Wednesday, August 27, 2014


Friday, August 22, 2014


This was my second time to be in a boat on the White River with "Papa Bill".  The first time was several years ago on a "sightseeing only" trip that started at the Bull Shoals White River State Park, and went to near Cotter. (The article about that trip is in my blog archives (July 31, 2009) on the right side of the home page).  However, the trip these photos represent had a different purpose---catching rainbow trout!  Having just purchased my required Arkansas fishing license, and additional Trout Stamp", I was ready to go!  Papa Bill already had his boat unloaded and in the water waiting for us, when our group arrived, shortly before 8 am.  The big black thing on the back is a jet boat motor, which is a good choice for navigating the ever-changing depth of the White River!

As is typical for early morning on the White River, there was a dreamy white mist hovering over the chilly waters.

I read that some photographers call the beams of light as seen in this photo, "God Beams", and I would have to agree that God seemed to be pouring out his blessings on us, as we boarded the fishing boat in great anticipation of the day ahead!

Papa Bill had the very difficult task of trying to corral three rowdy ladies---Susie in the front, Diane in the middle, and me closest to the back!

Papa Bill used shrimp, shown in this photo, as the bait of choice for this hot August day. This photo shows him reaching into the "live well", which is used to help the fish "live well", after they have been caught. (Note the pronunciation is different on these two versions of the word "live"!)  Papa Bill provides all the gear and equipment, or one can bring their own, if desired.  The bright pink rod belongs to Susie, and she considers it her "good luck charm", as she caught a giant brown trout with the pink device, immediately after the first time she put it in the water!

Papa Bill is very wisely wearing gloves, because those fish are slippery, and we were going to keep him busy getting the fish off our hooks!

Within five minutes of dropping a line, Susie had used   her hot pink fishing rod to catch this 23 inch gorgeous brown trout!!  It was even bigger than the one she had caught earlier in the summer!

I got lucky as well, and reeled in a four pound rainbow trout---the biggest rainbow trout I had ever caught!

Susie had let out such a howl of delight when she caught the giant brown trout, that it caused the fog to lift, and we could see that we were surrounded by other people fishing, who were no doubt feeling jealous as they could see us reeling in our prize trout!

Not everyone was fishing out of motor boats.  This fisherman was using his kayak.
Our fishing poles were whizzing as we kept reeling in fish after fish!

Midway through our trip, we stopped at Gaston's Dock for refreshments and restrooms.  This gave us the break we needed to continue all that "heavy lifting" of fish into the boat!

Diane is shown in this photo, by the ivy-covered walls that welcome guests at Gaston's Resort ( ).

Not to be outdone, Diane reeled in this nice-sized rainbow to add to our collection.  I imagined that anyone watching us from that gorgeous home up on the bank, were wishing they were out there fishing with us!

Just like the Bible verse Luke 5:6 tell us about what happened with the fisherman did what Jesus said to do, this photo illustrates what happens when we did what Papa Bill said!  "And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking."

In the last few years, I have spent more time floating in my kayak on the White River, than I have fishing it, so it was fun to watch these kayakers from a different viewpoint than normal.

This photo shows a less common type of boat on the White River.  The guide in this photo is rowing, rather than using his motor.  I remember seeing this kind of boat for the first time a couple of decades ago on the Snake River out west, but I guess they are making their way to Arkansas, as well!

fisherman is in a kayak that he propels with pedals, instead of oars.  What a workout!

our time was up, we came back to where we started with a net full of colorful Rainbow Trout, and we were very happy fisherwomen!

Papa Bill cleaned our fish for us, and brought them to us up on the back of the trout dock, where we were having lunch.  That's what I call service.  If you would like to take a trip like this, you can contact Papa Bill at 479-477-0335 or log on to  .  Papa Bill's brochures guarantee a good time, and I can vouch for not only a good time, but a GREAT TIME, as well as "MILES OF SMILES"!!  Tricia

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


For years I have been reading about group tours that included a visit to Jekyll Island, so when I read that Road Scholar ( ) included a tour of Jekyll in their program called "Island-Hopping Adventure on Three Barrier Islands", I immediately signed up!

Jekyll Island Club officially opened its doors in 1888, and the original clubhouse reflects Queen Anne style with extensive verandas, bay windows, extended chimneys, and asymmetrical design.  The white-clad athletes pictured in the foreground continue the tradition of playing croquet on the front lawn. ( This caused my mind to go back to the last time I played croquet, which was on the expansive lawn of the Grand Hotel of Mackinaw Island, during which I was greatly outscored by my husband!)

The Victorian turret is the symbol of the Jekyll Island Club, and is an icon that is well known by seasoned travelers.  You can learn more about its architecture and history, by visiting the websites at or .

The strands of gently waving Spanish moss that is so abundant in this area of the South, seemed to form a curtain that was playing peek-a-boo with the rounded sun porch. 

There is only one thing better than a white wicker rocker on a wide Georgia veranda, and that is a DOZEN white wicker rockers on a wide Georgia veranda!

The lunch we had at the Jekyll Island Club exceeded my expectations with the elegant place settings, delicious food, and charming wait staff!

I was delighted our group was assigned to the "Federal Reserve" room, because I had been reading about the link between the Jekyll Island Club, and the Federal Reserve.  The abbreviated version of the story says the Federal Reserve system has its roots here, because of a clandestine meeting in 1907 where leaders in the U.S. banking industry ( posing as duck hunters) met with the Secretary of the Treasury.  Their meetings at the hotel led to a plan which called for a centralized banking structure for the country.  The meetings were prompted by a virulent economic panic that caused a run on banks in 1907.  The dining room walls were adorned with photos of those banking leaders of the last century, plus a current photo of Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernecki in the same room where we were currently enjoying lunch!

After lunch, our group took a short walk to the nearby Georgia Sea Turtle Center.

The Georgia Sea Turtle Center is a combination museum, educational facility, gift shop, and turtle hospital/rehab center that provides a total immersion into the life of a turtle!

It allows you to see the environment through the eyes of a turtle!

As a way to encourage visitors to learn a turtle's entire life cycle, each person is given a long, blank "turtle passport" as they begin their tour.  Then after you visit each station, you go to the designated stamper, and get your "passport" stamped to show that you have visited that station.  At the end of the visit, you have a nice souvenir to show what you learned!

One area inside the center is a type of "turtle surgery unit" where trained medical personnel can be seen (on the other side of a glass viewing window) examining and treating injured turtles that are brought to their facility. 

In a separate building adjacent to the "surgical center", is a facility that might be compared to a "rehab center" for injured turtles, after their initial examination.  The building has numerous "turtle swimming pools" where the animals undergo hydrotherapy, under the watchful eye of their caretakers.  Regular talks are given by the staff to the visitors lined up beside the tanks, so that they can get acquainted with the situations and treatment plans that each of the turtles is receiving. 

Just like in a human hospital, if the patient census is high, it may be necessary to have a roommate---or in this case, a poolmate--- in order to accommodate all the patients. 

After a visit to the Turtle Center, there is still LOTS of Jekyll Island to explore!  This photo shows some of the ways this can be done---horse drawn wagon, white covered carriage, or a "fairy tale" pumpkin-shaped carriage.  There are also bicycles to rent, and trolleys pulled by motorized vehicles.  As a Georgia state park, the majority of Jekyll Island (65%) will always remain by law, undeveloped.  It is the smallest of Georgia's barrier island, and was purchased by the state of Georgia in 1947.  One of the reasons it wound up in the hands of the state is because during World War II, there was a threat of enemy submarines just off the coast, so the U.S. government ordered the evacuation of the island.  Its numerous buildings were already on a downhill slide, but during its abandonment brought on by the war, the demise continued.  After the state purchased the property, the Jekyll Island Authority was formed to operate it. 

When Jekyll Island was thriving at its grandest (between 1888-1928), wealthy northern families built their winter homes  (or "cottages", as they called them) on the island.  This collage shows some of those homes.  They have been refurbished, and are available for tours.  In fact, some of them can be rented out as lodging, as part of the Jekyll Island Club's historic accommodations.  Not surprisingly, the hotel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the entire area is designated as a National Historic Landmark.  Since the Jekyll Island Club was described as the "richest, most exclusive, and most inaccessible club in the world",  I felt fortunate to get to tread in the footsteps of some of its famous members. Those members included the families of Rockefeller, Pulitzer, Vanderbilt, Macy, Goodyear, Aster, Morgan and Gould!

Some of the smaller cottages have been converted to boutiques that sell items made in Georgia, souvenirs, specialty foods, and garden decor.

Our tour included a visit to Faith Chapel, which is built in the form of an early colonial meeting house.  This stained glass window near the entrance is signed by Louis Comfort Tiffany.  Most stained glass windows have a "theme", and the theme of this one is called "David Sets Singers Before The Lord", and is based on the Bible passage of 2 Chronicles 20:21.  Our guide told us the interesting story of its "double meaning", in that it was commissioned as a memorial to Jekyll Island Club President, Frederick Gilbert Bourne.  Since Bourne was head of the SINGER Sewing Machine Company, a theme with the word "singer" in it seemed appropriate!  One thing for sure, this visit to Jekyll Island made my heart sing, and gave me "MILES OF SMILES"!!  Tricia