Lane's USA 2009
These five days were family-intensive again, so non-family may want to
move on to Thursday 5/28.
Saturday 5/23 I flew to Phoenix for the wedding of the son of my cousin
Becky and her husband Larry Riggs. Lynn flew in the next day. In
addition to wedding activities this was a chance to hang out with
various Darnton relatives: Becky's parents Don & Joyce Darnton,
Becky's brother Randy Darnton, his ex-wife Susie Meacham and their
children Aaron and Kim, and my brother and his wife Eric & Sharon
Darnton. We had a party involving liquor in Eric & Sharon's hotel
One key liquor was Maker's Mark Kentucky bourbon, Eric's favorite, but
when Randy picked up a bottle at a store, complete with tamper-proof
anti-theft plastic cap, the store failed to remove the cap before he
left. These caps are reputed to be impossible to open with out either
a) the key, or b) breaking the neck of the bottle. Using the
screwdriver attachment of Randy's Swiss Army knife, a metal nail file
from Lynn, and two plastic picnic knives, we prevailed -- proof that
two engineers and a horse veterinarian can solve a difficult problem as
long as they're not already drunk! That's the cap, complete with
embedded tools, next to the bottle.
Over a Becky's house, Aunt Joyce was working on the wedding cake,
which exhibited a slight structural deficiency.
Front view, with Joyce and Lynn behind, and side view. You see the
About 30 minutes before these photos, the best option on the table was
to start over in the morning and remake the cake -- on the day of the
wedding which was to be at 5:30 pm. No one was smiling at that point.
Lynn suggested we instead simply heavily decorate the cake with flowers
and no one would ever know, and after some discussion this plan was
adopted. That's when some smiling started. Here's the result.
This cake, by the way, was almost entirely consumed within minutes
after the bride and groom had cut it. I guess it worked. Good thing I
got a picture early!
Sunday and Monday much time was spent in the shade poolside in the
mornings, the only time it was cool enough to do so.
The wedding and reception were held Monday evening, and Tuesday all of
us flew home. My bike was still where I had left it at the Ramada JFK.
Wednesday I rode 127 miles to Groton, CT in the rain, stopping in
Wilmington, MA to have lunch with my former professional colleagues
Willoughby and Chris Ullathorne at SSG, Inc. (now L-3Com/SSG-Tinsley,
or something like that). In Groton I visited my maternal uncle Gregor
Hileman and his wife of 48 years Nancy. They had just moved out of
their rented house right by Long Island Sound in Waterford, CT, a few
miles to the southwest, and into a Groton condo overlooking New London
harbor, which is a large ferry terminal, a Coast Guard port, and a Navy
submarine base. Since they have a fine view of all the comings and
goings, the entertainment never stops.
Gregor and Nancy, Gregor and me. Gregor is my mother's younger brother.
Can you believe Nancy is 74? To me she looks about a quarter century younger. Whatever you're
doing, Nancy, keep it up!
Their view out the back.
Gregor keeps a pair of 12x50 binoculars at hand to watch the harbor
activities from his recliner.
On Thursday May 28th Nancy and I visited Mystic Seaport, located a few
miles east in the Mystic River harbor, Mystic, CT. I have wanted to go
there since I was about 10 or 12, because they had the best old small
sailboats. It was something of a let-down to find they no longer
specialize so much in these vessels, concentrating on larger
vessels such as this replica of the Amistad slave ship, which goes out
sailing several times a day with passengers.
Mystic Seaport has an active restoration effort supporting its vessels.
This rotted, broken mast will be replace using one of these tree trunks.
One vessel in restoration is the Charles W. Morgan, a bark-rigged
whaler 107 feet long, 28 feet wide, 18 feet deep, 620 gross tons, 314
net tons (for whale oil, sperm oil, and baleen). This ship looks OK in
the water (shown here unladen) . . .
. . . but out of the water you can see she's a real brick.
I mean, she's a tub. Of course, she's basically a cargo ship, and the
only things she ever had to chase (whales) only swim three knots.
Look at those extra supports she has bolted to her sides to hold her up
"on the hard". You won't see those being used in your local boatyard.
They don't want this boat to fall over no matter how hard the wind
Here's a plan of the boat. Note that the left and right elevation plans
only show the top and 1st lower deck. That's because there are no other
decks! The hold, in other words (below the second deck), starts six or
seven feet above the waterline.
Standard crew was 33. Those whaling dories above look like they're
feet long.Here's one below, in the foreground.The one behind it is a
dory such as were used with the Grand Banks schooners (Glouscester
Here's a cat ketch-rigged New Haven (CT) crabbing skiff.
I don't know what this is -- possibly a pilot cutter. She sure is
On Friday May 29th I left Groton for Westbrook, ME (near Portland), and
it rained all the way to my planned stop in Wilmington, MA for lunch
with my former professional colleagues Chuck Willoughby and Chris
Ullathorne. Going through Boston was a real mess, fast freeway raffic
in a blindng downpour, the kind that turns the first twenty feet of air
above the pavement into a whiteout. I maintained about 50-55 mph in the
slow lane and drove like I was on ice. I was sure glad to get in
Chris's Mercedes to go to lunch!
After lunch the weather moderated, to my great happiness, and I made it
to Westbrook uneventfully. Needless to say I wasn't snapping pictures
along the way.
Heading out the next day in light rain, I passed a small sign on US-1
in Thomaston, ME pointing down a small side street to "Lyman-Morse
Boatbuilding". These guys build big custom yachts, but the Morse name
used to be associated with wooden Cape Cod catboats, so I had to look.
Here's all I found.
Talk about the sublime and the ridiculous. I believe that's a
Herreschoff 12 1/2 on the trailer, under the bow of about a brand new 60 foot sailboat.
From here I needed to go way north to get around Penobscot Bay (where
character "Charles" on the TV show M*A*S*H was raised). This is looking
SE from the west shore.
When you finally get far enough north that the bay narrows enough to
get a bridge across, the bridge is still large.
Once across I passed through the town of Bucksport and came finally to
Ellsworth, where a nice little downtown and the first Acadia National
Park sign showed up simultaneously.
A few miles later I arrived at the bridge to Mt Desert Island, where
Acadia NP is. In this photo, looking SE, the causeway to the island is
just out of the picture to the left.
And finally, the Park Visitor Center -- up a flight of 52 steps! It's
up there in the trees to the left. (There is a handicapped parking area
up and to the right.)
I checked quickly into my hotel and had plenty of time remaining in the
day for a ride up to the top of Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on
Mt Desert Island at 1524 feet, to see what there was to see. There was
a LOT. So much, in fact, that words are wasted. I'm just going to let
these pictures do the talking. This first one is a pan from just a
little ways up the mountain -- a taste of things to come! It has to be
big. That's Bar Harbor, ME down there, and behind it, Frenchman's Bay.
The view here is northeast -- that's inland.
Note the four-masted gaff schooner Margaret Todd in the center, just
taking down sail after a short outing.
The rest are at the top of Cadillac Mountain.
Here's proof I was actually there and didn't buy these at the gift shop.
And now it's time to put this puppy to bed. More later. This is written
two days after the above photos, from Eastport, ME, the easternmost
point of my tour and the greatest linear distance I'll get from El
2801.57 miles from my front door. Google Earth never lies, right?