Road Tripping

Ben Lomond, which dominates Ogden’s northern view.: The creator of Paramount’s mountain logo once lived in Ogden, and Ben Lomond is said to have been his inspiration for the design. I discovered this piece of trivia while writing a story about the mountain for the newspaper in the 1990s. 

            “With age comes wisdom. With travel comes understanding.” – Sandra Lake

The Wasatch Mountains in my Rearview Mirror            

Day 11: Jean and I left Ogden early in the morning heading south on Interstate 15.  We were heading home, a journey of about 830 miles that would take us two days since I don’t drive at night.

Bentley, shown here sitting in Robert and Karla’s boat, became Scamp’s playmate while we were in St. George. 

Today would be a scenic, pleasant day’s drive – after the first 80 miles.

As we neared Provo, where we would leave the Wasatch Front’s traffic jam behind, I pointed out Timpanogos to our east.  At 11,753 feet, it is the second tallest mountain in the Wasatch Range. If you kind of squint your eyes, you can imagine the profile of the Indian maiden Utahna sleeping on its peaks.

According to legend, Utahna threw herself off the mountain after her beloved was killed by a rival for her hand. There are several versions of the legend, but inside a cave in the mountain, reached by a steep mile and a half hike, lies her heart. Actually, it’s a large heart-shaped stalactite, which was lit from behind by a red light every time I saw it. The hike to the cave was one of my favorites – when I was a bit younger.

After passing Provo, our drive took us in view of Mount Nebo, which at 11,933 feet is the tallest in the range. At 9,763 feet, Ben Lomond, which stares down at Ogden, is the range’s ninth tallest.

My first meeting with Scamp took place in St. George at Robert and Karla’s home. He was all over me the second I sat down.

I guess you can tell that my thoughts at this juncture of our journey were on the fact that I was once again leaving the mountains I had so come to love. I now live in the shadow of the Catalina Mountains, which although different are still impressive — and one of the reasons I was content to settle in Tucson after my RV-ing years.

Putting my thoughts back on the drive, I let myself enjoy the passing scenery. One mountain or another seemed always to be in view, even if on the far horizon. The goal for today was St. George, where Kim’s brother and his wife lived.

I had originally planned to travel a bit farther because stopping here meant traveling only about 330 miles this day, leaving 500 miles to cover tomorrow. I also hated to impose our two dogs on the couple, who had an English bulldog named Bentley that hadn’t been too friendly to my new canine companion Scamp when they first met. My friend Kim had adopted Scamp from an Ogden shelter for me, and I had met her in St. George at her brother’s home to pick him up in early May.

I eventually decided, we had to spend the night in St. George, coming to this conclusion after Robert and Karla, who had heard we would be passing through the area, called and asked when we would be there. I got the impression these dear friends of mine would be hurt if we bypassed them.

The St. George stop included a home-cooked dinner as well as a night’s lodging, a treat to our shoestring travel budget. Most important, however, was the companionable conversation and feeling of being loved that came with the visit. And my fears about the dogs getting along were for nothing.

Bentley and Scamp joyfully played together this time, while Dusty kept her distance from their rambunctious enthusiasm. That the two dogs got along greatly pleased me. It bodes well for future visits.  Karla and Robert, meanwhile, were quite surprised by the interaction.

“He’s never played with any dog,” Robert said.

Jean retired early this night, and Robert went off to help a son with a stalled car, leaving Karla and I time for a companionable chat. The next morning, I was up in time to have coffee with Robert before we would hit the road again.

I am extremely glad Jean and I had stopped in St. George.

Check out Travels with Maggie on Amazon.

Bean Pat: True, and funny https://kathywaller1.com/2019/08/18/which-would-you-rather/ But I guess will keep blogging because I simply enjoy doing it.

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.

Garden Melody

Saturday Art

Garden Melody by Pat Bean and Jean Gowen. This is is the first time I have ever shared the creation of a painting with another person.

            “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain a child once we grow up.” – Pablo Picasso

I’ve cut down on my blogging to Mondays and Thursdays because I have started my memoir. It’s about how a high school dropout becomes an award-winning journalist who wrote stories about three presidents, and celebrities like Maya Angelou, my all-time favorite interview. What I accomplished seems more significant to me at 80, then it did when I was doing it.

Back then I felt like an inept fraud who was simply fooling everybody.

Before I dedicated my life to writing and journalism, there was a part of me that also wanted to be an artist. I gave that dream up for the more important one. But over the years, I occasionally took an art class, and these days, along with writing, I piddle at painting, mixed-media but mostly watercolor.

I find that just as I want the words I write to be read, I want my art to be seen. Perhaps, in addition to my Monday and Thursday blogs, I’ll share my art for the week on Saturdays. No promises because I don’t want to put pressure on myself. I’m not an artist; I’m a writer – and that comes with all the pressure I can handle.

Today’s painting is one that started out as one thing, which didn’t work out, and so became another. My friend, Jean, doodled on the paper a bit, with my permission, when it was in its beginning stages.

It then sat on the table I use for my art for about three weeks. I finally decided it had to be finished so I could start another. I call it Garden Melody, and I actually quite like it.

Check Out: James Gurney’s art blog at http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/

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.

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

Road Tripping


            “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.

Road Tripping

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.

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.

Road Tripping


On the road again, outside Monterey, California. — Photo by Jean Gowen

          “The real voyage of discovery consists in not seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust

Interstate 80 and a Lifer  

            Day Six: Coffee was again the first order of the day, but this time I didn’t get lost on the way back. After our caffeine fix, Jean was eager to go to the beach again. I sent her alone and stayed at the inn with Scamp. I wanted to catch up with my journaling – and much-needed alone time.

            When Jean returned, we packed up, then made a stop at a tire store because my low-pressure light had popped on the day before. All tires, probably because of a change in elevation and temperature, were a bit low, which meant there really wasn’t a problem. Aired up, we headed east out of Monterey and before long all the heavy, horrendous traffic was behind us. As the driver, I heaved a great sigh of relief, and once again was able to enjoy the passing landscape.

A California towhee — my first, and No. 711 on my life bird list.

           Before long we hit Interstate 80, a route that stretches from the Pacific Ocean in the West to the Atlantic Ocean in the East. We would take it all the way to Salt Lake City, before heading north to Ogden, Utah, where I had lived and worked for 25 years. We had two sleepovers before we would reach this destination, however.

The first was at the home of another of Jean’s half-sisters. This one lived in a splendid, remote home just off I-80 about an hour outside of Sacramento.

            We arrived mid-afternoon and were heartily welcomed by the sister, her husband, their two dogs, and many cats. Scamp and Dusty romped in the couple’s hilly backyard, glad for the exercise. Inside, however, I had to keep Scamp on a leash beside me because he was determined to chase the cats.

            After a grilled salmon dinner with all the trimmings, Jean and her sister took the dogs on a walk up a steep hill to a pond while I sat on the patio and watched birds. I was thrilled to announce when they had returned – with muddy dogs that needed to be rinsed off with a hose — that I had seen a lifer, a bird that I had never seen before.

            It was a California towhee, a dull brown bird with a bit of rust color beneath its tail and at its throat. There are six towhees that can be found in North America, and I had already seen the other five: spotted towhee in Ogden, Utah, on Dec. 20, 2001; green-tailed towhee on Power Mountain Ridge in Ogden Valley on Aug. 12, 2002; canyon towhee in Sierra Vista, Arizona, on May 9, 2004; eastern towhee in Camden, Arkansas on Dec. 24, 2008; and Albert’s towhee on April 5, 2012 in Tucson, Arizona.

            Seeing this final one on June 26, 2019, near Sacramento, made me one happy birder.

            After this, Scamp and I retired early to one of the guest rooms and left Jean and her sister alone to catch up on the years that they had been apart. In the middle of the night, I took Scamp outside so he could do his business.  It was dark, and when I heard a rustling in the bush, I realized how wild the landscape was surrounding her sister’s home. Scamp and I both hurried back inside. We would wait to enjoy the scenery until daylight.

            Bean Pat: Where – or When https://simpletravelourway.wordpress.com/2019/07/27/travel-advice-temperatures-and-showers/  Another travel blog.

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.