Yesterday evening we dropped 10 lbs of short ribs into the water oven and then went to sleep. Today, Pat and I went to the Rochester Museum and Science Center and it was surprisingly good. I purchased a student pass and reached for my ID but the teller stopped me saying “you look honest”. Pat and I took our time and learned about local… things and I learned that Pat was thinking of becoming a falconer. This sounded lame until I learned that after raising a falcon and receiving several more years of training Pat could capture and train owls. F-ing owls. How bad ass is that? I’d totally train burrowing owls and just have this team of them scurry across the ground and attack people’s ankles.

The museum had a nice collection of displays centered around the last ice age and fought the good fight on evolution and the timescales of paleontology. After the museum, Pat and I stopped at a butcher shop and he talked about arranging some expensive cut of meat to be available for him for Thanksgiving. I didn’t follow most of the conversation except for the line “and then you hold its still-beating heart” was said.

Clara returned home and we had the spare ribs. For $2.00 a lb plus spicing and electricity, those spare ribs may be the best flavor per dollar ratio food I’ve ever had.

That evening, Pat and I took a long walk around Rochester of about four miles. Rochester is a small big town rather than a big small town and it had all the trappings of a major city but simply smaller. Parking everywhere cost about $1.00 and there was a tiny tiny arts and culture district. It seemed just large enough that it would take one a full day to become familiar with it.

We had fourth meal at a diner and returned to Pat’s. We talked, and not wanting to miss an engagement tomorrow evening, I left for home.

The Falls trail is less than 3 miles from start to finish but there’s a good bit of up and down to it in that it’s, you know, along a set of falls.   It took us about 80 minutes to make it down.  We reached the bottom and to save time took a short path back up.  I estimated it’d take us 60% longer to go up, it took us 25% less.  I guess I took more time than I thought taking pictures.

April 04, 2010-289-RickettsGlenWeekendAnd2more Generic single-layer falls

April 04, 2010-401-RickettsGlenWeekendAnd2more
Generic multi-level falls

April 04, 2010-310-RickettsGlenWeekendAnd2more Ganoga Falls’ 97′ drop.  Twas purdy.

One of Pat’s many prosaic comments was “that [the river] did this [the gorge].”  To think, there’s a goodly portion think the below was done during the Deluge.

April 04, 2010-265-RickettsGlenWeekendAnd2more Pat conjectured that it was the Civilian Conservation Corps that did the work, Wikipedia said that was close.  There was a CCC camp setup there as the area was to be turned into a national park.  The outbreak of WWII stopped that and the trails were repaired when the site was bought by the state.  Wonderful work they did, but some of the signs could seem confusing.

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The Anecdote

I like to consider myself an advocate for diversity.  I enjoyed Temple University over Penn State partly for that reason but I was not prepared for the clash-of-worlds experienced at Ricketts Glen.  People who camp on Easter weekend are a combination of godless heathens, gentiles, and apparently Indian Americans.

An Indian American family camped immediately across from us and my head nearly popped when Lakshmi and Ritesh began singing Stephen Foster songs while the parents assembled their fishing gear.  Had the father pulled out a guitar while the kids were singing, my head may have popped.  Geez, America is good at pushing people through the sieve of US culture.

The Pictures

90% of the pictures I took were bracketed (a dark, normal, and light picture) that I later combined.

April 02, 2010-5-RickettsGlenWeekendAnd2more The tustle of roots on the opposite side is one of the sharpest things I’ve ever seen.  I’m not sure why.

April 02, 2010-11-RickettsGlenWeekendAnd2more While waiting for Pat to arrive, I took a lot of pictures of the sky.  Normally, HDR obliterates the blue of the sky.  I’m glad it was saturated enough to come through.

April 02, 2010-32-RickettsGlenWeekendAnd2more I scoffed at the announcement last week that the Falls Trail was re-opened as it was no longer covered in ice.  I thought this was a delayed announcement until I saw how much snow was still around.

April 03, 2010-167-RickettsGlenWeekendAnd2more I don’t know if I prefer the reality or the painting.

April 03, 2010-198-RickettsGlenWeekendAnd2moreSomehow the green looks like its attacking the camera.

Pat Toye, Clara Rimmer, Joe Naylor and I took a spur-of-the-moment trip to the Body Worlds exhibit at the Franklin Institute and after talking about whether rain would increase or decrease visitor count with the line attendant we went in.  Notes:

  • The theme was “Body Worlds 2 & the Brain”.  I went into the exhibit with the idea that the brain was a visually uninteresting gray lump that constituted a dog’s breakfast.  I left with the impression that the brain was a visually uninteresting gray lump that constituted a dog’s breakfast.
  • The attach points of the various pieces of the male package are not where one expects; if the ones for the testes were any higher they’d be strung from the nipples.
  • Nobody looks fat after their skin has been flayed.
  • Never go to an anatomical exhibit with two medical enthusiasts without putting at least 4 dollars in quarters in the meter.  The estimated 27 minute difference between Joe’s museuming rate and Pat/Clara’s museuming rate cost me $36.00 in parking tickets.
  • Every animal looks badass when everything but their vascular structure is dissolved.
  • One can fake being anatomically competent by taking any term for a body part and adding one of the following: majoris, minoris, superior, inferior, anterior, or posterior.  This was proven by the woman who nodded approvingly as I referred to the vulva as the “hoo-ha minoris” and the gut above the point that dangles over the belt in fat people as the anterior superior dunlop.
  • When one dies, the eyebrows remain until the end of time.   Or at least that’s the impression I got as we went about and everyone had no skin but still had eyebrows (IT WAS WEIRD).
  • Due to the exhibit “The Exploded Man”, I can now accurately imagine what it’d look like to take a slow motion video cap of someone eating a hand grenade.

The end of the exhibit featured a donor statement that brought tears to my eyes.  The only other time I’ve been moved like that in Philadelphia was during the opening of the Constitution center.  I wonder what it mean that I get emotional around liberty and utility but rarely at funerals.

Previous Days:
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5

Trip Summary: Sleepy; ouch.  Park; pretty.

For Next Time: Leave camera tripod at home.  Remember to move 2nd back to vehicle actually going to Acadia.  Try to see inside of the park instead of just coast.

There was a bit of a pall over the trip for me as before departing I received news that the EKG I had before leaving as part of my physical revealed what could be a defect in the wall of my heart.  My doctor rolled his eyes when I told him I was going camping and Acadia wasn’t nearly as strenuous as I thought it would be.

I took more photos than were listed in the entries which are available as part of the Flickr album.  I think the panoramics came out quite nice and wish to get better at taking them.

[flickr album=72157622447264170 num=90 size=Thumbnail]

I’d like to thank Pat for taking care of the cooking and Joe for putting up with the fact that I turn into a whiny 4-year old if I don’t get my ugly sleep.

Dawn came early, and we refused to rise with it, making our exit around 9:30 AM after giving the park rangers the gift that keeps on giving: a leaky propane cylinder.  We took turns driving and Joe didn’t enjoy me as his navigator.

September 22, 2009-203-Acadia

We stopped at a Dunkin Donuts manned entirely by white people which included a spastic woman who listed all the allergens in my donut and got impatient with the register receipt dispenser.

We landed at 4 PM, ate dinner and decided to drive to University of Vermont to visit Matt Grob.  I have no idea why.  We visited Matt Grob and watch his friend’s room mate attempt to rocketjump before landing after jumping off a building in GTA 4.  We watched that for a solid hour.  We ate at Denny’s drove home and arrived at Pat’s house again at 1:00 AM… and decided to drive straight home.

Joe and I started on our way and I selected “HOME” as our destination.  I got suspicious of the GPS once we hit New York and it started taking us west.  I checked the future directions and the GPS apparently thought “HOME” was located hours west of me somewhere beyond Harrisburg rather than SE PA.  We put in Joe’s address which had us return east and shaved 90 minutes off of our drive, three and a half hours if you include the time we saved after overcoming the sense of whiskey-tango-foxtrot after theoretically “arriving” near Harrisburg.  I got drowsy around five AM but powered through by yelling about what I thought was wrong with Scouting, it was surprisingly effective.

Dawn came, we arrived at home, and I hit the sack like a midget boxer.  All in all the trip cost only about $250 for five days of stuff.  One day I’ll make it to the mythical “Canada” and may even remember to bring my passport.  Perchance to dream.

One of our original plans was to shoot to Canada after our third day, but my “other bag” never made it to the Rav 4 and along with it my passport, so this was the closest we got to Canada.

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This grate was outside of where we thought the causeway to Bear Island was located, but due to tide and ignorance, we couldn’t make it.  Instead, I took a pano.

September 21, 2009-101-Arcadia Panos

We gunned for Cadillac Mountain and were knocked over by its short mediocrity.

September 20, 2009-83-Acadia

We may have gone to Cadillac Mountain the day before, but it doesn’t matter much.  We wanted to go sailing that evening and meet up with CJ Raste, aka Ice Dragon and stopped at Sand Beach beforehand.  It was stupidly pretty.  I hope I’m not being an arrogant dick in saying this but I think the following could reasonably be a postcard with a little lightening.

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We later scaled the side-trail and found some wonderful views including the following giant stitch-together.

September 21, 2009-102-Arcadia Panos

We met CJ before going onto the Margarette Todd, a historic vessel built in 1999.  Joe took pictures as well with his tiny tiny camera.

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There was a mediocre musician on board that played several tunes mediocrily but illuminated well.

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And to prove the power of the Golden Hour, here’s CJ for those who doubt his existence.

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Most passengers had point-and-shoots with them but one person inspired some camera envy with their L-series 70-200 f/2.8.  For the price of the lens, I could rebuy my camera, three best lenses, and pay for most of the Acadia trip.  One day I’ll get two.

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We went to a restaurant after the trip where a small Asian child repeated pushed out a window screen and nearly hurled himself from a second story window.  Their entrees sucked but their peripheral items like desserts and sides were exceptional.  We had earlier pondered shaving a corner off of our man-cards and sleeping in a motel for the evening but manned up and bought sleep drugs instead.  They didn’t work and my final night at Acadia was spent uncomfortably.

Today was our first proper day in Acadia and after an incredibly short walk on the “Ocean Trail” we hit, the ocean.

September 20, 2009-100-Arcadia Panos

The above pano was made from 28 pictures or so and has some kludge-y parts where it doesn’t quite come together but the image suggests the absolute gorgeousness of the area.  I used the polarizing filter on my camera and failed to consider its effects on the image.  I repeated this error later, oops.  We were continually stunned by the picturesqueness of almost every vista.  Some shots looked like the stereotypical Caribbean  lagoon with the exception of glacial rock-rape evidence everywhere and others were just… grand.

September 20, 2009-56-Acadia

On the way back Joe and Pat decided to get into a tard fight…

September 20, 2009-61-Acadia

… and then pointed at each other’s junk in triumph (?).

September 20, 2009-63-Acadia

Our next stop was “Thunderhole” that just sounds messy but is named after the natural amplification of the rock shapes to certain waves like in this key-hole:

September 20, 2009-125-Acadia

It took about 10 minutes of waiting to get this spray, and after a few more of waiting a larger wave hit which sprayed my back.  I was angry at first until I realized I’d probably decimated my camera if I were looking in that direction and considered myself lucky.   I took a neat two-parter here which shows the storytelling power of focal distance. Here’s the first:

September 20, 2009-140-Acadia

To which I added the caption “hm… maybe we should get her out of there” followed by:

September 20, 2009-141-Acadia

which screams “This is a neat rock!”

We took an afternoon nap and headed into town that evening and I noticed three things:

  1. Every store sells ice cream, fudge, something with a moose on it, or something with blueberries in it.
  2. Anything referring to something historic was done in Copperplate Gothic.
  3. Pennsylvania consists entirely of the Amish to the rest of America beating out even Philadelphia and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

At one fudge shop Pat and I were impressed with the attendant’s ability to cut precise quarter pound blocks.  Once we brought this to his attention he lost his cooler and was all over the place.  I felt bad.  In an adjoining shop the cashier asked us what we did and I mentioned “proto-actuary”.  She thought I was an aerospace engineer, she probably says that to all the actuaries.  That night we had a fire which looks far more impressive and forge-like with the power of long exposure.

September 20, 2009-158-Acadia

Joe enjoyed some face time with the fire as well.

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But recoiled when he thought the fire was getting too friendly.

September 20, 2009-156-Acadia

That night we spent some more quality time staring at the top of the tent and had another painful night on the gravel.

I woke up at the crack of 11:30 AM after the forceful deflation of my air mattress and after a sequence of shit-we-forgot’s and two pizzas which were eaten across from surly old people we made out way Northward.

I got to drive Pat’s Rav4 and being in another person’s car the most dangerous thing I did was drink and drive.

September 19, 2009-112-Acadia

At a previous point I’d taken a picture while driving and holding my iPod, so this is a cakewalk.  Pat and Joe were also strongly opposed to a practice I call “slap steering” which terrifies both of them.

Around 10 PM we stopped at a Target in Augusta to get a 1/8″ patch cable so I could bore everyone with The Economist audio edition.  The hand dryer was quite potent and my hands came away red with windshear.  On our way out, we hit a T-intersection with no obvious path back to the highway so I picked left at random.  This small change resulted in us taking a sequence of country roads, byways, and semi-paved paths to Acadia through the “drive faster, I hear banjos” portion of Maine.  I got bored and started taking long exposures of lights while driving of which some came out well.

September 19, 2009-116-Acadia

We arrived at Acadia at about 11:30 PM, several hours after the proper closing of the park.  My concern for lateness dropped when I learned there after-hours check in process was “go to a campsite, and tell us sometime the next day that you’re here”.  We entered our gravel-covered campsite and discovered that one was supposed to sleep on the gravel.  Gravel ranks as slightly below a battery of dull steak knives for uncomfortable sleeping surfaces and the hours taken to actually sleep proved this.

Luckily, the rest rooms were exceptional and even included two-ply toilet paper.  The walls also held some of the most erudite graffiti I’ve ever seen including:

  • A spot-on picture of Master Shake
  • A Sierpinski triangle after three iterations
  • Eulers Identity

    Euler's Identity

  • “Go Organic” with an arrow pointing to that phrase with the caption “wow, you convinced me”.

I was impressed.

I don’t vacation well.  I usually get more excited by sitting at home but rarely do I achieve the To Do List slaying I gun for and I’ve slowly learned that I suck at prioritization until the last minute or when someone else is counting on me.  Joe and I talked of going to Nova Scotia over the summer which slowly turned into a few days at Acadia National Park.  I had an secondary goal of visiting some people and somehow Pat Toye was magically available so he became our Day 1 waypoint.

Joe and I left a spot late around 3:30 PM and shot for the icy north.  Entering NY was an absolute clusterfuck as we tooled along for 20 miles at 10 MPH.  We saw the following:

September 18, 2009-102-Acadia


September 18, 2009-104-Acadia

Yep, her other car is a broom.  After idling past Scarsdale I fumed at some 200 car pile-up causing the delay when we crested a hill and there the pile-up was.  Not quite 200, but enough to generate a gaper delay that shaved two hours off my life.

We met A.C.E, aka Richard Mercier at Braza, a Brazilian steakhouse in Hartford with the standard gimmick of all food coming from servers with the appropriate meat cut skewered on giant 3-bladed rapiers/sais.  I destroyed a hearty collection of sausages and various meats wrapped in other meats.  I was disappointed to learn that desserts were not served in the same manner and was hoping to see a sword impaling a collection of cheesecakes.

A.C.E mentioned his love of hot wings and brought up some wing joint in Philly with egregiously hot wings.  I began thinking if the hotness would be enhanced by simply using pepper spray on a wing before serving it and thought of starting a business as a pepper spray sommelier for those wanting a more refined tongue-incinerating experience.  Before leaving the restaurant I asked if we’d missed any of the food items to which the host said matter of factly “no, sir.  You ate everything.”  I don’t know in what sense he meant “everything” but I wouldn’t be surprised if there were an airlift from Munich as an emergency restock after I leveled their sausage reserves.

Afterword we hit A.C.E’s house where none of my pictures of his mint-green pool were properly illuminated.  His wife “the Warden” is a wonderful gal and loves to have her picture taken and does an awesome impression of Samara from the Ring.

September 18, 2009-3-Acadia

A.C.E has a minute computer monitor and I’m not terribly sure how he plays TF2.   I think I’ll start a collection for a real one leading up to his wedding.

September 18, 2009-9-Acadia

I suppose to a certain extent that was made up for by his much larger DVD collection.

September 18, 2009-7-Acadia

A collection he rarely gets to peruse for the following reason:

September 18, 2009-15-Acadia

All my photos of Richard sucked so….

We departed Richard’s home around midnight and arrived at Pat’s Vermont home at 2:00 AM.  Joe and I were immediately struck by the quantity of celestial pinpoints apparently called “stars”.  There are few in Philadelphia and I think we should look into importing them.  We went to bed around 4 AM, about 2 hours after Pat first saying “maybe we should go to sleep soon” and three hours after Joe shared a moment with Pat’s cat.

September 19, 2009-21-Acadia

I took up residence on an inflatable floor mat and day 1 was done.