April 1, 2014

Change of Plans

Spring Break was a bit of a bust this year. Remember our grand plans of going down to San Antonio and Sea World? We made the hotel reservations, planned our route, but guess what? Sea World is open only during the weekends this time of year.

We both just sat back on the couch after this little discovery and said a collective, "huh".

But our weekend trip to Oaklawn Racetrack was still a go, so we packed our bags, picked up the kids early from school Friday afternoon and hit the road south to Hot Springs. Let me tell ya, it was everything and then some that I thought it'd be. It was colorful, bright, noisy, rainy, muddy, delicious . . . well, you can read about it here.  I told my father-in-law that if I could photograph race horses and stable life every day for the rest of my life, I'd die a happy woman.

So that left us with a week of taking little adventures from our house. Unfortunately, the weather was somewhat uncooperative and Joey came down with a nasty little cold, so we just played it on a day-by-day basis, doing what we wanted to do, sleeping in every day, buying a motorcycle.

Yep, we bought our motorcycle, and David and I took it on a little adventure last Friday down to a small little town about 20 minutes south of Fayetteville. I will never get my motorcycle license, let's just get that out there right now: it is SO much more fun riding on the back and getting to look around everywhere as we tooled along old Highway 71 towards West Fork. The great thing about having a motorcycle built for off-roading is that you can really . . . go off road, off the tarmac and onto dirt roads and mud puddles and over rocks and up mountains and down mountains and through the rain and dodge lightning bolts and hear just how loud thunder really is when it claps directly over your helmet.

We got drenched in downpour after downpour that afternoon. I swear we looked at the weather forecast before we left and it said that bad storms were supposed to roll in late afternoon, early evening, so we left around noon time and planned on being back long before the weather was to move in. Just goes to show you can't trust the weather forecast. But we had a ball dodging rain drops and riding through all that mess. And warm, dry sweats never felt so good!

Saturday dawned beautiful and sunny and dry and Joey was healthy again, and at least one of our planned adventures was going to happen, and that was to float the Buffalo River in canoes.

Now mind you, I've never been canoeing, not that I can remember anyway, so I really had no idea what to expect or even how to maneuver the little boat, but I was going to be in with David, who really does seem to know how to do everything right the first time (and infuriating the rest of the family in the mean time. ; ) ), while the kids were going to be in command of their own little vessel.

Goodness, but we had fun. We saw a herd of elk before we got to the outfitters that we were going to rent from, and once we got to the tiny little town of Ponca (seriously, the population is a whopping 13!), there were colorful canoes, families with small children, kayaks . . .  and then we were off on our grand adventure.

We only had one little mishap, and I claim full responsibility.  I looked back at David after we had conquered some rather fast rapids and told him that we were not going to tip over any on this trip. Well, about ten minutes later, the canoe was upside down, I was clinging to the bottom of it while desperately hanging on to the dry bag that had our cameras, phones, wallets and car keys, the whole time trying to catch my breath and not be swept away. David was clinging to a near by tree branch before he let go to be carried over to me where we finally caught our breath and he held onto my hand as I slipped and slid over to the bank. another ten minutes passed (at least it seemed that long to me) before the kids come sailing around the bend and saw what happened and immediately steered over to help. No one was hurt, luckily, and all the electronics worked like a charm once we got home and unpacked everything. The only thing "bad" was just how cold I was, and Meghan too, bless her heart, was soaked up to her waist from going through the rapids along the course. But later, after dry clothes were put on and a hot dinner was being devoured, we all got slap happy and laughed ourselves silly over the day's adventures and misadventures.

Oh my, never a dull moment around here.

And to round off the week's festivities, I ran and completed my seventh half-marathon Sunday morning.  I almost bagged it this year because of lack of training (thank you very much, Old Man Winter!) but then my stubborn streak kicked in and I decided to run it anyway, treating it as a normal, everyday run, and it turned out that that was a much better way of looking at it. I never had so much fun during a race. Seventeen hundred runners all congregated on our little town square for the start, our mayor up on a milk crate taking pictures on his iPhone, little kids kissing their running parent (s) good luck, David there to cheer me on, beautiful blue skies and brilliant sunshine, breath fogging out of runners mouths backlit by the rising sun. Signs. The signs were wonderful:

"This is the worst parade ever."
"Just another 5K before your first beer" 
"Free high 5's right here!"

And then I reached the top of the hill, looked down and saw the finish line and put the pedal to the metal, finishing in 2:08 and 13th in my age group out of 54. 

Not a bad way to end the week, I'd say. 

Oink! Oink!


  1. I was in total admiration of your bravery at being in a canoe, not to mention your bravery at taking the camera in the canoe... AND THEN YOU ENDED UP IN THE DRINK! OH.HELL.NO... thank you very much. That is SO NOT FOR ME!

    1. yeah, i have to admit i was a bit panicky and freaked out by being in that freezing cold water. at least i could touch bottom, but the current was so strong it kept trying to drag me away. thank goodness david has a level head and got us out of there safe and sound. but man, did we laugh ourselves silly when we got in bed that night, and both of us can't wait to do it again. it's a challenge now! ; )

  2. What a wonderful week you had, Kate!
    The canoeing especially, sounds like it was so much fun.

  3. Even if your plans were different than the original ones it sounds and looks like you had a great time. Love the stable shot. I can see that life for you :) Also the dog in the canoe, too cute! Congrats. on the race!

  4. Sounds like a wonderful spring break! I live less than an hour from Hot Springs and never been to the horse races. I'm not too much on crowds, but It certainly looks like fun. I've never been canoeing either. Seems my life is lacking some excitement! Love the pictures of the Buffalo, it's such a gorgeous river! Love the HOG nose!

  5. I Biology Teacher for over 20 years. Today rest and write this vast green country. Pay a visit to Ver de Vida. Thank you very much. Claudio.



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