Sunday, April 01, 2007

Cycling With the Stars

In celebration of spring (yay) Shana and I took a weekend camping trip to the Wichita Wildlife Refuge. The plan was to drive down on Friday afternoon and come back Sunday but that was not to be. The entire state got a drought-ending rain (5" in Oklahoma City in one day) Friday, with liberal lashings of tornadoes, hail, and damaging winds. We thought it may not be quite comfortable in a tent. We decided to drive down Saturday morning instead. There is a new tent, which I christened The Taj M'Shana. It's the Coleman Ozone, which features excellent ventilation options and what seem to be very well thought out water protection strategies. Also it has an inside center height of 73" compared to my Timberline's 4"10. The floor space is 15' x12', compared to the Timberline's 8"9" x 7'. To be fair, the Timberline weights just over 7 lbs, while the Ozone weighs 18 lbs. Different tents for different purposes. The Ozone would be nearly impossible to put up alone, but it was not designed to be a one man tent.

Once we got our camp set up we rode our cycles over to Meers (a little under 10 miles) for a burger. About halfway there I had a little wreck involving a cattle grate and some shadows - I did not see it until the last minute and the grate was not of a design that felt comfortable riding over. I jammed on both breaks, locked the wheels, and skidded to a stop sideways and on the ground. A couple of cyclists came to see if I was OK - of course I jumped off the ground saying "I'm good". Shana and I went on to Meers, where I cleaned up my leg in the Ladies' Room and iced down both hands before and during lunch. My knee and leg look pretty bad, but my hands got the worst of it. My left hand is swollen and one bruise from wrist to first knuckle of my middle two fingers, and my right thumb is about the same. At first I thought I might have broken a bone in my left hand, but I think it should be just fine, although yoga and knitting will have to wait a bit. And oh yeah - if you know you'll be cycling back from Meers don't order the onoion rings. A word to the wise.

Otherwise the weekend was great. We went for a hike on Sunday, enjoying the beautiful clear skies and the wonderful scenery. On the way to the trailhead we saw longhorn cattle, Elk, Bison, and prairie dogs from the car. We hiked to Post Oak Falls, which is kind of a seasonal thing. The falls is small, but lovely. It's about a 40 foot drop of water into a pretty pool. After a hot walk through the canyon the area around the falls is an oasis of coolness. It's only there in the rainy season, so we were fortunate to be there this weekend when there was plenty of water. We went a little astray on the way there and were almost ready to give up, thinking we may not be on the right trail and not wanting to get any more lost than we were. In the Wichita Wildlife Refuge the ground is so stony that a trail can be very hard to see. I'm glad we kept on going. On the way back we were relaxed and chatting on the trail, when we came around a corner and I heard something "puffing" behind a bush. It was a male bison just a few feet from the trail, and none to glad to see us. I called to Shana behind me to be careful, and we moved right along, stopping to take this picture only after we had gotten a bit farther away, and he had turned and walked a little ways up the hill.

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