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Back In The Desert

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On the heels of a nearly six-month hiatus from boon-docking (our preferred style of free camping), late yesterday we arrived to a great spot on public land just in time to catch our first Arizona sunset of the winter season.

Despite our summer and fall travels spent mostly in paid and crowded campgrounds across the Canadian Rockies and US Smokey Mountains, we quickly slid into the set-up routine without missing a beat … I even remembered to orient the rooftop solar panels to tilt facing south.

All is good again.

Remembering Domestic Terror

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Kelly and I visited the Oklahoma City bombing memorial today which honors the 168 killed in America’s deadliest domestic-based terror attack.

The experience was highly emotional and incredibly educational.  It serves as a reminder that political hatred needlessly cuts across all races, genders, and ages … ultimately most harming the innocent, who in the end have more commonality than not.

The entire venue is exceptionally well curated.

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Mountain Biking In Bentonville

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A few years ago I saw an indie film highlighting the MTB scene in Bentonville, Arkansas.  At the time, I had no idea this area had such a great trail network.

I recently learned that – led by two Walton grandchildren in conjunction with the Walton Foundation – the county has invested $73MM into all sorts of trails, features, and signage.

A recent economic impact study confirmed that visitors like me bring in $143MM annually.  Expect to see cars from all over at trailheads.

This place is bonkers; the variety of riding is awesome – loads of riding immediately accessed from the campground.

I’ve been on the bike every day this week, my personal favorite being the #theback40 … one of multiple 20+ mile XC loops.

Nashville Fairgrounds

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No one is going to claim the soon to be demolished Nashville fairgrounds is a beautiful place.

But if your plans – like ours did – include conveniently wandering this very cool city while eating your way through numerous hotspots, these dumpy racetrack sites overlooking turn-four do not disappoint.

N+1

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N+1 = ideal number of bikes to own

A common understanding amongst bike enthusiasts, this simple math equation holds true as gospel for many who ride.

Mathematically, I’m increasingly convinced I would be well-served adding a proper gravel bike as a companion to my current mountain bike.  Doing so will allow me to better explore and venture deeper into forest roads.

It’s just simple math really.

 

 

Fire Mountain Trails

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Today I finally had a chance to get outside and play in the forest over at the local #firemountaintrailsystem.  Conveniently located a few minutes from our national park campground, the newly completed bike trail network is decently sized and loads of fun, although not particularly technical.

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Exploring The Smokies

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Usually when out hiking, Kelly and I simply eat bars, gels, and sometimes fruit or trail mix.

However, in a change of routine, today I decided to pack a backcountry stove and #mountainhouse meal.  Not sure why, but for some reason I thought a hot lunch might be a welcome treat – which it was.

A few hours into the hike, we enjoyed a warm lunch and hot tea in the shadow of a backcountry church (denominationn unknown).

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Here in western North Carolina fall colors are in full swing, daytime temperatures are lovely, and the hiking has been wonderful during our first visit to Smokey Mountain National Park.

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