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Posts Tagged ‘Bill Bryson’

 “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – St. Augustine

Ten of Hundreds

 

Lake Powell, which destroyed Glen Canyon and which wouldn’t ever have existed if Edward Abbey’s “Monkey Wrench Gang” characters had anything to say about it. — Photo by Pat Bean

I won’t say these are my 10 favorite travel books, because I could name 10 more just as easily. But these are books that influenced my decision to become rootless and make the road my home for the past eight years.

I Married Adventure, 1940, by Osa Johnson. I picked this book up at the library when I was about 10 years old. I was always sneaking into the adult section. I think I already knew I had wanderlust, and this book simply confirmed it. I, too, wanted adventure.

Blue Highways by William Least Heat Moon. My 22-foot RV, Gypsy Lee, is my version of Moon’s green van, Ghost Dancing. I loved this book so much that I’ve given dozens of copies away as gifts. The green-dotted scenic byways marked on today’s maps are my blue highways.

Road Fever, by Tim Cahill, I have loved everything this Wyoming author has written, especially this book that details a 15,000-mile trip from Tierra del Fuego to the top of Alaska. I’ve read everything this author has written that I could come across, including his many Outside magazine stories.

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. This book fueled my desire to walk the Appalachian Trail, but except for a few miles on various sections it’s a to-do list item that I’ve waited too long to get around to doing. But I still have time to hike at least a few more miles on this trail whenever I come across one of its many trailheads.

One of Charles Kuralt’s more popular “On the Road” episodes wat the time he hooked up with a botanist to put names to all the wildflowers he was seeing, like this fireweed. — Photo by Pat Bean

Travels With Charley by John Steinbeck. I read this book many years ago, but reread it when I took to the road in 2004. My wordsmith friend, Charlie Trentelman, mentioned that I was the female version of Steinbeck, thus the title of my travel book, “Travels With Maggie.” Thank you Steinbeck.

On the Road with Charles Kuralt. Charles Kuralt was also influenced by Steinbeck. Kuralt, meanwhile, is actually the traveler most like me. We were both journalists, and we both prefer looking at life’s brighter side. I cried when Kuralt died, and one of my favorite travel photos is of his “On the Road” RV that’s on exhibit at the Henry Ford Museum.

The Snow Leopard, by Peter Matthieson. A fantastic writer who makes one think. This book brought the Himalayas to life for me. I was privileged to have once heard this author speak.

Out of Africa by Isek Dinesen. Like Osa Johnson, this book made me want to travel to Africa. Not only did I do that in 2007, I visited Dinesen’s former coffee plantation in Nairobi.

Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey. While I loved this book, Abbey’s “The Monkey Wrench Gang” is my favorite of all that he has written. It, too, could be considered a travel book in that it includes awesome descriptions of Utah and Arizona’s red-rock landscape.

The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux. No travel book collection would be complete without Theroux. This is my favorite of his many.

Book Report: Busy morning, then a four-hour lunch with a group of mostly crazy old broads, whose Bay of Pigs nickname rivals my former group of crazy old broad friends called the Murder of Crows, that I wouldn’t have missed for the world. It comes under my umbrella mantra of smelling all the flowers and grabbing all the gusto this life has to offer. While I will do some editing as part of the rewrite of my travel book late this afternoon, I doubt I will add any significant word count. It’s the story of my writing life, conflicting goals. The good thing is that I no longer flagellate myself for such lapses.

Bean’s Pat: Photos and Facets; http://tinyurl.com/ckpfxer No! It’s not the London Bridge you’ve been seeing on television.

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Bluebonnets -- Photo by Pat Bean

The Wichita Falls waterfall.

“To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it’s taken for granted.” — Bill Bryson

Travels With Maggie

After hiking a mesquite grove at Lake Arrowhead State Park, stopping to photograph bluebonnets that I figured would be the last ones I would see for the year, and visiting Wichita Falls’ tiny skyscraper, a Ripley’s Believe It or Not wonder, I stopped by Lucy Park to see the city’s better known landmark, its waterfall.

While the city is named for the waterfall that once dropped down from the Wichita River here, this is not it. That falls washed away in a flood back in the 1800s. The replacement for the original is a 54-foot tiered waterfall created by man back in 1987. They say you can see it as you cross the river bridge on Interstate 44, but I wanted a more personal experience.

It was a gentle walk to the falls through the landscaped park along the bubbling river, past ponds favored by mallards and beneath pecan trees. The time it took to view the falls, however, put me behind schedule. I create that problem a lot.

Once back on the road, it was quite windy. So I stopped just 50 miles down the road in Vernon, where I checked into the Rocking A RV Park and fixed some red beans and rice for my dinner.

I shared with my dog, Maggie, then together we took one final walk around the park before settling in for the night.

Since my travels are not measured in miles, I was one contented traveler. Maggie appeared pretty happy, too.

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