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January 18th, 2014

juncoes and junk loads

Friday I drove to Texarkana. I was heading to Camden, Arkansas, but I like to break up the trip a little when I am going down pretty much for Saturday. It's a rare concession to middle age. In the more remote part of the drive, I noticed I was almost out of gas. I drove to rural Omaha, Texas, where a 24 hour station had some hand-painted images of Texas Wildflowers. I stayed in a La Quinta Inn which was very inexpensive and not surprisingly, more motel-like than the modern suites-like La Quintas.

Saturday morning I got on the road at 7 a.m. I drove down to Gurdon, where I grew up, and walked at Gurdon Pond, now called Gurdon City Lake. At first, I thought I was only going to see a stylish great blue heron and a noisey pied-billed grebe, but then a feeding flock of dark-eyed juncoes and white-throated sparrows appeared on the ground near me, as well as an energetic northern flicker. I wish I had had more time in Gurdon, so that I could look up old school friends. I will devote a warm day someday this year to that, if things permit.

I drove on to Camden, stopping at the Reed Barringer access to the Little Missouri River, where I saw cardinals, savannah sparrows and spotted towhees. I ate oatmeal for breakfast in Camden. I met my father's wife and my brother there in Camden. My brother and I needed to gather some papers and some possessions to transport back to Texas. We worked for a few hours, and got what we came to get, with perhaps one exception. I had a nice call with my sister, who was prevented by a spot of illness from joining us. My brother and I had a nice lunch at the local little Chinese buffet. We took to my father's wife something of hers, and had a nice farewell chat. Then my brother hit the road,
while I took at brief walk at the Ouachita River before setting out myself.

When I texted my brother that I was heading off, too, he texted me back that our alma mater's college basketball team was on the radio. Neither of us are huge sports people, but it was fun to tune in
as I drove the country roads 50 miles to the freeway. It was a bit like being 15 again.

I stopped for gas near New Boston, in northeast Texas, and got a fun picture of a huge red-shouldered hawk on a fence post just across the road. Then I listened to tech podcasts as I drove. I finally arrived at my brother's and we moved a few items of sentimental value into his house. Then I drove home and moved some papers and another few items of sentimental value into my house.

It was a good, quick trip. I am glad to have Sunday to rest.