Thursday, October 24

Van of Constant Sorrow '19: Day Six (and Seven but sorta not Eight)

I don't wanna rush through the end of our trip too much, but I also am le tired.  So much blerhging.

Here goes...

We wake up in Bentonville, and Watts gets right to packing his shit.  I sense some sudden unexpected urgency and join in on the fray.  I get everything all loaded up, and Watts says," I need to go to a Starbucks.  I'll be back.  It will be fine."

So I sit on the bed and watch something on TV to kill time.

When he finally returns, we hop in the van (it started again!) and head to... Eureka Springs.

Watts has loosely "planned" a route, back-ended heavily with the fun stuff last, as per his usual. We head north around the lake on what feels like a fisherman's footpath (shite), jump on the "black" trail heading south... and everything just seems like poop to me.  No elevation, just lumpy, wet poopy riding.  It doesn't help that I can totally feel the fifty plus miles of effort (also eight commuter miles) from the day before trying to drag me to a halt.  We loop around in the blue squiggly bits, and things get a little better.  The only other people we run into out there (on a Sunday?) are doing trail work... but then we pop out into a parking lot.

And there we see people loading into a shuttle heading to somewhere fun and it all makes sense why we'd seen zero riders on the trails thus far.

Sidenote:  I'd go into detail about how Watts randomly bumped into an old friend, but that's his story... if he ever tells it.

Eureka Springs is a gem.  There are seven well-built downhill trails originating from two different hubs, all accessible VIA the shuttle.  A $20 shuttle for the whole day?!  Berms, jumps, drops, features that are waaaaaaaaaay over my head, rocky chunder, ZOMG.

And here's Watts and I in our racing underwear riding dumb rigid single speeds down a couple of the mid-level descents and then RIDING back up to the hub to do them again.  I wished we had known about this place earlier and paid for the shuttle... and I brought my fun bike... and mebbe worn baggy shorts.  Mebbe.

We leave there after getting our fill, get shitty Mexican food off the highway...

and make camp in the Ozark Conservation Area which for us is just a small parking lot off some random back road.

Wake up, drive to Land Between the Lakes, ride quite honestly some of the best trails of the trip...

witness an e-biker in the wild (that was interesting), make our way to Knoxville...

Love Scott to death as well as Knoxville, but we didn't necessarily want to be somewhere we'd already been.  But it made logistical sense.  But we really do like Scott's company.  But beds and a private toilet can be nice.  Also, Mexican food and novelty-sized Dos Equis.  Despite the lack of properly functioning headlights, we safely arrived at Scott's house some time after 9:00 PM.

Sadly, real life had been sneaking into our lives via our smart devices over the past twenty four hours or so.  We had planned to ride somewhere on the final push towards home (Coleman Boundary, a couple rips of Kitsuma?), but reality was sinking into our compromised brains.

We set out from Knoxville towards our respective homes.

Watts dropped me off mid-afternoon, and as we said our goodbyes, I felt the urge to cry.  Our adventure was over, and despite the minor setbacks and a lackluster "race performance" (mostly on my part), the trip was simply perfect.  I loved Knoxville, and Bentonville, and OZ Trails Off-Road, and Syllamo, and Eureka Springs, and Land Between the Lakes, and van life, and my Vertigo Meatplow V.7 (despite the flat), and hotel life, and... gosh darn it, my little friend who made this all possible.

Damn, that was a great time.

This beer that was left over from my birthday party back in June made it all the way to Bentonville and back. 

I'm holding the Fonta Flora Barnburner 50k until Monday.

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