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.

May 30, 2015

OF STEEL FULL-FRAMES AND CARBURETORS

 ... roger is a docent at the owls head transportation museum, and he invited me to to visit during this year's "spring auto show" ... he had to arrive quite early because he had gate duty, so it was after a restful saturday sleeping-in and a nice mid-morning visit with liz that i hopped upon my motorcycle and enjoyed a rather pleasant ride over to the coast ... the centerpiece exhibit was a collection of lincoln motor cars from the 1920-1940 era, a period when it was required that the hood ("bonnet," if you're from the other side of the pond) of a proper automobile be adorned with serious artwork ...



... on display was the museum's 1930 curtiss-wright travel air d-4000 speedwing biplane ...

... it was $250 to take a flight around the airport—i decided that on this particular day snapping pictures was as close as would get to soaring with the birds ...

... strolling the grounds, as usual i was fascinated with the engines ...

... i found myself almost disbelieving my own memory as i recalled that there was a time i would have felt at least minimally competent in working on such machinery, days of long ago when a playing card could be used to do a quick mixture adjustment and in a pinch a cigarette paper would suffice to set the point gap "close enough to get 'er running" ...

... the fokker C.IVa was designed to establish commercially viable air service from tacoma to tokyo ... due to the limited range of the aircraft, the route was to be via the southern coast of alaska and the aleutian island chain ... the passenger seats were stripped out and replaced with a huge fuel tank ... a hole was cut in the fuselage just above the letter "o" in tokyo, there a crew member would sit and hand pump the fuselage fuel up into the wing tank, where it would then flow by gravity to the engine ...

... the feature i liked most was the radiator ... it was mounted on a set of slides, so that when the engine was cold, as at take-off or in cruising at high altitude, the entire unit could be retracted into the fuselage ... when the engine temperature gauges warned the pilot that it was begin to overheat, the radiator would be cranked out into the cooling air of the slipstream ...

... unfortunately, only 100 miles into the flight the plane crashed ... the wreckage was stored in a barn for years, where it was further destroyed in a fire ... the remains of the fokker were discovered in 1970, restored to flying certification, and then donated to the museum ...

... there were many automobiles being displayed, this was one of my favorites ...

... at the end of the day i met this couple as they were leaving the exhibit area ... she was sitting in the backseat while he drove their huge car ... i leaned into the window and asked her, "your name wouldn't happen to be 'daisy,' would it" ... they both laughed ...

... i asked him, "so, are you still courting your sweetheart" ... he had a great chuckle at that, "no, no girlfriend for me, she's my sister" ... ever quick to cover, i responded, "well, you can never go wrong with a pretty girl to chauffeur" ...

... he introduced himself, "reuben," to which i noted, "easy to remember, a sandwich" ... she said, "i'm catherine," and i countered with, "ah, a great woman, catherine the great" ... she burst into laughter even as i tried to apologize, "oooops ... oh, my ... perhaps that wasn't such a good choice," but the twinkle in her eyes told me that i was in the presence of a woman who is charming, fun, and, and impression of which i've absolutely no doubt, a truly great person ...

... reuben said, "look at the right rear fender, you'll see an example of 'stupid' and 'arrogant' to take a picture of" ...

... apparently at some time during the car show he had managed to brush against another vehicle ... he was as much chagrined at what he considered to be a display of poor driving as he was that they hadn't been able to find other car ... i said, "you know, if the day this car left the factory you had said to the mechanics who built it, 'hopefully it'll never get scratched or dented or covered with mud,' they'd have quite emphatically responded, 'no ... no, we built this motor car to transport you in style. but we made it rugged, strong, and powerful so that it could carry you safely through the worst of conditions'" ... "it's a car," i said, "it's meant to be driven, to be used ... for a car, that dent, it's simply proof of life" ... i think reuben liked hearing that ...

... reuben and catherine then took the time to tell me that they were the grandchildren of charlie taylor ... if you've no knowledge of aviation history, taylor is the man who put the wright brothers into the air ... at the turn-of-the-century dozens and dozens of people "invented" the airplane, many, in fact, offered much better designs than that of the boys from ohio ... the wright brothers knew that in order to be first to achieve "sustained controllable flight" they needed an extremely lightweight engine that produced 8 horsepower ... at that time no such motor existed, or, at least, there were none until they hired charles taylor ... in six weeks he constructed the 1903 wright engine, the rest, as they say, is history, although it's a history that seriously neglected ol' charlie's role ...

... i'm so glad, so lucky, that i met reuben and catherine ...

... roger and i took the long way home ... back roads, wandering ... we stopped at a little country store, where we sat on the porch, he enjoying a grape soda, me a mountain dew, both beverages flavored with natural cane sugar ... we are in agreement that it wasn't "progress" when soda companies began to use other substances to sweeten their products ...

... reuben and catherine, cruising in their old car, me and my friend, drinking pop as we watched the cars go by ... life is good, indeed ...


May 27, 2015

SIEZE THE DAY


Tu ne quaesieris, scire nefas, quem mihi, quem tibi
finem di dederint, Leuconoe, nec Babylonios
temptaris numeros. ut melius, quidquid erit, pati.
seu pluris hiemes seu tribuit Iuppiter ultimam,
quae nunc oppositis debilitat pumicibus mare
Tyrrhenum. Sapias, vina liques et spatio brevi
spem longam reseces. dum loquimur, fugerit invida
aetas: carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero.
HORACE

May 26, 2015

LAKESIDE NUPTUALS

... saturday last i drove down to the ymca camp on cobbosseecontee lake in winthrop to photograph the wedding of elisa and jason ... it was a beautiful day, everyone was extremely friendly, the food was good and the dj spun some seriously toe-tapping music—once again i thought how lucky i am that people actually pay me to take pictures ...



... what fun—what great, wonderful fun ...

WHAT TIME IS IT?

...  a few weeks ago i noticed my motorcycle's instrument panel lcd clock was resetting every time i started the bike ... i paid little attention to it, other than to think that i might need to affix some sort of stick on clock to the panel ... yesterday, halfway through our "all the towns" tour of franklin county, i discovered that whenever the bike was started the trip odometer was defaulting to 140 miles ...

... last night i did a bit of research ... results were anywhere from "o-m-g, how can bmw charge $1,100 for a tiny little piece like that," to "well, apparently there are some bmw motorcycles that there comes a time when one has to live without a clock or odometer" ... scary one, of course, was "so a dead clock means the entire charging circuit has to be replaced" ...

... i could've taken the motorcycle to bmw—yea, right ... near as i can figure, that's the sort of thing bill gates and donald trump can do when their clocks stop working ... for me it was more, "i'm not paying someone $110/hour when i can figure it out myself" ... so ...

... so, parked in roger's wonderful new garage, i took the bike apart ... blown fuse was easy, after that was the search for the reason it had done so ... no luck with that, but i did find that the bike's radiator was seriously clogged with road oil and debris ... after clearing the radiator (a rather nasty task), i carefully checked and cleaned all the fittings, tightening everything and making sure all the wires were routed properly, then i very carefully reassembled the machine ...

... so far, so good ... no pieces left over, that's always a good sign ... clock's tickin' away, keeps its time even when the bike's turned off and then started again ... odometer is recording properly, too ... tomorrow'll be another "towns tour," that'll be the test ...

TOWNS

... roger's on a mission, his plan being that this summer he will two-wheel his way to every town in maine ... !!! ... memorial day eric and i joined him for a carefully routed circuit of franklin county ... for those of you unfamiliar with maine, this route through the mountains is one of the most scenic drives in the state ...


... taking a little break in eustis, i looked over to discover one of the local residents was thinking of taking a spin on my trusty b.m.w. ...


... eric stayed with us for about half the day, then he had to head home ... i said to him, "you'll be hard pressed in all your travels find someone who has been to industry, maine" ...

... in each locale we stopped for a picture, usually in front of the town hall, library, or, in some of the smaller towns, whatever building we could find that was placarded with the town's name ...


... roger's new honda 500cc motorcycle is 300 pounds lighter than the huge touring bike it replaced, and getting used to the way the much lighter machine bounces around on the poorly paved roads was a bit tiring ...


... back of weld we found a bit of "roadside america" ... 

 ... a great day, especially considering that although we could see snow on the sides of the mountains we never needed to don any of our cold-weather gear ... spring's here, for sure, summer's just around the corner ...

... and, for roger, only about 360 towns to go ...









May 20, 2015

YET ANOTHER AROUND TOWN WANDER

... 60°f with extremely brisk winds, it was more like an early autumn day than what should be normal weather for this time of year (frost warnings for tonight) ... i took a little walk down along the kennebec ... from the 2¢ bridge i snapped a picture of the old scott paper mill ... you know how a certain fast food place talks about serving "billions and billions" ... ??? ... well, this mill could make the same claim as regards to how many—how to say this—okay, let's just say that if all the rolls of toilet paper that came out of this building were piled in a giant stack the residents of the used-to-be-a-planet pluto would have much more comfortable lives ...

... swirling froth in the river reminded me i hadn't had my coffee ... don't environmentally fret, i'm told this is perfectly normal river behavior ...

... the trees in the little park in winslow are blooming ...

... just a little postcard view of the falls ... later, after i'd walked down by the hathaway building, i heard a train sound its horn as it crossed the trestle bridge ... darn ... !!! ...

... this seagull scooped up a rather large fish ... when he got to the rocks a very obnoxious female stole it from him and then quite soundly thrashed him as he attempted to reclaim his catch ... hers was then much frustration as she discovered the fish was too big to swallow ...

... this section of the old hathaway is waiting to be developed ... hopefully they won't wait too long ...

... bursting forth, spring ...

 ... these vines, mysterious ...

... from that day in the third grade when i collected a whole wagon load for my teacher, miss quinn, these're still my favorites ...

"In the times you feel unwanted, unappreciated, or it seems you've no place in the world your own, think of the dandelion.  Despite being considered a nuisance weed by gardeners and lawnkeepers alike, it never fails to be anything but the merriest of Spring flowers!"
L. ALLEN

CJ

... "463" comrade from a long, long time ago, my friend since and, i'm absolutely sure, for the rest of life ... back at the house after his daughter's college graduation he asked if i'd shoot a picture for his linkedin profile, and i gladly obliged by posing him next to a section of the new foundation siding ...

... since those days when we worked with things that were as terrible as they were secret, to have come so far and been blessed with so much, we are both, indeed, very lucky guys ...