Posts Tagged ‘on the road’

Rest stop after a wandering-wondering day without stress. — Photo by Pat Bean

          “Not all those who wander are lost.” J.R.R. Tolkien

A Page From My Journal

          It was my 22nd day on the road in a slow meandering adventure from Idaho, where I had spent the summer, to Nashville, Indiana, where I had stopped for two days while Mother Nature weeped her blessings.

          It was still drizzling when I began the day’s journey to North Bend Ohio, about 100 miles away. This was my preferred daily mileage as it allowed me start my day leisurely with cream-laced coffee, do some writing, and then take my dog, Pepper, for a long walk before we got on the road in our RV, Gypsy Lee.

           The first town we passed was a tiny one called Gnaw Bone. Why, I wondered, would somebody name a town Gnaw Bone?

          Perhaps they didn’t. It was originally a French settlement called Narbonne, which we Americans might have mistranslated as Gnaw Bone.

          But the question filled my head with nonsense for a while as I traveled down several Indiana backroads. Usually I have these to myself, but not today.

           The narrow tree-lined roads I had chosen were not untraveled roads.  I had plenty of vehicular company, including a lavender semi that passed me in a swirl of blowing autumn leaves. Now I’ve seen purple semis but never a lavender one before.

          Was a man or woman driving? I hadn’t been able to look because the large truck passed me on a curve, and I had wisely kept my eyes on the road.  

          And then I found myself quoting out loud to Pepper: “I never saw a purple cow. I never hope to see one. But I would rather see, than be one.”

          It was just that kind of day.

          Then a few miles farther down the road, there was a green farm truck with a rear sticker asking: “Who is John Galt?”

          It started my brain thinking about Ayn Rand’s book, Atlas Shrugged, and from there to how we seem to live our lives at either end of a pendulum swing.

          And so. this wandering-wondering day went, with my brain circuits traveling ever so much faster than Gypsy Lee.

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, and is always searching for life’s silver lining.   


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“With every book you go back to school. You become a student. You become an investigative reporter. You spend a little time learning what it’s like to live in someone else’s shoes.”\

This made for a nice reading nook when I was visiting Flagstaff, Arizona, a few years ago. -- Photo by Pat Bean

This made for a nice reading nook when I was visiting Flagstaff, Arizona, a few years ago. — Photo by Pat Bean

Or Not!

            Don Quixote, written in the early 17th century by Miguel de Cervantes, is considered an influential work of literature, and as such, is included on many recommended book reading lists.

A cozy bench to read, or watch birds. -- Photo by Pat Bean

A cozy bench to read, or watch birds. — Photo by Pat Bean

I slogged through the thick two-volume missive, on which is based the play and movie, Man of La Mancha, discovering many thought-provoking ideas that enriched my mind. It was well-worth my reading times.

But while Jack Kerouac’s On the Road is on just about every list of the 100 best travel books, which is a genre I read prolifically and enthusiastically, I haven’t been able to slog through this book. I’ve tried three different times with little success.

I fall asleep, I lay the book aside and somehow it gets lost and I never have the desire to return to it. I just don’t understand Kerouac’s kind of travel. About the only think I truly get about Kerouac and his Beat Generation is this one quote: “What is the feeling when you’re driving away from people, and they recede on the plain till you see their flecks dispersing? It’s the too huge world vaulting us, and its good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.”

            I use it on the opening page of Travels with Maggie, the travel book I’m hoping to get published soon. I suspect, however, those words might have meant something different to Kerouac than to me – just as all written words mean different things to different writers and different readers.

Something in me says I should give On the Road another try. Something else in me says or not?

Bean Pat: A pleasant and peaceful armchair journey through the Namibia Desert http://tinyurl.com/om4pmks Watch the slide show.

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     “On the road again – Just can’t wait to get on the road again …Goin’ places that I’ve never been. Seein’ things that I may never see again …” – Willie Nelson

Hello the Road 

Good-bye Mr. Lake Walcott Bear. Have a nice winter. — Phto by Pat Bean

Today I start a 5,000 mile journey. I invite you to come along.            I begin by traveling from Lake Walcott State Park in Idaho to Ogden, Utah, where I will stay a few days with friends and have my RV, Gypsy Lee, serviced and checked out.

I retired from a 37-year journalism career in Ogden on September 1, 2004. Two weeks before my retirement, I bought a new RV, which I named Gypsy Lee. Gypsy is for my itchy feet and Lee is for my grandfather, Charles Forest Lee, from whom my mother said I inherited my wanderlust.

Good-bye willow tree with the split personality. I’ll miss nodding to you each morning when Pepper and I take our walks. — Photo by Pat Bean

Before the end of 2004, I had sold my rooted Ogden home, and took to the road. After this coming journey, which will be the subject of my upcoming blogs, Gypsy Lee will have over 137,000 miles on her, and I will have visited 49 of the 50 states. I visited Hawaii in the 1980s and Alaska in 2001 before I retired.

Traveling between Lake Walcott and Ogden is a familiar 160-mile trip for me, but my plans today are to take a backroad that will take me through City of Rocks State Park. I’ll try and tell you all about it tomorrow.

Taking the untraveled path is how I hope to travel as my journey takes me across Middle America east to Front Royal, Virginia, before it heads south toward Texas, where my children expect me for Thanksgiving dinner.

Good-bye Lake of Many Moods. I’ll miss you, too. — Photo by Pat Bean

Book Report: Zilch. I celebrated my leaving Lake Walcott with a bunch of mostly old broads like myself, a group of women who call themselves the “Bay of Pigs.” Many of them have been friends since childhood. I feel honored that I got to know them at their First Wednesday lunches this year. I’ll carry their warm wishes with me on my journey and hope to see them next year when my tentative plans are to return to Lake Walcott. While I’m sorry my writing got left in the dust today, I’m not going to beat myself up. It wouldn’t be me if at least occasionally I didn’t let life interfere. That’s been a very hard lesson for me to learn.

The Wondering Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: It’s a Bird Thing http://tinyurl.com/bnvf333 Exploring the Rio Chama Wild and Scenic River. My kind of travel. I was fortunate to have met Judy on a bird outing to check out mountain blue bird nest boxes above Ogden.

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A yellow-headed blackbird seen on my morning walk with Maggie makes me go "Awww!" -- Photo by Pat Bean

 “The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the muddle you see the blue center light pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!’” – Jack Kerouac

Travels With Maggie

Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road,” is listed in almost every version of the 100 Best Travel Books. And on all of the various lists I’ve come across in recent years, I’ve read well over 50 percent of the selections.

But I haven’t read “On the Road.” That is I’ve never finished it. I’ve started the book several times but have never gotten beyond a few pages before laying it down and forgetting about it.

While there are quite a few of Kerouac’s quotes in my journal, such as the one above that I absolutely love, I can’t connect with this author like I do with say Tim Cahill, who has me rolling on the floor with laughter, or Charles Kuralt, whom I consider my travel soul mate, or John Steinbeck, whose down to earth writing draws me into his circle, especially since he writes about traveling with his poodle, Charley, and I write about traveling with my cocker spaniel, Maggie.

But I don’t, except for an occasional quote, get Jack. I keep thinking I will if I just read more than a few pages of “On the Road.”

Perhaps one day I will. Perhaps I’ll even find that copy of his book I bought a few years back to give it a fifth or sixth try. It was at least the third copy of “On the Road” that I’ve bought over the years, and I honestly have no idea where it is now.

And a patch of colorful pansies lights up my eyes as well as a fireworks display. -- Photo by Pat Bean

I recently read a book in which needful books kept turning up magically for one of the characters. I wonder what it means when books disappear. Or how come I can’t get into a book that so many other people think is a great classic.

Perplexing questions to which I have no answer. But I do love Kerouac’s above quote. It’s a whole book in itself.

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My dream vehicle when I was a working journalist. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Travels With Maggie

 “The everyday kindness of the back roads more than makes up for the acts of greed in the headlines.” Charles Kuralt

The first time I saw an “On the Road” television segment with Charles Kuralt, I knew that was the kind of journalist I wanted to be. I partially achieved that goal in my 37 years as a journalist with the stories I wrote about interesting upbeat people and aspects of a nature, along of course with my coverage of ditty-gritty city council and crime news.

I even got, albeit rarely, to go on the road to cover stories for my newspaper. But I never had the freedom to take it to his level – to travel cross-country in an RV and write only what pleased me.

 Today, however, that’s exactly what I do. And it pleases me greatly to tell you about the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, outside of Detroit. It offers so much more than just the progression of the automobile down through the years.

Life used to move at a slower pace, and you can experience it at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. -- Photo by Pat Bean

 One can wander through Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park Laboratory and imagine the excitement exuded when that first light bulb cast its glow. Or marvel at the dreams of fanciful flight Orville and Wilbur shared while working at their Wright Brothers Bicycle Shop. You can visit the home where Noah Webster wrote America’s first dictionary and walk through the first Ford Motor Home factory.

I almost wept when I viewed the sleek black Lincoln in which President John F. Kennedy lost his life in on that fateful November day in 1963. The vehicle represented a loss of innocence for my generation.

Thankfully, my tears, if I had shed them, would only have been of joy when I saw the next vehicle that moved me. It was the “On the Road” RV. If there is a heaven, and former free-spirited TV journalist happens to be looking down, I hope he realizes how much he inspired one lone female traveler.

Thank you Charles Kuralt for crystallizing my dreams.

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A sulphur cloud butterfly was still flitting when I reached Arkansas -- Photo by Pat Bean

“Time is a companion that goes with us on a journey. It reminds us to cherish each moment because it will never come again.” Captain Jean-Luc Picard.

And the Gardenia's were still blooming. -- Photo by Pat Bean


Travels With Maggie

Come take a jaunt with me, I asked, as I headed to Idaho’s Panhandle some seven months ago. Along the way I gathered new friends and five new life birds and enjoyed the company of old friends and all the other birds along the way.

I saw the gaping hole in Mount St. Helens that was created when the volcanic mountain blew its top. I fed wild turkeys from my hand and almost got blown to Kansas during a West Texas wind storm. I gazed at waterfalls and glaciers on Mount Ranier, took a boat ride on a deep lake where the Navy conducts submarine experiments, and survived a blowout in my RV.

Since leaving Texas in April, I’ve also put an extra 6,000 miles on Gypsy Lee, bringing her total now up to 112,000 miles that we’ve shared on the road together. Thankfully, she still acts like she’s got many more miles in her. I know I do.

Meanwhile, after seven months away it was good to see family again. My two daughters were first. I stopped overnight in Dallas after leaving Vernon to spend an evening with my oldest daughter. Then it was on to Camden, Arkansas, where my youngest daughter lives. I spent a week there babysitting three grandsons while their parents took off for business and pleasure to San Diego.

The boys – 9, 10 and 11 – and I had a great time. We rode bikes, skinned knees, played games and watched Disney videos together. It seemed as if their parents returned home much too quickly.


Grandsons Patrick, JJ and Tony look pleased with themselves after scrubing down Gypsy Lee for their Nana. -- Photo by Pat bean

But soon Maggie and my itchy feet were ready to return to the road. As Jack Kerouac said; “What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? It’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and its good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.”

 My travels will continue and you’re still welcome to come along.

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