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Archive for 'Travelogue'



Pictures from New Orleans
Thursday, April 26th, 2012

I thought I’d better get these pictures up. I’ve been back over a week. These are just a few of the pics I took while in New Orleans. My cousin, who lives in Seattle, decided to come south to visit, but to add a little fun, he asked if I’d join him in New Orleans, then drive up to Arkansas. I’ll jump on any excuse to go there, so I loaded up my mom and aunt and┬ádrove eight hours due south.

Eight hours is a long drive, but we took smaller highways rather than the interstate. The scenery was much more interesting. I couldn’t resist stopping to take a picture of the crimson clover blooming in the median.

That night, we didn’t have time for more than a quick stroll on Bourbon street (don’t ask me why I didn’t take any pictures there! I guess I was just tired!). However, the next morning while we waited for my aunt to get ready (she’s the slow poke), I took pics from our hotel balcony. We stayed in the St. Marie on Toulouse street. See the big white van? Well the street corner beyond that is Bourbon—so we weren’t far from all the action.

Another shot of the street below. I liked the colors. :)

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Sweet Refuge!
Monday, October 17th, 2011

Last weekend when friends and I attended the Ozark Writers’ Conference in Eureka Springs, we blew off the conference accomodations in favor of something more on the wild side.

We headed a few miles out of town for the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge. It’s a big cat refuge where exotic animals that have been abused or have become too much for their owners to handle can live out the rest of their lives. These animals aren’t suited for return to the wild and most have some health issue that prevents them from going to zoos. The refuge strives to put every animal they acquire in its own habitat, but while animals heal or are awaiting the opening of a new habitat area, they are caged.

We toured the habitat area and watched the keepers feed the animals. We were impressed with their work, the facility and the need.

First, take a look at our digs. These cabins are made to look like tents set up for safari, but are much more comfortable. At night, we could hear the cats “singing” and snarling. Very cool!

This is the inside of the one I shared with Myla Jackson and Shayla Kersten. The cabins ringed a deck that had a firepit and a jacuzzi. Yeah, we were roughing it. :)

These are a few pics I took of the animals in the habitats. They looked comfie, healthy, and the fences were sturdy—thank God—because you don’t realize how big those creatures are until you stand near them!


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Ghostly Orbs in the Crescent!
Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

UPDATE#! The winner of the Romanticon Grab Bag #2 contest is Jenn Herrick!
Jen, email me!

Before I get to the ghosts, I wanted to share a screen shot I swiped off of Amazon last night. This was the sales ranking for A Four-Gone Conclusion. Thanks so much for making this happen!

Onto the ghosts…

By now, if you’ve been following my blog, you know I’m a bit of a whack-job. I admit it. I own it! One of my sincerely held beliefs is that ghosts exist, and I have a fascination with finding proof.

One place that has cemented my belief is the Crescent in Eureka Springs. This past weekend, I made a second trip there. This time with friends, and although I didn’t have quite the scary experience I had back during the summer (you can read about it here: Haunting at the Crescent Inn Hotel), there was still plenty of creep factor to enjoy!

A ghost hunter’s first and foremost piece of equipment (beside an open mind), is a camera. And as always, it wasn’t until I got home and blew up the photos I had that I saw just how much “proof” I had. In particular, I had tons of ghostly orbs. Some skeptics say it’s dust, but I can promise you, I don’t get these little glowing circles anywhere but inside creepy, haunted places. Take a look!

You saw one round, glowy circle, right? And what’s up with the wide-angle view of the picture? I promise, I did not change a single setting on my camera, but that’s how all the pictures came out. See this next orb? Keep watching.
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Road Trip – Wrap-up
Sunday, July 31st, 2011

I know Iowa was in June, but I wanted to wrap up the trip highlights. I have three more trips planned for August. THREE! What was I thinking?

Anyway, one of the highlights of my trip to Iowa was a chance to get some new ink with my daughter. We made appointments months ago. The artist at the Iron Heart cleared his schedule for us. My brother entertained the 6-year-old while we spent the afternoon getting stuck with needles. Fun, fun! Here’s the tattoo parlor in Des Moines that we went to.

My daughter has a thing for garden gnomes and decided to have both of her daughters made into gnomes. The lighting is bad, so is the swelling. The colors today are beautiful. I’ll have to have new pics done so you can see them better.

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Road Trip — Quigley’s Castle
Thursday, July 14th, 2011

I’m almost done with the pictures from my road trip. Promise! This one was too much fun not to share.

When we left Eureka Springs, Arkansas, heading for home the last day of our trip, we were barely out of town when we saw a sign for “Quigley’s Castle”—not something we’d heard of before, so naturally we had to stop! We followed a gravel road, all the while humming the theme to Deliverance.

We pulled into a small gravel lot and saw this sign. After about five minutes a very grumpy woman showed up at the gate. Again, I watch too many horror movies. I immediately saw her as a gatekeeper to a Hell Mouth, and wondered if we should worry about the fact no one knew where we were. However, I was too curious at this point and followed her anyway while she led us inside a secret garden and to a shaded area in front of the “castle”.

There we heard the story about the house, which she told in a monotone without a single expression. After she finished her little story, she told us to make our own way through the house and the gardens, and then she disappeared. I just knew she hurried off to sharpen her ax!
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Road Trip — Haunting at The Crescent Inn Hotel
Monday, July 11th, 2011

After spending a very pleasant time in Des Moines (I’ll post tattoo pics another day!), we headed home again. Next destination: The Crescent Inn Hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. It’s one of the most haunted places in America. Ghosthunters episode #13 was filmed there.

Wierd things happened even before we arrived. The Crescent lies in the Ozark Mountains and sits on the crest of a hill. We had the address plugged into the Garmin. The GPS worked fine the whole trip, up until the point when it took us up a goat trail of a narrow, gravel road. Halfway up the rutted trail, we met a Hummer. There really was only room for the Hummer, so he had to climb a hill while we squeezed by with our wheels on the edge of the trail. It was a nail-biter staring down the long drop into the ravine.

This is the Crescent Inn Hotel. Built in the 1800’s, it’s had many lives—as a resort hotel for the rich, as a school for girls, a cancer treatment-torture facility, and again as a hotel.

This is our room and the very first picture where creepy things happened. I have a very good little Cannon camera that takes crisp, clear pictures. I took hundreds of pictures on this trip and this is the first one that’s blurred this way. But here, you can make out a shadow. Do you see the outline of a head and shoulder? As it turns out, our room has a ghost that plays outside the door. A child died from a fall and is “seen” playing and “heard” to say “It’s not fair!” when he sees people dressed comfortably because he hated his own fussy clothing.

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Road Trip — The Journey and Jesse
Thursday, July 7th, 2011

I know I’m getting the photos of my trip up slowly, but my life’s crazy busy. The 6-year-old had a birthday party yesterday, so she’s no longer “the six-year-old”, and she had a list of favorite things she wanted to do: get a manicure with the girls, eat at McDonalds, and swim in the moonlight. Today, there’s the Red-Headed Hellion’s wedding to get through.

I still have pics to share, as well as some spooky happenings to relate. Wait until you see what my camera caught! But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, which I did when I posted about Powell Gardens and Joplin, Mo.

What makes a good journey?

Great travel companions who are as eager to explore as you are.

Coffee. Lots of it. We didn’t even make it out of our own home town without stopping for breakfast and getting two to-go cups to take with us!

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