Posts Tagged ‘travel advice’

“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” – James Michener

The horizon is always calling to me, whether it lies beyond the ocean or just past a Texas cotton field.  -- Photo by Pat Bean

The horizon is always calling to me, whether it lies beyond the ocean or just past a Texas cotton field. — Photo by Pat Bean

From a Passionate Nomad

            Never do I feel more at home than when I am on the road. Whether it be driving past a cotton field dotted with oil rigs in my native Texas, or maneuvering the steep and twisting coastal roads in Oregon, it always feels that’s exactly where I belong.

My itchy feet took me to Africa, where I pretended I was John Wayne in Hatari at the Amboseli National Park Airport in Kenya. -- Photo by Kim Perrin

My itchy feet took me to Africa, where I pretended I was John Wayne in Hatari at the Amboseli National Park Airport in Kenya. — Photo by Kim Perrin

Freya Stark, who was the first person to beat Phileas Fogg’s around the world in 90 days’ record, must have felt the same.

When I embarked on my nine-year U.S. cross-country adventure in a small RV I called Gypsy Lee, I had only one rule: No whining.

Freya had seven rules, which she wrote about in a letter to her mother. I laughed when I read them last night. She called them the seven cardinal virtues of a traveler. They were:

1. To admit standards that are not one’s own standards and discriminate the values that are not one’s own values.

2. To know how to use stupid men and inadequate tools with equanimity.

3.  To be able to disassociate oneself from one’s bodily sensations.

4. To be able to take rest and nourishment as and when they come.

5.  To love not only nature but human nature also.

6.  To have an unpreoccupied, observant and uncensorious mind – in other words to be unselfish.

7.  To be as commonly good-tempered at the end of the day as at the beginning.

I think Freya, who died in 1993 at the age of 100 and who during her lifetime wrote over two dozen travel books, was simply wordier than me. What do you think?

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

Bean Pat: Where’s My Backpack http://tinyurl.com/k3k5so6  Great travel blog, and today great horizons.

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White Oak lake State Park: A place to sit a while and watch the clouds roll by. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Travels With Maggie

Arkansas has 52 state parks, 26 of which have facilities to accommodate RVs.

I know because finding state parks along my route is part of my regular trip-planning routine. If it were possible, I would spend all my on-the-road nights at state parks rather than commercial ones.

These public campgrounds are usually less expensive, have larger sites, and almost always come with a view and trails that Maggie and I can hike.

Hollyhocks growing near the Wonder House at Queen Wilhelmina State Park in Arkansas. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Two of my favorite Arkansas campgrounds are White Oak Lake and Queen Wilhelmina. The first is located just 20 miles away from Camden, where I will start my travels for the year next week. I’ve visited it a couple of times but never stayed overnight because of its close proximity.

In a perfect traveling world – well the one that I prefer – I travel about 150 miles than camp for two to three days so I can become more personally acquainted with a landscape.

Queen Wilhelmina, meanwhile, is almost exactly 150 miles from my daughter’s home. I came upon it a few years back when I was driving the Talamina Scenic Byway between Arkansas and Oklahoma.

The park, located high on a ridge in the Ouachita Mountains was too inviting to pass by. I decided to stop for the night, although I had only traveled 20 miles this day.  Five days later I finally left to continue my journey.

This time around I’m planning to spend my first night on the road at yet another Arkansas State Park. Stay tuned and I’ll tell you all about it next week.

“What you’ve done becomes the judge of what you’re going to do – especially in other people’s minds. When you’re traveling, you are what you are right there and then. People don’t have your past to hold against you. No yesterdays on the road.” William Least Heat Moon, “Blue Highways”

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Reading for my upcoming adventures on the Blue Ridge Parkway -- Photo by Pat Bean

  “Let your mind start a journey thru a strange new world. Leave all thoughts of the world you knew before. Let your soul take you where you long to be … Close your eyes and let your spirit start to soar, and you’ll live as you’ve never lived before.” Erich Fromm

Travels With Maggie

There’s something magical about getting on the road with no destination in mind and stopping whenever and wherever fancy strikes . That was the ideal for my travels before I actually got on the road. It worked – sometimes.

Today I spend endless hours plotting my journeys, like the one I plan to take this spring driving the Blue Ridge Parkway between Smokey Mountain and Shenandoah national parks.

For my upcoming Blue Ridge Parkway adventure, I purchased mile-marker guides of the parkway (Rockfish Gap to Grandfather Mountain and Grandfather Mountain to Great Smokey Mountain NP) by William Lord. I learned from Lord that plans for the Parkway begin in the early 1930s and that upon hearing such news Aunt Caroline Brinegar, a-sittin’ and a-rockin’ in her cabin high in the Blue Ridge by Air Bellows Gap slapped her knee and laughed at the notion. “Why Lord have mercy, no body a-living’ could put one of them through here.”

This is an actual page from my Blue Ridge Parkway plans. I note the campground where I expect to stay for the night with a telephone number so I can either make a reservation or cancel one. Occasionally I even insert pictures. -- Photo by Pat Bean

As part of my planning routine, I plot the proposed route out on my Microsoft Streets & Trips computer software, which I use as my road atlas. I then go online to research the sights along the way, Finally, I use my Trailer Life Directory to find convenient campgrounds for each night’s stop.

This kind of detailed planning takes days and days, but I enjoy doing it. Besides, I’ve discovered that such planning allows me the security of knowing I will have a safe place to stay the night, assures me I won’t overlook interesting places, and provides directions to trails I want to hike.

There are still unexpected rainbows, the shimmer of sun shining down on a field of poppies, and the people whose paths I cross to keep the journey interesting.

There are also days when I trash the plan on a whim so Maggie and I can stay in place for awhile, or take an unplanned side trip. Just because I have a plan doesn’t mean it has to be followed. That’s the magic I allow to remain in my plans.

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Mesa Falls, complete with rainbow, was my reward for divorcing my planned driving route. -- Photo Pat Bean

Travels With Maggie

 “Establishing goals is all right if you don’t let them deprive you of interesting detours.” — Doug Larson

It was the best of times without any worse. Maggie and I were peacefully driving the Teton Scenic Byway (Highway 20) west out of Yellowstone and past Henry’s Lake when we came upon a fork in the road.

 Taking Robert Frost’s advice, we zigged to take the one less traveled, which was the Mesa Falls Scenic Byway (Highway 47).  We would hook up again down the road with Highway 20 but only after stops and short hikes for spectacular views of Mesa Falls.

I usually travel with a plan, but thankfully am willing to divorce it at my slightest whim.  To be willing to follow my example is the best advice I can offer my fellow travelers this day.

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