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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Why We Do This

     Over the past 550 or so posts there have been some very nice shots of Mother Nature in action: geysers in Yellowstone, the Badlands in the Dakotas, Crater Lake, the Oregon coast, redwoods in California, bald eagles in SC and hummingbirds in Maine.  There have been some impressive works of man: Mount Rushmore, the Ravenel bridge in Charleston, the Mackinac Strait bridge, the Soo Locks, and F-22s over Tyndall AFB.  There have been a thousand (?) pictures of assorted foods.  Usually there was a good story to accompany each of them.  None of them are the reason we do this.

     This is the reason we do this: small groups of friends...old, new, close, casual, that share the wonderful camaraderie of the world of motorhoming.  Here in Maine it manifests itself in the daily associations that come together every day at five that we call "Happy Hour".  Occasionally we get rained out or the group or individual day trips may take precedence, but our attendance record is pretty good.  One of the great mysteries is how we generate two hours of conversation every day.
     Also common to the fraternity is the ease and frequency where we help each other out.  It may vary from an email problem to a leaky roof, but someone is ready to help.
     Of course, it doesn't hurt if you can look up from your martini and see a scene like this.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Old Traditions...New Friends

     Today was another of our wonderful lobster feeds.  They are pretty simple, really: a 1 1/2 to 2 pound lobster per person, corn on the cob, melted butter for both, some chips, and blueberry pie and ice cream for dessert.  Try to find that supper for $14.00 per person!  Of course the supper was preceded and followed by a circle of lawn chairs where the problems of the world were solved.  We were joined tonight by a couple of ladies who jumped right into the routine.  Myrt was a bit aghast at the completeness with which Dick Roth devours a lobster. They are in an Allegro Bus in our old site from last year.  Welcome, Deb and Myrt.  That's their rig in the background.

     The lobster boils and the attendant happy hours are the height of informality and simplicity.  The picture shows the perfection of the weather and the blueness of Penobscot Bay.
     Yesterday was a different sort of celebration.  There is a pair of good friends who have a cottage on a small lake about two hours inland from here. Sally and we shared some high school bleacher seats back in 1980 as we watched our sons compete on the Nashua High School wrestling team.  Both boys went to military academies...our son, Mark, at USAFA and Jeff at USMA.  We, Don and Sally Sillars and us, had a nice lunch at an outside table at the Dockside overlooking the Belfast harbor.  Below is shot of the four of us with the bay in the background.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Rainy Day in Belfast

     The past couple of days have been relentless, stay inside and do puzzles rain.  There have been enough breaks in the weather to walk the dog, but everything is well soaked.  When old friends who spend part of every summer in Southwest Harbor offered to drive over to Belfast (an hour and a half) for a little shopping and lunch, we jumped at the idea.  We've known Jurgen and Susan Gobien for about forty years when Jurgen and I were thrown together in a contentious Air Force program.  I was the Program Manager at Hanscom AFB while he was my chief technical expert from the Rome Air Development Center in Rome, NY.  Figuratively speaking we formed up back to back and fought our way out of several programmatic bar fights.  The bullets were virtual, but the resulting camaraderie was real.  
     We visited a pottery shop and another Maine gift shop until the men's endurance failed and we went to lunch at Darby's, a well known restaurant on the main drag of Belfast.  I didn't bring my camera, so I am indebted to Susan for the two pictures below.  Jurgen's request was for a place where we could visit comfortably for an hour or so.  It worked.

     The assorted vittles seen in the second picture include a couple of bowls of clam chowder, a crab sandwich and a crab cake, fried clams and my bowl of Pad Thai.  'Twas a good meal, and it was a little late so we weren't very hungry for supper.  I made a BLT sandwich on sourdough bread which we split at about 8:30.  Not bad for a rainy day!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Super Moon

     I would be remiss if I didn't include at least one shot of the "Super Moon".  It seems, that since the moon has an elliptical orbit around the earth, sometimes it is closer than others.  When a closer moon coincides with a full moon, it appears much larger than usual.  When it rises out of Penobscot Bay, that's just an extra plus.  Tonight I took a couple of shots.

     What do you think?  Nice, Ehh?

Friday, July 11, 2014

Weekly Friday Night Campground Happy Hour

     I am going to start off with a picture I took through the windshield of the bus.  I haven't cleaned the windshield, but the camera focuses at a distance, so the close in stuff doesn't show up on the picture.

     Forgive me for not knowing the class of vessel, but note the tops'l, two jibs and two masts.  There's a couple of dozen of paying customers on board.  When you have a view like this through your front window, you've got a good spot.
     As regular readers know, the campground hosts a weekly Happy Hour where the campground provides beer and wine and the campers provide potluck hors d' oeuvres.  There's a new group each week and it's a good time to meet new folks.  We got surprised today when Phil and Carole Andrews showed up on a whim to celebrate their 55th anniversary with us all!

     Phil and Carole are 2nd and 3rd from the right.  That's Penobscot Bay in the background.  This blog is supposed to appeal to more than a family group, but tonight I may just identify some of the regulars that enjoy the lifestyle with us.  Also in the picture above from left to right Liz Flood, Eleanor Roth, George Peck, the aforementioned Andrews and Hilda Brann.

     Here's Hilda's other half, Dick, in the orange shirt offering Durelle a handful of wine.  While we were there, the "pirate ship" did a "come about" and headed in the opposite direction.

     When we got back to the motorhome, Durelle asked me to take a picture of Baxter.

     Here he is.  He's an old man, but he's continent, congenial and can still get up and down the stairs to the motorhome.  What more could you ask?

Pictures...not Prose

     We have been here for three weeks, and it will be four weeks before we leave.  So, as you might expect, there are not a lot of exciting events to report.  There are, however, some very nice photo ops.  Tonight we looked up from happy hour to see a large sailboat moving ever so gently into the Belfast harbor.

     As it got closer, it dropped its sails and turned on the auxiliary.

     In the meanwhile, the evening sun was painting all sorts of bands of color over the nearly still water.

     Even the nearly full moon cooperated.

     The bands of color continue to change.

     I'm not sure why the bands of color form as they do, but this seems to happen often.  At the moment I'm looking almost due east toward Castine.  As the sun goes down, the colors change dramatically.

     As it gets darker, the colors are even better.

     'Tis a good life we are enjoying.  We hope you are enjoying yours.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Never an Idle Moment

     Today the Roths and the Cloutiers made a run south to New Harbor and Pemaquid Point.  For the Cloutiers the trip is always nostalgic.  We started visiting the "Landry Cottage" in 1978. That's 36 years ago.  There was no one at the cottage today, but the sides sported a new set of cedar shakes, and you can see the cottage from route 32!  Good show, Harry and Diane.
     Before we started the days trip, I took some pictures out Durelle's window where she sits, works on her cross stitch. and looks out the window at the view and the hummingbird feeder..

Here's another one.

     Now I am going to show you a close up of one of the beach plum blossoms with a honey bee rolling around in the pollen.  Are you ready?

     After Ooohing and Ahhhing at all the photo ops along route 32 from Chamberlain to New Harbor, we stopped for lunch at Shaws.  We ate outside on the deck even though the breeze was blowing away pieces of our lunch.  The ladies both opted for lobster rolls, while the men had grilled haddock.  There were some sides of rice, clam chowder and onion rings.  The harbor at New Harbor is almost totally a working harbor with pleasure craft being a scarce exception.

     Note the barrel of dead fish (bait) on the stern deck of the lobster boat.  From New Harbor we wandered south to the very tip of the peninsula where the Pemaquid lighthouse holds forth.

     We left Pemaquid Point and headed back to Belfast with a stop along the way in Rockland.  Rockland, it seems, is home to Dorman's Ice Cream.  It's sort of a legend on the midcoast of Maine.  It is certainly a legend with my back seat companion, Eleanor Roth.  Durelle and I had simple waffle cones, no jimmies, no nuthin.  The problem was the warm day with a stiff breeze.  It melted Durelle's mint, chocolate chip faster than she could eat it.  When she tried to hurry, she had a "brain freeze".  Below you can see it melting in her hand.

     We got back in time for a very quiet, almost food free, happy hour.  As an old friend, CMSgt. Buck Braun used to say as we floated down the Yukon River in his Jon Boat, "I wonder what the poor people are doing".

Saturday, July 5, 2014


     Way back in the 70s when I was still in the Air Force, my job involved chairing a committee that was meeting at several institutions around the country.  It was nice to be doing that travel, and eating and drinking, on a per diem basis.  But, every so often, we'd have to stop eating out and have what one of the team called a "health night".  Well, we are going to have to do the same.  Most of us are skipping supper and still putting on the pounds.  In a moment I'll show you why, but, first, take a look at the picture of a hummingbird Durelle took through the window.

     We have a larger group than usual attending Happy Hour.  Among the group are the new owners, a wonderful couple who are very excited about their new undertaking.  Here's a shot of tonight's event which happened in front of Rick and Judy Feyler's rig.

     Thanks to Tim, there was a crockpot full of meatballs and a marinara-like sauce.  The meatballs were smoked.  The veggies were roasted, and the whole combination was then simmered together in the Cloutier crockpot.  There was pico de gallo with chips and some scooped out cukes filled with a seafood stuffing.  But the biggest part of the groaning board was a colorful and tasty assortment of fruity jello shots.

     There was also a large supply of decadent cupcakes.  I didn't eat any, but I never did have much of a sweet tooth.
     I was so pleased with the candid shot of Wendy Boucher yesterday that I tried it again tonight with Teresa Carlberg who was primarily responsible for all the jello concoctions.

     Would you believe that this young lady has kids 19 and 24?  I also snuck in a picture of Bonnie, the distaff side of the new owners.

     You'll have to admit that, in addition to good food, we have had some good company.  I hope these ladies do not object to my sharing these candids as I did not get permission to take them or publish them.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Fourth of July

     Will the rain wait long enough or will it drown out our fourth of July celebration?  The serving time had already been adjusted from 3:00 PM to 1:00 PM.  Everyone was watching the Weather Channel, their favorite radar picture or weather app on their smart phone.  Canopies had been rigged with a row of borrowed picnic tables beneath them.  The food, of course as Howard Cosell was wont to say, "was proceeding apace".  If the cooking time is nine hours, you don't stand around looking at the start the fire.
     Well, the rain gave us a break.  It didn't really start in earnest until after six.

     The line has formed.  The fellow with the wide part at the far left, checking out the progress of the serving line is Tim Boucher, one of the grillers responsible for the affair.

     This picture shows one of the six tables that were arranged under the canopies.  There were a FEW drops of liquid sunshine, but generally the rain held off.  Three barbecuing teams combined forces to provide at least a hundred pounds of brisket, ribs, pulled pork, and chicken.   These foods were not the product of your favorite backyard griller.  Two of the teams have competed and succeeded at the national level.  We we not dealing with the "B" Team here.

     What the grillers decided to do was to feed any and all of the campground that cared to attend.  Attendees each brought a side dish.  Even the side dishes were outstanding.  I know because I tried many of them.

     As you can imagine, there was a lot of food left over.  At this point I would like to thank the three grilling couples, in order of national championships won, who fed the entire campground for free: Tom and Michelle Peralta, Tim and Wendy Boucher,  and John and Teresa Carlberg.  Below is a shot of Wendy who was certainly one of the prime movers for the shindig.


     This is John and Teresa Carlberg who have added to the festivities.  I don't have pictures, today, of Tom and Michelle Peralta who are the masters of the "Lo and Slo" barbecue team.  Last night Theresa made some Jello shots.  It was a new experience for some.  There were only two left for today.  Hilda Brann got a chance to try one.

     I think she surprised a few folks including herself.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Bagaduce Lunch

     Today we made our annual one hour trek to the Bagaduce diner,  I am enclosing a couple of pictures to prove that the name is not a fabrication.

         I think Durelle is demonstrating how big the bowl of onion rings is.  One of the paper signs explained why there were no clams.

     Is that rustic enough for you?  I think the second "p" was an afterthought.  They have a bunch of shady tables scattered along the Bagaduce River.  We arrived at low tide as seen in the first picture.

     The river is moving briskly from left to right.  Everybody looked up, but only Durelle didn't stop chewing.  The next picture, taken an hour later, shows the tide coming in and flowing from right to left.

     Our Happy Hour was disrupted by the final USA soccer (futbol) game.  You would be amazed at the assortment of goodies that showed up.  There were Armadillo Eggs.  These are like jalapeno poppers that are wrapped in sausage, dusted with more spice and smoked for a couple of hours.  There were individual nachos in spiced, bowl shaped chips.  There was some melt in your mouth, smoked pork belly.  There were stir fried fresh veggies from Peralta's garden.  It is presently 66 degrees at 9 PM.  I hope your day was at least half as nice.