Tag Archives: Running

Escape from Turkey Mountain 5 Mile Race 2017

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This morning was my return to the “Escape from Turkey Mountain 5 Mile” race. Two years ago I ran it and injured my knee when I fell on a rock and caused me to miss about two or three months of running while I rehabbed with physical therapy and exercise. Last year I waited to too long to register and they filled up so this year I was ready!! There were a lot of people there and I went to the back for the start.

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And off we went, see all those people ahead of me? They all pretty much stayed ahead of me.

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See all the folks behind me? I think almost all of them finished ahead of me. Strange how that works.

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Up “the Staircase” from the lower yellow trail to the upper yellow. I have been on the staircase before, I just didn’t know that it had a name. Almost every physical feature on Turkey Mountain has a name, usually several names. My favorite trail is “I want my mommy.” Run it sometime, you will be crying for your mommy.

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I am rocking my new running shirt. I love it! Most expensive shirt, of any kind, that I own.

So anyway I finished without falling on anything. I stumbled and almost tripped a few times and slid a few times but managed to stay on my feet. My time was about 1 hr 30 minutes and the distance was about 5.22 miles. So my official time was only about 5 minutes faster than my last run with the knee problem two years ago but the course was a quarter mile longer than then. I am about 20 minutes off the pace I was three years ago. That happens when you are fat, old, and slow.

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So, how was the race? Let me see, great course, check. Nice run shirt, check. Medal, check, Food, they had hamburgers, turned out quickly, check. Beer, check, Marshall’s craft beer, so double check. I’ll be back!!

Thank you to Fleet Feet Tulsa, and the many volunteers who make these races go. Thank you to my fellow runners for adding to the atmosphere.

No thanks to the mountain biker who almost crashed into me from behind while we were both going downhill and yelling at me “$%^$&(*&&*   %^&*&^”. The convention and etiquette is that people who are participating in sanctioned events in a place, have priority over other people. It is not a rule or a law or anything, it is what people do. I would never interfere with a bicycle racer for example, I would most probably stay off the trails they were using. I had never had a bicyclist intrude like that into a trail race before. 99.99% of trail users are very considerate of others using the tracks.

Falling on a rock

This is my knee from two years ago. Lots better today. And I still have those socks!!

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Eight Miles on Turkey Mountain

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During the daylight savings time part of the year I run on Turkey Mountain at least once a week. I hadn’t been on the mountain for two weeks for various reasons so Wednesday night I was ready. I was very fortunate the weather was cool, in the high 80;s and it felt great. I wanted to do seven miles.

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There is a powerline right of way that runs north/south the length of the park and the trail is called powerline also. I used to hate it because I loved the feeling of getting lost in the trees on the other trails but I have come to love powerline. It is up and down and very challenging.

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At a crossroads on the northwest side of the mountain is this dryer. It has been there a long time. There is an unofficial trail on the northwest side called the “Pink Trail” it is so convoluted that I have never been to follow it. I am wondering how this appliance ended up here. It is a long ways from the nearest road.

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Turkey Mountain is roughly two miles long and a mile wide so if you want to do a lot of miles and not loop on yourself constantly you have to plan your route. I did a three miles loop on the east side of the park and about a two mile loop on the west side and then hopped over to east side again to get on another trail. I dropped down to yet another trail via this narrow, steep drop between the rocks. The thing is when I first started exploring Turkey Mountain years ago I tried all the trails and then as time went by I narrowed down to a lot smaller set. It is kind of fun to go rediscover old trails. Also you don’t have crazy bicyclists running you down on trails like this.

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There is something about a trail in the woods that I cannot resist.

So I was looking for seven but got eight due to some miscalculation and finished right at dark. Suited me fine. I am looking forward to my 23rd Tulsa Run 15K in October and i would like to run another half marathon in November. So I need to start ramping up my miles. It is not all training though. My running is a form of meditation for me. I get totally lost and live only in the present. In the woods the only thing I worry about is falling on my face and snakes.

What do you do to get away from it all.

Monday Meanderings

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I have sad news, Apple is not making any more Ipod Nanos. I have three of them including two of the type above with 32 gig of memory. It holds thousands of songs and I use them every single day. I have a brand new iPhone with 128 gigs and I got a bunch of music on it. In fact I have every song I own on it but I love the micro size of the nano and its simplified interface compared to the IPhone. The only drawback is that it is so small. That is why I have two of the above models. I lost and then found the first one.

I have also gone through three Ipod Touches. My first one didn’t have a camera and when I found out about Instagram I had to get a Touch with a camera. I wore that one out. Yep, the buttons wouldn’t work on it at all. I am now on my third. I think they are wonderful devices. All the benefits an none of the costs of an IPhone. Of course I have an Iphone now also. And an Ipad. I love Apple products. They should love me. Apple has made a lot of money off me when I think about it.

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I love the sign above. 20% off the Ten Commandments. What a deal. Take off your least favorite two commandments and don’t worry about them.  What a deal!!

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It has been a long hot summer and I am totally acclimated now. I ran seven miles on Turkey Mountain, after work, last week and it didn’t bother me despite the mid 90 degree heat. I started running the mountain with a hydration pack last year and it makes all the difference in the world. It is a backpack with a 1.5 liter water bladder with it so I can stay hydrated while I run. I recommend it highly.

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One reason I need to run. I love the Chili and toasted, buttered, french bread that I can get at downtown’s Take2 Restaurant. I am guestimating about 1400 calories. My seven miles were probably 1050 calories. So I’m losing the war!!! But I’m enjoying the battle. You know what I think. You cannot enjoy eating and craft beer and lose weight. You know what a good diet would be? Take a bite or a swig and if it tastes good spit it out. You will be skinny as a rail and miserable in no time.

How about you? What have you been up to lately?

Firecracker 5K on the 4th in Downtown Tulsa

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Well its the Fourth of July and I ran in the annual Firecracker 5K put on by Fleet Feet Tulsa.

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I am not sure how many people ran but it is a pretty big race. Despite the early morning rains there were lots of people there.

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The Hurts Donuts Emergency Truck was there. I didn’t see them handing out free samples and you know I watch the food closely. Just before the race start while we were bunched up it started raining. Not too bad, just enough to make it interesting and thoughts of plugging and abandoning and going home briefly fluttered through my mind but they went away. So off we went winding through the northern part of downtown and into the Brady District and back.

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This was on the back downtown. I am guessing about 1.7 miles into the race.

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And then across the tracks and the long half mile home stretch to the finish line.

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Everybody had a great time. Kudos to Fleet Feet, the Race Director, the army of volunteers who showed up a dark thirty to get everything set up, the Tulsa Police Department who kept control of the course, and the sponsors who provided the food and drink. Everything went together well and it was a great experience.  There is a huge amount of work that goes into making sure that a race goes smoothly and I appreciate it.

The race course was straight with right angle turns and a long climb up to Cains Ballroom. It was challenging and fun. The food and drink were great. The shirt and medal were much appreciated. They had a live band, lots of port potty’s  and room to move around. I’ll be back at this race if I am in town next year.

Later today we are going to grill some chicken at home and then make our way to Veteran’s Park  for some fireworks!! How about you?

Bixby “Corn to Run” 5K and a Rant about Race Shirts

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Saturday morning I ventured to the Tulsa suburb of Bixby to run in their “Corn to Run” 5K.

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Bixby is home to some of the highest price residential real estate in Oklahoma but it still has a small town feel especially the old downtown area.

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There are still thriving businesses downtown of all kinds. Restaurants, dance studios, and such.

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I have no idea why the town thinks they need this thing.

The 5K is part of Bixby’s “Green Corn Festival.” The town is known for its truck farms that produce all sorts of produce including corn. More and more of the farms have sold out to real estate developers and so the acreage devoted to farming continues to decline.

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The festival has a carnival with rides, carnival food, and lots of food trucks besides.

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I love this gigantic wall clock on the municipal building

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The typical milling about before a race. And then we were off.

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I only stopped to take this one photo. I love this house. We wound around to the east side of town and then down south and then back up. There was not much traffic control, it was not really needed, not many people were out and about and those that were had the good sense and courtesy to not bother the runners. The course was well marked, especially for me since almost all the runners were ahead of me for some reason.

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And the finish line!! The guy on the PA made if fun for everybody and held off the awards ceremony until the everybody made it in.

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Including the police department, who finished last.

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I ended up getting second in the 60 to 70 year old category.  There were three of us in case you were wondering. The little dog tag is something that they gave everybody who finished.

Satisfaction

The race was well organized. Lots of helpful volunteers, the water at the end was cold, they had snacks, ample portapotty’s, the course was well marked and free of problems. The race started on time and they started the awards promptly and moved through them quickly. The race director and the people helping him did a great job. This should have been a totally satisfying race but it wasn’t quite for me and I’m going to tell you why.

They only had shirts for people who had registered by June 16. None for anybody else. The only thing said on the registration process was that shirts were not guaranteed for those who registered after that date. Okay fair enough, I should have known, right? Well maybe. I have run in over 150 races since I started running them twenty three years ago. Most of them I enter just a few days before the event and many the morning of the event. This is the first race where I didn’t get a shirt. Sometimes I had to take a different size shirt. Several times the race director had extra shirts made up and I got them a month after the event. Here they made no attempt to do any of that. They should have said “Guaranteed no shirt” after the 16th. Many races have an option for no shirt at a discounted entry.

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Logan and a run shirt.

I know why they do this and I get it. I have helped with several races and what drives race directors crazy is trying to figure out how many people are going to show up. So if you want to make sure that everybody gets a shirt then you have to kind of guess and hope that you didn’t order too many. The shirts are not free and the value of a shirt an hour after an event is basically zero.

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Logan with his cousin Shiloh and Uncle Irvin at a race in Idaho.

These races can bring in a lot of money but they cost a lot of money also. For everything from chip timing, to renting the tents and tables that you need, course security, course certification. The directors have to recruit volunteers to help them out and make sure they know what to do. So I get it, I really do. And so your costs are fixed and then you get guys like me who register at the last minute, full of expectations.

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Logan and my wife Heather at an event in Tulsa a few years ago.

And so why do I register so late? Why don’t I get on board and register a week and a half in advance? I’ll tell you why! Life, that is why. Just with what is going on I am not sure that I am going to be able to race until a few days before and I don’t want to spend the $30 and not be able to go. Sorry, but our family schedule is like the fog until something breaks free and it is like, okay, I am going to be able to race so then I hit the interwebs looking for something to go to.  I don’t think that I am that much different than other people. Especially those with a family.

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I still have that shirt!

And not only that, I love race shirts. I have a bunch of them and they are one of the reasons I run the races. Many races have a cheaper no shirt option and I have never signed up for that. So, yep it may be childish of me, but there it is.

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I still have that shirt also!

Why am I make such a big deal about this?

Doing my research I am seeing a many races using the “Shirts Not Guranteed” language for registrations after a certain date. So it is more than just this one race.

And so why should Race Directors listen to me?

Satisfaction is why. If you have ever been in a sales or marketing role you will realize that making the sale is not the end of the process. If your customer is not happy with the deal he struck then you did not make a good deal. You see that in a lot of businesses (successful businesses that is) where the after sale is treated very seriously by the customer. You have to make the customer feel good about what he or she has agreed to do. And I think that translates directly to races. I will tell you that the only way I am going to run the “Corn to Run” event next year is I am guaranteed a shirt.

Ideas on what to do?

What do I think race directors do?

  • Charge more after a certain date. Lots of big races do that. The Route 66 Marathon, Tulsa Run,  and others charge more the longer you wait to sign up. I generally wait pretty late on those races also and I understand that it is costing me money and I understand that.
  • Have more shirts made after the race. I know that is expensive also, so charge latecomers like me.
  • Discount the race for people who will not be getting shirts. Why should we pay the same as people who are getting a shirt.
  • Go back to ordering more shirts and hope for the best. Yep, I know this costs more.
  • Or just ignore old farts like me.

So anyway, I hope I didn’t spoil anybody’s time nor am I denigrating the Race Director or others involved in the well run and fun “Corn to Run 5K.” I am offering my comments and I hope that are seen as constructive. I also recognize that things change and as financial pressures on races continue we may see more changes. I recognize that I may be trying to swim upstream on this issue.

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Skywatch Friday – Arkansas River Run

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I went on a run after work Monday. I saw a lot of stuff like the scene above with the daytime moon. I love daytime moons.

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I saw a bunch of geese all swimming in one direction like they were zombies. I thought they flew north instead of paddling north.

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I saw a bridal shoot going on in the middle of the river.

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I saw another runner checking out the shoot.

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And some bicyclist zoomed on past me. Zooming past me is not hard. I like my shadow selfie.

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I passed the golden dome of the Greek Orthodox Church.

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I went across a bridge where there were a bunch of locks. I knew that it was just a matter of time before this tradition hit town.

Four slow miles in the 90 degrees heat.

I’m linking this post with Skywatch Friday

Skywatch Friday – Sneaking in a Run

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I love this newly renovated substation on the edge of downtown.

Monday I had a lunch meeting that and so I left a little earlier than my regular time to sneak in a run downtown before going home. It was right about 5 pm and the skies were clear and the light bright so I took my camera. Of course I take my camera no matter the lighting.

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A good view of downtown and am empty desolate parking lot. The domed structure off to the right is the First Church of Christian Sciene.

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As I got closer to the Arkansas River I ran close to one of my favorite structures. It is a fountain, or it used to be a fountain. I love the mid-century modern design with a bunch of geometry. It is quite a striking structure.

Not a long run by any means but a nice way to end the day.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday

Skywatch Friday – Storm Coming on Turkey Mountain

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One day after work when I was on the east bank of the Arkansas River looking across trying to figure out whether to run on Turkey Mountain or not which is the hill to the right. I decided to go ahead and stayed dry for the most part. I really look forward to my Wednesday night runs on the mountain or the river and rarely cancel them. I always feel like a kid when school has let out especially when the weather is decent. I hardly ever see anybody else especially when I’m more than a quarter mile from the parking lot.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday

Our World Tuesday – Half and Half Run at Tulsa’s Oxley Nature Center and Lake Yahola

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For my weekly Wednesday after work run I changed things up a little bit. Instead of going to Turkey Mountain with its rocks, roots, and hills I headed out to the best kept secret trails in Tulsa, the Northwoods trails at Oxley Nature Center and then extend it by running around one of Tulsa’s raw water supply sources, Lake Yahola.

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The Norhwoods trails are not used very much. They don’t even have a parking lot. You just park on the side of the road. I hardly ever see anybody else on them. And there is a chance of seeing deer. I haven’t seen a deer on Turkey Mountain in a long time. The thing about Oxley is that there are very few rocks and no hills. My legs were a little sore and I wanted some distance but I couldn’t face going up and down the hills of Turkey Mountain.

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I did find an old snag that toppled across the trail. A real trail runner would have leaped across it without slowing down. Then there are guys like me who deal with in a different manner.

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There is quite network of trails in the North Woods section but they only add up to 3 miles and they loop around on each other so if you miss a turn it is no big deal.

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So I took the Oxbow lake Trail to get to Lake Yahola.

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And here it is. See the little specs to the left of center on the far shore? That is the high rises of downtown Tulsa just a few miles away.

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I turned to the right and started running on the chat gravel path. I didn’t bring my trail shoes and the gravel was hurting my feet and the grassy part was too soft for really good running. What a cry baby I am!!! I was running into the wind also but I was having the time of my life. I come upon about a dozen fishermen scattered around the lake. There is something peaceful about fishing and watching fishermen.

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About two thirds of the way around the lake I come upon the city water treatment plant. I love infrastructure stuff like this.

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Back close to the main trail at the Oxbow Lakes.

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Fuzzy pic of me with the lake. Do you like my socks?

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Back down to the road. I love how the trees tunnel over the trail. I love running here when there is strong winds because the trees just plain stop the wind and it is neat because you can hear the wind howling through the tops of the trees. I love stuff like that.

Got my run in. Almost six miles at a leisurely pace. Oh well, it is what it is.

I’m linking with “Our World Tuesday

Outdoor Wednesday – Half and Half Run across the Arkansas River to Turkey Mountain and Back

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On Saturdays I drop the kid off for his Comedy Improv workshop. I have about an hour and a half to do something before I pick him up. Sometimes I go the Philbrook Museum or if I hurry I can get over to the Fairgrounds for the boat show or something. Last Saturday the weather was beautiful and I thought I would go for a run.

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What I call the Bear Fountain. I loved the guy taking a nap on the bench on the far right. The fountain is always a cool spot.

My favorite place for a run is Turkey Mountain but there is not much parking so I decided to park on Riverside Drive and run across the Arkansas River bridge to Turkey Mountain and then run back. It would give me a taste of both trail running and pavement running with no parking hassles.

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Heading west across the Arkansas River. That hill way off yonder ( as we say in Oklahoma) is Turkey Mountain. I know that most places it is just a hill, but it is Tulsa’s Turkey Mountain.

The wind was a gale coming from the south and running across the east west bridge was quite fun. I had to hold my hat to keep it from blowing into the river. I’m cheap you see. I like to wear stuff until it wears out. When I give stuff to Goodwill, there is not a whole lot of use left in it. They say they can use the fiber so give’em what they got. That is all they get from is fiber, with holes in it.

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Across the river, up a little embankment and then into a not so secret entry point into the Turkey Mountain trails system. There are all sorts of little ins and outs to the trails at Turkey. I have been running the trails for years and am still learning things.

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And then on to the Red Trail. The Red Trail is  a short trail that enters and exits the lower parking lot.

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And then I took a branch of the Red Trail that went along a chain link fence.

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Most Okies wear more clothes than these two. We weigh a lot more than they do also.

And then got to the main paved trail where these folks were “Out standing in their field” so to speak. I am glad for their sake that it was a little cool for ticks.

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And then up the steep hill to the lower parking lot. It sounds kind of funny as I write this, “going up a steep hill to the lower parking lot.” Well you should see the climb to the upper parking lot!

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I almost caught him. Badge of shame for a biker is to be passed by an old, fat “runner”

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And then re-enter the red trail down this way.

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And then back on the approach to the bridge across the river. Right behind a bunch of cyclists.

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Downhill and then level all the way to the end!

They sure left me in the dust!! And then back across the river to the car.

Mission Accomplished!! Finished in less than an hour. Had plenty of time to gas up the car and grab lunch for Logan and I at Braums. We needed to get home cuz we had an appointment with ATT concerning Logan’s lost cell phone. But that is another story!!

I’m linking with Outdoor Wednesday