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Posts Tagged ‘White Oak Lake’

A short visit to White Oak Lake was included in activities on the first day of my “Travels With Maggie.” — Photo by Pat Bean

 “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” – J R R Tolkien

The Gurdon Lights

On the first day of my six-month, 7,000-mile, 23-state plus Canada journey, which is what the travel book I’m hoping to complete rewriting by the end of August is about, I passed through Gurdon, Arkansas.

The small town’s claim to fame is the Gurdon Light, which supposedly haunts the railroad tracks a few miles out of town. The mysterious light, which many have claimed to have seen, was featured on the TV show “Unsolved Mysteries” in 1994, and is described in the “Encyclopedia of Arkansas.”

As was a hike with Maggie on a nature trail at Poison Springs State Park. Sorry, I didn’t manage to snag a photo of the Gurdon Lights. — Photo by Pat Bean

Some believers claim the light is the lantern of a railroad worker who stumbled in front of a train and was killed. Others believe it is the lantern of William McClain, a railroad worker who was murdered in 1931 at about the same time the floating light was first seen. Skeptics look for a more natural phenomenon, such as quartz crystal in the area exuding electricity.

All I saw when I crossed the railroad track as it passed through Gurdon were rock pigeons perched on overhead utility wires. I suspected the small town’s pigeon population was larger than its human one. I wondered if these city dwelling birds had ever seen the lights, and asked my canine traveling companion, Maggie, what she thought.

She didn’t answer. She was asleep – and snoring.

Book Report: This is a tidbit from the first day of my travels. The book, in its third and final rewrite, is now 23, 511 words on its way to completion.

Bean’s Pat: Write to Done http://tinyurl.com/d73y49c 50 quotes to inspire writers. The wondering wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

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 My Favorite Places: White Oak Lake

You can travel far to see beautiful landscapes, or you can stay close to home. White Oak Lake, shown above, was only 20 miles from my daughter's home in Camden, Arkansas. What's in your backyard? -- Photo by Pat Bean

“We are a species that needs and wants to understand who we are. Sheep lice do not seem to share this longing, which is one reason why they write so little.” – Anne LaMott

NaNoWriMo Update … 14,307 words

Still have 700 more words to write today to meet my goal. But I’m currently stuck, mostly because my mind just doesn’t seem to be in to it today. I have to go to physical therapy for my neck in a short while, and so I thought I would go ahead and post my blog and hope I can come up with some ideas while the therapist is twisting my body around.

My book has taken a few odd turns I wasn’t planning on. I guess that’s what happens when you don’t work from an outline. Is this good or bad. Who knows?

The fun part of today’s writing, at least what I’ve done so far, is writing about endangered Ridley sea turtles which nest on the Texas Gulf Coast. It just so happens that one laid a nest of eggs in my mythical town of Sandy Shoes.

OK. I’m going to post this little bit of NaNoWriMo nonsense – it truly feels like that because my fingers are tongue-tied – so I can go back and try to write 700 more words before the day is over. Is there anyone else out there struggling like me today.

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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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