Tuesday, January 11, 2011

31 - 1/10/2011 - In My Footsteps Trip

Initial Impressions
Christopher Setterlund

31 – 1/10/2011 – In My Footsteps Trip

1.  This trip was up to the North Shore towns of Newbury, Newburyport, and Plum Island; $30 in gas, total of 290 driving miles.
2.  Plum Island is a lot like driving on the Outer Cape and National Seashore.  It was unbelievable cold and windy, good thing I brought gloves and then left them in the car, over and over.
3.  There was a monument dedicated to a local firefighter at Plum Island Point, at first I thought it was a grave since the monument looks like a gravestone.  Was wondering why they would let someone get buried at the beach, a nice contrast to the playground next to it.  Of course it’s not true.
4.  Arrived at Plum Island in time to see the house at 27 Annapolis Way get demolished.  Erosion made it close to falling over the cliff and onto the beach.  Even the house next door is in danger too, hope these people had some sort of insurance in case of erosion.
5.  Got to see lots of news folk there at the house razing.  Jack Harper from Channel 5 walked through my video, thanks a lot.  NECN, Boston Globe, Channel 7 and FOX had helicopters circling overhead.  Got interviewed by Channel 7 but they didn’t use it, good thing too, I had my Ring Bros. hat on instead of my Patriots one.  I did see myself in a video on Boston.com twice though so it wasn’t a total loss.
6.  Almost used my entire camera battery filming the house being smashed, waited and waited for them to finally knock the chimney down and it took out a satellite dish too which was cool.
7.  Was excited to find out that my camera can charge using the USB port in my dash, the Mobile Command Center comes through yet again, saved me from buying a spare battery, $40!
8.  Saw a pair of the oddest lighthouses possible.  Front Range Light in Newburyport looks like a lighthouse shaped shed, I could have totally seen someone pulling a lawn mower out of it.  Rear Range Light is out on the Main Street, nowhere near the water, made of brick and you can dine at the top of it.
9.  Still trying to find out the origin of the Mill stores near those lighthouses.  They are like mini-malls with ‘Mill No.’ 1-5 on top.  They must have been old mills but they look so cool.  Went up onto the roof of one, legally don’t worry, and got a great view of Plum Island River.
10.  Steve got to witness the insanity of my trips now, I need a ‘This Vehicle Makes Frequent Stops’ sign on the back of my car.  I can’t help it, I see the historic sign on a house and I pull off the road, it’s instinct now.  Other cars don’t like it though, I have learned that.
11.  Love it when so many spots I want to shoot are in the same area.  Found this out when shooting City Hall in Newburyport and noticed a few familiar addresses.  I must have looked like Daffy Duck running all over snapping away, it saves time to run but makes you look suspicious.
12.  Got to say I really enjoy having Steve Drozell along when he can make it.  Knowing the photography skill he has makes me up my own game and results in better quality photos by me.
13.  Anytime you slip while trying to take a photo it’s never good, it’s worse when folks beep at you since you know they saw you almost go down, I still got my shot and stayed dry so I can take the embarrassment.
14.  After passing it 3 times finally had to get a photo of this teal blue house with a ribbon on the door.  While behind a stopped school bus, handed the camera to Steve who got the shot, what a cool looking house.
15.  There are a bunch of these ‘mile stones’ scattered around Newbury, they date back to the early 1700’s.  Some really cool artifacts but the search for them is tough, got lost a bit.  Found 1 covered in snow so I whipped out my gym towel and brushed it off which drew some looks from kids leaving school but hey, I cam this far, I want a clear shot, y’know?
16.  The ‘Witches Stone’ looks like something off of a cave wall in ancient Greece.  A really creepy looking design and the stone is in front of someone’s house.  I wonder how many people pass that by everyday and have never seen it?
17.  Went back to Gloucester for the 5th time.  Steve had not seen Annisquam Light and I would never refuse a chance to go back to my #1 favorite town.
18.  Got a chance to shoot video of the Man at the Wheel at sunset, the photos were awesome too.  It would have been perfect except for how cold it was.
19.  Damn GPS was good all day until trying to find a gas station.  It led us to a Tedeschi which it said had fuel, nope, stupid lying British nanny.  I almost would rather it speak in Spanish from now on.
20.  Got a nice slice of life experience thanks to toll roads, forgetting to change my GPS settings meant we skipped off of Rt. 1 near the Tobin Bridge and did a lot of back roads at rush hour.  The joy of sketchy city streets, perfect end to a great day! 

The videos shot are here --> Gloucester, Mass.
                                                             27 Annapolis Way, Plum Island being torn down.

Quote of the Day:  “C’mon, give it a nudge, just touch it, it will go over.” Me on video begging the construction guys to knock the chimney over at 27 Annapolis Way before my battery died. 

Photos of the Day:
Front Range Light

Rear Range Light

The house at 27 Annapolis Way being torn down.

The Witches Stone

The Man at the Wheel following the moon.

Friday, January 7, 2011

30 - 1/7/2011 - In My Footsteps Trip

Initial Impressions
Christopher Setterlund

30 – 1/7/2011
In My Footsteps – 1-Year Anniversary Trip

1.  The first trip of 2011 coincides with the anniversary of my first trip last year. 
2.  Visited the towns of Old Saybrook, New London, and Groton in Central Connecticut.  The furthest day trip thus far at just under 2 ½ hours to get there.  Over 300 miles of total driving.
3.  Repairs being done on the Braga Bridge in Fall River meant that it was basically covered with one giant blue tarp.  It was really cool going through it on the way to Conn. as there was no traffic.  It sucked on the way back since there was a ton of traffic just after rush hour.
4.  In the latest installment of my GPS trying to kill me it tried to get me off the highway near the split to head to NYC.  Don’t know why but I stayed on the route and cut time off of my trip.  Stupid GPS, I mean really since I changed it to British nanny voice it has been dumb as a chimp.
5.  Stopped at a rest area about a half hour from Old Saybrook.  Thought it might be a good idea to grab something from a vending machine.  Did you know everything was $1.25?  Even small stuff?  Of course I brought in 4 quarters so no luck there, should have just kicked one of them until stuff fell out.
6.  For some reason I thought Mystic, CT was home to Foxwoods or Mohegan Sun.  Turns out that it is Mystic County, not the town, good thing because my gambling bug is easy to wake up.
7.  Found it funny when arriving at the Town Hall in Old Saybrook that there was this guy icing up this rectangle area in front, spraying it with a hose, it was bordered off with wood.  Anyway, there was a sign that said ‘No Skating’ which is just asking for people to do drive-by skatings all night.
8.  Old Saybrook’s Main Street was lined with Christmas wreaths hanging from all of their street lamps, I kept running onto the islands in the middle of the street trying to get a great perspective shot of all of the wreaths, we’ll see how it comes out.
9.  Was all amped up to see Lynde Point Light in Old Saybrook, until of course I found it resided way back in a private neighborhood.  What did I do?  Go in anyway of course!  Then I found it sat behind a house with a long driveway surrounded by a fence.  Strike two, so I took a bunch of photos from the nearby beach.  I should have ran up and taken a photo but figured getting arrested might wreck my trip.
10.  Ocean Beach Park in New London was really cool, even though it was really cold.  It reminded me of a small Coney Island, very small.  Workout World, Carvel Ice Cream, an arcade, waterslide, and mini golf, I can see why it is so popular. 
11.  This is also where I got the best views of the haunted New London Ledge Lighthouse.  It looks like an old schoolhouse out in the water and is haunted by a former keeper named ‘Ernie.’  I used binoculars to help my camera zoom in closer, did it in Marblehead too, genius idea I know.
12.  In keeping with the inaccessible lighthouse theme I got to see New London Harbor Light from the end of someone’s driveway.  Luckily it was a clear shot, and all of the windows for some reason faced the road and not the water.  Third lighthouse I could not get close to, batting a thousand at this point.
13.  Fort Trumbull in New London was insane.  I have seen several old granite forts but none that looked in mint condition.  I also saw tons of cats hanging out on these grassy rock faces.  Only got a photo of a couple since the rest ran away.
14.  Also nearly had a heart attack at the front gates when I thought I saw a ghost of a soldier standing inside.  Turned out to be a cutout with a plaque next to it, still it was grey and white and far away so hey give me a break!
15.  While I appreciated the fact that a pair of historic homes were kept intact in a pretty developed neighborhood in New London it was also a bit off to walk around the back of one house and basically be in a slum.  17th century home in front, discarded fridge behind it, makes sense.
16.  Visited the smallest Subway ever, it was literally the area to make the sub and a door with a closet for prep, saw no bathroom, no nothin’ but the sub was good so whatever.
17.  Fort Griswold in Groton was amazing, an old earthen fort with a cool stone tunnel to get from the top level to down below.  Plus there was a giant obelisk much like the Bunker Hill monument which was cool.
18.  At Eastern Point Beach in Groton I saw a rainbow cloud.  No rain all day but yet there was a small oval cloud with an array of colors in it, can’t explain it but it was pretty amazing.
19.  Avery Point Light in Groton was hard to find, got lost until I realized it was on UConn’s Marine campus.  The only lighthouse I got to see up close it looked either like a pink candle or something off of a Barbie castle.  It was awesome anyway with the sun starting to set.  From there I could also see New London Harbor Light and New London Ledge Light.  Have never seen 3 lighthouses at one time.
20.  On the drive home somebody hit what I can only describe as a blue Styrofoam cooler, the way it exploded on the highway was nuts.  It showered my car but luckily was nothing bad enough to kill me, got to try harder to take me out!
21.  A special thank you to all of my friends and family that have been so supportive during my first year of this travel writing adventure.  Won’t name names since I’ll likely leave people out, but those of you who were mentioned in my Christmas card note on Facebook pretty much make up this list as well.  Here’s to Year Two of In My Footsteps!

Quote of the Day:  “Stupid British nanny, just shut up and let me drive!”  Me to my GPS after it tried to kill me again.
Song of the Day:  No More Cloudy Days – The Eagles
Photos of the Day:
Lynde Point Light, trespassed to get this close.

New London Harbor Light in somebody's yard.

You tell me you see that really quick and don't think it's a ghost?

The rainbow cloud at Eastern Point Beach.

Avery Point Light, candle, or Barbie castle?