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Monday, September 29, 2014

Durelle's Day on the Water

     Today was a different day.  Several folks have here have become acquainted with Morris, a local fellow who owns a motorboat and loves to have an occasion to tour the Maine coast.  He took the Roths for a ride and subsequently joined us for a lobster feed.  Today he invited the Pecks.  Duane chose not to go, so Durelle took her place on a six hour boat ride around the local area.  Durelle doesn't like to use my big Leica, but she agreed that it would be foolish not to take it and use it.  She took over 130 pictures before the battery died.  I have edited and saved forty of them.  There were a lot of duplicates.  I won't use all forty in the blog, but I think you'll agree that she did a pretty good job.
     The winds were out of the northeast at 10 to 15, so it was a good brisk day on the water.  Most of the interesting pictures were taken of the majestic homes overlooking the bay.  Here's a few.

     Durelle also enjoyed passing under the new cable-stayed bridge over the Penobscot Narrows. 

     On the way home they made a pass through Castine where she took a couple of shots at the Maine Maritime Academy and at one of our favorite eating spots, Dennett's Wharf.

     There were a lot of other pictures, but enough is enough.  Before they tied up in Belfast, they swung by the campground.

     This, obviously, is the campground.  If you look closely, you can see Duane and I walking down to the shoreline to see the boat.  In the left center, crossing the road and wearing blue, is Duane.  I'm just to her left with a red shirt and tan shorts.  
     As required, they got back in time for Happy Hour which was held in the other Allegro Bus with Debra and Myrt.  It is getting a mite cool for outside happy hours...besides, the clientele is getting thinner (read fewer).

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Life in the RV

     First I want to show you a picture of our motorhome as it is parked at the Moorings RV resort.

     You can't see the water because the water is in front of us.  We have a clear shot at the Bay through the windshield.  You can see behind us that the colors are starting to change.  Today was a bit different in that it was a Sunday.  On Sundays I go to the grocery and buy the Boston Globe AND a couple of bagels.  They get toasted and spread with cream cheese.  That's Sunday breakfast.  Lunches are wraps that I divide between us.  They contain sliced turkey or ham or roast beef or pastrami, domestic Swiss cheese, onion, tomato and lettuce.  They are rolled up in  a wrap which I cut in half.  The only creativity occurs in the supper.  Our eating out expenses are close to, but less than, our grocery expenses.  

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Southwest Harbor

     Southwest Harbor is at the south center of Mount Desert Island which also contains Acadia National Park.  It is home to upscale homes, elegant watercraft, and fine eateries.  One of those eateries is the Red Sky.  It probably seats only fifty and wouldn't survive without the clientele that flock to MDI, Acadia and Southwest Harbor. For example, I had a duck breast prepared to my specified degree of doneness.
     A few words about the occasion are warranted.  We have some campground neighbors (and good friends) that also have an Allegro Bus.  Debra Donnahoo and Myrt Crowe are both retired Air Force.  This year was their first year as seasonal campers at the Moorings.  They quickly became enthusiastic members of our Happy Hour circle.  This summer saw a lot of new blood at Happy Hour with the result that the old-timers said," This was the best summer ever".  Today was Debra's birthday, hence the special event.  The bad news...she was the designated driver.  On the way to the restaurant we stopped for a quick photo-op at the Bass Harbor Light.

     For those of you who remember this as a food blog, I took my camera inside and forgot to take pictures of the nicely presented food.  Perhaps a view of some of the boats in Southwest Harbor will serve instead

     You will observe that at least one of those yachts in the picture probably cost more than your typical RV.  When (and if) those folks go into town, they are not looking for a Pizza Hut!  Our warmest thanks to Debra for playing chauffeur...and Happy Birthday. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Stockton Springs

     Although the temperature dipped into the high thirties yesterday morning, today it has rebounded to 72!...with absolutely no wind.  It is a stunning afternoon, but very still.  There's nary a sail on the bay.
     Yesterday we helped Baxter into the back seat of the Jeep and took a drive through Stockton Springs and down to the Fort Point Lighthouse.  It is located on a point of land that is in the transitional area where the Penobscot river mutates into Penobscot Bay.  It is one of the more accessible lighthouses, and one of the least least for my skill level.

     Looking straight north across the water one can see Sandy Point Beach State Park.  At the edge of it, on the point, is French Point.  It is a retreat/resort that is a frequent site of expensive weddings and other similar soirees.

     Later I was looking out over the water at the wonderful "viewage" when a large gull sailed into view.  He rolled up on a wingtip and made a pylon turn over a lobster buoy just like in the air races at Reno.  This time, unlike most cases of trying to catch a bird on the wing, I got him!

     Today I took advantage of the weather to replenish the water in the batteries and reorganize and vacuum the underneath storage trays.  I guess that's a sign that we'll soon be heading south.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A View From the Bridge

     The Roths, Hansens, and Fares have all left.  There is nothing left but us riff-raff.  I wandered into town to get some eye drops for Baxter and some groceries for us.  I stopped a few hundred yards short of the center of the bridge over the Passagassawaukeg River.  High tide had not yet arrived and the "golden hour" for pictures had passed,  Nevertheless the pictures from the middle of the bridge were worth the effort

     The bridge in the foreground is now a foot bridge, but it used to be a main link in Route 1.  The buildings in the background are in Belfast, ME

     This shot shows the Front Street Shipyard.

   Here we see the three tugs that are stationed here to help out the freighters going into and out of Searsport.

     The harbor supports commercial vessels, fishing boats and pleasure craft.  Twenty years ago the river ran red with the offal from the chicken processing operation.  Now it is a pristine waterway that all can enjoy.
     We leave a week from tomorrow.  We'll probably get in one more road trip to Stonington, and we'll spend some time getting the big rig ready to head south.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Our last lobster feed

     Tonight was raw with temperatures in the fifties, and a SW wind gusting over twenty knots.  But, because of assorted departure dates, today was deemed to be the date for the last lobster feed of the year.  First of all we had to get Cindy on a plane back to Charleston.  Her scheduled flight from Bangor to LaGuardia was at 1700 on the 19th.  Shortly before she and I departed for Bangor she got a call from Delta that said that she had been rebooked to 0700 today!  It's an hour's drive to Bangor, so that would mean an 0500 departure considering that one must arrive an hour early these days.  Phil and Carole Andrews were going to Bangor for a doctor's appointment at 0730.  They agreed to leave an hour+ early to drop Cindy off at the airport.  All connections were made and I slept in until nine!!!  Thanks Phil and Carole.
     The lobster feed was preceded by a large supply of mussels that were harvested in Penobscot Bay by Debbie Wiggins, Phil Andrews and John Fare.

     The lobster feed had four pots...three for the lobsters and one for the corn.  The fourth pot came from Debra Donnahoo who purchased it just in time for today's festivities.

     As usual , Dick Roth handled the lobsters.

     I think we had fourteen people today.  Below are two shots from opposite ends of the long table.  How about a "Shout Out" for Jackie Fare who took all the pictures for tonight's blog?

     I believe that there is an emphatic consensus regarding what brings us all back here each year.  It ain't the lack of sewer hookups or the wimpy 30 amps; it's location and community.  It's a village.  We are not raising a child, but we are taking care of each other.

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Camping Season is Starting to Wind Down

     Sunday will be the first day of Autumn, but there is a definite chill in the air.  No longer do we try to find a place in the shade for Happy Hour.  Nor do we seek out a place in the lee of some big rig so that we can be out of the wind.  Now we look for a patch of sun that looks as if it will last a while.

     The picture was taken as the sun disappeared.  It is worth mentioning that this little community, with a daily changing membership, is not just a drinking party.  I could burden this blog with dozens of examples of how we have helped each other.
     Yesterday Durelle and Cindy drove south to renew relations with New Harbor and to join Durelle's cousins, Phyllis and Fred McKay for lunch at the Taste of Maine.  Along the way Cindy took a nice shot of the "salt pond".  This is a wonderful, whimsical creation of Mother Nature.  When you have a tide that spans eight to ten feet and there is a ring of rocks and seaweed that traps the high tide, there is created a "pond" that holds the water until the next high tide and an occasional lobster and/or haddock.  The pond warms up in the sunlight and is a comfortable place to relax after a day of hard work.

     This particular salt pond is known as the Rachel Carson Salt Pond.  It commemorates Rachel Carson who had a major impact on the conservation movement with the publication of Silent Spring.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Lobster Roll

Now THAT'S a lobster roll!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

More Shipyard plus First Campfire.

     There was a little more activity again at the shipyard.  The larger of the two big boats is inside.  The other soon will be.  The Axia was outside having her keel removed.

     Her home port, Jaluit, is one of the Marshall purposes, I imagine.

     And, a close-up to see the keel removal.

     Notice that they made a hole in the keel for two supporting slings.  The worker is using a chainsaw to cut along the yellow tape guideline.  Based on the shards, "shrapnel", thrown off, the keel has a lot of least the skin.  It presently has a finned keel.  Spectator scuttlebut and some newspaper articles say that they are going to add 30 tons to the keel.

     The cradles that will be used when the boat is parked inside for its overhaul are mounted on the ubiquitous shipping containers.  Obviously someone believes that they can handle the load.
     In the evening it seemed to be cool enough to have our first happy hour around Dick and Hilda Brann's fire ring.

     The picture shows the personalized fire ring with the outline of their fifth wheel and name.  Taking pictures in the dark and wondering what the flash will discover is really a crapshoot.  I did get a couple of useable pictures.  The best shows Liz and Jack Flood along with Dick Roth.

     The other shows Debra Donnahoo (with Fletcher) and Dick Brann.

          This morning it was 46 degrees, so I put on long trousers for the first time this season.  By the time I got back from a session of mussel harvesting, I was sweating.  I showered, shaved, and put on some shorts.  Lobsters at three.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Scenic Tour

     Today we drove the circuit around some of the better photo-ops to the south of Belfast.  We have done it before, but the occasion today was prompted by the fact that the Fare's are not towing a "dinghy".  So, we took them on the tour.  We started by going through Bayside.  Then we went up Mount Battie, and followed with a visit to the Waterfront Restaurant in Camden. Here's a shot of the Camden harbor from the top of Mount Battie.

 In Camden we were seated by the rail where we ate while we listened to the big yacht next to us rubbing gently against her fenders.

     I had the mussels thinking that it would be an appetizer for my sandwich.  Guess what?  I brought the sandwich (and five-bean salad) home for supper.  From there we drove by the Curtis Light.

      After the Camden area, we made a stop at "The Childrens" Chapel.  Durelle took a couple of shots in their gardens.

From there we headed further south past the belted Galloway cattle to the old dirt road that leads toward the Rockport harbor.  

     While there, I sneaked in a shot of John and Jackie Fare.

     Then we drove down to the statue of "Andre" the seal.  Without going into the whole story, "Andre" was an active member of the Rockport summer activities.  From there we headed home and our usual large Happy Hour.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

More Shipyard

     The saga of the big boat continues.  Today they lifted that critter out of the water and began to pressure wash the hull.  For a landlubber it is an impressive operation.  

     That lifter is rated at 440 metric tons.  That's within one percent of a million pounds.  The pressure washing was done immediately so that nothing had a chance to harden.

     For scale, those tires are about eight feet tall.  The keel has been dinged, and I understand that a lot of electronics were ruined when the lightning struck.  It is not going to be a cheap repair, but Belfast won the job over several competing east coast shipyards.
     One of the interesting features of this boat is the storable, hydrodynamic bow thruster.

     Notice that it is shown in the deployed position.  Notice also that, when retracted, everything is properly streamlined.  I have no idea if they plan to maneuver this fellow inside for an overhaul.  I can't see how they are going to do it.  The hangar doors open horizontally as shown below.

     If they find a way, I hope to be able to show you.  Meanwhile, back at the campground, Durelle asked me to take a picture of the hydrangea down on the front row so I gave it a shot.

     The conventionally sized hydrangea is in blue.  I have no idea what those lavender puppies are.