Thursday, June 11, 2015

Day Tripping in North West Maine

Sunday June 7th Kate and I headed out for a day trip this time exploring the North West part of Maine.  We got on the road early and started out way towards Rumford to check out a waterfall. We arrived where the directions direct us which was next to the River Valley Chamber of Congress which is next to Pennacook Falls and a Paul Bunyan & Babe the Blue Ox Statues.  The Paul Bunyan statue in Bangor is more well-known, but this is the only Babe the Blue Ox statue in Maine.

Top of the falls by the Chamber of Commerce
Pennacook Falls is a series of drops that extends down the Androscoggin river through two dams totaling 176 feet.  The section by the Chamber is from a dam and is quite lovely, but down the river is a gorgeous natural falls that we discovered by chance when we went to look at the old downtown section and it is a sight to be seen.
Down the River a bit
Leading to the mill
I like Tourist information booths and Chambers and any places you can find the area information cards to guide books so you can try to find anything in the area that you might want to check out someday. 

Leaving Rumford we traveled north on 17 towards Coos Canyon, but along the way we stopped at the Black Bridge Bakery in Mexico.  When we walked into the entrance way it smelled like my Memere & Pepere’s house.  This is an out of the home bakery that specializes in baked goods as well as various meat pies and you never know what you’ll find.  I selected a Molasses cookie and a Pumpkin Whoopie Pie with cream cheese filling, Kate a standard Chocolate one with peanut butter filling.

The cookie was great and it left a molasses flavor that stayed with you in a good way.  Later in the day we ate our Whoopie Pies, Kate said the cake was dry but peanut butter filling was good.  Mine was extremely delicious!  The cake was moist and the filling was very flavorful!  If in the area again I would stop and get another without hesitation!

The town of Roxbury features a series of large wind mills or turbines that you can see along route 17.  Kate and I are weird as we like them and things like this.  We came across a spot where you could see them all really well and the power lines didn’t obstruct the view so of course I grabbed a few photos.
Zoom in to see the turbines
Coos Canyon in Byron is right off route 17 in a parking area across the street from the Coos Canyon Rock and Gift shop.  An extremely short walk later around a fence you and walk down on the rocks of this remarkable natural wonder.  The pictures don’t quite do it justice but they are several small cascading waterfalls and unique rock formations. 

The picture above this one was taken from the ledge on the righ
 Much like Little Bad Falls in Machias you could drive right by this and never know it was there if you were unfamiliar with the area.  You would be missing out if you did.

At this point of Route 17 you enter the Rangeley Lakes National Scenic Byway, one of several National Scenic Byways in Maine Kate and I have explored.  Off to the left you will come across a turnout called Height of Land that has an amazing view of Mooselokkmeguntic Lake, the surrounding mountains and Valley.  The turnout was built in 2011 and the Appalachian Trail crosses just prior to it.  Kate was hoping we’d come across some hikers looking for a ride into town so we could pick them up.  Sadly we didn’t.

Mooselokkmeguntic Lake
A few miles down the road is the Noyes Overlook on the opposite side of the road with views of Rangeley Lake and the surrounding area.  This scenic view is older and like many Scenic turnoffs in Maine that are 20 plus years old the tree growth has obstructed the view.  Which is why most people probably don’t stop at them anymore, however Kate and I can’t help ourselves and stop of most scenic views and historical sites.

The next stop on our journey was to the Bennett Bean Covered Bridge in Lincoln Plantation.  Built in 1898 this Paddleford truss bridge spans 92 feet over the Magalloway River and is no longer open to traffic however, it makes a wonderful spot for a picnic!  It was gorgeous out with clear skies and a breeze to spread out a blanket, have a bologna and cheese sandwich, and let the boy kicks his feet a while.

Because we were only 4 miles from the New Hampshire border we drove there as well, just to go to New Hampshire.

Our day was not over as we next stopped at Smalls Falls in Township E.  Of all the places we visited today this one boasted the most people.  Smalls Falls has a parking area, bathrooms, and many picnic tables with this coal powered BBQ grills.  Smalls Falls features a slightly difficult hike up an area of forest that has been left in its natural state.  From top to bottom the total drop is 54 feet with 4 separate drops separated by pools that people have been known to dive and swim in. 

Natures stairwell

The lost stop of the day was in Phillips at the Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes Railway for a ride on their narrow gauge train.  The ride itself round trip is very short totaling maybe 10 minutes, however the whole experience usually lasts about 50 minutes.  Unless of course you are on the last ride of the day and there are talkers in the group then it can be more like 100 minutes, which it was.

The train takes out to their roundhouse where they do repairs on the trains.  This is also when they talk about the car you rode in to get there.  We rode in one of two cars that were built in 1884 by the Laconia Car Foundry in New Hampshire.  The floor and seats had been replaced, however, the brass fixtures that held the kerosene lanterns and the hat and coat rack at each seat were the originals ones installed 131 years ago. 

We headed home finishing the day driving a total of 244 miles.  It was such a fun day, I can’t wait for the next!

Later Readers!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Jackman and more Day Trip

On Tuesday May 26th, Katie, Wesley, and I took a day trip excursion to a section of the State of Maine that Kate had never been too and one that I hadn’t been to in pretty near 20 years, Jackman. 

After fueling up the Vanna we headed north not making our first stop until a rest area off Route 201 right on Wyman Lake.  It was quite beautiful there and they had a few informational displays talking about the region and Wyman Lake. 

We continued on as Wesley did not awaken and there was no way we were going to wake him up.  We decided to head to Heald Stream Falls which was north of Jackman.  Driving through the village it was very pretty with a few eateries and other standard businesses; gas stations, supermarket, and ect.  What you didn’t see was chain stores.  No Dunkin Donuts, McDonalds, or any other fast food restaurant. 

We couldn’t find the entrance to Heald Stream, truthfully I didn’t research it just look at the Gazetteer and thought it might be marked, it wasn’t.  Kate did see a small Moose though!  We did stop at a rest stop in Sandy Bay Township with a waterfall that is simply called The Falls.  It’s so close to the road you can hear rushing water when you exit the vehicle!  Before we went and enjoyed the waterfall Kate fed Wesley a bottle and I changed his diaper.

It was near lunch time so we went to a place recommended by one of the Wardens, Mama Bears Restaurant.  Kate had a wonderful BLT and I enjoyed a fantastic Bacon Cheeseburger it came with hand cut fries.  A great place to eat if you are in the area.  We also stopped at the Jackman Trading Post so I could take a photo of a sign they had that was quite funny. 

The ride up the weather it rained a bit and it was overcast.  By the time we headed South the weather had cleared and Sun was coming out.  We stopped a scenic view rest area called the Attean View off route 201 in Jackman.  It was too overcast the stop on the way though so we were glad it had cleared up.  The Attean view is basically showing you the mountains North-West into Canada.  It was quite lovely.

Next up was a stop at Moxie Falls, Kate had never been and I was there last 3 years ago with Mom, Irving, and the kids.   The bugs in the parking area were horrendous!  Not so bad in the woods, and thick again at the waterfall. 

After feeding Wesley again we decided to alter a route home and take Route 16 from Bingham across to the New Portland wire bridge.   Kate had never been and it had been about a decade for me.  The drive across was nice, and we like taking roads we haven’t been on before.  Maine is so lovely and you never know what you are going to discover. 

At the Wire bridge we drove across and parked on the other side.  They have a sandy shore line, because it is the Sandy River.  There were dozens of butterflies on the sand when we spooked them into flying and it was marvelous!  They were flying all around us and it was so beautiful.  ‘

We concluded the evening with Italian sandwiched from South Monmouth Market and I helped Irving put the air conditioners in. 

It was nice to get a day trip in before Kate goes back to work full time, I’m hoping to get another one in too.  Maybe Smalls Falls.

Later Readers!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

What's Been Going On

Pretty big weekend this past weekend, Addison had her big dance recital and her birthday party with us, also Canaan had a baseball game Saturday.
Final pose of her routine
Addison has been taking Jazz dance lessons since last October at Uptowne School of Dance and it all culminated on May 16 at Gardiner High’s School Auditorium.  In total the show had 15 acts with Addison going 12th.  Maybe I’m biased, but I think Addison’s routine was the best one and our little girl rocked it!  She was front and center and Mrs. Mom raised a valid point that they always put the best one in the center as they are the focal point of the show.  I’m so proud of her!  After it was over we asked if she had fun and she said yes, then we asked if she was going to do dance next year and she said no.  I’m sure she’ll change her mind by then. 
Addison's Jazz Dance Troupe
Chasing the ball down
Earlier in the day Canaan had a baseball game against the Orange team.  The first two innings he played second base, and then he sat and inning and played catcher the last three innings.  He hadn’t played catcher since Rookie ball and I wasn’t sure if he’d be able to keep up.  Let’s face it there is a lot of passed balls from the pitchers in Gardiner Cal Ripken minor league.  Not only did he keep up, but he loved it and he exceeded all expectations. He an Owen even teamed up to get a guy trying to steal home to end the inning, first time I’ve seen a play like then end in an out.  Canaan missed his last at bats because we had to head to the school for the recital. 

What else has happened since the last blog on April 20th:
The Blue and Gold
Canaan had a few other baseball games and played well at all of them, he had the Cub Scout Blue and Gold Banquet on May 2nd where he got his Bear Scout badge, Pinewood derby badge, and belt clips for basketball and football. 
Pittston School K - 2 concert
Addison had a Chorus concert at school and we celebrated her 6th Birthday with a nice party and of course Grammie aka Mrs. Mom made the cake, a kick butt Hello Kitty.
Blowing out her candles on another Linda Mueller cake creation
I went and saw Avengers: Age of Ultron, and it was awesome!  Something else awesome happened but I’m keeping the news quiet for now. 

Kate rode Coon Dog for the first time in a long time and was very excited about finally doing it again.  She has also gone back to work, part time for 4 weeks and then back to full time.

Young Wesley has jut been THE best little boy as he has attended all of these events and in doing so has been quite the little angel not making a fuss and being very quiet or sleeping the entire time.

School is almost over and once baseball is done we hope to have a good Summer of fun activities with all the kids including a trip to Santa's Village this year again.

What are you doing this Summer?

Later Readers!

Bonus!  Addison's dance number from her recital, recorded on my phone on full 4 x zoom. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

What's been going on!

Wesley is now 4 weeks old and this month has gone by so quickly!   His sleeping has varied but it’s about 3 hours at a time, which is pretty good.  I realize that Kate is the one that is suffering the most sleep wise as I’m at work at night and when I get home she lets me sleep.  I’m sure once Kate goes back to work there will be further adjustments that will be necessary.

He’s such a handsome boy!  I love his facial expressions, yes I know they are mostly involuntary.  He has this one where he looks so concerned.  We’ve taken him a couple places he has been so good.  Kate’s friend Andrea came over the snag a couple photos and there was some really nice ones but the one above is my favorite!

In non-Wesley related news:

Canaan took 4th place at the Boy Scout’s Pinewood Derby.  Not too shabby!  We found a car design on line and had it cut out at a pack meeting.  Bob helped hallowing out the bottom to make room for the weights and he cut the head off a large bolt that made up good portion of it.  Canaan painted the car himself.  I wasn’t able to go because Wesley was being born.  But I’m hoping to watch the video that Jessica recorded of it.

Canaan also just started his second year of Gardiner Cal Ripken Minor League Baseball, he’s on the blue team coached by CJ Elliott and they have adopted the nickname the Blue Diamonds.

Addison is doing well in dance.  Her recital is on May 16th if anyone wants to go tickets are just $15, Money due by April 23rd.

The three of us took a day trip on April 14th to Marshall Point Light in Port Clyde.  It was such a beautiful day and the weather was just perfect.  It was nice walking on the rocky shore and I got some fantastic photos.  There was no one else there until it was time to leave.  So glad we went, Kate was itching to get out of the house and I was itching for a nice day drive.

We stopped for a slice of pie at Moody’s eating it in the van so as not to disturb the sleepy guy in the back.  A quick stop at Morse’s sauerkraut where we found the delicious 7 year aged Old Quebec cheese that we had on our honeymoon.  The $20 a pound price tag deterred us from buying it, but we at least know where we can get it now.   We got a pound of kraut for Kate’s mom and I got some sour mustard pickles.  Kate said it really reminded her of The Mouse Trap, a place she worked at in Kentucky.  I too was surprised what they offered inside, especially considering its location!

I recently submitted a story to Level Best Books for their annual anthology.  I also have one that I submitted last September to another anthology that I should be hearing from anytime now.  I’m not going to lie I’m getting a bit anxious having not heard from them in so long.  I’m really hoping one of these 2 stores gets accepted.

I have a new blog that I started, and I even paid the $12 to register the domain name.  It’s called the Wrestling Insomniac and it’s all about wrestling.  As you all know I love professional wrestling and I really want to be involved somehow.  Writing this blog entertains me and is fun for me.  If something comes it, then awesome, if it doesn’t then that’s cool too!  It’s been up and running since March 1st and I’ve already gotten almost 1000 views so it’s a start.
and perhaps you could like the page on Facebook to increase my like count.  Thanks. 

If I haven’t mentioned it yet, let me please mention that I Fat Boy Drive In opened March 19th and I had my first whoper burger of the season on the 22nd.  I’m a magnet guy as far as I like to collect magnets of places that I have been, I don’t want people buying me magnets.  That way I can look at my fridge and me reminded of the fun places I’ve been. 

Not the current sign but the basis for the magnet, I like this sign better than the current

 Anyhow Fat Boy has never had a magnet, t-shirt, hats, bottle opener (I bought one), prints, a key chain flashlight this year, but never magnets.  While standing in line for my burger I posted a photo on Instagram and while exploring the hash tag fatboy I came across people holding these cool looking magnets of the Fat Boy sign. 

So I messaged on of the people who had one and long and the short is, turns out a local artist did a painting of the sign and then made the high quality magnets out of them.  Really professional and was selling them on her etsy page for $5, sold!  So right there in line I went to her page, ordered and paid for the magnet with pay pal.  It now adorns my fridge.  If you would like your own here is the link to her page.  Here's the link to her etsy page: Fat Boy Sign Magnet

Speaking of burgers, Elevation Burger has opened an Augusta location and even though I have yet to sample there delicious burgers, I will be soon, very soon 

That’s all for now, take care!

Later Readers!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Welcome Wesley!

Here's what you have all been waiting for it's the welcome to the world Wesley blog!

Kate acquired gestational hypertension which is just something that happens when you're pregnant no matter what you do.  Because of this Kate had to be induced, which is a long drawn out process that starts with the administration of an oral medicine, then cervidil which ripens everything up and to be ready for the pitocin which really gets things going.

The nurses said that back a long time ago they used to just pump the pitocin in at a high rate and they found it caused too much pain and discomfort.  Mom said that's what they did to her with Jason and it was agonizing.

In the end Kate was in labor for 31 hours but when it was time for Wesley to come out, he did in a hurry!  At 2pm she was dilated  3cm's, three horrendous hours later at 5pm she was at 9.5cm's. It was a scramble by the midwife and nurses to get everything in order because 18 minutes and 3 pushes later Wesley was with us! 

I can't say enough good about the staff and midwives at Mid-Coast Hospital.  They were all so wonderful and made the experience that much better that they were there.

It's been a week now since he was born and we've had him home since Monday.  It's been going very well, of course a few fussy moments, but all and all quite smooth.  The nights that Canaan and Addison stayed with us were great!

The kids are very happy to have a baby brother.  Addison was the most vocal leading up to his birth so excited to be a big sister.  Canaan has been playing it cool but has confided in me that he is quite excited about Wesley, and that Wesley isn't cute, he's just awesome.

I don't go back to work until Friday April 3rd so there will be another adjustment period then, but I feel it will go just as smooth as it has so far.

We haven't been able to figure out just who Wesley looks like, the general consensus is that he doesn't really look like either one of us.  We have determined though that he has my nose and the Mueller bow furrow.

At night when Kate is sleeping and I'm feeding or holding Wesley I've been catching up on Clash of the Champions on WWE Network.  Good Stuff!


Later Readers!