Bike Tour to Leola

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Mandy and I met up with our friend Kathy this weekend for a quick bike trip to Leola. Forty-five miles or so one-way, camping next to a lake, a trip to a catfish restaurant for dinner… should be a good weekend.

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Our route was nice, mostly rural highways with a usable shoulder. The roads weren’t flat but the hills were mostly doable. Of course, even though the three of us rode up nearly every hill we came to, I have to post the one photo I have of Mandy and Kathy walking up a hill.

Aly’s original plan was to stay home with the dog, since she had a big chemistry test on Monday. Mandy and I would get to do something really fun, and Aly would get a couple of days of quiet time to spend working on chemistry. She’s been struggling to find time to do a good job with this class, so this seemed like a good solution for everyone.

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But sometimes good solutions aren’t any fun. So even though Aly should have stayed home to study, she decided to meet up with Kathy’s husband Jarion on Saturday afternoon, and they brought the dogs (Ivy and Hayduke) down to the campground to spend the night with us cyclists.

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Our ride went well and we had lunch in Prattsville and enjoyed a gas station stop in Leola before turning for the campground nearby. For all three of us, this trip was “training miles” for bigger summer trips we had planned. My family is planning to ride the entire Katy Trail in Missouri and I know Kathy is planning to head to Nebraska for a week of cycling.

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Upon arriving at camp, we set up out tents and hammocks, changed clothes, hung the sweaty ones out to dry and took a nap. We had a couple of hours to kill before the traveling circus would show up.

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After the spouses arrived, we realized that the catfish restaurant where we’d planned to eat supper wouldn’t let us have the dogs. And it didn’t seem too smart to leave them both in Jarion’s Jeep. And we certainly couldn’t just leave them at the park campground to fend for themselves. So Aly volunteered to stay with the dogs while everyone else went to supper.

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The restaurant, Dorey’s Catfish Buffet, was very yummy but way overpriced. It was a typical Arkansas buffet with fried everything and gloppy desserts except this one cost $17 each! Mandy, Kathy and I put a hurting on the buffet but I don’t think we had our monies worth. With full tummies, we piled back into the Jeep and headed back to the campground to see if everyone survived the babysitting experience.

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I had Aly bring my tripod down and I took a long exposure of our campsite and while the shutter was open, I fired a flash into each of out tents. It looks like I goofed up on Mandys hammock but otherwise I thought it was a descent attempt.

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The next morning had fishermen on the lake very early while we slept very late. There was a lot of dog playing and people visiting while we got ready to ride for the day. Our spouses would be home in about an hour while we took several hours longer than that to complete the journey. The weather was bright and sunny all weekend and the temps were warm. It’s only April but it feels like summer has already arrived.

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