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Road Tripping

            “There is nothing on earth to be prized more than true friendship.” Thomas Aquinas

Reunion Barbecue

Janice, me, Kim, and Jean in a black and white photo taken by my dear old friend, Charlie, who is into photography and often shoots black and white film so he can develop and print the photos himself. Tthe black and white photo he took one day of me and three of my granddaughters is still one of my favorites. — Photo by Charles Trentelmen

            Day 10: My friend Kim thoughtfully held a barbecue in her backyard for Jean and me this day. It was an opportunity to reconnect with some of my dearest friends — and for Jean, my traveling companion, to meet people who are important to me.

All of Kim’s family came. They had been my family when I had lived in Ogden far away from any family of my own. Her grandmother, affectionately known as GG, and who lived to be 99 before dying a few years ago, had made it official. Holiday gatherings were usually held at GG’s home, and there was always a place for me at her table. I came to love her dearly; she never failed to make me feel special each time I saw her. I couldn’t help but remember her on this day.

Me and GG shortly before she died.. — Photo by Kim Perrin

But then everyone who came to the reunion picnic was special to me. First there was Cory, Kim’s son who was quite young when Kim and I started hanging out together. When Kim was working and getting her college degree both, there were times when he hung out and went hiking and skiing with me. He calls me Nana, just like my grandchildren. That’s perfect because I consider him one. He came to the barbecue with his wife and two children – dang how time flies!

Kim’s mom, Suzanne, was there, too. I owed her a special hug because it was her post to me on Facebook three months ago that resulted in me getting Scamp, the rambunctious, challenging puppy who brings joy – or woe, like the huge chew marks he left o a dining room chair — to my life. Already, I can’t imagine not having him to love – and pester me.

Also, at the gathering was Charlie, with his grizzled beard and smart-ass attitude — which I thrived on for many years.  He came with Carla, his beautiful wife who is also one of my dearest friends. She adds the graciousness to their mixture. Charlie met Carla not long after he and I met – and I hosted their engagement party.

Charlie was my first friend in Ogden, and as my longtime work colleague, he was also the one who helped me stay sane during trying times, of which there were many at the newspaper. It was a favor I returned to him just as often.

Then there was Janice, who calls me second mom. She gave me a gigantic hug the second she saw me. Janice was actually my youngest daughter’s best friend growing up, but she stayed in town after my daughter left, and joined the group of white-water rafting crazies I had collected in Ogden. Janice’s husband Richard, Kim, Cory (when he got older) and his wife Susan belonged to that group, too.

Another day, another barbecue at Kim’s home, this one for officially retiring my first raft, which gave me and friends years of adventures. My dear friend George, who died a few years ago is on the left. Kim’s son Cory is the young man on the right. Kim and I are in the middle, and at the very back is GG, Kim’s grandmother who is also no longer with us. I’m not sure who took the photo

So it was that much of the talk this day resolved around our rafting misadventures. There was also a goodly bit of conversation about all the trouble Janice and my daughter, T.C. (back then known as Trish before she spent 10 years in the Navy) got into when they were teenagers. The life success of both these girls as grown women today is an example of how much we all change. It’s something I try to keep in mind when I am around my kids and others whom I’ve known a long time. I’m certainly not the same person today I was 50 years ago – or even five years ago.

But I don’t know if Janice’s beautiful daughter Christina, who also calls me Nana and came to the barbecue, has

Kim, her son Cory, and me hiking Indian Trail in 2007 on one of my return visits to Ogden.

changed all that much. Always a good kid, at least as I knew her, she wanted to be a journalist, like me when she was growing up. Today, with a husband and children of her own, she works as a photojournalist. She reminded me of the time I took her to work with me for a day.

Sometimes I wonder why I left all these wonderful people back in Ogden? But then maybe if I had stayed, I wouldn’t appreciate them all as much as I do today. Besides, there are phones, emails, Facebook and other means of communication that help keep our friendships alive – and new friends to make, like Jean, who has become dear to me, too.

Meanwhile, the old fart and the old broad at the barbecue, Charlie and I, even write old-fashioned snail-mail letters to each other.

Bean Pat:  Love Traveling https://lovetravellingblog.com/2019/08/15/day-14-walking-the-macritchie-trail-and-visiting-the-national-museum-of-singapore/ The Macritchie Trail at Japan’s Windsor Nature Park. Take an armchair walk and visit a museum with this traveler.

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, enthusiastic birder, and is always searching for life’s silver lining

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            “The most beautiful gift of nature is that it gives one pleasure to look around and try to comprehend what we see.” – Albert Einstein

Antelope Island as I remembered it. Today, much of the water shown in this reflective photograph taken from the causeway no longer exists. — Photo by Pat Bean.

Antelope Island

            Day 9: My friend Kim, whom Jean and I were staying with, had family plans for the day, a special event for a granddaughter, and so we were left on our own to explore. There were many things I wanted to show my Tucson friend about the Ogden area that I loved:

We only saw one live buffalo this hot day. But Jean was intrigued by the buffalo statues that dot the island, each with a unique paint theme. — Photo by Jean Gowen

Devil’s Slide in Weber Canyon; Snowbasin, where the 2002 Winter Olympics downhill ski events were held, and where I learned to ski at the age of 40;  Ogden’s 25th Street that once thrived on vice and prostitution but is now a quaint two-block showcase of boutiques, a historic train station, pubs and restaurants; Willard Bay State Park, habitat of winter bald eagles; Bear River Migratory Birding Refuge, which was destroyed in the 1980s when the Great Salt Lake rose to historic levels, and which I watched come back to its lushness; Ogden Mountain’s bench hiking trails that were my peaceful escape after a chaotic day as a newspaper reporter or editor; and Pineview Reservoir up Ogden Canyon, which I had ridden around on my bicycle in my younger days – just to name a few. .

But the day was hot and we would have our two doggies Dusty and Scamp with us, So,

we settled on a trip to Antelope Island. The place was special to me because I visited it almost every week for two years after I became addicted to birding in 1999. While I learned much on field trips with experienced birders, of which Ogden has many, the island was my Birding 101 Lab where I had to try and identify species on my own.

We didn’t see the island’s antelope either. This is a photo I took of these island residents in 2007. — Photo by Pat Bean

Today’s visit to the Great Salt Lake island, however, shocked me. The six-mile causeway was almost unnecessary as the water level was so low it barely came into view before we reached the island. I still remembered those early 1980s’ years when the water level had been so high that it had completely washed out the former causeway so that it had to be rebuilt – as had a goodly portion of Interstate 80 that we had traveled the day before.

I especially missed all the flocks of ducks, sandpipers and other shore birds that came into view when I first drove onto the causeway. No matter what time of year, there were always one species or another dining on the lake’s brine flies or brine shrimp eggs. The lake is a major refueling stop for birds on migration.

Jean, who lives in the same apartment complex here in Tucson as I do, said she “loved” our visit to Antelope Island.  “It was awesome. Well except I was hungry, and we couldn’t get anything to eat on the island.”

I had promised her buffalo burgers when we got to the top of Lookout Point. The island is home to a herd of buffalo that is managed to keep its numbers in check. Each year an annual roundup is held to check the animals’ health and to reduce the herd as necessary.

Mount Ogden as viewed from Ogden’s 25th Street. — Photo by Pat Bean

The hilltop Point provided a great view of the event, which was conducted mostly by four-wheelers instead of horses. One year, I watched a magnificent, large bull outwit the herders for over an hour before they gave up the chase. The animal would stand still and let the herders surround it with their vehicles, then it would suddenly dash through one of the holes in the circle.

By the end of the herders’ efforts, onlookers were cheering for the buffalo.

I wonder if the herders were as disappointed as Jean was this day when we discovered that the Lookout Point food shack no long existed – only the 360-degree panoramic view of the lake and surrounding landscape was available.

It was magnificent, and after shelving my expectations, I finally began to enjoy what the island had to offer.  If there is anything that I have learned in my eight decades on this planet, it’s that yearning for the past can make one miss the present.

Bean Pat: Strictly for laughs today https://tom8pie.com/2019/08/12/i-had-a-pet-frog-named-infinitum-but-he-croaked-this-poem-is-dedicated-to-him/  A post by one of my favorite nature photographers.

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, enthusiastic birder, and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

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If you think adventures are dangerous, try routine: It’s lethal.: — Paul Coelho

Mount Ogden reflection on the new Standard-Examiner newspaper building back in 2000. Sadly, the newspaper has shrunk since I left, as have most newspapers all across the county. But the mountain is as majestic as ever, still having snow on it during my July visit because of good winter snows. — Photo by Pat Bean

Awesome Mountains, Nasty Traffic and Friendship 

Day 8 Continued: We made good time for the first 300 miles of this day’s 350-mile journey from Battle Mountain, Nevada, to Ogden, Utah, coming into Salt Lake City about 3 p.m.

As usual, I got a bit misty-eyed on first seeing the string of Wasatch Mountains that dominate this eastern Utah landscape for 160 miles.

Personally, I think these mountains, which form the western edge of the Rockies, are among the most beautiful in the world. I worked and played in their shadow for 25 years, and climbed and hiked many of them during that time. While I left them 15 years ago, they are still in my heart.

I-15 traffic near Salt Lake City. — Salt Lake Tribune photo

But just as happy as I was to see these mountains once again, their appearance came with a dark side – Interstate 15. Our up-to-this-point pleasant drive changed moods when it intersected with this freeway. Construction and mind-blowing, horrendous traffic often slowed our progress north to less than 10 mph. It took nearly two hours to drive the less than 50 miles between Salt Lake and Ogden.

I had never enjoyed driving I-15 when I lived in the area, but traffic on it seems only to get worse with every passing year, especially between Ogden and Provo – what is known as the Wasatch Front where the vast majority of Utahns live. It was 5 p.m. when Jean and I and our two doggies, Dusty and Scamp, finally reached Kim’s home.

Kim and I hamming it up at a photo booth at her son’s wedding reception.

My best-friend-forever Kim and I have known each other now for 40 years. We’ve worked together, cried together, hiked and rafted together, went on an African safari together, climbed to the top of Zion’s Angel’s Landing together in all kinds of weather, gotten drunk together … well, this list could go on and on. Needless to say, there was a big hug awaiting me when I finally arrived – and a hug for my friend Jean, too, and welcoming pats for our canine friends as well. Like me, Kim is an animal lover.

The three of us lazed around for the rest of the evening, sitting outside in Kim’s fenced backyard where Scamp and Dusty got to stretch their legs once again. We spent the hours catching up on each other’s lives and drinking Jack and Cokes — Kim, who knows me well had stocked up on my favorite adult beverage.

Being able to once again spend time with a good friend, while lingering outside to watch the sun cast its rays on Mount Ogden and Mount Ben Lomond was well worth any traffic hassle I had to overcome to get here.

In my book, the day was as perfect as any day could be.

Bean Pat: Hootie Bird’s Art Journal https://hootiebirdsartjournal.wordpress.com/2019/08/08/this-is-why-i-am-not-a-portrait-artist/  I love this.

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, enthusiastic birder and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

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Battle Mountain, Nevada — Wikimedia photo 

            “Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.” – Matsuo Basho

Cruising I-80 in Nevada and Utah

            Day 7: The next morning found us back on Interstate 80 for a scenic, peaceful day’s drive to Battle Mountain, Nevada, 350 miles away.

The Bonneville Salt Flats as viewed near the Nevada-Utah border. Wikimedia photo

            In my research to discover what battle had been fought here, I learned there hadn’t been any battle, but I did learn that in December 2001, the Washington Post published an article that called the town the “Armpit of America.”  And that Battle Mountain then used the title as a publicity opportunity, hosting an annual “Armpit Festival” from 2002–2005. The event was sponsored by Old Spice.

I saw Battle Mountain as just one of America’s small towns past its prime after a  familiar history of copper, silver and gold mining and accessibility to a railroad to bring miners to the area and transport the ores elsewhere. The city’s economy today is gold mining, gambling and a plethora of motels because it sits in the middle of nowhere.

It was simply a convenient place for Jean, me and our doggies to spend the night, order take out from a nearby steak house, and then start the next day at the town’s excellent dog park before continuing our journey. The pleasant dog park made me discount the armpit title.

Day 8: Back on Interstate 80, our goal for the day was Ogden, Utah, where I had lived and worked as a reporter, columnist and

Utah Tree of Life, a cement structure that sits beside Insterdate 80 between Wendover, Nevada and Salt Lake City, Utah.

editor for 25 years. I was eager to once again be in sight of its magnificent Wasatch Mountain backdrop. I was also eager to see friends I had left behind when I retired in 2004 and took to the roaming RV life for eight years before nesting in Tucson seven years ago.

But before that could happen, there were 350 miles ahead of us, the first 300 continuing on Interstate 80 through a mostly unsettled landscape that was sometimes awesome and-sometimes barren. The most interesting sight along the way – one that Jean, a former chef and now a high school culinary arts teacher was eager to see for the first time – came just after we crossed into Utah after passing through Wendover, Nevada, where Northern Utahns come to gamble.

It was the Bonneville Salt Flats, a remnant of Lake Bonneville that once stretched across portions of Utah, Nevada and Idaho until it broke through Red Rock Pass in Idaho about 15,000 years ago.  I knew the area’s history well because during my days as an environmental reporter I often wrote about the flats and the Great Salt Lake, which I had watched go from a historic low in 1963 to a historic high in 1983. Today, the ever-fluctuating lake is once again reaching historic low levels.  

We stopped for a short break at a viewing tower overlooking the salt flats shortly after crossing over the border into Utah. Jean, curious about its texture, walked out onto the salt.

 As we drove on, I noted that the area we were passing through was called the West Desert and that in addition to containing the salt flats, it also contained an Air Force bombing range and was home to Dugway Proving Grounds, where chemical weapons are tested. In addition, I said, there are several landfills, including one for hazardous waste, which I had also visited and wrote about as a reporter.

This portion of the day’s drive was full of memories for me and new territory for Jean.

To be continued:

Bean Pat: Worth reading for writers is today’s Jane Friedman’s column. Check it out at https://www.janefriedman.com/metaphor-and-imagery/   

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, enthusiastic birder and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

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“When the man walked up he said, ‘What is Wild Dog doing here?’ And the Woman said, ‘His name is not Wild Dog any more, but the First Friend, because he will be our friend for always and always and always.” — Barbara Kingsolver.

I knew it had gotten too quiet. — Photo by Pat Bean

It’s morning. My coffee is brewing. I am sitting at my computer checking email while waiting for it to be ready. It is quiet. I look down.

The scene is easily described in two words: New Puppy.

And now you know why I renamed him Scamp.

*Available on Amazon, 

Bean Pat: Reading with a dog. http://lindahoye.com/readingunwanted/

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, enthusiastic birder and is always searching for life’s silver lining. She can be reached at patbean@msn.com

 

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And Maiden to Crone

Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued is always just beyond your grasp, but which if you will sit down quietly may alight upon you.” — Nathaniel Hawthorne

Bald cypress trees along the Frio River at Texas’ Garner State Park. — Wikimedia photo by John Bonzo

I was camping at Garner State Park, back in my full-time RV-ing days, looking for birds when I came upon one of nature’s many surprises.

Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly — Photo by Pat Bean

Chomping down on tiny ground plants hidden among the short grass were a dozen or so pipevine swallowtail larvae. That morning, I had seen, and photographed, the end result of all this chomping and transformation business, an awesome pipevine swallowtail butterfly.
To become that beautiful butterfly, it had to first give up being a caterpillar.

I thought about this as one of those lessons Mother Nature shows us if we look to her for advice. Just as the landscape and wildlife change from season to season – the land from green to white between summer and winter, and birds molt their feathers for drabber ones and foxes change their fur color, so we

Pipevine larva

are changing with the years.
There are even names for the female cycle, maiden, mother and crone. I’m definitely in the latter cycle right now, although I prefer the term old broad to crone. I’m the butterfly to the caterpillar. I like thinking of myself that way. While time may have left me a bit worn and tattered, happiness has alighted upon my shoulder with the quietness and beauty of a butterfly.

And now this wandering-wondering old broad wonders if the butterfly enjoys its final cycle as much as I am enjoying mine.

Bean Pat: Nature has No Boss https://naturehasnoboss.com/2019/06/12/luminous/#like-12113 Yellow is my favorite color

The Book

*Available on Amazon, Travels with Maggie features a list of birds saw each leg of the journey.

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, enthusiastic birder and is always searching for life’s silver lining. She can be reached at patbean@msn.com

 

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             “Color is a power which directly influences the soul.” – Wassily Kandinsky

Painted bunting — Wikimedia photo

The Bunting Came with a Bonus

Back in my early birding days, I spent some time at Texas’ Cedar Hill State Park near Dallas in search of a painted

Female painted bunting. — Wikimedia photo

bunting. It took three days of breaking spider webs on trails in the early mornings, and one day of slogging through the mud after a night of rain, but I eventually found one of these clownish-colored birds.

When in the open, you can’t miss the adult male.  He has a bright blue head, a scarlet breast, a green back, and a red rump. The female and first-year males are more subdued, dressed in shades of green, with the breast leaning toward yellow on the color wheel. These birds, however, feel more comfortable when ensconced in thick foliage, thus my difficulty in finding one.

The colorful bird I finally found on my fourth day of looking was an easily identifiable adult male perched in a tree near a small pond.  The painted bunting became bird species No. 383 on my life list (which now numbers 710). The painted bunting is nicknamed nonpareil (without equal) in French and mariposa pintado (painted butterfly) in Spanish because of its spectacular appearance.

Appropriately, a group of painted buntings is called a mural or a palette.

Green heron — Wikimedia photo

Sad to say, the bird’s beauty made it a popular caged bird until its capture and captivity became illegal in the United States. It is still, however, a hot item with the international pet trade, and the birds are particularly popular as pets in Asia and Europe, which may be one of the reasons its numbers are dwindling.

Meanwhile, as I was enjoying my front-row view of the Cedar Hill painted bunting years ago, it was suddenly displaced on the limb by another bird. I would have been upset, except this bird was a green heron – bird species No. 384.

Some days, life is really good.

Bean Pat: Traveling with dogs. https://jamieandthedogs.wordpress.com/2019/06/05/yep-just-me-and-four-dogs-heading-east/  This reminds me of my years on the road in my small RV, only I just had one dog.

*Available on Amazon, Travels with Maggie features a list of birds saw each leg of the journey.

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, enthusiastic birder and is always searching for life’s silver lining. She can be reached at patbean@msn.com

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