and escorted to jail as a potential "covered wagon" suspect ... at the peak of the cold war this hanger could shelter four giant b-52 bombers, or, when empty mid-winter, house a rousing inter-squadron softball game ... 

... before we crossed into canada jon completed chapter one of his "my heated handgrips aren't working" saga ...

... half-way to campelton we decided to take a right turn and explore a bit of the interior of new brunswick (translation: drive a few hours through the irvings' back yard) ... we drove over eighty miles without see powerlines, road stripes, signs, nor, for that matter, very many other vehices ... trees, trees, trees, and more trees ...

... it rained on and off the entire day ... we had fun anyhow ...

... (yes, i know, my helmet presses my sunglass frames against my forhead) ...

... the next morning, with sugarloaf mountain looking down, jon and eric completed the "handgrips not working story" ... a hard to acess wire had pulled loose, using two toolkits and access via the internet to clear diagrams, the happy ending to the tale was jon having warm hands again ...

... two heads, they say, are better'n one ... today they were right ...

... we started the day under clear skies, but as we drove east along the edge of the sea we encountered ateas of rain which gradually increased until we were motoring along in full wey cobitions ... the visibility was too poor to stop when it actually occurred, but here's a shot celibrating my bmw's 30,000th mile ...

... rounding a rather dangerpus curve it was suddenly upon us, the world famous "hole in the rock" ... eric and jon missed it, so while they were miles down the road looking for a safe place to do a u-turn i hopped off my bike, climbed over the fence, and climbed down through the puckabrush to the edge of the cliff ...

... during the descent i saw many lovely flowers ...

... some, names unkown to me, which almost became my funeral boquett when as i waded through the brush to find a good vantage point i learned that the vegetation didn't end at the edge of the precipice, but rather grew right over it to continue down along the cliff face ... foot dangling a hundred feet above the water, it was a "whew, that was close" moment ...

... here's the spot of my almost doom ... i am going back some day to visit that mysterous island ... 

... john took a snapshot of me with helmet inhanced chipmonk cheeks ...

... i returned the favor ...

... eric did another of many u-turns so he could join the show ...

... we drove over those mountains and through that weather ... hidden within its darkness is the scariest high-speed s-curve i've ever been surprised by ... how surprised, you ask ... hmmmm, well, i may have to have my motorcycle seat recovered ...

... at one of our stos for fuel i found in the rest room a sink that never needs cleaning ... honest, in this picture it has just been scrubbed ... what will they think of next ... ??? ...

... in gaspee we stayed at "the best motel in town" ... we then walked down the hill and ate supper at "the best resturant in town" ... after, we enjoyed "the best view in town" ...

... beautiful ...

... it's now morning ... my turn in the shower ... "miles to go, miles to go" ...