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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Another Bagaduce Lunch

     Today was our annual junket to the Bagaduce Lunch.  Longtime readers will perhaps recall that I have previously recounted our wonderful visits to one of the very best seafood shacks in Maine.  Let me interrupt with a side note.  In order to verify directions to their place, I wanted to find their address to enter into my navigation system.  So I googled "Bagaduce Diner".  It is actually called "Bagaduce Lunch".  The first two entries that  came back from Google were under "Bagaduce Lunch".  The third choice was a link to my blog of 9 Aug 2011 entitled "Bagaduce Diner".   At any rate the diner is located, with a great scattering of picnic tables, on the banks of the Bagaduce River.  The river flows out and the tide flows in.  So, depending on the state of the tide, the water is either surging to the left or the right.



     You can tell by the foreground that the tide is out.  You can tell by the surging water that the tide is coming in.  Dick and Eleanor Roth met with us for lunch.  There were a couple of slabs of fried haddock and lobster and crab rolls as well as their famous onion rings.  We haven't seen our old camping buddies for a year, so there was a lot to talk about...even after lunch was done.




    Before we left, I wandered across the street to take a picture of the diner with its name sign.  At the right you can see Durelle and the Roths with their ice cream cones.  The flavor was "Muddy Boots".  


    
     When we got back to the Moorings, there were some photo-ops here.  There was an unloaded bulk carrier, sitting high in the water,  anchored in the harbor off Searsport.




     Being late in the day, the cumulus clouds reflected pleasantly in the bay.




     Although he was happy to see us, Baxter was fine.  Rick was on standby to hold Baxter's hand if a thundershower popped up.  Fortunately none did.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Red Moon

     The moon is a few days past being a full moon, but last night it was coming up roses.  The picture was almost impossible because it was so dark.  I tried a flash to light up the foreground, but nothing seemed to work.  When I looked more closely, I could see in the picture all the familiar features of the moon's surface that can be seen with the naked eye.  See what you think.  Except for cropping, it has not been edited.  It really was that red.



     The interesting part of the story is that I was in the bus and would have missed it completely except for an earlier exchange with the campers in front of us.  There was a sudden knock on the door, and one of the two said to Durelle, "Tell Frank the moon is red and to bring his camera."  Since she was an attractive, young blonde woman that Durelle had never met, she was initially puzzled, but she quickly spotted the red moon, and I grabbed my camera.
     At this point I need to shift back to the day before when a pair of such folks arrived in the spot in front of us at a waterfront site with a "Scamp".  A Scamp, if you haven't seen one, is one of the very smallest of camping trailers.  I could have pulled it with my 1960 Valiant (R.I.P.).  I doubt that an adult could stand up inside.   It was a brightly colored trailer in apparently very nice shape.  When the two ladies decided to park the trailer crosswise in the spot (an eminently reasonable decision), it became necessary to maneuver it in by hand.  I recall doing the same thing with our Apache pop up almost fifty years ago.  I couldn't resist snapping a few pictures out the window.





     Later, when I saw them outside, sitting around a campfire, I went over, introduced myself, and offered to email them some of the pictures.  Lo, and behold!, when properly introduced, whatever first impressions I had formed were substantially revised.  One of the two sisters is retired from the Air Force as is her husband, a B-52 pilot from the Vietnam days.  I suppose, as I approach 75, the definition of "young" takes on a broader perspective.  
     At any rate we had a great visit.  Today they are bicycling over the famous carriage roads in Acadia National Park.  Thus, it was reinforced again after nearly a half century of RVing, that in few other lifestyles do you meet so many pleasant and interesting people.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Sunrise

     Cindy's flight departed this morning from Bangor at 0700!  An 0430 alarm clock was required.  I spent decades getting up at five or so, but I have successfully overcome the addiction.  There was a one pleasant, unintended consequence of arising at such an uncivilized hour.  I had the opportunity of seeing the pre-dawn sky awakening to the northeast across Penobscot Bay.


    
 The event occurred at low tide.  Nearly all the land you see between the water and the trees in the foreground is submerged at high tide. 
     So far her flights are running on time, and she is presently in Detroit waiting for her last leg home.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Cindy's Last Day

     It has been a wonderful week.  There was not a lot of touristy things.  In addition to Cindy, our son and daughter-in-law were here for two nights out of that week, too.  As a result, there was a lot of sitting around and visiting.  That ain't all bad when you have all your kids together, especially when you have reached the point that your youngest is fifty!  Tomorrow, Cindy's flight out of Bangor is at 0700.  That means an 0430 get up!  We don't do a lot of that lately.
     Today Durelle and Cindy went down to the pedestrian bridge over the Passagassawaukeg River in Belfast.  Baxter and I wimped out.  Cindy's I-phone provided the following pictures.


     The first is a shot of the Belfast harbor taken from the walking bridge, looking out to sea.


      The second is a shot along the pedestrian bridge.  Prior to 1963 this structure provided the original river crossing for route 1.  In 2006 the old road was converted into a pedestrian bridge.

     
     In this shot Cindy captured a too short fisherman (girl) enjoying a pleasant day on the water.  Tonight is not a full moon, but almost.  Below is a shot, taken from site 21A of the moon over Penobscot Bay.


     Folks that know the campground know this view.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Maine weather

     This is why we come here.  The breeze off Penobscot Bay is downright COOL.  Of course, if you walk a hundred yards up the hill to the office, it becomes just another warm summer day.  The tide was out, so Durelle suggested a walk to the beach.  Baxter hasn't had a chance to really get off the leash in quite a while, so down we went.  Sand beaches this far north are few and far between.  Rocks, we got.  Gravel, we got; and everywhere, seaweed we got.  It is under the rockweed that I find my trove of mussels.  Baxter enjoyed the beach.


     He also acted as if he were hunting for mussels.


    
 Occasionally, he would grab a strand of rockweed and shake it as if it were something he had to kill.

     
     The next shot exemplifies what Maine is about for us in the summer.  It is titled."The Best View in the World".


Monday, July 15, 2013

Eldy and Marian Taylor

     Back to back golden wedding anniversary parties!  Yesterday's was my sister, Marian's, and husband Eldy"s.  I fell down on my photographer job and only took a few pictures...and none of the couple being honored.  We arrived late and left early.  Both of those events are atypical.  The lateness I can blame on the Massachusetts DOT.  Southbound I 95 and I 495 on a summer Sunday afternoon are notorious for the heavy traffic they carry.  So, in their infinite wisdom, the DOT picked that particular time to repave two lanes of a bridge on I-495 south, reducing it to one lane.  We averaged 5 MPH for twenty miles.  We made some use of the breakdown lane, but overheated radiators hindered that escape.  I'm glad we were in the Jeep.  The early departure was our choice as we had a 245 mile drive home and Baxter was in the bus.  Thanks, Rick.


     Their sons, Scott and Danny, with help from many, hosted the affair at Danny and Nancy's home.  This is Danny the smoke eater, manning multiple grills.  The other guy who almost got cut out of the picture is Eldy Taylor.
     Although I generally failed as a photographer, I did get one totally candid picture you may like.  It is Scott and Linda's daughter, Jennifer.


     There are still some good genes left in the family tree after all.
     The trip home was much smoother than the one south, and Baxter was happy to see us, I guess.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Fred and Phyllis McKay

     Yesterday we took another drive down to Auburn, ME...not to the truck shop but to the fiftieth wedding anniversary of Durelle's cousin, Phyllis.  As you might suspect, it was well attended by all those old Mainers who remembered them as youngsters. Their son, Larry served as MC and did a fine job.  Durelle's brother and his wife, Ann, also attended.  The affair was held at the Hilton Garden Inn in Auburn. 
    The first picture was taken through the window of the function room.  It shows the "Great Falls" as the Androscoggin River tumbles through downtown Auburn.


     
      There are additional pictures:  


     
     These folks are Cindy, Andrea, Durelle and Mart.
     
     Phyllis and Fred cut the cake.





    
      This is a picture of the Martin and McAllister Cousins.



     This, of course, is the cake

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Winslow Point

     Last Monday, while the bus was being attended to in Auburn, we wandered over to South Freeport to pay a visit to Larry and Judy Starratt who used to camp with us in Belfast.  We had a fine seafood lunch and wandered around the county park where they are spending the summer.  Since I forgot my camera, I was forced to learn how to use my cell phone as a camera.  What you are about to see are my first attempts.  Not only was taking the pictures a different experience, emailing them to myself was non-trivial.  They didn't show up until the next day!


     As you can see, it is a pleasant spot.  On the way we passed through Lisbon, ME.  This weekend they are holding their "Moxie Festival".  Moxie is a soft drink, unique to Maine with licorice taste that is not universally acclaimed.


   Arnie Brewer is a great fan of the brew.  We had a good visit and a great seafood lunch, then I had a another chance to try my phone/camera on a pine that was struck by lightning a couple of nights ago.


     After our adventures in South Freeport, we returned to Auburn to pick up the bus.  It is wonderful to have a working ice maker again.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Pecks are here.

     The remainder of the fourth of July weekend was busy with more creations from the "vegetables are condiments" crew.  Monday morning the party was over.  We also left the campground and headed down to Whited Truck and RV in Auburn, ME to get a number of odds and ends fixed.  The main concern was an airbag/ride height adjuster repair.  They also tweaked our leveling jacks, adjusted hinges on the storage compartment doors, replaced the water metering valve for the ice cube maker, and even fixed a loose toilet seat.  A loose toilet seat, you say?  Well, there are captive nuts on the back side of those seat hinges. But, if the nut is gone or the threads are stripped, one must get access to the rear of the assembly to replace and/or tighten the nut.  That requires removing the toilet.  It ain't rocket science, but this old fart would rather have someone else do it.
     Since the repairs occupied the better part of the day, we went over to South Freeport to visit Larry and Judy Starratt.  We had a very nice seafood lunch and visited their campground at Winslow Park.  Unfortunately, I forgot my camera, so I took my first pictures with my Android phone.  Next, I'll have to figure out how to extract them and put them to use.  At one time I was on the leading edge of technology, and now I can't even see it from here.  Oh, well.
     We got back to the Moorings on Monday night.  Since the campground is starting to fill up, it was a bit of a chore getting backed into site 25.  Dick Brann was a great help in getting backed in and set up.
     Today was a new start.  Breakfast was bacon 'n eggs with hash browns and onions.  There was some major housecleaning , mostly by Durelle, as we got the rig settled in for the summer.
     This afternoon the Happy Hour was just three couples:  the Pecks, the Cloutiers and the Fylers.  A couple of the pictures are shown below.





     There are still a couple of  glitches to fix, but now it is bedtime.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Fourth of July

     Normally, on the fourth, Jim Baker has a lobster feed.  This year was different.  There were three championship barbecue teams here that were willing to demonstrate their proficiency.  With three couples with experience on the competitive barbecue circuit, there were only two orders for lobster.  Jim deep fried a turkey.  Tim and Wendy Boucher did six (!)  racks of ribs and some sausage.  Tim and Michele Perelka (I told you last names would come later) did some melt -in-your mouth brisket.  John and Teresa Carlberg did a couple of excellent pork butts.  This is the "vegetables are condiments" crowd we are dealing with, folks.  The rest of us peons brought such things as potato salad, beans, chili, artichoke heart dip, rice pilaf, stuffed tomatoes, prosciutto-wrapped melon, stuffed cherry tomatoes, etc.  As you can imagine, no one went hungry.  As a matter of fact our freezer must have 10 pounds of frozen "Q".  Below are some pictures of the feed:



     These are Tim's ribs.


    
 This is Tom's brisket.



     This is John's 'Boston' butt.

     I'm not sure that the bulk of the attendees (essentially the entire campground) really appreciated the fact that this meat was many echelons above the normal barbecue fare.  It was.  Today is the fourth of July.  May I suggest that you all go back and read a couple of the founding documents of our country...the Declaration of Independence, for sure, and the Constitution with the Bill of Rights.  Take your time...it's important.  Much is at stake.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Baxter and Rick

     This morning Rick and Judy Feyler arrived after a 'tough' drive up from Owls Head.  Other than the beach, the only occasion for Baxter to be off lead is when he spots Rick in site 15.  He knows that Rick, who doesn't have dogs, always has treats for him.  So, Durelle can feel confident in letting him loose knowing that he will go nowhere except bounding down the hill to Rick.


     Here he comes!  He's 12+ years old and he hasn't had an opportunity to run free, especially downhill, in quite a while.  He did stumble, but he didn't fall, as he made his headlong dash to Rick.  It has been a year, but it is clear that he remembers.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The right place at the right time

     How did we get into this deal?  Here we are surrounded by championship cooks on a bus-man's holiday doing their thing.  They sure enjoy what they do; perhaps even more so when the only judges are each other and a bunch of amateurs, and there is no clock screaming out, "You're late!  You're DQ-ed!"  A good insight into their mind sets can be found in the saga of the creme brulee.  I have a Traeger pellet grill, and Traeger sends me a recipe of the week.  A couple of weeks ago the recipe was for creme brulee.  I sent it to Tim and Wendy to take note of the novelty of the idea.  Guess what?  Wendy fired back with. "I've got all the ingredients and a dozen ramekins.  We'll do it!  My response was a semi-apology that said, " I wasn't asking you to make it; I was just pointing out the unusual nature of the recipe".  Once she got her teeth sunk into the idea, the outcome was never in doubt.  We were going to have creme brulee from the big green egg.
     First she made the custard...egg yolks, heavy cream, vanilla beans...you know the drill.


       The custard goes on the grill in a roaster pan half full of water.


     
After they had cooled and set up, it was time to caramelize the tops.  First you add the sugar.


     Then you get out the torch.

    
     And, when you are done, voila...creme brulee!

     
          OK, I know what you are thinking; "Life's short...eat dessert first."  We didn't.  This was dessert, and we ate it last.  First we had some "appetizers"!  Would you believe that the appetizers consisted of a stuffed meatloaf, lobster mac 'n cheese, and a huge lasagna with sausage?  First a couple of pictures of the meatloaf before and after slicing.


     Don't ask whose martini that is.

     
Then there is a picture of the lobster mac 'n cheese.


     And, as if that weren't enough, out came the lasagna with sausage.


      As you can well imagine, there were no entrees after those appetizers.  Did I mention that they were all prepared by award winning cooks?  There was something special about all of them.  Then we had the creme brulee.
     As the title of this piece suggests, Durelle and I ( and Dick Brann) have enjoyed being the unwarranted recipients of this largese.  Tomorrow the Fylers arrive to help share this burden.
     As I close, I will attach a 'tugboat in the fog' picture for Ann.


     I can only imagine what sort of delicacies we will see on the fourth of July.

Monday, July 1, 2013

More grill magic

     Eclectic is the word.  Durelle and I (and Dick Brann) were treated this evening to more of the efforts of truly outstanding and prizewinning cooks.  When was the last time YOU  had pork bellies and two varieties of cheesecake at the same setting?  The first picture below shows Tim's pork bellies on the big green egg.



     There were four, but he served one and I, with a bit of help, knocked quite a hole in the first one.  So, he agreed to serve a couple more.



     To add a bit of variety, John showed up with a platter of swordfish.




     And, as if that weren't enough, he added a platter of the nicest chicken wings you can imagine.






     There were also some of Michelle's stuffed mushrooms that disappeared before I could take a picture.  And we are not done yet.  Wendy brought out individual strawberry swirl cheesecakes while Michelle provided similar servings of a chocolate, peanut butter cheesecake.  And, just to demonstrate that these dedicated grillers and smokers can find a place for pork on anything, there was a bit of bacon crumbled on top.



     The pigs are icons that they carry with them and are included in pictures wherever they go.  At least one of my readers will relate...say, "Hello" Grover.
      I felt a bit guilty showing up empty handed, but does the old phrase, "...bringing coal to Newcastle" ring a bell?  I take solace in the fact that they love what they are doing, and they love to share it.  As a satiated beneficiary, who am I to complain?
     A week ago in this blog I indicated that Durelle had had a biopsy on her ear, so it is incumbent on me to report the results.  You will be happy to know that she was called today and informed that there was no melanoma or even a carcinoma.  The problem with her ear is a fairly common affliction of us old farts who always sleep on the same side.  There is little in the way of cushioning tissue or healing blood vessels between the ear cartilage and the outside world.  So, lesions are not uncommon.  It's called CNH, an acronym for an exceedingly long series of words that jointly mean "sore ear".  There is a touch of irony here.  She has a husband and a son who did some intercollegiate wrestling, and she's the one to end up with with the "cauliflower ear"!  The treatment is a specialized pillow with a hole in it.
     We are looking forward to the fourth when I hear that the barbecuers plan to outdo themselves.  If you ain't jealous yet, you will be.