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 29, 2015

WANDERING

... from watkins glen we wandered up to utica ... jon seemed to be navigating our journey using the sun and maybe something to do with which side of the trees the moss was growing upon, thus i've absolutely no idea where in central new york this was taken ... there were cows, lots and lots of them ...

... saying goodbye to eric, jon and i cruised the adirondacks ... we twisted our way through the mountains, in passing offering our gratitude to the couple on the harley trike who so graciously diverted the attention of the local police ... just before the crossing into canada a giant thunderstorm appeared before us ... we decided to wait it out in a little town ... 

... we picked this little cafe for our hideout ...

... eric prepared for us an excellent meal [well, i think it was eric, seems i lost the little piece of paper with his name ... still, the food was great] ...

... jon kept track of the storm, "pat, it's just hanging around waiting for us to leave" ...

... we ended up doing a twenty-mile loop to avoid the storm, which, of course, then decided to just disappear as if it had never existed ... we crossed over the st. lawrence river on the ogdensburg-prescott international bridge, the entire 7,920 foot span a roadway of open metal-grating pure motorcycle hell  ... our motel was just behind the spot from where i took this picture, but we didn't notice it and ended up going back and forth along the river until we finally found it ... seems that the street address was changed from one town to another and the booking.com site didn't get the update ... !!! ...

... since the temperatures were pushing into the mid-90s, we decided to limit the time we spent in ottawa ... we stopped to visit the once super-secret canadian government cold-war underground "defense bunker" ... i'm sure that even as it was being build the russians had plans as detailed as this 3d model ...

... during a nuclear war this was to be one of the phones that would keep the government in contact with the world ... yea, right, as if anyone above ground was going to be picking up ...

... pa spent much of his military career working at one of these teletype machines ... when called in during the middle of the night to decode some seriously secret message he would take me or my brother or both of us with him ... he would push the key that rang a bell at similar machines all over the world, then type in the words, "this is frenchy ... this machine is unsecured ... my kid's sitting at it, amuse him"  ... thus, well ahead of the internet, the world-wide-web, email, chat, etc., in the late 1950s i e-conversed with the rest of the world ... [in your face steve, you too, bill] ...

... of course, for the end of human civilization one must be properly attired ...

... apparently it was important that no two locks had the same key, something to do with security ... hmmmmm, front door's locked, politicians are lined up to get in, at thousands of miles per hour a giant thermonuclear warhead is descending towards the bunker, "which key is it ... which key is it ... WHICH #@*%&# KEY IS IT" ...


... layers of absurdity, pile upon one another ... that this "secret" underground bunker (which during construction became public knowledge when a reporter noticed that for a "communications facility involving a few soldiers" 76 toilets had been delivered) was designed to survive a "near-miss" by a low-kiloton yield atomic bomb, when the russians made up for their lack of precision in targeting by hurling at it several megaton class thermonuclear h-bombs, each of which would create a crater deeper than the lowest level of the bunker, well, yes, absurdity ...

... but, that the government built a special vault within the bunker just for canada's money, a secure space with all sorts of special features to prevent thieves from using the end of human civilization as a distraction for breaking in to steal the cash ... well, as i said, absurdity upon absurdity ...

... at least canada is now publicly acknowledging what i've know since i was a player in the whole theatre of the absurd, that they, too, were on the stage with everyone else ... 

... jon asked me, "uncle pat, how much did all of this cost" ...

... in dollars and cents terms it's difficult to express it ... my estimation, without taking into consideration the number of human lives destroyed, the money spent on the "cold war" probably would've been enough to solve global hunger, create entirely new technologies that were earth-friendly, and, i'm sure, there would've even been enough left over to maybe build a city on mars and make it so jiffy-pop really worked like it does in the commercials ...

... what did it cost ... it cost the human race its sanity ...

... it's still questionable if we're going to recover anytime soon ...

... today life intruded upon our little wandering, and plans had to be changed [hopefully, to be revisited] ... tomorrow we head back to the u.s.a. ...

July 25, 2015

WANDERING WATKINS GLEN

... 514 miles, a warmup ride for our "iron butt" friend, roger, but for mere mortal motorcyclers like eric and myself a pretty good day's ride ... courtesy of eric's "points," we checked into the hilton garden inn and got a good night's rest ... the next morning we wandered [translated:  took a bunch of wrong turns] to the watkins glen international raceway, where our passes let us into the pit area ... two minutes spent looking at the new jaguars on display, eric decided to take a test spin ...

... not really caring much about using only the first three of six gears, i passed on the chance to sit behind the wheel of a $88,000 car that has more horsepower than most locomotive engines, and instead served photography duty for eric's course runs ...

... tempted, of course, but neither of us bought a car ... we moved on to a stroll through the pit area ... the old alfa romeos fascinated me ...

... when i was a kid i dreamed of owning a lotus europa ... thirty-one inches high at the top of the doors, colin chapman's design philosophy of "simplify, then add lightness" was considered at the time to be "the nearest thing to a roadable formula one car" ...

... the alfa romeo grill is in and of itself a thing of great beauty ...

... in the garage we found a stable of alfas ...

... maximum power at minimum weight, that's the idea ...

... a datsun 610 engine, 1800cc's, shoehorned into a datsun 510, something i understand since to this day i measure all cars against my still-missed 1972 kelly green 510 ...

... the man who built this 510 also did jay leno's ... 'nuff said ...

... we watched all sorts of classes and categories of cars race ... here a mini cooper demonstrates a bit of humor with a rotating wind-up key ...

... not the fastest car on the track, but this alfa romeo giulietta gives up nothing when it comes to good looks ...

 ... an alfa spider purrs its way around the course ...

... these were the four-wheeled rocket cars ... i get confused, indy vs. formula one vs. other open-wheel types, but i do know they were all so fast that through the camera lens it was difficult to follow them as they sped by the bleachers ...

... another of the speed demons ... this was my first serious outing using a thirty-year old manual-focus zuiko 200mm on my fuji x-t1 ... after about an hour or so i was beginning to get the hang of it ...

... some cars you wear, it seems ...

... at the flag, i don't think it could get much closer than this ... 

... forget the jaguar test drive, i would dearly love to take a 510 around the track ...

... if it was kelly green it would be perfect ...

... but [he sighs with fond memories], blue'll do, too ...

 ... winners' circle, each with a "what great fun" look on his face ...

... what great fun ... and, to top it off, we got to a twisty-turny new york country road back to our hotel ... yes, indeed, what great fun ...

July 19, 2015

MILKY WAY ABOVE THE FORILLON PENINSULA

... in terms of photography, it was the primary reason we had taken this trip ... it's why i "moved up" to the fuji x-t1 ... it's why i purchased a 12mm f/2 rokinon manual focus/aperture lens ... and, this evening, it's why we hiked almost two miles to stand upon the headlands of one of the most marvelous places on earth ... as we walked towards the lighthouse behind us the sun slowly set ...

... around 10pm night approached, late at this latitude ... at the time i didn't notice it in my viewfinder, but i captured john admiring the glow of the setting sun ... (okay, he might've been off near the trees for another reason, but i'm sticking with the admiring-the-scenic-beauty story) ...

... soon, the wonder of the milky arched above the lighthouse ...

... hundreds of millions of stars, where, i'm convinced, are others who also look up in awe and wonder ...

... before we left, i told john i'd like to chance a stroll down the dark trail descending  along the east side of the ridge, thinking i might get another nice shot of the milky way framing the lighthouse ... i couldn't find the perspective i wanted, but then i became intrigued by a shadow hovering over me ...

... as we walked back to the car, careful to avoid the many porcupines who also seemed to be enjoying the night, we stopped to snap a few more frames of the heavens contrasting with the porch lights of the homes across the bay ...

Ye stars! which are the poetry of heaven,
If in your bright leaves we would read the fate
Of men and empires,--'tis to be forgiven,
That in our aspirations to be great,
Our destinies o'erleap their mortal state,
And claim a kindred with you; for ye are
A beauty and a mystery, and create
In us such love and reverence from afar,
That fortune, fame, power, life, have named themselves a star.
GEORGE GORDON BYRON

GASPE WANDERABOUT: RETURNING HOME

... leaving the town of gaspe, we decided to make a little "long-cut" around the northern shore of the great peninsula ... our first stop was a beach composed of millions of flat stones ... the texture and coloration of this fellow made it the odd rock out ...

... we met vince, who had just ridden his huge-wheel unicycle 1000 kilometers from his home in montreal ... he was a very nice young man, and we enjoyed learning about his quest to circumnavigate the maritimes on one wheel ...

... we bid vince adieu, still in awe of what he was attempting to do, especially considering that his bike's brake had failed and until he reached the post office where his friends were sending replacement parts he was having to slow the bike using only his legs ...

... he peddled off down the winding coast road, and, inspired, i decided that i felt good applying to him the adjective "heroic" ...
  

... we pulled off the road to explore the cap de la madeleine lighthouse ... 

... the winding stairs inside the narrow tower seemed a three-dimensional manifestation of a some odd function on a graphing calculator ...

... simply elegant ...

... the great fresnel lens, built in paris well over a hundred years ago, no longer warns mariners beware the perils of the rocky coast ... that function is now the task of a tiny little xenon bulbed apparatus ... still, over a century old, the functional beauty of the lens remains ...

... john called to me, "don't look at it, look through it" ... thank you, john, i think this is one of my favorite shots of the gaspe landscape ...

... we came over a sharp rise and before us was the beginning of the section of the coast road that is pretty much a line between the steep cliffs and ocean ...

... folded and refolded over the eons into a convoluted layering, the rocks along the coast tell many stories of earth's geographic story ...

... broken from the bedrock, each of these stones tells of thousands, perhaps millions, of years of the geologic saga ...

... standing on a high bluff, watching this tiny craft head out to the fishing banks, i was reminded that this beautiful land is the home of tough, hard-working people ...

... turning inland to cross through the interior, in mid-jury we were reminded that there are seasons in which this is a cold, brutal environment ...

... for john, it was a visit to the land where as a child he camped with his family, and as a young man he ran the cool, clear whitewaters of the rapid filled rivers ...

... little things, always they draw my eye ...

... as the great milky way, the huge bluffs populated with seabirds, the soft cascade of a waterfall, this, too, interesting to me ...

... of our little accident, the friendly people who with genuine concern so wonderfully cared for us, the restful night we spent recovering in a very fancy room at the hostellerie baie bleue carleton-sur-mer so generously provided us by annie bellanger, the friendly manner in which paul helleringer assisted us, all that i'll leave for face-to-face over coffee ... i came home not with my first thought of the milky way rising above the majestic peninsula, nor any of the other fantastic sites we visited, but of how gracious and hospitable are the people of the gaspe ...