Posts Tagged ‘okefenokee swamp’

The bridge stand-off at Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia, one of the many places I visited during my RV-ing adventures. — Photo by Pat Bean.

“Remember your dreams and fight for them. You must know what you want from life. There is just one thing that makes your dream become impossible: the fear of failure.” — Paulo Coelho

Tell Me Your Stories

Now that Travels with Maggie has finally been released to the world, the next step, my friend Debra tell me, you have to market the book. And one of the things you need to do is put together a 30-minute PowerPoint presentation so you can give talks.

A trail at Laura S. Walker State Park in Georgia, one of the many trails I hiked after the age of 65. Halfway along this two-mile trail, I came across a sign that said Beware of Bears. Needless to say the second leg of the hike was done in record time. — Photo by Pat Bean

“I have dozens of photographs from the journey, but I’ve never put together a PowerPoint presentation,” I told her. But that problem was quickly solved when I mentioned this to my youngest daughter, T.C., here in Tucson. She said she uses PowerPoint almost daily at work, and that she would put a presentation together for me on my computer, which already has all the necessary tech ingredients.

One problem solved. The next, I realized, was that I needed a script. But after a night of lost sleep, pondering what to talk about, I came up with a theme: Never Too Late. It was a no-brainer.

My wanderlust began when I was 10 years old, after reading Osa Johnson’s book I Married Adventure, which was about photographing and documenting lions in Africa. The book was the best non-fiction seller of 1940, the year after I was born. Traveling across America full-time became a specific dream after I read William Least Heat Moon’s Blue Highways in 1983.

By this time, I had become addicted to reading travel books, but 1983 was also when I was in the midst of my 37-year journalism career, and was struggling to keep the wolf from the door. It wasn’t until 2004, at the age of 65, that I was finally free to pursue my dream.

I sold my home, bought an RV and spent the next nine years wandering this beautiful country we live in, fulfilling a dream that spanned over half a century of dreams. It truly never is too late.

I would love to hear the stories of my readers about how they finally fulfilled longtime dreams. Please share them with me. I am sure they will help inspire me in writing the script so my friend, Debra Winegarten, whose book, There’s Jews in Texas, won the 2011 Poetica Magazine National Contest and who is the founder of Sociosights Press, and whom I adore, will stop nagging me.

Bean Pat: Joy Loves Travel http://tinyurl.com/ycjqq3dc An epic tale of England, a great armchair viewing of an outdoor spectacle.

Pat Bean is a Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder. Her book, Travels with Maggie, is now up on Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/y8z7553y You can contact Bean at patbean@msn.com

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Buttercup: “That’s the Fire Swamp. We’ll never survive.”

Wesley: “nonsense! You’re only saying that because no one ever has.”

— From the Princess Bride by William Goldman

Note: Yesterday I used part one of a  travel writing class assignment as my blog. The second part,  which is below, was to write about the same subject with a different voice. Do you think I succeeded?

It’s All About How You Write It

A Pogo welcome to Swamp Park — Photo by Pat Bean

A million years ago, a sand bar along Georgia’s Atlantic coastline cut a basin off from the sea, eventually creating a freshwater wetlands that extended the state’s coast by 75 miles. We know that wetlands today as The Okefenokee Swamp, a place made famous by the antics of Walt Kelly’s political comic strip “Pogo.”

I got my first look at  this home to alligators, lakes (60 of them), screaming panthers, and a dozen islands at Swamp Park, a small section of the 600-square mile whole located near where the 266-mile long Suwannee River begins life. The Okefenokee also gives live to the 90-mile long St. Mary River and both streams flow through the park to the ocean..

Park gardeners had a fondness for green animals. — Photo by Pat Bean

Okefenokee means trembling, or trampoline, earth, a reference to the land’s spongy moss base.

It was autumn when I visited but wild flowers were still growing and green leaves peeked out from the thick strands of moss that drooped from tree limbs.  In an attempt to mimic Disneyland, a  black, red and gold painted engine dubbed the Lady Suwanee took passengers on a tour around the park, past huge stands of saw palmetto, a chickee (a raised wooden platform with a thatch roof used as a shelter by Indians), and past a moonshine still. Bootleggers once found the swamp a handy place to hide from the law.

Book Report: Travels with Maggie now stands at 35,367 words.  I spent all morning rewriting, which is why you got something already written for my blog. I hope you didn’t mind.

Bean’s Pat: The Serenity Game http://tinyurl.com/bw3m6bk I like this take on “Atlas Shrugged,” a book I read at a time when I was rearranging my entire world.

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“We have met the enemy, and he is us.” — Pogo, alias Walt Kelly

Amazing What You Learn When You Travel

Bridge stand-off in the Okefenokee Swamp. — Photo by Pat Bean

Really? There’s an actual  Okefenokee Swamp? I thought Walt Kelly made the place up, the same as he did Pogo and all those other swamp cartoon characters. I must have missed a Georgia geography lesson, or else my Texas teachers were too enamored with tales of the Alamo to include any other state in their history lessons.

At 600 square miles, the Okefenokee Swamp should not have been so easily dismissed.

I got my first look at this geographical wonder at Swamp Park, a Walt Disney like educational and tourist attraction located on  Cowhouse Island  near where the Suwannee River begins life.

In wetter years, visitors to Swamp Park were treated to a boat ride down this waterway. But it was too dry when I visited the park in 2006. — Photo by Pat Bean

The park features plants trimmed to look like animals, scenic walkways above which alligators laze by a pond and an open air train pulled by a black, red and gold painted engine dubbed the Lady Swanee. The train’s tracks meander through stands of saw palmetto, and past a chickee (an open-air native American shelter) and a replica of a moonshine still. I assumed the sights were intended to give tourists an insight into past residents of the area.

The swamp’s name, Okefenokee, means trembling earth and refers to the land’s spongy moss base. I learned a lot more about the Okefenokee during a lecture given by a weathered local, who said he lived in the swamp alone in the winter.

“Bill collectors can’t find me, and I feel honored when I hear a panther scream,” he said. On a more educational note, he said the swamp’s dark water was the result of tannic acid leached from plants and that it was good to drink despite its color.

“We call it gator-ade.”  At this aside, he brought out several small alligators to give his audience a chance to see details of this ancient reptile survivor up close. I touched the smallest of them, thrilled to be part of the experience and more than a mere spectator.

Book Report: 32,985 words. I deserve my own Bean’s Pat for getting that much done today. It was laundry day, and it required a 50-mile round-trip into Burley to get it done.  I cheated on my blog, however. It’s a homework assignment for a Gotham travel writing class I took a couple of years ago. But the swamp was one of my stops on the six-month journey that is the subject of “Travels with Maggie.”

Bean’s Pat: Heart’s Garden http://tinyurl.com/97f7g6d Day After Day. The wondering wanderer’s blog pick of the day.



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The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problem.” — Gandhi
Life works better if one doesn’t get between angry alligators. It’s sort of like the admonition not to dismiss dragons if you live near one.
Standoff in Georgia’s Okefenokee Swamp — Photo by Pat Bean

Maggie Post Script: The new medicine hasn’t arrived yet and she’s still in pain, but thankfully sleeping right now.  We both thank everyone for their kind wishes, and just wanted everyone to know we’re both hanging in there.


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 Travels With Maggie

This trail at Laura Walker Park called to me

Maggie and I were just about half-way around this 1.5 mile trail at Laura Walker State Park, located just a few miles from Georgia's Okefenokee Swamp, when we came upon a warning sign that said beware of bears. I think she and I covered the last half of the trail in a fourth of the time it took us to walk the first half. It was beautiful trail, however. -- Photo by Pat Bean

NaNoWriMo Update … 26,697 words  

“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” – Jack London 

Busy day today. Lots of errands to run. I’m not pleased with my word count, and hopefully I will get some more writing done before I go to bed.

I find it interesting that when I start writing a scene, things happen that I don’t know are going to happen. I find it frustrating, however, when I start a scene and then it doesn’t know where it wants to go. Both of these happened to me today, and numerous times over the past 15 days.

Keeping the action moving, trying to insert clues and red herrings, and leaving out all the boring stuff is my goal. But meeting it isn’t easy.

There is so much I want to do to make my words better. But I tell myself to just keep writing … just keep writing … just keep writing. Better is for later.

I would take heart in that the challenge is halfway over and the fact that I’m on target with my word count. But I fear it’s easy part that is all over. I’m thinking hard on the “S” word again

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