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Posts Tagged ‘Ogden’

            “A journey is best measured in friends rather than miles” Tim Cahill

My morning walk with old birding friends on Two Rivers Trail began here beneath Ogden’s 21 Street Bridge across the Ogden River. — Photo by Pat Bean

But First, Bird Watching on Two Rivers Trail         

Along with seeing that great Southwest bird overhead, everyone also got a very close-up view of this juvenile great blue heron. — Photo by Pat Bean

    “Hey! Did you see that big bird with silver wings and a red tail?” asked Jack Rensel, whom I know is as old as this wondering wanderer, but whom looked as young as ever and was still carrying his birding scope and tripod over his shoulders as we walked the Two Rivers Trail early this morning.

“You mean the Southwest bird,” someone quickly jibed.

It felt ever so good to be back among my old bird-watching friends after a year’s absence.  Jack and Keith Evans, whom I also got to see this morning at the bird-walk breakfast, were my mentors and my reference sources back when I was writing a birding column for the Ogden newspaper.

It’s a good thing one or the other of them was always available, as I was a novice birder at the time and hated making a fool of myself in print.

My birding skills have improved since those days, and so has Ogden’s trail system.

The river was still this morning, making it the perfect canvas for landscape reflections. I especially liked this double bouquet of yellow blossoms. — Photo by Pat Bean

Good for me and good for Ogden.  The city has grown since I left it eight years ago, but the Wasatch Chapter of birders that I left behind hasn’t changed at all. It’s still the best Audubon group I’ve ever had the privilege of birding with.

I hated to leave this group of awesome birders early,  but I had miles to go before I could sleep.  I’ll tell you a bit about those miles tomorrow.

Book Report: Travels with Maggie is now up to 44,916 words. Still inching along like a snail.                

The Wondering Wanderer’s blog pick of the day

Bean’s Pat Cliffy http://tinyurl.com/8e4ghhd  Today’s arm-chair travel blog made it to the top of my list today simply because it looks like an intriguing place to sit and drink a Jack and Coke. Should I put it on my ever-growing to-do list?

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“My recipe for dealing with anger and frustration: set the kitchen timer for twenty minutes, cry, rant, and rave, and at the sound of the bell, simmer down and go about business as usual.” – Phyllis Diller.

Finally Ends Well            

Mallards floating along the Ogden River Parkway taken at an earlier time. I had no time to walk the parkway yesterday. — Photo by Pat Bean

In recent months, my frustration levels seemed to have reached record highs. Computer woes, unreasonable costs for health services including one fraudulent lab bill, a misunderstanding with a good friend, and a lost lens from a new pair of glasses plagued me.            I did not react well. I spoke words I later regretted, and I screamed at people who weren’t the cause of my frustration.

The frustrating situations continued during my visit this week to Ogden, the first stop of my upcoming 5,000 mile journey. My Verizon hot spot wasn’t working, and shortly after I had my RV serviced, it began leaking oil.

It was late Saturday when I discovered the oil leak, meaning I couldn’t get it fixed until Monday morning. I decided to put it out of my mind until then and let myself enjoy the barbecue that was given for me to see old friends while I was here in Ogden.  Not sure how, but I did just that.

I also found an open Wi-Fi connection, not hard to do in a city the size of Ogden, which temporarily solved my internet connection problem until I could take it into a Verizon place on Monday as well.

But I did get to occasionally glance up at Ogden’s mountain backdrop, which probably helped me stay cool. — Photo by Pat Bean

Monday was yesterday, and I spent the entire day solving these two problems.            The RV service center admitted they probably cracked the oil cap putting it back on and said they could get a new one in about two hours.

And so they did. It was the wrong one, however, and it was another three hours before they could get the right one delivered from Salt Lake City. I stayed pleasant this entire time, and was rewarded when Gypsy Lee was finally fixed at no charge to me.

I then tackled my hot spot problem at a small Verizon store with only one employee. He was working on my problem when a man came in with a broken phone. I waited patiently for a half hour while this customer was sold a new phone, his old contacts transferred to it and a dozen other paper-work items taken care of to get it activated.

After another half hour of fooling with my computer and the hot spot, Tyler (we had exchanged names by this time) said the problem was solved.

So I tried it. So it wasn’t solved.

And I did get to go down on Ogden’s 25th Street when an old friend took me to lunch at Karen’s while my RV was waiting for a new oil cap. — Photo by Pat Bean

Tyler finally admitted I had a lemon and that since it was less than a year old I could get a replacement by calling customer service and having them mail me one. Of course that wouldn’t work for my travel plans.

Fortunately I had come prepared with my old air card, which had served me extremely well before I had been talked into upgrading it with the hot spot. Tyler then kindly reinstalled the software so I could use it again. We chatted about Netflix choices while he worked.

When the air card was finally working perfectly again, it was 6 p.m. And I had done nothing except solve two problems.

I felt great, however.  I hadn’t spent any money, and I had stayed cool as a frosted glass of lemonade for the entire day. My blood pressure appreciated this fact greatly.

Looking back, I realized nothing would have gone any faster if I had behaved badly, even though I would have been justified in doing so. While I don’t advocate such nicety from everyone, it worked so well for me this day that I might even try it again.

Book Report: I decided to blog first and write this afternoon. So no progress yet today.

The Wondering Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: A Rocking Run http://tinyurl.com/9ewvtcq  What a great place to be in your head.

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“Keep close to Nature’s heart … and break clear away once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” – John Muir

The view out the window of my RV, which is parked in a friend’s Ogden, Utah driveway. — Photo by Pat Bean

Adventures with Pepper: Day 2            

Mount Ogden from downtown Ogden. — Photo by Pat Bean

Once I crossed Rattlesnake Pass on Highway 84 in Northern Utah, I began watching for a sight I knew would lift my already high spirits even higher.

I recognized the canyon curve that would let me get my first glimpse of the Wasatch Mountains. My heart beat accelerated and my eyes dampened when these awesome peaks finally came into sight. It’s the reaction that always happens when I’ve been gone from the mountains for a while. It’s as if they share a piece of my soul.

I was raised in flat-country Texas, and was 14 before I ever saw my first mountain. Since then I’ve seen many mountains, but none that have left their mark so deeply on me as the Wasatch. The awesome peaks, which include Mount Ogden on which the 2002 Winter Olympic downhill races were run, are the western edge of the Rocky Mountain chain that stretches 3,000 miles, from northern British Columbia in Canada to New Mexico in the United States.

 

The view of Ben Lomond from my friend’s backyard. — Photo by Pat Bean

I first lived in their shadow in the early 1970s before returning to Texas. I missed these mountains so much that I jumped at the chance to leave my job at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram to accept a job at the Standard-Examiner in Ogden, Utah in the early 1980s. I then lived in their shadow r shadow for 25 years before I left them behind once again in 2004.            I’ve returned to visit them every year since, and each reunion has been precious to me. Now, as part of my road trip home, I will get to spend five days within their sight as I renew acquaintances with old friends. It makes for a slow start for my journey back to Texas but also the perfect start.

Book Report: Travels with Maggie is now at 44,372 words. Not much accomplished but it’s still moving forward.

The Wondering Wander’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: A Woman’s Story  http://tinyurl.com/97a9zr9 Eat the damn cake. This one’s for my women readers.

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 “Come Fairies, take me out of this dull world, for I would ride with you upon the wind and dance upon the mountains like a flame!” – William Butler Yeats

Mount Ogden from 25th Street in Ogden. She holds a part of my soul. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Travels With Maggie

I’m in Ogden, Utah, in the shadow of the Wasatch Mountains where I lived for a third of my life. It was a quick trip here from Lake Walcott State Park in Southern Idaho, where I’ve spent a leisurely summer volunteering as a campground host and enjoying Mother Nature’s daily gifts.

I know that when I leave Utah today this range of the great Rockies will be denied me for many months. And my heart is already feeling the loss.

Anywhere bluebonnets grow automatically goes on my favorite places list. Among them is Texas' Lake Colorado City State Park shown above. -- Photo by Pat Bean

I sold my home here, the one that got the Ogden Canyon winds each day as the mountains breathed in and out, seven years ago. I have no regrets. I’ve traveled all over the country half of each year, and spent the other half hopping between my children and grandchildren, most of whom are in Texas.

It’s been both great to spend time with loved ones, and great to travel this beautiful country of ours and take in its wonders. People often ask me what’s my favorite spot.

 It’s a question I find difficult to answer because immediately dozens of places pop into mind. I’ve found beauty in every state I’ve visited, and that now includes 47. My goal, since I’ve already visited Hawaii and Alaska, is to have visited all 50 of our states by the end of next year. 

Meanwhile, when I leave here tomorrow, I will leave a piece of my soul secreted away in the Wasatch Mountains that guard Ogden. .I trust the mountains to guard it well until I return and once again stand in their shadow. Just as I hope the bluebonnets of Texas will still remember me when I gaze upon them once again next spring.

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 “Be master of your petty annoyances and conserve your energies for the big, worthwhile things. It isn’t the mountain ahead that wears you out – it’s the grain of sand in your shoe.” – Robert Service

The sun was shining brightly over Lake Walcott when my computer crashed. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Travels With Maggie

It was sunny and bright, after a morning of light rain, at Lake Walcott State Park, when my new computer crashed Monday.

My choices to fix it was to drive 160 miles to Ogden, Utah, where I had bought the computer at Best Buy, or 45 miles to Twin Falls, Idaho, to the closest Best Buy. I chose the former because of having a place to park my RV in Ogden and because it was an opportunity to visit friends.

I packed up my RV and left immediately. Maggie, as always, was tickled to be on the road again, and soon was contentedly snoozing in the co-pilot seat. I was also happy to once again be going down the road.

The drive from Southern Idaho to Ogden on Highway 84 is a pleasant drive on a four-lane divided highway over a mountain pass with minimal traffic. The best part of the journey for me is coming back into sight of the majestic Wasatch Mountains that were my home for 25 years.

It took longer than usual, however, to see them. About 50 miles into my drive, Mother Nature decided to weep Mississippi tears.

Anyone ever caught in a Deep South downpour knows what I’m talking about. The rain comes down so hard that one can’t see more than 10 feet ahead – if that. Windshield wipers can’t keep up and are almost useless.

All one can do if caught on a highway driving in such a downpour, as I was, is to try desperately to stay on the road and keep driving. To stop is to risk being hit from behind. I truly think I drove through the hardest rainstorm I had every experienced  in Utah.

The sight of the Wasatch Mountains finally breaking through the storm briefly made me forget my computer woes. -- Photo by Pat Bean

It wasn’t until I hit Brigham Cit, just north of Ogden, that the rain lifted enough for me to enjoy the view. It,  as alway, filled my heart with joy.  I’ve seen many mountains in my lifetime, but none that touch my soul like these western peaks of the Rockies that stretch from Idaho to Central Utah.

Just to be able to drink in their beauty once again made me almost forget my reason for seeing them.

But tomorrow, when I would spend the day confronting Best Buy and HP geeks and management before getting my computer problem solved, I would remember.

 It was my day to have sand in my shoe.

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Mount Ben Lomond, which is Ogden's northern backdrop, always has a smiley face to cheer you up if you know where to look for it. From this angle it's pretty easy to see. -- Photo by Pat Bean

 In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.” — Albert Schweitzer

*Travels With Maggie

My week in Ogden was a busy one that enriched my life. It included a barbecue with Kim and her family, visits and lunches, , with other old friends, a baby shower for Kim’s daughter-in-law, visits to former haunts including the newspaper where I worked for 22 years, a drive up scenic Ogden Canyon beside the snow-melt-full Ogden River, and a memorial service for Kim’s grandmother, GG, who had adopted me into her family because mine was far away.

GG, which stands for Great Grandmother, had told everybody to celebrate her 99 years on this earth and not to mourn. Of course we mourned our loss, but we also obeyed her wishes and celebrated, too, including singing joyful songs and dancing.

I enjoyed my Ogden visit immensely, including the celebratory funeral.

Most of my 23 years as a journalist for the Standard-Examiner newspaper in Ogden was spent in a converted armory. This new building, located on former Defense Depot Ogden (now Business Depot Ogden) was built just a few years before I retired. As shown here, the building reflects the mountains off to the east. -- Photo by Pat Bean

When I drove by my small, old home on 20th Street, I was tickled to see that the tulips I had planted along my fence line were in full bloom. The new owners, however, had dug up the huge Rose of Sharon bush that had run beneath my bedroom windows. Sigh…. But the huge Elm in the backyard, which had actually been why I had bought the house, was still there.

I’ve left places many times in my life, and I find it interesting the things I forget and the things that become more dear. It’s like separating the chaff from the wheat. It’s something everyone needs to do occasionally, it’s just that moving away makes it easier to do.

Not only do you have an opportunity to get rid of useless stuff, which somehow accumulates in all the hidden storage spots in a house, but it’s good to separate yourself as much as possible from negative people who dampen your days.

Fortunately all the people I renewed acquaintances with while in Ogden were the kind who make others feel good about themselves. It was good to see every one of them again. It was also good to sit in the shadow of the Wasatch Mountains, which continues to hold a part of my soul.

It would be good also to go in search of new mountains and new friends, especially knowing that for this summer I would only be a couple of hours away. .

Day 20-26 of my journey, May 8-14

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 “He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery.” — Harold Wilson

The looks nothing like the 25th Street I was first introduced to in the early 1980s. -- Photo by Pat Bean

*Travels With Maggie

Some say you can’t go home again. That of course is not true. What you can’t do is go home and find things exactly how you left then

For example, on March 31 of this year, I blogged about returning to my grandmother’s rural home on the outskirts of Dallas, where I lived as a young child. I found the small two-bedroom home condemned, the gardenia bushes outside her front door no longer there and another dilapidated house where her garden used to be.

It was exactly the opposite in Ogden, where I lived for 23 years before retiring seven years ago. I’ve returned yearly since and every time things have changed upward.

The downtown site where a mall was torn down, and which remained obscenely vacant for many years, is now a thriving hub of restaurants, theaters, small shops and bustling activity.

My friend, Kim, and I, and some of her friends had dinner this evening at the Sonora Grill, one of those chic new restaurants. Afterward we walked down the revived 25th Street, which when I first moved to Ogden, was a hangout for the homeless, motorcycle gangs, scary bars and a liquor store.

Colorful horse statues are now a common sight in downtown Ogden in recent years. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The bars have mostly up-scaled, the liquor store moved, restaurants and small business opened, and the street spruced up with fresh paint, charming statues, fresh facades and colorful flowers.

Our group ended up at The City Club, a private club serving food and booze that once had been one of my let-down-the-hair places I occasionally visited after a frustrating work day.

It was both the same and different. Beatles’ photos and memorabilia still covered every inch of the walls, but the place was no longer a private club where you had to be a member to enjoy a quiet drink, and I didn’t know half the people there this night.

It felt a little strange, but here I was sitting with my old and dear friend, Kim, and fast getting to know five new people whom I had only met earlier in the evening.

Life’s like that. Things change. Buildings come and go and people move on and new ones take their places. Even the people who stay in your life, like my friend, Kim, change with time.

Thankfully, although differently, the two of us had grown in ways that had enriched our friendship bonds. If either of us had not grown, we probably wouldn’t still be friends.

Life never stands still. And if you do, you get left behind.

*Day 19 of the journey, May 7,201

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