Monday, September 28, 2009

Palace Playland (now with English subtitles)

A throwback post, because who doesn't like reminiscing over short periods of time.

Back when we were "visiting" and not officially "from away," Allen, Deidre, Kari, and myself were fortunate enough to get to visit Old Orchard Beach. This beach is not merely a beach mind you, but an extravaganza featuring all the necessities one would come to expect from an Atlantic Ocean side town such as;

Full Theme Park- Though with an apparently permanent theme, the beach. The Palace Playland, though lacking an actual palace, is truly a land of play. Equipped with rides and entertaining games where you might win anything from a stuffed animal to a mirror with the visage of some archaic eighties rock band, Judas Priest anyone? Heck Yea!

A Pier Precariously Placed Portside Providing Potential Pedestrian Purchases- What's that folks, can't afford to go to the Ponte Vecchio!?! Well, worry no more. Substitute Bridge for Dock, then Substitute world reknown jewelry for possible imitation Dolce & Gabana suneglasses, sure it won't have that old world flavor, but I'm fairly certain you can get your "significant others" name air brushed on just about anything you possess. All of this glorious commerce topped off with not just one, but TWO pubs on this Dock of Wonders.

Veritable Pantheon of Culinary Mediocrity and Indigestion- Who's says corn dogs aren't a staple to a healthy diet? Well they lied my friend, but to those of you may remain weary to such ideas, you have nothing to worry about. There is a multitude of food provision here from pizza, to seafood (fresh), to burgers, to fried dough, and some vaguely foreign food as well. You'll be gobbling down candy apples before you even know what the last thing you ate even was. Not to mention the true palace of the wonderland Dickinsons Candy Shop where you will see young children moving at near light speed fueld by sugar highs that only Mr. Wonka himself could attest to.

Out of this World Experience- Well, not really, more like out of this country to a land of native French speaking peoples, without actually leaving the continent... or the country for that matter. Here you will find yourself thrust into a bizzare world of elequint linguistics that could quite possibly insults, if only you knew what they were saying. Really though, there were wondefrul people everywhere having fun with family and friends alike, it was a very reffreshing environment to be in.

Terrifying Rides of Nausiating Ability- Well, not really terrifying, or nausiating, I'm speaking on my behalf on this one as I can't even turn around quickly without getting nautious these days. The lighting on all of these rides was amazing, especially to see at night, and even more amazing being that I was only expecting an empty beach with shops on a pier and a ferris wheel.

All in all, we had a good and gained some good memories. I look forward to returning and maybe, just possibly doing some shopping for a holiday perhaps, but who knows, I mean there always is the fish market.

Final consensus, if you are in town, go. You won't regret it. Old Orchard beach is kind of like the illegitimate love child between Myrtle Beach and Seabreeze, but with less seediness and an actual sea.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


While I know that there are millions, possibly billions?, of Blogs out there. Each one discussing something of value to the author/s, hopefully. This bit of chronologically placed literary tribute, however, is not just the idle meanderings of two minds out of there natural habitat, nor is it blind placement of events in word.

It has been a while since we updated and I'd like to say that it was for good reason, but it was not. Our adventure is like any other true adventure, with a romantic ideal for good fortune and perseverance. Anyone who has read our previous posts knows that we enjoy, or at least try to, all of that which we encounter in our new setting. Though things have been hard as of recent, there is a reason for this somber, and hopefully not too dreary, addition. But before I carry on, I would like to say to those of you who read this that Kari and I both know. You are sorely missed and in our thoughts always. We love you and a cannot not wait to see you all again. So here goes...

Like anyone who has stepped outside of their "comfort zone," we have come to realize some obstacles in the pursuit of what we believe and hold most dear. I know and have known for some time the good fortune that I gained in Kari entering my life. She has given me support, humor, and inspiration; and she has opened the door that I had been afraid of passing through for most of my life, the passageway to my dreams and truest aspirations. But I have learned that belief, perseverance, faith, and other forms of stick-to-it practice are not always enough, sometimes the best of intentions fail and leave you standing on shaky ground. I have learned this since our move here and it has been hard.

But I have learned not to yield to failure and disappointment. Things are finally turning around for us and this shaky ground that had me very scared is becoming less fearsome and more of an accepted challenge. We have learned that through anything that we encounter or experience, some things will always hold true. We have become stronger together in realizing our purpose, once again, for this venture. I know now that no matter what may come, we will face it forward surmount what we can and not dwell on what we cannot. We will be there when the other is down and remind them of when they were up and that they will find good fortune again.

Once again, I know that this is not my usual "plucky and fun" commentary and I appreciate that attention that has been given by those still reading. So I will end this post on a high note, as I think is necessary.

I want to remind all of you who are reading this of what a true blessing life is when it is spent pursuing the things that compel our dreams to display wonders of happiness and the satisfaction of doing that which we believe in hearts to be true.

"Ask yourself whether the dreams of heaven and greatness should be waiting for us in our graves – or whether it should be ours here and now and on this earth" Ayn Rand

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A Tale of Two (State) Parks

Obviously there has been a large gap in our blog postings, apologizes all around.

Over the past few weeks we've had the opportunity to visit two Maine State Parks in our area. While Maine is obviously known for Acadia, the only National Park in New England there are a number of State Parks within an hours drive of Biddeford.

State Park #1: Ferry Beach State Park
Date: Labor Day/Brazilian Independence Day
Purpose: Picnicking Awesomeness

With our crab salad sandwiches, tossed salad with a homemade vinaigrette and small bottle of red vino packed in our picnic cooler (thanks Aunt Cindy!) we hit the road in search of a park. Ferry Beach State Park is in Saco (or Old Orchard Beach, or maybe both) so it was a quick drive. We pulled into the long driveway and realized quickly that we had exactly $0 in cash so were fully prepared to turn around. Luckily the Park Greeters/Money Takers were in a good Labor Day kind of mood and let us through anyway.

We walked to a nice picnic area, a clearing surrounded by Oak Trees (and falling acorns) with a number of picnic tables, layed out our blanket on the grass, and feasted!

We then decided to explore the trails and the beach. The beach was nice, if a little crowded, but the trails were quite beautiful. They reminded us of some trails near our favorite camp in the Adirondacks!

Verdict: 4/5 stars
Blurb: A nice State Park with extensive trails and beaches. There didn't appear to be much in the way of open fields for frisbee or impromptu games of whiffle ball.


State Park #2: Crescent Beach State Park
Date: 9.20
Purpose: Mom came to Maine! Sunday Celebration!

As my Mom came to town we decided to try and show her some of the sites and sounds of Maine, which meant the ocean and lobster! We had heard of a (supposedly) great Lobster Shack in Cape Elizabeth, about 20 minutes north of us, so we decided to hit up another state park for a lunch picnic and exploration mission. We packed up some delicious fruits and cheeses and hit the road, taking the coastal route to show the momma as much of the ocean as possible.

When we arrived at the park (we paid this time!) we noticed a massive parking lot, close to the ocean, and a slew of cars with expensive bikes attached. Apparently the Portland Bikers Club was picnicking that day as well. We went in search of a perfect area to leave our stuff, and found several secluded picnicking areas among the trees along the ocean. We quickly abandoned our food and bags and went in search of areas to explore.

The water was at pretty high tide when we arrived on the beach, and we walked out to a rocky area before returning to our lunch. After our apatites were sated we returned to exploring to find the tide much lower. There were all sorts of fascinating things along the rocks this time to visit!

Unfortunately, after putting our bags back in the car and looking for other (read: wooded) trails to walk along we found very little. Fortunately, we found delicious lobster dinners at the Lobster Shack close by for dinner!

Verdict: 2.5/5 Stars
Blurb: The beach area was very nice, but, I would argue, no nicer than Fortune's Rock (which is free). The picnic areas were nice small secluded areas, but there is only one large group picnicking area. The rest of the park seems to be taken up by a large parking lot.


Friday, September 4, 2009

Full Moon on the Beach

The tide is coming in to a rock jetty.

Derek walking through the braiding water.

I see a full moon rising.

Full moon and the surf.

Today was the first full moon since we've been here in Maine so we made sure to head out to the beach at sundown to see the moon rise above the beach. The tide was on its way in when we arrived and a few beach fires were roaring when we arrived. We made our first journey out onto the rock jetty to check out the beach before heading out to walk along the surf. The moon rose and was beautiful.

We eventually got sick of the mosquitoes and their attack and went back to the car to drive along the coast to see the moon. This gave me a chance to take a few photos for you all to see.

As most of you know I'm well into an employment search here in Maine. Things are going about as well as could be expected with the current economic situation and the dependence on residential work in Maine. I've visited a number of firms and have spoken with a number of people, and will probably be taking some design/landscaping/nursery work in the mean time to tide things over until things start looking up. We appreciate all of the support we're getting from home and hopefully will have some good news to report soon!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The plot to Batman 3...

... and other such this will not be found in this blog post, but I'm glad you stopped by anyway. It's Wednesday here at the Gallow/Wright residence and that can only mean one thing, Derek will be posting the latest and greatest in news of our collective (mis)adventures here in vacationland.

Much has happened since the last post, such things as job interviews, curious bulldogs, chicken fried chicken... that is fried, Mistakenly long runs, parking lot victories, and interesting reading indeed.

To start things off I would like to talk about my ever so impressive, yet unabashedly humble co-author/girlfriend/Karate Sensei Kari. This morning we struck on our third adventure to the great sloping city of Portland, Maine. She had an interview at 9:00 am so we were up bright and early to make sure we had enough time for our travels. She looked very professional and prepared and, dare I say, suave, in her job interview attire. We arrived in time all thanks to Kari's lack of fear of toilet bowl reservoirs (I know it's clean water, it's not the water at present that grosses me out, it is the future water, but enough potty talk.) We made our way to a parking garage and meandered towards the destination point. It was a beautiful morning and the location was quite nice as well. After the well-wishing and mushy lovey dovey talk Kari went inside for her interview and I sought off roaming the streets looking for adventure or free egg sandwiches, whichever would appear first. Although no egg sandwiches were unveiled, I found a quaint second city within the city. We were on free street (don't get me starting about the false advertising at the Free St. Parking garage) and walked around the general vacinity.

Noticing nice mural of a pint of Guinness on a bar so appropriately named Brian Boru, after passing the pub I was at an intersection with an interesting sculpture of what turned out to be another Irish king, though of American lore. There at the intersection was a tribute to, Portland native, director John Ford.

It was nice little spot. Later on my walk I stumbled upon very curious Bulldog an arms reach away but at eye level, all thanks to the elevated lawn that he had been positioned on, he looked at me with that same old bulldog look that says "Listen, I know you are not from around, but that's okay, I think you are pretty cool anyway", I think we've all experienced that. Then I walked by the Portland Civic Center which apparently is right next to the Museum of Art and a , soon to be weekend destination, Portland farmers market. All in all it was a fruitful journey and on our way home we both had some reinvigorated spirits about our futures here in Maine.

On last Monday, we decided our dinner would be fried chicken. A little homage to a southern dish, being that we now reside in southern Maine. I originally intended to do my classic doubles battered drumstick with one dry application of seasonings and then another layer atop a coat of egg dipping. Instead I thought that it may be better to go without the egg on all of them and only do to that way. Now I know, always use egg with seasonings the flavor is way better and the appear to retain a lot more moisture as well, but the meal was delicious none-the-less, all oil burns aside.

The voravious appetite that was sated by the prior meal may have been blamed upon my adventurous nature when running. Egg batter is better is not the only lesson I learned on Monday. The other education I received came from a simple equation:

Running + Sight Seeing = A VERY LONG RUN

This might seem like common knowledge to most folks, but not to a 28 yr old with an mind for adventure relative to someone 21 years his junior. (That is not meant to offend any 7 year old patrons to this blog) I was on a regular 6 mile route down route 9 and around my beautiful campus, when I decided that a strange road just 15-20 yards beyond my normal turning point had a alluring presence of intrigue and fascination, so like a any good fool I chose to run on it. This road turned out to be a connecting road to the same road that takes us to our oceanic beach that we so love to patron and was also a 4.3 mile "scenic" detour. It was really a beautiful road and I saw some interesting flora and fauna in my adventure, but trust me when I say that even today... I hurt.

To finish off this post you will be glad to hear that we have stapled down our own, saved and protected, parking space in our own parking lot. (imagine that) After pointing out kindly to our neighbors that the space with our apartment number in front of it was not just a poor choice for amateur, and very unimaginative, graphitti.

Kari and I both watching Heroes Season three right now, Flight of the Conchords Season 2, and enjoying the sweet and thoughtful writings of one Edward Abbey. I implore you to try the same