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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Pemaquid Point

     Today the two of us headed down to New Harbor and Pemaquid Point to have a visit with Durelle's cousin Harry and his wife, Diane.  Baxter stayed behind under the careful eye of Bernie Dunn.  It's about an hour and a half from Belfast to New Harbor, down route 1, route 90 and route 32.  Route 32 from Chamberlain to New Harbor gets my vote as the prettiest drive in Maine.  The first picture was taken in Chamberlain showing a couple of sailboats at rest in Long Cove.
     From there we visited "the Landry Cottage" where we have had so many wonderful days with Ruth and Gene Gardner, Durelle's aunt and uncle.  We had lunch and a good visit with their son, Harry, his wife, Diane, and her parents on the deck overlooking the Rachael Carson Salt Pond. Harry and I went down to Shaw's fisherman's coop to pick up some lobster rolls.  The next picture shows my lobster roll.  It is one of the very simplest versions around.  As far as I can tell, the only ingredient in that toasted roll  is lobster meat.  If there is any mayonnaise, it is inconsequential.
     I took a few pictures of the harbor while waiting a few minutes for the lobster to be ready.  You can see that this harbor contains only "working" boats.  There are no pleasure craft here.

     We have been coming here on a regular basis since 1978.  It is a special place for us.  In the picture above the large white building is the "Gosnold Arms", an inn and restaurant of some renown.
     Many years ago I took a picture from their deck down toward the ocean.  Then I asked my cousin to paint the picture from my photo.  I then took her painting and framed it using lumber salvaged from the ancient outhouse that was still on the property.  That painting, shown below, still holds a place of honor in that hundred year old cabin.
     After lunch we made our mandatory trek to Pemaquid point.  It is a very photogenic place, but I will only include a couple of shots.  Believe me, I have many more.

     From there we headed back to Belfast where we were acknowledged as tardy for happy hour.  The sky was blue and the temperature was 75.  Does it get any better?

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Morning After

     As I walked back with Baxter after his morning constitutional, I was struck by the lonely nature of the deserted Allegro Bus.  It was a really beautiful morning, 70 degrees, clear and almost calm.
     By 0930 or so everyone was back and all things returned to normal.  Well, almost normal...there was the chore of washing the salt spray off the exterior of the rigs.  They picked up a pretty good layer.  Later in the morning our resident tugboat returned from one of his escort errands and passed between a large sailboat and a small freighter as he made his way back into the Belfast harbor.  By the way, that "large sailboat" turns out to be the Mirabella V, the world's largest sloop.  The mast is 290 feet tall.  It and its 14-person crew can carry twelve guests in six guest cabins and can be rented for $250,000 per week!  According to Tuesday's (30 August) Bangor Daily News," (It) was commissioned by Luciana and Joseph Vittorio.  He is the former CEO of both Hertz and Avis.  It took three years to build the $50 million vessel which was launched in May 2004.  Amenities aboard the sloop include a Jacuzzi, a dip pool, a gym and a sauna.  Guests also can tool around in the alternative watercraft the boat carries, including a 29 foot Hinckley Picnic Boat, four Laser sailing dinghies and kayaks."  For further info check  

     Later a lovely, smaller sail boat headed out for a fine fall sail and passed by the cormorant-studded,19th century navigation monument.
     I'll close with a picture of the bus taken from the ocean side of the campground.
     All things considered, we fared very well.  I saw a video of one of Vermont's classic covered bridges being washed away.  Here there was only a scattering of twigs as you would find after a strong thunderstorm, but no real limbs down.  There was a hurricane party at the restaurant that apparently was a roaring success.  We missed it.  I guess the only casualty was the loss of one of our happy hours.  We'll see if we can catch up tonight.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Good Night, Irene

     As I write this, it is approaching 6 PM (1800 for you GIs out there).  It is just past low tide and the tide is starting in.  The pictures below would have been more dramatic if I had waited, but I would have run out of light.  I can take pictures in pretty low light, but only if I can hold the camera very still. With these winds I could not hold a very steady camera.  Three of the five rigs whose occupants normally comprise our daily happy hour festivities have moved up the hill (away from the coast) a couple of hundred yards so as to reduce their exposure to the wind.  The local weather information on the internet says that the wind velocity is in the mid-twenties.  I predicted yesterday that we would see no more than 30 knots, but I must admit that there probably have been gusts that exceeded that.  We (I) decided that it would not be necessary to relocate.  Wish me luck.

     The pictures show unusual wave activity for this well-protected harbor.  If you look closely, you can see a couple of larger ships that have deployed windward anchors here in the lee of Islesboro Island in order to wait out the storm.  I believe the worst is past.  Certainly the rain is, but I expect we'll have a few more hours before the winds drop below the point that we can ignore them.  Tomorrow everything should be back to normal.  

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Saturday Night in Belfast, Maine

     As you can imagine, all of the boatyards along the coast were hauling out boats all day long.  Belfast was no exception.  There is a new marine service facility here that is replacing the old cannery with a modern, boat servicing operation.  A key part of it is a 150 metric ton maritime lift that earned its keep today.  Three couples from the campground joined perhaps six dozen locals and tourists who watched the intricate ballet of boats.  The finale was a ninety-footer that  was registered out of Bikini in the Marshall Islands. 
          This first shot shows a small sample of the boats recently parked.  Note the pallets of 12 x 12 blocks for blocking.

     Everything from the cruise boats to the porta-potties have been secured.  Actually, I predict that the winds here will not exceed 30 knots.

     It is a surprisingly delicate process to winch a hundred ton boat out of the water and transport it to a place where it can be placed on blocks and jack stands.  In this case the procedure did not go routinely.  For reasons unknown to we laymen spectators, the boat backed into the slip.  I wondered at the time about a potential conflict between the props and the massive nylon straps. Sure enough, we heard a discordant noise and saw the strap jump.

     You can see one of the workers inspecting the damage.  They were able to remove the strap from the rigging, though it was still wrapped around the prop.  They rigged a replacement strap by a keel-hauling procedure and went on with lifting the boat.
     When the boat cleared the water, the tangled prop was clearly visible.  I assume the prop was  damaged at least enough to be out of balance, but I don't know.

     I added the last shot not for photogenic reasons, but to show the scale of that mobile crane (sorry, Dick).
     It was not the sort of thing one sees on a regular basis, and it was interesting and educational for all of us.  It did make us late for Happy Hour, but we recovered and caught up.  We do expect some heavy rains tonight, but the winds should be moderate.  Here's hoping.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Point Lookout (in the fog)

     Here we sit, watching Irene slowly make her way up the coast.  We have watched the projected track wander around as the meteorologists update their models.  By the way, atmospheric modeling is one of the two or three greatest challenges for large scale computers.  It now appears that the track of the eye will kiss Maine's western border.  That may be small solace given the size of the storm.  The group of RVers here had considered some evacuation options, but they no longer seem necessary.  We will continue to monitor the situation.  We've got time to react.  The good news is that by the time the storm gets to Maine, it will no longer be a hurricane.  I expect we'll pull in all canopies (and maybe even a slide-out) and ride it out.  As a matter of fact, I'm sure that on Monday we'll all make a trip to Schoodic Point with a picnic lunch and cameras to see if we can capture pictures of the surf.  We empathize with those millions of urban folks who have rarely had to deal with such weather.
     Tonight one of our favorite places started their season of Thursdays on the deck with "small plates" and drinks and magnificent, high elevation, magnificent views.  Check the blog on 1Sept2010 for a previous visit when we were keeping a cautious eye on hurricane 'Earl".  On previous occasions there was a fairly well assorted menu.  I remember squab and a small rib eye.  This year there was only an assortment of individual pizzas with very creative, non-traditional toppings.  The weather precluded any views, but ten of us had a good evening.
     This weekend, at that same facility, there is an MG show.  Many of the exhibitors are already present.  We saw a lot of classic MGs that were over sixty years old.  The picture below shows Jeri Johnson and her guest Sheryl in front of a '53.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Morse's Sauerkraut

     Today was a day trip to Waldoboro, ME and Morse's Sauerkraut.
     This place has been around for almost a century and was initially known just for the sauerkraut.  Today it is a remarkable deli and a restaurant with only four tables.  It is seven miles west of route 1 on route 220.  The junction of route 1 and 220 is where the much more iconic Moody's diner is located.  Morse's is 45 miles from Belfast.  Durelle had already decided that she was going to do a bunch of housework today, so she elected to stay home.  So we had a fivesome: Dick and Eleanor Roth, Bernie and Ann Dunn and I.
     We arrived at Morse's at about two.  We waited about fifteen minutes for a table.  
     You can see a plate of schnitzel in front of Ann and Dick (sorry, Dick, you didn't make the picture).  Bernie has a roast beef sandwich and Eleanor has a sausage plate.  Mine has not arrived yet.
     I had pierogies.  These are dumplings with a sausage/cheese filling.  The two small dishes contained red cabbage and sour cream.  The table also had numerous pickles and all sorts of mustards.  After we ate, we spent some time in the wonderful deli.  I got a pound of roast beef and some aged cheddar.  Bernie, of course, had to buy some Irish (English) bangers.  The last picture was taken in the deli.
     There are probably fewer than fifteen thousand people who live within ten miles of this deli.  Nonetheless, they do a great business based totally on word of mouth advertising.  
     Today was a perfect weather day.  Perhaps we wasted a great day on a Morse's trip (which doesn't require good weather).  Nevertheless, it was a fine day and a stop at Dorman;s for ice cream on the way home is always a plus.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Belfast Harbor

     Belfast, Maine is a different sort of place.  If you think of the stereotypical Maine coast, you think of lighthouses.  It doesn't have any.  Or, perhaps you think of shipbuilding...nope.  It does have a few (emphasize few) galleries and souvenir shops, but it is not a Bar Harbor or a Camden.  It once had a major chicken packing business.  It has an intriguing history and an active historical society.  There are villages up and down the coast that embody the classic Maine mystique, but Belfast is a different sort of blue-collar place that survives today on tourism, some lobstering, some agriculture (think...blueberries) and no small number of folks that combine all of them.  Walt Wagner, from whom we buy our lobsters, fits no particular mold, but I see him as the prototypical Mainer.  It is hard to tell which he loves most, his Harley or his lobster boat.  He has a place that supplies him and a few customers with eggs, corn, hay, lobsters and a few other odds and ends.  He's got a good sized barn, a few cows and the supporting machinery.  He cuts his own firewood for heat and thrives in the independent environment that typifies Maine.  
     The first few shots show the Belfast harbor that I took out the window as we came back from Walt's with eight 2 pound lobsters.  I took them as we passed over the bridge over the Passagassawaukeg River.  Try pa-sag'-a-sa-waw'-keg, and don't try it in mixed company.

     The next shot shows Dick Roth selecting lobsters from Walt's tank.
     When we got back, it was time to cook them.  We have the routine pretty well down pat.  The next shot shows Bernie Dunn popping a lobster into the pot.
     With the lobsters we have a fairly simple meal,  There is melted butter, local fresh corn and a couple of bags of chips...that's it.  This next shot shows Durelle picking up my lobster and hers.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Finally a little excitement

     After several days of quiet, comfortable languor, today more things happened than can fit in one blog.  I may have to save some for tomorrow.  This morning I had walked the dog, mailed some letters and retrieved the newspaper.  We were enjoying a second cup of coffee when there was a knock on the door.  The fellow from the adjacent site behind us invited us to his wedding at his site at 1400 (high tide).  The couple is from Holden MA.  They did not want to alert the whole campground, but we were next door and they might need a witness.  It was a simple ceremony by a Justice of the Peace.  The setting was simple but attractive.  My pictures did not begin to capture the simple beauty of the event.  Their two dogs wore the flowers of the Maid of Honor and Best Man.

    The setting and the weather could not have been more beautiful.

     I have a number of great pictures of the Belfast harbor and our lobster boil, but I'll save them so as not to diminish the wonderful wedding at the Moorings RV Resort on 17 August 2011.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

An Evening on Penobscot Bay

     The last two or three days have been drizzly and mostly devoid of sun.  Tonight's sunset seems to forecast a better future.  Sitting here and doing nothing is not all bad, however.  We still have to use the bedspread at night which most of the country cannot.  Tonight I took a few pictures.  I'll include all four.  There is a three master that appears in all four pictures, although you will have to look closely in the first one.
     The picture is taken at dead low tide.  My assumption is that the folks in the water are searching for clams with their feet.  There may be a better answer, but that's my guess.
     Here's the sailboat with the camera zoomed in a bit.  We were in darkness, but the sun was still hitting the far shore around Castine.  Notice the lobster pot buoys in the foreground.
          So, here's the ship which must be five miles away.  The sky is starting to clear, and the weather may be on the way to a major improvement.
     Later I took a shot with some unusual color.  This isn't "red tide".  It is a reflection of the sky which has just turned reddish.  Again the three-master is still visible.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Day trip to Thomaston and Dorman's

     From time to time folks have asked, "So, when you are parked in Maine for the summer, what do you do?"  Well the Maine coast is fully populated with places that are scenic, historical, interesting, or just nice places to eat.  Today was a good example of the new and the familiar.  Walt Wagner, the lobsterman and Maine farmer from whom we get our lobsters, recommended a place in Thomaston, run by a friend of his that makes a wonderful fish chowder.  So eight of us drove down to give it a try and to stop at the famous Dorman's ice cream stand on the way back.  Thomaston is south of Rockland and close to Owl's Head about an hour from here.  The "Slipway" restaurant has indoor closed, indoor screened, and out door eating areas on the dock.  Most of us had the requisite chowder and an appetizer.  I had smoked salmon, but several folks had some wonderful mussels.  The weather was ideal although a bit cool on the water.  (Sorry about that you folks in Houston.)  From there we headed back up route 1 to Dorman's, an ice cream stand that has been in business for over a half century where Ann Dunn took these pictures.

     Since it was Friday, the campground had its weekly happy hour where campers bring pot-luck hors d'oeuvres and the campground provides beer and wine.  I had planned to make my "Mussels Casino" dip, courtesy of Dan and Nancy Taylor, but my hunter-gatherer skills failed me yesterday so I bought some farm raised mussels on the way home.  We arrived at four and happy hour was at five and the cook time was twenty minutes.  There was a lot of prep time so we were scrambling.  It wasn't as good as some previous versions, but it was still good.
     The weather has been so nice that I am hesitant to describe it as it would be seen as "rubbing it in".

     As the evening wound its way down and I carried a bunch of mussel shells up to the dumpster, I took this shot of an almost full moon over Penobscot Bay.  Life is good.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Bagaduce Diner

     We have been here before and the pictures below are nothing spectacular.  Today Bernie and Ann Dunn joined us as we made our annual visit to the Bagaduce Diner.  Don't let the name throw you.  It is situated on the Bagaduce River which has some classic reversing falls depending on whether or not the tide is coming in or going out.  In the pictures the tide is coming in from left to right.  There is a picture of the diner on my 3 September 2010 post.  After Bernie and I had ordered lunch, I walked down to where Ann and Durelle had picked out a table by the river.    It is obviously not a posed picture as they didn't know I was taking it.  It does show two ladies enjoying a quiet moment at a comfortable scene on the river.  the second is a shot of the incoming tide overwhelming the river's current.

     We took the opportunity to spend a very pleasant afternoon driving along the Maine coastline.  Because of the size and the time of our lunch and the snacks at happy hour, there was no supper.  A new neighbor moved in with an old motor home.  The mural on the back was a great rendition of a Mercator projection of the contiguous 48 states.  I thought it was neat so I took a picture.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

First Lobsters of the Season

     Well, we have been here a week.  It took a few days to adjust to a stationary mode.  Therefore, there has not been much to report.  I did hang the hummingbird feeder outside Durelle's window.  We have seen a ruby-throated hummingbird a couple of times, but, of course, not when I had the camera.  The next picture almost captures the charm of those little beasties.  You can see the Roth's rig through the feeder.
     Today was Saturday, and it seemed to fit to do a bunch of lobsters.  We did nineteen.  Our usual source of clams has gone out of business, and the convenient alternatives were expensive, so we did without.  We did have local corn (thanks, Ann).  We had three pots set up behind our bus.  You can see our sign hanging off the ladder in some of the pictures.  Dick Roth was the prime mover on this affair, but everybody chipped in and helped.  The camaraderie is the major attraction of the RV lifestyle. 
     At this time of year almost all of the lobsters are "soft-shell".  It certainly is more convenient to break the shells with your fingers than with a hammer, but the purists think the hard-shells are more tasty.  A pound and a half lobster is five or six years old, so it has "molted" several times.  these were very enjoyable and the community made it outstanding.