Sunday, November 28, 2010

nom.nom.nom. Elk & calf early evening Yellowstone

The light was poor but this was such a lovely sight. The young elk rose from a nap and bounded over to his standing his mother. And there in the lovely grassland along the Madison Valley in western Yellowstone....he had his snack.

Clepsydra Geyser, Lower Geyser Basin, Yellowstone

Clepsydra Geyser is one of the most regularly "performing" geyser in all of Yellowstone. It erupts almost continuosly up to heights of 45 feet. It is located in the Lower Geyser Basin off the road between Old Faithful Lodge and Madison Junction. The Lower Geyser Basin has a number of beautiful hot springs, mud pots, and other geysers, easily accesbile by a series of boardwalks and paths.

That is clear, clear water of a blue & gold hot spring: West Thumb, Yellowstone

Our first day in Yellowstone NP we drove north from Grand Tetons and stopped for a walk around the West Thumb Geyser Basin that is located along the shorline of Lake Yellowstone. A series of boardwalks and paths wind through geysers, hot springs, fumaroles, and geysers at and in the lake's edge. It was a magical introduction to the geysers of Yellowstone. This one here was steaming but the water was crystal clear magnifying the colors of the beautiful spring.

Smokey Sunset: Grand Teton National Park

Bull Elk and part of his harem: Grand Tetons near Lake Jackson (at dusk)

This Bull Elk and his harem came out in the early dusk to graze in grassland along the Grand Teton park road near Lake Jackson. It was the first time we heard the enchantingly eerie "bugling" of the male elk. A truly memorable sound.

Autumn Splendour in Grand Teton NP

We spent four days in the Grand Teton NP in late September of 2010. One afternoon we drove along the East Side of the Valley (along the Moose Wilson Rd & Teton Park Rd). We stopped for a short hike into the autumn colors and snapped this lovely picture

Oregon Trail Register Rock, Guernsey, WY

Register Rock is a 100 foot sandstone cliff that sits back from the Platte River. Thousands of emigrants traveling the Oregon, California & Mormon Trails would camp at the foot of the cliffs. And many of them inscribed their names, place of origin (or where they were headed and dates on the rock. It was like a great big hotel registry for the campsite. A trail follows along the base of the cliff allowing a visitor to view the inscriptions. The day we were there, I was accompanied by a resident Corgy (probably from the local ranchhouse) who led me down the path and back to the parking lot.

Angry Skies over Fort Laramie, WY

We visited Historic Fort Laramie on the Platte River on a day that started sunny and soon became gray and threatening. Fortunately this sky skirted north of where we were and just put on a great show for us. The Fort complex sits on the banks of the Platte River. It was originally built to serve the fur trade & fur traders. Once the western emigration began in earnest the US Army took over the Fort to serve the wagon trains on the Oregon and Mormon Trails. Its a lovely expansive spot with considerable amount of the buildings reconstructed. There is an informative film showing every 15 minutes or so in the visitor center. Well worth the drive to see.

Big Skies over Colorado's Pawnee National Grasslands

First day of trip. We drove from Denver Intl Airport to Cheyenne via a sidetrip through Pawnee National Grasslands. The Grasslands are on the western edge of the Great Plains but saw limited agricultural use. They were withdrawn from cultivation after the Dust Bowl. The grasslands are filled with birds and known for its raptors which we saw soaring in these BIG skies. We also saw several herds of deer, old windmills, and very few cars or people. A lovely welcome to Big Sky country.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sunrise over Coffee Pot Bayou, St Pete, Florida

This was the morning of Yarik's 1st day of work at Beall's. I was driving to pick him up and stopped to catch the sunrise over Coffee Pot Bayou. A wonderful way to start the day.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Classic Boats and the Old Port on a Rainy Day

Have spent much of this lazy, rainy Sunday in the apartment: cleaning, eating, napping, reading, and blogging.  But we did venture out for our daily walk into the gray drizzle of a Summer Sunday.  We walked down to the Lachine Locks where the Port was hosting a 3 day Classic Boat Festival which boasted a whole floating stable of classic boats from small wooden power boats to a tug or two.  There was music, food, a whole host of information booths on everything from the history of the Port of Montreal to cleverly decorated Boat Bags.  Here are a few pics from the day:  Enjoy!

Historic Restored Ocean-Going Tug Permanently Moored in Old Port

Is it a Car or Is it a Boat?  It's a Woody! A '59 Woody

Out for a Cruise at the Classic Boat Festival

Rain on Woody

New Floating Boat Docks at Lachine Docks: Perfect for Classic Boat Show

Woody 59

Rudder in the Rain

Classic Boat Show Activity at Lachine Locks

Saturday, August 21, 2010

I Made a Friend Today at Marche Montreal (and got myself a Chickapug)

I've been on Twitter over a year now (@abaesel2)and have found interesting, clever, informative, and engaging people in the Twitterverse. Its always a real treat to meet one of my twitter friends IRL (In Real Life) especially when they turn out to be as charming and interesting as their tweets. And such was the case today, when I met Kelly Brown AKA @misskitteh9. Kelly, as she describes herself on twitter, is a digital artist, photographer, and Photoshop fanatic. I had seen some of her work on her Esty site: and loved it. Today I got to see her AND her work IRL at the Marche Montreal.  Kelly has a wide variety of subjects from Paris and Montreal to alpacas and marmots, from gardens and butterflies to horses and handsome dogs.  And then there is Chickapug (or is that Pugadee?) Well, whatever you call the cute fella, I got my very own "Chickapug" (magnet) today. Wanna see?

Copyright by Kelly D Brown

The Marche Montreal is in its formative stages having just started its Saturday gatherings on August 12th. Located in a parking lot on St Dominique near Prince Arthur Street, the goal of the market is to provide a venue for artists, craftspersons, food vendors, musicians, jewelry makers and fashion designers, as well as secondhand goods sellers. Although still small, there were interesting things for sale today and a talented jazz guitarist was playing as we left. The market is just one block over from St. Laurent and easy to get to by car, on foot, or public transportation.  Here is a website with more info:

Oh and here we are....@missketteh9 and @abaesel2 at the Marche Montreal.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Great Street Explore: Rue Bernard, Montreal

Jerry and I have a new Montreal Project: The Great Explore. We're going to take a street which we like (or looks interesting to us) and walk it from one end to the other and back.  Stopping for explores, food, photos, whatever strikes our fancy.  And if the street proved rewarding, I'll blog about it. So our first candidate is Rue Bernard in Mile End and Outremont.

We walked it on a breezy, sunny weekday in mid-August. We started at Rue St Laurent and the Mile End neighborhood and walked to Avenue Wiseman in Outremont (and back).  It was a very pleasant walk. Much of the street is lined with trees or flower pots or colorful murals.  Most restaurants have sidewalk seating in the good weather months and interior space that opens onto the sidewalks.  The area is a mix of boutiques, restaurants, apartments, theatre, and neighborhood services: bakeries, depanneurs, dry cleaners, and local take outs. 

We used to visit Rue Bernard every time we were in Montreal when the lovely and delicious Bouchees des
Gourmandes was located in a little spot where a tea company now resides. Nooffense to the tea company, which I'm sure is quite nice, but I mutter and grumble everytime I walk past.  I miss Bouchees and the wonderful woman who owned it).

So this time we wandered the streets looking for what other treats might be in store.  And we found several.

Drawn & Quarterly: 211 Rue Bernard West.  This is an enchanting and offbeat bookstore which serves at the flagship store for Drawn & Quarterly, a leading North American Art and Literary comics and book publisher.  Their store leans heavily to graphic novles (both new and vintage) but it also has a very whimisical and delightful selection of children's books and a small but fine offering of fiction and non-fiction books.  I always find something I've never heard of that I end up loving and passing on.  For more infomration check out their website at:

Lester's Delicatessan: 1057 Rue Bernard West.  We've eaten at Lester's a number of times and always enjoy their (famous for over 50 years) smoked meat and ICED COLD Stewart's root beer (comes in diet too). They have much more on their menu, but we never get past the smoked meats.  Summer time brings out the shaded sidewalk eating area but as it was full we ate indoors this time under the approving gaze of a signed PR photo of William Shatner hanging on the wall (near the Petticoat Junction and Get Smart Lunchboxes). As you should surmise, the decor is eclectic to say the very least. Service is always prompt and prices are reasonable.

Bilboquet (Le Glacier Bilboquet): 1311 Rue Bernard West.  This is really great ice cream...really great...and I LOVE ice cream.  We'd heard of Bilboquet for over 6 years (and had a scoop or two when offered at a restaurant) but this was our first visit to the actual Bilboquet itself.  Not disappointed. The had a  large selection of ice creams many with fresh seasonal ingredients.  I had the raspberry and vanilla ice cream which was wonderful.  Waffle cones were fresh and crisp.  There is seating inside where they also serve sandwiches...but really who can resist eating ice cream over a sandwich (although I'm sure they are fine).  There is also seating at small tables and benches outside (under a shade in the summer)

Outremont Theature: 1240 Rue Bernard West. The Outremont was built in 1929 in fine Art Deco style. Originally it was a movie theatre, but over time it became a renowned venue for theatre and music. Famous Quebecquois singers and musicians, rock groups in the 70s and 80s graced its stage. Due to declining business the theatre closed in the late 80s. It was purchased by the City of Montreal in 1993 and underwent a 7 year renovation reopening in 2002. The Outremont now provides the City with a fine venue for film screenings, music, comedy, and theatre. For more

Le Moulerie: At 1249 Rue Bernard, Le Moulerie is a very convenient place to eat before or after a show at the Outremont. They have a long and shaded sidewalk terrasse as well as a pleasant interior. As the name suggests they are known for their mussels and that’s the only thing we’ve had to eat there. And, they were very good. They have a full menu of other seafood (and non-seafood) offerings. La Senzala. At 177 Rue Bernard in Mile End, this colorful restaurant offers Brazilian/Bahia cuisine. We haven’t eaten there yet, but it gets decent reviews on various internet foodie sites so we’ve added it to the “to eat there” list. Bistro Le Republique 1051 Rue Bernard. A bustling bistro on a corner with great sidewalk terrasse. On our list to try.

O 'Macaron et Chocolat 1005 Rue Bernard. A small stylish storefront offering French style macarons, very pretty (and I’m sure tasty) chocolat, coffees etc. My heart was set on Bilboquet ice cream this visit. So a taste test had to wait.

Boulangerie Cheskie Heimeshe Bakery 359 Rue Bernard. You can smell Cheskie’s for several blocks away. Known for their “old fashioned” rugelach, cheese Danish, cookies, cream puffs, and the Babka, this is a warm and delicious smelling bakery serving both the surrounding Jewish Community and Montreal at large.

Boutiques.  There are a number of boutiques on Rue Bernard that I find charming and a littel out of the ordinary.  They include Kokoon at 1061; Style Labo at 122; Au Printemps at 1110; and Papillote at 1126

Riddell's.  For 50 years George Riddell made fishing lures and sold them out of his shop at 55 Rue Bernard (where he also lived). A “character” many would say he was a man proud of his craft and more than a little fond of fishing. He passed away just this last June and I’m sad to say I didn’t discover his shop before he died. I would have loved to have wondered around in it. The shop hasn’t been cleaned out yet. Many hope someone will find a place for his 50 year collection of lures. Check out this YouTube video filmed in 2008 to get a glimpse of the man and his store (filmed by Tim Van Horn)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Montreal: Summer on the Lachine Canal

For many people, summer in the Montreal means walking, biking, or boating along the Lachine Canal. The Canal stretches 14.5 km from the Old Port of Montreal to Lake Saint-Louis on the St Lawrence River. There are a total of 5 locks to navigate for boaters and paved biking/walking/jogging trails with small pocket parks and access to local attractions such as the Marche Atwater.

Construction of the canal was begun in 1821 and finished in 1825 creating the port of entry for a series of canals that opened up the interior of the North America to the Atlantic Ocean. Interestingly, the famed Erie Canal was also opened in 1825 with the same purpose. In addition to providing important commercial shipping passage, the canal also provided power (hydraulic) to a growing manufacturing community along the Lachine.

With the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959 (built to handle the newer, larger freighters headed for the Great Lakes: hence the term “Lakers”) the Lachine Canal fell into disrepair and was largely unused for any navigational purpose for almost 4 decades. In 1997 a revitalization program started. Bike/Walking paths have been constructed along its entire length. In 2002, the canal reopened for pleasure craft. Today additional improvements at the locks (boat docks, cafes, landscaping, and historic markers) are added each year.

Summertime sees heavy use by boaters wishing to make the slow and scenic voyage through the 5 locks and 14.5 km of canal (an average of 3 hours without stops). These photos were taken on August 15th at Locks 1 and 2 at the entrance to the Canal in the Old Port of Montreal. The photos show many happy boaters, brand new almost-ready-to-open floating docks, the newly restored historic ocean-going tug The Daniel McAllister and summer blue sky.

The area around Locks 1 and 2 are easily accessible (year round) from Old Montreal by foot or bike and boasts several cafes, benches for resting, and closeup views of lock operations. We often bike a few miles further up the canal to Marche Atwater for produce and pastries. But sometimes we just sit and watch the boats go by. It is a place well worth the visit.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A Wonderful Old Man Who Knew Margaret Mead

This delightful Ubud store owner talked with me about being a young boy when Margaret Mead lived and conducted her studies in Bali. His older brother acted as a secretary for her. He said that he "liked her".

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Hanoi - Street Scene: Young Man

Hanoi - Street Scene, originally uploaded by abaesel.

We visited Vietnam for a month in 2008. I especially loved Hanoi, despite the frenetic traffic (or perhaps because of it). Motorcycles and scooters were everywhere, likes swarms of bees. Parking was at a premium, usually on sidwalks originally meant for pedestrians and street sellers. Here is a young man on his scooter. Waiting for a friend? or perhaps waiting for a tourist who will pay him to take them to another part of town (not me, I was scared enough walking through the traffic, much less being part of the traffic swarms.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Golden Tunnel at Knowth Passage Tomb, Ireland 2005

Tunnel at Newgrange, originally uploaded by abaesel.

one of our favorite days in our 2005 trip to Ireland was a cold dreary August day spent at Knowth, Newgrange and surrounding area. There were few other visitors and we were in no rush. This is one of my favorite photos I took from within the dimly lit innards of the Knowth Passage Mound.

Gators in the outhouse?

Gators in the outhouse? , originally uploaded by abaesel.

In June of 2008, Jerry and I drove from Nashville down to Florida. On the way we made a detour through the Okeefanokee Swamp in South Georgia. Had a nice walk on a boardwalk through a swamp area and noticed this sign near the "marina" and nature center. (we didn't see any gators...but we sure saw a lot of stinging biting bugs...lesson?....don't walk in a swamp in shorts!

Friday, July 23, 2010

A Flowers Salute: Machu Picchu

machu picchu, originally uploaded by abaesel.

We were lucky on our visit to Machu Picchu to be able to stay and be the very last group out for the day. We were able to watch the sun go down behind the mountain and watch the shadows lengthen across the ruins. I loved the sun shining on this random red plant (flower?) giving a salute from the ancient walls. A peaceful moment in an otherwise busy and full day of exploring.

A Flowers Salute: Machu Picchu

machu picchu, originally uploaded by abaesel.

We were lucky on our visit to Machu Picchu to be able to stay and be the very last group out for the day. We were able to watch the sun go down behind the mountain and watch the shadows lengthen across the ruins. I loved the sun shining on this random red plant (flower?) giving a salute from the ancient walls. A peaceful moment in an otherwise busy and full day of exploring.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Nobska Light, Cape Cod

Nobska Light, Cape Cod, originally uploaded by abaesel.

For several years we visited with friends each July in Falmouth, Cape Cod. This is a photo of the lovely Nobska Light near Woods Hole. That is Jerry reading and soaking up the sun and seabreeze. (2007)

Nobska Light, Cape Cod

Nobska Light, Cape Cod, originally uploaded by abaesel.

For several years we visited with friends each July in Falmouth, Cape Cod. This is a photo of the lovely Nobska Light near Woods Hole. That is Jerry reading and soaking up the sun and seabreeze. (2007)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

This Basket is an Office: REALLY

This is the Longaburger Corporate Offices in Newark Ohio. Yes, they are famous for their fine baskets. And a good sense of humor. We stopped by for a photo a few years ago on our way to Cincinnati from Philadelphia...well worth the 20 minute detour off the main highway.

How come I don't have a color???

How come I don't have a color???, originally uploaded by abaesel.

Sheep and lamb on the Dingle Peninsula in Ireland.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Michael Quirke, wood carver, Sligo

Michael Quirke, wood carver, originally uploaded by abaesel.

Michael Quirke is a woodcarver in Sligo, Ireland. He is a former butcher shop owner who now carves and sells his works out of his former butcher shop. A delightful man good with carving knife and with a story. Here is is writing down the names and brief stories behind the two pieces we purchased (to his right)

No dog? no guitar? no problem

No dog? no guitar? no problem, originally uploaded by abaesel.

5 Years ago Jason (my son) and I spent two weeks driving around Ireland. We had the best time. He discovered Jameson's Irish Whiskey (loving that at 17 he could legally drink it too). We discovered James Blunt before he had his hits here in the US. and I discovered how fortunate I was to have a 17 year old son who was willing to explore the Emerald Isle with his "old" ma. This photo was taken in Galway...the group really made us laugh!