Posts Tagged ‘postaday2011’

“Wilderness begins in the human mind.” Edward Abbey

The Poteau River

Letting the worries about tomorrow and finding help for my ailing RV, Gypsy Lee,go, I watched as a great egret fished for its dinner on the opposite bank of the Poteau River. -- Photo by Pat Bean

It was late evening when I arrived at Lake Wister State Park, a place of refuge for the night while I pondered my first on-the-road crisis in my RV, Gypsy Lee.

I watched the sun as it sank beneath the horizon and allowed it and the river to soothe my soul. I felt grateful just to be alive. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The crisis turned out to be simply a need for new brake pads. The pads, however, had to be specially ordered, which gave me three days to enjoy the park.

The first night, a Sunday when all the places that could service my RV were closed, began as a tense one at the park, where I had parked below the dam beside the Poteau River.

A walk along the river with my canine traveling companion just as the sun was bidding a good-night to all on this side of the world with a pink glowing sky, massaged away the tension in my body.

Mother Nature has a way of doing that to me. Despite my RV woes, it’s a night that I remember fondly.

Bean’s Pat: Mike’s Look at Life http://m5son.wordpress.com A gentle landscape and thoughtful blog that lets me see the world through fresh eyes.

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 “A woodland in full color is awesome as a forest fire, in magnitude at least, but a single tree is like a dancing tongue of flame to warm the heart.” – Hal Borland

Travels With Maggie

I came across an awesome blog this week. The Cool Hunter, http://tinyurl.com/7uop6kk .

Sylvan Lake in Custer State Park located in South Dakota's Black Hills. -- Photo by Pat Bean

 It’s creator listed, with photos, some of the places he thought most beautiful in the world. I was delightedly satisfied that I had seen four of the five places that were on the North American continent, and thrilled that the fifth, The Hamilton Nature Preserve, is located in Texas’ Hill Country near Austin. .

I’ve added it to my travel agenda for April, when I will be attending Story Circle Network’s “Stories from the Heart” http://tinyurl.com/yzc585o memoir writing conference for women in the city.

A nursing buffalo calf halted traffic when I visited Custer State Park. I thought it was a "beautiful" sight. -- Photo by Pat Bean, taken through the front windshield of Gypsy Lee as rain drops began to fall.

The other four awesome places in North America favored by the Cool Hunter are Lake Moraine’s Valley of the Ten Peaks in Alberta, Canada; Multnomah Falls east of Portland in Oregon; The Wave in Arizona’s Vermillion Cliffs; and the Lower Lewis River Falls in Washington.

I agree 110 percent with Cool Hunter’s choices, but I could also name a hundred plus other places in America that are just as beautiful. If I could, I would make “America, the Beautiful,” this country’s national anthem. The lyrics move me every time I hear them.

While I would love to visit some of the many places around the globe whose photos I drooled over when I read Cool Hunter’s blog, I do know that my own backyard is every bit as beautiful – and I’m thankful that I can still hear Dr. Seuss’ words – “Oh the places you’ll go and the things you’ll see” — singing in my mind every time Maggie and I take off down the road in our RV, Gypsy Lee.

Like Custer State Park in South Dakota’s Black Hills, located not far from Mount Rushmore.


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 “Because they are primeval, because they outlive us, because they are fixed, trees seem to emanate a sense of permanence. And though rooted in earth, they seem to touch the sky. For these reasons it is natural to feel we might learn wisdom from them, to haunt about them with the idea that if we could only read their silent riddle rightly we should learn some secret vital our own lives …” – Kim Taplin, “Tongues in Trees,” 1989

I walked this path in the Lost Maples State Natural Area in search of a golden-cheeked warbler and was rewarded with peace and beauty that enriched my thoughts. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Favorite Places

Located in Texas’ Edwards Plateau, Lost Maples State Park has a magical aura. It’s a place where, besides seeing a golden-cheeked warbler, one can see physical evidence of the past. When I visited it, I felt like I had dropped into one of Mother Nature’s special places.

A rocky climb to the top of an Edwards Plateau Ridge in Lost Maples provides evident that this land once lay beneath a sea. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Lost Maples got its name because the maple trees there are far from other maple forests. While it’s most visited when the maple trees wear their brightest fall colors, I find it a place of calm beauty anytime of the year.

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 “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life. It goes on.” – Robert Frost

A tree that doesn't want to die. Now this is what I call a passion for life. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Travels With Maggie

When I first started writing about my travels, I tried to disguise the fact that I was an old broad. Then one day, after a hint from an online writing colleague that being an old broad was what set me apart from all the glamorous young women out there traveling in search of love. I claimed the honor.

I first heard the term “old broad” back when I was a journalist reporting on the environment. In writing about wilderness issues and the value of protecting it, I came across a group called “Great Old Broads for Wilderness.”

I sent this photo of me taken by my friend, Shirley Lee, in Cozumel to my kids announcing that I had a new boy friend. Even old broads want to have fun.

Wow, I thought, when I met some of these women, like Susan Tixier, the brain behind the organization, and author Terry Tempest Williams, as they exercised their passions to help protect wild lands from disappearing from America. Suddenly the term old broad seemed more honorific than derogatory.

Recently I’ve added a couple of new adjectives to my own old broad-persona that I feel fit perfectly. I’m a wandering-wondering old broad with passions for writing, travel, birds, books and Mother Nature.

One of my goals for this year is to rewrite my travel book with this voice. It’s too bad I didn’t do it the first time around. I won’t make that mistake this year with my blog. It’s a promise.

And my canine traveling companion, Maggie, who is also an old broad, is my witness.

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 “Why is it trivia? People call it trivia because they know nothing and they are embarrassed about it.” Robbie Colrane

Sign of the Times

Travels With Maggie

With my canine traveling companion, Maggie, snoring softly in Gypsy Lee’s co-pilot seat, and 300 miles of highway in front of me yesterday, I loosed my brain to digest the passing sights.

Sitting behind the wheel of my RV frees my mind to seek answers to insightful, puzzling and stupid questions.

The googling of my mind began this misty morning when a great egret floated down to land beside Highway 288 near the 72-foot tall statue of Stephen F. Austin.

The Austin image, located south of Angleton, is less

Statue of Sam Houston visible from Interstate 45 south of Huntsville. -- Photo by Pat Bean

impressive than the 77-foot one of Sam Houston, which sits beside Interstate 45 south of Huntsville. Both men were Texas history-makers and both statues were created by the same artist, David Addicts.

The Austin statue, I remembered as I passed it, has become somewhat of a joke to locals. From a distance looking north, Austin appears to be picking his nose. Looking south, he kinda looks like he’s peeing.

And then my mind shifted gears. I suspected that a lot more people knew who Houston was than knew who Austin was. Houston avenged the Alamo and became president of the Republic of Texas. Austin merely colonized the state and was considered the Father of Texas .

Statue of Stephen F. Austin located south of Angleton.

What makes some people stick in our minds while others fade into oblivion, I asked my wandering/wondering brain. And then a list of names popped into my head.

I remember Edgar Allan Poe because he frightened me. Harriet Beecher Stow, author of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” because she shamed slave owners. John F. Kennedy because he charmed us; Charles Manson because he horrified us; and Mae West because she scandalized us.

I then wondered what names might pop in the heads of others if asked the same question.

And so the next six hours went.

On passing a Walmart semi, I decided this was the new sign of the times. A red Corvette pulled over to the side of the road with a police car’s swirling red, white and blue lights flashing behind it made me think that sometimes it was better to drive a plain brown wrapper.

I laughed at the sign outside the small city of Buffalo, which announced a Buffalo Stampede the third Saturday in September. That explained the herd of buffalo I had just passed, which was a brand new sight for me on this often traveled stretch of interstate that connects one of my sons with one of my daughters.

Another first for me was a sign promoting the Spearmint Rhino Gentlemen’s Club. Huh?

I looked that one up on the Web and discovered there were clubs with this name all over the place, including Las Vegas and Australia. Another sign of the times, I suspected.

Of course, as always, my eyes were seeking out birds along the way. Red-tailed hawks sitting in trees and turkey vultures flying overhead were the most common. I saw a great blue heron in a marshy area, and a snowy egret nearby. Eastern meadowlarks flew up from some roadside weeds, and a flock of crows flew into the air, leaving their road kill behind temporarily.

All too soon, Gypsy Lee, Maggie and I were pulling up in front of my daughter’s home.

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 “An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail.” Edwin Land

Travels With Maggie


I was hoping for a nice sunrise this morning to illustrate the start of both a new year and new day. But it's misty outside this morning here in Lake Jackson. The above sunrise, however, was one of many I enjoyed this year. It was taken on a June morning at Lake Walcott State Park in Idaho. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The melodious song of a Carolina Wren is playing outside my window, serenading me as I drink my morning two cups of cream-laced African coffee..

It is early, but I wanted to get a head start on writing my blog before I drive 300 miles to celebrate a late Christmas and New Year’s with my oldest daughter, who lives in Rowlett on the outskirts of Dallas.

Along with enjoying being serenaded by “hope with feathers,” I’m listening to the soft snores of my canine traveling companion, Maggie, who is curled up asleep on the couch. I’m grateful for the sound as Maggie is 14, and I know my days with her are limited. This is, especially true as she is still recovering from a painful chronic ear infection that has long resisted treatment.

I hope in 2012 to once again make it to the top of Angel's Landing in Zion. -- Photo by Pat Bean


Darkness still holds the day at bay outside. I am happy and at peace with myself and the world as I await the sun, and perhaps a nice sunrise. A new day, with its blank pages so full of promise, always thrills me. Sometimes I make wise use of it, and sometimes I don’t.

A new year is even more thrilling. As always I greet it with resolutions to be better and do more.

I am looking forward to spending part of each day in 2012 writing this blog. My other writing goal is simply 500 words of writing a day, plus work on rewriting my travel book. As always, I hope to eat better (and less) and exercise more.

I’m also hoping this wandering/wondering old broad’s body will once again take me to the top of Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park.. It is my one special place in this world, and last year my body rebelled and wouldn’t get me up there. 

Hopefully this year will be different. Making the 2 ½ mile climb/scramble to the top gives me confidence that I can face anything fate throws my way.

Daylight is now coming. It’s misty so it looks like there will be no spectacular sunrise. Still, I greet the dawn with eagerness, as always wondering what surprises await me and Maggie as we head down the road.  I can hear Dr. Seuss’ words playing in my head. “Oh the places you’ll go, and the things you’ll see …”

Happy New Year all!

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“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.” Anne Lamott

It's nice to be noticed. Thank you 4amWriter

Versatile Blogger Award

4amWriter, whose thought-provoking writing blog I discovered while participating in NANO, the challenge to write a first draft of a 50,000-word novel in the month of November, has honored me with a Versatile Blogger Award.

In return I am to thank the person who gave me the award, share seven things about myself, pass the honor along to 15 bloggers whose posts I enjoy reading, and then let each of them know about it. They, in turn, need to follow the above instructions.

There’s also something in the rules about linking to their blogs, but I haven’t quite figured out how to do that yet. If anyone can tell me, in kindergarten words, how to do it, I’ll praise your blog in an upcoming post. How’s that for motivation.

OK. Seven things about myself that you may or may not already know.

One: I’m fond of Pollyanna’s rose-colored glasses as a way to look at the world.

Two: I don’t like conflict and when possible I run in the opposite direction.

Three: I’m one of the most stubborn people you will every meet.

Where ever the road leads, that's where I want to go. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Four: My favorite adult drink is Jack Daniels and Coke

Five: I have no roots and feel most at home when I’m driving down a back road behind the wheel of my RV, Gypsy Lee, with my canine traveling companion, Maggie, at my side. .

Six: I was a newspaper journalist for 37 years, sneaking in the back door as a darkroom flunkie and ending my career as an associate editor at a 65,000 daily circulation paper.

Seven: I dropped out of high school to get married at the age of 16, had four kids by the age of 21 (five at 25) and at the age of 28 stuck into college without a high school diploma.

Eight: Who’s counting? Mother Nature is my higher power and I love to write about her. .

The blogs I like, and of course there are more than I named here, are ones that make me think They mostly reflect my interests of writing, birds, travel and nature.

To Write is To Write : http://towriteistowrite.com A blog for struggling writers and cat lovers.

Telling Herstories: http://storycirclenetwork.wordpress.com/ The Story Circle Networks blog for women writers.

Speak! Good Dog; http://magicdogpress.com About book publishing and lots of other things.

Life in the Bogs: http:bogsofohio.wordpress.com A love affair with photography, nature and one special pond.

Wazeau’s World: http://wazeau.wordpress.com Birds and cats living together with a prolific photographer. The photos usually make me laugh.

Love thy bike: http://lovethybike.wordpress.com Seeing the world on a bike. Great places, great photos.

Everywhere Once: http://everywhereonce.com Touring the country in a RV with Brian and Shannon

Chicks With Ticks: http://chickswithticks.wordpress.com A great blog about adventuring in the outdoors. It gets the adrenalin going.

Texas Tweeties: http://bobzeller.wordpress.com All about birds. A man with a passion.

Fabulous Geezer Sisters: http://www.geezersisters.com Author Ruth Pennyebaker thoughts on just about everything.

Martina’s Photography Designs: http://photosbymartina.wordpress.com Photographs of what the eyes see, the mind thinks and the heart feels.

The WUC http://thewuc.com A broth of thoughts, stories, wucs and wit. Sometimes not for the easily offended.

Not Yet There http://notyethere.wordpress.com Discovering this blogger, who shares my passion for nature and life’s journey, was one of the great things that happened to me in 2011.

A Year on the Road http://allevenson.wordpress.com Follow Al around the country in his RV, the Jolly Swag. Between his and my travels, you get a clearer picture of this country.

Deidra Alexander’s Blog http://deidraalexander.com A person with people to kill and lives to ruin. She’s a mystery writer and my latest blog find.

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I stood at the top of Tioga Pass in 2011 and looked out at Yosemite's Half Dome. -- Photo by Pat Bean

 “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” Mary Oliver

Travels With Maggie

Been thinking about my New Year’s Resolutions. I always make them and I always break them’

This past year, however, I did almost keep one. And that was the goal to blog daily. I came up about a dozen blogs short. Just one slip a month.

Too bad I thought, when I counted them up.

Sand and snow at Great Sand Dune National Park in Colorado was an April view for me. -- Photo by Pat Bean

There was a lesson in the tallying, however. I realized how a mere slip here and there adds up. Next year I’m going to meet the goal of blogging daily, which has been a great way to keep track of my life, make new friends, share my travels, as well as my defeats and achievements. It’s also helped me gain a voice in my writing.

What I did last year, meanwhile, was to compete (after five years of failing) the NANO challenge of writing a first draft of a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. That’s the 2011 achievement I’m most proud of accomplishing. It wasn’t a New Year’s resolution, however.

I also knocked off a few places on my travel list this past year, including first visits to Yosemite and great Sand Dune national parks and to Mono Lake.


I volunteered for the summer as a campground host at Lake Walcott State Park, and plan to return there this coming summer. I was elected to the Board of Directors for Story Circle Network, the national writing group to which I belong. I had a photo of mine published in the Fodor’s African Safari Guide and my world bird list hit the 700 mark, of which about 500 are North American species.

And Maggie and I made sure to take time to smell the flowers that grew in 2011. -- Photo by Pat Bean

All in all, I think it was a pretty good year.

 It’s finally time, I’ve decided, to stop beating myself up for all the things I didn’t do and give myself credit for what I did do. I truly hope you will do the same.

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  A man begins cutting his wisdom teeth the first time be bites off more than he can chew.” – Herb Caen

While I may never know who has perfect teeth, since imperfect is in, I can tell you that this is a perfectly awesome bed of purple pansies that I saw at the St. Louis Botanical Gardens. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Travels With Maggie

Imperfect Teeth: What the Heck?

That was my thought when I caught a news headline this morning announcing that crooked teeth were a growing fad in Japan.

The story went on to note that Japanese women were even paying dentists to give them more pronounced cuspids. I was dumbfounded until I read the explanation. “A crowded mouth implies youth.”

Imperfection is suddenly seen as perfection. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

We humans are a funny race.

But I guess everything has its quirks.

And in my book, these yellow pansies I saw at the Cowgirl Hall of Fame in Fort Worth, Texas, are just as perfectly beautiful as can be. -- Photo by Pat Bean

 A female blue-footed booby wants a mate with the brightest blue feet – and the male booby shows of his webbed ones by dancing in front of her.

My dog, Maggie, prefers human companions over her own kind. I truly think she believes she’s human.

Female black widow spiders are known to eat their mates after the sex is over.

Some people believe mosquitoes have teeth, 47 to be exact. Well they do, but not teeth as we know them, and perhaps not 47. I wonder if mosquitoes think imperfect teeth are perfect, too.

This wandering/wondering old broad is just glad she still has her own teeth. What do you think?

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There's gotta be a tasty morsel down there somewhere -- Photo by Pat Bean

“For man, as for flower and beast and bird, the supreme triumph is to be most vividly, most perfectly alive.”– David Herbert Lawrence
Bird Talk
Went birding this morning instead of posting my blog. So all you get today is a picture of the great egret I watched fishing for its dinner at the Sea Center in Lake Jackson, Texas.  I hope you had a great day, too.

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