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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Our First Lobster Boil of 2016

     Probably the iconic event associated with RVing on the Maine coast is a lobster boil. For we late arrivals, Saturday was our first of the season. Dick Roth and associates have the process down to a comfortable routine. While the lobster pots are being readied, others are arranging the tables.

     The lobster pots are set up on the propane burners.

     The water was sea water which is readily available at a modest price...some heavy toting for someone. Then the lobsters are consigned to the pot.

     16 minutes (+ or -) later out they come. Meanwhile other accessories magically appear on the tables: fresh corn, chips, butter, paper towel rolls and large dishes to collect pieces of shell, corn cobs and other detritus.

     Then they are served to the 13 (today) hungry campers. The server today was the new, and very effective, campground manager and retired USAF Col, Debra Donahoo.

     And, of course, someone provided blueberry pie and ice cream. After a partial cleanup (the pots get scrubbed the following morning), we adjourn to our customary Happy Hour and watch the sunset.

     It wasn't until 8:00 that we wandered back to our individual RVs. Perhaps you can imagine a more perfect day, but you'd have to work at it.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


     We don't spend very long in Maine before we arrange a trip down to Waldoboro to pay a visit to Morse's Diner. It's not really a diner; it's more of an overstocked European-style delicatessen with a half dozen booths appended for the lunch crowd. It started out as a purveyor of homemade sauerkraut almost a century ago (1918). You can still get sauerkraut and pickles and similar products from their innumerable crocks. For me the best part is the charcuterie of cured meats and cheeses.

     If you can't find a cheese or a sausage you like here, you had better stick to cheeseburgers.In addition, there are many stuffed shelves of exotic goodies.

     Lunch, of course was an assortment of German specialties: many wursts, and plain, schnitzel, spaetzle, with several good mustards on the table. The procedure is to put your name on the waiting list for lunch, grab a basket and go shopping. Since your basket is likely to contain refrigerated items, they will happily put your basket in the walk-in refrigerator while you eat. there is another point of interest with regard to the deli. I asked for a pound of smokey blue cheese to be cut from a partial wheel of cheese as well as an unsliced  pound of Bavarian salami. In each case, they weighed the whole chunk, estimated what fraction a pound would be, and made the cut. The cheese weighed 1.00 lbs., and the meat weighed 1.01 lbs.! Try that at your local food mart.
     Whenever we get in the vicinity of Rockland, there is a strong tendency, lead by Eleanor, to swing by Dorman's ice cream stand.

 I took a few pictures through the windshield of the car that are cluttered by the reflections off the glass.

     We took the scenic route back through Rockport, including the dirt road along the harbor. As we crossed the bridge in Rockport, I asked Dick to slow down while I held the camera out the window and clicked. The result is below.

     Just another s#<&%y day in paradise.

Monday, July 18, 2016

The yacht launching

     As has been mentioned in previous posts, Front Street Shipyard, Belfast is the new home of a major shipyard industry. This morning a group of us from the Moorings, cameras in hand, headed down at 0700 to watch the launching of the 135 foot Komokwa. It had been out of the water since June 2nd, and the crew was anxious to get aboard.
     I am always astounded at the extent to which civilians are permitted access to the yard area. It is very unobstructed and informal, as if OSHA hadn't been invented yet. The city's Harbor Walk passes right through it. Below is a broadside shot of the boat suspended from the travel-lift.

     The lift can carry up to 440 tons! The entire machine is manipulated by one guy with a hand-held controller.

     All four sets of wheels are independently steerable, and he needed all of that capability to turn the boat and back it into the launching slip.

      The crew was ready to go aboard for a day of sea trials and a departure Wednesday.  They were more than happy to visit with us spectators. There is a crew of six: two below decks in the engine room and such, two in the galley, and two topside on the operations end of the business. I heard that the owner earned the appropriate Coast Guard license so that he captains the ship most of the time. The ship has a 4600 mile range between fill-ups...but, ooooh those fill-ups.. 30,000 gallons to feed those two 1500 HP diesels.

"My work here is done."

     I left after the yacht was floating. There was a lot of unseen work being done, and it was time for breakfast. As I was leaving, an unusually haphazard flight of geese flew practically through the top of the travel-lift.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Family Reunion

     My father's generation of the French-Canadian Cloutier clan consisted of eight (!) siblings. They grew up during WWI and the Great Depression on a subsistence farm in north-central Massachusetts with a widowed mother. My grandfather was killed in a gravel pit accident. Seventy descendants of those eight gathered Sunday at the Royalston Fish and Game Club, only a 3-4 miles from the old Cloutier farm, to re-connect and reminisce.

     There were the usual and unusual  pot luck dishes and great collections of pictures up to a century old. The genealogical chart was fifteen (!) feet long. See it in the picture below. Thanks, Bonnie.

     Expenses are covered by auctioning off donated items. Son, Mark, was Shanghaied into being the auctioneer.

     It takes a lot of work by a hard core of volunteers and a lot of individual travel to make it happen, but it is an invaluable experience.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

4th of July pig roast and barbecue

     A tradition has been established whereby three couples from various states assemble here on Penobscot Bay for a week or so around the 4th to put on a large barbecue celebration. The whole campground is indebted to Tom and Michelle Perelka, Tim and Wendy Boucher and John and Theresa Carlberg. I did a pair of blogs about last year's event so I won't repeat all of the pig roast preparations this time...just scroll back a year. I will include a few.

             Here's Tim and Tom lifting the 120 pound pig out of the cooler.

                          Michelle is enjoying the prep job a little too much.

                    Miss Piggy is getting vaccinated with the secret sauce.

     The pig cooked all night. The barbecuers also did eight racks of ribs, a half a dozen briskets, and an endless supply of chicken pieces. We had a wonderful setting for the tables for a hundred people There was 100% participation by the campers who brought every manner of side dishes as the only price of admission.

                  The background is the aforementioned Penobscot Bay.

       I'm helping out by cutting several large rolls of sausage into serving sized pieces.

     Before we started we had a few words appropriate to the occasion from Debra Donahoo, USAF Col. (ret.) who is the campground manager. The improvements that she and the new owner, Jeff Nestor, have brought to the campground are huge and appreciated.
     We ended the day with a spectacular fireworks show put on by some of the campers. After the show was over a local policeman showed up to say, "Next year get a permit."
     I hope you had as good a fourth of July as we did, but I doubt it.

It was a difficult and embarrassing trip north

     I guess I should have suspected that when we got a very late start the first day due to a broken slide-out that the trip north would be ill-starred. Day 2 was fine with an enjoyable lunch with the Wegners and the Looses. 

     Day 3 started pleasantly enough. We got an email that morning from Jackie Fare to the effect, "I see that you are going to be passing through Newburgh. You have to stop and meet us for lunch." It would make lunch a bit late, but we happily agreed. 
     First we needed a fill up. I remembered that there was a service station next to the Lickdale, PA campground, and I planned to fill up there as we left. Unfortunately, even though I drove through the small facility, I did not see a diesel pump. Oh well, I'll stop at the next station along our route on I-81. A half dozen exits later we had still seen no gas stations. It was very hilly country which endangered my remaining fuel. Finally, when prompted by a low fuel warning, I decided to get off at an exit that promised to have a village big enough to support a gas station. We drove south for five very hilly, twisty miles with no luck. We asked and got turned around. As we returned almost back to I-81, we came across an accident scene where three heavy duty wreckers were trying to put an 18-wheeler back on its feet. We stopped so Durelle could open the door and ask the policeman where to find diesel. He said, "Seven miles north." So we continued anxiously seven miles north. Sure enough, there was an easily accessible diesel pump, and I took 114.9 gallons...a new personal best!
     Safely back on the road, we headed for the "Orange County Choppers Cafe" in Newburgh. Away from the restaurant a short distance there was a cul-de-sac where I was able to circle and park next to the curb. After lunch John guided me as I made a sharp left turn to clear a shiny, black BMW that was parked in front of me. I cleared the car, waved good-bye, and headed out. Then came the sickening sound as the right rear of the bus scraped the left front corner of the BMW. We waited for the owner to arrive from the next door construction site. He was a twenty-something HVAC installer with his first nice car. "Distraught" does not begin to describe his state. After we had spoken with each others' insurance companies, he calmed down and returned to being a personable young man. The fault was totally mine. The car was unoccupied, and John was on the other side of the bus, his job done.
     By this time it was too late to make it to Sturbridge as planned so we accepted the Fare's hospitality to stay at their place in New Windsor. While there, John got out his can of rubbing compound and removed almost all sign of the scrape. We parked in their driveway and, after a plate of bacon and eggs, headed for Maine. Sturbridge was too short a day, so we elected to go to the Famcamp at Hanscom AFB. The Famcamp is off the north end of the base and outside the gate. Although we should have known better, we were suckered in by the signage on I-95N that led us to the south gate of the base. That just meant that we would have to drive through the base. After showing an ID and explaining our situation, we entered the small base. The problem came at the north guard house. Like all bases today the roadway was blocked by security devices.  They have a sharp, left-right-left chicane that can only be negotiated at very slow speeds. The passageway is defined by four foot tall yellow steel bollards. I was exiting the last turn when my lower right front corner hit one of the bollards. Of course it took the Air Policeman an hour to complete all the paperwork. He said, "Don't feel bad. We get five to ten of these a week!" I suggested that perhaps a re-look at the procedure might be in order. My mistake was that I should have nudged that big Bradley air horn and waited for them to pull some of the bollards. Two incidents in 24 hours and my insurance company, USAA, might be having second thoughts about their 56 year customer.
     When we arrived at the Moorings Oceanfront RV Resort at around four, there were many old friends that welcomed us and helped us get set up for the summer. There is more to do than for just a one night stand. At our first Maine Happy Hour of the season we finally relaxed. The campground was full, so our view was not as expansive as usual, but the sea breeze and cool air was more than enough.
     It took us five days instead of four to get here, and my poor driving dinged the bus TWICE. But we are here and happy to be in such a nice spot with such helpful friends.