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Sunday, June 30, 2013

First Outside Happy Hour of 2013

     I guess we are starting to get into the swing of things for 2013.  Below are a couple of pictures taken just north of our bus that show our first outside Moorings Happy Hour of 2013.

     The pictures are identical except for Tim Boucher.  In the first he is waving.  Apparently it is a annoying tradition for Tim to be waving in any picture taken of him.  The second picture shows Michelle (of Michelle and Tom...last names will come later) constraining Tim's arm so that he cannot wave.  Michelle and Tom are also accomplished performers on the barbecue circuit.  Tim and Wendy will be quick to acknowledge that they have competed more and won much more than the Bouchers have.  
     There was an interesting dynamic tonight as we we had another couple, John and Teresa, who were new to the barbecue circuit.  They smoked some chicken that was presented for critique.  The experienced barbecuers wanted to be helpful without being denigrating.  I thought they did a wonderful job.  The folks that wander around the country to compete in these barbecue contests are a wonderful, mutually supportive community.  There is no federal standard for smoked brisket, for example.  They must anticipate what the regional judges will prefer.  Sometimes they can only take solace with folks who have been equally victimized.
     At any rate we are alive and well and thriving on the midcoast of Maine.

The Bouchers are here

     Tim and Wendy Boucher have been mentioned in this blog before.  In addition to being RVing buddies and dog owners, they are skilled, creative and nationally competitive grillers and smokers on the barbecue circuit.  Last September I accompanied them to a competition, so they are not new to these pages.  What is new is their rig.  Instead of the trailer they had then, they now have a new fifth-wheel, "toy hauler" with, of course, a new truck to haul it.  A toy hauler is an RV with a full size tail gate/ramp that is usually employed to carry motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles and the like.  In this case the cargo is an assortment of large (and heavy) grills and smokers and other accouterments of the trade.  They are warmly welcomed at campgrounds because they are always experimenting with new (or even old) recipes.  Fellow campers are a captive audience to assess the results of their latest efforts.  I can't say that I have ever tasted any failures.
     The picture below was taken and graciously shared by Wendy a couple of nights ago in the garage/dining room of the toy hauler.  It is a nice picture of us and Dick and Hilda Brann.

     Take note of the snacks that Dick is reaching for.  When the Bouchers make hors d'oeuvers, it ain't crackers and cheese.  These are stuffed, bacon-wrapped tenderloin bites!  She also duplicated a take-out sample of a brown bread pudding on their "big green egg", a large ceramic grilling/baking implement.  The dessert was highlighted with a maple syrup/bourbon sauce.  With all respect to her culinary artistry, Kleenex would work pretty well with enough maple syrup and bourbon.
     All kidding aside, we are very glad that they are here.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Errands to Lincolnville and Rockland

     Today was a day of miscellaneous errands.  There was a card to mail...happy birthday, Dave; a prescription to drop off and a trip to the dermatologist in Lincolnville to check on Durelle's right ear.  They did a biopsy just to be sure.  We then went to the Wal Mart in Rockland primarily to get Durelle some Diet Rite.
     After a quick lunch in Rockland, we headed back north.  Right on the border of Northport and Belfast is an old red mill by a waterfall.  I have been going to take a picture for a couple of years, but whenever we went by, there was no water coming over the falls.  Today there was.

     If I turned 180 degrees and looked seaward, there was a nice line of moored sailboats.

     It was a warm day with a temperature that approached 90.  With all windows open and all vent fans on 100% we avoided the need to turn on the AC.  We had a small but pleasant happy hour with Dick Brann followed by leftover spaghetti for supper.  Cindy's package of mail included three books for me to review for the Post and Courier, so I'll be busy for a while.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Summer has arrived

     Since the last post, we have made a second trip down to Auburn.  A new stove top was installed and it works beautifully.  Of course, the dishwasher had to be removed again to get access to the stove.  In addition, a new vent fan was installed, and it works fine.  Unfortunately, the new water metering valve for the ice maker was the wrong part.  I asked them to mail me the new one when it came in, as that replacement is a job I can do myself.  We got back to the Moorings with plans to set up "permanently" for the summer.  Alas, we are not free and clear yet.  There are some jack and airbag issues.  These airbags are not the sort that explode in your face when you ram the fellow that cut you off.  They are a major part of the bus' suspension system.  The right front does not seem to raise the body off the frame as much as the left side does.  In addition the left front jack did not come down.  Fortunately, it was the high corner so it would come down last and only for stabilization.  There have been many instances in the past when I have had to manually help the left rear jack retract the last half inch, so it could use some attention also.  Ergo, there is still another trip to Auburn in the cards before we can get really settled.
     When we finished setting up, we enjoyed a Happy Hour with the Branns.  Dick is helpfully supplementing our supply of ice cubes.  Supper was a change.  Although we ate well without the stove top, we celebrated its return with a meal of bacon and eggs.
     Below are a pair of recent shots of the bay.

          The first is a shot across the entrance to the Belfast harbor toward the picturesque village of Bayside with its century old Victorian cottages.  The second is taken to the southeast toward Isleboro and Castine.  On the right horizon is Isleboro, a long, thin island paralleling the coast.  The land on the left horizon is the Blue Hill peninsula.  A higher resolution picture would show parts of the town of Castine, home of the Maine Maritime Academy.  The sea is calm, but the patterns in the surface of the water add to the beauty of the scene.  Those little patterns of smooth and roughened water are quite a source of information to experienced sailors, a group that does not include me in their membership.  They indicate what the light and variable surface winds are doing.  I can still hear Uncle Gene exclaiming with great enthusiasm, "Here comes a puff!"
     The population of the campground is increasing.  The projected high for tomorrow is 90 degrees!  The breezes off the bay should mitigate the heat, the the humidity will only be in the 70s.  We had a couple of intermittent, but fairly heavy, showers this morning.  Unfortunately, the "on times" coincided with my walking the dog and, later, with my Sunday trip to Hanneford's to get a couple of bagels and the Boston Sunday Globe.  

Monday, June 17, 2013

After the thunderstorm

     Today we had an interval of an hour or so when a brief, but fairly intense, thunderstorm passed through in the middle of the afternoon.  In the aftermath of the storm the air was noticeably fresher and clearer.  I grabbed the camera for a likely rainbow luck on that score.  We did have a good walk around the campground and took a couple of pictures.  There is a picture of the cutest looking, small Airstream.  I think it is the smallest I've ever seen, but it still exudes the Airstream quality.

     The clouds, the light and the sea all looked fresher after the storm.  This is a shot taken toward the village of Bayside across the bay.

     I also took a picture of a lovely bush of beach plum roses.

     For supper Durelle decided to make an "impossible cheeseburger pie".  It's an old favorite recipe from my mother that is baked in a pie plate.  Since we don't have a working stove top, it seemed like a good idea.  At some point in the preparation we discovered that the hamburg and the onion needed to be browned in a frying pan first.  I fired up the Weber grill, and everything worked fine.  'Twas good.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Moving Time

     We have been here in Belfast nearly a week.  We have been staying at the top of the hill while our seasonal site gets some much needed manicuring.  It is an interesting comparison of sites up here at the top of the hill  compared to those down by the water.  We have 50 amps and we have a sewer hookup.  Durelle can do load after load of laundry.  Plus, she does not have to wait until the dishwasher has no available room before she runs it.  In addition, it is a quick trip to the dog walk area when we stagger out of bed in the morning.  Down the hill in site 25 we will have only 30 amps and we will be limited to bi-weekly visits by the "honey wagon".  That means "Navy showers" and other water rationing procedures.  Nonetheless, the proximity to the water and the views of the harbor traffic makes the lower sites much more attractive.  Today we had a dump truck with several yards of fill make a deposit at three different sites.  Number 25 was one of them.  Then a "bobcat" graded the sites.  Below are a couple of shots of the bobcat doing its thing under the supervision of young Alex Baker.

     For some of you old-timers you may be able to read the number 25 on the post.  That site was known for many years as "the Johnson estate".  We will be honored to keep the traditions alive.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Arrival in Maine 2013

     It is 2247 and I should be in bed, but I wanted to give you an update.  We got up at 0600 and arrived in Auburn, ME at 0945 at Whited RV to get some things fixed.  Most were minor, but the propane leak was not.  The leak was isolated, the stovetop removed, and a replacement ordered.  So, until the new one arrives from the west coast, we'll be cooking on the Weber grill, the crock pot or in the convection/microwave oven.  We also have on order a Fantastic Fan...actually just a ceiling fan...and a metering valve for the icemaker.  I understood that the tires were expected to fail at seven years, but I didn't think the whole bus was going to fall apart.
     It was a long day, and I will provide more details soon.  All's well in Maine.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Brookline to Freedom, or Field and Stream to the Bluffs

     Today was a short trip from the Field and Stream RV Park in  Brookline, NH to The Bluffs in Freedom, NH...about 112 miles.  Although we haven't really gotten acquainted with the place yet, it seems like a really first class operation.  We had a pleasant Happy Hour with Durelle's brother Mart and his wife Ann.  Mart made supper with his magical Dutch oven.  Check out the pot of stuffed peppers and red potatoes below.

    We plan to return the favor tomorrow morning with eggs, bacon, sausage, biscuits and hash browns.  We'll spend another day here and we hope to get some of the remaining deficiencies in the bus taken care shortly.  The metering valve for the ice-maker should be waiting for us in Maine.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Odds and Ends

     Today was a day of errands.  I had an appointment at the audiologist at three.  We left the Field and Stream RV park at 1245 and made a stop at Hallmark for a bunch of June cards.  From there I dropped Durelle off at the Nashua Country Club.  I drove up to the Campers Inn in Merrimack to get some wrap-around step covers and a couple of new bag chairs.  Do you remember that we drove a thousand miles with non-retracting steps?   Then I went to the audiologist appointment, and reclaimed my right hearing aid at no cost.  Then I went to Walmart to get a new can opener and a small supplemental electric heater.  I got the Chinese opener, but the heaters were a seasonal item and not available in the summer.  They don 't know Maine!  Then I met Durelle at the club and took this picture of Durelle and her best buds from a decade ago..

    As you might imagine, Durelle has a fond relationship with many friends from our 25 year relationship with Nashua Country Club.  Starting clockwise from Durelle the friends are:  Mary Heinle, Janet Leonard, Ruth Gaukstern, Nancy Dinsdale, Flo Phaneuf, Sis Mararos, and Elaine Ethier.

From there we went to the grocery and home.  Baxter was happy to see us.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Brookline, NH

     We got here on Friday and have been doing very little.  We did go to Mark and Heather's for a nice supper of grilled chicken on Sunday.  Today we drove down to Royalston, MA to visit my sister, Marian.  She raises and trains miniature horses.  Below is a picture of her and a couple of her friends.

They are still living in their log cabin dream home with a dream view.  It is a "pay as you go", sweat equity effort.  It is still a long way from being finished, but since Eldy has a two hour commute to work, it will be a matter of years before it is finished.  The place is impressive.  I'll include a couple of pictures that show the scale of the logs as compared to an eight foot door.

     I guess I should include a few examples of the view from the deck.

     On the way back north to Brookline, NH, we saw a couple of things that may be of interest to a few our regular readers.  We saw a pair of Baltimore orioles in Ashburnham, MA.  In Gardner we saw the Dunn State Park.
     The temperature is 69 degrees, and Durelle says, "It's friggin freezing."  There is not a cloud in the sky.  We had a good supper with a pork roast, and all's right with the world.