Friday, January 10, 2014

Trying A Longer Haul

Planning our Oklahoma trip was like a mock up of our travels yet to be determined but beginning in June 2014.  We planned where we’d stay, what we'd do and see, and left our plans open enough to do whatever we wanted to do.  Initially we planned to tow our motorcycle so we could ride through the beautiful Oklahoma mountains.  Yes, Oklahoma has mountains.  The Ouachita Mountains are in west central Arkansas and southeastern Oklahoma.  After much contemplation, we have decided not to tow the bike on our upcoming sabbatical, we decided not to tow the motorcycle after all and brought the bicycles instead.   

Our trip started by driving to the Tyler State Park.  We are HUGE Texas state park fans as most of them boast of wonderful hiking and biking trails.  It rained the day before we arrived so we didn’t bike through muddy trails (trail etiquette) but we did take the dogs for a nice walk along the lake and watched kayakers and swimmers work way too hard on the other side.  In the morning we took a short hike down what would have been a killer single track that was tough enough to walk let alone ride. 

Too bad we weren't on 2 wheels!
By noon we were on the road again.  When we arrived in Oklahoma we decided to drive through the beautiful Ouachita National Forest.  We checked out the campground facilities and almost stayed because it was so beautiful but decided to drive on to our reserved campground. 

Big Cedar RV Park and Cabins had new owners trying out new tools.  A friendly dog greeted us by staring us down as he walked over to the RV, lifting his leg, and christening one of our RV tires.  He was so cute we simply had to forgive him.  The place was pretty empty and we had our choice of sites.  The hot flat mowed fields allowed us to let Keila off leash with her new friend (aka leg lifter) and we enjoyed watching the two of them flirt.

We had total peace and quiet our entire stay. We played dominoes and Uno and went to bed early. One morning we rode our bicycles toward town but weren’t sure how far we’d get because it was so hot!  When we decided the seven miles to town was too far we attempted a dirt road that, according to the map, would take us down to the Kiamichi River.  We ended up turning back around because it was too muddy and we swore we heard banjos.

Thanks to the campground owners for lending us a cable so we even had TV and free Wi-Fi.  This campground has potential!  We wish the new owners luck and patience to keep it running while making improvements to attract more guests.   

Time to head back home to Texas and prepare for the new school year - Kathy working at University of Houston and Joy at Fort Bend ISD.

Sunset at Lake Livingston State Park
We decided to see what we could actually do in one day of driving.  So we drove straight south to Lake Livingston State Park: 322 miles.  Joy had hoped to visit with her previous boss and mentor who lives on the north side of the lake.  Although she hasn’t seen him for several years since he left the Texas Youth Commission, Joy continues to keep in contact with him.  During the drive, she gave him a call and discussed a possible visit.  We were invited over but since it was such a long drive and visiting him would have added another 40 plus miles we opted to go straight to the park.  In fact we even bought dinner instead of cooking that night.  We also decided no driving over 250 miles a day unless we have to.

Lake Livingston is beautiful as you can see.  We’ve camped there previously and even rented a bicycle built for two. I don't recommend that but you have to try it at least once in your lifetime.  We were glad to have our own bikes this time and loved riding around the park.  The sunset was gorgeous and we know why so many folks selected such a wonderful area to retire.

The final trek home was too quick!  Summer was officially over.  Back to work but with a whole new insight: eleven months and counting!

Two worn out pups!

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