Saturday, November 18, 2017

Pecha Kucha Night Midcoast

Hey! I know that linocut! Photo by Michael O'Neill

Hard to believe it's already been a week since I launched my new Maine chapter by participating in the Pecha Kucha Night in Camden. The presentation videos went live yesterday, and I'm happy to share mine here for Brush and Baren fans far and wide. All the presenter videos are linked at Vimeo, if you'd like to get a feel for the entire event. Thanks to Ned Lightner of Belfast Community Media for video recording and production.





Thursday, November 9, 2017

First post from the coast!

Whew! It's been several epic weeks since I last checked in with Brush and Baren. I hated to leave you all hanging, but all I had to show for a month of effort was a huge pile of boxes. Not terribly interesting.

But I'm finally here in Maine and my belongings are all more or less stowed until I can find a place to live and work. There's still a bit of shuffling to do, but I'm now fighting a wee bit of a cold so I've decided to just let things sit where they are for a few days. The press and my inventory are safe, and that's the biggest thing. Literally!

If any readers were following along on Instagram you probably saw a few photos from the journey, but here's a quick recap. In all we traveled 2,419 miles through 12 states in 4.5 days. We weren't trying to exhaust ourselves, but we weren't dawdling much, either.


My friend Sue flew out from Maine on October 30, and an intrepid crew of Salida helpers got everything loaded on October 31... both a trick AND a treat. I wouldn't have thought it possible, but we got absolutely everything I own, personally and professionally, into one 16-foot rental truck.

It took longer than expected to get on the road... we didn't leave Salida until early afternoon on November 1. But after a quick stop in Colorado Springs we were finally underway, and the view of Colorado in my rearview mirror took on a surreal quality.

I tried taking a few random shots of the sunset whilst driving... just aiming the phone over my shoulder and clicking. I got a lot of crooked horizons, but you get the idea...


The next day we crossed in to Nebraska, where we stopped for coffee with an old college friend and then visited the Rowe Audubon Sanctuary on the Platte River near Kearney. Rowe Sanctuary is the site of a huge sandhill crane spectacle during spring migration, but the fall season is quiet and a bit lonely. We made a quick sketching stop here and then got back on the road and into Iowa after dark.


Dinner that night was in the bowling alley on the back of the motel where we stayed. Definitely a small town Iowa adventure.

We crossed the mighty Mississippi River at lunch time the next day, and made a sketch-and-sandwich stop on the Illinois side. In this photo Sue is looking at interesting fossils in the shoreline rocks.


So let's see... where are we now? Illinois. Then Indiana. Then Ohio. We spent the night in Montpelier, Ohio... former home to Sue's grandparents and a place she visited often during her childhood. We of COURSE made the pilgrimage to her grandparents' former house and did some drive-by photography.

From Ohio we cut through a corner of Pennsylvania and then crossed into New York. My biggest memory of that stretch is that the road went down and down and down for what seemed like hundreds of miles. All I could think of was how happy I was that we weren't on the west-bound side having to go up and up and up with a heavy truck.

Autumn color was past peak, but there was still enough to make the drive a pretty one. Just before dark we made a stop in Allegany State Park. No sketching this time, but a much-needed stretch and a short hike.


Embiggenable with a click


I am really looking forward to learning all these new deciduous trees! Beech was prevalent in this area, and some maples. And something I couldn't identify with leaves the size of my head. Not an aspen leaf to be found.

We stayed that night with former Puffineers in Binghamton, NY... a town whose name made me think of old McHale's Navy episodes. (It was a TV sitcom in the US in the 1960s.)

And then it was the final push. New York, Massachusetts, a wee chunk of New Hampshire, and then Maine! It had been a smooth, if long, journey, with only a few sprinkles of rain the entire trip. We arrived at my temporary digs after dark, unloaded some of the truck into a friend's garage, and collapsed into bed, intending to empty the rest into a storage unit the next day.

Or not.

Sue had gone home overnight (where they'd been without power for a week already, but that's another story). When she came back in the morning we discovered this! The front driver's side tire had gone completely flat! How lucky were we that this didn't happen on the road? And how lucky was I that I had taken the advice of the rental agent in Colorado Springs and paid the extra fee for roadside assistance?

I made the call and waited for the repair truck.

And waited.

And waited.

In the end it was 27 hours before anyone got to me. The clock was ticking... I had to have the truck unloaded and returned by the end of the day Tuesday... and by Tuesday morning at 10 I still had no technician. The dispatch service assigned 3 different vendors before we finally got one to show up... three cheers for Bob of B & B Truck Repair in Saco (about 100 miles away). He made the long drive to Bristol and had the tire fixed in less than 20 minutes. We got the truck unloaded at the storage place in Edgecomb and returned to the rental company in Brunswick with 45 minutes to spare.

After which we drove an hour north and went to ukulele practice. Because that's what you do at the end of an epic week.

Tomorrow night I make my first official appearance as a Mainer... I'll be a presenter at the Midcoast PechaKucha Night at the Camden Opera House. If you're anywhere on the coast, come on out! It looks like a great evening, with 7 or 8 presenters and a reception after. Doors open at 6:30, program starts at 7:00.

Whew.