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Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

            “I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

If you traveled Route 66, before it was replaced by Interstate 40, you might have seen these rock faces along side the road. The rocks are in Arizona's Painted Desert, which old Route 66 passed through. Interstate 40 bypasses the scenic landscape.  -- Photo by Pat Bean

If you traveled Route 66, before it was replaced by Interstate 40, you might have seen these rock faces alongside the road. The rocks are in Arizona’s Painted Desert, which old Route 66 passed through. Interstate 40 bypasses the scenic landscape. — Photo by Pat Bean

How Do You Travel

I was 13 when I went on my first road trip, an adventure on Route 66 when it was in its prime. My uncle drove his new 1952 Oldsmobile 100 mph across Texas, New Mexico and Arizona into California, my aunt by his side and me in the back seat with my 18-month-old cousin Barbara. I got invited on the trip, my first time out of Texas, to babysit.

I had lunch in a diner on Route 66, just across from this sign, which stands along of the bits and pieces of the old Mother Road that still exists. -- Photo by Pat Bean

I had lunch in a diner on Route 66, just across from this sign, which stands along of the bits and pieces of the old Mother Road that still exists. — Photo by Pat Bean

It was a long, two-day drive there, and two days back, but I was never bored. Nor did I do anything to entertain myself but to stare out the window. Watching the world go by out the window is still what I do when I’m in a car, either as driver or passenger. The passing sights, be they strange, new and scenic or familiar, decaying and nondescript, continually fascinate me. I’m always expecting to see something wonderful.

That wasn’t the case with my children, who read comic books or slept on long drives; or my grandchildren, who watch videos or play games on their phones constantly when they are in the car.

So now I ask myself, is the world different, or kids different. Or does the wanderlust in my soul make me different? How do you travel?

Blog pick of the day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: Best Super Bowl blog of them all http://tinyurl.com/on6kcmb

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The tumbleweeds blew across cotton fields... -- Photo by Pat Bean

The tumbleweeds blew across cotton fields… — Photo by Pat Bean

“On day one of the drive, I saw my first dome sky. The world was so flat that I could see the level horizon all around me and the sky looked like a dome. Skies like that will give you perspective when nothing else will. The second day, a tumbleweed blew across the interstate. I’m in a western movie, I said to myself, laughing.” — Kimberly Novosel

Tumbleweeds and Bilbo Baggins

By definition, a tumbleweed is any plant which habitually breaks away from its roots and is driven by the wind. If you’ve ever driven across West Texas, I’m sure you’ve seen them. This day, an army of them pursued me as I began my journey home.

and past oil rigs this Texas day. The lowest price I paid for gas on the trip, just fyi, was $1.84 a gallon. I never thought I would see gas so low ever again. It was up to $4 a gallon when I quit traveling full time. -- Photo by  Pat Bean

and past oil rigs this Texas day. The lowest price I paid for gas on the trip, just fyi, was $1.84 a gallon. I never thought I would see gas so low ever again. It was up to $4 a gallon when I quit traveling full time. — Photo by Pat Bean

When I left Lubbock at 9 a.m., it was a chilly 28 degrees with a wind speed of 30 mph, which made it hellishly cold when you factor in the wind chill. But no sooner had Pepper and I gotten warm and comfy in Cheyenne (my bright red car) when the tumbleweeds started to attack.

They mostly blew across Highway 82, but occasionally they put on a frontal attack. I missed most of them, but not all. One, however, was a monster. It was as if a two-story bush had yanked up its roots and decided it had wanderlust, like me.

Fortunately the wind, which was already blowing briskly, became gusty and yanked the giant tumbleweed off the road just before contact. Whew!

As Bilbo said, “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.”

Of course that’s the best thing in my book about being on the road.

“The Road goes ever on and on, Down from the door where it began. Now far ahead the Road has gone, And I must follow, if I can, Pursuing it with eager feet, Until it joins some larger way Where many paths and errands meet. And whither then? I cannot say”         

Blog pick of the day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the day. Check it out.

   Bean Pat: Bobby’s Photo  Blog http://tinyurl.com/k3ffnrv Comet Lovejoy. I’ve long followed Bobby Harrison because of his birding photos, and that he was involved for a while in trying to find and photo an ivory-bill woodpecker, after it was thought not to be extinct. This night sky photo, meanwhile, speaks to my soul

 

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On the Road in Texas

Junior this Christmas

Junior this Christmas

Me and Junior, my first grandchild, five years ago.

Me and Junior, my first great-grandchild, five years ago.

            “I dearly love the state of Texas, but I consider that a harmless perversion on my part, and discuss it only with consenting adults.” – Molly Ivins

Time for Memories

Cattle, cotton fields, small towns with boarded up buildings, oil rigs and northern mockingbirds, along with a few hawks, dominated the passing, brown winter landscape as I drove from Dallas to Lubbock yesterday. I realized the Sonoran Desert, where I now live, has more color than this part of Texas right now.

But it  was still a pleasant drive, well, once I left the traffic cacophony of the FortWorth-Dallas Metroplex. The area is more commonly called the DFW area, but I once worked for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and the newspaper’s stylebook always put Fort Worth first.

Driving across Texas is almost always a time for reflection of earlier times and earlier trips that annually crisscrossed my life once I left the state for good. And so it was this day. But the best part of the day’s drive was when I could hug a granddaughter, grand-son-in-law, and most importantly a 5-year-old great-grandson.

It was one of the few times in my life when the destination was more important than the journey.

Bean Pat: Write to Done http://tinyurl.com/pnfkcgn Some writing blogs to check out

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     “Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly. Laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile.” — Mark Twain

 

One of the highlights of my trip to Brazoria County on the Texas Gulf Coast,  where I lived for 15 years, is an opportunity to go birding with my son, Lewis. He is as avid a birder as I am. We always see great egrets on our outings. -- Photo by Pat Bean

One of the highlights of my trips to Brazoria County on the Texas Gulf Coast, where I lived for 15 years, is an opportunity to go birding with my son, Lewis. He is as avid a birder as I am, and we always see great egrets on our outings. — Photo by Pat Bean

Texas in my Soul

I arrived in Texas, my native landscape, on December 19, after leaving my current home in Tucson and traveling all the way across New Mexico. I spent the night in a two-star hotel in Van Horn before traveling on to visit a granddaughter and her husband in San Antonio.

On December 20, I drove to West Columbia, to my oldest son’s home where I celebrated Christmas with two sons, seven grandchildren, three spouses, and a brand new great-granddaughter. It’s a family of large personalities but all was peaceful – perhaps because everyone was enthralled with the sparkling personality and cheerful giggles of Savannah Kay, the youngest family member.

Sam Houston played a prominent roll in early Texas history, and so like most things in Texas, here he is -- larger than life. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Sam Houston played a prominent roll in early Texas history, and so like most things in Texas, here he is — larger than life. — Photo by Pat Bean

The day after Christmas I took the half-hour drive from West Columbia into Lake Jackson, where my middle son currently lives. The city’s moss-covered trees, winding streets and green-green landscape felt familiar, perhaps because I lived in Lake Jackson for 15 years, from 1956 to 1971, when I left Texas — and never permanently came back.

A few days and another road trip away, I celebrated New Year’s Eve in the suburbs of Dallas with my oldest daughter and her husband, a granddaughter and her partner, and a niece and her husband. Dallas is where I was born and lived for the first 16 years of my life.

I remember back when Dallas, the Big D, was Texas’ largest city. Now it’s only third having been surpassed by both Houston and San Antonio.  While the Texas landscape of cotton fields, oil rigs and live oak trees still feels like home whenever I see them, Dallas never again felt like home after John F, Kennedy was killed here.

I can’t help but wonder how much of who we are is tainted by where we lived, from our accents to our way of thinking. I think of Utah, where I lived for over 30 years, as a full-blooming flower in my life; Idaho, Nevada and now Arizona are the leaves of my plant-being,  varying in intensity and color like the seasons. Texas, however, contains my roots, the first glimmering of whom I would be and the catalyst of my personality.

But it’s the still the road itself that has always been the place I felt most at home. I was born, I believe, with wanderlust in my soul.

On Monday, I’ll be on the road again, although staying in Texas just a bit longer. I have one last Texas family member to visit, a granddaughter, along with her husband and my first great-grandchild, 5-year-old Junior. They live in Lubbock.

And then it’s back to Tucson, where I’m letting the desert creep into my being.          

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

  Bean Pat: Miss Pelican’s Perch http://tinyurl.com/nmv9zeh Looking at the world in a different way.

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Soul Searching

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world.” – Neil Gaiman

A scene from my past: This pier is located on Chincoteague Island in Virginia, and I sat on it in 2006 and watched birds.  --  Photo by Pat Bean

A scene from my past: This pier is located on Chincoteague Island in Virginia, and I sat on it in 2006 and watched birds. — Photo by Pat Bean

I’ve Become a Non-Wandering Wanderer

I started this blog when I was traveling full-time with my canine companion, Maggie, in a small RV I called Gypsy Lee. I blogged mostly about the places I visited.

Today I live in a small, third-floor walk-up apartment in Tucson that sits in the shadow of the Catalina Mountains. I have a new canine companion, Pepper, a joyful Scottie mix who helped ease my grief when Maggie went to doggie heaven.

The Present: The view looking out over Tucson from my third-floor apartment. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The Present: The view looking out over Tucson from my third-floor apartment. — Photo by Pat Bean

My feet are still itchy for the road, but I’m finding new ways to scratch them by sight-seeing closer to home, traveling via books and photographs, and reflecting more deeply about the places I’ve been and the people I’ve met. The latter is a luxury of time gifted to me for having survived in this world for three-quarters of a century. I love being an old broad.

The things that I still have great passion for include writing, Mother Nature, birds, family, learning new things daily, books, art, travel and helping make this planet a more loving and peaceful world.  And these are the things I will be writing about in my blog in 2015.

I’m looking forward to the journey, and am thankful for readers who will be traveling with me. Life is good.

Bean Pat: Soul Writings http://tinyurl.com/q88ltoz The world would be a better place if everyone lived by these 10 rules.

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fall leaves

Autumn in Ramsey Canyon. — Photo by Pat Bean

 

  “I remember a hundred lovely lakes, and recall the fragrant breath of pine and fir and cedar and poplar trees. The trail has strung upon it, as upon a thread of silk, opalescent dawns and saffron sunsets. It has given me blessed release from care and worry and the troubled thinking of our modern day. It has been a return to the primitive and the peaceful. Whenever the pressure of our complex city life thins my blood and benumbs my brain, I seek relief in the trail; and when I hear the coyote wailing to the yellow dawn, my cares fall from me — I am happy.” — Hamlin Garland, McClure’s, February 1899

Point of Interest for a Non-Wandering Wanderer           

Miniature waterfalls were around every bend. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Miniature waterfalls were around every bend. — Photo by Pat Bean

  Ramsey Canyon, south of Tucson, is one of North America’s hottest birding spots – but not in November. In November, it is just a delightful place for a hike and a delicious feast for the eyes.

My son Lewis and I got to the  Nature Conservancy visitor center early, and paid our $6 to gain access to the canyon. The first two amazing things I noticed different from the usual Sonoran Desert landscape was water in the form of a spring-fed stream bubbling down the canyon — and trees, lots of tall, stately giants, and broad-branched monarchs that made me want to clamber up into their arms.

My son Lewis near the start of the trail. -- Photo by Pat Bean

My son Lewis near the start of the trail. — Photo by Pat Bean

Lewis said it was the trees, which Tucson lacked, that kept me oohing and ahhing almost continually.

But we have trees in Tucson, I said.

“Not like these, or this many,” he replied

He was right. While my apartment complex does have a few, out-of-habitat and bedraggled evergreens, and a few black olive trees, most of the ones I see around Tucson are short mesquites and leafless, green-trunked palo verdes. .

Growing tall and regal between Ramsey’s Canyon walls were maples and sycamores. The towering and mottled-white limbs of the sycamores were enchanting, as were the autumn leaves of the maple trees, sights I don’t normally see in Tucson proper.

Located in the Huachuca Mountains, the canyon is renowned for its scenic beauty, its diversity of plants, and the birds that visit it in the spring and summer. The one other time I visited it, about eight years ago on an April day, I went for the birds – and was not disappointed. While I only saw a few birds this trip, I was still not disappointed.

Painted redstart.

Painted redstart.

The Ramsey Canyon hike is only a mile up and back, although hikers can add some length to the trail by continuing on to the top of a ridge, which Lewis did. I chose to hike back down canyon slowly, taking time to breathe in Mother Nature’s beauty and to take some photographs.

As I crossed a bridge near a splash and play area, I was rewarded with the sight of a pair of painted redstarts. I felt that Lewis, also an avid birder, would be put out that he hadn’t seen them. Thankfully the bird wouldn’t be a lifer for him. And when I told him about the redstart, he was too happy he had seen an Arizona woodpecker, which was a lifer, to envy my sighting.

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

Bean Pat A Window into the Woods http://tinyurl.com/k2wrq5a Now that my son, Lewis, is back home in Texas, these are birds he can see every day.

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Tombstone

Downtown Tombstone -- Photo by Pat Bean

Downtown Tombstone — Photo by Pat Bean

“…writers inevitably notice similar things from slightly different angles. How could it be otherwise.” – Frank Conroy

With My Son

My son, Lewis, in Boot Hill  -- Photo by Pat Bean

My son, Lewis, in Boot Hill — Photo by Pat Bean

            I’ve been to Tombstone, Arizona, which sits 75 miles southeast of my Tucson apartment three times. I barely remember the first, which I think was sometime in the early 70s. The second time was about 10 years ago during my full-time RV travels. The third time was just last Monday with my middle child, Lewis, who came to check up on his mom and have, as he called it, “his midlife road trip.”

My son taking a picture of a spoon player, who takes advantage of the Tombstone crowd to earn a few bucks. Lewis texted the photo to his wife, who replied: "I thought you were in Tombstone and not New Orleans. -- Photo by Pat Bean

My son taking a picture of a spoon player, who takes advantage of the Tombstone crowd to earn a few bucks. Lewis texted the photo to his wife, who replied: “I thought you were in Tombstone and not New Orleans. — Photo by Pat Bean

At least that’s what he called it when he showed up at my Tucson apartment, driving a brand new Jeep Wrangler and wearing a scruffy beard and long hair. I laughed when I saw him, and again after hearing that his wife told him the hair had to go when he got back home.

Lewis is an avid birdwatcher like his mom, from whom he caught the addiction. And Tucson is a great birding place – April through September. Sadly, the birding is dismal in November. So I looked for other options to entertain Lewis, and together we decided a visit to Tombstone might be fun.

Lewis said his wife, Karen, “had a thing about Wyatt Earp.”

It was a beautiful day, and with Lewis’s Jeep open to the air and sky, it was an adventurous, if windy ride. I thoroughly enjoyed it. As I did our exploration of Tombstone, which had evolved into a more touristy place since my last visit — when I watched a free re-enactment of the “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.”

I'm not sure what the Texas longhorn was doing in Arizona, either. -- Photo by Pat Bean

I’m not sure what the Texas longhorn was doing in Arizona, either. — Photo by Pat Bean

Today, the re-enactment is performed inside a fenced-off area with stadium seating for the audience. Tickets to the show, which also include a reprinted copy of the Epitaph newspaper the day after the shooting, and entrance to a movie and diorama history presentation about the history of the old silver mining town, are now $10 per person.

Just about everything else, from stage coach rides to visits to old brothels, museums and haunted buildings, some of which were also free last time I visited, now come with a sticker price.

While my Lewis' wife has a thing about Wyatt Earp, my other daughter-in-law and I share a fondness for John Wayne, especially his performance in Hatari. It's one of our favorite movies. -- Photo by Pat Bean

While my Lewis’ wife has a thing about Wyatt Earp, my other daughter-in-law and I share a fondness for John Wayne, especially his performance in Hatari. It’s one of our favorite movies. — Photo by Pat Bean

I treated for the shoot-out, but we bypassed most of the other attractions. We did, however, take a walk through boot hill, which is now well tended and organized, unlike how I remembered it from my last visit. Then, if I remember correctly, it was just an old graveyard with a few interesting headstones, my favorite being “Here lies Les Moore. Four slugs from a 44. No Les, no Moore. I couldn’t find that particular tombstone this time, however.

Tombstone, whose history is truly fascinating, is “more” today than it was on my earlier visit. Of course it was probably “more” when the town was booming than it is today.

The best thing about Tombstone this day was that I got to spend it with a son whom I seldom see, and he also enjoyed the day (and bought a Wyatt Earp T-shirt for his wife).

We ended the day’s adventure wiith a  prime rib dinner (he treated)  at a steakhouse in the tiny town of Sonorita, which we drove through on the scenic, backroad drive back to Tucson.

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

Bean Pat: Redtails over Sweetwater http://tinyurl.com/lytvas2 An artist’s blog, and a painting I love.

 

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