Posts Tagged ‘adventure’

Through my windshield: Somewhere in New Mexico on one of the better stretches of road. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Through my windshield: Somewhere in New Mexico on one of the better stretches of road. — Photo by Pat Bean

“One way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure.” – William Feather

Snow and Ice Adventure

            I left Dallas the day after Christmas, after three weeks visiting my scattered Texas family. It was a quiet, cold overcast morning with 950 miles of interstate driving ahead of me. I hate freeway driving, but I needed to get home by the 27th because my Tucson daughter was having surgery on the 28th.

To make the drive go faster, I listened to an audible version of Ken Follett’s “Edge of Eternity,” which is the third of the author’s Century Trilogy, and which covers the period of the 1960’s through the ‘80s. Those are years I lived through, so the book was a refresher history course for me of the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis and Civil Rights issues.

Not too far from my daughter's Rowlett home.

Not too far from my daughter’s Rowlett home.

About 5 p.m., I pulled into Van Horn, Texas, and checked into a $47 a night Motel 6 – and immediately regretted my economy decision. About 7 p.m., as I was lying on the bed (on my own blanket) watching TV, the electricity went out. It flickered on and off for another hour then blacked out altogether. I blamed the cheap motel until I got up a bit later and opened the window curtain to see if I could let in some light. My car, parked right outside my door, had about 10 inches of snow on it — and the entire town was blacked out.

The next morning I learned of the Texas tornados, and that one had sat down just two miles from my daughter’s home — where my return to Arizona journey had started. Thankfully all my Texas family was OK, although sadly other families were not so fortunate.

Since I needed to get home, I got on the road early – well, after a half hour of scrapping ice and snow off my car without the proper tools and no gloves. For a while the roads were clear, but somewhere before I hit El Paso, snow began to fall. And somewhere after El Paso, the roads turned to ice. At one point I was following a snowplow, and at another traffic slowed to 10 mph, or even stopped completely a time or two.

Cayenne in El Paso, after I cleaned her up in Van Horn and before the nasty New Mexico snow and ice. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Cayenne in El Paso, after I cleaned her up in Van Horn and before the nasty New Mexico snow and ice. — Photo by Pat Bean

On the sides of the road were many stuck and wrecked cars and semis, whose drivers I assumed didn’t know the first rule of getting from one place to another on ice. Drive as if you have no brakes because you’re going to lose control of your vehicle when you apply them.

With 25 years of Northern Utah winter driving behind me, I felt reasonably confident I would make it through, and so I decided to take William Feather’s advice and consider the day an adventure.

It worked. I forgot about making time and my stress level dropped significantly – and I even made it home before dark. You don’t get many adventures like this at my age.           

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: Pelicans http://ghostbearphotography.com/pelicans/   One of my favorite bloggers hates birds, but loves pelicans. I love his photos.



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“Life is uncharted territory. It reveals its story one moment at a time.” – Leo F. Buscaqlia

Adventures with Pepper: The End of Day Ten  

Pepper was a little confused when this quaint burro didn’t want to play. It was one of several pieces of garden art that added charm to Wray, Colorado’s, Hitchin’ Post RV Park. — Photo by Pat Bean

When I left Loveland, Colorado, this morning I was facing what looked like a 160-mile drive ahead of me before I would likely come across an RV park — and the ratings for it  in my Trailer Life Directory left something to be desired.

Perhaps that was simply because it was small. At least that’s what I hoped.

My love of driving little-traveled back roads means it’s not usual for me to find myself in this kind of situation. And when it does, the questions start running through my head.

Would I find a safe place to stay the night? Would the people I meet be trustworthy? Would I take a wrong turn? Would my RV suffer a flat tire or engine trouble?  Would the showers be clean?

All these woulds are what made one couple I met decide, after just one day on the road in a  brand new 40-foot RV, that the traveling lifestyle wasn’t for them. Instead they chose a wooded RV park an hour away from their home, bought one of its spaces, parked their RV and used it as a getaway cottage.

Even if they weren’t rat-a-tat-tatting on the post, I found these woodpeckers charming. — Photo by Pat Bean

A creative way to go, I thought, when the female half of the couple told me about their decision as we shared the park’s Laundromat at her home away from home.

But it’s not my way. Not knowing what lies ahead is part of the adventure.

I’ve learned two things over the years that ease my mind about facing the unknown.

The first, which I learned after suffering worn disk brake pads that left Gypsy Lee crying ouch every time I touched the brake pedal, was that I trusted myself to solve whatever problem fate threw at me.  In this case it meant sitting at Wiser State Park near Poteau, Oklahoma, for several days, while new brake pads for my RV were shipped in to a Poteau tire shop, as none were to be found in the small town.

And who doesn’t get a smile on their face when a deer emerges from the woods. While certainly not great art, the small wildlife statues did make me feel good about the place I had chosen to spend the night. — Photo by Pat Bean

The second is a Plan B. Once it was a night spent in a Wal-Mart parking lot to escape driving in a storm, and several times it’s been to keep driving until I do find a place that looks safe.

That would have meant quite a bit farther this day if the Wray, Colorado, place didn’t work out, I had noted when planning the day’s driving route.

Thankfully I didn’t have to do that. Wray’s Hitchin’ Post RV Park, despite its faded entrance sign, turned out to be a clean little gem run by a little old lady who used a walker to move about.

Book Report: Travels with Maggie up to 53,606 words.

The Wondering Wandrer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: Catch of the Day: http://tinyurl.com/dy2alca There’s more to getting up early to go fishing than catching fish.

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It was peaceful watching this mom and young charges splashing in the water until ... -- Photo by Pat Bean

 ” We live in a world full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open. ” – Irving Wallace

"Hey guy's! There's a hammerkop over there with the zebra." -- Photo by Pat Bean

African Safari: Holding Our Breaths

Our afternoon game drive with Bilal took place in Tarangire National Park, which is known for its elephants. The park , except during its rainy season, is mostly hot and dry. We missed the rainy season, and our August visit during Africa’s winter was made before the heat and dryness claimed the land.

The elephants, as almost all of the park’s wildlife did, made their way daily to the park’s only water source, the Tarangire River for which the park is named. Bilal knew exactly where to go and where to park for spectacular views of wildlife visiting the river.

One of the places was in the shade of a tree right next to a bank. On the far side of the river, we watched zebra and waterbuck peacefully drinking together. While we were watching a couple of giraffe joined them. It was fun to watch how they splayed their legs apart so as to be able to get low enough to drink.

Kim got this photo of a really big elephant that didn't scare us a bit. Perhaps because it was shot with her zoom lens. -- Photo by Kim Perrin

As I watched in awe, my eye was drawn to a bird at the feet of the zebras. It was a hammerkop, a strange looking bird with an elongated head. It was yet another lifer, which I excitedly pointed out to Kim and Bilal, both of whom failed to see birds when larger, more exotic, wildlife was in view.

On our side of the river were three elephants, a mom and two young ones. They were splashing in the water near were Bilal had parked the Land Rover. They looked like they were having so much fun that even I forgot to look at birds for awhile.

As we watched, the three began to climb out of the river beside our vehicle. As the young ones made their way up the bank, the mom got in front of our vehicle and engaged us in a stare off. She was close enough that she could have easily touched the hood of the vehicle with her trunk.

We could hear her snuffling as she glared intently into each of our eyes.

We can't say we weren't warned. -- Photo by kim Perrin

Kim and I, who were both standing up in the vehicle, stopped breathing we were so still. Bilal had his hand on the keys in the ignition but he didn’t move a muscle either. While this wasn’t the largest elephant we had seen, we all knew how fierce the protective mom could turn in an instant if she thought we were a danger to the young ones she had in tow.

After what seemed like an eternity, but in reality was only about two or three minutes she turned and led her charges off. All three of us took a big breath.

Bilal said he had been afraid if he started the vehicle to get us away, it would have caused her to charge.

Kim and I had wanted to have an adventure when we came to Africa, and this day certainly provided one. But we were both irked that neither of us had taken a photo of the face off. I would remember that later during another close-up wildlife encounter

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A bit disheveled, but I finally got myself back up from the creek, and Shanna even got a photo of Maggie and I together, which led to my sliding down the cliff. -- Photo by Shanna Lee

“Remember what Bilbo used to say: It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” — J.R.R. Tolkien

Travels With Maggie

Rowlett, one of the many suburbs surrounding Dallas and where my oldest daughter lives, has been my home for the past couple of weeks. What with a grandson’s wedding, other family activities and a fenced backyard for Maggie, I haven’t taken my usually daily walks.

So it was with extreme delight yesterday when my granddaughter, Shanna, Maggie and I were able to escape for a stroll in Rowlett’s Springfield Park, which offers walking paths along a creek and around a lake. For the more adventurous, there’s also a narrow path through the woods that runs alongside a creek. Of course this is the one the three of us took.

A butterfly and wildflowers, evidence of spring bursting out all over. -- Photo by Pat Bean

As we hiked, I took photographs of wildflowers, butterflies, budding trees, great-tailed grackles and the creek. At one point along the hike, a huge gnarl of intertwined tree trunks caught my attention. I decided it would be a great spot for Shanna to take a picture of Maggie and me. Since I’m always the photographer, I don’t have any good photos of my canine traveling companion and me together.

Erosion, however, had cut a part of the path away that I needed to cross to get over to the scenic photo site. Over-estimating my athletic skills, I decided I could maneuver past it.

Bad idea!

One step quickly found me sliding down a steep eight-foot drop. Fortunately I was able to grab hold of a tree snag that counteracted gravity just about six inches before I would have ended up in the creek.

Shanna’s immediate response was to nervously ask: “Are you OK Nana. Are you hurt.” I wasn’t. The only casualty was my turquoise pants whose seat and one leg was a dirty brown. Maggie, whose retractable leash I still had in my hand, gave me a look that clearly said: “That was a stupid thing to do. Don’t expect me to rescue you.”

Since Shanna couldn’t reach me, it was a self rescue using snags to slowly haul myself up, always remembering to make sure I had three limbs firmly placed before I reached for a new hold.

The response from my granddaughter when I reached the top was: “You’re awesome Nana.” Her words made my fall well worth the effort.

Shanna also managed to snap a picture of Maggie and I just before I reached the top of the path again. It wasn’t quite the photograph I had pictured earlier, but I decided it was good enough.

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