Posts Tagged ‘Louisiana’

“I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore … I hear it in the deep heart’s core.”  – William Butler Yates.

A tree full of double-crested cormorants at Lake End Campground. — Photo by Pat Bean  

Water and Birds for Double the Pleasure

A walk among the moss-dripping trees. — Photo by Pat Bean

One of my favorite things to do when I traveled across this country in my RV was to spend the night parked where I could be lulled to sleep at night by the sounds of water gurgling, lapping and laughing. It was better than any sleeping pill, assuring me a good night’s sleep, and a morning eager to take a walk by the water.

It didn’t hurt either that lakes and ponds and oceans were also the stomping grounds of birds to feed my birdwatching passion.

Great Blue Heron at Lake End Campground, Louisiana. — Photo by Pat Bean

So, it was that I found myself spending a few nights on the western edge of Louisiana’s Lake Palourde at Lake End Campground, sharing it with an abundance of double-crested cormorants and great blue herons. An additional bonus was its scenic walking trail.

Palourde is an 11,250-acre lake near Morgan City, Louisiana. It was originally called Lac Palourde by early French settlers, which means Lake Clam. The name came because of the abundance of clams that once lined the shore.

I didn’t see any clams, but I did see lots of birds – and I slept well.

Bean Pat:  Living outside the lines https://tinyurl.com/y9ho6t7r Be sure and listen to the music. I really loved this blog

Pat Bean is a Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder. Her book, Travels with Maggie, is now up on Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/y8z7553y  Currently, she is writing a book, tentatively titled Bird Droppings, which is about her late-bloomer birding adventures. You can contact her at patbean@msn.com

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“He who can take no great interest in what is small will take false interest in what is great.” — John Ruskin

I snapped this picture of a mural painted by a local artist while waiting at a stop light.

Travels With Maggie

 I sat behind the wheel of my car for 430 miles yesterday, yet time seemed to fly by and I was never bored. Like Alice, there was a whole new world out there for me to see, and contemplate.

Stephens, the small town just down the road from Camden, Arkansas, where the day’s journey began, still had their downtown Christmas tree lights up. I suspect it was because the lights took away the town’s drabness and not because some city worker was lazy.

I was welcomed to Emerson, a bit farther down the road, with a huge sign noting that the town is home of the Purple Hull Pea Festival and the World Championship Tiller Race. In case you’re interested this year’s event will be held June 24-25.

With Arkansas in the rear-view mirror, a Haynesville billboard let me know this town was the Butterfly Capital of Louisiana. While stopped at a red light, I snapped a picture out my RV window of a mural painted on the side of a gift shop. It was one of several murals I saw while passing through the town.

My wheels rumbled gruffly on quaint red brick roads through downtown areas of both Minden, Louisiana, and Nacogdoges, Texas. Even on a long drive, I prefer traveling the smaller highways that take you through the middle of towns along the route. Freeways put me to sleep while backroads keep my brain occupied and alert.

It's not every day that one gets to see a bison mom nursing her calf through their windshield, so I'm glad that I also enjoy the less dramatic glimpses of the world around us. The photo was taken in Custer State Park, South Dakota. -- Photo by Pat Bean

I wanted to stop and explore more, but I also wanted to get to my destination before dark. My rush to get there reminded me of Disney’s version of Lewis Carroll White Rabbit muttering: “I’m late! I’m late! For a very important date! No time to say goodbye, hello! I’m late! I’m late! I’m late!”

My only stop, except for gas, was at a Texas roadside park where my dog, Maggie, and I took a too short walk to stretch our legs.

Given Houston’s traffic, which I was going to drive through on Highway 59 during the commuter hour, I figured I’d just make it to my son’s home in Lake Jackson by dark. But amazingly – I say this as one who’s spent three hours getting through Houston more than once – it didn’t take long at all.

I reached Lake Jackson in plenty of time to share dinner with my son and his family.

I don’t recommend long-distance driving, preferring instead much shorter drives with plenty of time to get out of my RV and explore. But, as Garth Brooks says, “Happiness isn’t getting what you want, it is wanting what you’ve got.”

And what I had yesterday was one fantastic day on the road.

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I can drool over maps for hours in anticipation of an upcoming journey. This is the route I chose for today's drive. I always right up a cheat sheet for my dashboard that includes right and left-turn directions.

 “… On the road again/ Going places that I’ve never been/ Seein’ thing that I may never see again/ And I can’t wait to get on the road again.” — Willie Nelson

 Travels With Maggie

 Willie Nelson and I share this love of being “on the road again.” And today I get to indulge myself. I’ve been up since before dawn, drinking coffee and reviewing the route I will take from my daughter’s home in Camden, Arkansas, to a son’s home in Lake Jackson, Texas.

 My dog, Maggie, is as eager as I am. She started getting excited as soon as I began packing things snugly away in the RV.

The journey is 427 miles long and I’ll be making it in one run, which means most of my sight-seeing will take place from behind the wheel. If it were spring, and I was truly on the road again and not just hiding out the winter catching up with family, it would probably take me two weeks to go this far.

To speed the time along, I’ll probably be listening to my audible copy of Ken Follett’s “Fall of Giants” along the way. But certainly not during the sections of road that will be new to me.

Mike Nomilini captured this picture of the bridge in Coushatta that crosses the Red River at sunset. While I'll be crossing the river today, it's going to be well before noon so my view will be much different.

 I added 15 miles to the shortest route  so I would pass through a few places I’ve never been before. Coushatta, Louisiana, for one. The Red River passes through this rural town. And I’ll be crossing over it on a 900-ton bridge that was  built in 1989 — not crossing it on horseback as John Wayne did in the 1948 film, “Red River.” 

 It was many years ago when I saw the film, but I still remember it.

There’s something in me that also loves river crossings. While the Red River might not compare to the thrill I had crossing the Yukon on a ferry in 1999, I’m still looking forward to it.

 Did I tell you, “I just can’t wait to get on the road again.”

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