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Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

“No one knows what causes an outer landscape to become an inner one.” – Margaret Atwood

The drive between Dallas and Austin is filled with roadside bluebonnets right now. Get out and go see them. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The drive between Dallas and Austin is filled with roadside bluebonnets right now. Get out and go see them. — Photo by Pat Bean

Catch ‘em While You Can

I drove from Dallas to Austin this past Thursday to attend the Story Circle Network’s Stories from the Heart memoir conference. The bluebonnets alongside the road on my I-35 and toll road 130 route were magnificent.

 

Up close and personal with Texas' state flower.

Up close and personal with Texas’ state flower.

On Sunday, after a fantastic few days of association with like-minded writer women, I made the return trip — and the bluebonnets were even more abundant and just as magnificent.

How could anyone not like bluebonnets?

They were named bluebonnets because someone thought they looked like the bonnets worn by pioneer women.

Texas’ singing cowboy “Pappy” O’Daniel, who became governor of the state when I was 2 years old, sang: “you may be on the plains or the mountains or down where the sea breezes blow, but bluebonnets are one of the prime factors that make the state the most beautiful land that we know.”

The Indian paintbrush blossoms along side Texas highways aren't too shabby either. --  Photo by Pat Bean

The Indian paintbrush blossoms along side Texas highways aren’t too shabby either. — Photo by Pat Bean

Did you catch that Texas pride there? I have to admit it’s something I share.

If you were a native Texan, like me, and saw the fields of bluebonnets I’ve seen this past week, you would understand. .

This is a really good year for bluebonnets, which require special conditions of rain, sun and cold, to bloom at their best. But the fields of blue are short-lived.

So if you can, catch them soon.

The Wondering-Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering-Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean Pat: Not Yet There http://tinyurl.com/k243py5 This is one of my favorite bloggers, and this month Red Jim is writing poetry daily because it’s National Poetry Month.

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            “The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” Pablo Picasso

From a distance, these looked like plants. Instead they are the welcoming art of Dale Chihuly the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix. -- Photo by Pat Bean

From a distance, these looked like plants. Instead they are the welcoming art of Dale Chihuly to the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix. — Photo by Pat Bean

And Realizing I’m not Like Him

I recently caught an exhibit of Dale Chihuly’s glass art at the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix. One word says it all. Fantastic!

Nor was this a celebratory stack of balloons. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Nor was this a celebratory stack of balloons. — Photo by Pat Bean

It was the second time I had seen Chihuly’s colorful glass creations in a foliage setting. The first was in 2006, when I was living and traveling full time in my small RV, Gypsy Lee. The setting then was the Missouri Botanical Gardens in St. Louis, where Chihuly’s work represented everything from reeds and Mexican hats to herons and meteorite-looking balls plopped down among a bounty of foliage and brilliantly hued flowers.

When I later looked at the photos, I found I had mingled Chihuly’s art with the creations of nature so well that I sometimes had to stop and ask myself which was which.

That night, as I lay in bed awake, I pondered how a genius like Chihuly came to be – and the answer suddenly hit me: Single-minded focus and dedication, which I knew was something I lacked.

For almost as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a “great” writer, yet I was always finding excuses for not writing. I knew I lacked the focus of a Chihuly, or a Van Gogh, or even an old boyfriend who religiously practiced his guitar four hours a day, seven days a week.

Don't you just love the color yellow.

Don’t you just love the color yellow.

While in my youth, I flagellated myself for this lack, today I’m thankful for it.

My life has been richer for the fact that I didn’t give up riding roller coasters with my grandkids, arguing politics with my friends, discovering who my grownup children had become, exploring new hiking trails, white-water rafting with my river-rat buddies, mindlessly watching the sun rise and set, piddling with my watercolors, reading Harry Potter final book the day it came out, and sniffing every flower in life I came across.

Writing is a part of my life, and will always be, but it will never be my whole life.

The Wondering Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: The Why About This http://tinyurl.com/p7w7bll As an Old Broad who evolved from a barefoot and pregnant southern girl to an associate editor position at a 65,000 circulation newspaper, this blog has special meaning to me. And to this day, Helen Reddy’s first time out as a song writer continues to inspire me. I listen to it regularly, but loved this chance to see her perform it in person. I hope you will, too

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“The caterpillar does all the work but the butterfly gets all the publicity.” – George Carlin

I can identify birds but not too many butterflies, so if you know what species this is, please tell me.  -- Photo by Pat Bean

I can identify birds but not too many butterflies, so if you know what species this is, please tell me. — Photo by Pat Bean

Flying Flowers 

I’m always chasing butterflies, trying to capture their image with my camera. But chasing wasn’t necessary during my recent visit to the Desert Bontanical Gardens’ Butterfly Pavilion in Phoenix this past week.

Photo by Pat Bean

Photo by Pat Bean

I hope you enjoy these delicate creatures as much as I did.

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Photo by Pat Bean

May the wings of the butterfly kiss the sun
And find your shoulder to light on,
To bring you luck, happiness and riches
Today, tomorrow and beyond.
~Irish Blessing

Just a bit of fun. -- Photo by Kris Gutnecht

Just a bit of fun. — Photo by Kris Gutnecht

 

But these are flowers that fly and all but sing:
And now from having ridden out desire
They lie closed over in the wind and cling
Where wheels have freshly sliced the April mire.
~Robert Frost, “Blue-Butterfly Day”

 

 

 

 

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“Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.” – Gilda Radner

Me, Pepper and Cayenne. -- Photo by T.C. Ornelas

Me, Pepper and Cayenne. — Photo by T.C. Ornelas

Hello Cayenne

            Ten years ago I sold my home and traded in my car for a new RV, which I named Gypsy Lee, in honor of my wanderlust and a grandfather I never knew but from whom my mother claimed I inherited my rootless ways.

Me and Gypsy Lee in 2004, 140,000 miles ago.

Me and Gypsy Lee in 2004, 140,000 miles ago.

I lived on the road for nine years before settling in a Tucson apartment a year ago, during which time Gypsy Lee, a 21-foot motor home continued to be my only means of transportation.

This past weekend, I parked Gypsy Lee at my daughter’s house and drove away in a bright, red new car that I named Cayenne. I thought it was a fitting name to go with my canine companion, Pepper, and this flower child who still loves to wear tie-dye.

Over the past few months, I came to understand that driving an RV in a crowded city was holding me back from doing things, like attending a play where there was no parking or driving on city streets at night. There was also Gypsy’s gas guzzling stomach to consider, which meant I mostly only drove her for errands once a week because of the cost of keeping her fed.

My beloved Maggie, who spent the first eight years with me in Gypsy Lee. She is still missed

My beloved Maggie, who spent the first eight years with me in Gypsy Lee. She is still missed

I knew I was going to eventually have to give her up, but sensibly had decided to keep her one more year for financial reasons.

Then it finally dawned on me that while I’m, thankfully, healthy and physically active now, I’m going to be 75 this year. Now is not the time for me to slow down. I need to keep running as fast as I can, as far as I can, and as hard as I can for as long as I can.

So on Saturday it was good-bye Gypsy Lee. We had an awesome 10 years together. I will always treasure the memories we made during our 140,000 miles on the road.

And hello, Cayenne. You’ve got a lot to live up to in sharing your life with me and Pepper.

Oh, and the first place I visited yesterday, after waiting a year to do so, was Tucson’s downtown main library, where Gypsy Lee couldn’t go because there was no parking space for her.

The Wondering-Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering-Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: You gotta do what you gotta do to survive http://tinyurl.com/k8tor9v This is a story that made me feel blessed for everything I have – and for the power of starting over, which I once had to do in life. Although my situation wasn’t as drastic as this story, I did have to borrow money to pay rent for a while.

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The Palo Verde tree and Mission Cactus growing in Tucson's Tono Chul Park have made a connection. Without the support of the tree, the cactus could never have grown so large, while the large pads of the cactus help capture rain water that gives the tree extra moisture. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The Palo Verde tree and Mission Cactus growing in Tucson’s Tono Chul Park have made a connection. Without the support of the tree, the cactus could never have grown so large, while the large pads of the cactus help capture rain water that gives the tree extra moisture. — Photo by Pat Bean

            “When you feel a connection, a gut connection, a heart connection, it’s a very special thing.” Alfre Woodard

Looking in all the Right Places

            There is something special, as Alfre said, about making a connection. She was talking about that love/lust thing, which thankfully I’ve experienced a few times in my life. While these have all bloomed and faded, they’ve left behind memories, both good, and bad, that put under the microscope help me define who I am.

One tree, or two trees? Either way, there is a connection between them. I do love trees. -- Photo by Pat Bean

One tree, or two trees? Either way, there is a connection between them. I do love trees. — Photo by Pat Bean

Now, in my seventh decade, I find connections that define who I am in different ways. Mostly they come through travel, books and family relationships, the latter of which, when I think hard enough about them, leave me understanding that I was at times better than I gave myself credit for, but also sometimes not as good as I thought I was.

It’s a complicated thing, and sometimes I simply decide to give up thinking about whether I was a good, strong mother, or a weak, spineless one. .

It’s much more rewarding and fascinating to come across things in my travels that connect to my life, like a Chinaberry tree that reminded me of the many hours I spent up in one in  my grandmother’s back yard – until the day I discovered  a rattlesnake sunning on the rock I used to boost myself up into the branches. The snake scurried away as fast as I did. It was probably as afraid of me as I was of it, but I never climbed that tree again.

The perfect setting for making a connection with another human, I thought when I saw these chairs sitting in a Flagstaff, Arizona, RV park.  -- Photo by Pat Bean

The perfect setting for making a connection with another human, I thought when I saw these chairs sitting in a Flagstaff, Arizona, RV park. — Photo by Pat Bean

All this came back to as I watched a white-breasted nuthatch in a Chinaberry tree growing next to where I was camping in my RV, Gypsy Lee. Time, I realized, had taught me to fear the snake when it was where I would place my foot, but not to fear it when it wasn’t there. It was a well-learned lesson that gave me many years of freedom in the outdoors and the courage to face the unknown unafraid.

Books, meanwhile, let me know that I’m not alone in my odd ways of thinking. I delight when I come across a person in a memoir, or a character in a novel, who sees the world as I do, which is through rose-colored glasses despite accepting the reality that the world is chaotic and often unfair.

These are the kinds of connections I never had time to make when I was younger. I was too busy simply living life. But suddenly I find them fascinating. These connections to my life happen often these days, and they enrich my days. So I have come to search for them – in all the right places.

Bean’s Pat: The Gift of Time http://tinyurl.com/lskfbh4 Tosty Mae makes me laugh. And I loved this blog about unwelcome “connections.”

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Resolutions are popular because everyone feels they could use a little improvement.” Marilu Henner

This glorious desert sunset welcomed me home to Tucson

This glorious desert sunset welcomed me home to Tucson. — Photo by Pat Bean

New Year’s Resolutions

It’s 5:15 a.m., and the morning after I arrived back home to Tucson from attending my granddaughter’s  Texas A&M graduation — and the first time since I left on the spur-of-the-minute trip that I feel I have a few minutes of time completely to myself.

Me and my granddaughter, Pacee.

Me and my granddaughter, Pacee.

It was as perfect a trip as a trip with my strong personalities-family could be. By that I mean that I had a fantastic time, the hiccups were few, and my granddaughter’s surprised and pleased face when she saw me made all the hassles to get there worthwhile.

I even enjoyed the two-day long drive coming and going, even though on this trip the destination was more important than the journey. I still, as always, love sitting behind the steering wheel of a vehicle and watching the landscape flow by. The road has always felt like home to me.

I got back to Tucson in time to share birthday cake with my son-in-law, Joe, and then I spent the night here at my daughter’s house, choosing to sleep in my RV, Gypsy Lee, which I left behind for the trip. This morning I will return the rental car I drove, and then Gypsy Lee, Pepper and I will drive back to our small apartment home, where I can once again watch, from my bedroom balcony, the Catalina Mountains come to life with the morning sun as I drink my cream-laced coffee

My granddaughter was one of 4,980 students who graduated from Texas A&M on December 13. She's sitting on the front row on the left, fifth from right.  -- Photo by Pat Bean

My granddaughter was one of 4,980 students who graduated from Texas A&M on December 13. She’s sitting on the front row on the left, fifth from right. — Photo by Pat Bean

Waking up while everyone else is asleep is a thing I do often. It’s almost always the best time of any day. This morning, I lay in Gypsy Lee’s bed thinking about the fast approaching New Year. It’s a time when I always make a long list of resolutions – and yes they are usually all broken before the New Year is a week old.

As I thought about the things I want to put on this year’s list, because while I break my resolutions they do stay in my head and I do keep them occasionally, I realized that last year’s resolutions were still good to go – with just a little tweaking.

And that’s the same for my life. This old broad loves her life and could only think of a few tweaks to make it better.

Does this mean I’ve achieved all my goals, or have just relaxed enough to accept myself for who I am?

Well of course I haven’t achieved all my goals, but I do give myself a pat on the back for putting a big dent in them. And yes, I no longer beat up on myself when I’m not constantly in achievement mode.  So I guess it’s a little bit of both.

But mostly I think it is simply because I have come to not just accept, but to love, all my imperfections. So now I just have to decide what tweaks will make 2014 even better.

The Wondering-Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering-Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: Oh Christmas Tree http://tinyurl.com/mqujzxy I don’t have a Christmas tree this year, although I have put up a few holiday decorations around my apartment. I gave away my huge collection of ornaments when I took to the road in Gypsy Lee. They now hang on my youngest daughter’s tree, and since I’m spending Christmas with her I’ll get to enjoy the memories again this holiday. A lot of the ornaments are travel souvenirs, but my favorites are  simply a few plastic poinsettia blooms, which hung on my first Christmas tree. Money was tight back then, and so that tree was decorated with nothing more than the plastic flowers that I had  separated from a dime-store  bouquet. There have been over 50 Christmases since that day, and the red flowers have seen them all. Meanwhile, enjoy the trees on this blog. I did

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“Birds sing after a storm; why shouldn’t people feel as free to delight in whatever remains to them?” Rose Kennedy

This alligator was shot from the viewing platform in Wolfweed Wetlands and was more than a football field away. -- Photo by PatBean

This alligator was shot from the viewing platform in Wolfweed Wetlands and was more than a football field away. — Photo by PatBean

And a Hissing Alligator

It was a busy day for my son, who had chores, errands and Community Theater rehearsal – He’s playing Marley in an upcoming production of “A Christmas Carol.” But he chose to play hooky from them for a couple of hours on the last day of my visit with his Texas Gulf Coast family.

The magical path leading into Bpbcat Woods at San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The magical path leading into Bpbcat Woods at San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge. — Photo by Pat Bean

We two passionate birders stuck out of the house early to continue our birding adventures, which had been rudely interrupted the day before by a heavily weeping storm. This day, which shone bright and clear with bird song echoing from the trees, the two of us headed to San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge.

The birds were out in good numbers this morning, we noted, as their musical tweets came through the open windows of our vehicle. On the drive we saw a field of cattle egrets, which like yesterday’s scissor-tailed flycatchers were late in migrating south for the winter.

A great blue heron stood as still as a statue near a pond that we passed, and a magnificent broad-winged hawk atop a tall pole stayed in place as my son stopped and backed up the car so we could get a better look at it through our binoculars.

The hissing alligator. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The hissing alligator. — Photo by Pat Bean

I had only seen one other broad-winged hawk before so I was especially thrilled at this sighting. Our drive also turned up a flock of red-winged blackbirds and a few kestrels, which were just migrating back into the area for the winder.

At the refuge, we walked the refuge’s Bobcat Woods boardwalk, where we saw cardinals, ruby-crowned kinglets, eastern phoebes, red-bellied woodpeckers and yellow-bellied sapsuckers.

The plants, tree leaves and moss were thick along the boardwalk, letting us hear more than we saw. I surprised myself, however, that by sound I identified an orange-crowned warbler, whose sweet, single note call is so different from that of the single call of a yellow-rumped warbler.

Also identified by sound was a red-shouldered hawk, whose high-pitched keah, keah  screeches cannot be mistaken for anything else. We both spotted, at the same time, a cute belted-kingfisher flying low above a small stream. We both pointed and uttered the word “Look” at the same time, then we simply grinned at each other.

It was also a day for butterflies. You just never know what beauty will turn up in just a couple of stolen hours. -- Photo by Pa Bean

It was also a day for butterflies. You just never know what beauty will turn up in just a couple of stolen hours. — Photo by Pa Bean

It was when we had left the boardwalk, headed toward the viewing platform of the Wolfweed Wetlands that we were startled by a strange sound. I at first thought it might be a sudden gust of wind that had stirred the foliage.

Lewis, walking toward the sound to investigate, suddenly jumped back. It’s an alligator and it’s hissing at us. It certainly was, I saw, as I stepped closer to the small pond so I could take its picture. It wasn’t a big alligator; still we didn’t long in the area.

“I’ve never before been hissed at by an alligator,” Lewis said.

A little bit later, in another area of the refuge, Lewis was looking for rails in a reed-filled pond when he heard something popping into the water. He thought at first it was turtles, but on closer examination saw that it was baby alligators.

He left that area pretty quickly, perhaps because from the viewing platform that had looked out over a huge wetlands area we had spotted a second alligator – and it wasn’t small at all.

The Wondering-Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering-Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: Jamaica Bay Shorebirds http://tinyurl.com/l83rlso A great birding photo blog

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            “Loving Life is easy when you’re in love with it.” – Author unknown

Scissortails and a Whistler in the Rain

A scissor-tailed flycatcher sitting in the rain at Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge. -- Photo by Pat Bean

A scissor-tailed flycatcher sitting in the rain at Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge. — Photo by Pat Bean

My son Lewis caught his birding addiction from me. I make no apologies. The shared craziness has given the two of us many hours of delightful magic and wonder.

So when I recently visited him and his family for a few days at his Texas Gulf Coast home in Lake Jackson, we decided to ignore the stormy weather forecast and go look for birds. . Sure, it was drizzling, but that could stop at any time. And besides, it would be our only chance to spend a day birding before I would be moving on to visit other Texas family, which includes two other kids and 10 grandchildren scattered far and wide across the Lone Star State.

We decided to go to Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge, which is located only eight miles away from my son’s home. It holds memories of Lewis’ first bird outing with me, and the moment he identified a tropical cormorant — which was the exact moment he was hooked on birding.  We laughingly relived that moment on our way to the refuge.

This is where Lewis and I were standing when the temperature dropped and the sky opened wide. -- Photo by Pat Bean

This is where Lewis and I were standing when the temperature dropped and the sky opened wide. — Photo by Pat Bean

We were standing on a boardwalk near the entrance to the refuge – ignoring a gentle rain while watching a chummy trio that included a dowitcher and two yellowlegs foraging in a pond – when a stiff breeze dropped the temperature several degrees.

In minutes we were standing in a deluge, but fortunately were standing under a roofed portion of the boardwalk. We waited, and waited, but it was soon evident that the rain wasn’t going to stop and we should head back to the car. The umbrella we shared did little to keep us dry, such was the fury of the storm.

I expected Lewis to turn toward the exit once we were in the car, but he headed deeper into the refuge.

“We can do a little car birding. Maybe we’ll spot some ducks,” he said. I laughed, knowing this is exactly what I would have done if I had been by myself. I have mentioned before, haven’t I, that passionate birders are a bit crazy.

“I’m sure we’ll have the place to ourselves,” I answered, as Lewis turned on the car defroster to keep the windows from fogging up.

I didn't get a picture this day of the black-bellied whistler, but here's a shot I took of them at Texas' Brazos Bend State Park a while back. -- Photo by Pat Bean

I didn’t get a picture this day of the black-bellied whistler, but here’s a shot I took of four of them at Texas’ Brazos Bend State Park a while back. — Photo by Pat Bean

We ended the soggy day with the car splashing through puddles so deep I was surprised the vehicle didn’t stall. What a great adventure. We even spotted 24 bird species on our outing. For the birders among you, I’ll enumerate: Forster’s tern, blue jay, killdeer, common and great-tailed grackles, laughing gull, European starling, black vulture, mourning dove, mockingbird, meadowlark, scissor-tailed flycatcher, white ibis, lesser yellowlegs, short-billed dowitcher, western sandpiper, willet, great egret, greater yellowlegs, snowy egret, bank swallow, savannah sparrow, black-bellied whistler and pied-billed grebe.

The scissor-tailed flycatchers and the lone black-bellied whistler were my top two favorite sightings. It was late for the scissor-tails to still be in the area, and along with a colorful pair of adults, there was also a tree full of less bright and shorter tailed juvenile scissor-tails.

The whistler stood in the middle of the refuge’s gravel road beneath the dripping sky, and didn’t budge until we were almost on top of it. Whistlers are a species that I love, especially when a flock of them fly overhead belting out a tune.

The Wondering-Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering-Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: The Iris and the Lily http://tinyurl.com/lnt5xz4 Back road landscape. If you are a fan of Mother Nature, you will love this blog.

 

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            “The story never ends. There’s always a new corner, a new chapter – and who knows what wonders await there.” – Don George

A lily pad pond at Atwater's National Wildlife Refuge. -- Flick'r photo

A lily pad pond at Attwater’s Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge. — Flick’r photo

O Frabjous Day! Callooh! Callay

            Lewis Carroll’s inventive words – a victorious chortle uttered after the Jabberwock was slain — popped into my head this morning.

In 1900, a million Atwater prairie chickens roamed the coastal prairies, by 1998 less than 300 remained. Like the passenger pigeon, this species is headed toward extinction. -- Wikimedia photo

In 1900, a million Atwater prairie chickens roamed the coastal prairies, by 1998 less than 300 remained. Like the passenger pigeon, this species is headed toward extinction. — Wikimedia photo

While my canine companion, Pepper, and my RV, Gypsy Lee, are staying behind at my daughter’s home, I’m going to be on the road for a couple of weeks, beginning with an airplane flight early tomorrow morning.

It will only be to my native Texas, and I will only be traveling between the familiar landscapes of Austin, San Antonio, Houston and Dallas in a rental car to visit family members. But, as is always my plans when traveling, I will make sure I drive down new roads and try and see things I’ve never seen before.

These birds today can only be found in the will at the Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge near Eagle Lake, Texas, and the Texas City Prairie Preserve near Texas City.  -- Wikimedia photo

These birds today can only be found in the wild at the Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge near Eagle Lake, Texas, and the Texas City Prairie Preserve near Texas City. — Wikimedia photo

The one thing in concrete on this part of my traveling agenda is a side trip to visit the Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge. The wildlife sanctuary  is located off Highway 36 — between a son who lives north of Austin and a son who lives south of Houston.

I’ve passed by the turnoff to this refuge many times, but never allowed time to stop. Hopefully on this trip I’ll be able to add this rare bird to my life list. I’ve been forewarned that this might not happen. But even if I don’t see the prairie chicken, I know I will see many other wonders; national refuge visits have never failed me in this way.

And that’s why I’m chortling with job, “O frabjous day. Callooh! Callay!

The Wondering-Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering-Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: A Time to Write: http://tinyurl.com/k6378j5 It’s not Musical Monday, but I think you’ll find this just as enjoyable on a hump-day Wednesday.

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Anything one man can imagine, other men can make real.” – Jules Verne

            “Energy rightly applied and directed will accomplish anything.” Nellie Bly’s motto.

This time last year I was traveling the Blue Ridge Parkway, and thankfully wasn't trying to set any records. I took eight days to drive the  scenic parkway's 469 miles. -- Photo by Pat Bean

This time last year I was traveling the Blue Ridge Parkway, and thankfully wasn’t trying to set any records. I took eight days to drive the scenic parkway’s 469 miles. — Photo by Pat Bean

Or 44 Hours and Six Minutes

Jules Verne believed, back in the early 1870s, that transportation had progressed to the point that a man could travel around the world in less than three months. His fictional character, Phileas Fogg, proved it – in the author’s classic novel, “Around the World in 80 Days,” which is one of my favorite travel books.

Nellie Bly as she began her record-setting 1889 around-the-world trip. -- Wikimedia photo

Nellie Bly as she began her record-setting 1889 around-the-world trip. — Wikimedia photo

In reality, in 1985, famed female reporter Nellie Bly, also known as Elizabeth Cochrane Seaman, put Fogg’s record to the test – and beat it. Her around the world adventure was accomplished in 72 days and six hours. Nellie’s one of my favorite travelers.

But Bly didn’t hold the record for long, and over the years the days dwindled to just hours for a complete circumvention of the globe. The record, as a passenger on scheduled airline flights, for the around-the-world trip, was set in 1980 by David Springbett. With the help of the supersonic Concorde, he made the trip in 44 hours and six minutes. The record still stands.

While I would love to follow in Fogg’s or Bly’s footsteps, Springbett’s is a bit too fast for me. There would be no time to enjoy the journey.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about this around the world thing, perhaps because I’m caught up in reading the adventures of three 28-year-old New York career women who took a year off to travel the world. The book is called “The Lost Girls,” and it’s by Jennifer Baggett, Holly Corbett and Amanda Pressner.

If you’re into travel books by adventurous women, I’m sure you will like this one.

The Wondering-Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering-Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: Ordinary People http://tinyurl.com/mcuwn5s They don’t exist.

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