Week 29: Bella Vista, AR, Tripp turns 12, and Great Food
We started out the week right, by celebrating Tripp's 12th birthday on Labor Day! We were pretty busy on Monday since it was the first day that we found an open spot for the next 2 weeks at the Blowing Springs campground in Bella Vista, AR where we stayed this past Thanksgiving. We tried to leave at 6AM but the mosquitoes ate us alive and we ran inside for shelter. We ended up leaving our site at 7:30AM once the Texas sun had a chance to burn all the mosquitoes into hiding. We drove for 7 hours only stopping for desiel and lunch. We love traveling with our house because it means that we get to use our own bathroom and make our own food while traveling. We arrived in Bella Vista, AR at 2:30PM and were able to set back up in about an hour. We grabbed some Mexican take out down the road, it was amazing! Then we took the adventure pups for a walk around the campground to familiarize them with the area and gave them lots of treats with dinner to celebrate Tripp's Birthday.
Tuesday was my late shift so Dom rode alone after work to get in some miles and check out the trails that were right off the campground. He rode the South Upper trail that runs the length of the campground, about 1.7 miles once you figure in all the turns and is a blue square as well as the green circle trail, Low Rider which tops out at 0.7 miles. Trail Forks says these are both bidirectional trails but we found that there was definitely a preferred direction to ride them and a clear trail head sign. Most trails in the Bella Vista and Bentonville area, known as the Slaughter Pen trails, are bidirectional and we saw people riding both ways as well. At least we knew that we weren't the only ones riding both directions. Dom then got some groceries and cooked dinner on the grill.
Wednesday after work we rode the South Upper trail three times for a total of 8.5 miles. We tried to ride some of the Back 40 but it was detoured for construction. Not knowing the area very well, we didn't feel comfortable riding the road for an unknown distance to catch the trail again and it was starting to get dark so we headed back to camp. Our phones and watches were giving us problems on this trip and the GPS was not working well so we took whoever's ride showed the most information.
Thursday we had our first experience of getting mail on the road! Dom ordered a new phone from Amazon and had it delivered to an Amazon locker. The closest locker was 45 minutes away, Adventure! We got to the store and scanned the QR code from our phone and the locker door popped open, easy. I think we found a solution to when we can't receive mail at the campground where we are staying. It's always good to have a back up plan for when your normal plans don't work.
Friday we rode the whole Blowing Spring loop which consisted of South Upper and North Upper, which is a black diamond trail. Ok, so we walked the last 0.25 mile. It was pretty treacherous. We then rode South Upper again to get back to our side of the campground. We finished the day with another 9 miles under our belts for the September ride for Kid's Cancer Challenge. After that we were laundryroom bound to wash all the bike clothes for the weekend. I brought quarters and luckily had the perfect amount to get all the laundry finished. We are going to have to get used to having quarter on hand at all times now as you just never know what the laundry situation will be. Many campgrounds have apps for laundry but we are finding that there are several apps and you load money first so you really have to calculate correctly to not leave money on some random app that you never know when you'll get to use it again.
Saturday was our BIG ride day. We rode out of the RV site at 11 AM, down the concrete path called the Razorback trail which totals 38 miles! We rode it for about 4 miles, to the trailhead for the main Slaughter Pen trails. We rode All American Heros, and Tatamagoch, then the Razorback trail to downtown Bentonville for some lunch. We brought masks and hand sanitizer and grabbed some take out tacos to eat in the park. Then we took the Razorback trail back to All American Heros and rode that all the way back to the trailhead and got back on Razorback to head home. We arrived back at the campsite at 4PM after riding over 21 miles! It was time for some well deserved Vietnamese for dinner and a movie.
Sunday we slept in a little, drank our coffee and had breakfast outside on the picnic table, gave Dom a hair cut and took the puppies for a walk around the campground. Drac even got to play in the creek and chase leaves as they floated away from him. In the afternoon we visited the Crystal Bridges Art Museum with our friends from Texas that happened to be staying nearby. It was nice to be around a small group of people and see that everyone was obeying the mask and distancing rules. This American art museum was founded by Alice Walton in 2005, sponsored by Walmart, is free and open to the public everyday except Thanksgiving and Christmas and includes 120 acres of trails and park.
It was a great first week in Arkansas with lots of riding and we were so excited for the next week of riding. We had to wait till Monday to see if we'd be able to stay longer than two weeks. We were just happy to be able to ride right out of our site and access more miles of trails than we could ride even if we stayed for months! See you here next week.