Monday, April 28, 2014

Fall Leaves in Oklahoma and Arkansas

OOPS. FORGOT THIS ONE AS WELL. Sitting on an airplane, headed towards Phoenix and trying to get caught up on my blog. I realize I still haven’t uploaded the pictures for our Michigan golf trip, or finished up the Arkansas Memorial Day Ride or Fourth of July Ride. If I don’t do “live” they just don’t happen. I guess I could sign up for Gogo and blog live. But I’m cheap so I’ll wait until later to cut and paste this in. One thing about Texas is that Fall seems to, well, not be like the Falls I was used to in Chicago, Michigan, Connecticut, Maryland, Virginia. The leaves “kinda” turn color and then just disappear (well, at our house they pile up from our neighbors‘ pecan trees). Nothing spectacular. After our summer rides to Arkansas, Tony and I decide we’re going to ride up to Arkansas and catch the leaves. We had to time the weather since neither of us wanted it to be too cold (I’m definitely a fair weather rider). So, on Friday, November 1, we pack up the bike and head north. We started with the route we did in July. Take 75 north to 121 and then ride through Bonham and Paris, stopping at Nancy’s Cafe on the way for breakfast. Then on we went, going through Oklahoma to get on Scenic Route 1 and the Talehinic Scenic Parkway which later turns into 88 in Arkansas. This will take us to Trahan’s in Hot Springs Village. Trahan has our golf clubs and we’re going to play Magellan on Saturday. How good is that: riding and golfing on the same trip! Until we get to Oklahoma, we see glimpses of the change in leaf color but not much. The air is crisp and clean once we get out of Dallas. And the weather is nice. A little chillier than I’d like and Tony keeps taking his coat off and putting it on and taking it off and putting it on. Eventually he just leaves it on. It doesn’t appear that it’ll warm up and our concern about what we were going to do with the layers that we want to shed on the ride isn’t an issue. Before we get on Scenic Route 1 we gas up (we’re pretty good about stopping since we know that the gas stations aren’t frequent and some of the ones that we see look like they have 20 year old gas) in Tahina. There are definitely leaf gazers on this route. Bikes, church vans, convertibles and “regular” cars. The parkway has a number of scenic vistas you can pull over on and look at the scenery. But, it’s overcast so it’s not photo friendly. I have gotten better at trying to take movies and pictures on the back of the bike, but they often come out blurry. Or I miss the photo. The leaves are pretty and we enjoy the ride, even though we realize that we’ve been on the road a while and still have quite a bit to get to Hot Springs Village and it’ll be dark by the time we pull in. Typically we don’t like riding around like this in the dark -- one, it’s really dark in Arkansas. Two, the deer come out and according to Tony, it’s rutting season. It’s a traffic jam in downtown Hot Springs where all of the bath houses are. Guess that’s typical for a Friday night. We don’t listen to Siri’s directions to get us to Hot Springs Villages. She doesn’t know the difference between a main gate that we can enter and a gate that requires a pass to go through. But we arrive at Trahan’s and get to relax. It was a 12 hour day on and off the bike. About 400 miles. Trahan has a pretty sweet house on Lake Coronado, with a deck that wraps around the back. In the morning, the fog comes up over the lake and it’s really nice and serene. We run to the grocery store to pick up dinner for after golf and then head to Magellan. It’s been a while since I’ve played with the fall leaves looking this pretty -- why we’ve always wanted to head back up to Michigan and play in the early fall. None of us play particularly well, but it’s nice and the course is in good shape (except for the cart path only conditions). It’s also nice to not be on the bike a day after a 12 hour day. Grill out on the deck and enjoy the peacefulness. Sunday, get up and slowly pack up and get ready for the trip back. I don’t like the interstate so we plot out a route that takes a lot of it out. Tony’s downloaded an app to listen to the Cowboys game. But, cell phone reception has it cutting in and out so it teases more than helps. It would have been cool to have the game on for a bit of the ride. Unfortunately, there is one poorly marked turn that we miss and it adds another hour onto our trip. Problem with some of these country roads. And, we now have even more time on the interstate because of the turn. But, all in all, we make it home at 630 pm and enjoyed our Fall leave weekend.

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