I’ve been sick, sick, sick. But the Arkansas Canoe Club’s big annual camp out and get-together was this past weekend, and Bryan and Mandy wanted to go.

Rendezvous is held every year at Camp Couchdale, the state FFA organization’s big event center on Lake Catherine. The facilities are pretty nice (though bathrooms seem a little slim) and there are bunkhouses for those who want them, and there’s plenty of room to camp between buildings. I arrived first and chose a campsite between the buildings and the very edge of the lake, sure that it would be dark and quiet. Continue reading “Rendezvous!”


Mandy learned to roll her new XP9 before school let out. Then she left for six weeks in Tulsa. She was only back for a week or so before leaving on her New York trip. So really, she didn’t get to spend much time at all in a kayak until the first week of August.

Then, when she came back, she flung her whole 100 pounds into kayaking. We expected her to take a few tries to roll again, maybe even needing another lesson or two. Nope – she nailed the first roll she tried in the UALR pool. She’s spent every available piece of August on the water, working hard on kayak skills. Mid-month, we bought our friend Renee Hanshaw’s Dagger playboat for her. Continue reading “Rockport”

Swiftwater Rescue Class

We just got into this whole paddling thing this summer and here we are deciding to sign up Mandy and I for a swiftwater rescue class. The class is taught by some very experienced locals who have received training and certifications over the years from a national paddling organization. They are trained not only in how to conduct a swiftwater rescue, but also how to teach the swiftwater rescue skills and how to train other teachers.

What is “swiftwater rescue?” And why would we noobs be signing up? And why isn’t mom getting trained too? Here’s the course overview for the 20 hour class we took: Continue reading “Swiftwater Rescue Class”


One year ago today, we took our puppy swimming for the very first time. At the time we really didn’t know if he’d like the water. He did – so much that we thought it would be appropriate to celebrate his first Waterversary.

So we went back to the same spot – a nice swimming hole on the Little Missouri river, a couple of miles’ hike in from the car. We invited Kathy and Jarion and Ivy, who were with us last year. We also asked Adam and Bonnie to come along, because we like Adam and Bonnie. (Note: Redheads do not always remember to wear sunscreen, even as adults. REMIND THEM.)

What a pretty day. We swam and played in the water. Mandy tried out Kathy’s new GoPro. Kathy took a hammock nap and I stayed near her while the others ranged upstream to play in the water with the dogs. Hayduke, ever the mama’s boy, ran back and forth between his playmates and me, while I sat on a warm rock reading a book.

Crystal Bridges

On our last weekend of Mandy’s visit to Tulsa, Bryan and I decided to take an extra day off work and use the long weekend for a trip to northwest Arkansas. We took Hayduke with us. He behaved really well in the hotel (except for the one very serious bark he directed at a housekeeper in the hallway) and we enjoyed walking with him around the U of A campus, Dickson Street, and the square in Fayetteville. Continue reading “Crystal Bridges”

Paddling School

This year, since we just bought boats, we decided to enroll in the ACC’sSchool of Recreational Paddling.’ In order to feel useful (I like to feel useful) I wrote this article about it for Arkansas Outside. Rather than writing a separate blog post about Rec School, I’m just going to plagiarize my own work and cut and paste it here.The Arkansas Canoe Club is about forty years old, and they’ve organized training weekends for thirty-seven of those years – Canoe School evolved into Whitewater School, and then about ten years ago they began offering a Recreational School as well. That experience shows in the really good programs the club puts together. Those good at organizing organize. Other paddlers work to be certified instructors, and they teach the classes. Experienced boaters who are trained and comfortable with safety hang toward the back of the groups, and are available to help students with fitting issues and one-on one instruction. These are people who love what they do, and further, they’re GOOD at it.

Continue reading “Paddling School”

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”

National Bike Week – Rocktown Trackdown

Since last summer, Bryan and I had been thinking that a bike/walk scavenger hunt in Little Rock would be fun. Vinny’s alleycats are great fun for a handful of people, but what if somebody did a race that was a little less competitive and a little easier to navigate? If participants were given a map, it’d be easier to plan a route. If people just had to answer questions, we wouldn’t need many volunteers. Continue reading “National Bike Week – Rocktown Trackdown”

National Bike Week – Bike to Work Day

Sometime in February, a coworker from upstairs said that she’d like to do Bike to Work Day as an ’employee wellness program.’ She’s the one who does Walk Across Arkansas, and a number of other wellness things – she’s a gerontologist – and she thought we should do Bike to Work again.

In the past, Extension has done Bike to Work Day as part of the 4H program, with really limited success. LaVona and I decided that we’d do better. Against my better judgment, we formed a Committee. I hate committees. But this one was pretty good, because we picked people we liked, and every month we’d ride across town to eat lunch someplace and talk about what we were going to do about Bike to Work Day. Continue reading “National Bike Week – Bike to Work Day”