Well, after the motorcycle trip to Arkansas was cancelled due to rain, and a bad experience at Lake Grapevine with the park staff, I figured the weekend was a wash. Anyway, another buddy of mine called me Friday night and asked if I was interested in riding with him up to North Ok. He had a week long trip planned with his brother (they were going to meet in Miami, Ok) but said he would enjoy the company for the trip up. I knew it was going to be a wet trip, but figured, Why not? I found a campground near his destination and packed up the bike.
We left out at 530 am. It was raining and about 70*. We rode straight through to where I was planning on camping only stopping for fuel. (Did I mention it was raining?) After we reached my destination (about 300 miles) we stopped and had lunch together and said our goodbyes.
I went to the campsite where I had planned on staying and got set up. It's still raining and I don't have wet weather riding gear, so my bluejeans and jacket are soaked (I knew this would be the case, but as long as it wasn't too cold I didn't mind being a little wet.) I stripped down and hung all my wet gear on a line under my tarp. I climbed in my hammock and started making an attempt to dry off. After about 30 min of relaxing, a thought came to me (I'm a little more North and East than I usually camp. I know there have been some bears spotted in Arkansas, should I hang my food?) Needless to say, I sent a text to Weatherman to see what his thoughts were on the matter. After deciding that a bear bag was probably not needed, Weatherman told me that him and OldGringo were hanging "not too far" south from where I was and that I should ride down there and keep them company. I was comfy, but after some phone calls (to get my kid to check the map to see how far I actually was) I decided to pack up and make the trip. So....I broke down camp, climbed back into my wet cloths, and jumped on the bike to do another 160 miles/3 hours in the rain. Weatherman promised to have a fire ready when I got there The route I took involved the Indian Nation Turnpike (this was a beautiful stretch of road. If you ever get a chance, it's worth the couple of bucks for the toll.)
I got to camp to find OldGringo holding a camera, laughing as I pulled up. There was a fire, as promised, and I proceeded to make an attempt to get warm. I had thought to bring a change of clothes (everything except dry jeans.) Lucky for me OldGringo had a pair of dry pants that he was kind enough to allow me to borrow while I was there. (I mentioned that I might post a witty comment about how I got into OG's pants this weekend, but after hearing the story about the earring, I think it best that I keep that to myself....You'll just have to ask him if you really want to know!)
Katinthehat had a bit of car trouble, so Weatherman loaded up and went to save the day. This allowed me an opportunity to warm up, dry off a bit, and set up my hammock. The site we were at was awesome. It was right on the Kiamichi River (like 20 or 30 yards from the water.) There was no one else in the park, so it was nice and quiet.
Kat and Weatherman got back after a couple of hours and dinner was started. I had planned to eat my usual trail meal (beef jerky and granola bars) but to my delight, OG busted out some venison burgers and just happened to have enough for an extra one He started pulling out all kinds of camp goodies (reminded me of Felix the Cat with his magical bag) fancy mustard, guacamole, ciabatta bread, french fried onions, salt, pepper, and a fresh tomato. I'm not accustomed to such a fancy layout when "roughing it". It was awesome. Kat had her own ideas and broke out one of the biggest steaks I've ever seen. She threw it on the grill and cooked it to perfection, along with a pack of mushrooms. mmmm. (she insisted that she couldn't finish the whole thing, so we were "forced" to share what was left....wouldn't want to waste perfectly good steak ) OG then took out "something special" and threw it on the fire. I'm not sure what kind of wood it was, but it had a great smell (reminded me of eucalyptus aromatherapy.) After a few minutes of that, with my belly full, I was ready to turn in. I was tired from a long day of riding in the rain.
It rained all night. I slept like a baby. Morning came and I was awakened by chatter around the fire. I finally convinced myself to get out my hammock and found the group already having coffee and getting ready to start breakfast. Again, I had planned on my oatmeal or pop tarts, but to my surprise, Kat grabbed a dutch oven from the van and advised me that she was cooking up cinnomin rolls for us. "Cinnomin rolls at camp? I had never dreamed of such a wonderful camp breakfast!) I used my jetboil to heat up some water for some cocoa, and again spent some time warming myself by the fire. The cinnamon rolls were awesome, and after a few minutes of great company I was ready to climb back into my hammock. I spent the next few hours napping, thinking that the rain might let up so that I could avoid getting soaked straight out of the gate, but after 11 or so, I decided to go ahead and pack up. Before leaving, Kat went to her van and brought out a canteen style cup that I had left at a hang early in the summer (I figured that thing was long gone, so it was a great surprise to see it again.)
Goodbyes were exchanged and I hit the road. The first hour was all rain, but then it started to clear up and after passing the Tx line I didn't see anymore rain. I made it home safe, and after a hot shower I climbed in bed with the wifey and took another nap (I notice the older I get, the more I enjoy a good nap)
If you're still reading....I'm not really sure there's a moral to this story, but what started out as a bit of a bummer weekend turned into something very enjoyable with some great friends and some wonderful memories. Thanks guys (and girl!) Looking forward to seeing you all again I'll try and post some pics later today.