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Monday, June 30, 2014

Things are getting busy

     Yesterday was lobster boil number 1...for the Cloutiers at least.  Walt Wagner, who has been harvesting lobsters right out in front of the campground for as long as we have been coming here, had a stroke this past winter and has pulled his boat.  So, we've had to find new sources.  Dick Roth rounded up a dozen 1 3/4 pound lobsters and a dozen ears of corn.  Add a very few additional amenities and you've got a good lobster boil.

     Today the happy hour "snacks" amounted to supper.  The entree was Michelle and Tom Peralta's stuffed meat loaf.

     Look closely at the bacon wrap.  It is woven! Here it is sliced.

     It has been stuffed with sun-dried tomatoes and other assorted goodies.  Wendy Boucher brought a big cole slaw and John Carlberg brought some unusual and excellent fingerling potatoes.   In keeping with my candid shots, her are the Carlbergs; John and Theresa.

     The Peraltas arrived with their seven year old, female Shepherd, Skye.

     Tomorrow a bunch of us are off to Bagaduche for lunch.  Friday the Peraltas, Bouchers, and the Carlbergs are barbecuing for the entire campground...ribs, pulled pork, brisket and pork belly.  You must be a campground resident to participate and you must bring a special side dish of your own.  Durelle will do her rice pilaf.  Does that sound like some good eating?  I think I have mentioned that these grillers compete and win on a national basis.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Summer Activities have begun

     We are settling into our usual set of summer activities in Maine.  This morning we went down to Camden with Paul and Judy Poythress to investigate replicas of the Pinta and the Nina, the two smaller of the Caravels that Columbus used in 1492.  The Pinta, the larger of the two is 85 feet long and 100 tons.  That's not a large boat for making trans-Atlantic crossings.  Both boats were nestled in among the other occupants of Camden Harbor, so I couldn't get an isolated shot.

     The weather could not have been nicer with temperatures in the mid to upper seventies, no wind and only an occasional cloud.  I even sneaked in a picture of Durelle.

     After the touring, we walked to the nearby Waterfront Restaurant for lunch.  Durelle had a haddock sandwich while I had a half dozen excellent oysters and a lobster BLT.  We ate outside just a few feet from the edge of the harbor.
     Fridays, of course, are the weekly campground wide happy hour.  Campers bring pot luck hors d'oeuvres, and the campground provides the beer and wine.  It was well attended and lasted until at least 1830.  As we adjourned, the Pecks, Roths, Bouchers and the Cloutiers reconvened near the Roth rig for a brief encore.  One of the long traditions with Tim Boucher is that whenever he is photographed, in whatever setting, he always has his left hand up for a wave.  It never fails.  Tonight, when he was relaxed with Scout in his lap, I made history.

     As we sat there, a lovely sailboat returned to the Belfast harbor and caught the fading rays of the setting sun.

     I ask you, "Does it get any better than this?"

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Papa J's

     We have been at the Moorings for a week. Today the Boucher's arrived with all their grilling toys.  The 4th of July promises to be a diet buster.  
     We went up to Pappa J's for supper with the Branns. Dick Brann and Durelle have a tradition of splitting a lobster pizza at the beginning and the end of the season. It was a fine looking pizza.

     I had a rib-eye, rare.

     I passed on all those garlic-mashed potatoes. It was a good meal with good friends.
          I would be remiss if I didn't sent along a picture of Baxter who had climbed up into Durelle's chair.

     The old man is still doing OK.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014



     I'm starting with a couple of calm and peaceful shots.  I'll get to the "Ooooops" later.  We spent the better part of the week at a spot for "big rigs" at the top of the hill.  Both pictures were taken there.  The "back in" spot, facing the water, at the left center of the picture is our destination.  There are some advantages to the few spots at the top of the hill.  They are connected to a sewer line and are thus independent of the twice weekly "pump outs" by the strangely named "honey wagon".  Also they have 50 amps available versus just 30.  But, those sites don't have the wonderful view through the big windshield.
     We moved down to the lower site yesterday.  There were a couple of differences in the set up.  There was no sewer hose, and I used a pair of devices to protect those big Michelins. First I parked them on four heavy-duty polyethylene sheets called landing strips.  They prevent moisture from the tire's composition from leaching into the ground.  Second, we installed tire covers to keep the UV portions of the sunlight off the tires.  For short stays I do not go to the trouble.  The other difference with this site is that I'm going to have to get out the ladder and clean the dead bugs off the afore-mentioned windshield.
     Now for the "Ooooops".  Happy hour yesterday was in the lee of the Roth's rig, as a cool breeze was coming strong off the water.  George Peck brought a dozen oysters that he had shucked.  He and I split them at $1.00 per oyster.  As the happy hour was breaking up, I returned to the bus to use the bathroom.  As I got inside, of course, I had to climb over Baxter who had planted himself between the two chairs.  The chairs had been rotated to face the living area for the benefit of guests.  As I was stepping over him, he stood up, and the now free to rotate chairs did not offer me a "grab bar" to regain my balance.  So, down I went.  I feel sure that a normal fall to the floor would have done no damage.  However, the fall was interrupted by my forehead hitting the corner of a built in, and hence immoveable, table.  The result was a deep vertical gash over my right eye.  The scalp is a very vascular area anyway, and the daily doses of Plavix, a blood thinner, combined for a very messy situation.  I grabbed a handful of paper towel to put direct pressure on the wound.  The paper was soon replaced with one of Durelle's golf towels.  Although I could not see it, it was clear to the others that stitches would be required.  The blow to the head itself was minor with no consequences other than the cut.  I got into Dick Roth's car, and he drove me to the ER at the Waldo County General Hospital which is less than five miles away.  When we arrived, the ER was empty, so a doctor was quickly available.  After cleaning and anesthetizing the site he began to deftly insert nine stitches.  At one point in his early career he worked for a plastic surgeon; a fact that was pleasantly received.  He and I both agreed that there was no concussion or other such damage.  Nonetheless, he sent me down for a cranial CT scan.  As the old joke goes, "The X-ray of my skull was negative."  After placing a big steri-strip on top of the stitches, they added another dressing and sent me home.  I still had no headache or other pain, and there was no ancillary damage from the fall.
     So, here I am, embarrassed, but fortunate that it was not worse and that I had the good fortune to do it in the company of helpful friends.  Stitches come out in five days, then we'll see what sort of a dueling scar I will have.

Thursday, June 19, 2014


     At 1730 hours we finally arrived at the Moorings RV Resort on the the shores of Penobscot Bay.  We got a late start because we were waiting for the mailman in case he had Durelle's meds.  He didn't.  But Dan, our favorite campground owner, will forward them when they arrive.  Dick Brann was here to check us in and help us hook up.  We are going to be at the top of the hill with a 50 Amp site for a few days until we move down to site 28.  To see the layout you can go to their website.
      Our trip north had a wonderful interlude for a late lunch.  We stopped to visit a classmate, Charles Calvin, who has a summer home on Cousin's Island off Yarmouth.  Below is a picture I took through his front window.  'Nuff said.

     Mary concocted a chicken salad with fresh greens, and we had a too brief visit.  We are in Maine!  We'll be gone from 6-20 August for family reunions and visits with grandkids, then we'll hurry back to one of our favorite places.

Saturday, June 14, 2014


     A recurring theme in our travels is the fine art of barbecuing.  Not my own; I just travel with a small Weber spherical grill that allows me to do the bare minimum.  To our good fortune we have camped with a few folks for whom bbq is an obsession.  Can you imagine paying an hundred bucks for a whole brisket because "finishing third sucks".  These competitions are well regulated, professional operations that have some significant prize money even at the small regional level.
     Today I wandered over to the NH Rockn' RibFest held on the grounds of the Anheuser Busch brewery in Merrimack, NH.  I did not know if any of them would be there.  First I spotted the Judge's tent with the atomic clock outside.  If the ribs are to be judged at XX00:00.00, ribs that arrive at XX00:00.01 will be DQ'd.  Typically, an equivalent clock is mounted prominently in each competitor's prep area.

     As I wandered through the competitors' area, I ran into a familiar logo.

     Note the clock in the upper right.

     This is the operation of Tom and Michelle Perelka.  Year after year they have pulled down single digit national rankings out of 7,000 competitors.  The next two shots show the four ovens that they will be using this weekend.  There's at least a half dozen more at home that didn't make the traveling squad this weekend.

     These are serious competitors and great cooks.  They will be camped with us in Maine over the 4th of July weekend.  To give you an idea of some of the prep work, I'm about to show you the before and after pictures of a rack of ribs as Tom prepares them for a uniform presentation.

     Here's the rack as it came from the butcher.  Next, Tom will trim it and remove the "silver skin" and excess fat and make it uniform.  The trimmings, by the way, go home with them to become sausage.

     Now the result.

     They don't just cook one rack.  To increase their odds of creating a few perfect ribs for the judges they cook typically six racks.

     Tim and Wendy Boucher of "Feedin' Frenz" will be joining the party in Maine.  I believe my diet is going to take a serious hit.  Let me tell you that this grillin' and competin' community is the most sociable and congenial group around and we are most fortunate to know some of them.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Brielle Cloutier

     We have been busy visiting friends and relatives.  As I write this, Durelle is at Nashua Country Club visiting with her cronies from twenty years ago when she was the president of the ladies group.  Last night we went to supper with grandson, Dave, and Carolyn and Brielle.  Brielle is still in school until the 20th.  We have been informed that she is number 1 in her third grade.  Below is a picture of her preparing to get outside a piece of baklava.

     It is still difficult to realize that when we look at her, we are looking at our fourth generation.  I guess we have time to see the fifth.
     Prior to supper she and Grandma played cards in the motorhome.


Saturday, June 7, 2014

Dan and Nancy Taylor's 25th Anniversary Party

     This afternoon a bunch of family and friends surprised Dan and Nancy with a party to celebrate their 25th Anniversary.  We have to thank Nancy's brother, mother and wife (Keith, Julie and Karin) for putting on a fine backyard shindig.

     Nancy was truly surprised and emotional.  There were perhaps fifty people there, including all of the original wedding party.  I will include two shots of the wedding party.  First:

And, second:

     The two in the lower right are my sister, Marian and her husband Eldy Taylor.  Dan's older brother, Scott, is on Dan''s right.  Dan is our nephew.  The others I don't know and neither do you!  The day was perfect, and we wish the two many more years.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Wegners in Fairfax, VA

Fifty four years ago this Fall we showed up for my first assignment as a brand new 2Lt. in the Air Force.  We were the ultimate newbies.  Fortunately, there was another Air Force family that were very close neighbors.  Al was a 1st Lt.  He and Joyce were of German stock from the cornfields of Iowa.  He had had some enlisted time in the Navy before going to USAF OCS.  They were like our older siblings as we acclimated ourselves to the Air Force.  We have forced our paths to cross almost every year since, and 2014 was no exception.

     This section of Fairfax is a nice neighborhood, but with small, winding streets that forced the trailing Jeep to make one careful excursion up over a corner of a curb.  The bus and we spent the night in front of their house as we have before.  Below is a quick snapshot taken just before we left.  The youngest person in that picture is 76!!

     As usual, Joyce stuffed us full of good food both for supper and breakfast.  They are both a couple of survivors, and we wish them many more good years.
     One notable event on our drive northward yesterday was the accident we passed that completely closed I-95 southbound near Roanoke Rapids, NC.  Apparently a northbound tractor-flatbed trailer with a load of bundles of 2x4's wandered across the median and hit another flatbed of pipe!  We passed the scene at about 1100 and the accident had occurred about 5 1/2 hours before.  There were no flashing lights or emergency gear at the scene; just a bunch of "yellow gear" trying to uncouple the mess.  A detour had been set up from one exit north of the accident to one exit south.  I have no idea how long it took them to reopen it, but it was a major hassle for a lot of travelers and truckers.
     We arrived at Pine Grove, PA shortly after two and everything is set up fine.  There was a delay in acquiring the satellite which nearly precipitated mayhem, but "all's well that ends well".

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Enfield, NC

     We spent the night at a KOA here in our old spot.  The place is run by a retired CMSGT, (USAF E-9) with whom I get along just fine.  We have finished, I hope, all the debugging...of me, not the bus.  Once I found the water heater bypass valve that was used to winterize, we had our hot water back.  Once I remembered that the driver's side slideouts required the ignition switch to be in the accessory position, they worked fine.  The driver's side are electric and the passenger side are hydraulic.  I'm sure there is a good reason.
     The TV was initially snowy in spite of a 90% signal strength, but it seems to be fine now.  It's a big, sophisticated machine, and my aging brain has to be retrained every spring.  I think we are good to go now.
     Although he is a little wobbly and needs a little help and encouragement, Baxter is managing the stairs OK.  Is there a common theme here?

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Day 2

     Well, we finally got on the road.  We never planned to get away early because Durelle washed our linens and remade our bed because we are going to have house guests during the summer.  Besides, all of the packing has been on a gentle schedule.  Cindy took a camera shot through the door of the bus just before we left.

     Baxter required a little assistance to make it up the stairs, but he seems to be doing OK.  The bus is loaded and ready to go.

     We bought 90 gallons of diesel at $3.639 and headed out.  I don't expect to find diesel within twenty cents of that for the rest of the summer.  We arrived in Enfield, NC about 1615.  A couple of problems arose: we don't have any hot water and the TV is snowy at times even when there is a good signal strength.  We'll get things sorted out.  Everything else seems to work.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Day 1 of the summer of 2014

     Below is a picture of the bus all packed and ready to head north tomorrow morning.

     By the way, that is Cindy's house in the background.  It is nice to have her close.  We took twice as long to load up as we used to, but that was according to plan.  It is now parked in the street so that it is level enough for the refrigerator to work.  And it does...with either propane or 110V.  For the sharp-eyed among you, the two passenger side slides are out an inch or so.  It was necessary to access a couple of closet doors.
     A few posts ago I included pictures of an eight foot alligator on the bank by our fence.  He has since chased a neighbor three doors down, so DNR (the Department of Natural Resources) came by and removed him.  I guess it was the right thing to do.
     Wish us luck and stay in touch.