Happy Trails

We went trail riding at Camp Claiborne again this last weekend.

camp claiborne (6)

We got a little muddy.

The weather was outstanding! It was warm but not hot. (No mosquitoes yet because it’s still too early in the year. Bonus!)

This trip we put the GoPro on my helmet and, in my opinion, the video is much more entertaining! I caught Don jumping a couple of times and executing a great little turn around trick that I’m definitely not ready to try yet.


A still shot from the video.

You can see the jump in action here. He jumps a second time too; it’s a little hard to see because he’s farther ahead that time.


Here’s his turnaround trick…

Probably looks like nothing to an experienced rider. If I tried that at this point, I’d end up on my face for sure.

The day couldn’t have been better. Well, it would have been nice if I hadn’t gone down on my bike, but at least it wasn’t a major mishap. 🙂 The trails were muddy that day. We were constantly navigating around puddles and shifting between wet and dry ground. During one seemingly dry stretch, my front tire washed-out in a slippery spot and I just went down. One second I was on the bike, the next I was on the ground, a little banged up and startled, but otherwise injury-free.

(That darn bike is heavy!)


Don, “You ok?” Me, “Yep.”

Don also took us off-trail, as usual, because sometimes there’s just something you have to check out off-trail. LOL We found a spot with a mighty big hill that, of course, doesn’t look that big at all in the video, but I’m telling you, it was BIG! And I didn’t weenie out about going up and over, and back again.

I think it’s my adventure, my trip, my journey, and I guess my attitude is, let the chips fall where they may.
~ Leonard Nimoy

Trail Riding

In-between all the movies and cooking, we do still get out occasionally and do other activities. 🙂


In fact, almost two months ago we took a motorcycle safety course so I could get my endorsement to be legal to ride on the road. (Our bikes are dual sport, legal for the road, but rugged enough to ride on trails as well. GREAT combination.)

Day2 (1)

Don had to refresh his course certification also due to a new regulation with the military. I am glad we had an excuse for him to take it alongside me. I was crazy nervous; I’m not the best about learning new things. To my surprise, I really enjoyed the class (so did Don.) I learned a few tips and tricks that hadn’t come up in my trial-by-fire sessions on the trail. Don is a great teacher but he’s been doing it for so many years that some things come so naturally to him that he doesn’t think to spell them out for Miss Newbie. I also didn’t anticipate that everyone else in the class would have absolutely ZERO experience on a bike so the fact that I had been out a few times already on trails, and we had our own bikes to use in class, set us apart slightly. Most of our classmates treated us like we were both pros. LOL  Little did they know. Pro? Don. Yes. Me? Heck no. But it made me feel good and we had a lot of fun that weekend.

Now, when we go trail riding we can cut back to the parking lot using the forest roads and main roads if needed. Don’s also eager to get me out on the regular road to get more experience on-road and with traffic. I must admit, I am a little nervous about that. But I’m sure it will be less intimating the more I ride, just like everything else.

We also have some new gadgets to go with our riding hobby as well – a GoPro Hero3 and headsets so we can talk while riding.

The GoPro is a fun accessory. It’s a tiny little video camera that you can mount to your hobby toy (kayak, surfboard, snowboard, helmets, bicycle, you name it) and you can take video as well as still shots with it. The first photo in this post is one of our first still shots we took with the GoPro the first day we took it out. There was a slight learning curve to use it but we got it figured out in a couple of trips.

Here’s a one minute clip of me riding; I asked Don to mount the camera backwards so you could see me riding from the front, rather than me riding in the lead and watching the back of my bike.

I like the different view but he’s a traditionalist and seems to like facing the camera front.

The headsets are not just a fun accessory, they are essential, and beyond awesome. It is such a relief to be able to talk to one another without having to stop, try to yell over the bike, and/or through the helmets. We don’t have to press any buttons or do anything while riding. We just turn the headsets on when we start out and we stay connected the entire ride. When Don is riding in the lead, he lets me know what obstacles are coming up which is a nice benefit. We don’t have to stop to check in with one another which lets us keep going for longer periods. It’s really incredible and so worth every penny. It enhances the entire experience to have constant contact with the other person.

And, it turns out, the GoPro even picks up our conversations. Nice.

Here’s one last video for you; it’s only 40 seconds. Me and my goofy self crossing the biggest obstacle I’ve had to face yet.

Snapshot 2

The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams.
~ Oprah Winfrey

Riding. Day 2. Trails.

We went to the Kisatchie National Forest yesterday for some trail riding. We explored the Vernon Enduro Trails, southeast of Leesville, LA. You can see a trail map here, if you’re so inclined. We rode the two shorter trails south of the Enduro Camp and we tried to do the small loop just northwest of it but part of the loop was closed or we got turned around. Either way we rode around a little above the camp but we didn’t fully explore the mass of trails to the north yet. Maybe this weekend…

I started out a little rough but by the end of two hours I was enjoying myself.

We took a break and took pictures in this open area so I don’t have any pics of the actual trails. The trails are a mixture of hard packed dirt, sand, gravel, and tree debris, as well as lots of roots. Some areas were open without many obstacles, some were a little more tricky.

Don made a comment when we were done that you can’t frown while riding. Well, some people can. I did. For maybe the first 30 minutes. I just I don’t learn new things well. I can remember similar unpleasantness when I was learning to snowboard about 14 years ago but when I mentioned it to Don he said, “Yeah, but with snowboarding you cried.” So at least I have that. There’s been no crying with riding. But man do I go kicking and screaming inside. I know it’s because I’m afraid but I don’t know what I’m afraid of most: getting hurt, looking stupid, making a mistake, or not being able to figure it out. Wait a minute, sounds like I don’t like to fail. That’s it. I knew that! Well, I’m just going to have to keep working on that.

As for my second day out riding, I stayed in 1st gear, barely moving, and only coasting down the trail if it had any decline to it for a good while. By the time we left I was moving from 1st to 3rd and was getting up to about 15 mph, maybe a little faster; I was keeping up with Don without him stopping to wait for me so I count that as doing pretty well.

There were definitely some squirrely moments. I almost lost it a few times. And…I did have my first spill. Nothing major! I know some of you (parents) are worried. I was trying to get over some roots in the trail and after getting past the worst of the roots my back tire was squirrely and I had one of those moments where I twisted the wrong way and gunned the engine so then it really got squirrely on me. And…I lost my balance and…tipped over into sticker bushes on the side of the trail. So I didn’t run into anything. I didn’t get hurt. I wasn’t even going very fast at all. The stickers did scratch me up a bit. LOL  Too bad Don didn’t take a picture. Although I do appreciate that he was more concerned about my well-being than pulling out the camera to immortalize the moment. All in all, I think it was good for me. I learned a little more of what not to do and hopefully learned a little more about how to control the bike to avoid those kinds of things in the future.

On a totally different note, when we were done and loading up the bikes, this little fella was taking a break on my shoulder.

Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.
~ Dale Carnegie