2013 OOO Demo Day

The local paddling store, Ouachita Outdoor Outfitters in Hot Springs, has a ‘Demo Day’ every year. It was at this event last spring that we had a chance to meet the staff of the store and some local paddlers who had come out to help. It was at Demo Day last year when Bryan and Mandy picked out their LiquidLogic XP kayaks, and where Hayduke and I first tried, and settled on, ‘his’ Native Ultimate. Just a year later, we still have those first three boats in our garage, along with three more used boats we’ve bought since then, and four we’ve borrowed from other people. We’ve made some great friends of paddlers since then. We kind of felt like this year’s Demo Day was a sort of anniversary for us.


This year’s event was bigger and better than last year’s, I think. Hayduke kicked it off by cheerfully knocking me down and dragging me down a slick rock and into the cold lake. He does love water, but that was a little ridiculous, and I told him so, and he didn’t care about my opinion at all. Continue reading “2013 OOO Demo Day”


Bryan’s grandparents know he likes old camera gear, so as they’ve been cleaning out their attics and closets these past few years, they’ve passed their Brownies and other old cameras along to us. One from his Grandma Schambach came to us with a roll of film still inside; we sent it off to be processed and got these gifts from his family’s past. Is this Metairie forty years ago?

Where is this? Is this a photograph of a family member’s house? Is it the view from a great-uncle’s window, or from the top of a factory where his grandfather worked? Continue reading “History”

On Lake Ouachita, and Naps

By the middle of May, I was pretty much worn out. For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been kind of ragged. It was a tough end to the semester, and we’ve been shorthanded at work, and I’ve overcommitted myself on bike projects, and I just needed a break. Bryan and I decided that, after Mandy left for Tulsa on Friday evening, we’d just disappear for a couple of days. We chose Lake Ouachita for our getaway, since we thought it would be the quietest of the nearby lakes on a busy holiday weekend, and we put in at Buckville since it’s a faraway boat launch.

We didn’t get the quiet lake we’d hoped for, but we did manage to¬†find our own private island on the edge of it. Continue reading “On Lake Ouachita, and Naps”

Adventures in Dog Boating

In preparation of a future Buffalo River trip, we decided to spend the morning on Lake Ouachita. We could try different kinds of kayaks and canoes, we figured, and we could check out how well the dogs would do on the water.

Ivy likes water but not too much, and she’s a little afraid of riding in cars, and she generally likes to sit up straight and be admired. I predicted that Ivy would sit still in the middle of a boat and allow herself to be paddled around the lake like the princess that she is. I was right.

Continue reading “Adventures in Dog Boating”

Sometimes you just need to camp

It’s been a long, icky sort of week, so we decided this weekend to camp at Lake Ouachita State Park. We planned to stay in the campground and go for a couple of bike rides from there. Mandy’s had a bad cold, though, so the 25-mile route Bryan had planned for Saturday was scrapped in favor of just exploring the state park.

Since the park’s mostly oriented toward fishing and watersports, it’s very quiet in the wintertime. It was nearly deserted on Super Bowl weekend. We took the outermost walk in tent site, on a little peninsula, and had the whole place to ourselves. The water was glass-smooth and the woods were completely silent. It was almost like backpacking, but with a lot less work, and a warm bathhouse.

We call this ‘Still Life with Camp Shoes and Kleenex.’

Mandy spent a pleasant, chilly evening sniffling and poking at her campfire. We had grilled brats and chips and beer and cream soda, which felt like a special treat compared to our usual fare of freeze dried backpacking dinners.

The low overnight was around freezing, and the morning didn’t warm up as expected. This, combined with Mandy’s persistent cold, meant that we cancelled our Sunday ride and rested after breakfast instead.

It wasn’t a weekend of high adventure, but we enjoyed the quiet lake and the winter woods.