Posts Tagged ‘journey’


The daily walks Maggie and I take together help us get close to the landscape. Here, Maggie's crossing a bridge over a small stream at Andrew Jackson State Park in South Carolina. -- Photo by Pat Bean


“Nothing is so awesomely unfamiliar as the familiar that discloses itself at the end of a journey.” Cynthia Ozick

Travels With Maggie

 Since taking up the challenge to blog daily, I’ve slowly worked my way up to getting about 100 hits a day, with perhaps half a dozen comments. So when I checked my dashboard this past Tuesday, and noted I had over 500 hits in a very short period of time, I knew something was up. But what?

On checking it out, I discovered my March 1 post on Waterfalls had made WordPress’ daily FreshlyPressed list of blogs readers might want to check out. The honor – Thank you WordPress – resulted in nearly 5,000 hits on Pat Bean’s Blog in a three-day period, quite a few new subscribers and over 100 comments and “like” hits.

I was overwhelmed. I found I couldn’t personally answer every single comment, which has been my habit, and get any writing done. Besides this blog, I’m writing a travel book about traveling across the country with my dog, Maggie. The two of us have been living and traveling down the road in a small RV now for seven years.

So this morning I’m using my blog as a way to thank all the readers out there who waved as my blog passed their way. I

Smelling the flowers and watching the butterflies, like this cloud sulphur photographed at my youngest daughter's home in Camden, Arkansas, are part of the journey. -- Photo by Pat Bean

feel the weight of your support and hope those of you who continue with me will not be disappointed.

My blog is primarily one about travel, with a big emphasis on Mother Nature’s awesome landscape.

But it’s also a blog about celebrating life, of discovering joy in little things and in seeing the world through new eyes; it’s about finding my writer’s voice; of finding ways to relate to my large family of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren; and it’s about the special relationship I have with a spoiled black cocker spaniel that I rescued 12 years ago. .

It’s my journey, but I welcome all of you along for the ride.

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Birds, like this great egret that flew into Sea World in Orlando for a closer look, are what this traveler seeks. -- Photo by Pat Bean

“When you are strong enough to love yourself one-hundred percent – good and bad – you will be amazed at the opportunities that life presents you.” Stacy Charter.

Travels With Maggie

 Many of today’s travel books seem to be written by young women in search of love. One reason this old broad enjoys reading them is because they show me travel in a way I’ve never experienced.

I didn’t get on the road until I was in my 60s, and I spend my days in search of new life birds, like the elegant trogon that  I saw for the first time my third day on the road in my RV, or the golden-cheeked warbler I finally saw last year after five years of searching for one.

Once upon a time, I could probably have been like the women who write about the wonderful or not-so-wonderful men they meet in their exotic travels. I certainly spent many a night after I was divorced dreaming that I would find my perfect soul mate, or crying into my pillow because I didn’t think I would ever find him.

Take time in your journey to smell the flowers and watch the butterflies. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Fortunately I spent my days in a job I enjoyed and my time off in getting on with my life. I finally woke up one morning realizing, man or no man, what a great life I had.

It seems even more perfect since my dog, Maggie, and I got on the road. She, my friends and family, give me all the love I need these days.

I don’t envy my younger, female comrades, and truly hope they find what they are looking for – or have the sense to get on with life if they don’t.

I’m just grateful the journey itself is enough for me.

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A memorial to Tom Mix can be seen off Highway 79 in Arizona. Mix was a silent movie cowboy. He died in an auto accident near this memorial. -- Photo by Pat Bean


When you set out on your journey to Ithaca, pray that the road is long, full of adventure, full of knowledge.” — Constantine Peter Cavafy

 Travels With Maggie

I should have a sign on the back of my RV that reads: I stop at roadside markers. Such frequent halts let me fully appreciate the landscape around me, give me an opportunity to take some photos, and time to listen and look for birds. It’s all about enjoying the journey as much as the destination.

The truth is, I’ve often enjoyed the journey more than the destination. But not all people think of a trip in the same way.

Twenty or so years ago, I drove cross-country with my oldest son, a career military man, and his wife. They were on their way to a new base where he had been transferred. My son’s only goal for the trip was the destination. Even pee stops were rationed.

His wife still laughs about the time I finally hit him on the head when he passed two service stations after I had told him that I needed a restroom break.

Echo Amphitheater is located off Highway 84 in New Mexico. No way would I have passed by without stopping for a closer look at this scenic beauty. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The next long trip I took with that same son was in 2004, when he drove back with me in my new RV from Texas to Utah. It took a week, with short stops at road markers all along the way and longer visits to places like Carlsbad Caverns and Monument Valley, to reach our destination.

 That trip must have opened his eyes. I say so because he recently thanked me for helping him learn to enjoy each moment of a journey instead of always focusing on the destination ahead.

It’s one of the nicest compliments I’ve every received.

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         “I believe that if you think about disaster, you will get it. Brood about death and you hasten your demise. Think positively and masterfully with confidence and faith, and life becomes more secure, more fraught with action, richer in achievement and experience.” — Eddie Rickenbacker

Gypsy Lee -- my RV's named after my mother's maiden and my middle name and my itchy feet -- is once again ready for the road. She's pictured here resting for the journey at lake Walcott State Park. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Travels With Maggie

 I was just outside of Baker City, Oregon, when disaster struck. The left rear tire on my RV exploded, strewing rubber all along the highway. Thankfully, I managed to get the vehicle safely to the side of the road. In six years, and 110,000 miles of travel, this was my first roadside emergency – well if I don’t include getting stuck in the mud in my daughter’s Dallas backyard.

I immediately called my Good Sam emergency road provider, telling them first that I was safe, then where I was and that the only spare I had was for my front tires, which are a different size from the rear ones. I knew I could be in trouble because my RV sits atop a Volkswagen Eurovan chassis and its tires are not common. The voice on the phone, however, assured me that he would get me help and to hang tight while he made some calls.

 Twenty minutes later, he called back, saying he had located a tire for my vehicle, but that it would be a couple of hours before it could be picked up and delivered to me. At this point, I thanked my guardian angel for both the tire, and that I was stuck on the side of the road in Oregon, where the temperature was only 72, instead of my native Texas, where it was in the high 90s with humidity just about as high.

 Knowing help was on the way, I opened my RV windows to take advantage of a gentle breeze and settled in with a good book for the duration. Thirty minutes later, however, an emergency roadside service guy turned up with my tire

Maggie hopped onto our bed and snoozed the disaster away. -- Photo by Pat Bean

 – or so we both thought. Turns out he discovered he had the wrong tire after he had jacked up my RV. He left to go get the right tire, but 20 minutes later he returned red-faced to retrieve his jack. Seems he not only had the wrong tire, he had the wrong customer. His guy, now angry at the delay, was still waiting up the road.

It was another hour and a half before my service provider showed up with the tire for my RV. It was only a 4-ply passenger tire, however, that I would need to quickly replace. That took two weeks and a lot of searching. Rusty, the manager at an auto repair shop in Ogden, Utah, where I get my RV serviced when I’m in town, finally located a pair of 10-ply tires in San Jose, California, that would work. He had them shipped to Ogden, where a friend of mine picked them up and brought them to me at Walcott State Park in Idaho, where I’m currently a volunteer campground host.

 I had the tires mounted at a tire store in nearby Rupert – and am looking forward to getting back on the road again next week. Hopefully my journey will be trouble free – but if it’s not, the journey will still be worth any problem the road throws at me. Life’s too short to worry about what might happen.

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